ISSUU – SugSnips

Some readers will remember my previous SugSnip posts.

Well, I have now published all of the 400 #SugSnip ‘tweets’ in book form on ISSUU, the digital publishing platform.

I’d originally tried to author the book via the Amazon Kindle website, but to no avail. The instructions seemed clear enough but as it turns out, were too demanding for the technology I had to present. Most of the content consists of tweets, with a link to a collection (a collation really) of other links supporting and expanding the #SugSnip link. I just couldn’t see how this would work on a Kindle book (and it didn’t).

So I set it aside and got on with my life.

Just the other day though, I got an email from ISSUU reminding me of their presence and, given a two hour drive from Nottingham this week, I got to thinking about how the book would look and feel on ISSUU. Well, it looks ok and as a bonus, all of the #SugSnip links work.

For example: Tweet 195 on page 35, about Levi Jackets, still has the Bitly bundle available for viewers to read.

Please let me know what you think.

Other info from – with thanks.


Do you have a good password for use on the ‘net?

Do you use the same password on more than one website?

Picture of Blog words

Would you tweet it, or add it to your Facebook status? Or might you simply write a blog post and tell everyone what it is?

Well you can do that now, because as sure as eggs is eggs, it will be stolen by hackers any time soon. 

How do I know?

Well, mine has been hacked twice in the last six months. Each time it was the same social network site that permitted the breach, despite my password being unique to the site in question and being as ‘strong’ as I thought it needed to be.

For years, I had used the same password on many different sites because at the time, I’d thought that the unusualness of my ‘word’ and the fact that it contained both letters and numbers would make it safe to use. Actually, over time I began to employ several ‘words’, depending on the type of site I used. This made the passwords easier to remember.

About two years ago, I started to change all of my passwords to include a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and the odd non-alphanumeric character. However, the problem with this meant that I just had the one password again and despite being ‘super-safe’, there was a danger of it being picked up on one weaker site and used again and again by evil people.

My password system had, until today, evolved to be 50% ‘super-safe’ stem plus 50% aide-memoir, applicable to the site being used. However, for the second time this year TWITTER has allowed my 10-character mix to be cracked and once again my password regime has had to be re-visited.

Some Tips

5 Rules for Secure Passwords:

  • The password must consist of random characters that aren’t anything recognizable.
  • Each site gets a unique password.
  • The greater the number of characters you can employ–upper and lower case letter (s, numbers, and special characters like punctuation and symbols–the more difficult it is for someone to crack your password.
  • The longer the password, the better. A bare minimum should be 8 characters; 12 to 15 should be preferred.
  • Never write down the passwords where other people could get them.


Now I will have to develop double digit, multi-capital, multi-lowercase, multi-number, multi-non-alphanumeric passwords. And how do I remember them?

I write them down! 😦

See comments for this link: (Thanks James).

Let this be fair notice to Twitter: This happens one more time and I’m gone!

TechDis Ambassadors

Ever since the first meting in August, I’ve been working with some delightful colleagues on the planning of a new initiative being undertaken jointly by the JISC TechDis and the JISC RSC SE.

The intention is to create and develop a community of TechDis Ambassadors in the south east of England. The TechDis Ambassadors can be students or staff.

In the first instance, interested parties have been asked to fill in a short form by 12th October and to then attend a face to face meeting at Guildford College, on 8th November. Invitations are offered to all areas of post 16 education [the further education sector] based in the JISC RSC-SE region.

The aim is to promote and celebrate the use of technologies that help the learning process, especially for those who experience difficulties with their learning. Our meeting on 8th November will explore ways in which this can be done and begin the project planning process.

A Facebook group has also been set up for TechDis Ambassadors and the hope is that this will form the basis of an ongoing, collaborative community. Anyone with tips or tricks that promote and celebrate the use of accessible interventions is welcome to join. Or, you can follow the TechDis Ambassadors on Twitter.

NLN Materials

… should we let them be put out to grass?

Recently, JANET (UK) and LSIS announced that funding to continue the NLN Materials service ( “in its current formwouldcease at the end of July 2011.

