A couple of weeks ago I watched Doug‘s video How I Use a MacBook Pro on of the ways he discussed was a very new (beta) service ifttt.

ifttt stand for If This Then That and I requested a beta invite that arrived a day of three later. I’ve now had a look over the site and set up my first task.

1st Ifttt

This is a simple one, if I tag a link on delicious with @comment it will be tweeted (Hopefully with commenting at: ). I post @comment tagged links to delicious with a keyboard short cut so the whole thing should be painless.

This is a really trivial use of ifttt, and I can see a lot of more powerful uses for the service. I like this sort of thing, the way posterous post stuff on to flickr, twitter and this blog for example.

We also do a little of the same sort of thing with edutalk.cc, auto posting audioboos tagged edutalk to the moderation queue.

In fact my first thoughs were that ifttt could replace my rather clunky system for doing this. Unfortunately, at the moment ifttt only supports posting text to your main posterous blog and as far as I could see will not post to the moderation queue. I was also looking at posting my shared google reader to a new posterous blog but as it is not my mail one this will not work yet.

I am saying yet as the service seems to be developing quickly. I did manage to create a task to post my google reader shared items onto my tumblr blog (I’d almost forgotten that one). I usually star/like stuff in google reader to check later but will now try to share ’em too to see how ifttt works out.

Finally I really love the interface of ifttt, very clean with huge text and icons. The process to create a new task is very simple with a fair bit of possible customisation:

ifttt action field

I am looking forward to seeing how ittt develops.

Update:I seem to have flooded ScotEduBlogs with my tumblr posts. I’d forgotten that it was listed there. Apologies. I’ve now removed the blog from SEB.

4edutalk screen

After the success of SLFtalk David and I have been chatting about how to take the idea forward. It seemed a good idea to continue to provide educators the opportunity to post short podcasts with as low a technical barrier as possible. David has pushed this on by getting the EDUtalk.cc domain name and applying it to a new posterous site we have spent a bit of time preparing the site, writing instructions et and yesterday David posted a long tweet:

The EDUtalk project launches with a brief Flashmeeting on Monday at 8.30pm. Following on from the success of SLFtalk, EDUtalk is a space for educators to publish digital audio content via mobile devices. DM me or @johnjohnston for the Flashmeeting URL and please follow @EDUtalkr

David also tweeted:

EDUtalk launches on Monday with FMeet + competition. It’s a space for educators to publish audio using mobile tech (like SLFtalk) @EDUtalkr

So it looks like we are ready to. The idea follows the SLFtalk pattern, folk can record and send audio by a variety of methods to the site; audioBoo, gabcast, mailing mp3s direct from a phone or iPhone. Instructions are on the site, liked from the sidebar. This time we have added Skype recordings with Pamela into the mix and ipadio. Quite a few people asked for ipadio support in SLFtalk but it was not possible at that time.

Ipadio Icon

Last week I did a bit of testing with ipadio and found it didn’t have a RSS feed for specific tags (this is how we push audioBoo onto the site), but I did get a nice welcome email for ipdaio. I replied to this suggesting the feature, and within a day or two the developers had added it! You can now record an ipadio phlog tag it EDUtalk and it will turn up on EDUtalk.cc. As with posterous helping out by adding to their API I continue to be very pleasantly surprised with how developers provide us with free products and then alter them on request.

I’ve also improved my system for creating posts from audioBoo and ipadio, by changing the html a bit we now ebed the audioBoo and ipadio players and by using feedburner the audio will be in the RSS feed.

I am very excited about the project, listening to the audio from SLFtalk provided a different dimension to reading blogs or watch video recordings. I hope other people are too. Anyone interested is invited to the flashmeeting (Just DM me or David for a link) and to start submitting audio next week you ght even win a prize.

Slftalk Screen

I’ve had a bit of time to think about David Noble and my experiment at the Scottish Learning festival. I blogged about the preparation and have been thinking about the actual event for a while.

SLFtalk was an experiment for using posterous to aggregate short audio reports from mobile devices at the Scottish Learning festival.

Over the 2 days of the festival and with a couple of late entries we had 29 posts to SLFtalk from a dozen people. There was a wide range of type of poster and content. We had fairly recently qualified classroom teachers and HMI. The content went from recording of segments of seminars through interviews to reflection. Many of the posts have had more than 400 views. Most of the hits came from the time of the festival and just after.

We had offered several routes into audio publishing and most were used:

  • 15 boos tagged slftalk using audioboo by 5 people
  • 12 files posted directly to posterous by 6 people
  • 2 recordings made on the gabcast.com channel by 2 folk

Obviously all of the the audioboos were made using an iPhone, the posts to posterous were made with several different devices; iphones, a HTC Touch Diamond and desktops.

