Open Thinkering


Things I learned this week – #4

CC BY cooldudeandy01

On a personal level, I learned that when taking a toddler on a trip to somewhere (reasonably) far away like the National Railway Museum it’s always a good idea to ensure they have a very good sleep the night before, and to take a buggy. Even if you think they’re too big for it… 😮

Top 3


  • Some (big-name) people have had problems with their Twitter page outranking their personal blog or website. Lifehacker, as you would expect, has aquick-and-easy fix (which I’ve already carried out here!)
  • I got my hands on a Pro code for BumpTop, the 3D desktop app, this week. I concluded it’s ‘interesting’ rather than useful.
  • My mother’s in the market for a point-and-shoot digital camera, so this warning by Lifehacker to stay under 7 megapixels to avoid photo noise and diffraction in such devices is timely!
  • I love this video of mini-ninjas unboxing the Google Nexus One. Best. Unboxing. Video. Ever. 😀


  • YouTube has a multi-video uploader (I found out thanks to this post). Unfortunately, it would seem that Google Gears – which powers it – isn’t yet compatible with Mac OSX Snow Leopard?!
  • Charles Leadbeater has an article in The Guardian in which he expresses concern (quite rightly) about corporate control of cloud computing. You get what you pay for, I suppose…
  • RockYou, who provide apps and services for Facebook users, had a security breach recently and user account details were stolen. An analysis reveals, worryingly that some of the top passwords included ‘12345’, ‘123456’, 123456789′ and ‘password’. Unbelievable! 😮
  • Ethan from got in touch to make me aware of what they do. Put in an email address, get details from various social networking (and other sites) about the person that owns it. Here’s what it has to say about me (not all correct!):

My (slightly incorrect) profile on

(I don’t live in Doncaster any more and I’m not on Facebook…)

Cloud computing will grow faster than almost all other tech sectors, but it is not taking over the world because of concerns over reliability and security.

  • Stephen Downes has produced an interesting visual overview of how ideas diffuse in the blogosphere in 2010 compared to 2005 (see above). I’d contend that it’s a bit more complicated than that – as a commenter points out, there’s no mention of Facebook. And what about half-way houses like Posterous? And Delicious/Diigo networks?
  • If, as I kept getting this week, you get the WordPress ‘Fatal Error: Allowed Memory Size’ error, here’s what to do!

Productivity & Inspiration

Education & Academic

  • BBC History as a fantastic history of the world through objects
  • This post compares Google Apps and Microsoft’s Live@edu. It turns out neither is ‘best’ (via @bengrey)
  • It looks like Google is actually serious about Knol – they’re rolling out more features.
  • STRIDE Hanbook 8 is out, this time focusing on E-Learning. It has separate sections on ‘Conceptual Overviews’ and ‘Technologies and their Applications’ (via OLDaily)
  • Do teachers need agents? I like the idea of them being traded like Premiership footballers… 😉
  • bigbluebutton is an OSS web conferencing system for distance education (via @helenrf)
  • We all know that kids get bored and switched off at schools sometimes. But this is motivating, depressing and interesting all at once.
  • The Conservatives (in the UK) want to create an ‘elite’ teaching profession by only paying for teacher training for those getting a first or a 2:1. Is that the best way forward?
  • This is a quick way to make elearning templates in Powerpoint, if you need to!
  • Alec Couros has expanded his Open Thinking Wiki even further. There are now 90+ videos for tech. and media literacy.
  • Newsflash: if your kids are awake, they’re probably online. So what? So am I… :-p

  • According to another study, kids spend 53 hours a week on media, apparently (via TechXAV):
  • D’Arcy Norman defined educational technology as “whatever stuff you need to use to support the practice of effective teaching and learning”. That’ll do for me! (via OLDaily)
  • Ludoliteracy is a book about games in education. It’s a free PDF download. (via OLDaily)
  • Will Richardson makes a good point: this is the first generation of students not to have a choice about using technology in their learning.
  • In the UK, languages are becoming ‘twilight subjects’ in state schools.
  • There is no adequate evidence for ‘learning styles’ (via @hjarche). Stephen Downes would argue (I think) that no evidence doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I’d defend myself with Occam’s Razor… 😉

Data, Design & Infographics

  • This video games by the numbers infographic is interesting. The average age of gamers is 32 and the average amount of time playing per week 18 hours, so I’m still justified in ramping it up! 😉
  • I like this hand-drawn overview of the electromagnetic spectrum (via Cool Infographics):

  • Digital access varies hugely worldwide, according to this graphic.
  • I’ve never heard of the term ‘information architecture’ before, but these are some useful resources! 😀
  • Google Earth can be used for stunning data visualizations (via



He who knows enough is enough, will always have enough. Lao Tzu

It is never to late to be what you might have been. George Elliot

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. Woodrow Wilson

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. Louis Hector Berlioz

Knowledge will give you power, but character, respect. Bruce Lee

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. Louis L’Amour

Disconnecting from change does not recapture the past. It loses the future. Kathleen Norris

And finally, as Nick Bilton from the New York Times states, and (appropriately) Scott McLeod links to, we’re all human aggregators now:

If someone approached me even five years ago and explained that one day in the near future I would be filtering, collecting and sharing content for thousands of perfect strangers to read – and doing it for free – I would have responded with a pretty perplexed look. Yet today I can’t imagine living in a world where I don’t filter, collect and share.

More important, I couldn’t conceive of a world of news and information without the aid of others helping me find the relevant links.

9 thoughts on “Things I learned this week – #4

  1. Another outstanding post … again!

    I’m loving this weekly feature on – jam packed full of interesting stuff! Don’t stop.

    I’d like to know what percentage of your weekly Internet browsing is represented in this blog post. I’m sure it could be represented in an infographic.

  2. Lots of interesting things there, I’m learning from your learning =).

    Re the spotify link- they may be paying labels well, but the concerns I have read were over whether artists were actually seeing much of that money. I have no figures but would be interested to see some on this.

      1. True, at least it isn’t the new medium lessening reruns for artists, just the industry doing what it has done for years.

  3. > I’d contend that it’s a bit more complicated than that

    I had the option of creating an obviously simplified version that people would understand, or a complicated but still incomplete version that people wouldn’t get.

    I chose the former. And yet, some people still didn’t get that it is an obviously simplified version.

  4. Well, you can imagine it, can’t you? Insert some triangles ofr Facebook, stars for Posterous, etc. So that you have a more dense diffusion web with different types of websites.

    Happy to patronise you, not a difficulty at all. :)

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