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I’ll be presenting in Fukuoka again this Sunday, at the Oxford Teaching Workshop Series 2013.
I’m really excited about the topic: designing reading programs for young learners.
I’ll be on at 10:30 in the Tenjin Crystal Building. Please see the flyer for more details.
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(I’m really excited. This is my first post in response to a reader question. I feel like a real blogger now :))
A few years ago, after deciding to get a proper website made for us by a company, we realized we needed a logo for the school.
I originally approached a local designer, but that would have involved paying a high fee (over 150,000 yen) with little recourse if we didn’t like the end product.
Looking for alternatives, I found a website that arranges design competitions: people post their design projects, put up a prize, and designers then submit their ideas. The person who posted the project chooses a design they like, and that designer gets paid. We used DesignContest.com but there are now dozens of websites based on this same model. I recommend doing some research before committing to one.
The advantages for us was a much reduced price (we paid $300 for the design above), a much wider variety of ideas, and a chance to work with various designers to narrow down what we wanted.
My original idea and the final product were completely different, and I am convinced we would not have gotten such a good result if we had commissioned someone in a more traditional manner.
The best thing about the process for me was that the contest lasted for a couple of weeks, and during that time we were able to look at designs, comment on them, and have designers then come back with new designs based on our comments.
We had about 40 people participate in our contest, and it was a very smooth and interesting experience. If you don’t get enough entries or don’t like any of the designs you get your money back, so it’s a fairly risk-free process.
You can do the same thing with logos, website design, blog design, t-shirts, etc.
I’m planning to get someone to redo my blog at some point 🙂
Has anyone else used online design contests? How did it go?
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Another tangent, I’m afraid. If you don’t have an iPhone you can probably stop reading now. If you have an iPhone that is running iOS 5 or less, this may be of interest. But if you have an iPhone running iOS 6 and you haven’t downloaded the Google Maps App yet, keep reading.
I’ve been playing with the new Google Maps App on my iPhone 4S for a couple of weeks now. The short version is that it is amazing.
(it’s not just me that thinks so, either: here’s the Wall Street Journal version)
The long version:
- all the accurate data from before
- better interface
- amazing driving instructions (it’s better than any dedicated satnav I have used)
- sharpened up graphics
I’ve used it a few times while driving, and the app is amazingly user-friendly. Clear voice directions, simple screen, very user-friendly (I particularly like the way you can scroll around the map then get back to your route with a simple ‘resume’ button).
The local transport functionality is there too: this is probably the thing I use my phone for the most. When in an unfamiliar city, the app gives accurate local train and bus times and connections -so much so that I use it instead of the official websites to find times.
No negatives I have found at this time. If you don’t have it get it now -it’s free.
*this review is only talking about the Google Maps App in Japan. I haven’t had the chance to test it abroad yet 🙂
Welcome to the first post of 2013 on this blog. This year is the year of the snake, and I will be 36 at some point, so apparently it’s my time to shine. Looking forward to learning and experiencing a lot this year.
This week for the first time I have finally got around to doing an annual review of last year and a plan for this one. I found the experience very interesting and useful.
I’m not going to go into the details of what I ended up writing, but I thought I would share the process in case someone else might find it useful.
I started off with three broad categories (work, personal, and relationships), then wrote a brief description for each based on what happened in 2012. Each category was broken down into multiple sub-categories. The descriptions were short and contained my impressions. It probably took me a couple of hours to write everything out as this was the first time I have done this.
The next part was even more time-consuming, but also a lot of fun: planning out 2013. I took the same categories and sub-categories and wrote out what I wanted to get done this year. For this document, I was as specific as possible with regards to numbers, dates, etc.
Finally I made a simple spreadsheet with monthly goals to be ticked off. I’m going to tape this to my computer monitor to make sure I don’t forget about the plan.
Next December when I come to do my 2013 review, I’ll be able to measure my results against the specific goals I set.
If you have a free day or so, I really recommend this exercise. I found it extremely useful as it forced me to think about what exactly I want to accomplish in the short-, medium-, and long-term.