For myself I intended to use the iPhome Voice Memos app, and just email it in. But I ran over the 2 minutes limit for mailing memos so ended up transferring the audio to my macbook, converting to mp3 (cutting down file size) and posting via email. I think I was the only person using a computer rather than a phone.

No one took us up on the offer to borrow mp4 recorders, Joe Dale did use his iRiver to chat to me at the end of the 2 days and later sent me the file to post to the site.

I think it was well worth offering multiple ways of posting, although audioboo was the most popular, if we had just used that several contributors could not join in.

Technically everything seem to work out fine, the main thing I would change is the way the gabcasts and audioboos were posted to the site. basically I just used the posterous API to send the url of the audio to posterous. This meant that the recording were not enclosed in the RSS feed. I have made a few tests and worked out a workaround, if an actual html link in sent to posterous, eg <a href="path_to_audio_file">Listen</a> and we use feedburner to provide the RSS, feedburner will produce an rss feed with all of the enclosures. The file would also play on an iphone.

From a organisational and technical point of view I really enjoyed working with David on this wee project, but the thing I enjoyed most was listening to the audio, given the background noise and less than ideal recording conditions I was surprised at how engaging they were, there is something special about listening to the human voice with all the extra information the signal carries over reading a text.

I think we may have discovered an interesting an powerful addition to our community communication toolkit and hope this concept can be taken forward and more widely used. I would be interested in hearing more from others who used or listen to the podcasts and getting ideas of how to improve the system.

Posted via email from John’s posterous

Slftalk 3

Two or three weeks ago I was having a skype chat to David Noble thinking about a podcasting project. We have not figured this out yet but we did come up with a short term podcast idea that should be fun and perhaps useful.

We started to think about simple ways to collaborate with audio files online and came up with the idea of an open Posterous blog where anyone could post audio reports from the Scottish Learning Festival. We though that folk could email audio to the posterous blog where it will sit in the moderation queue until we check it really is about the Scottish Learning Festival, then we send it on to the blog.

David had the idea of adding gabcast into the mix this would allow folk just to phone in their reports to a gabcast. After checking the Posterous API it looked like we could pick up the gabcast RSS feed and publish the audio to posterous too. A quick look at the Posterous development google group got me an example php script to use the api which I kludged together with the Magpie PHP RSS Parser to post the gabcasts to the posterous blog.

Posterous Small

At this point the only problem was that the gabcasts would be poster unmoderated to the blog. Moderation is not going to be stringent, but we felt we need to avoid spam. So I emailed one of the posterous co-founders Sachin who in a couple of days had added a needs_moderation flag to the Posterous Posting API.

This is not the first time I have had help from the posterous team, but it still amazes me that they take some much care of individual users as they continue to develop Posterous at a frightening rate. Just today they also added the New feature for sites that allow public submissions: Bulk delete unapproved posts which I hope we will not need but could be handy.

So SLFtalk will bring together audio from anyone who wants to contribute at the Scottish Learning Festival. They can contribute by emailing audio to post@SLFtalk.posterous.com or phoning the gabcast number for the price of a local call, the gabcast number is 02033182690, the channel is 30938, detailed instructions will be published soon and the password made available at the festival. More details of how to contribute are on SLFtalk and will be expanded.


Ten days ago we published the
Introduction to SLFtalk on SLFtalk but did not announce it, I think I sent the url to one other person who got wind of it on twitter. In the 10 days it got 19 views. Last night I tweeted an announcement. 14 minutes later we had 138 views. 10 hours later we had over 400.

If the enthusiasm of the Scottish Education twitter community is an indicator I think SLFtalk might make interesting listening during and after the Scottish Learning festival.

If you are interesting in contribution audio, please read SLFtalk and follow @SLFtalk on Twitter to find out more. Hopefully the process will be simple enough for anyone to join in and maybe a way for some to dip their toes in the social media pond for the first time.

Twitter image Mirjami Manninen from smashingmagazine

picPosterous is a photo and video publishing app for the iPhone.

Picposterous 0Picposterous 1

At first glance I could not see the advantage of using this rather than the iPhone’s mail application, and neither could TechCrunch but a tweet or two from Sachin, one of posterous’s founders both put me on the right track and gave further evidence that the posterous guys never sleep.

The idea of the applcation is that during an event (or day or meal or whatever) you take photos and post to posterous. The difference is that you can continue to add images to the post after the first image is posted. This will certainly make it a useful application. Instead of waiting until the end of an event you can snap and post without crating a series of posts. picPosterous will also queue up the photos and post then when it can. You can quit the app and it will try to post again the next time you open it.


