Thursday, 29 November 2007

I Heart Jimmy Shand

The blog seems to be turning into a request show, as a student of mine pointed me to this video.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

iPM Podcast

Just subscribed to the BBC Radio 4 "iPM" podcast. More details on the new media formatted program at its website. Of course, getting the chance to listen to it is a different matter.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Welcome to the 'Sphere

A new class of bloggers starts today. The N4OG-N, November starts. Welcome aboard.

In Kautokeino no one can hear you scream

I found this online - I must track down a copy of "Kill Buljo"

”Wouldn’t it be fun to make a north Norwegian Tarantino spoof of Kill Bill?”

More info


Posts, Shoots & Leaves

Monday, 26 November 2007

7 Deadly Sins of Blogging

Clearswift produced a guide to the 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging. The full document can be read here, but I've summarised the main points below for those too lazy to click a link and read the additional information.

1st Deadly Sin
Thinking you’re only talking to friends

The Golden Rule of blogging: never say anything on a blog that you wouldn’t happily say in public, that you can’t substantiate or that the organization would not permit. If in doubt: take it out!

2nd Deadly Sin
Thinking your blog is personal, not an organizational matter

If you’re publishing a personal blog, make it clear on your home page that the views expressed in it are your own (and don’t mention your organization).

Whether personal or corporate, here are some of the big no-nos of blogging:

  • Sharing confidential information
  • Sharing business plans
  • Engaging in controversial speech
  • Sharing copyright-protected material
  • Sharing illegal or distasteful material

3rd Deadly Sin
Linking to inappropriate material

It’s not just what you say in your blog, it’s what you link to. Linking to illegal material or inappropriate websites, videos or images is probably a breach of your policy – check it out if you’re unsure.

4th Deadly Sin
Thinking you can erase mistakes

You can’t. Once you’ve published a blog entry, it’s out there for all to copy, share, link to and discuss. Of course, you can remove a post (and you should if you have any doubts), but you never know who has already copied it, distributed it or put it in their own blog.

5th Deadly Sin
Ignoring comments to your blog entries

Your own blog entries may be completely responsible, but that doesn’t mean the people who post comments will be.
Most bloggers experience unpleasant, inappropriate comments to their posts at some time. This can include racial or sexual abuse, harassment, personal attacks and links to pornography or illegal material.

You are responsible for all comments posted on your blog. Make sure you regularly monitor all comments, remove offensive or illegal ones, block irresponsible contributors and report any serious incident.

And of course, when you comment on other people’s blogs, the same rules of professionalism and security apply as they would on your own blog.

6th Deadly Sin
Devouring resources

Simple text-based blogs are generally resource-friendly. But when you start to share recorded webcams, presentations, music, video and multimedia files, you may be eating valuable bandwidth, slowing down the network and using up storage space.

7th Deadly Sin
Leaving yourself open to virus attack

A new generation of computer viruses, worms, Trojans and ‘malware’ (malicious computer code) has risen up to exploit the opportunities presented by blogging and other Web 2.0 services.

How I Blog

The technicalities are usually set out by the communications device:

1. Windows Live Writer from computer. A great free program. Even allows me to download, amend and repost articles. Eg adding better photographs than the ones sent from the mobile phone.

2. Blogger editor online if computer I'm using doesn't have WLW. I find this clunky, as I like opening linked articles in a new window, and Blogger's editor doesn't allow me to do this, unless I go through adding target="_blank" code.

3. Mobile phone - blogging when walking or travelling. I use the email facility, rather than the built-in blog software. If the blog post doesn't connect, I can't send another post, but a failed email will just sit in the outbox.

Topic - generally this comes first. What have I to say? George Orwell wrote about the four great motives for writing, and I think every post can easily fit into at least one of those categories:

(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

(iv) Political purpose. Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

For me, I don't tend to bother about (i) or (iii). I like the idea of doing something first, showing photographs of areas that others may not have seen, pushing the new media of blogs a bit further than they were before - I think that is a category (iv). And most of the rest are (ii) - aesthetic.

In less prosaic terms, the types of blog articles that I post are either:

1. Input - reposting information that has come in from elsewhere, e.g. news items, articles from forums, weather, what was first communicated in a non-Web medium e.g. tv/radio/podcast/book/magazine, site statistics.

