Monday, 3 December 2007

New York first off

Home of the sugar dudes and so many other funky folk ...


We flew in last week and had a jet-lagged stop off at The Rodeo bar with C-Monster, Celso, RubyMae and Arfer. No time for the Delice Bakery unfortunately, but we did have time to check out what was going on with some of the street art in Wooster and Williamsburg.

Really nice to catch up and chat and get some info for a new flickr article I am putting together for Carey's journal Visual Culture.


wooster dunce


We went on through to Austin where I caught up with Sarah and Dana at the NRC conference. Their papers were fabulous of course and will blog more on this soon....

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

A New Literacy Event

Today I had a go at playing Supple!! Thanks to PJC my life will never be the same again. It's a bit like the Sims - but sexier. So that's the game for me, obviously.


Check out the demo.

Thinking about events and practices, what might I be involved in here .. blogging as a literacy practice and prior to this I was involved in playing video games as a practice. The literacy event I was involved in was playing 'Supple' at my office computer and then writing this particular post - which involved embedding a video from YouTube. Usually it is pretty easy to embed a video from YouTube but today I had to fiidle around and work out how to make the code work... maybe I am a digital native as I keep on going till I resolve a problem lilke this.

Maybe one day I will be as good as this baby using the iphone:


Amazing how this little baby is learning to manipulate text at the same time as he is learning to speak. Is this baby involved in a literacy event I wonder? As Barton and Hamilton also note is commonplace, there is a lot of talk going on around the literacy event, and this is certainly a social event we see here.

In terms of practices there is a whole load of nurturing stuff going on there (the practice of parenting and 'being in a family') and a sharing of a global global phenomenon from the broader context.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

In the Nag's Head

Amazing stuff down the pub on Ebay ...

I love the way they have a discussion board called The Nag's head. People in there can just chill n chat.
Lots of the people in there have no selling or buying history on eBay and so are just hanging out in the discussion rooms just because they can. It's like a free place where you can go in and loll about - only attracting attention if you break the rules.
It reminds me of the young people who hang out on street corners or in shopping malls. Those cool places where adults don't want them but they reclaim as their own. They change the nature of a place by doing different stuff in them - and sometimes they get noticed, sometimes they don't.
The other day I came across a thread where people were talking about brandings, piercings and body carving. Really. And there was a link to the most horrendous images. (I am not putting in a link as I don't want it connected to my blog.) Of body carving. But they basically can talk about anything at here's one person moaning about her mother ...

Basiclly I just need to rant
when Im on the phone to her or Talking to her in person I could say something she looks at me blankly and then just starts ranting about something thats on her mind

Shes had a few problems with her sisters lately and resulting in her only talking to 1 out of 5
she constantly goes on and on and on And ON about them and TBH Im getting really sick of it

Its like nothing I have to say is important because she has this problem even my kids had to listen to it when she was here last week. Carl listened to it one night and then disappered for the rest of the week

or there is this one about people with no manners:

Really wind me up
13 people said their child was coming to Connors party today, i put on the invitation that i needed to know exact numbers by the 7th as i had to pay in advance, most of them i had to chase up because they were too lazy to tick the box saying i would love to come/ i cant come.
On friday i had 13 "definitley coming" i paid £161 for the bloody party £11.50 a child and 4 of them didnt turn up after their parents said they were coming

I am so temted to tell the parents tomorrow they owe me £11.50 each

and breathe

I think that people plan to meet on these discussion boards and then have a chat. I think they know each other face to face and use this as a spce to catch up. Which is a good idea I spose as it is free and there is loadsa room to put up jpgs and the like.

So my point is that people re-fashion online spaces to suit their needs. Interesting.

Such is the fascination of eBay, that one of the most viewed images on my Flick stream, is the teacups I once bought from eBay:

Great e-bayer

YouTube stuff

Bell Hooks is on YouTube:

some people mihght find that unexpercted, that intellectuals have stuff on YouTUbe.

But a lot of really good stuff in on there.

This video is a clip from a lomger video available from the Media Education Foundation

BUt you can check out quite a lot of stuff on YouTUbe from the Challenging Media section.

Rosa likes the stuff about advertising and the exploitation of women. Like this:

So, loadsa stuff about ISSUES on YouTube. You just have to know how to find it, I guess.

And I have used quite a lot of them on the New Literacies MA ... maybe I will soon put up videos of my own onto YouTube.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Wanna stuffa squirrel?

Rosa enjoyed doing just that in the summer:


However, some people take this to extremes, and proving that you can find absolutely anything on the web, we have this for you: squirrel forms.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


I have been playing with a free down load of the software 'Camtasia'.

I have been making rough and ready amateurish videos for the online MA in New Literacies.

I have to say the videos are less Hollywood than they are YouTube. You can see through the cracks of production - very much so.

