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  • The Technology Guy 15:17 on May 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    I am back…. 

    Well, it’s been a long time since I regularly blogged.

    This week has been a strange one. Seven years ago, almost to the day, I was headhunted into a three-month contract in the USA which turned into a full-time position. I gave up the position of Managing Partner at a training partnership and moved into the corporate world. Wow, have I learned a lot.

    It’s been a roller coaster for the last seven years, however, this past Tuesday it all came to a crashing end when I was made redundant, not because of Covid-19, but due to a strangely timed reorganisation which saw 6% of the company out of a job.

    To end this crazy week, I also woke up with an abscess on a tooth, it can only be onwards and upwards from here.

    I have seven years of not blogging the fun side of learning to catch up. I look forward to reconnecting with you all.


  • The Technology Guy 10:36 on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Conversation, Hearing   

    10% of your workmates are suffering like me. How compassionate are you? 

    I woke up about two months ago and joked “someone is talking about me.”

    The old wives tale of hearing ringing in your ears meant someone was having a good gab about you was really loud, they must have been telling each other how brilliant I was or having a good old bitch about something I did.

    Enough already you can shut up now!  My ears have continued to ring for two solid months and its driven me a little crazy.


    How bad is this noise?  Well here is an experiment you can do right now. I would like you to do this before you continue reading so you have an appreciation. Unless of course you are one of the 10% of tinnitus suffers. Yes 10% of the population live with this infliction in one way or another. For 1% it has a dramatic affect of the way they live their lives.

    The experiment:

    If you are on android download the free noise generator called ‘Frequency Sound Generator’. There is a similar one on iOS called Tone Generator.

    Set the volume of the device to about 50% and the volume of the sound generator to 75%. Set the tone to a sine wave and adjust the tone to 5900Hz. Leave the modulation at its lowest setting and click Play.

    You are now hearing what I am hearing all day and all night. Leave it running a while, maybe try to write a letter or watch TV or listen to music without headphones. Place it on the bedside table when you go to bed as its much louder in a quiet place.

    Now of course you can put your fingers in your ears and the noise will go away. If I put my fingers in my ears it makes no difference. This is because there is actually no ringing, no noise, its neurological, in my head. Not sure if its left or right, back of the head or front.  You can switch this off when it begins to grind on your nerves, you probably hit the stop button already.

    I can’t.

    What have I done about this and what can I do?

    It is my intention over the next few weeks to start blogging again. I have not blogged for ages, way too busy in a job where I am having too much fun to find the time to share. Plus maybe now what I am saying will not fall on deaf ears (excuse the pun). I will blog about the journey to either learn to live with this noise or find a way of stopping it.  Unfortunately they say there is no cure. Not unless something else is making it happen. The trek to find out if that is the fact has already started and maybe blogging this journey may help others.

    What I do hope is that you will read it and join in a conversation about it with me. Understand that many you work with are suffering this, often in silence.

    The journey so far:

    Obviously I saw my local family doctor. Then the best consultants I could find who understand hearing. I saw the same people that deal with musicians, mould their ears for ear plugs and look after their hearing. I saw the same person as Rita Ora, Coldplay, and the cast of Miss Saigon. I think I am in good hands.

    I have had some weird and wonderful hearing tests. I knew I had ringing in the ears, but they also told me my actual hearing was great for my age, just a slight drop off at the top end range. However I am also struggling like many in noisy environments like cafes and restaurants, where I hear too much and cant tune into who is talking to me.  Ever seen me at a conference where many people are talking, now I know why I struggle.

    Next time:

    I will tell you about the outcome of the tests, the moulds I had made of my ears and why. I will also share some information about Bruxism and whether it has caused my issue and what I am going to do about it.


    Till then have a happy holiday period….

  • The Technology Guy 07:49 on June 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Don’t be alone at #mlearncon – Docents to the rescue. 

    That’s right, Don’t be alone next week at a conference.

    I remember years ago attending my first learning conference. It was in Atlanta and there were 11,000 people attending.  But that first night when I arrived I sat in the bar with a book alone.  Nobody had their badges yet, or were just not wearing them. Groups of people who knew each other were all over the place drinking, laughing and sharing stories. I went to the restaurant to a table for one and crawled into bed that first night thinking ‘I hope tomorrow gets better’.  I had no idea which sessions to choose, who was worth listening to, nothing.  I needed someone who knew to hold me by the hand and lead me into temptation.

    These days of course I am one of  ‘the crowd’, I try to gather up as many of those lonely people as I can see and ask ‘are you here for…’ and drag them into the action.