2. Processing - taking information and forming new ideas from it.

3. Output - sharing an event or thought that I have experienced.

4. Feedback - I rarely revisit old posts, old journeys.

Once I have the general idea for the post, I start writing. Well, sometimes it takes me a while if it is a "processing" article. The recent article on Convergence 2.0 took me a couple of days to formulate in my brain - aided by some cold walks, when my brain needs to think to keep working. It often gives me time to come up with a snappy title.

I used to use random titles, taken from the music track that I had been listening too. Nowadays, I find it difficult to locate articles written back then.

I also used to post a day's-worth of articles in one post. Again, I find it difficult to locate articles written back then.

My posts tend to be reasonably well cross-referenced. This gets round one problem with communications, where people from different cultures don't have the same terms of reference.  So, talking about "Dad's Army" may get UK readers thinking of the old BBC comedy, but others around the world may not have a clue. Using Wikipedia or YouTube helps greatly.

Most "processing" posts then to have a beginning, middle and end. They are formed articles. Sometimes the "output" posts fall into this system too, but often they are linear, telling the reader about what happened at the start, middle and end of a journey.

Most "input" articles are brief and to the point. Sometimes very short indeed. Much depends on my mood and the amount of time I have available.

In conclusion

I blog using the best hardware/software available to me at that moment. I tend to write about different things. I often go back and change posts, adding in more links, better photographs or fixing mistakes.

If you are not blogging about what you are experiencing, or sharing information or adding your visions to the human consciousness - then what the heck are you doing in the 'Sphere, dude?

WLW 2008

New version of Windows Live Writer came out earlier this month. It is "out of beta", and is now WLW 2008.

Downloading it just now. It is taking a while, and seems to have quite a few more additional products

that it wants me to install. So more to uncheck.

It offers 3mb of Family Safety - to help keep my family safe online. I'll refuse that offer just now until some goons turn up to break my laptop.

The installation says that I am "free to do other things while you wait." Which is nice. It doesn't offer to go an get me a coffee though.

A few "please wait" windows flash up, and I stop typing as I lose control of the text box.

It has kept the plugins that I downloaded a few days ago, and everything seems like 'normal'.


Copy/paste from Notepad, and continuing writing in WLW 2008. So far I have noticed nothing new about the program. There's a list of features here. Still no symbol insertion for complex HTML codes, so I'm still using FoxInternet's page for characters that the Insert Symbol plugin can't cope with. Useful stuff if writing in Gælic; Frénch; Spaniçh - in fact almost all languages except Ænglish. Ôó ∏

Back on the main site, I read that there is now a UK English spell-checker available. Huzzah. You can also spellcheck in French, German and Spanish. Spiffing. As well as Canadian and the original US English.

In summary - a nice, free, working blog writer program. It allows me to rapidly switch between normal and HTML views so that I can copy/paste in Embed codes from other sites (eg Flickr, Zooomr, YouTube). It allows me to set the default to be 'open in new window'. It can pick up Tags from the blogs, and can grab posts down to allow me to edit them and repost them.

New features may not seem worth the download, but, heck, it is free anyway, just watch out for the 'extras' it offers. I prefer WLW to the clunky, online Blogger editor. I even use it to create comments with complex HTML tags, then just switch to HTML Code view and copy/paste the code in to the comments window. Just make sure no 'P' tags and no 'open in new window/_blank' tags either.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

On This Day in History

My namesake, Duncan, inherited the Scottish crown in 1034.

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

According to Shakespeare, he was murdered in his sleep by MacBeth. Boo, hiss.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Out of Boddam

This useful site has the sunrise/sunset times, but the sunrise was mugged today by a North Sea cloudbank as I waited south of Boddam. Warm clothing and a thermos in the car was essential.

The rain stopped as the sun came up over the horizon, just a red glow behind the clouds. Eventually, the sun clears the thick clouds and rises into the gap.










9:07am. ISO 100. F/32. 1/10 sec. Filter: ND8. Horizon straightened and cropped.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Traffic Update

As the weather starts to get more wintry, I can't help but want to see what the rest of Scotland is like. Traffic Scotland have expanded the number of webcams available. They also have reports of incidents and road closures.

