<![CDATA[techsoc.com - Blog]]>Sat, 03 Feb 2024 18:44:30 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Kid Lightning by LED]]>Wed, 31 Jan 2024 10:53:06 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/kid-lightning-by-ledPicture
Through my company Technology and Society, Incorporated, my wife Virginia Belt and I sponsored the January 25-27, 2024, weekend run of Kid Lightning by Boise, Idaho group LED. Part of the White Bird Uncaged series, Kid Lightning depicts and comments on the pursuit of celebrity through beautifully choreographed and artfully executed modern dance as told through the lens of a 1970s-style game show.







​Narrative dance demands precise movement and effective characterization from the performers. While abstract dance is almost always entertaining, I prefer the challenge of reacting to a story presented to me directly rather than being asked to discern or even manufacture the meaning of what I’m seeing on stage. Artistic Director and Choreographer Lauren Edson, along with husband Andrew Stensaas who is the company’s Creative Director and Composer, designed and executed a performance that Ginny and I were delighted to support.

The dancers were all fantastic and the choreography featured their individual skills rather than forcing them to adapt to a smoothed-out version of the role that anyone with a given (admittedly high) level of talent could do. Ginny was a professional ballerina and has taught me to appreciate the give-and-take between choreographer and dancer—I believe the performance I saw several times over the run showed that Lauren had meaningful conversations with the dancers as the specific choreography for this series of shows developed.

Thanks also to Graham Cole, Artistic Director of White Bird, for inviting us to sponsor LED and Kid Lightning. Boise is a short flight and eight-hour drive from Portland, so we hope to make it to the space LED is growing in Boise to see more of their work.

For more information on White Bird Dance, visit whitebird.org. LED can be found at ledboise.com. Technology and Society can be found on the web at techsoc.com.

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<![CDATA[Halfway Through the Season]]>Thu, 28 Dec 2023 06:55:00 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/halfway-through-the-seasonTechnology and Society is halfway through its second season as London Seaward’s primary sponsor. Seaward sit seventh of twelve in Division 1 South East with a total of 15 points from eleven matches, and the Reserves sixth of eleven on 10 points after eight matches. Much bigger clubs such as Wimbledon, Norwich City, and Queens Park Rangers are above the Anchors in the standings, but the reverse fixtures in 2024 offer plenty of opportunities to move up.

I know she hates the attention, but The Athletic named Seaward defender and club secretary (and so much more in the early days) Jo Butler-Williams a Grassroots GOAT for her work (along with many others mentioned in the article) keeping the club alive after Leyton Orient went in another direction. The club’s success as an independent outfit earned them a 10-year groundshare agreement at Oakside Stadium in Redbridge and a technical partnership with Puma, both of which offer present stability and the potential for future growth.

And, if you’re interested, the away shirt (which one online commenter described as “an absolute banger”) is available for purchase!
​Living 4,500 miles away means I don’t touch the club’s day-to-day operations, but that’s likely for the better. Experience, friendships, rivalries, and friendly rivalries built over lifetimes means that everyone on the ground in England is much better equipped to manage Seaward’s affairs than I could hope to be. When I came on as sponsor I felt I could trust the committee and other volunteers to wield the resources I provided effectively. I was correct. That custom-designed away shirt, as well as the Puma model Seaward plays in at home, highlight the club’s dynamic spirit.
What I haven’t done so far is ask the club to help me market my products and services beyond passive mentions of my website and pieces in the match-day programs. I’ve been fully booked creating courses for LinkedIn Learning and content for other clients for several years, but now that my outside workload has slowed I can turn to personal projects. In early 2024, look for me to release a series of training videos on my YouTube channel. I’ll mostly focus on Microsoft Excel, but I’ll also create videos for data visualization package Tableau and do the occasional book review. Techsoc started as a book review site in 1998 and I still enjoy reading and recommending books that look at the intersection of technology and society.

The videos will be free to view, but I hope to reach a critical mass of subscribers so I can share in the ad and subscription revenue they generate. I’ll let you know when to rush to YouTube to subscribe.

I look forward to the 2024 leg of the season! Ginny and I hope to make it to London once or twice before it’s over to enjoy the football, bang some balls around at the snooker table, and visit our friends at London Seaward.
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<![CDATA[A Major Milestone]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2023 23:45:14 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/a-major-milestoneWhen you do something for long enough you start to pass milestones that seemed unreachable at the start of your career, if you even suspected it would be a career at the time!

