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On Creative Commons licensing and SeaBus photos

One of the nice things about releasing photos on Flickr with a Creative Commons license is that once in a while there’s a nice surprise when you see your photo used on another website.

Last week, Vancity Buzz posted an article summarizing a bit of Seabus history with photographs which included some of my SeaBus photos.  Many of the photos that were used from my collection were taken during the APTA conference here in Vancouver in 2010.  I was able to take a tour of the SeaBus operations and maintenance centre and get a unique glimpse to the areas of the Burrard Pacific Breeze that regular passengers don’t get to see.

Many transit enthusiasts are very protective of their photography and add watermarks and strict rules on how the photo can(not) be used by others.  On the other hand, I’m all right with others using my photos so long as they give appropriate credit (for those with eagle eyes, yes there are a couple other stipulations in the specific license I use).  The Creative Commons licenses allow me to retain ownership of my photos and at the same time allow others to use my photos.  Others are free to use the photos as they wish (mostly) as long as attribution is given, usually in the form of a link.

If you are interested in learning more about Creative Commons licensing, PCWorld has an informative article on protecting artistic works with Creative Commons licensing.  The article goes over common questions and concerns when using the license.

If you have any experiences with Creative Commons licensing, feel free to leave a comment.

2014-08-16 01.04.29

Nooner at the Nat

Yesterday, we had a company outing to a baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium (Vancouver Canadians vs. Everett AquaSox).  I believe this was the first time I have watched a sports game in person, so it was quite exciting even though it wasn’t MLB.

The first few innings weren’t really interesting with quick outs.  Vancouver finally scored a few runs to win the game.  Watching in person has its benefits and drawbacks.  The benefit is that you get to see everyone on the field, but the drawback is that you’re confined to one viewing angle.  The TV definitely offers better angles during the pitch.

This reminded me of when I played baseball many years ago.  I played a couple years of little league baseball at the local community centre when I was in grades 2-5.  It was both a fun and frustrating time.  In my last year, I was the main pitcher on my team and that was definitely fun.  It was frustrating because I was a horrible batter.

More Detailed Wi-Fi Info on Mac OS X

Wi-Fi Detail Menu
Option-clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar brings up additional information about the Wi-Fi network to which you are connected.

The option button can be used to reveal hidden options and information in various places around Mac OS.  One example of this is if you option-click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar, you will be presented with additional information about the network you are currently connected to, including the type of the Wi-Fi you’re using, the base station’s MAC address, the frequency channel you’re on, and the strength of the connection, among other details.  In addition, there is an additional option to open Wireless Diagnostics which might be able to help you with Wi-Fi issues (however, in my experience it doesn’t really give useful information).

Network Utility

Network Utility on the Info tab
Info tab in Network Utility

An additional tool to help debug network connections is a neat little utility called “Network Utility” that comes bundled with Mac OS X.  You can find it in the Utilities subfolder in the Applications folder, or just use Spotlight to find it.

This utility provides a friendly interface for many tools that are commonly used on the command line for network debugging, such as ping, nslookup, traceroute, whois, and finger. An interesting tool though is the last tab: Port Scan.  Yes, Mac OS comes with a port scanner bundled with it.  Obviously one would hope that the port scanner be used for diagnostic purposes and not malicious purposes.

Some things I think leaders should do

A couple of days ago, while surfing Hacker News, I saw this Quora article entitled “What are common mistakes that new or inexperienced managers make”.

Most of the answers are geared towards managers in companies, in particular, tech companies. However, as managers are leaders, I think that some points can also be extrapolated out as tips for leaders in general.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been involved in ramping up the volunteer council of the YLM program this year, and I was able to spend some time reflecting on different leadership styles.  Based on my personal experience in different roles at work and the groups that I volunteer with, the following points from the article resonated with me in particular.  I think are easily applicable, but not limited to, a volunteer setting. (These generally correspond with the order of points in the first answer in the article in case you want to read in more detail)

  • routinely giving constructive feedback and affirming team members in a timely manner
  • recognizing team members that perform well
  • knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of your team members, and what their expectations are
  • push team members to further develop themselves
  • create opportunities, and actively seeking people that would fit
  • optimizing processes (lowering the time doing overhead and administrivia, increasing time doing productive work of value)
  • ability to say ‘no’ if the team cannot handle it
  • giving credit to the team members
  • taking blame for the team

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list of what leaders should do, but just a summary of points from the Quora answer that resonate with me.  In fact, I don’t think that any of the above points relate to the core task of a leader (guiding a team to accomplish a goal), but instead are things that differentiate a leader that just gets the job done with one that develops the team itself.

If you have any other thoughts about this list or leadership qualities in general, let me know in the comments.

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