Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Where is the original?
'The presence of the original is the prerequisite of authenticity'
Walter Benjamin
Norwegian police arrest the criminals suspected of stealing The Scream ...but the Guardian reports that Charles Hill of the Met (retired expert) recovered ANOTHER original version of the painting which was stolen in 1994. How many originals are there? And what does it all mean in the digital age - an age in which authenticity may not be anchored to time and place? In fact, where is my blog...and what is it that leaves its trace on your screen?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Idling I visit Boing Boing and that leads me to the zoomquilt and the world of dispersed (collaborating artists). Favaria seems to be a singleton but I like his work - particularly the graffiti. There's some interesting music and image work like Torisukoshiro and this. But somehow All Your Base Are Belong To Us (US?) captures something. The visual style reminds me of the BEP video. Like the mask?


Monday, December 27, 2004

Mysterious footprints
We seem to like the idea of mysterious creatures that leave mysterious footprints. I used to love the Yeti story...remember the photographs? Here's more Yeti stuff! Mystery solved, the Yeti is VIRTUAL and by the time I'd finished my online session with her/him, my mouse was quite grubby: fortunately there's good advice on this too.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Young people today
Roaming around I find Eyebeam with a report on the youngest videoblogger on record. Here's Dylan's blog...its a rambling affair and, I suspect, lovingly supported by a parent. More mature bloggers are to be found navel-gazing here!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

On my feet again!
Yes, I'm on my feet again - everybody else has uggs on theirs - and there's a strange surfing connection, I believe. Uggprints in the sand? Anyway, the less said about that the better. I've been worried for some time about keyboard hygiene. Today's technology presents us with a whole new set of cleaning issues. Now this is where iklear singles come in handy. If you're not convinced invest in the super starter kit!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Backchanneling: I think like it!
This is the term being used for the sorts of 'back row' multi-participant chats that happen at conferences with wireless connectivity. So, there's this from mamamusings. I also like to keep up to date with Torill Mortensen and that's how I found out about this and her latest claim to fame (courtesy of those shrewd people at Amazon).

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Originally uploaded by edsghm.

I made this with a web-based program called typographia (now where did I put that address?)... oh no, it wasn't called typographia, it was called 'Typogenerator' and here's its address. My first attempt was all army colours - dead boring, there's no way I was going to publish that! Anyway this was a good idea, but I completely missed it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I blog therefore I am
Day 6 of this wretched flu - I would consider trepanation if it was a) legal, b) cheap, and c) painless. But that's just silly, whereas a little functional piercing would be quite a good idea. On the other hand, if I was in full health I'd decorate the house (outside): I've got some great ideas off the internet!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

If I dissed
If I dissed the university on my blog, would they sack me? Would they know? I think I'd best be careful though because it's tough out there, as this report shows. Anyway I'm the cautious type and I realise I'd have to be really saucy, and have a photo like this to get the chop.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Why was I reading this?
I thought this sounded pretty cool until I realised I didn't really understand it all! I take comfort in the fact that one day soon I may be able to have something like the SCOTTeVEST - it's the new deal jacket which has flexible, removable solar panels on the back, and a power cell that recharges your gadgets through a USB connection. OK the website’s awful, but I don't care any more: I know I exist because I'm in this (I write therefore I am).

Friday, December 17, 2004

I thought I saw a link...
but it was only apophenia - a chapter in Pattern Recognition but not an entry in the dictionnary. Google apophenia and you get this and Danah Boyd (with an article on blogging) and a link that takes you straight back to William Gibson. There must be a Greek word for this strange cyclical phenomenon or else it's influenza delirium (and that's Latin if you're an etymologist).

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Easy fun
I'm in bed with flu, so I just need cheering up. This did it! And then more chav stuff made me chuckle (trackback), until I realised that this sort of thing is actually deeply divisive and really only recycles class prejudice. The word will from now on be regarded with deep suspicion.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

And who are you, Stuart?
It was wonderful to hear Stuart Hall on the radio last night, and its free-to-air right now. I particularly liked his elegant musings on identity. I've also bookmarked Hevern's interesting paper 'Threaded Identity in Cyberspace: Weblogs & Positioning in the Dialogical Self' (from a journal I learnt about in the US). Also been reading The Ludologist. The visual design of the blog is great, don't you think....pattern recognition?