They went on to announce a survey, which would be designed to identify the options and find out users’ preferences about the future of the NLN Materials.
See the survey at

The survey will close on Friday, 28 January. I must urge anyone reading this to “make sure your voice is heard”.

I remain a passionate supporter of the materials and was one of the original team of NLN ILT Subject Mentors recruited on half-post secondments back in 2002.  Although funding had been allocated for 30 mentors, Becta (who managed the project) never managed to recruit quite that number. Nevertheless, many of those NLN mentors are still out there, working in colleges or like me, independently (one even manages a JISC RSC) trying to encourage their colleagues to realise the potential of ILT, or e-Learning as we now call it.

Our roles were never to ‘just’ promote the materials themselves. We showed teachers and sometimes learners, how the materials could become part of a lesson or how they could be used as self-study materials. We even came to show how if disaggregated, they could be a flexible source of personal learning development. The use of the then infant VLEs was also encouraged. We would often be the only source of training for the Interactive Whiteboards that were being fitted willy nilly at that time. Very few managers had the time to train staff in IWB use and as many of the NLN materials lend themselves easily to being used interactively via IWBs we fitted in well.

Time passed, funding changed and the materials moved over eventually to JANET and Xtensis – where they have been admirably managed for about four years now. As that time passed, the mainly schools-based vocational Diplomas have emerged and there has been much interest in the materials from schools. As a large body of NLN material is vocationally orientated, they lend themselves nicely to use in schools, where materials for Diploma were initially pretty non-existent. I know from personal experience that the materials are liked and appreciated by school teachers and learners alike.

I know that many of the learning objects are now looking a little tired or dated and that many more have never really functioned without a lot of work by institutional technician teams, but these are in a minority. Some could be ditched if the money cannot be found to repair them – the problem is usually with plugins for older versions of flash or shockwave. The others still have some relevance, if the user is creative.

So come on, let’s hear it for the NLN materials.

Fill in the survey (link above) and support their continuation in whatever form works best for the wider community. Let’s not hide them away. ACL and WBL have it hard enough, let’s keep the ‘stuff’ where everyone can get at them.

Quote from survey page 1: “If you have any further questions about this survey, please send an email to Bob Powell, Excellence Gateway Programme Manager, LSIS (”

Misleading food labels (again)

The Shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert has said this week that Tesco’s (and Morrison’s) have agreed to bring to an end the confusion caused by misleading food labels.

Hurray!! (but said with caution).

Herbert said, in a recent statement that the supermarkets will from now on (well, who really knows when) inform customers of exactly where the product (meat) originates. Instead of ‘produced in the UK’ on labels, we can now expect to see ‘meat originates in X, Y or Z’.  At the moment, European rules say that meat (except beef, which has different and more stringent rules) does not have to display the country of origin. It can advertise itself as British if indeed Britain is the last place that ‘substantial change’ occurred. This is a scary enough statement in itself but is easy enough to explain when you realise that meat reared in (say) Turkey is sent to (say) Belgium, where it is frozen – before being shipped to Britain where it is defrosted, cooked (when I say cooked I perhaps mean mass-produced as part of a chemically denatured and additively enhanced process of protein alteration by heat) and packed before again being chilled or frozen for shipment to any of the huge supermarkets around the country (or the world). At this point, the Turkish bred and Belgian frozen meat (lets say it’s chicken) can be termed ‘British’ as that is where the last substantial change occurred.  MMMmmm British Sunday Roast – loverly!!

So well-done Tesco and Morrison’s – let’s see the others follow suit.

But wait a minute chaps … (see previous post) it isn’t just the labelling of meat that concerns us – it’s misleading labelling full stop. The recent Tory statement is just another example of smoke and mirrors (by the party and by the supermarkets) – we still need a better and less confusing system of food labelling. Will our elected representatives help? Perhaps if we make enough noise!

Here’s an example of what happens when we become complacent.

Just a quickie

Just a quickie to celebrate my having found out how to add a RSS feed to the blog. Whahayyy!

Now to see if they work ….