In this case my milestone accomplishment is that, with the release of MATLAB Essential Training on November 7, 2023, I have had 100 courses published through LinkedIn Learning (formerly lynda.com). I’m not counting the 20 or so translations and foreign language adaptations created from my work: the number of courses that I personally recorded has now reached triple digits.

When you go to my author page on LinkedIn Learning you’ll see there are around 35 courses listed. The other courses I created are still on the site but have been retired and don’t show up in search, mostly because they cover older versions of software such as Excel 2016 or because viewership wasn’t where we needed it to be. Yeah, I’ve had a few courses that didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, but overall my track record has been pretty good.

There are so many people to thank for helping me with my success, but I always start with a grateful nod to Tim O’Reilly, who gave me my first professional writing job in 1996. O’Reilly published The State of Web Commerce in January 1997 and that credential opened up writing opportunities I parlayed into more than 40 books, most notably the Excel Step by Step series for Microsoft Press, and more than 100 online courses when you include the four I created for DigitalThink in the early 2000s.

I’ve been ably represented by Studio B Productions for more than 25 years, starting with company co-founder David Rogelberg, then by Neil Salkind (who I miss terribly), and now by the other company co-founder Sherry Rogelberg. Their early guidance provided the support I needed to establish myself as a working professional, helped me avoid the unfavorable (and occasionally unsavory) contracts offered to newer writers, and more than earned their commissions by finding me work early in my career and helping me manage my jobs as our relationship continued.

You can blame Bonnie Bills for recruiting me as a lynda author in late 2008 or early 2009 (my memory is hazy on timing and my email archives are squirreled away…somewhere…). My first course, Excel 2007: Financial Analysis, went live on August 25, 2009. With MATLAB Essential Training releasing on November 7, 2023, it took me 5,178 days to go from zero courses to 100. That’s one course every 52 days, averaging almost exactly seven courses per year for 14 years. Quite a few of the projects are updates from previous work, but by my count I’ve created courses on 55 distinct topics in the business software field.

Wow.

My release pace with LinkedIn Learning has slowed, mainly because the company has successfully recruited a wide-ranging group of authors who can provide valuable insights on topics I cover. Sharing diverse perspectives and distinct voices benefits everyone. I served my purpose as an author who was willing to work more or less full-time on course creation at a point when other qualified instructors weren’t ready to make the jump to video. Now that they have, they deserve their turn. And the good news? There’s plenty for everyone.

I look forward to working with my LinkedIn Learning colleagues Marjorie Page and Steve Weiss as well as Sherry and David at Studio B as I continue my career. Who knows what we’ll dream up next?
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<![CDATA[OpenAI lawsuit -- Post Deleted]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2023 00:57:47 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/openai-lawsuitThis post originally contained an amateur analysis of the proposed class action lawsuit against OpenAI for unauthorized use of texts from George R. R. Martin and other authors. On reflection, I'm glad I thought through the issues but the piece was not suitable for publication because I ignored recent precedents that would have affected my analysis. I've deleted the post but wanted to leave this note indicating what had happened.]]><![CDATA[August 30th, 2023]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2023 18:02:48 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/august-30th-2023I just returned from two weeks in England, scheduled around the first two matches played by London Seaward. My company, Technology and Society, returned as Seaward’s sponsor for the 2023/24 season. I arrived on August 16 and, because I was staying in central London, checked into my hotel and made my traditional trip to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone. Happy to report it’s still there.

Over the next few days I visited museums, played snooker (poorly) for a few hours at Cousins on Seven Sisters Road, and had dinner with Gareth, my contact with Seaward. On Sunday, I took the Central Line to Seaward’s new home at the Oakside Stadium in Redbridge, Ilford. The first match day of the season is always a whirlwind, but this one was particularly busy.

First, there were new volunteers to train on getting spectators in through the gate and serving as matchday secretary. Second, there were the new home and away kits to distribute to the players. The away shirts were printed six months ago but circumstances delayed their introduction until now. The new home shirts arrived much more recently and were provided by Puma, Seaward’s new technical partner. The official numbers and badges arrived (in two shipments) from the Women’s National League just in time to get everything pressed and down to London without a moment to spare. And did I mention the new warmup outfits? A team representative drove to Nottingham and back on Friday to grab them.