    My first Guild conference (long long time ago) was a little different. I had been chatting with all these people on Twitter for ages and at last we were going to meet each other..  However I had only teeny tiny pictures of a few of them…  As I picked up my badge and said my name, the guy standing next to me became a very dear friend. We had been conversing for a while and I finally met Aaron Silvers. He introduced me to all those I had already been talking to and within an hour we were all in a dive (sorry restaurant) beer in hand and having a great time.

    This year I decided I was going to try to change the experience for as many as possible.

    I have designed the Docent Program for mLearnCon. I have enlisted the help of many knowledgable people and two great other Docents.

    Come join us, we start at the Orientation Session on Monday night. or just show up and tag along. Feel welcome, meet some new friends, get the experts view of the conference and see which sessions are really going to be worth going to. Better still, meet the speakers, have lunch with famous names in our industry and don’t sit in the bar alone with a book.

    About the Docent Program at mLearnCon


    What is the docent program?

    “Docent” is the title given to people who serve as guides and educators, particularly for museums. We’ll be adapting the docent concept for this year’s mLearnCon as a way of enhancing the conference experience for first-time attendees, or any attendees who want to take advantage of the docent program.


    Neil Lasher is leading the mLearnCon docent team, which includes Brandon Carson and Stevie Rocco.


    Who can participate?

    This is a great opportunity for anyone attending the mLearnCon Mobile Learning Conference & Exposition as a paid registrant or speaker to add a little (or a lot) of guidance that is specifically built to enhance your conference experience.


    What can participants expect from the docent program?

    Those who choose to participate in any or all of the docent activities scheduled at the mLearnCon Mobile Learning Conference & Expo will enjoy a guided experience that has been custom-built by mLearning experts who not only have an understanding of the field of mLearning, but are experienced at navigating industry conferences.


    There are three primary paths to the docent program:

    • One focused on mLearning tools and technologies (led by Neil Lasher)
    • One focused on getting started with mLearning (led by Stevie Rocco)
    • One focused on the design of mLearning (led by Brandon Carson)


    Do you have to attend all of the activities?

    Those who participate in the docent program can join in as few or as many of the guided activities as they’d like, and are free to jump from path-to-path as desired. The structure of each docent path is very similar.


    Here are a few highlights:

    • A welcome and introduction to the docent program at the Event Orientation
    • A dedicated AMLearning session each morning, where the docents and participants can talk about the day’s events and share reflections on daily learning
    • Group attendance at the general sessions, including scheduled time to debrief
    • A guided tour of the expo
    • Hosted lunch tables with mLearning experts
    • Specifically selected concurrent sessions and opportunities to meet speakers afterwards
    • Craig Taylor 18:04 on June 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Neil,

      This is a great idea and one that I hope will make its way over to this side of the pond.


    • Colin Steed 07:32 on June 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Love this idea Neil. LearningLive

  • The Technology Guy 07:26 on June 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Nothing to say? 

    It’s not that I don’t have anything to say that stops me posting on my blog in recent months.  Its more of …  well I am busy!

    I also read a great article about how you can spread yourself too thin, and you should focus on what you are doing. I agree.


    So here I am preparing for mLearnCon next week and I am about to blog about the Docent program I have built for the conference.  Watch out for the next post today.

    Is he really busy, I hear those cynical ones say?


    Well I just had a daughter who got married three weeks ago

    I became a granddaddy 15 weeks ago

    I am working with two major clients on two really exciting projects (and loving it)

    I launched a new series of workshops with Mike Hruska on xAPI in the USA  www.thexapi.com

    I am working with the LPI to bring my Instructional Design material to a certification module with the institute

    The Learning Coach llp has had a facelift with some new LiveLine ™ modules


    Am I busy? Do I have time to blog?

  • The Technology Guy 17:31 on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    More on Blackberry, sideloading Android apps #mlearncon #blackberry 

    Well it’s been a few days since I last posted and to tell you the truth I am loving the Blackberry Z10. Today I learned how to sideload Android apps, by downloading the android version, converting the APK to BAR file and pushing it to the blackberry using command in Terminal on my MAC.

    This was a doddle to do so the whole Android app market is now my playground. Some work, some do not, but WhatsApp is working and I am a happy camper. Off to load eBay.

    So considering Blackberry but AppStore holding you back. Not any longer.

  • The Technology Guy 12:00 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    #blackberry Z10 update on calendar 

    Update. I finally solved the calendar issue with Gmail.

    Using Active sync and m.google.com I now have two way calandar working.

    This is the first post I have made to the blog from it. Typing is so much easier than the iPhone.

    Next stop apps watch this space. Still no Internet on the office

  • The Technology Guy 07:20 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ISP Issues   

    #virginmedia sort it out! How much do we rely on the web? 

