E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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La Tapita Los Jose’s – ¡Viva La Tapa!

Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 

This week is my last working week of the year, and as things are starting to quiet down a fair bit with the upcoming Christmas holidays and everything, there will be some light blogging coming along for the next couple of weeks, where perhaps I will be writing some more about non related work items than anything else, and since I have got already the ‘Gran Canaria – A Mini-Continent to Rediscover’ series going on at the moment, I thought for today’s blog entry I would share a few thoughts about my next recommendation on the list of wonderful places to eat and dine for your upcoming holidays in Gran Canaria, or if you already live here perhaps have another noteworthy option to consider. The next one I can describe it with a simple, short, rather evocative sentence: ¡Viva la Tapa!

La Tapita Los Jose’s is one of those unforgettable places you just can’t miss out, specially, if you are looking to enjoy some rather creative, genuine and scrumptious Spanish tapas. Off the beaten track from the main touristic spots, it’s a rather busy bar / restaurant located in San Fernando where I always typically advise people to arrive a little bit early either for lunch or dinner, so you get still get a table without having to wait much, or at all. So arriving there around 13:30 or 20:00 would be just perfect. Then be prepared to be wowed! 

It’s been recently refurbished (earlier on this year) with a rather modern look with good tables and comfortable chairs and overall very spacious considering the constraints of a relatively small place. The lighting has been greatly improved and that’s a good thing, because your eyes typically end up eating before you do, so the first thing you will see upon entering the place is a wonderful landscape display of rather enticing and appetising Spanish tapas to choose from. Yes, I know, at this point in time, and before you even seat down further you will be drooling big time. Don’t worry, it’s all right. We all do it. Every time. It’s normal. That’s part of the ritual of having a gorgeous meal waiting for you just a few more minutes.

After you have looked at the rather varied and diverse selection of tapas available for you to choose from, you could either sit inside of the restaurant, or outside at the terrace. If you can, sit outside to keep enjoying the lovely sunshine while a rather cool glass of beer heads your way. Let life pass by slowly. Take your time. No rush. Remember, you are in Gran Canaria, where time slows down a fair bit to help you live in the moment. Take it as it comes…

All of the staff members, including the owners (Los Jose’s), are incredibly good at their jobs, very competent, amicable, rather friendly, with a smile and a few kind words always ready to make you feel rather welcome while at the same time providing you with a really good service. You will get to experience the power of their smile and, believe me, it makes a whole lot of a difference in what you are about to experience next: the food. 

At La Tapita Los Jose’s there is one single thing you have and that is choice. Tons of amazing choices, actually. There is always a daily menu with good prices and really interesting suggestions of both fish and meat (along with vegetables, of course!), if you would want to go economical. Then there are tapas, half portions and full portions, which is when you enter the wonderfully suggestive world of ‘el picoteo’ (i.e. the pecking) as you nibble through multiple small dishes scattered around your table as you will be able to see from the attached pictures I have included in this post to give you a rough idea of what’s waiting for you… Yeah, I know, I’m drooling already myself (again!!) 😋

Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 

 Gran Canaria - La Tapita

Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 

Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 

Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 

 Gran Canaria - La Tapita

 Gran Canaria - La Tapita

But it gets way better than that! Because after enjoying the many rather delightful and mouthwatering tapas, you would need to make some more space for the desserts, just because. In a word, they are just exquisite! My personal favourite is the homemade ‘natillas con galleta’ (i.e. custard with a cookie), which, in terms of different types of custard out there at other places, it’s as good as it gets! Seriously, I would challenge anyone out there who tries it that they won’t be able to find anything else that tastes like it in the whole island. It’s that good! Love it!

Yes, I think you may have realised by now how I haven’t shared any picture in this post about the different desserts they have on a daily basis. I know, it’s done on purpose, don’t worry. That way you prepare yourself, through that wonderful mental exercise, for the many luscious dessert options you will have at your disposal after your meal, so much so it will be tough to make a choice. They are all very good choices altogether, so I know you will be back for more over and over again! Just like all of us keep doing already over the course of time.