Monday, December 13, 2004

On the blog
I read that Kris Cohen has a piece on the photoblog -"What does the photoblog want?" in Media, Culture and Society. I'll be looking out for that. And this is an address for the camphone moblog community (I haven't tried it yet, but it looks pretty good). Finally, a conference paper by Jon Hoem on videoblogs (aka 'the footage' after William Gibson). Cool Hunting!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Traces in the wireless city
They call it public authoring, and it picks up on the idea of leaving your mark in the environment (see previous posts on graffiti). Proboscis illustrate the concept through this and this (they're a bit slow, so you could do something else at the same time!). That leads nicely onto flaneurs and storytellers and their place in the urban tapestry. Also there's a blog and, of course, because I retell this backwards: here's the front page.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bus blog
A few years back I had the idea of sampling literacy practices along a line drawn on a map of the urban area where I live. I never got round to it, but I often think about recycling the idea as a student project. Recently a friend told me about the No 73 bus blog - check it out! This comes out of research reported a while back on the beeb. It's a great idea, you can learn more here. And if literacy in education is your bag you can read me (and my good friends) in Janet Evans book 'Literacy Moves On'.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I haven't yet blogged my blog (like Dr Joolz) or tracked anything as awesome as this, but I've been thinking about my trajectory in the blogosphere. Am I sneaking into a heterotopia or becoming a cyber-flaneur? An answer came when I found this on Sarah's blog - the idea of hyperidentity/ies. The idea in the article is quite straightforward. I think Jim Gee would argue that meaningful learning is about taking on a new identity. Stuart McNaughton puts it slightly differently when he says: 'In the culture of the classroom, children's identities as learners are taking form.'

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Keep it clean!
People keep an asking me what I want for Christmas. Well the truth is that all I really want is the Hello Kitty desktop vac, but I don't think it's available over here, so maybe I'll have to make do with the Spherex chair (my third choice).

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Play power
Texting, tagging and blogging seem to have one thing in common. They're all ways that technology has been appropriated to serve our everyday/social/playful pursuits. Yes, we all know about play and learning, but the politics of adult play are just as interesting. Maybe it's here that the affordances of technology get changed through the repurposing of tools. Googling technology and play gives fairly predictable results - except for this, which is scary!

Monday, December 06, 2004

From the front to QR codes
USA Today reports on congressmen getting emails from soldier relatives that are more informative than military briefings (are we surprised?). Altogether more optimistic in flavour is the idea of deploying warplanes to drop 120 million origami cranes in Southern Thailand.

And on the shopping front, watch out for Quick Response code technology (QR), which is poised to replace the barcode. QRs carry far more information and can be scanned by mobile phones. The future is here (....or else it's in Japan).

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Well, I suppose that my tourist retail thing should include these, but the successor to the i-pod is pretty impressive too (although I'm not sure about the look). In fact, the Rio Carbon is so impressive that hackers are repurposing the hard drive and selling it on at a profit. Cool hunters or digital cowboys? And this is Sarah's blog.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

And then there's Miami
Last day of the NRC conference today and I'm still thinking about what Gunther said about the relationships between the worker, the tool and the work. I think he mentioned that the work leaves its trace on the tool that's used, and illustrated this with a print text in which word meanings shifted...mmm!
Joe Tobin was great yesterday, a good late night vital issues session with Michele, Colin and Ilana, and today I heard Shelley Xu... and we're making plans for next year in Miami. That's attractive!

Friday, December 03, 2004

The best of yesterday
It had to be Colin and Michele: I particularly liked the manga stuff that Michele did and the compex interweavings of social practices from Anya's work. It started to make me think that the online/offline binary that we impose may be bit off target. In the example Colin read out cyberspace and meatspace are blended.
Ilana Snyder was very good, too. I thought the way she used Gibson's Mirror World theme was really interesting. Also loved Morrel's work, that really applied Critical Discourse Analysis.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