Don't forget the Met Office webcams, and this nice one featuring Buachaille Etive Mór, at the gateway to Glencoe (maplink and pronunciation).

Library Sale

Message up on the College intranet from Malcolm Smith:

To make space for new books, some older editions are available for sale.

  • Paperbacks are 20p each
  • Hardbacks are 40p each
  • Journals are 10p per issue
  • Textbooks and ACCA texts are included

I know where I'll be going at lunchtime. They'll make ideal (and cheap) Christmas presents for workmates too. Books are great. Sadly I can't learn by osmosis, and either read them, skim through them, or have them available to read/skim later. I'm envious of people who can read rapidly. I take ages to read books, as I like to get as much knowledge/entertainment/flavour from them as I can.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Dreich is The Word

I like having a choice of waterproofs. I noticed, however, that i was procrastinating as it got near time for me to leave the warm, dry baseroom and leg it across town to the Foyer. As much of Aberdeen is built on a grid system, some streets funnel the strong winds whilst others are reasonably sheltered. Umbrellas are often worthless, often essential. I did wonder about wearing my Paramo trousers today. I didn't.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Meditation by Paddyrasta

Paddyrasta's "Meditation" video, filmed here in Aberdeen. See how many locations you can spot.


YouTube has set up a channel that hopes to beat the bullies.


The BBC News writes:

It follows growing concern about the increase in persecution by e-mail, mobile phone and on social networking sites, known as cyberbullying.

The scheme is being launched at the start of anti-bullying week and is run jointly with charity Beatbullying.

The Beatbullying YouTube channel aims to revolutionise how young people access information on how to avoid being bullied and importantly on how to avoid being the person who does the intimidating.


More information can be found on these sites, including video clips from celebrities, some talking about how it affected them.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

PodZine 19.11.07

Colin Prior is interviewed by Bob Cartwright in this week's TOS Podzine. Bob catches Colin before he leads a photographic tutorial group to Bhutan.

The Podzine 19/11/07

Download MP3 File

An earlier interview still exists in Bob's old page (link).

I have his work on a screensaver on my works laptop. His work is inspirational for me. For instance, sitting on top of Ben Hope in 2005, I noticed the clouds below me, creeping around the eastern side of the hill. So, I'm freezing at 3,041 feet, after sleeping on the lower slopes, and I do what I can with my point-and-click. All because of the articles in TGO magazine, which got me thinking about what I was seeing.

Scotland's Music

There's a fine programme on BBC2 called "Scotland's Music with Phil Cunningham", with Phil Cunningham presenting a programme about music from Scotland. He delves into Scotland's past, meets people, and discusses the tunes and who wrote them.

In this week's episode he covered work. Which meant that he looked into waulking songs, with Anne Lorne Gillies and Capercaillie; shepherds (with a trip to Tibbie Shiel's Inn in Ettrick); fishing in Stonehaven and whaling in Peterhead; jute in Dundee, and travellers and Doric balladeers, "fit fit fits fit fit?"

So you get a better idea of aspects of Scottish people, history, the environment, oh, and some music too.

Being a modern media company, the BBC have a website where you can watch (and listen to) clips from the shows so far.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

iPM Radio Blog Show

Radio 4 have a new show about the world, constructed through their blog, commented and expanded therein. Also discusses blogging in general. Eddy Mair's enthusiasm for life shows through.


Show Link

Model Railway Exhibition 07.1

On at AECC in Aberdeen over Saturday and Sunday. Not just model railway layouts, but lots of small sale engineering projects and tools for same. Also able to pick brains of the exhibitors to help you with your own projects.

Friday, 16 November 2007


So, the car thermometer reads 4'c and i'm glad that the rucksack that houses my camera case also holds warm bunnet and gloves. Taking photos of moon after checking our tables at the exhibition centre. I hear the boy racers driving by and remember popping in to Checkpoint earlier in the year. To see the cargeeks in their natural habitat was an eye-opener for me. Students who show little interest in infotech were getting exited about some tyres! To me a car is something practical, to them it was something more. GeekPower!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Convergence 2.0

Yesterday I watched Alan Yentob's "Imagine...WWW" with a couple of HNC classes, as he covered the future of the Web. Although a year old, I was surprised to find a couple of items from it being cited that day:

  1. David Firth, of SaladFingers fame, was on ScreenWipe last night on BBC2. (Sorry Salima).
  2. "The Long Tail" being discussed on the new podcast. (YouTube video)

To me, this reflects the power of Web2.0. It is about sharing ideas, just-in-time learning, and creativity. A real meritocracy. Participate or not, it is your choice, just don't complain about missing out. Learn Japanese if you want. Learn how to create spheres in Photoshop if you want. Learn how to fold a lightcube if you want.

