August 13th, 2014 By Scott Savage Categories: Personal, University

Tomorrow I am starting the Global Executive MBA Asia programme at INSEAD, Singapore. The decision was a huge one, and many months after doing the entrance exam I am finally ready to start. I wanted to capture my feelings before I start, because I truly hope that I see significant change upon reflecting at the end. We’ll see in 17 months.

 

December 24th, 2013 By Scott Savage Categories: Hardware

DIR-615_frontMy D-Link DIR-615 N300 wireless router has serious issues with dropouts whenever you use any kind of wireless security (WPA, WEP etc.). This is a big problem that a large number of people have also reported, and there were no official firmware updates available. This lead me to stumble upon DD-WRT, an open source based router firmware for Broadcom based routers like mine (hardware C2, firmware 3.03WW).

Installation was pretty simple:

  1. Do the 30-30-30 reset: Hold down reset button while power is in for 30 seconds, out for 30 seconds and then in for another 30 seconds. This drops you to an emergency firmware update stage.
  2. Upload the latest DD-WRT firmware for your hardware version. Mine was the C2 version here, but you can search for your device here. Wait 5+ minutes, there is no activity/process notification.
  3. The device should start running the DD-WRT firmware and ask you to set a new admin username and password.

There are more comprehensive instructions here if you need them.

I then needed the device to be an additional wireless access point on my network, so I followed the setup instructions here. The only trick was that the wireless radio wouldn’t turn on at all. Turns out there is a bug in the firmware, and you need to enable the “MAC Address Cloning” option in order for the radio to turn on. Go figure! Anyway it’s working perfectly now and has so many more options than the default firmware.

Now if only I could upgrade my carrier provided Cisco modem with the same firmware so my Sonos worked…

March 17th, 2013 By Scott Savage Categories: Personal

front cover of bookContrary to the title, this book is not a study in “how to be popular” in a modern world. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The central theory that the book proposes is that simply by being an authentic and positive person you will receive what you are hoping for without even asking. Every one of the 30 lessons is indeed simple, however putting each  into practice in a consistent way, on a daily basis, is anything but simple.

How to Win Friends and Influence People was, for me, a complete revelation. Perhaps the fact that it is written by a male engineer helps, as it clearly lists the ideas and provides simple, but nuanced, examples of it being used in practice. Some of the examples are pretty weak, however at least half of the ideas in the book benefit from a simple real life situation that helps you visualise how it might be implemented. It’s probably the most enlightening book I have ever read.

So what’s the big secret of the book? I would argue that it’s probably different for every person. For me, I was in a professional situation that many engineers can probably sympathise with – I was a strong technical leader, but was insecure in my communications and relationships where technical knowledge wasn’t the defining factor. These interactions were necessary, rather than enjoyable. I remember doing a personality profiling course, where it was revealed that some sales people (extroverts) actually needed to talk to people to recharge – the concept of this seemed so foreign to me!

The lesson that this book taught me, was that you get as much out of a person as you invest into them. Be genuinely interested in them, share your ideas freely, focus on the positive, don’t publicly criticise, use their name and be humble. It all sounds so simple, but ingraining it into your personality so it is a fluid and natural reaction takes a lot of repetition of both reading the book and implementing the ideas. I guess this is why neuroscience has emerged in such a massive way lately! Anyway I am now reading it for the second time in a row, and I am still learning new things and finding things I do wrong on a daily basis. I recommend this book to anyone, but particularly “green” engineers who are self-aware enough to know they could interact with the world better.

January 1st, 2013 By Scott Savage Categories: Google, Internet, software
FlickrToPlus.com Screenshot

FlickrToPlus.com Screenshot

I have been using Google Plus a lot more lately, and now feel that the social layer (permissions and annotations) adds substantially to the photo experience. I know this is not a new revelation, but as a long time Flickr Pro customer I felt that the options of “Friends” or “Family” visibility, when I don’t really have either on Flickr, were not enough. Therefore over the 2012 Christmas holiday break I decided to work on a new web tool, FlickrToPlus.com.