At the NRC in San Antonio where it's sunny and pleasant. Just been to a good session on blogging with Dana Commack, Sarah Lohnes and Gus Andrews - all from Columbia University. There doing some interesting work.
Stopped and searched several times on the way over...and that shoe things funny too. Why are they so interested in my footwear? Do they think I'm, Manola the shoe-blogger?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Itchy feet?
No, not that foot thing again (people are starting to talk)...I'm off to San Antonio, the place with one of the the worst web designs ever! Maybe I'll have some down time in the Hill Country, who knows. At least I don't have to worry about my blogger friends who are staying at home, listening to the wireless. Carry on blogging!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Making tracks again...
That’s the oldest footprint there, but, actually, I must say that I prefer fresh boot tracks in snow (Westport) or barefoot on a sandy beach. Is that normal? Anyway this is a good-news story.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Did the future arrive yet?
Mark Weiser coined the phrase "ubiquitous computing". He saw the potential for embedding technology in home environments, and in everyday objects. In ubiquitous computing, we could interact with hundreds of computers at a time - each invisibly distributed in our environment and wirelessly connected to each other. This paper looks at intimacy and ubiquitous computing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mark making in those liminal spaces
It's the unbounded semiotic of disruption, subvertising and culture jamming...yes it's graffiti time again! Sprays, stencils, stickers are the technologies of other voices. There are some interesting blogs on street art and graffiti and a lovely example of stencil work, here. I like the concept of online graffiti and this animated graffiti is interesting. But the bit of new-tech subvertising that really inspires me is this - if you post a message on this website, he's supposed to get a text-message on his bike. Then he uses a programmable chalk-spray that writes your message on the road. Wow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Funny, I didn’t know about the Beeb’s Spook stuff until I read Anya’a blog. The new look’s really cool - and I like her chapter, too. It’s good to see Joolz gets a mention and another call-out for the Manola shoeblog! I shift from my despair about blog-blocking when I read this about blogging in the writing classroom.

Monday, November 22, 2004

UWB - the future?
Like a souped up Bluetooth, UWB (Ultra Wide Band) is poised to grab our cash, provide high speed/lower power wi-fi and lead to more convergence. This article introduces the idea and the Intel site shows that the big players are already lined up. 'All I want for Christmas is .....'

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Blog on blogs
Blogs certainly do have the potential for all sorts of knowledge exchange and (sometimes) debate. That’s great, particularly if you’re part of a dispersed community as is argued here. I’m not so sure that they do the same thing as more traditional academic work (eg journal articles). In the current knowledge economy do we have to protect our goods from competitors? Or should we be creating new rules?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

More footprints, no shoes
Children’s footprints dating back to the Mesolithic period (10,000-5,500 years ago) have been found in the semi-submerged salt marshes of the Severn Estuary. I’m amazed that we have this record. It makes me think it’s time to make my own record, merging fixed-interval crowd photography using Crowd Compiler. Point, counterpoint.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Blogs blocked
Local ICT advisers are discouraging schools from blogging because they are easily 'hacked'. OK blogs are public, but so what? The only unfortunate incident I'm aware of is Marc Prensky reporting on unwelcome postings. Meanwhile other schools have been introduced to the arcane practice of pencil and paper blogs :sigh:
At the same time, work on intelligent fabrics and wired clothing gathers momentum. Soon you won't need to worry about knotting up your hands-free and your i-pod headphones - all will be one - convergence in your clothing. This website has the latest links on wearable computers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Digital Prophecy
With the new DAB radio I discover Dhafer Youseff, blending Tunisian oud playing with Scandanavian electro-jazz. What's more he's on tour - I'll be there in meatspace (it's the only way).

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Putting your foot in it
Booking on a reef trip in Queensland the other year we were surprised to be told that 'All you need bring is your thongs.' - surprised until we unpicked the local linguistic nuance that suddenly makes footwear and underwear interchangeable! In a laterally connected way the humble flip-flop has acquired a double meaning brought to light in this wonderful site (thanks for the link, Jackie).

