Reviewing 2011

Last year, I waited until 31st December to review my blogging year.

This year, I intend to review #SugSnips at that time, so I’ll make a critical review of my 2011 EduVel blog posts here and now, pre-Christmas.

First of all, I am 600+ views down on this time last year.

However, I suppose that’s not too bad because statistics show that this is the year’s 50th post, whereas last year I posted 78. I guess that another reason for the lower number of posts is that I’ve branched out and started writing two other fairly regular blogs:

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).

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.

One main theme I’ve stuck with this year has been the #SugSnip challenge, which involved daily posts to Twitter, but as I will write about that next week, I’ll look at the eclectic range of other subjects I’ve written about this year.

I waited until last week  http://bit.ly/uevmxz to write about the work I’ve been doing for the last six months. It seemed unfair to do so earlier as I was working with so many other people on that prestigious piece of work.

In October http://bit.ly/tGyyz1 I reflected on the differing digital needs of individuals. I think that this will be a reoccurring theme throughout 2012, as social media websites continue to chop and change their provision, presumably to survive in an economic world that seems to have flat-lined.

Over summer https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/08/ I discussed screen-capture software and why Flickr didn’t have (still doesn’t have) a really good smart-phone App. Even now, I have to go to Photobox to print my Flickr pictures and to Picnik to edit them. Come on Yahoo! Flickr is brilliant, but it could be so much better.

I’ve also had grumps about things such as software updates (why so many, so often, so demanding of time?) and the vagueness of some social media terms and conditions. I dabbled with situational aware social media like FourSquare and Gowalla http://bit.ly/sPlMrb, became the mayor of eight places – and resigned! http://bit.ly/ozki08.

I re-found Wordle: http://bit.ly/rrSpzz

I learned a lot about Lego WeDo this year too http://bit.ly/sG6syh, helping to deliver sessions early on and then wondering how I could break into the junior school market with my new-found skills from then on. Anyone?

This year I’ve published several ‘guest posts’ too. Each one came from a dry call and each one has done what they said they would do – i.e. write something we both agreed upon for nothing more than a by-line notification. I’ve been happy to help, as it has enriched the diversity of posts from EduVel. http://bit.ly/vl6YBd (ignore first one – it’s by me!)

Work has continued to be erratic but very interesting. I’ve been to a few colleges to deliver training for staff: Blackburn, Newcastle under Lyme and Gloucestershire to name a few and at Kirklees College I was asked to deliver a session for foundation degree students studying childcare. By far the biggest piece of work was at Leeds College of Music, where I helped a great team of chums to develop a new VLE environment (mentioned earlier).

Going forward, I’m working with Jackie, Alison and Sally on a LSIS project, with TechDis and with RSC-SE – if it finally kicks off in 2012.

That was 2011 that was!

Merry Christmas everyone.

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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.

People are rude!

This comment was posted on one of my YouTube videos today “*talk a little slower plz*………..lol .[see http://grab.by/4sgc]

I did laugh out loud (lol – lol) and then thought – why? It’s not just that this person is being rude – it’s more that he/she has taken the trouble to go out of his/her way to be rude?  YouTube seems to attract rude people. He/she is not the only rude person I’ve encountered on YouTube.

First of all, let me state that I too can be rude, mainly through ignorance on my part and if I ever find out my rudeness has offended someone I am mortified. I do try not to be rude and to be courteous at all times. I can often be sarcastic, but usually as a reaction to something and I never use sarcasm as a preemptive strike.

That said, my voice and pronunciation seems to have caused some people to shake their fists at the screen and to write rude comments on my posts – usually they are American and usually their rudeness has illustrated the poor job we did with educating and elucidating our colonial cousins (not a preemptive strike – read on). The following video has had over 58,000 hits.


It’s now almost four years since I posted this video. At the time, there were no other fish filleting videos avaialble that a) explained clearly what was going on and b) was relevant to students in the UK. Others were just flashy ‘see how quick I can fillet a fish’ affairs. Things have changed now and there are some superb ‘fish’ videos out there. Nevertheless – the comment stream below my video (on YouTube – click the clip above to view) is largely complimentary but there have been some idiotic and rude exchanges too. They are worth a read if only to assess the banality of some people (and my sad, retaliatory, sardonic replies)

However, some comments can also be creative and although the one below takes the rip – it is creatively done and I really did lol. I later met the author and congratulated him. Very funny.


Historically, I spoke slowly because I was a) explaining something to someone – 16 year old students maybe? and b) I was unused to taking ‘to myself’ in the way that modern media now allows (and expects?). Geographically, I speak slowly because of my Yorkshire accent – too fast and you won’t understand a word 🙂 Actually – I don’t give a damn – but there’s no need to be rude.

A Busy Birthday weekend

Well, it was my birthday on Monday. Celebrations started on Friday last when Sharon took me to Leeds for the night. We’d decided to go on Friday because many of the Last Minute hotels in Leeds were booked up on Saturday. Even our recently favourited Ibis.

We stayed at the Hilton which was surprisingly dour and second rate. Sharon worried constantly about the 1″ plus gap beneath the fire door but I had more positive views about the likelihood of fire anyway (Positive in the sense that there wouldn’t be one). We had no towels and two phone calls plus a face to face request at reception failed to make these appear. In the end I had to visit the housekeepers myself (as they ‘sorted’ a room down the corridor). Then having been out and bought a bottle of wine, we noticed that there were no glasses! Sharon sorted that one with the same housekeepers. And, to finish, the room was noisy – all night. Cheap but hardly cheerful.

We had no luck with our planned meal either, at Strada, Red Chilli or La Tasca as they all professed to have hour long waiting lists – but this turned out to be a good thing as we ended up at Anthony’s, one of the finest restaurants in the north of England. I suspect that this was down to timing: At 9.15pm they had probably ‘sat’ all their bookings and could see just enough room for two more. I believe that an hour earlier our cold call would have received a ‘no’. The food was delightful. Each morsel had flavour, taste and texture and the ‘service’ was unobtrusive – which is, in itself a delight and far from the normal “is everything ok?” you get as you sit there with a mouth full of food, listening to your co-diner tell you something really interesting. All restaurants should take a leaf out of Anthony’s book and teach their waiters to hover – wait – watch – be invited to talk.

On Saturday, we had a nice relaxed breakfast at Bagel Nash. Their coffee turned out to be the best I’ve tasted in England this year and coupled with an ‘everything’ bagel (with butter and jam) was a great surprise. We went to Gill and Tony’s on Saturday night, a last minute invitation which, once again, turned out to be gem. We’re always relaxed in their company and it was a nice addition to a stretching birthday weekend. Emma and Charlie brought the girls around on Saturday afternoon – which is always  nice. Ben and Shiv came around on Sunday. It’s so great to see my kids from time to time – but like the old song by Harry Chapin suggests http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH46SmVv8SU time is always tight.

Then I began one of the busiest weeks of recent months. On my actual birthday, Monday, I travelled to London to meet my colleagues and friends before our delivery of the Advanced e-Guide/PDA programme Day 2 on Tuesday. I went early so that  could attend the MoLeNET event being held at the Apple Store on Regent Street. I learned lots of things here – one of which I will pursue at some time in the future – the iPhone accessibility features. I think I need to reflect on the week a little more.

Anyway – many many thanks to everyone who sent me birthday greetings and best wishes. I like to think that my electronic replies of gratitude reached you – but as I can never be sure: Thanks you again. 🙂