Leo and Amber described themselves as being Internet Content Creators. Not being pigeon-holed into one particular format. I thought back to the Yentob programme, where he mentioned convergence. The two ideas, memes if you will, merged, intertwingled. I had been thinking of convergence in a Web 1.0 way: the technologies coming together so that, for example, my mobile phone has a media player, so I don't need two devices. What if I think of convergence in a Web 2.0 way? The sharing, the communities, the people, the learning, the exploration, the fun, and the meritocracy is all that is important, and not the hosting technology.

Do I care that you are listening to this on a podcast? Nope. Do I care if you are using Safari on a Mac, or browsing via a mobile phone? Nope. So why should you care if this is posted on a blog, written on a forum or a wiki, in some class notes or discussed in a YouTube video. Is this not what converging technologies should be really about? Share the knowledge, share the creativity, share the power. In return you will gain new knowledge, find new creativity, and be empowered to take new strides forward.

Any media that fails to keep up has a problem. Any technology that fails to keep up has a problem. But that is their problem, and not ours.

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever said Napoleon.

Do we not want our futures to be glorious? The revolution has started. Your future jobs will be affected by the new uses, the new systems, the new convergence. Software and hardware are just the tools of the trade. In the past, a joiner would use a variety of saws, chisels, and the like - today you use a variety of ICT tools to complete the job. Fall asleep, and the world keeps on moving without you. Miss work, and you need to catch up. The days of the dinosaurs are coming to an end. The new world is fast-moving, fun, slender and dangerous for dinosaurs.

Image source

If you don't understand something, ask, delve into the meme pool, visit the library; look for ideas from the past, from other technologies, merge concepts together. Stand on the shoulder of giants. There are only 26 letters in the English language, but that didn't stop William Shakespeare or Terence Alan Patrick Sean Milligan, so why should it stop you? There are fewer chords than that and even less primary colours, so why should these restrict you from being a better artist or musician?

The main restrictions are time, quality and money. Much software is legally free. Quality improves as you invest more time, or more money to buy hardware or better software. Time is the problem. You can do anything, you just haven't the time to do everything.


On saturday there was an RSPB team looking over this view from Union Terrace. Sadly, i didn't have (or take) the opportunity to stop. Using the listen again feature to catch Radio Scotland's excellent "out of doors" programme, the chaps spoke to the RSPB folk about the birds of prey that live and, well, prey above Aberdeen. Wow. Aberdeen has some amazing architecture happening above our heads, and now you can have your own AutumnWatch too. Watch the skies.

This and That




Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Before leaving work tonight, some of us were chatting about "Heroes", and it got me thinking as I (finally) left the office in the cold and dark...

  • Maggie - she had seen series 1 on Sky. Her son had seen part of series 2 abroad.
  • Duncan - had seen next week's on Freeview, but would be recording the terrestrial showing of it tonight as the Freeview picture isn't great quality. So the 0900pm showing was a 'repeat'. Wasn't sure if I'd be watching the next show on Freeview when it came on. [I decided that I'd better as "0.07%" was gripping].
  • Doreen - seen some, but lost her place. Would like to borrow the series when I've finished recording it.

So my brain, in an attempt to keep warm, starts thinking thus...We all watch the same TV series, but we can't discuss it openly without the fear of dropping a spoiler. Is "on demand" stopping the promotion of television programmes? Is it making us more insular in our watching habits? Is too much choice watering down television? If you are constantly switching channels, does it become easier to just switch off?

Accessibility via Odiogo

Considering accessibility options, I have decided to sign up this blog to Odiogo. Permission came through in less than an hour, and they have already converted recent posts to mp3 format, and you can listen to an American voice read my posts, and subscribe to the blog on iTunes, Juice or others.

Subscribe to the Odiogo podcast.

