That’s My Kind of Thinking – March 2009

March 31, 2009 in Picks

My favourite examples of great thinking from the past month

1. While other teachers have taken to banning laptops in class because they are a distraction, one teacher has taken a more novel approach.

working hard or hardly working
Creative Commons License photo credit: bradleygee

2. An insightful article by Gerard O’Neil: Debt is a Fact, Wealth is an Opinion.

3. And Two great questions:

4. This month’s video is Malcolm Gladwell’s TED talk on Spaghetti Sauce!

How to Get Free Twitter Notifications to Your Mobile

March 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

Following the recent announcement from Twitter and Vodafone in the UK, I thought it might be useful to share a tip for how I get free text alerts when some one @’s me on Twitter. I only know how to do this with Vodafone Ireland, but I’m sure it should be possible with many other operators in Ireland and worldwide.

1. A email account

Vodafone Ireland give all their customers a free email account. By default it’s you’re mobile number, e.g. [email protected]

To set yours up, log into, and click on Vodafone Mail:


This should allow you to chose your own username (e.g. [email protected]).

2. Email Text Alerts.

Under the preferences you should see a “notification” option which offers to send you a text each time you get an email. Switch that on.




Visit and set up a new account using your newly created email address. You can skip through most of the set up proccess until you get to the sources tab.

notifyme-tutorial-sources Now you’ll need to open up a new window or tab and go to Search for replies to you. For example, my username is petertanham so I searched for @petertanham.

twitter-searchpetertanham-twitter-searchOnce the search results appear you should see a box on the right hand side with a link to “feed for this query”. This link is the feed that will update anytime someone sends you a tweet on Twitter, and this is what we need as our source. You can right click on the link and select “copy link location” or click through and copy the url from the address bar.

Now go back to the source page on and paste in the url for your twitter feed. Once the feed is added make sure to click the email icon to activate email notification.


4. Fin

And that’s it! Now anytime someone replies to you on Twitter, you will get a text notification so you can log in and check it out. Personally, I leave this switched off most of the time because I’m always on Twitter (addict!), but when I know I’ll be away from a computer for a while I log into and toggle the email notification back on.

Other countries/networks

I haven’t got any login details to try this on other networks, but if you do please leave a comment letting us know if it works!

This also works for any service, for example Facebook or Bebo. For those just change your registered email address to your address and you’ll get text alerts for new friends, comments on your profile etc.

Using Downtime to Upskill

March 18, 2009 in Essays, Fuck The Recession

learnFor reasons that I don’t need to explain, many people are finding they have a lot of free time on their hands these days.

If you’re out of work there are many people giving great advice on using social media and the internet to upskill yourself and get back in the game. I think this is great advice, and there are already¬†lots of people doing it well.

If you do decide to upskill, what skills should try learn? For some people the answer could simply be improving a skill you have or persuing something you have always wanted to do but never had the time. If, however, you want to invest your time in a skill that will directly increase your employability (if that’s a word!) then you should check out the Elance blog.

If you don’t know it, is an online marketplace for professionals. You can use it to hire people for a project or to offer your services online. Each month they publish a list of the most in-demand skills. Here’s the top 10 skills that people were looking for in February. Hopefully it can help you decide what to focus on.

February Rank Skill Name Trend from January
1 Graphic Design 0
2 PHP 0
3 MySQL 0
4 Logo Design 0
5 Article Writing 1
6 HTML -1
7 Web Content 2
8 CSS 0
9 Illustrator -2
10 WordPress 0

 Click here for the top 100.


March 16, 2009 in Marketing, Videos

I found this video today (via MJ). It’s one of the nicest short films I’ve seen in a long time, and is well worth the 12mins of your time. (click if you can’t view the video below).

One of my first thoughts for the video was “this should be an ad for Twitter”. Is it wrong that my first thought about such a lovely short film was business related? Probably. But I still think it was an important one.

In the marketing world, as the transition is being made from TV ads to online videos, the trend has been to make snappier, shorter, “more viral” videos. While this has worked well in many instances, I don’t think it’s the only way that online video can be best used.

If you have a product as good as Twitter, something that is unique and enriches peoples lives, then I see no reason why you couldn’t use an artistic short film similar to the one above to convey the value your service can bring to people.

There’s a lot of talented filmmakers and film school students out there thirsty for projects to work on (and for budgets!) and it would probably work out much cheaper than a TV campaign. It’s just a thought.

That’s My Kind of Thinking – Feb 09

March 4, 2009 in links

(A few days late)

Comforting odds (for my flight tomorrow): Over 95% of passengers involved in a plane crash survive. Here’s some tips on how to survive a plane crash.

A simple explanation of the current financial turmoil. “The crisis of credit

One of the best Seth Godin posts in a long time.

Randolph Nesse on Evolutionary Medicine (link to videos)