    How much do you rely on the web? How much do you rely on connectivity? How much of our lives are under the control of one company, our ISP?

    Questions I have been asking since 6 am Thursday. This is when I found I had NO Internet.

    As I enter the third day of no connection and no business land line (same supplier) I begin to get nervous. 3pm Monday I have 25 people signed up for a free tutorial on Tin Can. Will I have connection by then? How many have tried to contact me by phone that I have missed. What is the cost of this failure? Can I get compensation?

    My mobile provider has a lousy signal in my house, so I have a surestream box to aid my connection by providing a private cell. It plugs into my router!!

    So why no connection. Some person digging a road hit the fibre and knocked out the whole of the east of London. Area 22. Might as well be Area 51 as it is a big secret why they can’t fix it!

    Every 6 hours as the time runs out on their update page they maintain, it moves the repair time back another few hours. 2pm Thursday became 6pm, became 10pm, became Friday 10am, 2pm, 10pm, became today, Saturday 10am. Yeh right!

    I called in frustration again (3rd time) at 6pm last night. The young lady in Bangalore informed me that my line was working fine and there had been no issues other than planned maintenance. I told her I was looking at the update page that had taken 30 mins to load on my phone with one bar of signal, it clearly shows a fault and time of fix. She told me I was wrong and must check my equipment. Funny she agreed there were notes I had called earlier about a fault. The supervisor was to call me back within 10 minutes. I am still waiting 13 hours later.

    Would you like to be fly on the wall for the conversation this morning?

    My overall point is we rely far too much on connectivity. And it’s not till we don’t have any we realise.

    It was not like this just a few years ago, where is this going? What do you have in place as a fallback? We have hundreds of servers to provide failsafes, we complain when Facebook falls over for 10 minutes but this is all hinging on a piece of fibre, the size of a hair to keep us connected. When it fails, so do we.

  • The Technology Guy 06:56 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackberry   

    #blackberry Z10 first issues 

    3 days in to this new machine and although there is much to love there is some not to like too.

    I have a calendar issue I can’t solve. I use Gmail and I can’t write a new event. There is a Dropbox with a list of the calendars. However only Local shows not my Gmail one, even though the Gmail calendar is set as default. If you don’t choose Local the App crashes every time.

    Still confused by this I deleted the Gmail calendar and tried to reinstall only to find it reports an issue at Gmail. Will keep trying, but this is a basic functionality that Blackberry need to sort out as a matter of urgency. Quick trawl of the web found a few threads with the same issue, so not just me.

    There also appears to be no 3rd party calendar apps. I get the impression Blackberry are not allowing developers access to the PIM. So the iPhone is my calendar of choice right now. This may change of course once the Z10 releases in the USA and many people start making a bigger noise than us.

    I found a great glitch in the clock. Once open on screen there is no way to close it. Other than turning off the device!

    I spent most of yesterday looking for apps for WordPress (found) Path ( not found) News Reader ( still looking for one I like) WhatsApp (best tool I have for keeping in touch with my kids and. Not found). So many junk apps in the App Store and so many games? Hey Blackberry, for years you were the only business machine In town, it’s your competitive advantage over iPhone, have you forgotten that?

    Now I have some gripes ( not as big as my next post) but overall I still like it a lot. It’s intuitive, I love the gestures, I love the keyboard. In fact I like most things I have found but the gripes are nagging!

    So for now, my main sim is still in my iPhone.

    • Richard Nelson 08:39 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for keeping us up to date with your journey with the Z10. I guess I will either be getting another Android device or start programming some Apps for the BlackBerry.

      • The Learning Coach 09:04 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        There are some posts suggesting Android apps can be converted to berry? Let you know when I find out.

  • The Technology Guy 06:48 on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackberry Z10,   

    First 24 hours with a #Blackberry Z10 #mlearncon #lscon 

    I vowed to post my initial findings into use of the new Blackberry Z10. Not as a reviewer but a user.

    Straight out the box I was excited. The look and feel was better than I expected. Slightly wider and taller than my iPhone 5 and feels thinner. Once I got the battery in the weight is pretty good too.

    Surprised how long it took to boot up but once it did the screen is very good quality. Clear, precise, although reports suggest no Gorilla glass, so going to have to be a little careful. Considering a good quality protector as I have on the iPhone.

    So to use.

    Had all my mail, calendar and contacts set up in less than 10 mins and I was ready to go.

    Uses imap not Blackberry services anymore so mail is not always pushed unless your server does so. Gmail does not, so there is a lag in getting mail as the smallest interval is 15 mins for retrieval. I first was a little phased by this but to be honest I realised that’s a generational thing. What difference if your email gets to me 15 mins after you send it. Do you need an immediate reply? Then send a SMS or some other immediate message service.