Assimilation Continues

Some new bloggers joining the Sphere... Ooh, i like that term, works better than blogosphere IMHO. Reminds me of a good kids anime on ITV, though the name escapes me.

Old College Project

When people whinge and moan about having to do work at College, just take a moment to consider the fact that you came to College to get the skills and qualifications to get a better job. Out in the real world, you'll be up against people who really want that job. If you grudgingly answer questions asked, slouch in the chair and show a general lack of indifference, you won't get the job, and you'll have to come up with some excuse as to how it wasn't your fault you didn't get the job. Then you'll shrug, and say that you didn't want the job in the first place.

Or you get real, and wise up. Here is one of former student, Mark Stirton's old college projects:

Put this level of effort into your work; show interest, show flair, show passion for your career. Interview panels can detect this quickly. They can also detect laziness, disinterest and lack of willing. Guess what? So can we. Good luck for the future.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

First Month's Numbers

I set up Google Analytics to monitor site stats about a month ago (10th October), so I've back-dated these stats a few days for neatness sake to the 10th November. In the last month, there have been

  • 931 visits (430 absolute unique visitors),
  • 2,085 pageviews, averaging 2.24 pages/visit,
  • spending an average of 4 minutes & 26 seconds on site.

In more detail, 67.56% visits were from Internet Explorer, 29.75% from FireFox, other browsers include 6 visits from a SonyEricsson k800i mobile phone.

The most 'uniques' tend to visit on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday - unsurprising as that's when the Int2's have their blogging classes.

Most visits came in directly to the address, more than a few (19) typed in a "www" before the address, 10 people used either Google or Yahoo to find this blog.

62% of people spend less that 10 seconds on the blog. Ach well, maybe if I used shorter words, more people would try reading it instead of looking at the pictures? Of course, the people who spend less than 10 seconds on the site aren't going to pick up on that, so, WTH. Noobs.

Being a cartophile (look it up, stoopd) I love the map overlay. Sadly it's not 'uniques', by visits. I'm ignoring 00:00:00 seconds on site, as that's just passing traffic. There's quite a few of them, so it it interfering with statistic.

  • UK, 812 visits - Aberdeen, Burford, Clevedon, Cumbernauld, Daventry, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Holmfirth, Irlam, Kirkcaldy, Kirkintillock, Knutsford, Leicester, London, Lymm, Manchester, Northampton, Petersfield, Sale, Sheffield, Staines, Uddingston, Wallington, Wembley, Wombwell.
  • USA, 62 visits - California/San Mateo, New York/New York (that song's just way too obvious), New Mexico/Las Cruces (never heard of before, great sounding name), Michigan/Detroit (home to Motown music, here's a difficult question),  Texas/Irving (ZZ Top's drummer went to school there). Alabama/Shannon. Nebraska/Omaha. Florida/Orlando. Virginia/Lynchburg (Jubal Early won that one). Illinois/Chicago (sweet home).
  • Netherlands, 7 visits - Arnhem (I'll be obvious with the vidlink), and Twello (what a sweet name for a place).
  • Canada, 5 visits - Winnipeg (IIRC, there's a big Highland community there).
  • Australia, 5 visits
  • China, 4 visits - Ningbo
  • Germany, 3 visits
  • Ireland, 3 visits - Dublin
  • France, 2 visits
  • Singapore, 2 visits
  • Switzerland, 2 visits - Wohlen
  • Spain, 2 visits - Pontevedra
  • Venezuela, 1 visit - Caracas

Top referrers are: Michael, Scott, Phill, Chrissie, Andrew, Nelson. But still, no-one from Madagascar!

Hair Today

Ian across at RGU has added hair no his computer model. With Aberdeen being a small place, I think I know his supervisor from my old RGIT days.

Safe Drive, Stay Alive

Sadly, I missed this display last week. Hopefully some of you didn't. Having driven the road to Peterhead Academy and back successfully for about 7 years, a good day was one in which I wasn't almost killed by speeding, dangerous or inconsiderate drivers. Hitting a patch of black ice on the dual carriageway at Balmedie doesn't count, 5 other cars weren't so 'lucky' that day.

In 2006, 62 people died on Grampian's roads. 25 of those who died were under the age of 25. A further 217 were seriously injured. Almost half of the fatal collisions involved drivers under 25 years old.