There are two really annoying things about doing this migration for me:

  1. Losing metadata – especially titles and geo data
  2. Downloading/Uploading every file

This tool solves both these problems with the help of the Flickr and Picasa API’s. In fact my server doesn’t even see the photo files, you can pass a Flickr original image URL directly to the Picasa API. This means the service is fast and reliable. All you need to do is log in with both Flickr and Picasa, and then check the box against the set you would like to migrate. The site will then provide a progress update on the migration status. Google Plus albums and Picasa albums are currently pretty much the same thing, so these migrated albums are available straight away in the Google Plus interface for sharing with your friends.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think!

August 17th, 2012 By Scott Savage Categories: Internet, youtube
Final Olympics 2012 YouTube Live gadget

YouTube.com/Olympics gadget currently Live

The London 2012 Olympics was the highest profile program I have worked on for YouTube. I was responsible for the IOC YouTube Channel – youtube.com/olympic. This channel only displayed the full content experience for 64 countries during the games across APAC; the largest being India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. These 64 countries received 11 live channels running 1200 live events in 1080p HD for 18hrs a day, plus nearly all archived content available. It was a huge process to get this content uploaded, named, categorised into playlists and keywords, and finally navigable in a custom gadget.

The result was well worth the effort, we received 72 million streams just during the 2 week period. Subsequently the content geo-restrictions were removed, and the channel view count has since broken the 100 million views mark. All the global statistics are wrapped up in this official blog post.

This first Olympics has built a solid subscriber base for future events, lifting the number of subscribers by 360k to almost 500k. This is a huge and engaged audience that will be waiting for the next big Olympics event to start. It was great to be a part of this program, and I hope it is seen as a template for how large events can play out online in the future.

May 21st, 2012 By Scott Savage Categories: Internet, software, youtube

In an effort to get back into coding and learn the YouTube API’s better I have put together a very simple site, www.whatslivenow.com. It simply checks the YouTube Live API every 15 minutes, saves the results to a MySQL database, and then displays the latest live events ranked by how many “Likes” they have had. This makes the chart a little less dynamic than I would have liked, but the viewCount parameter isn’t currently being populated, so my preference to rank based on what has the most current viewers isn’t possible.

It’s also a nice experiment with CSS and jQuery Mobile, using a template I found called Splitview. I had to make a number of changes to make it work for this example, but visually it looks pretty simple and is very functional across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. I will play around with the functionality over time, but for now I am happy that the experiment was a success. I think with the addition of some social media functionality it could be a nice second screen experience too. Please let me know what you think!

May 9th, 2012 By Scott Savage Categories: Hardware

noontec gigalink n5The Noontec Gigalink N5 is a NAS media that has a few nice features – including DLNA, BitTorrent, a web interface and BYO hard drive.

The problem is that it doesn’t really work very well. The 30mm fan is noisy and isn’t variable based on case temperature, sometimes it doesn’t turn off, UPNP doesn’t work, you have to wipe your hard drive before installing, the noontec.com website got laced full of malware for a week… the list goes on. Basically it’s bargain basement electronics.

Anyway I managed to get in contact with one of their engineers, who provided me with an updated firmware package (which for some stupid reason is not listed on their website). The best part about this update over the stock firmware is that it includes an online firmware update function. This means hopefully this is the last manual firmware update you need to do. It really is a big improvement, although for some reason the UI is now increasingly inconsistent.

Click here to download the NAS_J1.04D_Ver2.1.7_USB2.0.bin firmware update for the Noontec Gigalink N5 (zipped up).

April 5th, 2012 By Scott Savage Categories: advertising, Internet, marketing, youtube

AdMonsters logoOn the 22nd of March 2012 I attended the 2nd ever Admonsters Conference in Sydney, Australia. I presented on the Future of Television, and chose to focus on my personal perspective around the accelerating convergence of video advertising and content as it moves online. My inspiration sprouted from statistics and creative used in Robert Kyncl’s CES talk and some video engagement ideas from Kevin Allocca.

