Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 09.38.01
Mobile Photos — From my phone via mail


Like anyone with any sense I read Alan Levine’s blog religiously. It has given me more ideas to think about and play around with than any other site on the Internet.

The other day I read Share Images By Email to SPLOT Collector (this post is now well down the post list as Alan blogs like a manic).

I was very interested in this, as I’d loved posterous until it was abandoned. One of the main things I liked about posterous was the posting by email facility. This allowed me to publish photos from my phone even with a terrible connection. I first noticed this on holiday in Galloway when I didn’t see a signal all week. I did keep my posterous updated with photos because the mail app on my phone magically seemed to be able to find a signal when I was asleep and send the photos over. I’d got it in the back of my mind to replicate this behavior with WordPress sometime, Alan’s post gave me the details of how to and the impetus to do it.

I’ve already got a reclaimhosting account for quickly setting up things to play with. It took me a quick 5 minutes to install wordPress, set the theme to the one Alan recommended (Fukasawa by Anders Norén), add the Jetpac plugin to handle mail, another plugin (Auto Thumbnailer) to automatically use images as featured images and add a css tweak. All following Alan’s instructions.

This had me covered for the main features of posterous, post via email and handling images in a pretty way.
As I wanted to post multiple images I also turned on the ‘Tiled Galleries’ and Image Galley Carousel provided by Jetpac and tweaked the CSS
a bit more for that. Another couple of minutes.

The system seems to be working just the way I wanted and yesterday I added a couple more features. Posterous had an interesting feature that allowed you to automatically forward whatever you posted to other services. I had a quick search for a WordPress plugin to do this but ended up at There I found: Post WordPress Featured Image to Flickr. This just deals with the first image, but a quick test proves it works. I’ll probably explore posting all the images later.

While I was on ifttt I also notice Instagram photo to WordPress blog so have thrown this into my mix. I can now post to Instagram, have that picture added to the blog and also sent on its way to flickr.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 10.22.52

Apart for the sheer fun of doing this, it also fit in quite well with the POSSIE, own your own space agenda.

Alan’s SPLOT | Smallest Possible Learning Open Tools project is fascinating.

Smallest/Simplest * Possible/Portable * Open/Online * Learning/Living * Tool/Technology

About | SPLOT

Update: forgot to add the link to the blog: Mobile Photos — From my phone via mail

Coding john

Even though it was expected I was pretty dismayed when posterous announced that it was shutting down.

Last week I blogged about possible ways forward and as I did so a couple of possible solutions appeared:

  1. Posthaven is the safe place for all your posts forever from some of the development team at posterous a site that will incorporate the best of posterous for $5 a month with a promise to keep going.
  2. Then Tim Owens (timmmmyboy) on Twitter offered us a home at Hippie Hosting where ewe could use WordPress.

So I’ve reserved edutalk on for $5 as a possibility, but the temptation to play is too much:

The idea now is to test out WordPress and keep posthaven as a fallback or perhaps as a way of contributing. The rest of this post will briefly cover what I did last weekend to test a few things out and start developing the idea.

So far:

  • I downloaded my own posterous backup from ‘John’s posterous – I always did like sending email‘ and set up a new wordpress blog, After Posterous, to see how that would go.
    Mixed results, the posts and comments showed up, but I lost the nice galleries, I’d have to go through the 300+ posts and set up WP galleries by hand.
  • I installed wp on hippy hosting, I used the system there, can’t recall the name, to install wordpress and it was done in seconds. I’ve normally have done this using ftp. Slightly worrying that this is so easy.
  • I got a new domain as a place holder: while developing the new site.
  • I added the FeedWordPress plugin and set it up to auto import boos tagged edutalk. This worked really well. pulling in all the boos in the RSS feed very quickly and treating them well. Linking the audio and creating the enclosures for podcasting. I am delighted with this.
  • The boos are posted tagged audioboo, it looks like I might have to think about the formatting a little bit.
  • I downloaded the posterous back up for SLFtalk – Audio publishing by attendees at the Scottish Learning Festival to have a look at the format, it seems less daunting that the 2GB edutalk backup.
    I’ve now got something to worry about. For some reason posterous have decided that there backups don’t link audio properly:

    What about audio?
    The Posterous export file doesn’t currently provide links to audio files, so there’s not a way for us to import them automatically. If you have audio files, you’ll need to find them in the “audio” folder within the backup zip file and manually upload them to the relevant posts.

    from: Import from Posterous — Support —
    This is going to be tricky given the number of posts we have.

