Category Archives: Education and Life-long Learning

‘Hobby blogging’

ShakespeareAre you contemplating of starting (or restarting) a blog as a hobby and may have one or two of these questions? Here are some practical answers:

  • I am not a good writer, is blogging for me? First thing to ask yourself is, “What made you think that you cannot write…”. Second is ask, “…on whose standards?” Many of us think that writing is only for an elite group of individuals who have been trained to do it. I do not agree with this. Everyone can write, in different formats, tone and purpose. A blog post is not equivalent to an essay that one submits to an academic institution. Stop being harsh to yourself. As how an editor-in-chief of an international publication puts it, “Complex or highfalutin words are unnecessary as long as you convey the message”.
  • Is blogging a cheap hobby? No, it isn’t if you have a very busy life like mine. Blogging requires time, and time is precious. But if you view blogging as an escape from your daily routine, then it is indeed a cheap hobby. There are sites that offer free websites to start with e.g. WordPress or Blogger (via Google). Free sites make money through ad banners they place on your page.
  • Is it straightforward? Designing the layout and content links of your website could be a disaster, and may involve a lot of trial and error. Look at it as a puzzle, there is a sense of achievement for every issue solved. Get to know various settings and tools; use that virtue called patience. Choose themes and colour combinations that are not striking to the eyes for ease of reading.
  • What if people do not take notice? I recommend that you develop a ‘Paki ko’ attitude (credit to fellow blogger, Yen, for the idea). ‘Paki ko’ means ‘I do not care’. Remember, this is your site. You can choose whatever topic you want to discuss in any format you prefer, in any language you want to use. Focus on your main purpose: a respite from the routine.
  • What if I run out of ideas? I do not believe you.
  • What if people disagree with me? Of course, this will happen. We live in a world of many opinions, cultures and beliefs. The good news is they do not own your site. As long as you are not offending anyone and not blatantly attacking people, you should be fine. Similar to our daily interactions, being tactful on-line also matters. I also suggest that opinions are differentiated from facts. Avoid sweeping statements. If you are communicating a fact, make sure you have done some form of research about it. If all people do this, my Facebook feed will not be full of unfounded treatment and prevention claims for cancer. As a strategy to avoid spams or trolls, you can also moderate the comments (i.e. they are only published when you approve them).
  • Will I make money from it? I am not an expert about this but as a hobby, I do not think one can make a living out of blogging. It all boils down to what you want to achieve. I found this site that talks about money blogging.

 

Sure things to expect from ‘hobby blogging’:

  • You will enhance many of your creative abilities.
  • You will have a platform to reach out to others and share your ideas: publicly or privately to a selected few.
  • You will meet same-minded individuals.
  • Your writing will improve over time.
  • You will have fun reading your old posts after a few years.

Blogging is not the same as academic writing. It is fun. So what are you waiting for? Think of your blog name now!

(Please do not forget to let me know about it so I can follow your posts!)

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What I learned about cybersecurity

I am not pretending to be a #cybersecurity expert, as a matter of fact I only attended a free event advertised through Eventbrite. Pure curiosity, nothing else.

Three talks from three experts. Things I learned:

  • When the cybersecurity expert mentioned that he got his hayfever from a friend he saw yesterday implying that  #hayfever is communicable, I thought “I knew something he doesn’t”. Yes!!!
  • A cleaner can overpower a company Chief Security Information Officer (CSIO). The event was held at the reception area after working hours. While the CSIO was talking about company strategy, the cleaner started hoovering (British term for the use of vacuum cleaner while cleaning). The CSIO struggled to present. I found it funny — of course almost everyone else was not fascinated.
  • A few things used to manage cybersecurity breaches that may be applied to daily life: Identify potential issues. Prepare your response. Plan recovery. Never assume that ‘it will not happen to you”. “I will deal with it when it happens to me” is not a great idea. Practice how to deal with what may happen. Expect the unexpected — be imaginative  on identifying and how you will deal with a potential threat, issue, or risk. Practice, practice, practice!
  • Prevention is key. Maintain layers of prevention/defence.

The Much-Awaited Pause

Just in case you were wondering where I have been hiding for the past few days, here’s a short explanation.

As usual, work is always busy. The more I try to finish my tasks, the more I feel that there are still a lot of things to do.

Today is my first day in university. I enjoyed this day, met the lecturers (who cracked straight to business) and met some friendly classmates (who like me, are wondering how we would cope with this pressure that we have voluntarily enrolled in).

Last week, I went to Brussels for a work-related meeting and took this picture of the Grand Place.

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The Grand Place, Brussells (2006)

After the meeting, I went to see my parents, sis, bro-in-law and sweet smart nephew in Germany. More pics:

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Which way leads to Ben’s House?

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The Crystal World

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Can you see Auntie M and Ben’s reflections on the Blown Glass?

Tomorrow (I mean, several hours from now), I will be flying to Canada. I will attend a five-day cancer conference. A is coming to join me so we can have a good holiday after my conference.