So the app is a lot more useful than I first thought. A couple of drawbacks/limitations: the only text you can post is the title and the media is limited to pictures and video (on a newer phone than mine). The auto post feature, which I have turned on for twitter, flickr and a test blog only posts the first photo, which makes sense for twitter but if I used posterous as a means of posting to flickr I’d probably want the whole album being added.

All in all a handy addition to ways of posting stuff online if not a whole solution I think I’ll be using picPosterous regularly.

I also imagine that if the development of posterous itself is any indication the application will be upgraded and improved regularly. Posterous itself has had an incredible rate of feature addition. The founders are very responsive to any suggestion for improvement making it the most exciting blogging platfrom out there.

Aside, I used Camera Genius for iPhone as a replacement for Night Camera for Anti-shake stabilization. night Camera didn’t make the upgrade to the 3.0 version of the iPhone software. Unfortunately Camera Genius doesn’t seem to take photos with location exif data so posterous does not get to produce a nice wee map.


I am just back from a weeks holiday. While I was away I had just about no connectivity. I had packed my laptop and iphone, but there was not internet access I could find and I had to walk about a mile to a nearby cliff top to get a mobile signal!

I gave up on following RSS, twitter and getting email and left the laptop shut. I did do a bit of photo blogging from my phone to my posterous account, and this worked very well.

The new iphone software allows you to mail up to 5 photos instead of just one, posterous makes pretty galleries of sets of photos. The mail app on the iphone allows you to create mails and then will send them later whenever you get a signal, this turns out to be a great feature in comparison with other iphone blogging applications.

The results are on John’s posterous, photos from my camera rather than iPhone were uploaded to flickr when I got back.

Wu wei – No action
Originally uploaded by ????

I’ve been a fan of posterous since it started and have been amazed how the service has added features as quickly as they have been suggested. A couple of days ago the announced public group sites with post by moderation. This allow you to open up a blog to posts by anyone, but you get to moderate the posts.

I imagine you could use a group posterous for a inter school poetry blog (for example) between schools allowing children to concentrate on their writing and the evaluation of their partners.
Or a a zero setup class blog if your pupils have separate email addresses.

Posterous of course is blogging by email, with zero setup. Posterous takes just about any sort of media and deals with it in a sensible way. Posterous also sends you posts to other places (twitter, flickr, blogs etc) automatically if you want.

Garry Tan one of posterous’ cofounders had set up a public blog Posterous Recipes for Recipes and I though I’d give it a spin. All I needed to do was to drag a couple of photos from iPhoto onto the mail icon on my Mac’s dock, up popped a mail window with the photos attached, I put in the address post@recipes.posterous.com and clicked send, it was that simple. No resizing of photos, posterous presents them beautifully without out me having to think about them.

Posting my recipe, Posterous recognised my email and linked my recipe to my own posterous. And as I posted to post@ rather than posterous@ it picked up my settings and tweeted for me and posted the photos to flickr too!

Although the main way of accessing Posterous is via email, the web interface if beautiful for example, commenting in posterous is a very sweet, no opening the post in a new window, just an ajax reveal of the comment box: simple and clean without confusion.

The guys at posterous are incredibly responsive, I’ve mailed and tweeted them a few time and always had replies within hours, give the time difference this is really impressive. They are improving posterous almost all of the time; on one occasion in response to a blog post elsewhere, taking suggestions, acting on them and reporting all in the comments!

The fact posterous deals with blogging sorts of media without the user having to think. This echoes a Chinese philosophical phrase act without doing; ? ? ?; wei wu wei (wei wu wei: “action without action” or “effortless doing”).

This reminds me of When the technology gets boring, then things get interesting socially, a quote I saw in a comment on Ewan‘s blog, originally from Clay Shirky. Elsewhere (I think) Ewan talked about email as an example of this. With posterous you can use email, a tech you can use without thought, so that you can concentrate on what you are posting, the teach not the tech (Ewan again). Or for pupils the learning not the ict skills.

Last week I had some Glow training, I am starting to get quite excited about the possibilities of pupils using Glow. The potential is there, but the tech needs to become less obvious. Posting video to glow involves using a browser, then an ftp client, and then back to a browser. Coincidentally the previous night I was testing a flip video camera and popped the result onto posterous by simply dragging the file onto my mail app, filling in the to address and hitting send.

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. Glow has incredible ambition and potential I hope it becomes an effortless tool in the same way posterous and the flip camera are.