Thinking about

  • It looks like to get the posts with audio up I’ll have to do something automatic. I’d need to, say: parse the posterous backup, to extract information; identify associated audio files; upload the audio, probably by ftp; create the information needed for a post (including enclosure info) and create the post, probably with the MetaWebLogAPI. The problem will be that the posts will vary depending on the source, audioboo, email, directly through the web. Some posts have audio that was uploaded to posterous, some link to audioboo. I hope to cobble a solution to this with SuperCard, AppleScript and string.
  • I’ll try to get enclosures showing up in posts as audio players, hopefully html 5 with fall back for older browsers and ones that do not support mp3. I think I saw a snippet of php for that somewhere in the wordpress help.
  • I am wondering how the change from the test domain, to will go, will I have to fix all the urls for enclosures in the wordpress database? Anyone know if this is easy?
  • I’ve no idea how to handle submission via email. Posterous did a great job of this, especially dealing with different filetypes.

Luckily there is a couple of months to get this sorted…

image idea from here

Woke up this morning to a barrage of tweets about Posterous turning off on April 30.

We use posterous for EDUtalk and I have a few other posterous blogs too.

This is not too unexpected, I bloged about it a couple of times, Posterous Worries and More Posterous Worries but it is still disappointing, who doesn’t like great stuff for free.

I’ve blogged enough about how good posterous is and the features that make it great for EDUtalk. I am going to make a list here of what is needed with some possible solutions and hopefully get some feedback.

  • Cost, posterous is free. I am not opposed to paying for stuff on the web, I pay for hosting here and elsewhere, the icecast part of Radio EDUtalk, flickr, pinboard and other stuff but we don’t want to pay too much for EDUtalk.
  • Space, last year at some point I downloaded everything from EDUtalk (There is a mac app for that) and it was well over 1GB then, there are >1000 posts. We need to move to a flexible hosting, or to use the Internet Archive for hosting our larger files.
  • Upload size, posterous allows upload of fairly large audio files through a browser. Other options may mean ftp, not a hugh problem but.
  • Media handling, folk can email in all sort of audio to edutalk and posterous deals with it and displays it nicely.
  • Open posting by email, I’ve not seen this else where, folk can email an audio file to EDUtalk and it is posted to the moderation queue, this makes for a very easy entry to podcasting, covering events by lots of folk easy, My favourite feature about posterous.
  • The Posterous API, recently broken, this allowed us easily to pull in audioBoos and ipadio phlogs. The MetaWeblogAPI or the FeedWordpress plugin (not sure how it handles attachments) would let us do this with WordPress.

From my knowledge and experience the simplest fit would be self hosted WordPress, ftp upload of Radio EDUtalk episodes (either to the sit or to the Internet Archive), forget the submission via email, or do this manually. Use the MetaWebLogAPI or FeedWordpress to bring in other content.

An Opportunity?

I’d like better, I’d love to keep all the features of EDUtalk and even get back the old phone in feature (that used to be handled by gabcast). I’ve also got some interest in using something else from the ubiquitous wordPress (ironic since I’ve spent a ton of time arguing for WP in Glow recently).

I wonder too how well the various WordPress posterous import solutions would handle our content, for example some of our ipadio and audioboos use the players from these sites, some use just a lonk that posterous turned into a posterous player and most recently we have been downloading and reposting the files to fix a feedburner/audioboo problem!

I’d love to hear some ideas of the best way to move this forward.

Update: just see this: Posthaven is the safe place for all your posts forever

When will Posthaven be able to do _______?

