Tag: death

#RIPDai: in memory of a good friend

Dai Barnes was my partner in crime. We’d posse up, steal some horses, perhaps rob a bank, and then have a dramatic shoot-out with the law. All the while on PS4 voice chat.

Not only would we talk about how much of a great game Red Dead Redemption 2 is, but also life, the world, and everything. Dai would swear like a sailor. We’d laugh. We’d tell each other stuff we probably wouldn’t have shared with other people.

Men don’t really call one another up and just ‘have a chat’, which is one of the reasons why I found recording the TIDE podcast with Dai so amazing. We recorded TIDE for just over four years, from March 2015 until this June. It was just like having a chat with a mate while drinking whisky, that just happened to also be a podcast.

TIDE didn’t come from nowhere. Dai and I met in October 2014 in a Newcastle coffee shop when he was up for an event. I hadn’t seen him for a few years, and had a actually forgotten he went barefoot. We talked about how we missed the good old days of EdTechRoundUp, which was between about 2007 and 2011.

Dai was a bit of an enigma. At the same time as there being layers and layers to him that you’d peel back as conversations unfolded, he also wore his heart on his sleeve. I’ve never known anyone like him. He was fiercely loyal, but (I’ve learned) also kept his friendship groups separate.

He was around a decade older than me, but it didn’t feel like that at all. Dai had such a youthful exuberance about him and I’ve never met anyone who had such an affinity with kids. It really was his mission in life to be the best educator he could possibly be.

If there’s anything that Dai’s taught me over the years, and I feel like he’s taught me a lot, it’s that there’s nothing so important as human relationships. He also taught me a healthy dose of pragmatism gets shit done. And finally, knowing a little of his personal life, he demonstrated how to keep it all together and show courage under fire. What a guy.

I miss him.


Dai Barnes passed away suddenly in his sleep after a camping trip with friends in Idaho, USA on the night of Thursday 1st / Friday 2nd August 2019.


Ways to remember Dai:

  1. Write a blog post (see Christian, Tim, Aaron), compose a poem, record a song, or paint a picture. You could share using the #RIPDai hashtag on Twitter.
  2. Contribute to the #barefootfordai hashtag on Twitter (and Flipgrid)
  3. A few of us a planning a memorial episode of TIDE for later this month for which we’ll be taking audio contributions. Whether you knew Dai well or fleetingly, please have a think about what you could say, and we’ll feature your contributions.

Finally, I’d like to thank Amy Burvall and Eylan Ezekiel for their love, support, and organisational skills. Also, the edtech community, whose outpouring of affection for Dai has been touching.

Please message Amy, Eylan, or me for Dai’s parents’ address should you wish to send something. I believe they are collecting tweets and other online contributions into a book.

A tribute to Chris Allan (@infernaldepart)

This morning I woke to the tragic news that Chris Allan had been found dead. I wasn’t sure whether to write anything here. I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate. But given that news of his death reduced me to tears, I thought I’d better.

Despite only living 40 miles or so away from one another, I only met Chris in person a few times – interacting with him more regularly via Twitter and email. He was a great guy: enthusiastic, brimming with ideas and, as an ICT teacher, keen to try out new technologies with his students. In fact, he’d been working on integrating Open Badges within the curriculum at his school.

Chris came along with his son to a #MozParty Newcastle event I organised last year. I like this photo of them together as I believe that’s how he should be remembered – as someone who went out of his way for the young people in his life. In fact, I can still remember a couple of years before that when he came round to my house to buy a computer from me for his son. My heart goes out to the family Chris leaves behind. What a loss.

[I’ve redacted the last section to keep this focused on Chris]

Digital Permanence: Death & Data

I’m worried about dying. No, not in terms of my mortal flesh and immortal soul; I’m worried about what will happen to my data when I die. :-p

That may sound a little, shall we say, geeky, so let me explain. There’s two ways you can ‘live for ever’ in this world. The first is to become so famous that people talk about you until the end of time. As that’s difficult for most of us, the second way is more likely. All you’ve got to do with the second way is to pass on your genes (and your surname) to your offspring. I’m doing well with the latter: my son Benjamin Belshaw was born 20 months ago and will, I hope, continue the illustrious Belshaw line. With the first method, however, I’m still struggling.

My problem is this:

  1. Most of my ideas are in the form of writing in the digital landscape (i.e. on this blog or others on the Internet)
  2. Books and other printed matter in the physical realm are a lot more ‘permanent’ at present that writing in the digital realm.
  3. When I die dougbelshaw.com will cease to exist.
  4. Ergo, unless my ideas are so amazing that they become ubiquitous during my lifetime, they will have little impact after my death.

So I’m left with a problem. Should I start writing a book? Is all I’m writing here ultimately futile? Should I be creating static HTML pages so archive.org can index them?

Does this even matter?

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