But that is what web 2.0 is all about isn't it?

Mind you I must admit I have not yet worked out how to put them in a YouTube friendly format ... so an example of Camtasia is here:


Tuesday, 9 October 2007


People seem to feel guilty if they don't regularly update their blog/vlog or whatever online space they keep.
What is it about this stuff that causes people to feel guilty?? (It reminds me of when I was addicted to running and felt SO bad if I had a day off).

But this is something even more strange than that. There is something interesting here about feeling that there is a vigilant punitive audience out there (out where exactly??) judging you the blogger (non-blogger) for not being a proper daily activist. Is it that in not blogging you are lettin the side down? That you are not a proper geek? That you (horror) have nothing to say?

Now come on guys... let's have therapy on this. It is UP TO YOU how often you blog. I always seem to apologise if I have not blogged in a while (sorry chaps) and it seems to be a common thing look here at the wonderful Melissa.

She is SO SWEET.

When I was in NYC and talking to the magnificent Gamma he told me that if someone does not blog for a couple of weeks, he deletes them from his blogroll.

I was mortified. What annihilation ... much as I adore Gamma of course, this is a standard I cannot live up to and get all my other stuff done at the same time.

So different blogs do different things and people start them for all kinds of reasons. Do you feel guilty if you don't blog??

Monday, 8 October 2007

Online MA in New Literacies goes live...

Oh yeah... I am so pleased with our new course which goes live today ... I am so so excited and am looking forward to the students playing around in there and doing stuff on New Literacies.

it feels like its been a long time coming, but now it's here, and we are ready to go.

We'll be doing lots of stuff about new practices around new technologies ... maybe analysing stuff like this very cool video here But I really love the way this video reinterprets aspects of environmental literacy to suit a lovely romantic story...

I love the way people are using YouTube as a way of being activist, or just exploring views. See this one here:

Why don't you do the green thing?? Walk to work ... you know you wanna.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


seems that nearly a month has gone by since my last post.... in the meantime I have had a makeover.

here's me out on my bike:

As I was making this video so that you can see what I look like now, all these creatures started following me.

Monday, 3 September 2007

A post for the nostalgic

Hi there, Pop Pickers!!

How about a Rubiks cube table to go with your Rubik's cube cake?

You can buy it here.

If I have got you interested here and you wanna buy more shite for your home ... well how about a hanging Harry light pull?

Or maybe you could turn your gorgeous ipod into a piece of trash by teaming it with a cardboard classic:

yes, that's right. It is a cardboard boombox. And you put your ipod in it. Innit?

These items and more can be yours after one short trip to here.

Happy shopping kiddoes. Fabulous, Pop Pickers

This is what life online is all about.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

e mail meme

At one time I used to receive loads of 'jokes', stories, images (usually sexist, laughing at how stupid men/women are) even prayers on email.
These have died down now - maybe as people have tired ofthese things, or maybe because I rarely responded to the ones sent to me (perhaps everyone else gets as many as they used to) . I think that what they do is kind of 'poke' people, reminding them of who they cpuld interact with if they want to, in the same way as facebook does I suppose. And maybe now a lot of this kind of phatic socialisation and development of in-jokes has transferred to facebook, Bebo and so on and on.

Anyway I got this today:

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids
in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived, because
our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was
promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or
cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent
'spokey dokey's' on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in
the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the
same. We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy juice with
sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one
actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed
down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into
stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we
were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded.

We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99
channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no
personal computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms.

We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played elastics and
rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut
and broke bones but there were no law suits.
We had full on fist fights but no prosecution followed from other parents.

We played chap-the-door-run-away and were actually afraid of the owners
catching us.

We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school;
we didn't rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round
the corner.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of...they
actually sided with the law.

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem
solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of
innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and
responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you're one of
them. Congratulations!

Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow as real kids, before
lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

For those of you who aren't old enough, thought you might like to read about
us. This, my friends, is surprisingly frightening...and it might put a smile
on your face:

The majority of students in universities today were born in 1986...They are
called youth.

They have never heard of We are the World, We are the children, and the
Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard
of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Nena Cherry or Belinda Carlisle.

For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam. AIDS has
existed since they were born. CDs have existed since they were born. Michael
Jackson has always been white. To them John Travolta has always been round
in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could be a god of dance.
They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films from
last year. They can never imagine life before computers. They'll never have
pretended to be the A Team, RedHand Gang or the Famous Five. They'll never
have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why Don't You. They can't believe a
black and white television ever existed. And they will never understand how
we could leave the house without a mobile phone.

Now let's check if we're getting old...

