Friday 25 November 2011

BCS MP Web Awards 2011

The Winners

Previously I have commented on the first round of judging for these awards. The winners were announced during a reception at the House of Commons on 23 November, and were as follows:
As I remembered to take my camera, there are some unofficial photos here

The Contenders from my Review Group

I can only comment on those sites allocated to me, and highlight the leading contenders from that group. The best were:
  • Chuka Umunna
  • Stephen Twigg
  • Jo Swinson
  • Elizabeth Truss
All four of these MPs, despite having vastly different web site layouts and styles, scored very highly and stood out from the others in my group due to:
  • Clear, simple layouts, making the sites easy to navigate
  • Obvious use of social media, with clear links on the home page, and/or embedded content from social media
  • Regularly updated local constituency news items
What was particularly interesting about Jo Swinson's site is that it uses what appears to be a standard Lib Dem template, yet other MPs on my list using the same template didn't seem to use it anywhere near as well.

My Conclusion

I'm surprised that the political parties themselves don't operate a review mechanism to ensure that all their MPs are presenting themselves consistently, and are making use of social media, and using all channels to regularly communicate and update on their activities.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Improving Your LinkedIn Profile - Part 2

Following on from part 1 of this series, here's some more ideas for tweaks you can make to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Add Skills. The ability to select and add skills to your profile was added to LinkedIn early in 2011 along with other new sections. They allow you to choose your skills from standard sets, which in turn allows LinkedIn to track them and report on which skills are trending. It also allows you to search LinkedIn for People, Companies, Jobs and Groups utilizing that skill. See the LinkedIn Skills page for more information.

Here's your step-by-step guide to adding skills to your profile. Look for the "Add sections" dialogue on the Edit Profile screen:

and click to add. In the pop-up window, find and select "Skills"

 and the pop-up will change to show you a preview of the skills dialogue:

Click "Add to Profile" and the entire screen will update to show you the "Add Skills" dialogue:

As indicated on the screen, enter a skill in the box provided - note this will attempt to autocomplete, so if your skill already exists, you won't need to type it all in. Clicking "Add" will add that skill to the list, which builds up in the lower box. Repeat until you have entered all the skills you want to. Note that you can drag and drop individual skills after you've added them, to get them in the order you want. When you're done, click "Add Skills":

The skills section will now appear in your profile, you may need to search a way down the screen to find it:

Next, consider moving the skills section nearer the top of your profile. Do this by clicking on the Skills section title, and then use your mouse to drag and drop the section to another part of your profile - the mouse pointer will change and the background will change to blue like this:

It's worth noting at this point that you can move other sections around in the same way.

Organise your Profile with other Sections. There are many other sections you can make use of to restructure your profile, in particular I've found moving the various organisations I volunteer for from "Current Positions" to "Organizations" declutters the former, although the latter is harder to manage - in particular it doesn't appear possible to re-order organisations once they've been entered.

Equally, if you have certifications and publications, there are sections for these as well.

Monday 7 November 2011

Syd Rowley's Zeroth Law

Geoffrey Boycott should open the batting for England. There was very little else to be said, and I suspect no arguments would have been heard against it.

Syd Rowley taught physics at the Fitzwimarc School in Rayleigh in the 70s and 80s.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

North Downs Walk: Westhumble, Mickleham and Box Hill

Box Hill Viewpoint

This walk starts and ends at Box Hill and Westhumble railway station (at TQ 167 519), just north of Dorking in Surrey.

The first half of the walk follows the start of Saturday Walkers Club walk 64 (Box Hill Circular) from the station, through to the optional detour to the Running Horses pub in Mickleham.

Full details are available on the SWC web site.

From there, continue south on Old London Road, towards Box Hill. Make use of a footpath alongside the road where the pavement runs out.

When you reach the junction with Zig Zag Road (at TQ 171 523), cross over and start up the hill. Stop off at the Visitor Centre at the top (at TQ 178 513), if you miss this, you'll come to the North Downs Way first, in which case turn left to the viewpoint (at TQ 180 512) and then head up to the Visitor Centre.

From Box Hill, follow the North Downs Way from the viewpoint westwards, down a long series of steps towards the Mole Valley below. At the bottom, the path arrives at the Stepping Stones, a crossing point on the river. Either cross the river here, or follow the alternative path to a bridge a short distance to the north.

Once on the other side, follow the path along the river (at TQ 174 516) which is not marked on the OS map, but is signposted at the footbridge. When this reaches the A24, turn left up on to the main path, and then immediately drop to the underpass, and use this to reach the other side of the main road. Turn left, up the slope from the underpass, and then almost immediately, turn right up Westhumble Street. Pass the Stepping Stones pub and James Jeans house, before arriving back at the railway station.

The route passes two pubs, the Running Horses was serving (admittedly expensive) food well into the afternoon on a Saturday visit, the Stepping Stones opened at 5pm and food was served from 7pm. Neither pub was visited for food, the Running Horses was visited for a rest and a swift half. There are several benches at Mickleham Church opposite which are ideal for a stop for a packed lunch.

Getting there and Back

Trains run from Victoria to Box Hill and Westhumble station hourly on Saturdays. The station is a few stops outside Travelcard Zone 6, a return ticket from Boundary Zone 6 to Dorking costs around £4, but as always, check your journey on the National Rail Online Journey Planner