Friday, September 26, 2008

On "American Politics"

Of late, much has been broadcast, written, and blogged about the rapidly approaching American Presidential Elections.

Some say that there is too much comment.

I'm not going to comment but I am going to point in the direction of this CBS interview showing Sarah Palin talking about her Foreign Policy experience and geography.
(The clip begins with an advert, be patient).

Be scared, very, very scared!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Iphone On a Hill.

This post is to show how easy it is to prepare a blog post using the iPhone. The Blog Press application allows for blogging to a range of blogs, allows the posting of photographs and the creation of drafts.

It's a little slower than typing on a keyboard but with practice I am getting quicker.

The photo taken with the relatively low spec iPhone camera shows the view up the Taff valley from here.

I think the Treforest estate and the A470 can be clearly seen. In the distance the University of Glamorgan.

I think the photo is geo tagged, but I'm not certain how to access the information, yet.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, September 22, 2008

Google, YouTube and Rory Cellan-Jones.

Creative users of YouTube (ie producers of content not consumers of content) might want to read this post by Rory Cellan Jones on the  BBC blog where they might learn something to their advantage.

Now I begin to see how YouTube is going to make money.

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On Listening to a Song about Twitter

I'm really not sure how (it might have been via Fimoculous) but I stumbled across this little song about Twitter.

Watch the video.

Buy the T shirt

Read the lyrics and meditate upon the History of Web 2.0 technology.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

On blogging from my iPhone

This is an experiment to see how easy or not it is to blog from my phone.
I've added a photo to see what the formatting will look like.
Now I'm a mobile blogger!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Spiders and Flash and Life.

I'm not a fan of the arachnids.

I'm don't mind looking at them outdoors, but inside ..... Help.

A spider in the classroom never caused me any problems, it's easy to catch and remove a spider when the eyes of thirty interested children are watching your every move.

But in the house, someone else has to do it ....

These thoughts were prompted by this superb experimental project to make a natural spider in flash.


Make sure you watch the video too.

(via redferret)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All at Sea with Google.

The ever interesting Fimocuculous asks "Is Google Starting it's Own Country?" and points to an article on Radar, which in turn points to an article credited to the Independent but actually in The Times.

"The company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate
its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km)
offshore. The “water-based data centres” would use wave energy to power and cool their
computers, reducing Google’s costs. Their offshore status would also mean
the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres,
which are sited across the world, including in Britain."

How clever is that?

Imagine all our data, our google docs, this blog, our search history all at sea.


"Offshore status" would also I guess place all our data far far away from any prying governments.
I wonder where these barges would be registered ie. what flags would they fly?

Presumably the data would have to be backed up on land which would still result in energy costs.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Using "new technology"

He's going to say it again!

"At Plaid's conference in Aberystwyth he will insist the party embraces new technology to reach young voters."

It will be interesting to see what this sentence actually means.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Storm in a Teacup.

Change is always uncomfortable and often difficult to manage.

Facebook has changed.
We knew it was coming, had a chance to become used to it, a chance to make comments, a chance to be involved.
Facebook have approached their facelift sensibly.

I'm not that keen on some of it, I can't find things, I forget to click through the tabs. but I'll learn.

And all those vampires, and questionnaires and the lolcats will be somewhere else......

It's a good move, well done Facebook.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

On Hi Tech Cheats.

As we slide towards the beginning of a new academic year an interesting article by Moira Sharkey, can be seen in today's Western Mail.

It reports that 1,600 students have been caught cheating at Welsh Universities over the last three years. Most were guilty of plagiarism, some guilty of cheating in exams.

According to the article, over the last three years among Welsh Universities the University of Glamorgan has disciplined the most students. A statistic rightly defended by the University as they take "cheating seriously and work hard to catch the culprits"

As is ever the case, the statistics are incomplete as Welsh Universities have different methodologies and systems for publishing annual records but they do show that Welsh Universities are engaging with and beating plagiarists.

Many students enter University unaware of how academic work is assessed in Higher Education and are often ill prepared for the vast gulf that exists between sixth form and undergraduate life.

Ben Gray (of NUS Wales) comments on this in the article

“NUS Wales recognises that there are huge differences in the way that
higher education is conducted and assessed compared with secondary
education and as such these are issues that student unions across Wales
are assisting institutions in helping students understand the system.”

While NUS Wales should be commended for assisting students understand the University way of thinking, work needs to be done to ensure that schools understand what Higher Education expects and that Universities are perhaps a little more aware of their student's shortcomings.

Many sixth formers (digital natives?) are ill prepared for the rigour of academic essay writing and the associated referencing processes, as they have passed through a school system where the cut and paste mentality of project and course work has been encouraged and endorsed by the actions of their parents, teachers and peers. This is not totally the fault of the schools or the teachers. It is a way of thinking that has been encouraged by the system. Now that course work is being downgraded schools need to do much more to prepare students for University life and Universities need to do more to integrate undergraduates in academic life.

If Higher Education is seen to be actively confronting and disciplining those guilty of cheating, not only will the numbers of those cheating be reduced but public confidence in the quality of Higher Eduction qualifications will be restored.

The figures should be published openly and shared with the current and prospective student
communities, so that it can be seen that Universities deal with cheats. It is quite strange to me that the figures have come to lightas the result of an enquiry from Chris Franks AM.

Perhaps they should be published annually by the WAG, published in University prospectuses
or on University Web sites. They should most certainly be shared with new students during Fresher's weeks.

Of course catching the cheats is one thing, deciding what to do with them is another.

A first year undergraduate caught plagiarising is quite likely to have plagiarised unwittingly or unknowingly. A third year undergraduate or a Master's degree student caught plagiarising is guilty of completely different kind of cheating.

Can you remember hearing of anyone being "sent down" ?

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

On Social Networking and Plaid Cymru

I read that Dafydd Iwan folk singer and politician has been re-elected as president of Plaid Cymru.

A strange event to be worthy of comment here On the Hill except that Mr. Iwan, a clever, passionate influential Welshman has promised

"to bring the party into the 21st Century with an emphasis on making the most of social networking sites to build support".

I wonder how he proposes to do that in a country where the digital divide is still causes concern.

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Google in Space ?

This story has been reported all over the internet, but it's still worth noting.

Remember the phrase "eye in the sky" ?

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

On Google Chrome.

I've not looked at Google Chrome yet (I just love my Mac), but it's arrival on Tuesday has resulted in a torrent of speculation, observation and hysteria.

Yes we might be seeing the next chapter in the Browser Wars, but right now Google chrome is a new untested product. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera have the browser market covered. The new Google product will have to be good to make its presence felt.

Even now with Firefox seeming to be the browser of choice for many of my colleagues, it is still only used by less than twenty percent of internet users.

Somehow I can't see Chrome cutting up that market. Despite that I've signed up with Google to be informed when Chrome for the Mac appears, just in case.

As is so often the case with Google the user agreement paper work for Chrome wasn't quite correct.

More food for thought.

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