Both shirts are gorgeous. The away shirt is a custom design by Foudy’s and the home shirt, while a stock item from Puma’s team collection, is something any side would be proud to wear.
Away shirt worn by my across-the-street neighbor and soccer player Evangeline, the first away shirt sported by anyone outside of the club!
Although England didn’t win the World Cup final, the Seaward game didn’t disappoint. The Anchors went ahead 2-0 and for the most part controlled play. A converted penalty brought Actonians to within 2-1, but a third goal closed out the scoring and sealed a 3-1 win over a team we hadn’t beaten before. Overall it was a solid performance that highlighted the quality of the retained core of the team and the new players added over the summer.

After five days in Bath and Northeast Somerset where I met up with my wife and got way too much sun (cloudy days and open-top convertibles will do that), we returned to London for the second match. This game was a League Cup tie against London Bees, a club associated with Barnet on the men’s side and that plays a tier up from Seaward in the Southern Premier Division of the Women’s National League. It was always going to be a tough game, but Seaward played well and threatened throughout, especially in the second half. The scoreline of 3-1 for Bees was a fair result, but Seaward had chances to pull within one late in the game and apply even more pressure.

Every club sponsor wants to see that the resources they provide are being used effectively and progress is being made on and off the pitch. London Seaward worked relentlessly during the previous season and this summer to secure a long-term ground share agreement with Redbridge, begin the technical partnership with Puma, and recruit new players and support staff. I’m delighted with the performances I saw, in spite of one 3-1 scoreline being a win and the other a loss. I want Seaward to win every time almost as much as the players do, but it’s a long season. These two matches bode very well for our performance in the league and our other cup competitions.

We are London Seaward.
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<![CDATA[August 18th, 2023]]>Fri, 18 Aug 2023 09:11:23 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/august-18th-2023I'm happy to announce that Technology and Society returns as primary sponsor for London Seaward's 2023/24 season in the English Women's National League Division 1 South East. Last season saw the Anchors build a strong foundation for the future, finishing in the top half of the league and taking a cup trophy to their new home at Oakside Stadium. The long-term groundshare agreement offers the stability needed for further growth.

As a developer of online training courses and technical documentation, Technology and Society provides learners the opportunity to develop new skills and enhance their existing abilities. Much as football players perfect individual techniques and learn to work as part of a team, technical learning benefits from a mix of personal and group work.

I've listed some of my most popular LinkedIn Learning courses below. You will need a LinkedIn Learning subscription or trial to access them. As the season progresses, I'll announce course updates and plan to release additional resources independently. 

Supporting an independent women's football club means a great deal to me personally. Providing resources for Seaward to pursue their love of football and build a strong and secure foundation for future players resonates deeply with what I hope to achieve through my work. I hope you'll join us at Oakside Stadium and at the occasional away match to show your support in person.

​We are London Seaward.
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<![CDATA[Supporting NarraScope 2023]]>Fri, 26 May 2023 02:49:40 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/supporting-narrascope-2023[This post announces Technology and Society's support for NarraScope 2023, an interactive fiction conference. The conference will be held online and in person June 9-11 at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. For more information or to register, visit https://narrascope.org/.]

Interactive fiction offers game designers and developers access to the most powerful game engine there is: the human mind. Whether you’re designing for fun, education, or to explore an aspect of society, you can use the power of text adventures to bring your words to life.

I formed Technology and Society, Inc. to provide a home for my technical writing, speaking, and online course development efforts. My LinkedIn Learning courses focus on business analysis as part of a broader push for effective business storytelling. Unlike the many authors who view storytelling as the domain of executives, I want to bring business analysis and narrative skills deeper into the organization so change can be launched from within. I see interactive fiction as an allied art—one that I value highly.

Thank you for supporting and attending NarraScope 2023. If you think that you or a colleague with access to LinkedIn Learning through your company, educational institution, library, or personal subscription would benefit from one or more of my courses, please let them know. I’ve attached a list below…you do need a LinkedIn Learning subscription to click through to them, but I hope you or someone you know could benefit from the skills I teach.
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<![CDATA[supporting white bird dance]]>Thu, 11 May 2023 03:48:30 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/supporting-white-bird-danceI’m proud to announce that Technology and Society has joined the ranks of sponsors for the 2023-24 White Bird dance season in Portland, Oregon.

We’re sponsoring Kid Lightning by LED, which runs January 25-27, 2024. Imagine a 1970s-style kids game show where contestants vie to become “Kid Lightning”—as the stakes get raised, the action intensifies!

LED is based in Boise, Idaho, but has close ties to Portland. My wife and partner Virginia Belt keeps an eye out for likely projects to support. Her background as a professional ballerina and actor is invaluable.

