Friday, October 31, 2008

My First Tweet

This is a lovely idea.

I'd forgotten that My First Tweet was such a magical moment.

It shows I must have been a late adopter.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The American Presidential Debates

There is an extraordinary video on BoingBoing.

Who says politics isn't spontaneous?

Or that politicians can't dance.

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On Obama and Inclusivity.

Driven by my friend Datblogu's interest in this video, I've spent a little more time on Obama's website.

There can be no doubt that Obama works hard to be inclusive.
He has prepared and made available text, video and sound messages aimed at the many different communities and ethnic groups to be found in the United States.

I'm going to list in alphabetical order the people he aims to connect with here :-

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
African Americans
Americans Abroad
Americans with Disabilities
Arab Americans
European and Mediterranean Americans
First Americans
Generation Obama
Jewish Americans
People of Faith
Rural Americans
Small Business
Veterans and Military Families

It all seems a bit clinical to me, or am I being too cynical?

My eye was drawn to the Sportsmen, curious as to where the sportswomen were?
I am so dull!
Sport in the USA is not quite the same as sport here.

Obama speaks to the sportsmen.
“I am very mindful of the fact that sportsmen in America may have gone hunting with their fathers, their grandfathers, their mothers, their grandmothers, and that this is part of a tradition and a way of life that has to be preserved. And there's nothing that I will do as president of the United States that will in any way encroach on the ability of sportsmen to continue that tradition.”
No mention of animal rights then :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Digital Inclusion, Get on Line and Digital Champions

It would appear that today is "National Get Online Day'

Did you know that?
I didn't.

I discovered about today online, surfing the net, drifting in the flow of information and knowledge that streams across my computer screen.

I've been taking an interest in Twitter, investigating a range of Twitter tools and watching Political Twitter activity. I've been watching is called HMGOV, "an unofficial service of official news feeds from UK Government". I'm one of 161 people following this feed which to date has issued 10, 473 updates! I don't know who provides this service, or how. I guess it's a mash up of some kind, taking government news feeds and tweeting them.

It makes for interesting reading, BUT to be honest the output is overpowering. It is one of those feeds that may just need to be culled :)

Earlier today I noticed the following tweet :-

#WalesOffice Paul Murphy unveils new role of Digital Champion: A new high-profile Digital Champ..

Following that link I discovered all sorts of interesting facts.

Paul Murphy is the Minister for Digital Inclusion, who intends to appoint a Digital Champion as part of the Government's Digital Inclusion agenda.

Do you suppose the Champion might become known as Cyberman or Cyberwoman?

The job description is a bit vague, in fact I don't think it's written yet.
They'd like a Champion but don't know what he / she should do.

“The post of Digital Champion will be independent of Government, but
will work closely with myself as Minister for Digital Inclusion, the
Cabinet Committee and the cross-Government Digital Inclusion Team. The
Champion will work as a high-profile public figure who can raise the
profile of this agenda, gaining support from industry, the third and
public sectors, plus central and local government, whilst maintaining
their independence.

“The exact role and responsibilities of the Champion are not yet
agreed, that is why we are asking people to respond to this
consultation to help us shape our plans for the future. We are eager to
hear people’s views on how this new post can work most effectively, and
indeed to suggest individuals or organisations to fulfil this role.”

There's a forum where you can discuss the main themes of the Digital Inclusion Action Plan.
No ones chatting there yet, but it's only been there two days ......

Paul Murphy can be found here and here.
Somehow I sort of thought that the Minister for Digital Inclusion might have had a news feeds, or a range  of digital media, or a Twitter feed.
Perhaps the Minister should follow the Foreign Office.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On Life after death?

A fascinating article on Mashable caught my eye.
It's title seems surreal but it's a question that deserves some serious thought.

"What Happens to Our Social Profiles After We Die?"

I've all sorts of questions in my mind ........


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Friday, October 17, 2008

Changes at Google?

Somehow I don't think this is a good thing.

"Google is in the content production business."

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Education Applications, Ipods, Iphones and Stanford.

As was widely predicted the introduction of third party  applications (via  Apple's ITunes store) has enhanced the appeal of the iPod and iPhone. No longer is the iPhone a strictly walled garden. In the same way that gadgets can be placed on the iGoogle desktops, or widgets can be placed on the Mac dashboard, applications can now be placed on both the iPod touch and iPhone.

Applications are neatly filed in the iTunes store under a range of nineteen categories.
The filing system is not that helpful but it is enhanced by the customary "New", "What's Hot" and "Staff Favourites" sections. Eager browsers may also find themselves attracted by the "Top Paid Apps" and "Top Free Apps". Reviews of the applications are provided to help in app choice but as ever  "Caveat emptor" should be the eager shoppers motto.

The list of Education Apps makes for interesting reading. At present it consists of fourteen pages, each carrying twenty one apps! Some of these are free, some are lite (demo versions with limited features) and some cost. The cheapest are 59p, the most expensive I have noticed to date are £23.99.

As I browsed through the store two Ed Apps caught my eye.

 A company called Modality Inc provide "Zollinger's Atlas of Surgical Operation, Gastrointestinal: Upper", which is described as;
"The classic guide to general surgery procedures ... now available for the iPhone and iPod touch ...... Using the intuitive iPhone interface, you can navigate through detailed images with the flick of a finger, pinch to zoom, and tap to read easy to follow instructions for each procedure" !
I am so tempted to purchase one of Modality's products just to see what it looks like.

Here is a company working to embrace the use of mobile technology in teaching and learning. "Modality, we make small screens smarter, The Titles you Trust on the Screens you Love" have a developing range of titles  for medical students and professionals. Also they seem to be preparing to release Cliffs Notes which I remember from my days of studying literature. Impressive stuff. Think how many teenagers / young people / students have ipods/ iphones. If the applications are as good as they appear to be, think of the market!

The second application that caught my eye, was a free one. I came across the 8.4MB of code that is "iStanford" an application that slipped into the store on October 4th.

The application description says;
"iStanford is Stanford University in the palm of your hand.
Search the Stanford directory, search campus map, find and bookmark courses, and get scores, schedules, and news for all Stanford varsity athletics teams. All from your Iphone or iPod touch"

It continues.......
"Coming soon
Register for classes, View your course and grade history (this and previous terms), View your University balance, past statements and transaction history, Login to view private Stanford information"
This I have downloaded, and explored and it is an impressive application. Having explored the Stanford app I searched the web and discovered the following (in no particular order)
I was led to the iTunes App store by my new iPhone, but I'd missed the point. When I first saw the iStanford app my initial question was how many students at Stanford own an iPhone?

It was the wrong question.

The questions we need to ask are

  • What applications are we building in the UK for our students?
  • What applications are our students building for themselves?
  • How quickly could we in the UK introduce a course like the iPhone Programming Course at Stanford?

What's to be done?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Photographs.

Writing on his blog Nicholas Carr reminds us of what he calls the "expansiveness of today's web"

Facebook engineers have announced what they describe as "a really cool milestone"

Facebook users (and that's probably you and me) have uploaded 10 billion digital photographs to the site!
Furthermore it appears that Facebook stores four images sizes for each photograph so they must be storing 40 billion files.

Some users of Facebook might wonder about whom those photographs belong.

The answer to that question will be found in the Facebook Terms of Use.

I have to confess that I don't understand the terms ....... which say

"You are solely responsible for the photos, profiles (including your
name, image, and likeness), messages, notes, text, information, music,
video, advertisements, listings, and other content that you upload,
publish or display (hereinafter, "post") on or through the Service or
the Site, or transmit to or share with other users (collectively the
"User Content"). You may not post, transmit, or share User Content on
the Site or Service that you did not create or that you do not have
permission to post. You understand and agree that the Company may, but
is not obligated to, review the Site and may delete or remove (without
notice) any Site Content or User Content in its sole discretion, for
any reason or no reason, including User Content that in the sole
judgment of the Company violates this Agreement or the Facebook Code of Conduct,
or which might be offensive, illegal, or that might violate the rights,
harm, or threaten the safety of users or others. You are solely
responsible at your sole cost and expense for creating backup copies
and replacing any User Content you post or store on the Site or provide
to the Company.

When you post User Content to the Site, you authorise and direct us
to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate
the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting
User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you
represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company
an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid,
worldwide licence (with the right to sublicence) to use, copy, publicly
perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in
part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial,
advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the
promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into
other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorise sublicences
of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any
time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the licence granted
above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the
Company may retain archived copies of your User Content. Facebook does
not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us
and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain
full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual
property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Middle Age.

I guess I'm middle aged, so this report  brings me so much joy!

"For middle aged and older people at least, using the internet helps boost brain power,"
"Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function."

I think I knew that!


The report "suggested that newcomers to the web had not quite grasped
the strategies needed to successfully carry out a web search."

Which means there is work to be done in developing digital literacy?

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Oh to still live in Whitchurch! (and play with next generation Broadband)

I used to live in Whitchurch, owned my first house there, just round the corner from the exchange!

Oh to be living there now.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

The iPhone, YouTube and the Guardian.

It's difficult not to be impressed by YouTube and there is no doubt that the iPhone is the perfect tool for watching YouTube videos.

As I type I am watching  Diana Vickers from Saturday's X factor, here on my Mac and on the iPhone!

The iPhone experience is better, the interface is simpler, there's less clutter, no distracting text or comments, nothing but the video.
Sometimes less is more.

Back in the summer Ajexh Pataly wrote a piece in Guardian pointing to some great pieces of film to be found inside YouTube.
The list provoked further discussion about copyright as some clips were posted by fans, not the owners of the copyright material.
I'm just going to watch them while I can.

At the time two clips in particular caught my attention.

James Brown signing with Pavorotti! and Stravinsky conducting the Firebird.

Just magic!

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A Social Beat Box

Boom Diggy Diggy Diggy Boom.


(via Robot Wisdom)

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Web 2.0, City Academies and Money

Criticisms made of Web 2.0 facilities often  run along the lines of "What happens if the company you are using goes bust, turns off it's servers, starts to charge, loses interest, sells your details to the highest bidder etc. etc."

Well take a little look at what's happening to this City Academy.

"Governors reassured parents that it was "business as usual for all
students" and said reports about Amey's involvement should not give
cause for concern."


They've been saying that about banks of late.

Now I know that a Web 2.0 type services provider and a City Academy are not really the same kind of beast ..... but what would happen if Google put up their prices or started to charge for something that many of us might have to come to depend on.

Where are my digital photographs stored? Where are my blogs backed up? Where is my address book? My college emails? My pieces of collaborative writing?

Time to think about my backing up policy! 

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ivory Towers

I came across this earlier.

"Sometimes, it’s worth flashing a bit of a public reminder that even
though it seems like lots of us are deeply passionate about this space,
most folks don’t exactly understand what we’re talking about. That’s
because technically, they don’t need what we do to make money and go on
with their lives. They’re happy. Take a cab ride and ask them about
Twitter. Ask the folks at the grocery store if they’re on LinkedIn.
Check and see whether anyone at the local pizza place has a blog."

We should all remember it

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Not enough Digits!

The world is coming to an end!

What's to be done?

Drop the dollar sign!

Do we have one of these clocks in the UK, in Wales?

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On Lust

I so want to visit here.

I think I'd feel at home!

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On Speed

I know it makes sense .......

But ......

Big Brother is getting closer and closer

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Firefox Mobile?

While exploring the Safari browser on my iPhone I wondered if Firefox was available.

A little search brought me these two links.

Firefox Mobile Concept Video.

Aza's Thoughts.

Enjoy. And think about some of the concepts described here.

I'm off to read the forums.

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Colleges and the Credit Crunch.

Is this a warning of things to come?

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Searching the Beeb

I have to confess that I tend not to use the BBC's search service (depending on Google for everything), but the new upgrade to BBC Search seems a good thing.

Searching a subject within the BBC site now produces links to tv and radio programmes in iPlayer as well as the traditional articles, BBC web pages and external links.

The look of the results page has also been changed, it looks crisp, clear and modern.

I might just have to add it to my list of search engines.

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On Goggles.

It's late.

I'm home from my book club, happy, and slightly under the influence, having drunk several glasses of excellent red wine.

Google just know that am in no fit state to be allowed to send anyone an email.
Google Goggles will take control.

Before I can Gmail anyone on and Friday or a Saturday night I will be required to answer a few simple maths questions. 

Get them wrong, the email doesn't get sent!
Maths was never my strongest subject.

So in future if you don't get an email from me, don't blame me, blame the Goggles.

Do you suppose the Goggles should be applied to my blog too?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

On American Politics, the Internet and Twitter.

You will remember some months ago I commented upon the way in which Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama were using Twitter to pursue their political objectives. I followed them they followed me.

Hilary is no longer as involved but Barack continues to lead the way in his use of technology.
Take a look at his web site.

Here is a politician who is really making every effort to connect and stay connected with his electorate in the United States, and with admirers world wide.

Looking at his web site we see a complete mastery of the internet as a medium for mass communication. This election campaign and his digital presence has raised the bar for politicians everywhere. He has achieved a world wide ambient presence.

On his web site, the home page is easily navigable, neat and clearly laid out. The navigation bar guides or leads visitors to information quickly and elegantly.

Casual and determined browsers are invited via rollovers to learn about Barack and his team and to discover what he thinks about the major issues. Users are offered a rich choice of Barack media sources (wallpapers, music and the like) and direct links to all the different types of people who have chosen to support Barrack. Additionally the site provides a Blog, a store for Barack merchandising and links to local Barack websites in each American state. And as you might expect there are opportunities for the faithful to contribute financially.

There is a list of things to do, including a reminder to register to vote (lets face it Americans need help in coming to terms with Democracy). There are videos, news articles, messages to Hilary's supporters and an astonishing list called Obama Everywhere.

Obama Everywhere provides links to sixteen yes sixteen places on the Internet where Barack can make his presence felt ..... worldwide.
So comprehensive is this list that I am copying it here.

Obama can be found on

Facebook, MySpace, You Tube, 
Flickr, Digg, Twitter, Eventful, 
Linkedin, BlackPlanet, Faithbase, 
Eons, Glee, MiGente, MyBatanga, AsiaAve 
DNC Partybuilder.

This man is connected! (he even has his own app on the iPhone).


Knowing that Number Ten Downing Street can be found on Twitter I thought I'd have a little look round and explore the world of political tweets.

Consider the statistics (as of 6/10/08)

Plaid Cymru are on Twitter with 35 followers.
The Labour party are on Twitter with 133 followers.
The Liberal Democrats are on Twitter with 542 followers.
The Conservative Party is on Twitter with 606 followers.

Ten Downing Street is on Twitter, with 5,104 followers.
The White House is on Twitter with 1,174 followers

McCain is on Twitter with 2,451 followers.
Obama is on Twitter with 92,256 followers.

Note John McCain also has a web site, but in my opinion it's not a slick as the Obama offering.
Take a look and see what you think.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Google Blog Search

You may not have noticed but Google has changed the look of it's Blog Search Homepage.

On the new page related stories are grouped together into groups, together with a numerical count of the number of blogs discussing the story. This creates a hierarchy of subjects, showing what's hot or not.

Additionally the page carries a list of links to "Top Stories" in a curious mix of topics.
Politics, US, World, Business, Technology, Video Games, Science, Entertainment, Movies, Television, Sports.

Once you undertake a search of your own, the blog search results look as they have always done.

Some commentators have noted that the Blog Search Homepage is not unlike early versions of sites like Digg.  I agree.

The change to the Blog Search Homepage to my mind makes the page more interesting, and more likely to encourage me to stray from my intended search area, a sort of of accidental Stumbleupon.

If it is designed to lead us further into the world of unknown bloggers, it works. 

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

American Thoughts

On Moblie "Facebook"

When first started to use my iPhone the first app I downloaded was Facebook, which was a mistake because I was a little disappointed.
It worked, it connected with my Facebook, but only just.

Now "Facebook for iPhone" version two has been released and it is SO much better.

A clever interface makes it seem very much like the desktop version with the bonus of no third party applications ( it is a shame they exist). It seems faster to use and is easier to navigate.

Version 2.0 provides happy users with notifications, full news feeds and notifications, a search facility, friend requests (not that happens very often any more) photo tagging and captioning, the entire inbox plus the sent folder and the updates tab.

All with out needing to turn the phne sideways to use the landscape view (which doens't seem available on this app?)

Impressive stuff and it's free!

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