1. You understand what was written above and you smile.
2. You need to sleep more, usually until the afternoon, after a night out.
3. Your friends are getting married/already married.
4. You are always surprised to see small children playing comfortably with
5. When you see teenagers with mobile phones, you shake your head.
6. You remember watching Dirty Den in EastEnders the first time around.
7. You meet your friends from time to time, talking about the good Old days,
repeating again all the funny things you have experience together.
8. Having read this mail, you are thinking of forwarding it to some other
friends because you think they will like it too...

Yes, you're getting old!! :-)

I admit to having quite liked reading this and felt a bit smug and thought 'oh yes!! That's true - especially as I started remembering spending days roller skating while pushing along my old dolls pram filled with stuff.There are myths and tropes about today's kids, yesterday's kids and today's adults. I guess the meme within this whole thing is the one that has persisted over generations which is that in the old days, people had it tougher and it did them good.

Certainly the author of 'Toxic Childhoods' has a rose coloured notion of the past and probably has loadsa conversations about the good old days.

But I am not glad I have thirteen amalgam fillings in my teeth; that my Mum used to cut a hole in the front of my winter shoes to turn them into summer sandals; or that Sundays were so endlessly endlessly boring; or that oneof my junior school teachers smoked in the classroom and that kids got whacked on the hands, legs or face if they did stuff wrong in school. Don't et me wrong, I enjoyed my childhood and it is quite thought provoking getting these kinds of email from time to time. (And it is this that shows my age - I can talk about my childhood and know that it was very very different in so many ways to that of 'kids today'.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Friday, 31 August 2007

Microsoft? Are you scared yet?

At last another bit of competition for Micrsoft with Dell launching the use of Ubuntu an opensource operating system to be included on some of its machines. Perhaps this will see the end of such narrow competition ... yes I know that Apple's Tiger (grrrr) is lovely everyone .... but you know what I mean.

Ubuntu is designed by the people for the people (ha ha) or as Dell says, it:
lets multiple people change, improve and redistribute the source code, meaning the software is generally community developed and available for free

So of course that makes it cheaper. And competitive. I wonder how many other manufacturers will follow suit... and what will Microsoft do to bribe them to stay loyal?

In the meantime Brendadada has this piece on Flickr, where Yahoo's takeover of that initially wonderful online space has progressivley annoyed her so much that she has emigrated (with some friends) to
Ipernity. It looks like a very nice place indeed.

Interesting watching the debates about control of online spaces and so on and all this does have resonances for literacy practices and research about online text production and consumption. (So keep those articles coming Brendadada).

In the meantime, here is me zooming down the A57 by Stines in Derbyshire ... relieved to be on the downhill run at last ... and hoping we will have some kind of summer in the UK afterall

(Thanks to TT for the shot of me smiling at last and for telling me bout stuff for my blog).

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Pimp that snack

is such a great website. (here.) It shows how you can make a cake like this. Or a giant jaffa cake. Or a massive Munchie.

I found it on a link on one of the eBay forums, which was quite a random thing, I thought. This is how to make a giant toffee crisp.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Gasoline or Yoghourt?

I would go for Yoghourt everytime:

I love the rough-cut film culture; this seedy side of life thing that YouTubers seem to do so well. It is like a ritual resistance performance which is anti- hollywood / anti glam/ anti sophistication.

A lot of online humour is self parodying and understated. But I also like this film as it has a bike in it and bikes are the NEW THING as far as I am concerned.

I also love the joke people were having on Flickr with this photo here

The comments made me fall about laughing. I just lurve hanging with the kids online.

And just randomly ... this was in my kitchen sink:

drying out

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

New stuff everywhere

who taught him......???
Originally uploaded by hb19

Like this cyber school.

Accipio Learning is the UK’s leading provider of live, online teaching to secondary school students who are unable to attend mainstream schools. Accipio delivers its services through live, interactive lessons allowing pupils to communicate with teachers and peers in a safe and secure virtual learning environment.

I would be very interested to see exactly how interactive the lessons are. Wonder if it old school stuff just put online... or is it truly exciting??? Would love a tour.

And as regards other old stuff mnade to seem new ...

div>Radio 4's Today programme ran a piece about online Scrabble.
Apparently you can get an application to play Scrabble through Facebook now - and I ought to have a go. Apparently it is incredibly popular on facebook.
To me, this is quite fascinating as it is surely an old wine in new bottles type of scenario - which has been much criticised as an outmoded approach to technology (usualy used by schools). It is the notion of doing 'old style literacy activities' but using technolgy. Examples might be asking kids to type up their good work on a wordprocessor as a reward; having the kids do reading comprehension on a computer.This idea of using technology as a tool that could be performes judt as well using pen and paper or which does not take advantage of the affordances of new technolgies.
Scrabble, on the surface ooks like an example of simply transsplanting something old into a new package. But is it?

