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Showing posts from January, 2007

Courmayeur 2007 - we made it!

It's over! I'm too tired to say much, other than that it went well, and that being responsible for the safety, enjoyment and learning of 149 people was an intense, draining and fascinating experience. I'm glad to be relieved of that responsibility now though! Here's a wee video clip of one of the boys getting over-ambitious on a wee kicker we built:

[googlevideo]-9220930658044686283[/googlevideo]

Blogging for Beginners - OPML - Collections of Feeds

So you've read the earlier Blogging for Beginners posts in this series, and you've set yourself up with a feed reader? Maybe you're wondering where to find the good stuff to subscribe to?
One solution is to gradually build up a list of blog feeds based on the people you know, folk that comment on your blog etc. This is an important part of the process, and what I'm about to tell you won't do away with that feed-by-feed addition of blogs to your feed reader - finding interesting blogs and subscribing to them is part of the fun of blogging!
The shortcut solution is to find a list of blogs relevant to your interests and add them all to your feed reader in one go. Lists of feeds can be stored in a format that your feed reader can import automatically - this format is called OPML.
So, where do you find OPML files to import into your feed reader? Well, one good place is Technorati, where you can grab the results of a blog search in an OPML file. For example, this page

Great New Exc-el Tools

David has been busy!

He has just announced two new tools that are going to make a big difference to the blogging community in East Lothian: a Grazr feed reader of all exc-el blogs and a widget that lists the latest posts from all exc-el blogs.  These two tools open up exc-el in a dramatic way.  Before them, it was not possible for a casual browser to see a list of all the exc-el blogs, nor to get a handle on what the current activity was.  Congratulations to David, and to Ewan who has, I think, been working with him on this stuff.

Ski Trip to Courmayeur

Our annual S2 ski trip to Courmayeur in Italy departs from the high school at 9.30 am on Saturday morning in 4 coaches, with 149 people including the adults.

I'm the party leader!

Whilst I've been trying to keep a hand in on-line this week  (with disasterous consequences in one case) I've reached the point where I really need to get off the computer and concentrate on the task at hand.

Expect radio silence from me until I get back on Sunday 28th January, and wish me luck!

ScotEduBlogs Logo "Competition"

John Johnston has just announced  a "competition" to design the logo for the new ScotEduBlogs.org.uk Web site.

I put competition in quotes because the prize is just a big bucket of kudos and the appearance of your logo on the site!
If you can think of someone with an artistic bent that might be able to help (a pupil perhaps?), please pass this on to them.

Robert Anton Wilson RIP

Robert Anton Wilson died on 11/1/2007, as reported on his official blog. R U Sirius has written an obituary.

RAW was incredibly important to me in the early '90s, when I devoured The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising and many more of his fine books.

Robert Anton Wilson saw the Universe as a great big hilarious mystery, wide-open with possibilities. He dismissed all purveyors of certainty, and explained in clear, simple language the extent to which we all live in our own self-constructed models of reality rather than actually receiving reality as it is moment to moment.

In hindsight, RAW led me to Buddhism. I was going to say "led me to becoming a Buddhist" but RAW would have ridiculed the use of such a lazy, meaningless label. In fact, I have never really been very comfortable with the label "Buddhist". It is not used in the East, where people describe themselves as followers of the Buddha's path rather than as Buddhists. As a small…

Open Source on the BBC

In Business on Radio 4 dedicated a programme to Open Source software.  For those of you out there who are all about startups,  VC and the buzz of business, it gives a great explanation of the Open Source business model and why it is going to beat the proprietary software model in the long term.

For those of you that can't be bothered to listen, the bottom line is that the Open Source business model sees profit as coming from services and support arrangements around software rather than from charging for the software itself.  Give the software away free (as in beer and as in speech) then offer the users the opportunity to purchase support from you.  You won't make so much money per user, but you'll get a lot more users.  It works!

Thanks to Steve Lee for the heads-up on this one.

Scotedublogs - A New Hub for Scottish Educational Blogs

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The Scotedublogs wiki has become the de facto place to find Scottish edubloggers or to announce your own blog's arrival on the scene. It has done a great job, but is beginning to outgrow its current wiki format.
One key reason why our blogging community has flourished where so many previous attempts to develop an on-line community of teachers have failed is this: we built and continue to build the community ourselves.
I am therefore delighted to be able to say that we are continuing this tradition by building our own exciting new hub for our community: I am working with Peter, John and others from the Scottish edublogging community to produce www.scotedublogs.org.uk
This site already provides the following:

A directory of Scottish edublogs, viewable by authority or by tags
The facility to add new blogs
Colour-coding of blogs based on recency of last post (red=hot!)
A quick view of recent posts for each blog
The facility to add tags to blogs
The facility to export an OPML file of any of t…

Blogging for Beginners - How to Read 500 Blogs

Blogs exist in communities. For example, in my community - Scottish education - there are probably around 500 blogs. Each blog will be publishing new posts at varying frequencies. Some will post almost every day, whilst others may only post once a fortnight or have fallen into disuse altogether. If you are a blogger in such a community, how on Earth are you supposed to keep on top of the new posts in all these blogs? 500 favorites that you visit every day? Impossible!

Feeds and feed readers are the answer. Feeds turn the whole problem on its head by, in effect, making all these blogs tell your feed reader when they post something. You only have to visit your feed reader - such as Bloglines - where you can see at a glance which of your chosen blogs have published new posts. It's like having a personal shopper that goes around all your favorite shops and tells you when interesting new stuff appears on the shelves. With these tools at your disposal, it becomes feasible to moni…