Welcome to Thought Shrapnel #198!
Link lucky dip
Doug Belshaw's Thought Shrapnel association with:

Dynamic Skillset is a tailored consultancy from Dr. Doug Belshaw.

Working with a select number of clients over the medium to long-term, Dynamic Skillset can help your organisation develop and credential digital skills, improve your workflow, and provide 'critical friend' / consigliere services.


Welcome to the first proper newsletter of 2016. I do hope you enjoyed last week's retrospective of 2015, it was very much an enjoyable experience going back through so many links!

I'm still looking for my next sponsor for this newsletter. Hit reply if you know someone I should approach — or if you/your company is interested. Sponsorship will continue to enable me to prioritise the time I plough into curating these links every week. :)

For me, it's been a week of getting back into the swing of things. I imagine you've been in a similar position. I'm confident 2016 is going to be Team Belshaw's best year yet, and I'm very much looking forward to celebrating my daughter's fifth birthday this coming week, and my son's ninth birthday the week after.*

Do hit reply to this email if you're receiving it for the first time. I'd love to find out more about you and where in the world you call home!

* Also happy birthday to my Grandma - 92 years young today!
My blog posts this week:

TIDE podcast

TIDE Ep.33: Unknown Mirrors

Today In Digital Education is a regular podcast hosted by Dai Barnes and Doug Belshaw, focusing on education, technology, and everything in between.

In this week’s episode, Dai and Doug discuss what they got up to during December, appropriate use of social networks and mobile devices by children, reasons for and against archiving and deleting your Twitter archive, and why you can’t trust the Amazon Underground app store.

Tweet of the week

Next avatar? I appreciate *your* input!
Typical! You spend good money on having some headshots taken by a professional photographer, and people prefer a cropped selfie taken by one of your mates...

Links of the week

Top 10 Ways to Brainstorm New Ideas

Top 10 Ways to Brainstorm New Ideas

This list includes things like 'getting bored' and 'drinking beer', which I find hilarious. However, number eight and the top reason on the list are great. I'm a big fan of capturing ideas whenever and wherever you are — but, of course you need a way to do that, be it smartphone or notebook.

How Cooking Is Like Coding

How Cooking Is Like Coding

As I've argued before, the importance of learning to code isn't that by the end of it you're a coder. The importance is the ways of thinking it encourages. 

Here's an extended quotation to give you, er, a flavour:

There are algorithms that cross all boundaries in cooking. Understanding things such as glucose breakdown, deglazing, and ordering ingredient combination to allow the optimal heating time for different cellular structures are all valuable skills across any genre of cooking.

However, cooking Italian varies drastically from cooking Thai. The base ingredients are different, the way that using Ruby constructs in Python will bite you every time. Each genre has its own syntax, if you will, and things that work in one genre require some translation to work in another.

Learning the basic algorithms (zesting a lemon, caramelizing onions, separating models and views—oops, mixed analogy) serves you well across languages.


Earlier this week, Eylan Ezekiel shared this Wikipedia article about a Japanese concept. I've never come across it before, but particularly like the overlapping circles* that represent what:

  1. you love
  2. you're good at
  3. the world needs
  4. you can be paid for 

It's a great way to frame your thoughts at the start of a new year. Much better than 'resolutions' which are broken as quickly as they're formed...

* it's not a Venn diagram, as they only have three circles... 

Also worth exploring

The ASMR videos that give YouTube viewers 'head orgasms'

The ASMR videos that give YouTube viewers 'head orgasms'

Most of the links I come across each week aren't that different to one another. However, this one certainly is. 'ASMR' stands for 'Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response'.

Headphones recommended! 

Your Heart Will Melt When You See “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Characters As “Calvin And Hobbes”

Your Heart Will Melt When You See “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Characters As “Calvin And Hobbes”

Thanks to Stephen Lockyer for the link to this delightful reimagining of Star Wars.

Getting ahead vs. doing well

Getting ahead vs. doing well

This is a great post by Seth Godin about the mindset a lot of us have about comparing ourselves to others. Well worth a read.

How I Simplified My Finances

How I Simplified My Finances

One of the best things my wife and I did last year was, at the start of the year, to really get a grip on our finances.

This article, by the creator of an app, is a decent enough start — but the main thing is just to get started doing something and have that difficult conversation with your partner.

GIF of the week

I've been thinking this week about what new image I should use to represent me.

Laura Hilliger proposed that, instead of those in my Twitter poll, I should go with the gif on the right - or any of those listed here! ;)

Quotation of the week

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.”

Muhammed Ali
Until next time!
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