A new literacy, as Colin and Michele argue, is about new ethos stuff as well as new technoogy. And I guess it is the fact that the game of Scrabble is being polluted with 'new ethos stuff' that has caused consternation in some circles...

On the Today programme, (at 8.20 here) there was a traditional guy (henceforth 'Tradman') talking about how terrible the idea of online Scrabble is and that 'social intercourse' was a forgotten skill and that people are suffering because they stare at their computer screens all the time (etc.) He recounted how pleasant it is to play face to face 'with a glass of wine' and seemed to speak as if he and his friends' activities (of doing just that) were in some way under threat. Strange.

The defender, and developer of the online Facebook application (henceforth faceman) said that the game was good to play online as these days people often do not have time to meet face to face.

Tradman said that people could cheat if they play online as they could look stuff up; faceman said that people would not cheat if they were playing friends and that if they did do so, they would only be cheating themselves.

Oh dear oh dear, what a puerile discussion. And doesn't poshman know that you can cheat in face to face games (I do).

The game is DIFFERENT online. And why one earth should face to face 'intercourse' suffer because people also interact online?? This discussion is really old hat and DRAGS ME DOWN.

Here's a poppy to cheer you up.


Monday, 27 August 2007

National Reading Conference in Austin Texas this year

and so I have done a bit of research about Texas.

Found this video in the New York Times online.

Wonder if the NRC people will affect the Texans at all. I am looking forward to attending... I understand Austin is really different from the rest of the state.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Dinner on the underground

Just an example of how the internet has changed people's lives ... you cannot tell me they would have done this without planning to put it on YouTube first.

People lead more interesting lives through what they do online as well as what they do in order to report it / show it online.

Anyway, regarding this video, I love the way the drama challenges the space and the rituals of the London tube.

Monday, 30 July 2007

C Dragon

Amazing new software being demonstrated via YouTube video.

Watch it and be amazed ... (forgive the geeky delivery and the BMW ad at the start and end)... but this is the spiel that goes with it:

Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar. "Perhaps the most amazing demo I've seen this year," wrote Ethan Zuckerman, after TED2007. Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

wearable technology

As if we really needed further signs that technology is overtaking our lives ... one of the most traditional stores in the UK, Marks and Spencer, recently featured this suit with HIDDEN ipod pouch on its website. (You completely MUST click on the link and see the close up views ... my friend told me that instore, this suit is held in the 'gimp' section. Oh dear.)

Here's a screenshot:

(I am worried they will take off the image - tantalising though it is.)

The secrecy of the little thing means that you can hide the fact that you are listening to 2pac of Misteeq as you make your way across the city to the next hi powered meeting. But discretion is all a charade of course; minimalist is stylish and it is obligatory to arrive with earphones IN, but to hurriedly remove them. The great thing is that in fact you can either be listening to a podcast of The Archers, to good ol' Melvyn on 'In our Time' or even Vegan Freaks.

I wonder though what was the sound when the "'Muslim juror' listened to iPod under hijab" as reported in The Times a coupla weeks ago. Apparently she now faces jail for this.

In the meantime I am delighted to announce that I too am giving the iPod another chance. After my long lasting railings and wailing about the demise of my first one way back in 2004 (after only using once) I took my courage in both hands and accepted a gift from TT...

Actually I love it. I am just putting fast music on it as it will be my companion as I attempt to shift the lard from my body down at the gym. It can clip onto my great big trousers which I hope will get baggier and baggier.

So wearable technology for the naughty juror - subverting the image of the benign, pure, innocent , veiled and oppressed female; for the business man who wants to pretend to hide his funky identity under his suit ... and then there's me at the gym. Listening to music liked by the 'woman of a certain age' down the gym trying to stave off middle age. (Alongside rows of other wobbly ladies on a Sunday morning.)

Well. Technology does help blend the boundaries of our lives in many different ways. The 'digital divide does exist, but it is certainly not a clear cut line through society and as participation widens and uses become more complex, theorists need to stop trying to put forward simple arguments about the impact on society and the self.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The End of the World

You should definitely watch this. (It only takes a minute.)
And pretend you are from California.
Flickr Mountain
(Took this photo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NYC April 2006. Looks like the end of the world. This is now luxury apartments.)

Thursday, 5 July 2007

So what actually IS streetart?

The National Gallery is promoting its wares (does it need to?) and is putting 40 works of art on the street . Huge reproductions on vinyl are being placed strategically (streetegically) across London. The project is called Grand Tour and is an interesting one.
What makes it OK for some art work to be shown and not others?
(Banksy's work is now allowed in some cities.)

I presume it is a case of permissions from those who rule and those we must obey. But it is also interesting to see what might happen. Will the meanings of the art change when it is placed out there in the environment? Does streetart change when it is permitted to be there? Is it still real stretart if it has been commissioned? Is it less edgy? Does it lose credibility?