Yep it is another iPhone post. For the last 3 weeks I’ve been spending two forty-five minute periods on the train almost every weekday and I have been finding the iPhone very useful. I’ve downloaded several games but as expected I’ve not really spent much time playing them, I just do not seem to be a gamer of any sort. This is what I have been using it for:

Listening to podcasts: mostly booruch so far, I’ll be adding a few more subscriptions and listening to podcasts more often; I lost the habit a while back but this is a good opportunity to pick it up again.

Mail I only have one account synced with my phone, but I’ve been able to deal with quite a few emails on the go and keep up with a couple of lists.

RSS feeds: I use NetNewsWire on my home mac, one at work and my iPhone. The app syncs beautifully between the clients. NetNewsWire’s interface is famous and the iPhone app lives up to its bigger brothers reputation. It is simple and easy to use. Rather than just read posts I tend to use the Add to Clippings feature this results in the posts ‘clipped’ being added to the clippings folder in the desktop application the next time it is synced. This is a great feature that I hope to exploit even more. A while back I used to post a regular set of link to interesting blog posts to the Masterclass forum, I’d collect posts in NetNewWire’s clipping folder and then get the links out via appleScript to add a few comments before posting them. I am hoping to start doing something similar soon. Collecting suitable links on the train will help. I usually sync NetNewsWire on the phone before leaving home or the office but syncing on the move is reasonably quick. Another useful feature of NetNewsWire is that you can delete feeds from the phone and specify that they will still be synced to your desktop, this means I don’t clog the iPhone app with really busy feeds.

Twitter: there are various views on the utility of twitter, I put it squarely into the useful pile (maybe a venn diagram with silly and fun would be better). On the desktop I’ve used Twitterrific and more recently I’ve become a TweetDeck fan. On the phone I’d settled on the add supported version of Twitterrific which has the advantage of being able to tweet locations and upload photos to twitpic and tweet that. This week I’ve been using iTweet a wonderful web app with browser and phone interfaces. Due to it being a web app and having landscape mode I am finding it better for posting tweets, unfortunately being a web app it can’t access locations or photos. Again saving for later is a useful feature, with twitter I do this by favouring tweets for later, usually ones that link to elsewhere on the web.

Video: I’ve also been watching a few videos notably the Ted Talks my attention span for watching video on my home mac is short, but I’ve found that I can settle down to watch Teds and other video content on my phone on the train.

What I do not do much of with the phone is type, twitter’s 140 characters are fine and short emails are ok, I’ve installed EasyWriter, which allows landscape emailing to help with my fat fingers. It might be useful to have some sort of wireless/bluetooth or connected keyboard the Apple wireless keyboard works on the N95 so it would be nice to have something similar on the iPhone, I could see me banging in a pile of text on the train, to be edited and corrected later on a desktop ideally a small foldable keyboard.

Another interesting app that I’ve just bought (59p) is voiceNote, this is yet another voice recorder, but what I think is its most interesting feature is it’s ability to email the audio as an mp3 file, this means it could be used for podcast by mailing the mp3 to posterous unfortunately the emails are sent via voiceNote and have voiceNote as the email address, so do not arrive on your posterous if you send them to posterous@posterous.com. What works is to send them to your phones email address and then forward to posterous, not too much trouble. The audio quality was not great when it arrived at my iPhone Podcast 2 but it is a pretty simple way to podcast, I mam not sure how well it work outside wireless range.

What I would like to see is an email app that could email, photos, audio recording and location and to be able to use that to post to posterous (it would be nice to do video too). As mentioned above the Twitterrific application can grab locations and tweet them and photos and tweet them via twitpic so it should be possible to have that sort of functionality in mail.

posterous is a new blogging tool that takes simple to extremes. To post to posterous you just send an email to post@posterous.com from any email account, the mail is posted and you get a reply. At that point you can set up a posterous page/blog and then everything sent to posterous from the same email (you can add more) will go onto the posterous page. Mine is John’s posterous.

What is really clever is how posterous deals with content.

Text becomes, well text, and image is posted as you would expect, but so is a image url). A series of images are turned into a mimi gallery. Powerpoint is passed over to Scribd and presented on the posterous page with iPaper as are pdfs. If you print a pdf frpm Safari on a mac and mail it to posterous, the pdf is displated via scribd and the links on the page are live (example). Pasting an image, say a screenshot, into your email app puts it on the blog, as does pasting code from kwout: kwout example. I managed to create 10 posts of all sorts without any problems, on a mac you can even Drag and Drop to Posterous via a simple Automator workflow.
Youtube and other video service are embedded as are mp3s.

posterous is just out the wrappers, but the developers really seem on the ball

For education, I am thinking this is a really quick way to create a blog, a series of resources for learners (rss of course), a student portfolio etc. With 1 GB of space you could use it for podcasting much simpler than many other methods.