Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mission Accomplished-ish

This is the end of week 2 and I feel that my mission for this week has been
at least partly accomplished.

  • I opened a couple of blogs with other providers and concluded that none was ideal but that 20six was perhaps most promising for my configuration.

  • I looked at a few other teacher and student blogs and concluded that....... male bloggers like black backgrounds. I also decided that while it was fun looking at them and gave me plenty of ideas nothing corresponded exactly to what I want/feel able to do.

  • I thought a bit more about the blog I would like to set up. I want to do this mostly for students of medicine whom I see for a period of 7 weeks. Part of the teaching is face to face and I would devote one 3-hour class to setting the accounts up, showing examples of what has been done elsewhere and perhaps showing my own blog. The rest of the course is done on the net.I might replace some of the online exercises that students currentlyhave to complete with assignments that include posting and commenting on other students' blogs. I am not sure whether I would like them all to have individual blogs or whether it would be best to set up a team blog. I'm also not sure about whether I want them to concentrate on medical subjects or centre their production on more personal concerns. All of this obviously demands further thought!

  • I completed my group task for this week by adding three articles to the wiki database with brief comments. I felt a little frustrated because the comments were so limited; obviously nobody is going to digest a long screed about an article they could read almost as quickly.

  • I continue to read all of the messages sent to the discussion group but with increasing impatience. Get a grip some of you guys!

  • Haven't yet been able to participate in anything live due to timetabling
    clashes and probably won't be able to do so tomorrow but remain hopeful of
    hearing real voices before the end of the course!
  • Looking forward to the next bit.
  • 20six

    I have also opened a blog at 20six and called it Apoptosis because I initially thought it was destined not to survive for very long. It turns out however, that it is much easier with this blog provider to add photos and links etc. Maybe worth developing a bit more, in which case I'll have to change the title.

    The Proust Questions

    The Proust Questions
    What is your most marked characteristic? Indecision
    What do you consider your greatest achievement? My children
    When and where were you happiest? Age 32, driving through Arizona
    What is your greatest regret? Not saying goodbye to my father
    What is your idea of perfect happiness? A roomful of friends
    What is your most treasured possession? None
    Where would you like to live? Santa Fe
    What is your greatest fear? Death of a child
    What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Lack of patience
    What is the trait you most deplore in others? Cruelty
    What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Self denial
    What is your greatest extravagance? My computer
    What is your favorite journey? Along the rim of the Grand Canyon
    What is it that you most dislike? Rats
    What is the quality you most like in a man? Generosity
    What is the quality you most like in a woman? Generosity
    What do you most value in your friends? Confidence
    If you were to come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Cat
    If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A buzzard
    How would you like to die? Well prepared, in my sleep, age 110.

    Friday, January 28, 2005

    Haut et Fort

    I've just created a new test blog with a French provider called Haut et Fort. I like the clean look and the fact that you can upload photos, create photo albums, and also lists (although I haven't had time to try any of that out). I don't like the fact that as with Blogger, I can't do any WYSIWYGing. It would certainly be worth trying for anyone teaching a French class. I called my new blog Desultory Notes

    Thursday, January 27, 2005

    The Woolamaloo Gazette

    I found this humanitarian link on the site of the bloke who was fired from the Edinburgh branch of Waterstone's for things he had written in his blog.
    The Woolamaloo Gazette: "For those who don't know the Hunger Site: is a page you may visit and click on the 'donate' button once per day. It then opens a page of advertisers (not the annoying pop-ups) who contribute to the World Food Programme. You don't need to buy anything, but purchases from sponsors add further contributions to the Food Programme. I've found some rather lovely and unusual gifts this way.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    Me and you makes three

    I've just installed a counter at the bottom of this page. Easy peasy. I got it from
    Sitemeter It has counted 3 visitors in the past ten minutes (2 of whom were me).

    More testing

    Just a quick post from work to see whether the compose mode works in with OSX and Safari. Apparently not, since I don't even see the compose and edit html tabs. The keyboard shortcuts don't work either. I'm going to save this as a draft and then switch over to Netscape to see if there is any difference. (Talk about verbal introspection)
    (Short pause)
    Okay so now I'm in Netscape and I have the Edit HTML and Compose tabs. And things actually work. Look, here's some colour. The keyboard shortcuts still don't work though. What about a bulleted list?
    • OSX + Netscape 7
    is better than
    • OS9.1 + Netscape 7
    is better than
    • OSx + Safari

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Blog this and that

    This evening I'm trying out the "blog this" button at the top of the page. So I've been scavenging some useful quotes and links from other group members' blogs. If anybody objects please don't hesitate to contact me and I will "unblog" you immediately. The quotes are mostly about James farmer's presentation yesterday bacause being a maccy, I wasn't able to participate. Unfortunately I've had to cut and paste this from several drafts since it doesn't seem to be possible to automatically save several "blog this"es as a single post.But after all that, it turns out that the "blog this" function is actually pretty useless because although it provides a link to the original blog the quote was snipped from, it doesn't actually copy any links in the body of the copied text.
    Daf's Raco: "James Farmer's talk about blogs at Alado . He has a remarkable blog: Incorporated Subversion. He is talking about 'Communities of Inquiries'"
    Anton Elloway: "Free-ESL Blogs
    English360: "James summarizes by offering us a resource: the IncSub organization, which is a good support network for teachers who want to implement blogging, and he invites us all to visit."
    Mirandoami: "
    "incorporated subversion:
    Technology, Design, Community, Pedagogy etc.
    Communication dynamics: Discussion boards, weblogs and the development of communities of inquiry in online learning environments
    - the paper on which this presentation was based."

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Le Choc des Images

    Now, let's see if I can make the leap to including photos and a link.I'm doing this with html because the WYSIWYG interface just doesn't work with my set-up. (Incidentally, further to my whinge about the Blogger team being in cahoots with BG, I read in the knowledge base section of this site that most of the said team actually use Macs themselves. The plot thickens.)
    Here's a picture of my home city Edinburgh:
    and here's another of my adopted home city Bordeaux:
    I found these photographs on a great site for free photos called Stock.XCHNG

    Sunday, January 23, 2005


    Well, if this works I'll be surprised. Apparently you can send posts to your blog by e-mail. Fingers crossed and hit send.

    Would Hardy have blogged?

    I read recently in the TLS that "Thomas Hardy acquired the notebook habit in his twenties, and kept it going all his long life. As well as noting down memories and events, he read widely and took copious notes on his reading, Victorian industriousness further sharpened by the hunger of autodidacticism, building storehouses of nourishment for his novels and poetry. These he referred to as his "notebooks", "pocket-books", "memoranda" and "diaries". Nobody knows how many had accumulated by the time he died aged eighty-seven, as his instructions to burn them were obeyed. Twelve of them survived the executor's flames, however, and their titles give some idea of their range: the "Architectural Notebook", the "Trumpet-Major Notebook", the "Schools of Painting" notebook, the "Studies, Specimens, etc" notebook, the "1867" notebook, and the volumes of "Literary Notes" and "Memoranda".
    I wonder if such a copious note-taker would have been a blogger. Probably not. The notes were for his own use, the public didn't get to see them until they had been reworked, interwoven, sublimated into novels.

    "An attempt to modify formatting failed unexpectedly"

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Why is it so difficult to create a post? There will never be any links or images, or bold type, or italics, or colour in this blog because in "compose" mode I get the error message above as soon as I click on a button. If I go into Settings and choose not to have the "compose" mode, my entire post disappears if I so much as glance at the "insert link" button. I am gradually coming to the conclusion that must be in cahoots with Guillaume Portails. Can anyone suggest a better blog host for Mac OS9 users?

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Lagging Behind bis

    I'm member of group 3 this week and our job is to comment on the blogs created by other people following the course. So far, I have found this a pretty humbling experience bacause
    1. the other blogs are more attractive than mine
    2. some bloggers have worked out how to put in links, side bars, photos, audio, soda-fountains etc.
    3. Every other blog I've read has been more profound and thought-provoking than mine
    4. Some bloggers have multiple blogs (where do they find the time?)
    5. Some bloggers have moved on to deconstructing the whole blogging experience
    6. This is the second time I've written this post, the first time "there were errors". Can't this application be taught to say "Please accept my humble apologies, I made errors and now I've lost your scintillating post."

    Lagging Behind

    I'm a memeber of group 3 this week and our job is to comment on other people's blogs. So far, it's been a pretty humbling experience bacause
    a) Everybody else's blog is much more attractive than mine
    b) My blog is one of the least thought-provoking I've come across
    c) Other blogs seem to be much fuller than mine
    d) Other people have worked out how to add links, and photos, and side-bars, and soda-fountains
    e) Some people have multiple blogs
    f) A few people have moved on to deconstructing the whole blogging experience
    I've got to catch up, I've got to catch up.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Initial thoughts on creating a blog

    Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I'm currently interested in : teaching ESP, disourse analysis, learning Spanish, bringing up children, Nineteenth century travel literature, Robert Louis Stevenson, Six Feet Under, Ikea kitchens and how much they cost, flights to Tunisia, English for Medical Purposes, simultaneous translation, grommets,scientific biography ..... My question is this: would it be best to separate all of these strands of interest and create different blogs for each of them or create a sort of méli-mélo incorporating them all?

    I take it all back

    I recently boasted on the discussion list that blogger works fine with MacOS9.1and Netscape 7, well it doesn't. I've had three "internal error messages" this evening.Can one eat one's blogs?


    Being confined indoors most of the day, just the four of us, is reminding me of the days when my children were wee and most of our weekends ...