And when you put art out there on the street ... where does the art end? At the edges of the artefact?

I think the meanings of art work derive partly from its provenance - the way it is used, where it has been, how people read it - even interact with it. Will people be upset if someone adds a moustache to the faces on these classical /street art works? More info about the project here.


And are these mashups?

In the meantime other art makes the journey another way ... streetart is sometimes brought off the street into new places. For example there are so many people on Flickr who collect streetart images, collating and cataloguing. How does that change their meanings and their value? The currency is different I think when you bring an image to a webspace; it is partly about the creation of a new piece; partly seeing something first; even about adding to your collection.

People look at streetart differently in the new online context. The images look different when you see them on your pc screen; you experience the art differently and people have taken the shots from particular angles - cutting some bits out and focusing on others.

Certainly I have joined in with this craze of catching streetart (eyes peeled as I walk)...

urban zebra

I have been keen to show all kinds of stuff I have seen - people ignoring it:

stuck in the mud girl

People appreciating it:

no mind games

and people abusing it:


But I am also interested in how LunaPark has recently launched an exhibition of her streetart photography, showing the streetart from a particular locality, in a hall in that locality. There is a reverence and a particular desire to show a full range of streetart in LunaPark's very meticulously catalogued Flickrstream.

Thanks to Gammablog for telling me about this exhibition....

I wonder if all the people who went to the exhibition were people who love streetart. I wonder if anyone went to it, saw it, and looked for the first time at what qualities so much streetart has?

I wonder.

And what of the streetartists? Lots of them love Flickr and learn about each other's art through that space. They have made new contacts with other artists, planned exhibitions and shown their work through Flickr. (Some have told me, but I am not revealing their ID.)

Interesting to compare bloggers with streetartists - they share a belief andor a need to say something - to put stuff out there which will be read - or ignored.

Some people detest Web 2.0 just as some detest graffitti /streetart as it has not been legitimised through the culture mangle. I blogged recently about Andrew Keen's book the cult of the amateur.... Keen is dismissive of those who dare to raise their voices and stick their noses over the parapet. (He is scared they will be better than he is.)

Just as with bloggers there are some good streetartists and some who should practice a bit more ... but who should decide the standard? Who should legitimise?

Monday, 2 July 2007

identity kits

Vic mentioned this wonderful new project, which takes the 'What's in my bag' idea a bit further.

A long time ago I contributed this to the pool:


(Showing a bag I continue to use and will be using again this weekend when I go to this conference.)

It is clear that people do not reveal 'all' but construct images in a manner so that they represnt themselves in a way that they feel OK about going online. To do this, they need to think about how people might read the images - (what will they think? what associations do the objects have? what do they 'connote'?); they need to know something about how objects represent aspects of their persona; they need to consider what to leave out as well as what to include. Maybe they arrange things so they look smart/show their label/hide their label/ look casual/ appear expensive/cheap. And the inclusion of images of faces taken on a scanner connotes something ludic; maybe a cross-reference to office parties and 'parts of the body image making' and a presentation of self that says @I am game' 'I am fun' - 'I live life madly'.

I am really interested in the ways in which we display online identities and have noticed the continuities in the ways some people present themselves across sites. For example they may begin a persona on a flickr stream and then deepen it through displays in other spaces... like Niznoz's stream and his two blogs here and here; or Gamma's stream and his blog. They are serious reporters of the city; they show something of 'life as it is'; of the history and the way things are changing. NizNoz has two blogs, each with a different function.

People often use their blogs as a way of SPECIALISING. People use different parts of the web, different types of software to perform different tasks. And they are getting good at working out what is good for what task. This is a digital literacy skill; not everyone will 'GET IT' intuitively and so there is a role for researchers in working out what the conventions are and a role for educators in teaching about these things.

It has recently become trendy to represent oneself as a Simpson on Flickr and use the image as an icon of identity. YOu can get one via a new gadget available over at The Simpsons new movie website here. Obviously a lot to be written about re avatars and icons people use on websites, but no time here... must go.

But I'll just leave you with the image my dear partner in life made of himself on Sunday. What kind of impression does he give here? (Answers on a postcard please).

technology makes you mad


Or at least some people seem to be going crazy.
Seb sent me this link the other week and you will laugh like I did when you follow it.

maybe Seb knows that emails have been driving me nuts lately.

The other one who is going mad is the guy who owns the cat called Mr Lee. Not just that he names his pet in an idiosyncratic way. But the fact that he not only has attached a web cam to his cat, but he blogs it all.

See here.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

My little podcast thing

I have just done my first podcast. I wanted to check that it was easy to do ... and it IS!! (I mention this new course in the recording.)

