Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #42

I’m just going to place a slightly NSFW warning at the top of these posts every week now. Makes life easier.

Offline this week I learned that it pays to have (certain aspects of) your mid-life crisis early, the power of actually writing rather than typing, and how to ‘take afternoon tea’ like a gentleman. Kind of. :-p


  • Unsurprising, I suppose, but a study by Stanford University has found that mobile phones touchscreens can easily transmit bacteria and viruses and that they hold 18 times dirtier than toilet handles. Ugh. Time to disinfect my iPhone!
  • Greater Manchester Police tweeted out every phone call they received in a 24-hour period this week. Because of Twitter-imposed update limits they had to use three accounts. Favourites?
  • The calls… [included] someone who called to say there was a rat in the house, and that the cat may be responsible, and a woman reporting a man shouting “you’re gorgeous” at her.

  • I’d love it if Thimbl took off as a free, Open Source microblogging Twitter replacement. Really I would. But seriously?
  • You lucky, lucky Android and Nokia N900 owners can get Firefox Beta on your mobile devices. Gah.
  • Never mind augmented reality, diminished reality is where it’s at:


Productivity & Inspiration

  • Need somewhere to work for a day? A week? A month? Got somewhere to rent out? Try loosecubes. Currently US-focused, but bound to spread.
  • You too can write like JK Rowling! Or maybe, at least, organize your writing like her:

  • Sam Hughes reminds us that living a minimalist-inspired life doesn’t make us better people. It’s as much about convenience as anti-consumerism.
  • Want more energy at work? Structure your eating like a pyramid.
  • You don’t have to organize everything alphabetically. Dammit.

Education & Academic

  • JISC on Air is a new series of ‘internet radio shows’ (*cough* podcasts *cough*) about issues of interest to senior managers in UK Further and Higher Education instutions. But no doubt further afield as well.
  • Xplana provide a daily research report that it’s certainly worth looking at and perhaps subscribing to if you don’t already. This one about tablet devices and education struck me, this week, especially this quotation [US-based]:

Four out of five institutions—86.5 percent, compared with 73.6 percent last year—said they believed e-book content would play an important part in classroom instruction over the next five years. But only 4.5 percent of classes use e-books or electronic textbooks.

  • “When a chef throws a knife at a diner, we don’t call it bad cooking.” I’ve never heard the reason why some people will never be good teachers, despite all the CPD in the world, expressed better.
  • The RSA strike gold again, animating Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on education and creativity:


Data, Design & Infographics

  • Wordle-schmurdle. This is how to do a freakin’ word cloud:

  • allows you to draw on any webpage to share your thoughts with others. Doesn’t work with iPads. Yet. Although the super-fast response to my disappointment on Twitter was met with a ‘coming soon!’ response from their support team. Yay!
  • Being philosophically-minded, I like websites with names like Thinking for a Living. What makes it even better is that it’s all designery and quirky – check out this on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit as a design cue. Awesome.


[vimeo w=649&h=365]

  • This is the mobility scooter I want when I’m an OAP. In fact, scratch that, I want a flying car or a hoverboard (Ali G’s got the latter sorted. after all!)
  • Next time someone asks me what happiness is, I’m just going to point them to this:

  • You know that, er, Earth-like planet everyone got excited about recently? It may not exist.
  • How to deal with awkward questions, xkcd-style. As an educator, parent and presenter, this made me laugh!


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. (Epictetus)

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. (Dale Carnegie)

Wine is bottled poetry. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us. (Earl Nightingale)

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. (Harriet Braiker)

(more quotations at my page)

Main image CC BY-NC will_hybrid

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