Everything at La Tapita Los Jose’s is homemade, just like mum’s own cooking, for the day, with rather fresh ingredients and tons of love and care, as it should be, and, best of all, at incredibly reasonable prices reminding you each and every bite why Spanish Tapas have been ever so popular, after all. So much so, I know next time you come to Gran Canaria you will repeat again. Oh, and if you already live here, it will become part of your weekly or monthly pilgrimage to, by far, one of the best tapas bars in Gran Canaria. All of us, eventually, end up going there.

[Friendly reminder: Don’t forget to make space for the heavenly desserts! You won’t regret them a single time!] 

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My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week – Week #13

Gran Canaria - Caldera de Tirajana

 

A bit over a week ago, Ben Evans posted a tweet where he was pointing to a recent presentation he put together as well under the rather thought-provoking title ‘Mobile is eating the world’. In that presentation he gets to talk (there are both slides and a video recording) about the impact of mobile in today’s (business) world, to the point where after you go through it there may well be very little doubt left as to how mobile phones, specially, smartphones, amongst several other technologies, have shaped the world into something completely different than whatever we may have had in the past. The fact that half the world’s population owns a smartphone nowadays is already rather remarkable on its own and equally mind-blowing as I am pretty sure we would all agree it’s just the beginning…

Now, I am not going to spoil it for you the rest of the presentation Ben created, but I can strongly recommend you take a look into it, if you are still questioning whether your business is ready for #mobilefirst or not. If that deck doesn’t convince otherwise, I don’t know what would, frankly. It’s a brilliant piece of work that can give us a glimpse of not only what’s coming, but also what’s already here and that we are experiencing day in day out. Really good work! 

But since I am embarked already with this post into the existing series of My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week blog entries for personal mobile productivity, I guess I will just stick to it and share along the next round of iOS Apps I would recommend that may well be worth while giving them a good try. Hopefully, there will be something out there for everyone! In terms of themes, in case you may be wondering, this week we have got Business (Task Management), Productivity (RSS News Feed Readers, Mindmapping, Curation) and, finally, as usual, Photography.

Thus without much further ado, let’s get down to it: 
 

  • Todoist: I think I have mentioned this already, but, just in case, here it is, once again. I’m hooked up to Task Management Apps, along with a couple of other categories as well, for that matter. I just love them all. Over the course of a good number of years I have used several of them and there hasn’t been a single one I may have dropped out to never use it again. They are all still there, in a lovely folder, where I have grouped them all together, ready to be used at my own discretion. Now, at one point in time, I will share with you all a trick that helps me make use of them all at the same time without having that feeling of clutter, burden, hassle, nor even overload. But in its due time… 

    For now though, I will want to share in today’s blog post another one of my favourite iOS apps for task management. In the past, if you remember, I have already talked about Trello, Clear, Productive, Asana, but in case none of them would tick for you here is another one I have enjoyed quite a bit over time: Todoist. And here are two things I enjoy the most from this app: the ability to use labels when creating different tasks I can filter through a specific tab at a later time and see what kind of work I have been doing all along in a nutshell is pretty nifty on its own, never mind as well the capability of filtering those very same tasks by both priority as well as who they have been assigned to. Then the option to have chatting along tasks can be pretty effective overall, specially, if you create group tasks for your team(s), as well as the one of being able to use your own voice to record tasks, work with documents, custom labels, etc. etc. Like I said, worth a try if you are still looking for an effective, user friendly and overall helpful task management app. 

  • Fiery Feeds: Ok, on to the next one. In previous blog posts I have been talking about RSS news feed readers (Yes, I know, I still read RSS feeds daily!) and how, at the moment, I’m using two of them for both my iOS devices as well as my MacBook Air: Feedly and Reeder. However, while both of them are rather good, they are not very advanced in providing you with some extended capabilities that would make it easier for you to work through hundreds of feeds at a time. So, my suggestion, in this particular case, is to perhaps point you to one iOS app that would allow you to handle hundreds of them relatively easy without having to ditch anything else, because it actually integrates it quite nicely. I am talking about Fiery Feeds. Just browse through the Web site and you will see why I’m recommending it as a superb app for RSS news feed reading for power users. Perhaps as good as it gets. 
  • iThoughts: I love mindmapping. It’s perhaps one of my favourite business productivity activities and for almost everything. There isn’t a single day in my work week where I don’t use mindmaps to jot down ideas on whatever the business topic and see where that would take me. Or to gather my thoughts on a specific topic to make sense of it before I may take whatever further steps. In the past, I have already talked about MindNode as the mindmapping app I use the most often, but there is another one, perhaps a bit more complex and advanced in terms of functions and capabilities, I tend to use for more complex work and that is iThoughts

