You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

From video to print:

Still images:

Someone please make a comic strip out of Mike Caulfields piss take on IT management.

I would if I had a little more time, but I’ve had my go, and D’Arcy’s had his. This is the best script yet and deserves better treatment. Perhaps a SecondLife Machinima or snapshot comic strip?


Barbara Deu rounded up the troops to support her presentation to the Merlot Conference in New Orleens last night. She had the main conference wired in with a SecondLife conference and a Webheads VOIP and chat conference all at the same time. There must have been 40 or so people online joining in the conference.

Barb gave nice talk on networked learning – slides and audio – and then handed the mic around to a variety of people coming in from all over the world to give a brief sentence or two on networked learning.

Finding my way into the webhead channels was too hard for me – something to do with that olden style free ranging that Webheads do, and being 1 in the morning for me I just needed something easy. So SecondLife it was, and my first go at the new voice feature.

It was really something actually. Jeff from WorldBridges did a great job relaying the audio from the Merlot and Webheads conference through to SecondLife via his Avatar’s voice. We in SecondLife all sat around Nick Noakes’ famous campfire and listened in on Barbs talk while we chatted amongst ourselves.

I was really impressed with the quality of the sound and the usefulness of the effects (surround sound with close and distant effects) how engaging it was to be in there supporting Barb as one of many. SO much better that Elluminate, and successfully bridged between the haves and the have nots. I could feel Barbs nerves though! I was nervous! but it all went well, topped of by a nice little Banjo playing (I could have heard more though šŸ™‚

So, hats off to you Barb, not only did you give a great talk, you successfully brought your network in with you and gave something tangible to the conference goers to see what it is you are talking about with networked learning.

Wara points out another useful little tool.


Insert your search term or topic, select the Wikipedia language, see the results in a clean interactive mind map.

Janet Hawtin has posted an idea that really gets me thinking. We should combine the literacy skills of online and offline researchers and communicators.

Because these are subtle and personal customisations for specific contexts this means they are diverse. As a community we are developing social skills around finding and filtering for our own personal purposes the collective diversity available. I think this is where literacy exchange comes in.

I think Janet’s idea is a great one! I know I am guilty of forcing people into a very narrow range of research and communication technologies (blogs, wikis and RSS of course), and this naturally frustrates people who are accustomed to other ways of researching and communicating. Meeting professional researchers and communicators who don’t understand these technologies is frustrating however.. but as Janet says, it would be beneficial to draw on a diverse range of literacy skills, more, it would be very important to actively seek out this diversity and support it.

I think Janet’s idea relates to my idea of using analogue media along the lines of socially networked media so as to bridge digital divides.

There is lots to explore here, and Janet’s suggestion is something I might add to my list of objectives when facilitating learning communities. That list?

  1. Losing the teacherly voice
  2. Linking analogue media and communications with digital networks
  3. Supporting and promoting a range of research and communication literacies
  4. Establishing networks more than groups
  5. Supporting long term learning communities
  6. umm

Janet HawtinĀ  over in the TALO email forum alerted readers there to Microsoft’s campaign to get their OOXML format made an international standard for office type documents. We already have a standard! Its called Open Document Format and we should use that. See this website for more info on why we should say NO to OOXML.

Microsoft is currently trying to make the ISO National Bodies believe that its Office Open XML (OOXML) format is a good standard. This website discusses why this broken proprietary standard should never be accepted by ISO.

New Zealand will be considering the two formats at a workshop in Wellington 23-24 August, and from that will be collecting stakeholder views. Details below.

Meeting NoticeĀ Standards New Zealand Office Open XML Workshop

23-24 August 2007

      • Workshop purposeĀ The purpose of the workshop is to provide a forum for discussion to assess New Zealand stakeholder views, and guide Standards New Zealandā€™s vote on the Office Open XML draft standard.

