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Author: David

The blog posts I didn’t write in 2017

My laptop is full of text documents for blog posts I started writing on the train and didn’t finish because I chickened out or didn’t have enough time. Instead of the ‘new year, new me’ post I’m going to do a quick run through of the posts where I couldn’t quite make myself coherant enough to justify a click of the publish button. 1. Self-pleasure in eLearning: A post about how eLearning blogs are a form of self-pleasure for the authors. How blogs such as my own are not much more than an exercise in making us feel good about ourselves and how social media sharing culture can add to it. I wrote a little about how disagreements can be a good thing and how we should get better at disagreeing with one another. Didn’t post because: Became too vulgar. 2. Open assessment? A look at openstax and pondering what…

Out on the road today

I have been writing a lot about ‘openness’ recently. I am struggling with what it means to be an open academic and while my posts are confusing they help me think and even more importantly I get feedback and comments. I think one of the main things I end up talking about with people who have read my posts is that delivery is just as important as content. I am currently at an academic event at a University in the UK. There is security personal everywhere, not ‘beefed up’ for the event, it is always like this. The University itself is nowhere important, both in the league tables and in terms of physical location. The security, which could easily be replaced by automated swipe machine, isn’t there to make us feel secure, we don’t exactly feel threated out here in Nowhere Important, it is there to make us think we…

write more code

I am really unhappy with this post, I don’t think it describes what I wanted to get across. It took me two long train journeys to write, I’m fed up of it and don’t want to write anymore. In the spirit of ‘open’, whatever that may be, here it. I’ll go with a D+, at least I handed it in. Recently I have been thinking about the push of getting people to code, I have been thinking about it because the HE institution I am based in really seems to struggle with technology. The most painful aspect of the struggle are difficult conversations around what the technology can and can’t do. Frustration comes from users of technology who can’t get it to do what they want, frustration comes from the coders who either aren’t given clear messages about what to or are told to do something that is near impossible.…

It’s good that everyone is talking about loot crates

I’ve written quite a bit on here about how oppressive I find the techniques and progression systems in computer games – particularly, but not restricted to those found in ‘free-to-play’ games. Last year I wrote about the a Call of Duty game, a £50 game which among other purchases lets players buy random awards to improve their chances in competitive play. There are lots of oppressive systems at play to get gamers to part with extra cash in the Call of Duty games, but what worried me when I was writing the original blog was that while the game was an 18 – the series is known for being very popular with gamers much younger than that.  A particular concern of mine was that the series is rated 18 because of the violent content and parents often think that their children can handle it since it is ‘only a game’,…

The designers and the mechanics

I am quite interested in issues of automation and the issues that face us when tasks in for workforce are replaced with robots or A.I. In a way, I kind of think that as a society, we’ve messed up when this is a problem. There are two big themes in much of the writing around automisation that really intrigue me. The first is that automation of tasks by machines makes humans more mechanical. The second is automisation creates a divide between ‘designers’ and the mechanical. Both of these themes revolve around the same argument, and while I’m still reading lots of interesting and conflicting opinions on the subject, Varoufakois in his letters to his daughter, seems to nail it down to a few steps: A huge technical change occurs that allows expensive humans to be moved out of the production line, without having to pay them the cost of production…

Be more open

Recently I have been struggling with being told to be “Open”. The blog I am hoping to post this on used to be very popular and I would write every week. In that period, I used to write under a daft name to hide the fact is was me who was writing it, I’m not sure if that effected how open I was being, but I used to feel that it meant that spelling mistakes or poorly though out ideas where not mine, but belonged to my character. Around five years ago it became quite clear that I was going to lose my job, and the advice from colleagues/job centers/careers staff was ‘to be more open’. In a panic, and wanting to have something to show to potential employers, I changed all my online profiles from my characters handles of Paddytherabbit to my real name. Since changing from Paddy to…

Analysing results from Storyline using Google Forms

I wanted a simple CSV to analyse the results of students making decisions in the articulate 360 software. Apparently, the storyline 3 software supports xAPI, which I hope to explore, but for now I am happy with a CSV of their answers that could be accessed by anyone with a URL. Storyline lets users insert small snippets of Javascript into their cards, this is the approach I took. Created a Google Form with the answer to questions or decisions being asked Imported Jquery Used Storyline to set variables Use Javascript to get storyline variables and submitted these variables to the Google Form via ajax Used Google Forms responses tab to analyse the responses or download the CSV. Firstly, some ‘here be dragons’; I am new to storyline having only played with it quite briefly. There may be better ways and feedback is really welcome. These are my notes, but if…

Getting a list of attendees from Facebook events in CSV

I had a message from a subscriber asking if I could make a short video on how to get a list of attendees from a Facebook event. One super quick way to do this is through the Facepager app. Firstly download the app from the Github releases page and install; the latest version as of today is 3.8 on Windows and 3.7 on Mac. I’ve created a quick video which shows you how to get the data and export it to CSV. You might also want to get a list of interested or declined people, the video briefly goes over that at the end. Step by step instructions: 1. Create a database by clicking the New Database picture at the top of the screen. You can call it whatever you wish and save it wherever you like. 2. Click ‘Add node; in the top area. 3. In the dialogue box…

Simulacra or Surrogates?

Facebook reminds me of my commitments. I noticed there are a few birthdays today, I haven’t seen many of them in years, but I still must say Happy Birthday and leave a string of cake emoji’s. There are some other prompts too; it has been 5 years since I went to place X with person Y, I should share this memory. Somebody else has just downloaded the messenger app, Facebook reminds me this is a person I know and should send them a message. I barely recognise them, they were a friend at school but they look different now. Off the top of my head I can remember about 5 birthdays, there are about 15 birthdays that I know the month but not the exact day. In the offline world it is my knowledge that creates a commitment. I know people’s birthday, who they are, what they look like. I…

Those people

There are quite a few posts describing the evil Internet communities that posts pictures of that frog thing and promote hate. I find Internet communities quite interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged to an Internet community. Back in 1999 I used to log on to a chat program called Chatpop a few times a week, after 6pm when the dial up was free. The same users were there every time I logged in, so I guess that was a community. I also led a Rainbow Six 3 Team to 2nd to last place in an eSports league back in 2001. There are social websites I use on a regular basis, but I wouldn’t say that using those means I belong to that community. I use Facebook so I can see what my friends and family are up to, I search for hashtags to see reactions to current events on…

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