#Advent #SugSnips

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8201/8162101242_dae954feae.jpgSome readers may remember the series of #SugSnip tweets I posted to Twitter every day of 2011.

I’d started these postings on 1st January 2011 (see my 1st #SugSnip blog post) and they culminated in a publication on ISSUU. The publication had a foreword by James Clay and this year, I am taking a leaf from his book (so to speak) and copying his idea of daily  posts throughout #Advent. In my case I’ll run right through the month.

 – See James’ 2011 musical advent calendar.
– Also watch
his 2012 cinematic calendar as it unfolds this year.

Please read on (beneath the ISSUU book) to learn more about my series of #Advent #SugSnips 

My thanks once again to http://cpwilson.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/embedding-issuu/

I’ve toyed with the idea of delivering #SugSnips again for quite a while as I’ve missed the research involved, it’s been a sort of hobby for me. However, I wanted to present the information in a different way. My first thought was to create a Google Presentation and to post the link to one slide per day. However, this turned out not to be as easy as I’d first thought. Although each slide had a different link the whole presentation was viewable – so not much use for a daily ‘reveal’.

Each of this month’s #Advent #SugSnips has therefore been created as a separate presentation. I had to use Google Chrome to be able to capture each presentation URL (rather than the ‘edit’ URL) but this seems to work OK. You tell me?

I’m also using bit.ly again to create the shortened URLs of this link, reducing it from 114 characters to just 13!

Also like before, because it was the most reliable during 2011, I’m using HootSuite to schedule my Tweets. This time I am also copying the daily posting to Facebook.

Creating the presentations hasn’t been straightforward, but I’ll log that journey later this month. Suffice to say I won’t be recommending the method I’ve used for easy distribution.

I hope you enjoy reading these #SugSnips. I will publish the entire 31 slides as a single presentation in January, along with the bitly bundle. Enjoy.


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.

From: http://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/avoid-the-next-linkedin-password-disaster.html

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: http://xkcd.com/936/ (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.

Jaiku and the like

I’ve been a fan of social media for several years now.

My interest began with Jaiku, which uniquely allowed conversations to be grouped and which allowed replies to exceed the normal 140-character rule then the norm with Twitter.

I first mentioned Jaiku in my old self-hosted blog and this is the earliest post I can find on WayBackMachine.

Sadly the site was soon gobbled up by Google as part of an early attempt to join the burgeoning social media explosion.

Google tried and failed to compete with Twitter and Facebook with their Wave and Buzz, neither of which caught anyone’s attention. They eventually came up with Google+, which seems to have attracted more widespread attention.

I regularly access Twitter and Facebook, as both reader and contributor. But how many sites do I have to visit to keep up with all of my online chums and family?

I can find my peers on Twitter and regularly find things that support my own CPD. I also share things that interest me, mainly work things, but often more light hearted things too.

Some of this occurs with Facebook too, but I tend to use this more flippantly and really only go there to see what friends and family from across the world are doing or to share scurrilous stuff that amuses me.

But I don’t visit either site as much as I once did, mainly because much of my recent work has been ‘online’ and both sites have become a distraction. Actually, that’s untrue, I do visit them regularly, but not at the times I used to (I used to access pretty much synchronously). Now they often have to wait until I pick up my iPad and view the posts via Flipboard – which is a much nicer experience.

I’ve been reluctant to move over to (or to ALSO access) Google+ because I really don’t have the time to get involved over there as well. I already have to make critical decisions about how, where and when I communicate with colleagues and friends. I’m lucky enough to have a good number of online friends, that I can call friends – because I’ve met them, often I’ve also worked with them and I can trust them and their judgment.

However, my F2F friends, those I went to school with or met in another ‘work’ life, do not generally have such a rich and powerful online presence as me, so I’m used to contacting them by telephone, text and/or email. I’m sort of worn out now, with all of the ways available to communicate.

It’s like those days of Betamax, VHS and Video2000 – so much choice, but no clear winner. Yet.

Twitter #sugsnip – first review

It’s been a few weeks now since I started my #sugsnip challenge. I started on January 1st with the intention of posting a snippet of information to Twitter every day for a year. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/twitter-sugsnip/.

I’m now approaching my fiftieth (50th) uninterrupted posting (19th February 2011) and thought it might be worthwhile reviewing the process so far.

I had thought that the idea of posting short, informative messages via Twitter (but the challenges outcomes would not necessarily mean that Twitter would be exclusively used) was a sound one for use in education. Teachers might see how they could send similar snippets of subject based information to learners and I firmly believe that modelling this idea is a useful way of evaluating its potential impact.

Since January 1st I’ve recorded 13 comments, re-tweets or other re-postings from readers. A 26% response from a disinterested audience doesn’t prove anything, especially as it is 26% of the total posts that received a response and not 26% of the actual readers – who’s number I cannot possibly know.

I remain quite encouraged by that feedback nevertheless, but would be more encouraged, if there were more of it. Perhaps my eclectic choice of subject matter is what prevents visible interest? I have tried to do subject-weeks (e.g. food, history etc.) but maybe even these are too off the wall. Please let me know.

Remembering to post something everyday has been more of a challenge than I had thought it might be. To overcome this I though it would be worthwhile trying out a few of the Tweet Schedulers available. I’ve tried three so far:


I didn’t stay with this site to long because it just didn’t work for me. Whilst it does have all sorts of facilities in addition to Tweet scheduling, it missed a few of my scheduled Tweets, very early on. The interface isn’t as clear and straightforward as some either.


So far, Twuffer has been my favourite, although it has let me down a few times. Out of 37 Twuffered Tweets, 3 didn’t show. They seemed to have ‘gone’ but then didn’t show on Twitter. However, although I moved onto another scheduler after those three failures, I will try again because the interface is straightforward and you have to login through Twitter, so there is no separate registration.


So far, futuretweets has not let me down. Once you are ‘in’ it works in very much the same way as Twuffer and seems very easy to work with. Of the two I would still prefer Twuffer, but this might only be because I tried that first.

I’ll try others as I go along.

So what do readers think? Has anyone noticed my #sugsnip challenge on Twitter? Could you use a similar methodology to communicate with learners?

Twitter #SugSnip

I’ve recently set myself the challenge of sending a snippet of information to Twitter every day for a year. I started on January 1st (1/1/11) so I suppose it’s a sort of resolution? #SugSnip

The idea of doing this occurred to me back in 2009 and I did in fact make a start at that time. However, due to the pressures of work (I was really busy at that time – unlike now where I don’t know where the next job is coming from) and the fact that I’d not appreciated the groundwork required for such an undertaking, it soon fizzled out. The preparation of checked, reviewed, interesting, useful (to some), possibly thought provoking, pertinent and varied snippets of information within the limitations of a ‘Tweet’ was a challenge I’d initially underestimated.

However, I did think that the idea was a sound one for use in education and that modelling the idea would be a useful way of evaluating its impact.

I’d been speaking with someone about the idea and it occurred to us that the slow drip feed of subject-specific material to learners might help them with their retention of knowledge. Of course, it might not be Twitter that was employed to effect the drip feed as regular posts to a Moodle forum, to a Facebook ‘wall’ or even SMS texts could do the work too. Nevertheless, I decided that I would use Twitter and that I would be governed by its 140-character rule. What’s more, using a hash tag would help with the future tracking of snippets.

I’m still not sure how the #SugSnips will pan out theme-wise: So far [3rd January 2011] I’ve posted three, all of which are food related, so maybe I will try to keep Monday to Friday snips along a related theme with sport snips on Saturdays and religious snips on Sunday. I quite like the idea of random snips too, so remain undecided about how they will unfold. Perhaps if I review progress over coming months, this will have become clearer?

I have about a hundred snips ready and waiting to go right now and will add to them when time and opportunity presents itself. All #SugSnips have been vetted inasmuch as I’ve checked more than one place that such a thing [subject of snip] exists, is true and is verifiable by others. The link I provide (I provide a URL with every snip) is taken at random from amongst the sites I’ve checked. Where space allows (remember I only have 140 characters including spaces), I will post a further URL to add veracity.

So far, I have snips listed under the headings of youth; food; drink; history; entertainment; computer/web 2.0; education; religion and words. These may well re-form as time passes and the boundaries are bound to fade but they help me to keep control of my findings.

Because I have a modest amount of followers on Twitter, I may provoke some response, which may in turn result in some kind of worthwhile outcome. One of the food snips has already caused some discussion, for which I’m grateful.

In the meantime I’m enjoying the research and learning lots of stuff myself – much of it interesting but not yet of much use. But as we often hear: One man’s meat is another man’s poison http://www.answers.com/topic/one-man-s-meat-is-another-man-s-poison

Twitter Stuff

I ‘unfollowed’ a few people on Twitter the other week.

It’s not something I’m proud of as they are well respected professionals for whom I have the greatest admiration. What’s more they have not acted in any unprofessional way and usually I enjoy reading their varied and various posts.

However, some of their posts at that time were beginning to drive me mad.

I believe that social media is whatever we make it. Actually, I believe that we are still evolving social media and the ways in which it can be used.  We are still making the rules, although ‘rules’ is probably not the right word for where we are right now.  I enjoy Twitter for all of the reasons I’ve discussed before; varied communities of practice, water-cooler discussions, information, communication, fun etc, (yet I dislike Facebook intensely).

Twitter being limited to 140 characters, is an ideal way of giving and receiving information: no fluff – just comment and links. Managing the links can be difficult and many go by without being looked at as there is often just too much information to log or absorb. Nevertheless, I feel comforted by the information flow as I know that when necessary, there is always someone there to help. I like to feel that I help others too, when I can.

However, I have no wish to be treated to minute by minute, blow by blow updates of T.V. programmes I’ve no intention of watching.

I don’t watch much T.V. (well I do, but not the ‘big bruvver come dancing on a dessert island for xyz-factor vote for me UK’ type of T.V.) so I don’t really want my Twitter stream filling up with accounts of some crap that is probably being watched by millions anyway. If I was bothered about the T.V. programme in question, I’d watch it!

Fair enough, if it’s something like the Eurovision Final, because I can see the fun in exchanging comments about the song, the dress, the announcer etc. (not that I do it). Also fair enough if you’re Tweeting to say that you’re looking forward to ‘xyz’ or that last week’s episode was ‘blah blah blah’ but not a running commentary. Please not. Generally if it’s on T.V. and it’s on any one of the five main channels (and probably any of ten fairly universal others) I can watch it if I want. I promise that if I do watch it, I will not comment on everything that happens.

If you want to talk to someone while the T.V. is on – get a family, or a telephone – but please don’t Tweet me!

Another problem at the time was with all of the daily ‘this that or other’ Daily Papers that began to flourish over summer. Some mornings my Twitter Stream would fill up with just TOO MANY updates. So culprits had to go. I still receive and read the ACLJohn Daily – it’s OK; it’s enough!

So, what I need now is a special Twitter plug-in/procedure that allows me to filter Tweets with certain words or #hash tags. Anyone have one of those?