Everything you expected and liked about Posterous will eventually be in Posthaven. Things like post by email, multiple users, pages and links, full HTML theming, and the bookmarklet.

We’ll deploy the features and let you know as soon as they’re available.

from: Posthaven is the safe place for all your posts forever

I’ve reserved edutalk on for $5 as a possibility.

A couple of weks ago I had posted More Posterous Worries I had tweeted to @posterous and mailed the help to no avail. Then a week ago I tweeted to Sachin Agarwal @agarwal and got this response :

Agarwal Conversation

Sachin was a founder and CEO of @posterous. I had amazing support from him at the start of EDUtalk but was surprised he had time for a few emails. Not only that, the missing player for mp3 urls that was troubling us was fixed. (I still need to update all those post but new ones are fine).


Happy with this, today I though I’d update the script that posts audioBoo to posterous. Unfortunately there seems to be a problem with curl and the current version of php running here. Rather than try to work around that I’ve changed track and created an AppleScript that:

  1. Downloads the rss feed from
  2. Loops through it checking for new boos
  3. Posts these to EDUtalk, marking them private.
  4. Keeps a list of published boos so that I’ll later be able to download for the Radio EDUtalk AutoDJ archive.

I plan to have the script running all the time and checking each hour for new boos. It seems to work fine, not that it does anything clever like error checking, but given a bit of time I can fix that.

I’ve been a big posterous fan since June 29, 2008 since then I’ve blog with and about posterous a lot.

More importantly it is at the heart of EDUtalk where there are over 600 posts of educational podcast episodes of course Radio Edutalk.

Six weeks ago posterous was aquired by twitter and I had some Posterous Worries. I am now more worried as a few things have happened.

  1. The stuff that makes the domain work with our edutalk posterous site broke. A bit of reading and guess work got it fixed. The real worry was that both a tweet and email to posterous got no response. In the past I have been amazed at the quick reaction by the posterous team to both problems and suggestions, to help with SLFtalk, the precursor to EDUtalk they added a feature to their API overnight.
  2. Over the last couple of weeks the posterous API 1 for posting seems to have broken. AudioBoos tagged edutalk are normally posted to edutalk via the api by a script. This has stopped working, admittedly I am still using the depreciated API 1 rather than the new one, but as far as I know, the old one was just meant to keep working.
  3. When posting audioboos and phlogs to edutalk we relied on the fact that a url to an mp3 file would result in the posterous player being used to allow the audio to be played. This seems to have stopped working.

I know that we have been lucky to have a wonderful tool like posterous for free. I expected it to go pro at some point and would have been more than happy to pay for the service. I pay for hosting for this and other sites, I pay for flickr…

I am not sure where to go for this, in the last Posterous Worries post I listed the features that we need. I’ve asked the question on Quora: Is there another service like posterous which allows anyone to email content and has an API? – Quora. I’ve still not got an idea.

Some of this I guess we could sort with wordpress and some plugins. The disk space for large files will be a problem. The submit audio via email will be a problem. I am open to ideas?

I have found Posterous Backup Tool for Mac and spent the £2.49 in the mac app store. This worked a treat and I now have 600 odd posts and the audio that was posted to edutalk (not audioboo or ipadio files) in a >1GB backup, I just need to figure out what to do with it.

I’ve been blogging about, and with, posterous since June 2008 it is a service I love. Early on I compared it to the Flip camera:

The Flip camera and posterous are both effortless technology, in education both could help by lowering the bar so that learners can concentrate on the learning and not get caught up in the tech.

We know what happened to the Flip camera after cisco bought it. I am now worried about what happens to posterous now twitter has bought it.

Posterous explain a couple of things:

Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.

These seem slightly contradictory.

There are 3 main ways I use posterous:

  1. John’s posterous – I always did like sending email which I uses for mobile blogging, now mostly iphone photos.
  2. enviable stuff which I use for posting internet finds, posterous sends them on to this blog.
  3. EDUtalk – Audio publishing by educators, using mobile devices, this is of course organised in partnership with David @parslad and is the one I am worrying about.