Meeting detailsĀ The workshop will be held at Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
Date:Ā Wednesday 23 August 2007

Thursday 24 August 2007

Time:Ā 9.30am ā€“ 4.30pm (both days)Ā 

Venue:Ā Standards New Zealand

Level 10

Radio New Zealand House

155 The Terrace


    Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā A light lunch will be provided on both days.
      • RSVPĀ Please RSVP to Craig Watkin by 20 August 2007
      • Address:Ā  Private Bag 2439, Wellington 6140
      • DDI:Ā 04 498 5904
      • More informationĀ If you require any further information please contact Michelle Wessing, General Manager Standards Development on 04 498 3957 or email

If you are unable to attend, or nominate a representative to attend on your behalf but would like to provide comments, please forward these to Craig Watkin no later than 17 August 2007. These will be circulated to the workshop participants prior to the meeting.

Bill Kerr seems to be willfully applying a modernist frame of reference over his developing critique of social media. To my mind looking at the world today through the lens of modernism is a bit like turning up to a party wearing your work clothes… I’m not sure if that analogy works for others out there, but it works for me at the moment. This is not to say I don’t appreciate Bills choice of reference, it is quite thought provoking and its certainly giving me stuff to blog about šŸ™‚

I get this idea about Bill from a recent film Sunshine and I have just seen called Helvetica.

Its a documentary on the story of the type set helvetica. Well, its more than that really, its the story of modernist visual communication and media and its relationship to the world today. And that’s the link to Bill.
The film started with the old modernists, nostalgically reminiscing about the crisp, clear, rational idealism of helvetica. Through interview after interview it sampled the perspectives of designers on the significance of the type set. The post modernist designers came on later and almost embarrassed themselves with their naive politiks, but they cleared the thick, pipe smoke air left by the modernist old boys, and made way for the deconstructing grunge. The sort of punk deconstructionists destructionists who dismissed it all and wiped the slate clean of these historical burdons and over all disappointments.

Gradually the film moved through these observable historic periods and attempted to clear some of the fog around today. The current generation of professional designers and their freedom to sample everything from that historic pallet. They are able to balance the rational clarity of modernist style, with the political messaging of the post modernists, and the subjective expressionism of the grunge to create a range of unique messages and visual environments based largely on sampling and remixing. Often deep and considered (as it has to be with these historical references), but largely surface and superficial, intentionally too.

Of course the old boy modernists are still hung up about the post modern “disease” that snuffed their flame, and think and behave like they are the guardians of everything “true”. The post modernists are still hung up about their modernist parents not accepting anything they do, and while they relax into a conservative retirement they on the whole refuse to acknowledge the sophistication of their successors. The punks still don’t give a shit and just get on with it.

But its the emerging generation that is interesting to us now.. this is perhaps the age that will be called the neo constructivists, the time when media and communications was somewhat democratised, when the set up cost to be a film maker was within reach of many, to be a communication designer was within reach of many more still, music, journalism etc..

But that right there is still considering the world with a modernist reference! To use the professions of film making, record producing, journalism as some sort of reference or comparison to the socially networked media is a mistake. To be hung up on the quality of output from socially networked media, based on the outputs of professionals is largely out of place. Of course there are emerging professionals that are using the social platforms – the A listers and the like, but on the whole, considering neo constructivism in terms of historical professionalism is a bit like turning up to a juiced up punk/grunge rock party dress and drinking your 60’s helvetica.. you’re gunna get bashed or worse.

Its not quite right, but I wanna say that there’s no such thing as a film maker, a designer, a journalist or record producer anymore. These historic reference points for media and communication have been diluted and washed away. If these things are everywhere now, then these things are nothing (to appropriate Robert Hughes‘ famous line). Of course we still go to see films, and buy recorded music, and take notice of journalistic expertise, its just that these are no longer the only, or most significant platform for cultural expression. Visual communication and design is now merging with personal expression and identity and professionalism has nothing to do with it.

The Helvetica film ended with an excellent observation of this new social mediascape by a fella named – I’ll have to watch the film again šŸ˜¦ I’ve asked the Youtube pirate if he/she has the clip I’m thinking of… but the fella was observing the scene through the lens of society and communication. The point of this post is that appreciating the historical significance of the socially networked media scape, or the neo constructivists (if i’m ok to call it that (?) is better done through the lens of contemporary social science, through communications studies, through culture and visual communication. Not through modernist perspectives in computing, rationalism or objectivity.

Dangerous words I know – to a precious modernist despairing at the destruction of his world as the boys and girls strip him of his work suit.


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