Oxfort Teaching Workshop Series Fukuoka Feb 3 2013


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.

Google Maps App for iPhone

google maps

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 🙂


Annual Review 2012/Plan for 2013

january 2013

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.

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