The first two uses are pretty simple and could easily be done in other way, EDUtalk is different. We use several of posterous features to get things done:

  1. We allow anyone to post audio via email, this goes into the moderation queue. Posterous deals very well with spam, we do not see much at all. Although most other blogging systems have posting via email, I believe that most of them use a secret email address, I’ve not head of any that recommend sharing the email with the world.
  2. The API this allows us to semi automatically pull in posts from AudioBoo and iPadio to the moderation queue. The majority of audio comes from AudioBoo at the moment.
  3. Posting via web, this allows use to upload the Radio ‹EDUtalk archive to the posterous stream, these are fairly large files, each an hour of audio.

Most of this could be done by other means (I think) but it is the ease with which posterous allows this to happen that I love. I can’t think of another service that would allow us to do this so easily.


Has been going thorough a good spell. We had a great set of Boos for Leon Cych, @eyebeams from the Naace Conference: naace12. Ian Guest @ianinsheffield is continuing his great daily series on Web tools for use in the classroom. David and I have been enjoying the live Radio EDUtalk broadcasting (Radio Archive) and have managed a variety of show types.

The last thing I want to be thinking about is a some sort of sealing wax and string posterous substitute but I am starting to keep my eyes open and am looking for suggestions?

Since the last post (Show notes without a Show Radio Edutalk episode 2.5) we have taken a few more baby steps over at Radio Edutalk.

A week ago, I attempted a chat with Iain Hallahan over Skype. I basically started up Nicecast, and hyjacked the Skype audio. I’ve now figure out that if I just hyjack the one channel I don’t get the echo problem we had earlier. Settings Screenshot.

Iain talked about TeachMeet Beyond and kicking off TeachMeet 365. I think the chat went really well due to his enthusiasm about some facination projects, the audio is archived as an episode of Edutalk: Iain Hallahan on Radio Edutalk

Last night David and I tried a variation where we invited folk on twitter to come in over skype for a chat. Stephen Reid and Joe Dale kindly obliged talking about podcasting. We had a bit of bother getting them into a conference call via the dial in, but David pulled them in via their skype accounts. Stephen was on the move and joined in via 3g on his iPhone keeping our EDUtalk strapline, Audio publishing by educators, using mobile devices accurate. Again the audio is archived: Radio Edutalk 24 November 2011.

After we finished Joe gave us a wee hand sorting out the dial in stuff, in the future people will be able to dial in using any phone to 0131 208 1084.


So we seem to be getting a workflow together. Last night it worked well with David figuring out the skype bit and myself the nicecast end. Due to space at home I was using my mackbook in my daughter’s bedroom rather than hooked up to the monitor in the living room, keeping Skype, it’s chat window, twitter and nicecast organised was a wee bit tricky. The week before having the living room and larger monitor made it a wee bit easier.

I am also beginning to understand some of the difficulties in handling live multi voice conversations. An increasing number of podcasts I’ve been listening to have had more than one presenter or voice. This makes, for me, interesting listening, but there is a bit of a learning curve, which I’ve just stared on, in doing this smoothly.

The audo quality seems to be pretty good, I am using a cheap usb mic, but hope to get a better one sometime soon.

So far we having been using Nicecast, but I’ve also downloaded a free application LadioCast which might do the same job, I need to do some tests and see if it can archive.

The other 167 hours

The rest of the week Radio Edutalk has been streaming random items for the Edutalk archive. I had also set up several Scheduled playlist, to play at 7:30 in the evening, unfortunately I’ve been away for a few days and didn’t tweet these out as I’d planned. I hope to try the same again over the next week and also try djing audio for he archive giving folk a chance to phone in at some point.

I’ve taken out a 500mb AutoDJ disk which hold the archive, it is already filled up. I don’t really want to pay for a bigger disk, a monthly charge, so the choice is some manual shuffling via ftp or perhaps changing bit rate from 128 to 64. The later would involve converting all of the files and getting the internet radio folk to change the settings for the stream. I am not sure how much the change would effect the quality?


As yet we have not had a lot of listeners, but I’ve found myself listening in to the random stream more often that I thought, it makes interesting listening and can spark off all sorts of ideas.

Odds and ends

I’ve been collecting various internet links using internet radio · a failry new service that makes creating list of links very simple. I love the way you can create bookmarklets for any of your links screenshot.

I also use Storify to curate some tweets for last nights broadcast to include with the show notes: Radio Edutalk 20111124 · johnjohnston · Storify, Storify is easy to use and looks useful.

Next Wednesday

David and I will be talking at around 8 o’clock and the lines will be open, if you are online have a listen and if you like dial in (0131 208 1084) to put in your tuppence worth. Given the date I presume we will be talking strike along with some general eduTalk and edTechTalk.

We still live in a world where more teachers do not use ICT as an integral part of their classroom practice than do. Barriers to use include the rigid timetable of secondary schools, the lack of computers or other devices in most classrooms and the failure in many cases to link ICT to relevant CPD The goal for hardware should never be “One Computer per Child” but should be “Access when Required”. Good open access wifi throughout the school buildings coupled with allowing pupils to use their own devices, smartphones, tablets, netbooks or whatever would at least partially overcome that barrier.

Incisive & concise. The only bit I wonder about is the byo, not sure how the staff who lack skills would cope with multiple devices, OSs etc. Sometime taking a class through a glow activity using 2 different browsers can cause confusion.

We know a lot of you were perfectly happy with Posterous and wouldn’t want us to change a thing. Rest assured, with Posterous Spaces you can keep doing everything you’ve been doing with yesterday’s service. Plus we’ve added many cool new features to enjoy

I like this way of updating. The up and coming Glow update will not be as smooth but I hope the new glow service will be both flexible, able to add new features and evolutionary rather than revolutionary in the future.

River Tales

I am listening so some great pupil podcasts on Mr O’D’s class posterous pupils take on the role of a river and tell their life story:
Rachael does Rivers and
Kyle and the Nile for example. They show, in my opinion, the power of mashing up subjects and reinforce for me the value of podcasting and the voice.

Regular Gems

The User Outcomes section of Doug’s new Synechism Ltd. blog is turning up some nice stuff, this week’s gem for mac users is One Thing Well A weblog about simple, useful software.

UK Sound Map

I didn’t realise that the great UK Sound Map project was limited to a year and read:

The final date for uploads to the UK Soundmap is Friday 24 June, 2011. No new recordings will be added after then, but the UK Soundmap will remain online and you’ll still be able to listen to its collection of sounds.

I really meant to add a boo from work yesterday but got caught up in other things. There is a fair racket as the school, behind which I work, is being renovated. I had a good time contributing to the map and felt quite sad to learn it had finished. Visit the SoundMap and enjoy listening to sounds.

Listening to more podcasts

I’ve been listening to more podcasts recently thanks to Instacast. I’ve removed podcasts from the iPod app of my phone and don’t sync them via itunes anymore. Instacast allows you to build subscriptions (I imported from the iPod app before stopping the sync) and download episodes without being tied to a computer in a much simpler way than the ipod app. I can now sync my podcasts at the office before the drive home, rather than noticing that I had forgotten to sync my phone from my computer at home.

Instacast allows you to see the episodes you have downloaded, and also stream new ones. This can lead to a hammering of your data allowance.

I am presuming that with iOS 5 that apple will have some sort of similar setup too. It is certainly the way I want to go with mobile stuff.

The interface of instacast is nice, very minimal, although the text is a wee bit too small for my eyes at any distance. Well worth £1.19 even if Applce come up with something as good in iOS 5.

Islay high School

Joe Wilson blogs about Islay High School a reminder of all the great work going on there over the past few years. Good to be reminded that it is not the tech:

Beyond the technology they timetable 3rd to 6th year together – which leads to a great community feel in the senior school. This allows for personalised timetables over 3 or 4 years – this gives learners a large range of academic and vocational options and allows some to really stretch themselves – a few 5th years have achieved Advanced Highers.