Monday, November 15, 2004

Am I a social group, am I?
I think our work on how children and young people use new technology needs to go beyond individual interactions and the texts they produce. We need to look at technology-mediated social groups. For instance I like this sort of stuff on the geekgirl site: does this make me a social group?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Visuals, videoblogging and so on
Reading about videoblogs, I find that this is one of the more oft-quoted ones: Steve Garfield. Mind you, on Saturday night I got just as much out of playing with these little wonders! Back on the conference theme I’m tempted by this- looks like it should be interesting.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Blogging in Bergen
I'm so impressed with Julia's visuals! My own brush with photoblogging went pear-shaped : blush: but I’m uplifted to find that I don’t have to be in meatspace to enjoy the Bergen conference. This is the videoblog you can see and hear Howard Rheingold – almost as good as being there and probably considerably warmer!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Beset by bears
These cuddly little items are the latest infestation in my mailbox. I read, I wish, I forward. This is the phenomenon of the ‘good luck’ email chain message. By forwarding it the text becomes a sort of votive artifact. Pass it on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Phone tricks and disco bits
I knew I read it somewhere but I've just confirmed that James Trusler is in the Guinness Book of Records for texting at a speed of 160 characters in 1min 7 secs!
Awesome! But has he been bluejacked yet? Well, I'm just getting the hang of picture messaging and that's OK, but nobody's bluejacking me. Still mobiles are really on the move, as I learn from Colin and Michele's blog. This little number is designed for clubbing. (Presumably it reaches parts that the U2 ipod doesn't!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This link on academics who blog is borrowed from Vic, who suggests that blogs provide an opportunity for new kinds of participation in intellectual life. I’ve been thinking about what a potent research tool the blog could become allowing user groups, stakeholders, and participants a close-up view of work as it unfolds.
Looks like a good conference in Norway (shame I can’t participate) and Howard Rheingold is guest of honour.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The print (again)
The event that completely disrupts Robinson Crusoe’s world is ‘the print of a man’s naked foot on the shore’. A disruptive sign. Are someone else’s surftrails the same? Footprints are a recurring theme in this blog. Unlike Bunuel I can’t own up to a full-on foot fetish, but yet I’m delighted to discover my first shoe blog!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Passing through
Leicester station used to be noted for its multilingual welcome sign in Gujerati, Hindi, Urdu and English. Now this has been replaced by ‘heritage’ pictures and a weblink that doesn't work (this one does). Is this the slow homogenisation of late modernity or just the sign of the times on the rail network? Time for the inspiration of Mitzuko Ito's Bento Blog!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Religious fanaticism, terrorism and so on…
It’s that time of year again when we go firework crazy. November 5th was etched on my memory well before September 11th, but there are some parallels. Anyway I’ll be just doing virtual fireworks – wish I had a voting button, but then what’s the difference between this, this and this?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Are the most interesting insiders outsiders?
I’ve been checking out what Marc Prensky said about Digital Natives in Bristol – his long but interesting slideshow is here. I also like what he has to say about mobile phones: What can you learn from a cell-phone? Please note there's an ethical thing here – he likes you to let him know you’re linking up to his stuff. Contact

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Writing online
I wonder whether this is a space beyond the reach of international politics? Probably not. Bush's re-election is deeply depressing...and just to think I have to go to a meeting and talk about something good I've read! Maybe I'll choose a serial email narrative, kind-of-edgy kind-of-cool. Here's some links: this and this.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Happy Tree Friends ?
I didn't know quite what to think when my friend's 9 year old showed me this cartoon site. There are free feeds but they take a while to load. Meanwhile this idea (here) is an Australian import and seems like a fine idea to me.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Tuned to a dead channel
Its 20 years since William Gibson brought us the word 'cyberspace' and the adventures of the punk cyborg Chase. The opening line stays with me: The sky above the port was the colour of television tuned to a dead channel.' That's magic. I've been visiting Gibson's blog quite a bit lately - that's interesting, too.
Bashment reaches Sheffield now, in the form of a new hair salon 'Bashment Barbers'. But I see that it's not 'bashment' but 'chav' that's tipped as new word of the year by

Friday, October 29, 2004

New roles for digital writing
Most new mobile phones purchased in the UK now have picture messaging facility, some do short movie clips. Mizuko Ito charts an interesting development in etiquette with the cameraphone in Japan where users text first to check availablity. Read about it here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Local knowledge
Graffiti on hoardings around Sheffield claims that God is real. I was pleased to learn, this morning from another writer's addition that God is really Nigel! That explains a lot.
Jack's been talking to me about some of the fascinating work he's been doing over in Rotherham (and elsewhere in cyberspace). This is showcased on his website 'Personal Demons'.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Thinking with my fingers
I love the idea of thinking with your fingers. It builds on some of Frank Wilson’s ideas in his book ‘The Hand’. Torill Mortensen uses this to title her blog (which is full of interesting stuff). Meanwhile back at home, I now have Sonia Livingstone’s survey of
UK children online, based on a survey of 1,500 9-19 year olds and 900 parents of 9-17 year olds. The links on the sidebar too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Making tracks in cyberspace
What will happen when bloggers get easier access to mobile technology? Justin Hall who's looking at trends in the US and Japan writes about the possibilities of moblogging. Meanwhile media debate in Japan is addressing the ethics of news blogs and how blogging is changing the face of journalism. At the same time here's more tracks in cyberspace!