All I needed was to go the website, register and that was it. I recorded straight onto my powerbook and it just did it - no outside microphone or owt. Just stared at the screen and spoke.

So that's that decided. I am going to do so many of these things that you will be sick of hearing my voice. ( I would like to have a different accent.)

Things to say about it ... I don't sound like me. I repeat myself. I talk rubbish. And at the end I say 'Grrreat' instead of 'great'.

I think in fact that I need to script these things or at least make notes of what to include.

So yes, it is a learning experience. techNOLOGY = easy. TechNEEK - bad.

Makes me realise exactly how clever these young journalists are.

And in the meantime poor old Sheffield is still suffering. TT told me outallnight had some great shots of the effects of the flood as opposed to the floods itself ....

here is part of the busiest motorway in the UK - closed due to floods higher up ....

The Flood! Motorway closed - very eerie

The Flood! M1 closed...once in a lifetime!

Well done to outallnight whose full set of flood photos are here.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Cult of the amateur

That's one way to put it... this is the way journalist Andrew keen refers to citizen journalists, bloggers and generally users of the so-called web 2.0.

He has written a book Cult of the amateur about which he was interviewed yesterday on Radio 4 where he referred to, amongst other things:

“Useless and corrupt user generated content”
“Self promotion - narcissism”
“Bloggery …. an enormous threat”

Further he said:

“Kids are going on the internet and are believing everything they read we are creating an increasingly media illiterate culture … in order to understand the internet you need to be literate before you get to the screen….”

This does not seem to be the case at all in research carried out by a whle range of people who are finding that kids cross reference, read critically (if not sceptically) and that the fact of taking part in all of this confirms that the web is written by 'ordinary people' like themselves.

Keen's diatribe betrayed that underlying his fears were the loss of his lievlihood as a journalist ... and if this interview is evidence of the quality then he SHOULD be worried. He obviously think the printed word has more credibility on paper and that wikipedia isa sham n comparison to Britannica... well how many times do people get a chance to draft and re-draft issues of Britannica, I wonder? (I have sung in praise of wikis before.)

This all reminds me of the insidious Toxic Childhood crap we have had to bear over the last several months. This nonsense is so pervasive and makes me really angry. Satatistics like '1 in 6 children' have 'developmental or behavioural disorders' is sheer stupidity. (When they read books like this, why do people forget all they know about kids, their curiosity, their questionning, their non-sponge like brains? Why do they forget they were once kids? Why do they think their generation is not toxic?? )

Need a drink to calm me down.....


(Gratuitous photo and gratuitous drink. Need to Re-tox.)

More social networking in the news as we discover there is a class divide in the software people use -- e,g facebook or myspace. with facebook being for the toffs and myspace for the plebs.Hmm, I have both .. as well as Bebo! My observations are that it seems to be more an age divide, (Bebo first; then MySpace; then Facebook..) but then I have not done research on this. (Like Andrew Keen, we can all make stuff up.)

Anyway, going back to Andrew Keen's book title, calling something a cult, is somewhat dismissive. I prefer creative commons of citizen participation. Hear the smug interview here.... you have to have Realplayer and slide the bar to the last five minutes of the prgramme to go straight to the interview here.


I had some today . It was staff development here. It began with a thing from the new 'Environment Group'. It was quite funny as it was all about saving the planet and global warming. I discovered that we must not drink from polystyrene cups; china mugs are the best and re-using is apparently MUCH better than re-cycling. (You see, I was listening.)


But all the while there was a storm outside and it did not seem the globe had warmed at all. We have had floods all day. And the development is that people had to be rescued from their ROOF TOPS in Sheffield (where we were and I still am.) I think it may be a classified environmental disaster. Oh no.

People have been quoting records of how many years ago it was so bad as this (125) and how many inches of rain we've had - (I can't remember)- and that it is equivalent to two months worth of rain in one day.
Statistics statistics.
Blah de blah blah.

In the meantime.... I did a little spot with Tim about blogging and stuff. It was quite fun and maybe a few people were interested. You never know. Bloggers are like smokers .. always looking for new recruits. (Maybe smokers can start blogging as a new hobby on July 1st...)

There is a conference on feminism and popular culture I would like to go to but have only just discovered... I found out about it by a gigantic surf around the TinterWeb on the trail of this image here...

Can you see how I found out about the conference, starting with this picture? (Clue below the picture...)

Another DEVELOPMENT was that Verity asked me about working on a bid to develop second life teaching ideas... cool or what?

And finally Jackie M has a blog. Hooray.

OK so the image was done by Tild but I found it here first. Then here.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Girls - nattering on the net

Want One?

Wow Thursday already. Time for an update. How about a trip to a website to see other people with the same name as you?
Go here.

Funny way to network... you can link up with others who share your name . It's quite fun to see what's there.