    You may be wondering what makes it special, right? Well, you can import and export pretty easily different document formats and mindmaps, so you can continue already existing work without having to start from scratch. You can multitask with it having side by side windows, or you can use the hand off option where you start a mindmap in one device and finish it off in another one almost instantly. But you can also use this app for task management to keep track of the progress you make within your mindmaps. You can also multiple different formats, layouts, icons, styles, filters, etc. etc. making iThoughts perhaps one of the most advances mindmapping apps for iOS. Totally worth the money, believe me. I can highly recommend it, specially, if you are a mindmapping power user. 

  • Nuzzel: There used to be a time where I was rather fond of Nuzzel to curate interesting and relevant content I would bump into from different Twitter sources, but at one point in time something happened in one of the updates where, to me, they pretty much destroyed the overall user experience making it much more cumbersome and unnecessarily complex to keep up with what you were interested in. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s fast developing into becoming one of my favourite apps to discover new interesting articles and publications not only matching my own interests but also what others may find relevant to them. And the capability of creating your own newsletters through it makes it rather engaging, because, in a way, it feels as if you are building and curating your own magazine of interests, themes and topics. Really cool!

    And if you use Nuzzel on an iPad Pro with all of that screen resolution available to you, my goodness! All of a sudden there it is your Sunday morning news paper over a lovely cup of coffee right at your fingerprints! Simply brilliant! I tell you, if you haven’t used Nuzzel in a little while, it may well be worth while taking a look into it, once again. I suspect it will be worth it for you as well as it has been for me so far. I’m really glad I didn’t remove it back in the day, because when I started this series of blog posts I decided one day to open it up and haven’t walked away from it ever since! Worth checking it out once again, in case you haven’t!

  • Picky: And, finally, the last iOS app recommendation of the week is, yet again, a photography app. Like I mentioned, I have got a couple dozen photography apps on both my iPhone and iPad Pro and I just can’t help it recommending one after the other week in week out, because they all have got something to offer. Take a look into this week’s pick. It’s called Picky.

    It comes with a twist! This one: ‘Picky makes your best photos always ready. It is a trained eye, a virtual artist that lives in your phone. With Picky, you get an intelligent, AI-powered photo curator that scans your photos, selects the best ones, and automatically enhances every detail, from color and light adjustment, to skin correction and toning. It prepares them for sharing as individual pictures, or combines them into a dynamic collage.

    Yes, I know, … Whoahhh! Well, it gets even better. It pretty much nails it altogether! I have been having tons of great fun with this app over the course of last few weeks as it’s helped me time and time again to make the best picks and editing effects on plenty of the pictures I have shared across in different media tools and I’m quite enjoying the overall outcome. Effort required from yours truly? Not much, just open up the app, select what kind of production you would want to embark on and then let Picky do the rest. What an amazing app altogether! This is a must-have app. Without a single doubt, I’m certain it will blow your mind right from the very first moment you get to use it. It’s that good! Take it for a spin and see what you think… Ohhh and in case you are worried about your privacy, here is where Picky excels. To quote: ‘Picky values your privacy. It is an offline app and we never upload your photos to a server without your permission.

    Just wish other iOS apps would treasure and appreciate my privacy with my photos as this one does! Simply stunning! 

And that’s it, folks, for this week’s My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week blog entry. Next week I will be back with another round of recommended iOS apps although I may post it earlier in the week as opposed to over the weekend. We shall see … For now, I hope you folks may have enjoyed this week’s suggestions as much as I have so far and, again, if there would be an iOS app out there you would want to recommend I should try out, as usual, leave a comment below or reach out to me via Twitter at @elsua. I will be more than happy to take those suggestions for a spin and then let you folks know how it went and whether they would still stick around with me. 

Till next time! Have a great one everybody!