Figures from the Safe Drive, Stay Alive information poster. They also have a Grampian-specific micro-site.

RW Profile: Simon Armitage

I watched Channel 4's "The Not Dead" tonight. I hadn't realised that Simon Armitage had written the poetry for it. I like his work. I first heard him on Radio 1 years ago, when he was still working as a probation officer, or similar. I was unfamiliar with poetry other than prose from school. It was either flowery or about the war dead. For some reason, Nicky Campbell (after his move from Northsound, down to London) had some poets - John Hegley, Ian McMillan and Simon Armitage. I wasn't keen on Hegley's performance style, McMillan was 'Northern' and fun, Armitage's work had depth to it.

Perhaps this depth was what lead to him being commissioned by Channel 4?

I would like to see a programme about the work that went into his poems. Did he visit the places? How long did he spend with the veterans? How does he capture the fears, the experiences, the emotions, and did those being written about help craft the prose? It worked for me. It worked on me.


Monday, 12 November 2007

Monster Mash BrickStyle

A bit of YouTube fun for these dark days.

Bloggers' Roundup nr 3

Craig Yeats writes a detailed review of the Foo Fighters' gig at the AECC. Steve reviews his band's gig in Portlethen. Jamie looks forward to the Scotland v Italy game at Hampden, and Shaun's found a site where you can pass on messages to a chap in Canada via LED lights.

Wesley's used Google Analytics to see who's been coming to his blog, and what they have been looking for. Using this information, he's provided visitors with useful links. Very cunning.

Speaking of cunning, Michael has been planning ahead for next year's HNC. Alex has been roped into doing a voice-over and being a director. Ross writes briefly about what happened in Duthie Park.

Michaela and Claire have been doing some introductory work in Flash, telling stories from their younger days. Click on the images to get them working. John has pushed the envelope with his animation. It's a very big download.

A big "well done" to all who participated in the first completed "Blog Your Own Adventure" game. Link.

By no means finally, Graham posts about a chat I had following some problems, and Dean has a message for you all. Brings a tear to the eye. Well done, sir.

And on a lighter note, this made me laugh and wince.

Small Print

If your blog is missing from your tutor's blogroll, please contact them with the updated url.

Those mentioned above can feel free to carry the award below on your blog.

This listing is purely subjective, and is solely the responsibility of Duncan.

With the HMIE away for another few years, we await their written report. We are missing an opportunity, it seems. I have various ideas of what we are missing. We have a list of "soft skills" that employers are looking for. Timekeeping and attendance are amongst them. Other skills include: a proactive disposition; the ability to communicate; initiative, flexibility and adaptability; self-motivation and a competitive and results-driven attitude; and knowledge of the business area in which you want to work [Source].

Many of you have no idea what it is like in the real world. Turning up late or refusing to undertake tasks that you have been given will result in only one course of action from your employer. As will doing things grudgingly and doing the minimum to get by. It is a competitive jobs market out there, and we hope that coming to Aberdeen College will better prepare you for the real world.

Sitting on your hands is not an option, there is always something you can do better, or research for the future. Your future.

TV: This World

From tonight's TV listings, BBC2's award-winning investigative documentary "This World" series: "Inside Burma's Uprising".

In September, Burma's population rose up once again against their military rulers. Civilians joined demonstrations by Buddhist monks across the country, but the rising sense of anarchy was cut short in just days when the army were ordered to shoot. The film documents the accounts of bloggers, monks, student leaders and protest organisers who were lucky enough to escape. Their friends are dead or in jail. (Source: Radio Times)

BBC's article on the program can be found here and a watch-again feature here.

Bag a Prize Today

Friend of Aberdeen College, Bob Cartwright, is running a competition on his weekly PodZine to win over a hundred pounds worth of Alpkit 400 Pipedream down sleeping bag (weighing less than a kilo, and rated by the company to -3'c).

Podzine link

The Podzine 12/11/07

Download MP3 File

Background: Bob cut a podcast for the college last year, which is now on our Content Management System.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Friday, 9 November 2007

Last Post

Depending on how the HMIE feedback at 10am goes, this may be my last post. As such, I'd like to leave you with some thoughts for the weekend. I like the idea from the indigenous peoples of North America, where people are only truly dead when they are forgotten. We have Remembrance Sunday on the 11th. Take the opportunity to remember lost friends and relatives. Remember the good times, and the stupid times; ask the living for the stories about their past, their childhood, their friends and relatives. The past helps us be better people in the future.