Maybe you are more interested in finding out that if you are in Britain now and reading this (which you are) you are more likely to be a woman between the ages of 18 and 34 than any other type of person... see here.

I am amazed by this:

They now account for 38% of game players. Women over 18 represent a significantly greater portion of game players compared to boys under 17.

This sounds whizzy and all counter intuitive, but then there ia also this list here:

  • iVillage Parenting Network
  • Huggies
  • The Full Experience Company
  • BBC Parenting
  • Galaxy Radio
  • Foxtons
  • La Senza
  • FCUK

which provides details of where most women are going online. Not so funky, huh?

The original report is here.

For those who are just getting into social networking online, you could do worse than start on Club Penguin ... and to entice you ...

Dress up your penguin, decorate your igloo, be the first to discover new areas and lots more, when you become a member!

But what is NOT mentioned here is the introduction to capitalist practices through networking - the poor little penguins have to work to earn money in order to do anything much on the site - by making pizzas...

Sunday, 17 June 2007

new technologies

My New Apple does not seem to work as well as some of the others.


(I have been silly again. See full set here.)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Hometown Baghdad

So this is a series filmed by three Iraqi twenty somethings in Baghdad. The films have been edited and produced by a US based company - targetting their films at a young US based audience. Distributed on the Internet it is a part of the new generation of citizenship type journalism that is now really proliferating as more and more people are gaining access to technology. Here is one of the men opening his new camera.

The Iraquis all speak English with an American accent. I assume they were selected out of the many who applied to be involved in the films, partly because of their excellent English and partly for their accents - which no doubt would give them a 'just like us' appeal for the target US audience. But at times the American accent seems ironic in the face of the sometimes anti-American comments the participants make.

Suffice to say, that not many Iraquis are really gonna be able to watch this stuff since few have computers, fewer have the Internet, and less still have Broadband, - and even then it takes hours to watch a two minute snippet (apparently.)

Distributed across more than one site, the primary home for these short episodes seems to be the blog, but each film is hosted by YouTube and it is really interesting to see the comments ther, under each episode. Some of them are unbelievably cynical . Many are very anti Muslim or anti Iraq comments. Many are empathetic to the Iraqui situation.

I was interested in how a comment on one of the films a comment refers to how YouTube keeps re-setting the number of comments:

timsmedia (2 hours ago)
the view count and comments on this vid have been reset AGAIN!!!!! obviously youtube are under orders not to let this video get too popular as its a nuisance to the American military-industrial complex.

At the time of copying this comment and writing this post there were only 23 comments and just over a thousand views. The last time I looked (last week) there had indeed been over two hundred comments and over 4,000 views.

The 36th out of the 38 films shows the dentist Saif's fiancee leaving Baghdad. Despite being a qualified dentist, he has not been given his cerrtificate in order to prevent him leaving. He considers giving up his career to save his sanity.

Reading between the lines

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Mash ups

Having moaned in my last post about the number of emails I get, this morning I was unable to open any of my emails due to a "hardware problem" at work.


I had no idea how to start work without it. I was totally incapacitated. All my work was online - hidden away as attachments to emails. Maybe I will never moan again about having so many emails... no don't think so.

When it did get going, I found I had been sent a link to this wonderful creation on Youtube:

An interesting take on the mash up where classic paintings of women have been digitised and allowed to dissolve one into another. I guess it reflects similarities and differences about women across the ages.

I receive increasing numbers of emails which contain links to YouTube and it is certainly a site which has become a household name. It is embedded into everyday life in a manner which no longer is associated with exotic or advanced ICT practices. Perhaps this is an example of 'blackboxing'; a term associated with Black Box Theory - which I was introduced to by Mary P and Jennifer Rowsell.

In the meantime, I suppose I need to be more circumspect when I use terms like 'everyday life' ... whose 'everyday life' do I mean? Nesta Futurelab has a report about Digital Divides which they say are increasing. Some people's everyday lives allow them no access to technology at all.
It is arguably the role of policy makers and education practitioners to to provide opportunities for everyone to access new technologies and use them in ways that are relevant to their lives.

The futurelab is in Bristol, so while we are down there (here?) let me show you some streetart from there:

beauty island

This is from the StokesCroft area and even though this art is on the street, it has a frame around it as if hanging in somebody's house. Nice juxtaposition here taking style from one space and putting it in another. The work has been created by local people trying to re-claim the area and do it up in the way they want. It is as if they are saying' this is our home'. It is a kind of streeet art mashup of genres. (It is not just in technology that grass roots level creativity plays with boundaries and moves things around to express new ideas.)