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What’s in a Name?

Gran Canaria - Meloneras Beach

 

 

Why is it so difficult to change the title of your own personal business blog, specially, after such a long time? I mean, really, I’ve now been blogging for over 14 years and I still find it quite a challenge every time I decide to change the name of my own. You would expect, by now, I would have gotten the gist of it all and be done with it in a heartbeat. Yet, here I am, struggling, pretty badly, just as much as ever, for the last three weeks and counting… Who said business blogging was this easy? I guess this is what happens when major changes in your work life are just about to happen and you don’t know yet how to name the blog that’s been with you through thick and thin from all along, so one can continue moving forward. What if you were the one(s) to find a new title for this blog instead? How would you call it? Would you be game? Can you help me? Read on please … 

If you have been reading this blog for a long while, you would know how last time I changed its name, if I recall correctly, was back in 2008 (‘E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez’) and it took me several weeks to, finally, come to terms with it and feel good about it. Now, fast forward to January 20th, 2017, a bit over a month from now. A date that will mark the end of a life cycle for yours truly, as I will be celebrating my 20th year anniversary in the IT industry. I am, indeed, starting to feel the urge to look for a new title altogether for this business blog. Why? Well, mainly because almost everything I have done for work over the course of the last 20 years, specially, that piece of work related to plenty of the heretic topics I have blogged about over here, may well be a thing of the past. It’s a new, changing time. It’s a time to move on and start again (almost) from scratch into whatever comes next. So, what name do you think should I pick for this blog? Any suggestions or ideas coming out so far? 

I know what you are all thinking, but no, don’t worry, this isn’t any kind of existential crisis of this business blog or anything. Nor of myself either, for that matter. This is more an opportunity to reflect on a massive change that will kick off in the next few weeks and that’s certainly going to reflect a before and an after around a good number of topics I have written about over here. Mind you, I am making a differentiation between topics and themes. The former will, almost definitely, change substantially, the latter won’t. Next year, I will still be writing, with a gentle twist, about the themes I’m truly passionate about: KM, Collaboration, Learning, Online Communities, Social Business and Digital Transformation, etc. etc. but a good number of the most provocative topics I have written about will be left behind, perhaps for good. It’s time to move on and do some other interesting things…

So the challenge to find a new name, or title, for this my business blog still remains, even more so when I am yet to announce the major changes happening to yours truly from mid-January next year onwards, upon my return from the Christmas holidays. I know, I know, I am just such a tease, aren’t I? Well, all will be announced, properly, in its due time, don’t worry, I am not planning on leaving you all in the dark, just like that, but today I thought I would perhaps reach out to all of of you folks, long time faithful readers of this blog, if you are still around, to come to the rescue of this poor blogger who can’t think straight anymore about a new title for his own blog, before he can move on.

What do you think? Based on 11 years since I published the first blog entry over here, how should I call it? How would you want me to call it? Any ideas or suggestions I should consider, please? Now, I realise once that major announcement comes out, things will become clearer in terms of potential names and titles I could choose from, but since blogging is just such a personal activity (including you all as well, of course) I guess I could just continue searching for that new name. Why not, right?

One thing I have got very clear so far and I will be sticking around to even more so from here onwards, specially into the new year when that announcement I mentioned above would go live, is the Tagline itself for this blog: ‘A blog about working smarter, not necessarily harder, through social networking, digital technologies’. Indeed, I have just updated it this week as well. It has been the mantra from yours truly I have blogged about over here several dozens of times over the years and it just felt right to perhaps incorporate it at a higher level as well. I suspect the new name I may be picking up for the blog (with a little help from you folks out there) may have to do quite a bit with that motto and you will see what I mean shortly…

Of course, I would also need to include ‘elsua’ as part of that personal branding touch one needs to have for one’s blog, so other people don’t think I play football for vast majority of the time 😜, otherwise when they go and google my name they will have to filter through pages and pages of football related news before finding what they may be looking for. By that time, they may well be long gone, so I need to make it a bit easier for everyone…

So far then we have got the following: ‘E L S U A ~ A [insert new title here] Blog by Luis Suarez’. Hummm, I am still struggling coming up with something coherent, concise, and relevant to the main themes from this blog. What are your thoughts? Can you please help me pick up a new name / title for the blog based on what your perceptions may have been throughout all of this time? In return, I promise I will be announcing very very soon what I will be up to during 2017… and beyond. You will then know as well why I have been relatively quiet this week on the blogging front …

Deal?

