Catching up

I realise that I’ve been very quiet this last few weeks, only having made two personally penned posts since mid-September (there has also been one guest post). Sorry. 😦

There’s no excuse really, I suppose I could say that I’ve been busy (and I have been – thanks to the wonderful Lilian Soon and her contract with Leeds College of Music), but when I really look at what I’ve been doing I see that I’ve also been busy writing blog posts elsewhere.

In an effort to separate my ‘ideas’ and the themes that began to emerge I now regularly write two other blogs besides this (my main) one. As part of today’s audit I have to add two other, much less frequent themes, one on Blogger, where I write about books I’ve read and a seasonal ‘holiday blog’ (see below).

My two main alternatives to the EduVel blog are:

Saturday Walks http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/

I started this blog last December to separate the more personal aspects of my life from other areas. It was something I’d planned to do for many years and began with the idea of continuing the events John and I have shared since 1999 (cycle ride).

However, over the twelve months it has widened its scope to include many other aspects of life: e.g. 

  • Snowmageddon, a snowy time in Wales,
  • IfL, some thoughts on the original increased fee structure,
  • Lest we forget, a commentary on the state of public services in 2011, and
  • John Grant, a musical interlude!

Nutritious, economical foodhttp://shoestringfoods.wordpress.com/

I started this in September following my increasing (renewed) interest in all things epicurean. It started as a blog to help folks become more confident in cooking cheap but nutritional food – instead of cheap, tasteless rubbish from supermarkets. It is beginning to evolve. Sadly, some food stuff are still to be found here in EduVel and in Saturday Walks … hey ho.

Examples:

  • Salt n Pepper here, I began to talk about the store cupboard necessities,
  • Vegan Challenge courtesy of Liz Wyman’s challenge to cook vegan food,
  • Regional Food – I continue the drift away from my original plan, but stay within the food theme.

So, please have a look at one of the above now and again – I hope you enjoy it.

It’s easy to forget

It’s been a while since I chose to employ any Microsoft OS for my own use. However, most of the places I visit or work with have now moved up to Windows 7 and furthermore, I have been retained to give someone a report on certain aspects of Win 7’s potential. I have therefore bought a copy of Windows 7 and have installed it on my Aldi-Medion (formerly Vista) laptop. Well, number one son Ben has installed it for me – I may well have asked the laptop AND the software to pick a window (through which I would the throw it!)

I have brought the very same laptop on holiday with me, to a) put Win 7 through some easy paces and b) to upload my pics to Flickr and to keep up to my holiday blog. Internetting has been OK but drafting blogs became a tad tricky as I have not yet invested in Office 2010 – which is the plan. I tried the already installed MS Works and (as I have done many times before and many years ago) wondered what its purpose in life was. I then downloaded Open Office 3.0 and I was ready to go.

I missed Microsoft Picture Manager big-time too, I’d thought that was part of Win 7 but it seems it isn’t. On the ‘net, Fotoflexer wouldn’t work for me because it thought I was French and threw me out; Picnik tried to do the same, but I found the button that said ‘hey – I’m English and need English titles etc.’ so was able to crop/edit some pictures for use later.

So, tonight I tried combining all elements in a holiday blog post: Open Office 3.0 draft words, Picnik’d Flickr photos and WordPress. What a disaster!

My lack of recent familiarity with Windows and the ubiquitous Internet Explorer is to blame I think. I know I could use other browsers like Firefox (which is my default on the Mac), Chrome (which is my default on Parallels) or Safari (Which I use now and again) but for the same reasons detailed above – I need to reacquaint myself with it.

I did all the usual things like importing the words into WordPress via the ‘Paste as Plain Text’ facility and importing the picture ‘from URL’ but things just didn’t go right. I could see that I’d lost half of my text after inserting the picture – I wasn’t sure why that happened – and I pasted it right back in. Then, later in the evening I noticed that an complete paragraph had been missed. I’d deleted my original by now too!

I’m not blaming Windows or IE25 (or whatever version it is this week), it was definitely operator error, but it’s amazing how soon you become unfamiliar with a tool, when it’s been updated. Sorry to anyone who read that post and wondered what I was talking about 😦

June

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here; sorry if anyone missed me. I’ve still been writing, just not here.

I’ve written on my Saturday Walks page (link), which I tend to use as a non-work, social-ish, ranting blog.

And I’ve written a holiday blog (link) during the time we were in France recently.

