Learning from others – knowing my limitations

Hi all,

I have always tried to learn off others that know more than me.  Most of my conversations each day lead to this result. I would like to give you an example of a lesson for me on knowing my limitations – it has taken me 3 years to learn it.

The Lesson

In 2008 I saw the PPT of a presentation Mark Pesce did.  At the time he had 1500 followers and I was one of them.  He started this presentation off with a fast moving video collage to music of the avatars of all 1500 of his followers – even managed to see me flash through.  I sat down and tried to do the same thing. After many hours of right clicking avatars to save them, putting them into MovieMaker, placing them next to each other adjusting the speed…. I just gave up thinking how did he manage to do this.  Fast forward a couple of years to this weekend.

The Background

Those who follow @mpesce will realise that he tweets when he is writing or preparing for his next presentation . Sometimes he also tweets phases he plans to use and this is how I knew he was doing something about Python– Project Thunderware.   I was also intrigued because I thought it would have something to do with him closing his Facebook account a few weeks ago.  All I know  that this is a programming language which means nothing to me except that programming makes possible all the things I do as an ICT Integrator.  I am just happy that there men and women who do these things so I can do my thing.

I made a note to follow up  his link to his presentation which he does on the day of his presentation.  The Presentation was called “ How not to be seen” and I sat down and read it on Saturday arvo.

The real lesson

Well I realised how silly, naive and in beyond my depth I was when I tried to replicate the 2008  avatar video collage when I read this:

My biggest Python project (before last week) was a simple script to create a video used in the opening of my 2008 WebDirections South keynote.  I wanted to show the ‘cloud’ of Twitter followers I had started to accumulate – around 1500.  Not just a ‘wall’ of different faces, but a film, an animation, where each person I followed on Twitter had their moment in the sun.  The script retrieved the list of people I follow, then iterated through this list, getting profile information for each individual, extracting from that the URL for the user’s avatar, which it then retrieved, Using Python Imaging Library, it then embossed the user’s handle onto the image.  After that it was a basic drag-and-drop operation into Adobe Premiere.  Presto! – I had a movie.  Thank you, Python.

Source: http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=381

It is the second time this week this has happened to me.  This week it was the help of a 14 year old student. During the week I was deleting posts in four Twitter accounts I have set up for a school activity in  August.  I thought I would be smart and get the students to help out.   So  four  students set to the task of delete 50 plus photos from four Twitpic accounts and the tweets from  their respective Twitter accounts.  I noticed one student was finish miles had of the others and  when I asked her how she was finishing quickly -she had done a search and found a tool to auto delete posts  from Twitter.

So I have learnt quite a few things this weekend.

1. I still have a lot of learning to do by sharing with others.
2. I need to know my limitations – there are more efficient ways to do things.
3.  Continue to let my students do their own thing
cheers Martin

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