It was an honour to be able to present in front of colleagues in the same niche profession, especially in my home town which is a geographically obscure place to be doing such a role. My biggest mistake was underestimating their involvement with video advertising – I thought the number would be around 10%, but it turns out 80% of them work with video. It was exciting to see the local market maturity, but it was a little humbling to see all those hands raised at the end of an entry level video presentation. I did however thoroughly enjoy the presentation and I received a number of comments from others that really got something out of it. I really do feel that content marketing is a massive growing area, however I acknowledge that it’s a difficult area to strike a perfect balance in. If it was easy then YouTube would have no paid advertising and I wouldn’t have a job. :-)

If you are interested in seeing the deck I presented, then please Download the Presentation Slides.

August 19th, 2011 By Scott Savage Categories: Personal

I love a good self-improvement quest. For me, the most important part of self-improvement is having a goal. This is always easy with career or financial goals, but when examining a more personal area of self-improvement the goals become a little more intangible. I guess this is why I started on a search for a male role model, they make a more tangible personal goal.

Is Don Draper a good role model for me?

In the IT Industry there is really only one person who seemed like a modern role model, and that was Jack Dorsey (who I have mentioned before). His business success speaks for itself, however he is personally not one dimensional. Jack also has a diverse background, understated confidence and the communication skills to convey these dimensions of his personality. He’s a great place to start, but I feel uncomfortable modelling myself on one person. Emulating someone doesn’t add dimensions or make you more genuine, it does the opposite by making you a clone who isn’t true to themselves.

Perhaps what I needed was a maverick role model who gave me the confidence to communicate who I am. I’m looking for someone piercing, inspirational and grounded. Enter Steve McQueen. The guy pretty much personified the maverick – he was a racing car driver and A-list actor, yet his signature pose was the famous Le Mans Salute. There are plenty of people who seem to follow Steve’s fashion or other style guidelines even now. I don’t need to be this unique, but I do love his qualities of being genuine, multi-faceted and inspirational.

Perhaps I was searching for more than a role model, perhaps I was searching for an ideal. I decided (off the back of continual references in “How to win friends and influence people”) to read Benjamin Franklin’s auto-biography. His 13 vitues for life resonated with me, but really are quite dry. I will still try and follow these to make myself successful, but there is a difference between being successful and inspirational. Highly disciplined and intelligent people usually have great success, but there is a sense of loneliness that occurs when you are too one dimensional.

The next phase of my search was instigated by the series Mad Men.  Don Draper covers all my fundamental criteria; he is certainly piercing, intelligent and inspirational. But my God does he have some flaws, which this info-graph summarises beautifully. Then again, it’s these flaws that make him a more genuine and relatable character (person?). Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to make ones self perfect, but perhaps the goal should focus entirely on communicating who you are? This involves not only being able to communicate your personality in an interesting and accessible way, but also to communicate your vulnerabilities so that people relate to rather than rebut against your views.

Finally, I found someone who writes on this topic in a far more fluent manner than myself. Chris has written a great blog on his Better Man Project. He even touched on my line of thought several times, including his very amusing dissection of Steve McQueen. I have a deep admiration for Chris’s communication ability and transparent self-examinations. Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the best way to become a genuinely inspirational person is to write about the struggles along your journey to becoming an inspirational person? This is becoming way too meta.

For now I am running with a Mad Men era hair style, a book of Steve McQueen pictures and quotes and following @Jack on Twitter. Next step is to work on improving my communication skills. Hopefully this blog post is a start.

July 15th, 2011 By Scott Savage Categories: Google, Internet, Personal, youtube

My 35 days of living in a corporate apartment in SOMA, San Francisco have come to an end! I decided to record my impressions in a video (of course) log from the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno.