StephenWalker.Net https://stephenwalker.net/ Stephen E. Walker Sun, 26 Sep 2021 15:44:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.2 Rest in Peace Robert Prizeman https://stephenwalker.net/rest-in-peace-robert-prizeman/ https://stephenwalker.net/rest-in-peace-robert-prizeman/#respond Wed, 15 Sep 2021 19:37:28 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=313 The post Rest in Peace Robert Prizeman appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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Rest In Peace

Robert Gordon Prizeman

1952-2021

By Steve Walker

Everyone who loves Libera owes a debt of eternal gratitude to Mr. Robert Gordon Prizeman, whose brainchild is our obsession.

If you didn’t love the music of Libera, one of the most well-known and, in my opinion, best boychoirs in the entire world, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. And if you love Libera’s music, you owe much of that love to the imagination, talent, skill and creativity of the inimitable R.P.

Prizeman, who was also a founding member of the Trinity Boys Choir, devoted much of his life to music, specifically the training of youth in the use of the most unique talent possessed by the human species: the voice of the pre-adolescent boy.

A boy’s voice, before the change (or break as it is often called in the UK), is a sound more pure than any instrument in the orchestra. There is much debate about why (or even whether) boys’ voices at this age sound better than those of girls, but to listen to a choir such as Libera is to render the question moot. Mr. Prizeman has succeeded in training up generation after generation of boys, from a wide range of backgrounds, to produce a continuous flow of beautiful sounds not heard elsewhere in nature.

Chorister Alex Gula (Libera member from 2013-2020)
taking a few minutes to relax with Mr. Prizeman

By all accounts, Mr. Prizeman was always a tender and caring mentor to the boys under his tutelage. He would always listen and offer advice on how to get through life’s problems, including perceived voice problems when a boy had difficulty with a musical piece. And he would help them navigate through the break, which could be traumatic without the guiding hand of someone like Robert. He was always there, even after a boy left the choir, to support them whenever needed.

Michael Horncastle, a prominent Libera soloist from 2002-2008, said of Robert, “I would not be the person I am now without him. He was kind, patient, a fountain of knowledge and absolutely hilarious.” Horncastle now lives in London and is a textile designer, although he still loves making music.

Many of the boys from former Libera choir incarnations are still making music to this day. The ones I have talked to or read about credit Mr. Prizeman with their continued desire to make music, and I haven’t heard any but laudatory comments about him from boys or staff.

Said Liam Connery, (2005-2010), “He gave every one of us Libera boys so much time and attention even after we left the group. He was an amazing musician and Libera is an incredible legacy.” Liam appeared on Libera’s albums Visions, Angel  Voices, Angel Voices–Libera in Concert, New Dawn and Peace, as well as numerous music videos during his time with the group. He is now a musician, composer, producer, singer and “nonsense-maker.”

Libera has its roots in the St Philip’s Anglican church in Norbury, which has a long choral tradition. The boys chorus was asked to sing backup for British pop star Sal Solo on a song titled San Damiano in 1984. A few years later the choir released a single called Sing Forever with their first album coming a year later under the group name St Philips Boys Choir.

Soon, a group of the boys began performing and recording under the direction of Prizeman and apart from their work with the church, as Angel Voices. The two names seemed to be used interchangeably and confusedly until, in 1999, the group released a single and CD called Libera, which name the group took and has held fast to since.

Liam O’Kane (1992-2001) was a prolific soloist with Libera and a member of the first group to use that name. “I was truly heartbroken to hear of Rob’s passing. Rob’s presence, influence and encouragement throughout my time in the choir and beyond have shaped the person I am and I am so grateful to have been fortunate enough to have had him as part of my life.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Robert only once (at the bowling alley in 2019), but he was friendly and willing to answer questions. We could have chatted for a long time, but he saw a group of his boys that were about to get themselves in a world of trouble and had to go off running after them. We couldn’t have older Libera boys using a younger one as a bowling ball after all.

 

The fleeting nature of a young boy’s voice means it’s critical to capture and train it, if the boy wants to sing, and make the most of it while it lasts. Robert Prizeman has somehow developed a method of accomplishing this that works every time and thankfully he hasn’t kept it to himself. He has been working for some time to pass on his knowledge of training, producing and recording the boy’s voice to others like former Libera boys Steven Geraghty and Sam Coates, and there is a great staff and a plethora of willing and capable volunteers on hand to ensure that the Libera phenomenon will continue. The world has lost a great composer and musical director, but heaven has gained a leader of angels.

The world has lost a great composer and musical director, but heaven has gained a leader of angels.

Rest in Peace Mr. Prizeman,
1952-2021

Original artwork by Justin Chen

 

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Windows “Hide File Extensions” Pet Peeve

I install Windows on lots of computers. I’ve been doing this as part of my job for years. And for years, at least since Windows Vista, one thing has irritated me more than anything else about this operating system. It’s the option “Hide extensions for known file types.”

What an ignorant thing to be set as a default option in the most used “operating system” in the world! First off, it’s an oxymoron. With emphasis on the “moron” part. If the file extension is hidden, the user no longer knows what file type it is, so it’s now an unknown file type.

OK, so Windows still knows what file type it is, but the user doesn’t. Example: A file called “readme.txt” looks like this with the stupid option enabled: “readme.” But what if I’m a bad guy and I send a file full of malware called “readme.exe?” This file also looks like this to the user: “readme.” The first one should be safe to click on. It will open in Notepad or whatever application the user has selected as the default for text files. But woe to the user who keeps this dumb option enabled and clicks on the executable file that he thinks is a text file.

But the icons will be different, you say. Yes, but as the writer of the bad malware readme.exe file I can embed any icon I want, including the little text file icon. See above.

Microsoft has had ample opportunities to remove this as the default option for Windows installs. But even with the latest version of Windows 10 (20H2 as I write this), it’s still there.

Let the first thing you do after reading this be to uncheck that option.

See this article on Medium.com.

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100 Years Ago https://stephenwalker.net/100-years-ago/ https://stephenwalker.net/100-years-ago/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 18:36:15 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=161 The post 100 Years Ago appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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Here is an awesome tribute to those that died in World War 1, which ended 100 years ago this Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day (November 11)–in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the year 1918.

There is great debate about how many people died in this war, but most estimates put the numbers at over 8 million soldiers and nearly 30 million total souls wiped from the face of the earth. Just imagine–30 MILLION people dead in the war that was to end all wars. Many of the war dead weren’t much older than some of the young boys in the accompanying video.

Countless soldiers are buried in cemeteries in that part of Belgium known as Flanders Fields. There you will see thousands of white marble crosses in neat rows, accented by tens of thousands of red poppies in season. And memorials with the names of hundreds of thousands of missing soldiers.

Please click on the video below, and watch and listen to the beautiful and touching tribute to those who died in this violent conflict. The song is “We Are the Lost,” based on the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. The poem was inspired by his service during the Second Battle of Ypres.

You probably have ancestors that died in WW1, and maybe you don’t even know it. It’s fitting that 100 years after the end of the war, we take some extra time to remember those that perished.

“We Are the Lost” is performed by Libera, an all-boy vocal group from South London that is known world-wide for their amazing classical crossover music and angelic voices. To learn more about Libera, visit their website at libera.co.uk, or search their hundreds of videos on Youtube (www.youtube.com/officiallibera) and subscribe.

Libera is known all over the world. If you’d like to support them, you can donate at libera.co.uk, or to help bring them back to the U.S. for 2019 you can donate at www.libera.org.

Song lyrics follow the video.

 

Lyrics to We Are the Lost
(Performed by Libera, composed by Robert Prizeman, solo by Michael Horncastle)

We are the lost who lived and loved
We felt the dawn saw sunset glow
For now we lie in row on row
In Flanders Fields

O lux beata lumina
Lumina (Shine blessed light, shine)

The larks fly high where guns destroyed
Now poppies grow and crosses show
Where now we lie in Flanders Fields
In row on row

Time like an ever-rolling stream
Bears all its sons away
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the break of day

We shall not sleep who lived and loved
Who felt the dawn saw sunset glow
If you break faith with us who lie
In Flanders Fields

O lux beata lumina
Lumina

From failing hands we throw the torch
Our light be yours to hold it high
For now we lie in Flanders Fields
In row on row

Time like an ever-rolling stream
Bears all its sons away
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the break of day

O lux beata lumina
Our light be yours

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About Grocery Store Lines https://stephenwalker.net/about-grocery-store-lines/ https://stephenwalker.net/about-grocery-store-lines/#respond Fri, 15 Jun 2018 18:53:58 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=127 The post About Grocery Store Lines appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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Is that you in the little video above? It’s me, just about every time. Why is it that no matter what line I get in, it’s always the one that ends up taking the most time to get out of?

Seems like if there are three lines open and I pick the one that looks the shortest, has the most competent shoppers in it, doesn’t look lie there are any “couponers” in it, etc., there will always be a problem. The other lines will move faster and if I switch, the one I was originally in will suddenly start moving and now I’m at the back of another line.

There is some math to this, although without the correct observational data it may not help you choose the best line.

Read the article in the link. And here are a couple of quick things to remember:

First off, realize this: If there are three lines to choose from, you only have a 1 in 3 chance to choose the fastest line right off the bat.

It might really make sense to switch to a different line (you could have a 2 in 3 chance of being better off after switching). See this description of the Monty Hall Problem.

Here’s one more link that gives an inordinate amount of attention to this problem, and also introduces the real root of the problem: The Inspection Paradox.

 

 

 

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DFWCon https://stephenwalker.net/dfwcon/ https://stephenwalker.net/dfwcon/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 21:27:36 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=122 The post DFWCon appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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Went to a great writers conference over the past weekend. It was a two-day extravaganza packed with lots of fun and informative classes. I attended several on the subjects of editing, writing kid lit, getting a literary agent, dealing with productivity and self-doubt issues (something all writers must deal with) and more.

The keynote speaker was Scott Westerfeld, author of the young adult Uglies series among others. His talk was informative and inspiring.

I also got a kick out of the class on managing self-doubt, taught by Colleen Story. She helped attendees put a face on their self-doubt, a certain prerequisite to killing it off. Mine’s pictured at right.

All in all, a great conference and one I won’t miss from now on.

 

 

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White Papers vs Case Studies and why both are better than either https://stephenwalker.net/white-papers-vs-case-studies-and-why-both-are-better-than-either/ https://stephenwalker.net/white-papers-vs-case-studies-and-why-both-are-better-than-either/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 20:09:24 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=69 The post White Papers vs Case Studies and why both are better than either appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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White Papers vs. Case Studies. There’s a difference. And you probably need to be using both.

Let’s talk about white papers first. The white paper is usually a lengthy document, and by that I mean 2000-3000 words. The purpose of the white paper is to provide a fairly complete description of a problem that your customers might have, and which you would like to solve for them. But it’s not a sales piece per se. It’s educational in nature and designed to both teach your potential customers about the issues involved with solving the problem, and to demonstrate that you clearly know all the subtleties of the problem at hand and how to resolve them in the most efficient and economical manner for the reader. Use the white paper at any stage of your sales process to inform your customers and potential customers.

Case studies use real customer experiences to demonstrate how your company resolved a problem for a specific customer. Usually the creation of a case study will require that several approvals, interviews and photo ops with the customer and some great product shots, which you probably already have. There will be permissions to obtain and approvals to get, and there’s always a chance that your customers won’t want to be named specifically due to concerns about competitive advantages. But when you are able to persuade a customer to allow their experiences with your company to be turned into a case study, you will have a very powerful sales piece.

The case study likely to be a shorter document but also will probably last a lot longer in your selling portfolio.

So the real difference between the two is twofold:

1) The white paper is more in-depth concerning the capabilities, features, advantages and disadvantages of your solution than the case study

2) The case study is less technical and teaches your potential customer or client by example, often giving him/her the ability to actually reach out and talk to one of your satisfied prior customers

So which should you use? I think both works better than either. With a case study, you are showing prospects that you have satisfied clients. That lends credibility to your company.

The white paper is essentially a gift to the prospect. You’re letting them in on a lot of information that they may not otherwise have been aware of–telling them all the things they need to know about how to solve a problem and why the tool(s) you provide are the best way to do it. Most customers will appreciate the education and you’re earning brownie points for giving it to them.

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No substitute for quality writing https://stephenwalker.net/no-substitute-for-quality-writing/ https://stephenwalker.net/no-substitute-for-quality-writing/#respond Sat, 06 Jan 2018 21:31:11 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=108 The post No substitute for quality writing appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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Why hire a freelance commercial writer for your business?

Many businesses think that writing brochures, ads, manuals and whitepapers is just busy work and that anyone can do it. So they elect not to spend any money or an appropriate amount of company resources on it.

The problem is, the quality of the writing your company puts out goes directly to your organization’s credibility. If you look unprofessional, your nearest competitor that uses quality writing has a distinct advantage over you. Here’s an article that gives you a few reasons to hire someone who knows business writing.

https://www.freelancewriting.com/managing-freelancers/5-reasons-to-work-with-freelance-writers/

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Let’s get this started https://stephenwalker.net/lets-get-this-started/ https://stephenwalker.net/lets-get-this-started/#respond Fri, 31 Mar 2017 15:13:04 +0000 http://stephenwalker.net/?p=65 The post Let’s get this started appeared first on StephenWalker.Net.

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The first post on a new blog is always kinda weird to come up with. Really, this isn’t a new blog, but a year ago my web host caused a crash that took out the previous stephenwalker.net site. The backups they restored were unhelpful because although the data was supposedly in the database, it couldn’t be linked to the site and thus was unusable.

All the writing samples I had uploaded as well as the witty posts and various pages related to why a business should hire a freelance commercial writer were lost and now I’m starting over. It has taken this long to get up the motivation to start over because the previous site took a lot of work and will be a hard act to follow.

The plan with this site is to provide information on how you can use Case Studies (which I prefer to call “Customer Success Stories”) to close new business and promote new sales over the long term with your existing clients. White papers go hand-in-hand but serve a completely different purpose. We’ll examine the differences.

And I’ll answer your questions about using these promotional vehicles in cooperation with your social media to make your company stand out in today’s competitive business environment. Stay tuned!

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