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Monthly Archives: March 2007

I’ve been experiencing, like many other folk, the slow performance of Twitter over the last few days. So if I were you, I’d ignore my previous request for fellow Twits to join me. And on second thoughts I can’t be arsed with it. In the end it is just another distraction. And I have plenty of them (in the form of social apps) already keeping me busy. Blogs (this one and work blog), uploading to Flickr, checking Facebook, instant message (via Google Talk), Skype and SMS.

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You can get 40% off all wine at Threshers by printing off a voucher. Spread the word. It’s only valid for the next week. And no, this is not a scam. Last Christmas Threshers made headline news with an identical voucher scheme.

Cheers.

I joined Twitter a couple of months ago, invited a couple of friends and occassionally twitter. I’d like some more friends on Twitter to make it more fun. Jeremy Keith points out the practical value of Twitter (none if you must know) but goes on to write that Twitter does offer some genuine emotional value from technology. As I have an IM open all day, it is easy to Twitter. And if you are a twitter friend you’ll know what I’m eating for lunch, how frustrated I get using Visual Studio, when I have an eureka moment… and lots more.

So, this is a call to anyone who knows me to join Twitter, add me as a friend and twitter away. I expected to be inundated with invites by tomorrow morning and I promise never to get bored with any twitterings you make.

While I have your attention, check out this awesome visualisation of twitters happening around the globe in real-time. Très cool!

The Big Ask web site

Interesting new site from the mySociety folks – Neighbourhood Fix-it – the first mash-up I have seen using Ordanance Survey maps. The site blurb reads:

Report, view, or discuss local problems like graffiti, fly tipping, broken paving slabs, or street lighting

Nothing reported down my street. I’ll add one of the many existing problems tomorrow. This should keep the country’s councils busy. It’s a kind of to-do list, that’s controlled by the public.

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Yesterday I checked out the first BarCamp held in Scotland. Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics hosted the event. I listened to some good talks and met some cool folk.

First off, I listened to an american guy with a very loud voice called Henry S. Thompson (gotta love the initial!) who spoke rather excitedly about XML Pipelines. Gotta say I didn’t understand what this was about but was impressed nonetheless. He warned people to stay away from Yahoo Pipes, a cool tool for aggregating and manipulating feeds, for some reason I didn’t get at the time and don’t remember now.

Next off Austin Tate spoke about stuff to do with AI and Second Life. He heads up AIAI and he showed us around the office that’s been set up in Second Life. I have read snippets of info around the web about Second Life but have visited the virtual world myself. Austin spoke of the future, where it’d be possible to set up an intelligent agent to act on your behalf when you’re not on the web. For instance, your agent could pay bills, answer emails and make decisions on your behalf. Setting up something in Second Life is a good way to explore such things. Scary.

Tony Farndon demonstrated Flock, inspiring me to try it out again. I’m writing this blog using Tony’s BlogPlus plug-in. It’s so easy to add links to posts, that’s why there’s so many.

I hung out with James Turnbull who, amongst other things, runs the popular Google Sightseeing blog. He was evangelising Django, a web framework running atop of Python that I really must check out one day.

I caught a few more talks and finished up listening to Morna Findlay, the School of Informatics schools’ liaison officer. Morna was trying to find out why there has been a sharp decline in students applying for university computer related courses. She divulged that, for Edinburgh University, the intake for computer related degree programmes has halved in actual numbers since 2001, even though there has been an overall rise in the number of students attending university. The general consensus in the room was that schools curriculums were to blame. Pupils tend to think that computer related degrees will involve learning how to use word processors and spreadsheets, just basic office applications, rather than getting down to the nitty-gritty of theory, programming, application design and all the good stuff. Also, I tend to agree with what James Turnbull said about experience is more important to employers than 3 years stuck at university, even though I value the deeper understanding a student will get from a degree.

Then we headed next door to Teviot for some free beers. I met the guys from groopit.com, who were very switched on, answered effortlessly any questions that were thrown at them about groopit. John Sutherland succinctly described groopit as Twitter on speed. Best of luck to them and I recommend you sign-up now, even though they’re still in beta.

Before I knew it, it was 10:30pm and beer vouchers had run out and it was time to leave. May be next time BarCamp is in town I will have something to contribute now that I have seen how things are done.

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