This is White Bird’s 26th season, a remarkable run for a group that brings in outstanding dance companies from around the world. The 2023-24 season includes performances by world-renowned groups Pilobolus and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Kid Lightning is part of the White Bird Uncaged series along with Odeon from Ephrat Asherie Dance and Radioactive Practice by Abby Z and the New Utility. The series is generously underwritten by Ronni Lacroute, a long-time patron of the arts in the Portland area.

For more information, to subscribe to a series, or to buy individual performance tickets as they come available, visit https://www.whitebird.org/.

Sponsoring Kid Lightning by LED is part of Technology and Society’s broader program of support for worthwhile endeavors, including works by Many Hats Collaborative and as shirt sponsor for women’s football (soccer) club London Seaward FC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlNArPc7kLg

I hope you’re able to join us at Kid Lightning and other White Bird performances this season. Visit the White Bird site to learn more about the diverse range of world-class dance coming to Portland over the next twelve months.

For more information about Technology and Society, visit www.techsoc.com.]]>
<![CDATA[End of Year Recap]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2023 02:19:48 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/end-of-year-recapLondon Seaward’s regular season ended earlier this month with the club solidifying its hold on fifth in a division of twelve teams. With the season done and just one (or two!) cup matches to follow, it’s time to take stock of my year as sponsor.

Short version: I couldn’t be happier.

There’s more to the story, of course. Seaward rose as high as third in the standings but came down to earth a bit at the end. The depth of talent throughout the English football pyramid means that most games will be competitive and all three results possible, so some variability is expected.

That said, the Anchors did well with the resources at hand. Bigger clubs come with bigger budgets, as I alluded to in this somewhat cheeky graphic:
When deciding whether to sponsor the club, I looked at the committee, managers, and players who had seen London Seaward through the traumatic separation from their “name” men’s club and a year of training in parks with portable lights in the fight to avoid relegation. They won my confidence and it turned out to be a terrific decision. It bears noting that two teams from Seaward’s division had to withdraw part way through the campaign, which attests to the difficulty of competing at this level.

What Seaward have done, beyond finishing in the top half of the table, is establish the club as a great place to play. Players share notes about the teams they’ve played for, whether they’d go back, and whether they’d recommend a club to their friends. Seaward benefitted from players arriving on loan or on a short-term contract—with luck, that reputation as a welcoming and competitive club will continue.

And now we head into the offseason, which is always times of transition. Open trials will happen in a couple of months and decisions made as to players, managers, and (yes) sponsors. I’ve indicated my interest in continuing on but one of the realities of sport is that everyone is replaceable. I’ll let everyone know what’s up as soon as I can.

We are London Seaward. 
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<![CDATA[A Solid Win]]>Fri, 03 Feb 2023 05:00:10 GMThttp://techsoc.com/blog/a-solid-winI appreciate coverage of the Women’s National League on TheFA.com and elsewhere. While full match reports are best, the weekly FA Women's National League Round-Up offers a quick summary that fleshes out the results tables available on the site.

London Seaward played an outstanding match against Norwich City on January 29, earning a well-deserved 3-0 victory. The first half was balanced on a knife’s edge, but a solid goal gave the Anchors the momentum going into the second half that they were able to convert into controlling pressure and two more scores. Alicia Garwood absolutely stood on her head in goal to keep a clean sheet and help secure the points.

And what did FA.com have to say about it? “Norwich City stumbled at London Seaward, losing 3-0, to mean only three points separate second and sixth.”

That’s it? Yes, the Canaries were second in the South East division at the start of the calendar year, but summarizing the match as a misstep fails to capture the effort and heart Seaward showed after a disappointing loss the weekend before. I appreciate the author was on deadline and had limited space for their summary, but it still seems a bit of a slight.

Seaward have shown they’re a club to be reckoned with, both on the pitch and in terms of their organization and the support network they’ve developed. Investing in anything from overseas is always a difficult decision, but sponsoring Seaward became much easier when I saw the quality of the individuals they had surrounding them. The players are the heart and soul of the club, but they need help from others so they can concentrate on their training and what happens between the lines on game day.

Together with their supporters, the Anchors have a bright future in store.

I sent a draft of this message to my accountant and, the savvy professional she is, she reminded me that for this endeavour to be a deductible marketing expense I actually have to market something. So, as always, if you have a LinkedIn Learning account please visit the site and see what courses I have to offer. I focus on Microsoft Excel and Tableau, so please look me up if you’re running a business or club and need some information on how to manage and analyze your data. ]]>