Aberdonian, Bob Cooney, wrote a poem remembering his friends who fell below the blood-soaked Spanish Republican flag (full poem, source):

Seven and twenty years? That long?
It seems but yesterday
We left that war torn hill above Gandesa.
Is it perhaps because I'm growing old
That thought now skips so lightly down the years?
And the travail of a quarter century
Melts in the vision of those great days
Those days we lived and knew that we were living

We also say
Hasta La Vista - Madrid!

There is so much we want to see once more
We will stroll in the Puerto del Sol
And the Ramblas of Barcelona
We will cross the Ebro and drink with our friends in Mora
Friends who will be free!
We will look at them and at each other
And each of us will think
"This is why we came in '36"
And if we live to be a hundred
We'll have this to be glad about
We went to Spain!
Because of that great yesterday
We are part of the greater tomorrow

Frozen windscreens

I'm having a Totoro morning. Can't get the song out of my head. Passed a chap clearing frozen snow from his car windscreen. A light dusting of same can be seen in gardens.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

What's Next? Aberdeen City

A DVD clip commissioned by the ASPIRENorth project to promote post school education.

This clip shows current students from Aberdeen City area talking about their studies.

Cups in the Wild

I just noticed that one of the cups movies has made it into the wild, i.e. YouTube, already.

Feedback: ROTFLMAO

I'm indifferent about giving a grudging comment.

A Vision of KSU Students

This is what Kansas State University students felt, what about you? Should we do one for here?

>>Sourced via

TV Advert (N3CC-E)

The N3CC-E teams had to create a short TV advert for their clients.

Citizen David Mery

David Mery was detained by police in July 2005. Here he writes about the events that have occurred since he boarded the tube. Over two years later, the chap is still dealing with the consequences.

Blog Your Own Adventure Book 1

The "Blog Your Own Adventure" series kicked of today with Book 1: Shambala.

The exercise was based on the experimental works of Cortázar, Queneau, and Packard, but mainly down to my childhood, when I remember playing one of the spin-off books (pre-"Fighting Fantasy" or "Ace of Aces").

This version was undertaken as a class exercise in 2 hours, so isn't as polished as the books or dedicated websites. It was a full-participation class, and I hope you get have fun playing this adventure book.

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November Snows

The kindly people at the Met Office have a few webcams in Scotland. A great idea, and whoever came up with it should get a pat on the back. There is a light dusting of snow at the Loch Glascarnoch weather station (between Inverness and Ullapool), and the 3pm temperature has dipped to 2.3'c, whilst Glen Ogle had dipped to -0.2'c.


Permission to blog, sir?

I'm still a novice with photographing people. I get nervous when asking there permission unless i know them. So you won't see a photo of the squaddies in the information cabin outside M&S playing bowling on their Wii. One was wearing a sniper's ghillie suit.

Nothing but blue skies

With the weather conditions today, it might be cold and gusting but the sky is just so clear. Shame about phonecam quality as i leg it to my class at the Foyer.

Alumni interviewed by SFX writer

A former Aberdeen College student, Mike Clerk, was recently interviewed by SFX magazine writer, MJ Simpson.

The film included at least one other AbCol alumni, Mike Mitchell (who also got onto Emmerdale).

All of which is fact, and not just copied, unchecked, from Wikipedia.

Something about Web2.0

From The Herald (6 Nov 07):

I can't report on it for the following reason:

© All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Yup, if it was on paper, I could transcribe part of the document here. But not their webpage unless I email to the address listed. Does the word "ironic" cover this?

Read the article for yourself to discover what the "   " about the "    " is all about. It involves a former HM Inspector for Education, a trip to Finland, and the future of ICT in Scottish schools.

>>Originally linked in from the SQA Blog

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Flying High

I found this clip of a chap flying a remote-controlled model aircraft. The guy is using VR Goggles so he can see what the onboard-cameras are seeing.


RW Photoshop

Amber MacArthur's blog has a post on Greg Danbrooke's demonstration of perfecting images. Surely Amber is perfect already?

Link to Photoshop demonstration.

