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Technology, cowboys & quality control

As a self confessed, card carrying geek, I expect that my love of technology will endure for the rest of my lifetime, but I do hope that some day very soon the area of technology that I work in - the weird and wonderful information superhighway - can find a way to rid itself of the cowboys working within it.

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Family, gratitude, love and respect

As I had a pretty rocky start in life, I don't really know what a "normal" family is; if I try to picture one I end up with a Norman Rockwell painting. Until I met my husband, I only had my very dysfunctional family to go on and I certainly would not view any of the atypical pushy, bigoted, arrogant and competitive North American Jewish types that I was surrounded with as role models.

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If not now, when?

Although I love to write and speak about the stuff I feel passionate about, I am highly unsociable, a loner and if left to my own devices, could easily become a hermit without even realising it. In one of our weekly marathon work-life-and-the-kitchen-sink phone calls, my fellow hermit to be @smiffy informed me that I was an introvert pretending to be an extrovert and promptly despatched the link to an article in Scientific American entitled The Power of Introverts that outlined the whys and wherefores. Indeed, Matt was right, and as I can never leave well enough alone, I refined this to assert that I was 85% introvert and 15% extrovert, but this is just semantics.

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Virtual communities? Not really real

Over the past couple of weeks, two unpleasant slanging matches have played out very publicly over the Internet in the name of the web community and this has stirred up a wide range of emotions in me - from anger to despair and frustration to melancholy. Although there are people in the web industry who have become friends over the years, I certainly have never felt that I belong to any community, although I am painfully aware of how my ADHD restricts me from ever feeling part of anything.

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Ageing and disability: Independence, dignity and freedom of choice

As I have been working with Government on eAccessibility, which focuses primarily on considering the needs of older and disabled people, maintaining as much independence as possible is the principal goal and this goal is a constant, irrespective of the underlying cause of the loss of independence. It is something that I understand all too well and think about more than I care to admit.

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Is disability the last taboo?

As I wander through the world trying to make it that little bit better, I am forever perplexed by how awkward so many people are around us disabled types. Sure, I don't expect people to have a detailed understanding of the machinations of living with the wide range and complexity of impairments that fall under the rather big banner of disability, but I would hope that there would be a little more compassion, tolerance and sensitivity when it comes to interacting with us.

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Is happiness a noble pursuit?

I spend a lot of time thinking, about the world, the people in it and what makes them tick. I am forever perplexed, delighted, bemused, fascinated, and sometimes even angered, but I am never bored. People are all unique, extraordinary and surprising creatures, that's for sure, but there is one thing we all have in common that should bring us together, but it does not; we are all seeking happiness, so why then do so few people know what happiness is, how to get it or even where it resides?

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Acts of kindness: the thread that connects us

It's funny really how what seem like small events in life end up being pivotal moments and more so how what may appear to be random acts of kindness can actually be major influences in guiding you along your path, catapulting you unintentionally towards achieving your goals. I don't think I am ever going to make sense of such things - if they are coincidence or if they are meant to be - but what I do know is that I never forget those who give of themselves without wanting anything in return, simply because it is the right thing to do.

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The Internet, citizenship and community

The founders of the Internet had a vision of it being open and inclusive, breaking down the barriers that lead to social inequality and exclusion, and playing a pivotal role in creating a global community that is a level playing field for all. This is certainly what I signed up for, but it appears that these fundamental values are being eroded.

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Being grateful for the good, the bad and the indifferent

At this time of year, whatever affiliations we may have, there is a steadfast tradition of expressing gratitude to the people who have helped, guided, supported, encouraged, comforted and loved us, and who have done so without any expectation of anything in return. For us lucky folk on the receiving end of such selfless acts of kindness, we are also bestowed with hope; not only because our lives have been enriched by these acts, but because it also reminds us of the incredible capacity for compassion that us humans have.

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