    I compared the settings to iPhone. Actually they are the same, minimum collect 15 mins. My iPhone seems to get the mail quicker, or so I thought. Rebooting the iPhone just after the Blackberry synced reversed the timings and now the Blackberry gets mail quicker. iPhone does however retrieve mail every time you open the mail app, Blackberry does not unless you update it with a swipe and tap.

    So to swipes. Wow is all I can say.
    Took me a while to get used to which way to gesture for what and still making errors but responsive? Oh yes.

    Swipe right and you get The Hub. A feature I am going to just love. All my mail, tweets, Facebook notifications, calls, calendar entries etc in one place. Very Blackberry, very nice. The flashing led to tell you of messages has been missed by me. One glance at the phone and I don’t have to pick it up to look. I think I am going to find it hard to break the looking at phone habit we all have gained.

    Swipe left and you get a first screen of miniaturised running apps. If you are running an app swipe up and it miniaturises to this screen(s). One click and its full size click the X and it closes.

    Swipe left again and you get to your app screens. Just like the other OS’s

    Swipe down and what you get depends on where you are. From lock screen you get a clock, from apps you get settings, you can silence the phone etc from here.

    Two fingers zoom and also two fingers on screen moves around.

    In mail tap and hold brings in a toolbar from the right with all your commands.

    Usage so far pretty cool.

    Not tried BBM yet, all my ‘friends’ moved to iPhone. Anyone left?

    Facebook and Twitter are exactly the same as iPhone.

    Browser pretty good, fast and did what I expected a browser to do.

    Best touch however is the keyboard. Puts the iPhone and Android to shame. These guys got this righter than right. As you type (hit most keys first time) words appear over the keys not in a bar but right on the keys. and you just swipe them into place. Hard to explain but my best explanation is ‘delicious’. No stupid iPhone unpredictive text! Today also need to look into selecting text and placement of cursor in text. I found this difficult yesterday, it’s not the same as the iPhone so I am sure it’s just me having to work it out. I do like the iPhone magnifier when you place a cursor.

    App Store boasts 70,000 titles but a little light at this time on anything I am after. My favourite calendar Pocket Informant seems to have abandoned Blackberry, hopefully they will return, but I understand it is technically difficult or even impossible to link anything to the built in PIM at this time.

    Today I will get to grips with the Calendar and PIM in general.

    Biggest gripes of the day, Blackberry always shipped with a case. Not this one. Available from tomorrow so have had to order one. And transfer of music (not all as only 16gb on phone) took an age.

    Battery, too early to tell as was plugged in most of the day. Today it is fully charged so I will find out.

    More when I find it. But this is a real contender. If apps are as easy to write as they claim, then Blackberry are going to make it.

    Don’t forget to check out my updated site. http://www.neillasher.com

    • Guest 06:58 on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice, i hope you stay with the Z10 and spread the word (your family and friends) about how good it is 🙂

  • The Technology Guy 09:29 on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is Blackberry in with a chance for mLearning market #lscon 


    I have been watching closely for a while the story of RIM, now Blackberry.

    Pundits have been quick to knock the recent advert in Super Bowl but maybe, just maybe Blackberry have got this right.

    The King on the hill is Apple, without doubt, combine iPhone and iPad and it outstrips the nearest manufacturer competitor. However Android is winning the war slowly in many areas of the world from an OS perspective.

    Saying that, at the recent LT13 exhibition there was not a single Android tablet on show. ( that I saw)

    BETT was no different. I wonder what it was like in ASTD TechKnowledge?

    Along comes Blackberry after a miserable few years on the back shelf and after a horrible PlayBook with what appears to be a very nice SmartPhone.

    I was an avid Blackberry user till a few years ago, swapping as many did to iPhone. The upside was the fantastic tech and apps, the downside? I lost my keyboard. But have obviously got used to virtual. I am typing this from it. I still hate the way iPhone autocorrects. Or as I call it, unpredictive text. And I lost BBM. One other silly thing I loved and lost, the way the light blinks when there is a message.

    So what has Blackberry done that makes me think the new Z10, pronounced zee ten, is going to make them a winner.

    Well to start, price. It is cheaper than iPhone.

    Then there is what Blackberry state as a magnificent, well designed and well thought out OS. It’s been a long time in the making, they know this is the only chance.

    Then we are told that Blackberry 10 OS is the easiest to write for. This may be the key to success. Especially in the education or mLearning market.

    So today for me starts a new era. My Z10 has just been delivered (No not giving up the iPhone quite yet). I will blog it as I find it over the next while and will start to create an App. See if I get further than the one I started with iPhone.

    Info as I find it at neillasher

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