As Amber noted, this video from Dove shows the work that goes on behind the scenes in an ad campaign. The tagline is "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted."

For gender balance, here's Noah's photo-history video. For some reason it reminds me of Donnie Darko.

May All Be Well and Happy

Following up a link from net@nite, I see that co-host Amber MacArthur met The Dalai Lama at a press conference in Toronto. The clip shows what goes on behind the scenes, as well as His Holiness' views on some important issues.


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Sunset from the towerblock

One of the advantages of working here is seeing Nature at work.

Another glorious day at work

Wakee wakee, rise and shine.

IT Room/Crowd

Just saw a trailer for the IT Room. Hmm, wonder if it is the US version of the IT Crowd. Nothing at IMDB at time of posting, but found a couple of blog entries to find others wondering the same:

I gave up on the IT Crowd quite quickly. Funniest thing about it was the goth in the server room. Not enough goths around. Maybe they're drinking too much Irn Bru?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Podcast: Net@Nite

Usually hosted by Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte, net@nite is part of the "This Week in Tech" (TWiT) stable. NatN is more of your wind-down-and-relax podcast about Web2.0, as such it has a wider remit than some of the news shows like TWiT and Security Now. Being a non-practicing eclectic, I find that I am drawn to the show.

In the current show, number 36, the pair cover everything from losing money on tech stock options, to the social network song I blogged about earlier today. When they are posted, the show notes will provide links to the various sites listed.

Standard show time: approx 1 hour.

Show link

Blogito, ergo sum

Should I blog about the HMIE visit to the class today? I think I should wait until after Friday, as I'm my own worst critic. After the feedback session, I gave the Inspectors my works Blogger card. I have every faith in my students and that their blog posts will reflect their professionalism.

I love the ThinkGeek t-shirt and must get one sometime: I blog, therefore I am.

Social Networking Love Song

Ze Frank's modern love song: "a social network for two" is hilariously catchy. On line all the can invite me, and I can invite you....

Shaun Moriarty has done a good job illustrating the song.

I originally sourced this via Net@Nite

TV Times

As we live in interesting times, this lecture should be fun.

Royal Television Society Huw Weldon Memorial Lecture 2007

Monday 05 November, 11:20pm - 12:00am , BBC2

Interactive media guru Anthony Lilley examines the changing media landscape. With thousands of cable TV channels, how will broadcasters survive? What can audiences expect from this new era in entertainment?

BBC Source

I've got my video set (or the 21st century equivalent of it).

Additional information:

Everyone seems to be worried about the social aspects of the Web. Even Radio4's "Thinking Allowed" took the opportunity of marking Channel 4's 25th birthday to mention people making movies with their mobile phones.

Expect an additional post after I've watched the programme. We live in interesting, educational and entertaining times.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

High Rise at Dusk


Just off King Street (maplink). 20seconds, f/11, ISO 100. tripod, remote control


Seaton flats (maplink). 20seconds, f/11, ISO 100. tripod, remote control

Friday, 2 November 2007

Nights are fair drawing in

Some stunning views west across the city. Shame that i'm just phone-blogging.

--updated photo later--

Unsung: Harold Gillies

The work of surgeon, Harold Gillies, is remembered on the BBC's website. The very graphic images show the physical horrors of war that he struggled to fix. This link is not for people of a nervous disposition. The images come from an exhibition in London, which states:

Surgeon Harold Gillies, posted to France in 1915, quickly realised that the number and severity of facial casualties would be vast, and successfully argued for the establishment of a special ward - ultimately, a specialist hospital - for the treatment of the facially wounded. At the start of the Battle of the Somme, he prepared his team for 200 casualties.  Two thousand arrived.

Gillies’ work was revolutionary, and yet is little remembered.  Most field surgeons, faced with blasted faces, simply stitched together the edges of wounds to stop infection.  As wounds healed and scar tissue contracted, the skin of men’s faces would become twisted and not only disfiguring, but disabling.  Men returned from the horrors of the front terrified to face their loved ones. Gillies’ technique used bones and cartilage to reconstruct faces, and pioneered the extraordinary ‘tubed pedical’ method of skin grafting, in the days before skin grafts were possible. Multiple surgeries were required and the patients were kept in hospital for years at a time. [source]

Further information: