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September 2011

Revisiting Art on the Hill

Art Above ClonmelTWO PEOPLE THIS WEEK have talked about art on the hill above Clonmel five years ago. That's significant.

I walked through wet fields with 29 others in August 2006, discovering my Cat hillwalking boots weren't waterproof. The hike took us to Larry Kennedy's field, located directly above the centre of Clonmel. Up there we created a piece of large visual art for people to enjoy. Long before Audioboo, I created the sound of my walkabout [19.5 MB 96 kbps MP3 file]. It was a fun day, and even more special that we mounted a large installation with a group of people who didn't know one another. We've got six times the number of people on the LIT-Clonmel campus than the original group involved in the Hill Art Project. And some of us are thinking about making an even more dramatic intervention on the pastures above the campus. -- "Art on the Hill" was made while taking the hillside displayed in the Tipperary photostream on Flickr.

Hidden Clonmel

Hoping Delicious Networking Returns

Logo of DeliciousI HAVE 6528 DELICIOUS BOOKMARKS--all intact after the revised Delicious launched--but many of the new changes made to totally skewer the networking I'd cultivated inside the system. I can see little tweaks that the new Delicious is making so I'll be patient.

UPDATED: I can see my inbox.

Two of the things I used every day have disappeared. I can no longer see my Delicious inbox. That means when someone tags for:topgold I have to go to

I cannot easily see a cluster of popular bookmarks around thematic content related to my job. The old UI worked a charm and I cannot imagine AVOS will eliminate easy access to the most popular tags. At the moment, I cannot see this important part of Delicious nor can I see my tagged subscriptions. I'm going to give AVOS a few weeks to sort out issues with other snags while also continuing to automatically push my Delicious stuff to Pinboard.

I am and


The Pedagogy Behind Handheld Mobile Learning

Retro Bat PhoneI TEACH CREATIVE college students at LIT-Clonmel how to write for impact online and strongly believe this life skill reaches a higher level when it is part of a handheld mobile learning programme.

The taskings I set for completion during the first three weeks of the first year are simple listings with hyperlinks. A perfect submission is one with no errors in spelling, usage or punctuation. I normal receive suitable content but I want to advance into a practical environment where I can get content on site from students after they visit an art gallery, public event or special moment. To reach this level, we start with validating basic writing skills, moving into an appreciation of narrative content and then try to get a result with free mobile applications on students' phones. That's challenging because we don't have app-friendly mobile phones to loan to students. If I had that kind of inventory on loan, I'd use it for specific creative media purposes such as the ones below the break.

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Effective Mobile Data is More than Raw Speed

Vodafone Mobile Connection

I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY USED VODAFONE MOBILE broadband in three Irish towns and while moving across county lines on the M8. It works a charm.

I'm typing this blog post while seated at a kitchen table in a housing estate where wifi signals from four neighbours show on my laptop. While those neighbours may have faster landline service, I'm quite impressed by being able to run an FTP upload session, a very chatty Google Plus tab, streaming and a "new post" window with Typepad. Google Plus works better with Vodafone Mobile than with my Eircom wifi connection at home. While running 50 miles down the M8/M7, the Vodafone service provided rock-solid service. Something about the USB modem is much more powerful than any other mobile data service I've used before. I'm now considering getting another mobile wifi router so I can share the service with third level students while in the field.

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Amazon's Clever Tablet Strategy

AmazonKEVIN MARKS WRITES ABOUT an interesting licensing scenario that may follow Amazon's launch of its  Android Tablet.

Marks speculates that Amazon may be setting up to license their tablet code base. This makes senses when you consider how the Android experience on phones is often forked up. I use the phrase "forked up" because in several cases Android presents itself at least two separate ways. You can get a phone containing the Open Source core of Android or a phone with all the Google applications (like the App Market, Maps, Gmail, Talk, Contacts, Listen). It's that first kind of phone that drives application developers crazy since they cannot write their code base once and have it work elegantly with the standard Google application set.

Kevin Marks takes the idea further and speculates that "if Amazon offered an alternative to Google's top half of Android" they could be in a better position to control the revenue stream coming to them through the new tablet. That's what happened with Amazon and Apple when Apple demanded a greater cut of the revenue from every Amazon in-app purchase. If Amazon releases their own seven-inch tablet with an Open Source or lightly licensed version of the Android stack to other hardware developers they could offer the hardware developers a referral fee for anything bought via the Amazon store as an incentive for device manufacturers to ship it. This is just like the model used by PC manufacturers when they burn crapware onto new laptops and desktops.

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Sunday News on Grandparents' Day in Ireland

Sunday News 25 Sep 11

I SPEND PART of every semester explaining how to read the public announcements of the government so information in today's Sunday broadsheets will offer clear examples.

The most interesting bit of government pronouncements concerns taxes and social welfare payments and I show an example in this YouTube clip. You can click on the link or click on the image to play the clip. Or see more below the fold about a big blunder in a book about Ireland, superb earbuds that you might buy, Salty Baby by Orla Tinsley, social media as a content process and the continuing erosion in Irish public finances.

Sunday News from Ireland

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When You Can't Afford 10 Euro of Data

Xperia ActiveWHEN I TRY TO entice third level students to take their creative multimedia course material home in their pockets, I discover a lot of them don't have 10 euro extra each month for data charges.

The single biggest impediment weighing against more extensive use mobile data is the simple issue of running cost and the price-sensitive region is 10 euro. I see this at home as I try to figure out how to squelch the 16kb data packet that my wife's Nokia N8 exchanges with Vodafone ISP several times a day. We don't use the N8 for data over the air but we pull data over wifi a lot. Something in the setup asks the phone to seek other data options and that causes an extra 10 euro of charges to hit the Vodafone account every month. Like several of my students, my wife has a legacy Eircell account that costs no more than 29 euro a month. When the total monthly bill hits 40 euro beacuse of spurious data, it also hits our household bottom line.

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Ten Years Blogging

10 Years OnI REMEMBER BLOGGING ABOUT surgical masks on September 23, 2001 but at the time I didn't think my writing about the masks would start my adventure in blogging.

The masks were part of a kit given to the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity on the upper east side of Manhattan. Several of the Trinitarian nuns had stood on the top of their convent and watched the twin towers fall. My aunt was one of them. The fire department gave the convent several dozen surgical masks to ward off the ill effects of the dust in the air from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Ten years later, the masks are still in the convent. I've a local copy of that blog post and I'm going to replant it on Inside View because my first post deserves a relook--along with several of the high points of my adventure in blogging.

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Trying to Recover a Terabyte

Backup OftenI KNEW THAT MY BACKUP strategy had a big hole in it and today I discovered the hole is at least one terabyte big.

Through my own fault, I dropped my external Iomega hard drive onto a tile floor while the drive was accessing information. It no longer makes any noise. That's a terrible result because important gigabytes of video files were on that hard drive. I'm looking around for people who have rescued data from hard drives and will take suggestions as comments. I also have to figure out how to work my external drives into my cloud back-up strategy/ At the moment, only a small sliver of my external storage gets saved into a safe cloud location. That has to change because when I lose a terabyte of current work, I lose at least four months of current work.


Throttling Facebook Following Me

Logo of FacebookFACEBOOK'S TRACKING is rather powerful because merely logging out of Facebook still results in Facebook logging my clickstream.

Facebook's tracking button identifies people by IP address. I am trying to prevent that from happening so I've appended the line "" in my /etc/hosts file. This should block Facebook's tracking of me on other sites but it also can disable Facebook Connect. I'm playing with the result and feel like I've restored a level of my online privacy.