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Calma Chicha – Where Chill Out Meets Unconventional Contemporary Spanish Cuisine

 Gran Canaria - Calma Chicha

‘Calma chicha’, as you may well know, would literally translate into dead calm, you know, when there are no waves, nor wind and everything out there in the ocean is completely dead still, either ahead of a typical storm or right after. However, whenever someone would say ‘Calma Chicha’  over here in Gran Canaria, they are also referring to one of the most stunning experiences of the culinary sort that the south of the island has got to offer to different visitors. It is not only a treat to your eyes and ears with such a soothing ambience, but also to your tastebuds. If you were to redefine contemporary Spanish cuisine, that would be it. 

Right in the city centre of Playa del Inglés, and within a very short walk away from the wonderful Dunes of Maspalomas, Calma Chicha is one of those places that, unless you pay close attention, you may miss it as you walk by. Because, at first sight, the only thing you will be able to see and distinguish is its chill-out area, very nicely camouflaged with all of the different plants, comfortable sofas, chairs, big umbrellas and so forth. Despite being very centrical, it’s incredibly tranquil though, you would hardly notice there are people there hanging out, enjoying the odd cocktail or two while dinner is getting ready, or, of course, enjoying that lovely after dinner drink before you get started with the rest of the evening. 

It’s not a very large place, but it’s better if you book in advance from their own Web site (it won’t take you more than a minute or two tops), even though it has got two different sitting spaces for dinner, which makes it all very cozy and comfortable altogether as if you were just home. Well, you are. That’s the overall treatment you will get from the super friendly, amicable and competent staff. Oh, and if you are planning a rather romantic dinner while you are in Playa del Inglés, enjoying your holidays, Calma Chicha will do the trick, too! Just the perfect setting altogether for you to make the right impression(s). The rest will be up to you … 

As you will be able to see from the different pictures I have attached to this post, the food is rather elaborate, prepared with all fresh ingredients, and plenty of tender, loving care. One thing you can see clearly is that it is not the typical Spanish tapas bar you may be used to. Quite the opposite, it’s more a rather scrumptious glimpse of what contemporary Spanish cuisine looks like AND tastes. And depending on how hungry you may well be, or rather what kind of budget you may have at your disposal, there are different types of menus you can chose from, as well as a la carte, making it a rather special place where there is a bit of everything to suit everyone’s many needs and cravings. There is a great chance you will be going back multiple times, so that you can try the many different options available, just like I have done over the years…

The portions are rather generous and all the prices adequate enough with plenty of great value for your money. If anything, I can guarantee you right away you will not be disappointed by both the diversity of enticing Spanish dishes you can choose from as well as the menus. To give you an example, the attached picture below is Cecina de León, one of my favourite starters from the Spanish cuisine that comes from where I was born and raised, León, and that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else in the island, although I’m sure there may be some other places I haven’t been to just yet that may have it as well. Either way, if you have ever tried it out already, you will know there is nothing like it, and in case you may not have tasted it yet, allow me to recommend you to give it a try when you order your next starter in there. Mouth watering already as we speak! 

 

 Gran Canaria - Calma Chicha

Gran Canaria - Calma Chicha

 

I guess I wasn’t anticipating much of this when I first got things started with this new series of blog posts around ‘Gran Canaria – A Mini-Continent to Rediscover’, but the truth is that the holidays are just around the corner and I’m starting to have a hard time deciding which places I would be booking first to come back and pay another visit, but, if anything, I will tell you now that Calma Chicha would be one of them for real. Why? Well, because, to me, it’s literally like coming back home over and over again but without leaving the island altogether, which is, as you can imagine, as good as it gets, as opposed to have to travel over 2.000 kms and back. 

I don’t need to anymore. Calma Chicha is just around the corner to continue making me feel right at home.

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My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week – Week #12

 Gran Canaria - Puerto de Mogán

It is that time of the year again where we are starting to see the Top N lists of iOS Apps for this year, 2016, and it has been rather interesting to see from the 60 apps (including today’s) that I have shared so far from the My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week series which ones have been as well some of the favourites from everyone else. Not too many, apparently, and not much of a surprise either, as you can imagine, but that’s just fine, I suppose, more than anything else, because plenty of the ones I have been recommending are apps that have been there available already for a good couple of years, if not longer. However, some of the new ones I have been sharing over here that came out in 2016 have also been picked up by others, so, I guess, that confirms how good they really are, after all, if everyone else in the masses considers they are worth while downloading and playing with as well. Nice!

Either way, it’s that time of the week where I’m due to share over here the next round of recommended iOS apps and this week’s themes are as follows: Productivity (Task Management, Calendaring & Scheduling, Screen Captures), Photography and Traveling. Thus, without much further ado, here’s a short description for each of them as to why I have picked them up for week #12: 

 

  • Asana: In the past, you would remember, I have already mentioned a couple of different iOS apps for Task Management, like Trello and Clear that I enjoy quite a bit. Like I said previously, I’m totally hooked up about such type of apps, so, of course, over the course of time I have tried out a few of them and I suppose I will be including them in different posts over the next few weeks. One other of those apps I have been using for quite a while and that I still enjoy using every now and then is Asana.

    As far as handling your tasks in a very effective manner, it’s pretty impressive, to say the least. I’m pretty sure those of you who may have tried out the Web version could vouch for that. But what I really like about it is that you can use it to handle not very complex projects where you need to complete a number of different tasks, individually or in groups, and need to have some messaging capabilities while working in those projects. So Asana integrates all of that user experience quite nicely altogether becoming a single focal point of entry for tasks, messaging, project work, and what not, making it a very attractive option if you are looking for an uncomplicated task management environment for your small projects while you are on the move. 

  • Timepage: Managing one’s many calendars and agendas in an effective manner has always been a bit of a challenge for all of us. The fact we need to juggle with work and personal events and the many complexities of juggling multiple commitments on a daily basis doesn’t make it any easier. Over the course of the years I have used probably far too many apps to try to handle my various calendars and so far I have struggled to find the one that does the trick for me, which is why I keep trying some new ones every now and then and see what I may find. That’s how I eventually ended up with Timepage earlier on this week. 

    Overall, I quite like the user interface, the ability to access weather related information directly from the app, the fact I can integrate multiple calendars in the same space or the lovely option to show visuals AND colours to distinguish how busy your work days may well be for that week, month, or year. Other rather interesting features are the ability to use an assistant for a number of predefined events, or a pretty nifty searching capability to locate any kind of event from any integrated calendar you may have added already. Now, I am not too sure whether I’m going to stick around with it in the long run, but, so far, I’m enjoying the user experience and the rather engaging dynamics of handling one’s calendar, so that’s going to have plenty more of my attention from here onwards. Perhaps in a few weeks I may report back and share some additional in-depth insights on how things have moved further along… 

  • Skitch: On my MacBook Air, and over the course of the years, there have been plenty of apps I have used to capture areas of my screen to then share them across elsewhere. Of all of those applications there has been only one that has made it into becoming an essential productivity tool for yours truly around capturing screen shots and share them across and that tool is Skitch. Now, I realise Skitch has been discontinued over a year ago and is no longer getting the love it should be, but, either way, I still use it on my MacBook Air and, of course, on my iOS devices, where the apps themselves may not have gotten too much love either for a good while now. Still, it works, it gets the job done, and it’s a no brainer, to me, for simple screen capturing to then be shared across elsewhere. Now, I am pretty sure there may well be other apps out there to grab screen shots, but so far I’m sticking around with Skitch. Will that be forever? No, of course not, I’m pretty sure there are other apps out there I will be exposed to over the course of time, but so far that’ll do. 
  • VSCO: One more week of iOS apps recommendations, and one more week sharing along a new, different suggestion for a photography editing app folks may want to give a try and take it for a spin. Perhaps one of the most comprehensive and thorough ones out there and while I realise a few people have been commenting the app has gotten a bit too complicated to use with the latest updates, it’s still one of my favourites. It’s got tons of capabilities to tweak your photos in any possible way you can imagine and some pretty amazing filtering capabilities with specific packages you can purchase over time as you may see fit, or get them all together with the All Presets Bundle, which is not too bad, although I would suggest to perhaps start easy with the free filters made available already and grow up from there.

