Experimentation: chocolate cakes and communicators

I made a really great chocolate Guinness cake last night, and I was trying to figure out how to weave it in with the rambly theme of my blog. After all, this isn’t a food blog, as much as I love food.

I had tweeted that I was going to make this cake in celebration of our finally naming “the book,” and I was amazed how many people wanted the recipe. I kept sending the recipe url to people who tweeted in reply.

It is interesting what captures our attention, what stimulates us to want to experiment.

Is it the chocolate? The Guinness? The cake? Cooking? Food? In any case, the interest prompted me to blog about the cake. Oh, and the cake is really good – though I’d suggest using a little less butter. I added some grated unsweetened coconut and I’d suggest adding some chopped, roasted pecans as well. I substituted mascarpone for the cream cheese in the icing (because that’s what I had on hand) which makes a subtler icing. I think I’d prefer the cream cheese!

What gets us moving beyond our customary habits and patterns?

Recently many people have complained they have not been able to hear me properly on VOiP or telephone calls. I swapped headsets, but with no discernible result. (My telephone is also VOiP.) When I talked on my phone with out headsets, sometimes it made things better, sometimes it didn’t. My son has some fancy-pants headsets he uses as a gamer, and I was going to try them, thinking perhaps the mic plug on my computer was the problem and that might help me figure it out. But I just procrastinated finding a definitive solution. There were too many other things on my to do list.

Then in the mail a box arrives with a Polycom Communicator 100s, courtesy of a conference call company I use. It is not something I would have bought myself (pricey) and it is like a speaker phone, so intuitively I would have thought headsets would be better. But because it was here, in front of me, I tried it. And wow, it worked pretty darn well with my initial test calls.

The cake? Someone blogged about it (and darn, I can’t remember where I saw it) and my curiosity was piqued. I love chocolate and my husband enjoys his Guinness. But if the idea had not shown up in front of my, in my business, I would have never sought it out.

In our busy lives, sometimes it takes a ping, a tweet, a box in the mail, to pull us out of our traditional trajectories and get us to try something new. And what a wonderful and productive, chocolately surprise that can be.

What brought your head up for a new view today?

A huge sigh of relief – a title

Warning – this is a venting blog post!

For nearly four years my dear friends and colleagues John Smith and Etienne Wenger and I have been writing this thing that became a book. You’ve heard me periodically obsessing about it here in my blog. Writing communally is one of the hardest and most rewarding practices I’ve ever done, especially when done with smart, diverse people. It is both heaven and hell. It is almost unending. But the end is in site.

We finally picked a title. FINALLY. FINAL-FRICKEN-TASTICALLY. What started out as Stewarding Technology for Communities, (site to be renamed today!), then veering around many ideas, including the recent “Digital Nests” theme, we landed today on something that both brought the warmth and natural world and a metaphor that works with the topic of the book.

So drum roll pleasssseeeee!

“Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities”

Now, I dare ask, what do you think?

I could not resist searching for a few Flickr creative commons images for the post … not intended as book images, but just … just… because I CAN!

Haworthia viscosa in habitat
Haworthia viscosa in habitat
Linda Lanes Habitat
Linda Lane's Habitat

Flickr Creative Commons Photo Credits:

5-Card Nancy

Thanks, Scot McCloud for 5-Card Nancy

I love this because

a. it is visual

b. it is named NANCY!

c. it gave me something fun to blog about when I’m crazy busy

d. I can imagine all kinds of variants. I can see creating visual narratives when trying to learn something new (for the Knowledge Sharing Workshop F2F in Rome in 2 weeks?)
Thanks for twittering about it Rachel!

Max Explores – Monday Video

From Tom Munneke, comes 9 minutes of joy. If the world is getting you down on this monday, spend 9 with Max.

Max Explores

Playing with book titles and images


Originally uploaded by Choconancy1

Here is an idea that has been “hatching” for the new book…. What do you think?