Monday, October 25, 2004

My footprints
Wet footprints are the memory of my appearance at the office. They say that Thoth invented writing after watching the webprints of the marsh Ibis. This reminds me of how Vygotsky described writing as mnemotechnic. Now, in webrings and bloggings we print our footsteps in cyberspace.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Art, music, life...

Just discovered the work of Martin Hill who does minature Golsworthy-like stuff with stones and pebbles. I loved the film Rivers and Tides which features Andy's work at Eden. You can see other stuff here.

French jazz has often been good, perhaps at its best with Cameroon-born Manu Dibango, but a new niche in 'world jazz' takes off with the arabesque flavours of Didier Malherbe. Life goes on.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

What's news?
Well, first there's official recognition of the rise of news blogs and then our friends at Firebox resurrect the Tamagotchi (here). We must be living in a retro world.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Live links/dead links

Unfortunately, the fabulous hip hop link is now dead :weep: So, to compensate for that I'm now showing a couple of papers on the sidebar. And keeping up with the unofficial literacies subvertising themes here's a gallery of the work of Banksy who operates in Bristol and London. And this is the Banksy site (here).

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

My birthday and other ephemera

Yes, just a bit older, so I'm keeping up to date with hip-hop (click here: you'll need sound) and thinking of creating a digital archive of all those old cassette tapes in the glove compartment of my car with this.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The art of the flashmob

In the summer the BBC harnessed the power of the flashmob phenomenon to create Flashmob the Opera, a tastefully disruptive event staged at London's Paddington Station. This is now showing on Channel 3.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Remember those little brushes...

Remember those little brushes you used to get to clean typewriter keys? Another part of writing paraphernalia safely consigned to the past. But it's a whole new set of problems when you try to keep new writing tools clean. Remove those snack crumbs and dead skin from your keyboard with this little gem: the keyboard vac.

Then again, maybe that clunky keyboard is just a throw-back to the times of typing. What about a virtual keypad for your PDA - click here

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Scandinavian Jazz

Why does all the best new jazz come from Norway and Sweden? In 1989 Miles Davis recorded Palle Mikkelborg's Aura suite in Stockholm...and since then, ECM legend Jan Gabarek, followed by the fantastic Nils Petter Molvaer. And now Eivind Aarset's stunning work on Connected!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Love in a cold climate

Another object of desire is the wearable MP3 player. OK if it's cold, wet or both - but as Ruth points out 'No good if it's hot!'. Have they considered MP3 shorts?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Whatever happened to Fist?

Graffiti has a long history dating back, as far as I know, to comments carved into the paving slabs of Ephesus and the Great Wall of China. The Silk Route exhibition at the British Library also showed interesting 'textual litter' in various languages uncovered by nineteenth and twentieth century archeologists. But the spraycan presented a new technology for unofficial urban literacy and marked a new departure in writing. Fist decorated bridges, billboards and buildings with his distinctive tag until the police caught up with him sometime in the 1990s. He was given a gaol sentence for his labours. What happened to Fist? His spirit lives on.

We're now witnessing the emergence of URL graffiti, where affinity groups and activists use this technique of subvertisement to direct the newly literate to their websites. But what would screen-based graffiti look like? Or could this be a way of describing some writing in the blogosphere?

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Am I suffering from bloggers block? No, I just gave it a break. Life got in the way. Now I'm getting some students into the blogosphere. It's going to be a bit wooden at first, but let's see how it unfolds.

I've been away in Turkey and access seems quite hard outside the major towns. I found internet cafes in the tourist places, but they were very hot and sweaty with slow connections. All I was able to do was check my mail a couple of times. That or melt.

Thursday, March 04, 2004