    If you are not too sure about the app itself and the kind of work you could do with your pictures, there is always the Explore option where you can check what some other people have been doing with the app already. Pretty nifty if you would want to build community around your snap shots without having to use other (social) media tools and stick around for a little while longer with VSCO. I tell you, it’s one of the better ones available out there. And if you are not too sure about its potential to meet up your needs, head over to YouTube and search for some recent tutorials. There are some pretty good ones out there (no longer than 10 minutes) that may help you decide as well whether you download it or not. As far as I am concerned, I would recommend it big time. 

  • TripAdvisor: And, finally, one of the many (social) apps that, over time, has become rather indispensable for yours truly whenever I am either traveling or staying at home and would want to find out some lovely place to eat & dine, specially. I must confess I quite like it when I’m traveling into a new city to open up TripAdvisor and see what it recommends in terms of nearby places to go and eat, or have a drink, a coffee or what not. Now, mind you, it’s not that I faithfully follow to the extenuation the different reviews from places, but it gives me an indication of what’s around and see what people think. I will give you an example with what I mean … 

    A couple of weeks back I started a new series of blog posts over here on what I called back then ‘Gran Canaria – A Mini-Continent to Rediscover’ with the sole purpose to start writing down the different recommendations I would share across of places to eat & dine, or have a drink, or any outdoors activity in Gran Canaria, where I live, because friends who come over on holiday keep trusting TripAdvisor for some amazing reviews from different people and when they go to some of those places they are utterly disappointed because while there reviews were incredible the reality would tell a different story.

    Ouch! That’s why I wanted to start with that series, because, like I said, I rely quite heavily on TripAdvisor to help me discover new, interesting places that I think may be worth while exploring and if I find they are any good, they will go into that series of blog posts like I have blogged about earlier on this week. So TripAdvisor, as an app for discovery of what’s around you it’s just perfect. To trust dearly plenty of the reviews shared across, that’s a different story, at least, it has been in my experience. Either way, still worth a try, don’t you think? 

And that’s it, folks, for this week’s My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week blog entry. Next week I will be back with another round of recommended iOS apps and for now I hope you folks may have enjoyed this week’s suggestions as much as I have so far and, again, if there would be an iOS app out there you would want to recommend I should try out, as usual, leave a comment below or reach out to me via Twitter at @elsua. I will be more than happy to take those suggestions for a spin and then let you folks know how it went and whether they would still stick around with me. 

Hope you folks enjoy this week’s selection and till next time!

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Stop Blaming the Tools when Collaboration Fails

 Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves

We, human beings, seem to always be very keen on blaming the tools (and technology, in general, for that matter) whenever things just don’t work out all right, specially, in the collaboration space. Apparently, it is way easier to blame them (or others!), when our very own things go wrong, than to look into one self and question whether either our mindset or behaviours, for instance, have got some blame to be accountable for as well. By and large, we just can’t shake off our technology fetish, but, you know, when different problems come around, typically, associated with some kind of fatigue or overload (insert your favourite moniker here), or, just simply, plain collaboration failure, we seem to have developed that gift of shaking it off ourselves rather promptly and, instead, blame the tools. Seriously, why do we keep doing that?

Of course, we all know the tools can’t talk back to us, so they can’t defend themselves. We also know that, over the last few decades, we have been taught, rather well!, how we can shake off ourselves, and very efficiently, whatever sense of accountability or responsibility we may have got left. We will just go ahead and keep blaming the tools. Over and over again. Deep inside, we all know we just can’t face any other reality that may point directly at us, so, instead, we point elsewhere to deviate the attention. And it works. Every single time. It just works. #lesigh

You know, it’s so tiring sometimes. Even more so when there seems to be this cycle that keeps repeating itself, every few years, where collaborative tools may well be different, but we still blame them, just in case, when we start noticing how our productivity levels are not getting any higher anymore. Well, perhaps we may need to start realising it may well not be the tools, nor collaborative technologies, in general, but ourselves, the ones who, at long last, may need to come forward and acknowledge our very own culpability. Collaborative technologies by themselves are not the problem. They never have been. It’s been, essentially, our very mindset and behaviours of how we adapt to them, or fail to, what’s at play here. If anything, that’s who we need to start blaming, instead: ourselves. 