I’ve also managed to make an addition to my Blogger blog (link), which is mainly about the books I’ve read – not all of them, but many/most.

I also have a ‘House for Sale‘ blog at: http://sharehill.wordpress.com/one day I will get around to putting the address in big city newspapers. Surely I can’t do worse than the estate agents!

I do have things to say, but I’m still arranging them in my mind – mainly situational awareness stuff and 3G. In the meantime, thank goodness, I’ve got busy again. I’m just coming to the end of a period of marking for City and Guilds – made more intense by coming towards the end of my holiday in France. But – phew, I’ve not let anyone down yet …

I’m also currently working with friends/colleagues on a couple of urgent jobs and trying to get my head around another ‘really urgent‘ job! I also have jobs booked in June and early July for other friends and colleagues, so things are good again, for a while.

So thank you for your patience. 🙂

Blogging

Following a recent comment on one of my pages, I began to ask myself:

“Why DO I have so many blogs?”

and

“What is their purpose?”

The flippant answer is ‘who cares?” but the longer and more complicated answer is perhaps more interesting:

I’ve experimented with many and various blogging sites ever since I first came across blogging as a tool for education at the 2004 ALT-C Conference in Exeter. http://www.alt.ac.uk/altc2004/. I remember returning to work and asking colleagues to try out the idea and to tell me what they thought. As it turned out not much – only one or two really saw the point. I played with a few sites and hated them – so started to write my own ‘blog’ via html.

For many years I wrote my blog using MS FrontPage 2003 and publishing it to my own domain: http://www.village-e-learning.co.uk/blog.htm. This became much less convenient as new facilities became available via Web 2.0 and as I moved away from my XP laptop to my Vista laptop. The reasons for moving from XP to Vista are too complicated to go into here. At the same time Microsoft refused to update FrontPage for Vista and I’m too busy/slow/stupid (delete to suit) to learn Dreamweaver.

As the inconvenience became more pointed I moved over to WordPress (this blog).

I’d been playing with several blogging sites over the years, mainly to see which supported my needs and which was easiest for my learners to use (these days my learners tend to be teachers or trainers in the wider UK F.E. sector, although a fair proportion are from H.E.). Others have sought this Blog nirvana too: http://www.xlearn.co.uk/2009_09_01_archive.html

I found the change over to WordPress fairly smooth and although it still doesn’t do everything I want it to do, it is available on every machine I sit at and does ‘pretty much’ what I need. I do get irritated that the template I have chosen creates fairly small text (I have to code it slightly bigger myself when I remember) but the alternative is just another level of complexity.

I’ve tried:

* http://moblog.net/dsugden/ initially to send picture via mobile phone – but most blog sites allow this now

* http://touringfishman.blogspot.com/ (Play time version)

* http://dsugblog.blogspot.com/ (Books I read)

Both of the previous two are Google based Blogger sites, one of the first I tried Blogger didn’t fit enough of my needs to host the main blog. However, Blogger is the one I use with ‘new’ bloggers as it is simple to use and can be accessed via a Google login – which is essential for most web-based communications (another blog post maybe?)

* http://sites.google.com/site/dsugden/ This was a facility offered by Google during my visit to the USA in 2006. I experimented with it to keep a holiday diary. It (and the next) used to be ‘Google pages’ but have now become ‘sites.

* http://sites.google.com/site/dsugden/commodities This was a site I developed from the above – thinking to try and make it into a ‘learning’ web

* http://www.myspace.com/dsugden I used the blog facility here to write about ‘food’ but got really bored with it (same with Facebook – which I hate)

* http://dsugden.posterous.com/ was chosen initially as it could be authored via email and any images attached would be nicely inserted. As it developed, it became easy to ‘send to’ other social media and although I decided to make this blog my more chatty arena, it gets pushed to WordPress anyway – so it’s hard to choose between what is work and what is play.

So – again, why so many?

I tried to compartmentalise my blogs during the experimentation period, (blogger = books, MySpace = food etc.) and eventually to use Word Press to blog about e-Learning, m-Learning and teaching and learning generally; but really found it hard to separate my daily life from my daily work. I also found myself in something of a straight jacket and therefore decided to continue what I had started to do way back in 2005 with the Village –e-Learning Blog. They are all about me, what I do and who I am.

Will I open more? Will I try out other social media facilities?

Of course I will.

Season’s Greetings.