Monday, 11 June 2007

113 emails

It is all getting a bit unmanageable. I was on a Critical Literacies day all day. Fabulous to hear about all the projects in the group. And I was proud to talk about what Mark had been doing on our project in his school; great to get positive feedback on this.
In the meantime I got 113 emails in my work in box.
I just think it is so unreasonable the amount of stuff that comes piling in; individuals take the responsibility of field their work and no-one every seems aware of how much everyone is getting.
What can be done? Are we getting to a point now where people will start to protest and say it has to stop?

I have to go now in order to start gnawing away at the edges of the stuff again.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Final Conference

Today, like Guy, I was at the final conference of the Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures seminar series.

It was so great to do all that wonderful networking - so good to see people again and chat on about our work. As usual I went away thinking it would have been better to have a two day event so that I couldghave longer conversations and see more presentations. Sign of a good event.

Kevin Leander had some great data from the classroom - talking about stuff kids are doing that is so much more creative and exciting than what is going on in the official 'lesson'. While the official 'curricum is in prgress, kids are multi tasking and dealing in far more sophisticated texts and inmteractivity than is being offered via pedagogy.

There was all sorts of wonderful stuff being reported; it all left me with the feeling that I want to research more closely with young people and their textmaking, focussing a bit more on where the needs are. I want to concentrate a bit less on the digital geniuses and find out what MOST kids are doing and consider where education goes from here to get everyone involved. I want to think about the ways in which educational provision can enhance experiences beyond the classroom and look at what aspects of informal learning practices are appropriate for classroom spaces and to think about how classrooms can broaden, deepen and strengthen what is happening out there in pockets of the wider community.

Friday, 8 June 2007


Guy posted about this website where you can get essays written for you ... and the essays are guaranteed to be 'plagiarism free'.
"Are they 'aving' a larf??"

Yes. I think so. The website has lots of videos where a lovely lady explains to you how the site helps you learn by writing 'model answers' just for you... It is really spooky and although I am not sure how most students will afford the service, it is just another example of how those with the cash will retain their social status even in the age of democratic social software.

I am all FOR the sharing of expertise and so on; I am into the idea of learning from others and I understand that information these days is easy to access and ubiquitous anyway. Online textmaking has allowed us to collaborate over text making and a feature of this is that content is often multiply authored - making it hard to credit individuals. This sharing is based around ideals of democratic access and process as well as credit where it is due - to the group. It is about time we started thinking about assessing differently. I hate the whole idea of assessment anyway. Why not just teach people to learn and and help them explore ways of enjoying learning? Why do we have to measure everything? Asessment is of course all a social construct anyhow and abstract standards have become ludicrously reified. It's quite a weird currrency. (You can hear teachers sometimes say things like 'she is a level 4', for example).

Anyway ....paying an anonymous person to write your assignments and take the credit is something different.

I am shocked by the site but don't think it is an indication of the evils of the 'digital age'; it is an indication that we are shoving people off to university when they don't really want to do the courses. The whole notion of widening participation, while sounding like a great idea, has been far less about choice for 18 year olds, and more about obliging them to take part in something they perhaps don't want to participate in.

What are the repercussions for universities and the academics who work in them.... are they the moonlighters who are writing the essays for these crappy companies?

groan ups

Thursday, 7 June 2007

New stuff

So yeah. Really like the way Blogger has all these new gadgets.In particular the whizzy Google fim things. Look at my sidebar and see those four frames - they are videos about web 2.0. To put them on there - I just went to my blogger template, selected 'New page Element' and chose the Google video option. I wrote 'web 2.0' into the search engine and got four videos selected for me. And Bob's your uncle. How cool is that? (v. cool).
so to speak.

And now for something completely different .....these are the sugardudes. Lovely little fellows. (more here.)

chin up, love

Monday, 4 June 2007

Blending Identities

Originally uploaded by Trois TĂȘtes (TT)

Went to Peace in the Park on Saturday. Some interesting stuff to photograph and saw a wonderful band Just Potatoes. The lead singer had the most beautiful rich Blues voice but could also belt out Waits' Chocolate Jesus, giving a momentous performance.

Just Potatoes

(This is the singer from Just Potatoes.)

I found out about the event in several ways - all of which were to do with my 'life online' Firstly I took a photo last week of a a performer advertising the event - but only found out about the event after I took the shot for my Flickr stream (not yet uploaded); secondly I heard about the event on a discussion thread on Flickr; thirdly I heard about it via a contact on Ian Jones came up to me and said 'Hi you're DrJoolz aren't you? I recognise you from Flickr ...

So I went to an event prompted by online stuff... and when I was there I did stuff just so I could enhance my online activities... life online and off line have blurred boundaries .... and all this stuff about DrJoolz... Am I DrJoolz?? There is this thing about a textual self that I present ... am I becoming it? (Or is it vice versa)

Life Online, huh? Blending Identities.

(Thanks to TT for the images.)