Why am I saying all of this? Well, mainly, because of an article Sean Winter wrote at CMSWire yesterday under the rather suggestive title of ‘Do Collaboration Apps Make Employees Less Productive?’ which seems to be repeating the same good old story as ever: we just can’t collaborate effectively because technology is getting in the way. Again. Hummm, not really. It’s us the ones who keep getting in the way, and, somehow, we don’t seem to want to change that much. Instead we justify it. Yikes! We need to smarten up, collectively. We need to start elevating the discourse and begin asking the really tough questions. If collaboration is failing, if productivity has been tanking since the 1980s (and still going strong!), maybe, just maybe, we need to think really hard whether it’s us the main problem. Something tells me we are, so how do we change it? How do we shift gears and stop barking up at the wrong tree?

Well, how about making use of some fresh, new thinking? How about applying some new lenses? How about if instead of aiming for a single collaboration solution to all of our business problems, which seems to be what most Enterprise Social Networking vendors keep advocating for, wrongly, we start acknowledging that it’s a bit more complex than that? How about if we, at long last, understand, comprehend, and fully embrace, the notion that fragmentation is good? It’s healthy. It’s something that should be very much encouraged as our mere means of survival for us all knowledge Web workers. And, finally, how about if we shift gears and realise that different people have got different needs and wants based on the context and interactions at play for the different outcomes they may want to execute on, whether individually or in groups?

At the end of the day, it’s all about choice. It’s all about understanding that different groups (and individuals) have got different needs to cater for; that is, diverse sets of habits, mindset, behaviours, corporate culture, contexts, constraints, conditions, understanding of the business world surrounding them, etc. etc. Have you noticed how, perhaps, a decade ago we were having the good old discussion about having a single one tool that could do everything and therefore there wouldn’t be a need for anything else, because, you know, we all thought we knew better and how nowadays it’s become rarer and rarer to see a single business or organisation making use of a single tool to do everything related to collaborating more effectively?

It’s all about choice, indeed, or, better said, it’s all about fragmentation, about having various lenses that could cater for distinct audiences to achieve a specific set of business related goals using the several (social) collaborative tools at their disposalThat’s why collaboration keeps failing us all, because we keep thinking about how we all view traditional collaboration, through 20th century models, (i.e. *cough* email *cough*) and we expect today’s emergent social collaborative technologies to behave pretty much the same way. When they don’t. They never have. Things are a whole lot more complex than that and that’s what we may need to think about and change altogether: our very own notions and perceptions of what constitutes effective collaboration. And start applying some brand-new, refreshing, 21st century thinking. 

At the moment, my current favourite trend of thought to counteract our obsession with either collaboration overload or failure, while we keep blaming the proliferation of either tools or input sources, is to think in terms of Social Lenses. A concept my good friend, Thomas van der Wal, coined back in 2008 and that he presented at this year’s KM World conference in Washington DC with a superb slide deck I plan to keep reusing over and over again every single time I hear, or read, how collaboration has failed us. No, it hasn’t. We have failed it. We have failed it, because we haven’t acknowledged how we need to think bigger, different, more diverse, context driven, accommodating not only the different types of interactions one can expect at the workplace, but also based on the different groups we may be part of, whether individuals, teams, networks, communities, or whatever else. Each of those groupings will have distinctive needs and wants to cater for, which is why we need to start coming to terms with the fact that not a single tool in any organisation would feed everyone’s needs anymore, regardless of whatever the collective.

The moment we understand that and fully embrace it, that’s probably the moment as well when we will all stop talking about how multiple (social) collaborative tools have failed us all along till today and, instead, while shifting gears accordingly, we’ll really start focusing on getting work done more effectively, which, after all, has always been the main premise of Productivity with a capital P.

Work smarter, not necessarily harder.

Don’t you think?

 

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