On the other hand, people have taken to calling any audio file a ‘podcast’, which is less great. It’s a podcast only if it is syndicated; otherwise, it’s just an audio file.

Open Word—The Podcasting Story ~ Stephen Downes

It is nice to see the increased interest in podcasting in generally, in the tech realm and in education. Good too to see this important point. An MP3 is not a podcast, the delivery system of an RSS feed with enclosures is. Or the fact that a podcast, if you subscribe is pushed to a you or your podcatcher.

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The Web itself is pretty special – Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of a global hyperlinked information system. A system that was – ideally at least – openly available and accessible to everyone, designed for the purpose of sharing information and collaborating on knowledge-building endeavors. That purpose was not, at the outset, commercial. The technologies were not, at the outset, proprietary.

Source: Why ‘A Domain of One’s Own’ Matters (For the Future of Knowledge)

Nice concise post about why the web is important as compared to silos on the web.

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     And that’s the Web. That’s your domain. You cultivate ideas there – quite carefully, no doubt, because others might pop by for a think. But also because it’s your space for a think.

 

Mobiles and mobile apps are becoming more powerful every day. Back in August last year I downloaded and installed Universe. Clearly marked as a beta it allowed you to make verses, these were a grid of media that could be mixed: photos, video, text, maps and sounds. There was different types of interactivity and you could even put html and javascript in a verse.

I played around with this occasionally, mashing up the contents of my camera roll. The app crashed occasionally and the creations were only really visible inside the app. Still it was fun, and interesting to see what others made with it.

Yesterday I got a email, the betas was over and new version was out and it had changed tack. Universe was now a tool to build websites. I downloaded it and made a page within about 3 minutes: ‎john.onuniverse.com.

Hosting on an onuniverse.com subdomain is free, but you can pay for a domain.

When I tried the original betas version it felt as if the lack of publishing to the web was the main problem. This is now fixed. The new version lacks many of the interactive features of the beta, but it share the same easy to use interface. On creating or editing a page you have a 3 by 5 grid. Clicking on a square on the grid or dragging over several (so you can have a larger block) allows you to edit that square. You choose the type of content and then edit. Once you are finished a click or two and the site is published.

Publishing to the web from your phone is nothing new, I blogs from my iPhone, have edited sites with text editors and there are lots of ways to publish. Universe stands out as one of the easiest ways to put up a neat page quickly while on the go.

Adding further pages to your site is at the moment not as elegant as it could be, they don’t share the same sub-domain. There is no support for animated gifs (converted to jpgs), videos can only be 3 seconds long and loop in a gif like manner. I’d love to see support from some of the ways that the ‘old’ universe animated sections of the grid and sound could be played. I guess that might come. But overall this is a really nice way to make a website very quickly.

If you want a quick individual about me page for an event or to knock up a page for your days photos on the bus home, this is the app for you. I wonder too if it could be used in education. From a data protection pov I am not sure where it would stand, but it could be fun for pupils to build wee sites.

Featured image: combine screenshots of the app.

Some links:

Google says it can’t trust our self-hosted AMP pages enough to pre-render them. But they ask for a lot of trust from us. We’re supposed to trust Google to cache and host copies of our pages. We’re supposed to trust Google to provide some mechanism to users to get at the original canonical URL. I’d like to see trust work both ways.

Source: Adactio: Journal—In AMP we trust

Reading above my pay grade again.

More about Google’s AMP stuff here: Google AMP is good for mobile web users – but what about publishers? | Media | The Guardian

One of the things it does is present your content quickly without all the javascript that slows pages down, but it also seems to hijack the ULR and give the material a google one.

Given Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’ – BBC News, it might make understanding and evaluating content even harder.

Facebook was the key to the entire campaign, Wigmore explained. A Facebook ‘like’, he said, was their most “potent weapon”. “Because using artificial intelligence, as we did, tells you all sorts of things about that individual and how to convince them with what sort of advert. And you knew there would also be other people in their network who liked what they liked, so you could spread. And then you follow them. The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.”

from: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media | Politics | The Guardian

Carole Cadwalladr’s article in today’s Observer, is both fascinating and frightening. The technology used by Cambridge Analytics is incredibly  powerful the use it has ben put too worrying. Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s comms director in the quote above doesn’t have a Facebook account quoted in the same article:

It is creepy! It’s really creepy! It’s why I’m not on Facebook! I tried it on myself to see what information it had on me and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ What’s scary is that my kids had put things on Instagram and it picked that up. It knew where my kids went to school.

Featured image on this post created with a wee AppleScript Makes auto complete google search gifs.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with the Fridge I blogged about the other day.

I was feeling pretty please with myself until I got a DM for Eric earlier this (UK) evening. He noticed that the dolch list on the screenshot of the webpage I had made was pretty much the same one he had used on an activity he had made and blogged about: Control Alt Achieve: Wintertime Magnetic Poetry with Google Drawings. It was the same list. I remember seeing his site when I google dolch or wordlist. I can remember copying the list but I must have done so. I didn’t keep the list, replacing it on Sunday with a full (or almost full) dolch list. But I did take and use Eric’s curation of the list without attribution at the time.

Eric was gracious enough to DM me rather than call me out publicly, giving me a wee bit of breathing room to put things right for which I am grateful.

I am particularly embarrassed as I spend a fair bit of time talking about copyright and creative commons, the image search in the fridge provides automatic attribution. I’ve often blogged about it and the difficulty in getting pupils away from a straight google search. In the previous post, I credit Tom Woodward for the idea, and link to the code I’ve used. I just didn’t even think about the words and the work involved in curating a list. I am now presuming that my using the dolch list is ok?

Eric was also kind enough not to suggest I’d taken the whole idea from his template, which looks like a quite reasonable assumption. Here I can only plead I’ve been playing with virtual fridge magnets for a while, this effort: fridge is from 2002. Made with Flash and flamethrower (sic) 1.

I’ve added some attribution to The Fridge now, I’ll update any help for it that I produce and link to this post from Sundays shortly.

I can only repeat my apology to Eric and thank him for the lesson.

  1. The flash bit still works, Flamethrower is no more.

I’ve had a long term interest in digital ‘fridge’ poetry, making my first efforts with Flash around 15 years ago. A year or so ago I was excited by Fridge Poetry – Google Sheets as Database by Tom Woodward. There were a couple of goodies in that post, getting the word list from a google sheet and a nifty way to allow folk to easily make their own. I made a sheet and a poem and slotted the idea away.

I’ve revisited Tom’s post (and others) a few times, gathering tools 1 and wondering.

On the holiday weekend, given poor weather and a head cold, I revisited the idea and made my own Fridge.

This riffs & extends the idea a wee bit:

  1. You can add a background image to the poem, either from a built in flickr search or a local one.
  2. There is a standard common word list and a topical one from the google sheet.
  3. The words in the lists can be used more than once.
  4. I used JavaScript as opposed to php (except for proxying images to allow you to export).
  5. You can export the poem as an image.

I’ve edited Tom’s template a little, the new one:

  • Automatically generated a link to use. Tom got you to copy paste in the sheets own url and parsed that.
  • Adds a field for the image search.

Make a List this link should get you to create a copy of the list spreadsheet. You can edit the words (on the 2nd worksheet) and change the image search,  more info: Fridge Poetry.

Learning

I’ve gained a wee bit more JavaScript and jQuery. The idea of using Google sheets to populate a webpage or to display info from a sheet in a template is interesting. html2canvas is another tool that has interesting potential for storytelling on the web.

Using /copy at the end of a google sheet to allow anyone to make a copy is useful too.

Finally the ability of google sheets to get the id of the current sheet is really handy in simplifying the creation of links. This relies on a very simple script:

function getSheetID() {
  var r = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getId();
return r;

}

you can then get the id by typing =getSheetID() in a cell.

Next

There is more help on how to make and use a wordlist here: Fridge Poetry.

Hopefully someone will find this fun of useful, if you do and create new wordlists please let me know.