Archive for May, 2010

When I first had a web site, and wrote “open letters” on it that were a kind of blog, nobody else I knew did the same, and people thought it was kind of weird. Obviously I ignored them and carried on doing it in my own way just for fun. This is my 10th year online with an unbroken history of blogging and blogging-by-other-names, and I just noticed that a whole bunch of other people from where I work have web pages and blogs (it’s so easy nowadays!). Looking around their pages, I started to think that they put mine to shame. Theirs are so… plein de poissons: so full of stuff. They have real content. Ian’s is full of rocks and seismic profiles and information and detail. Katherine’s is full of chemistry. Rob’s has so many opinions on so many interesting things. Partly because mine has grown up in a bit of a vacuum and never been out much, a bit like Kaspar Hauser it has ended up, well, different from other people’s. By coincidence, I think I may have met a dog called Kaspar today, which may be why I thought of Kaspar Hauser just now. As usual, I’m not entirely sure. I’m also not sure that meeting a dog called Kaspar would get a mention on my colleagues’ blogs. In the grand scheme of things my encounter with Kaspar should probably have been entirely ephemeral.

Ian’s rocks are of great moment. They are clearly important to a great many people who follow his blog, and are probably what Antoine de Saint-Exupery might have referred to as “matters of consequence”. Just as Saint-Exupery’s Geographer declines to record The Little Prince’s flower because it is ephemeral, perhaps I should be more thoughtful about what deserves to go into my blog. Perhaps I should confine myself to matters of consequence and stop recording ephemeral flowers. My problem is that ephemeral flowers seem to me to be matters of consequence. ephemeral flower

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Irredeemably Online

I used to carry a notebook in my pocket and keep lots of files of paper at home and in my office at work. I used a pen a lot, and showed 35mm slides in lectures. Now I have a website, which I use as a kind of library, archive and canvas all at once. I have this blog, which is more like a notebook. I have a Twitter page which is for announcements so people who need to know if I am around can keep track of me. I have an airset.com online “cloud” calendar that syncs with my iPhone and is my main record of all forthcoming appointments. I have a Facebook page, which is for nattering and playing games. I have an official work web page with links to a whole raft of teaching-related web pages that I maintain for the different courses I run. Each of these courses also has a set of online Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard) pages.  I have a YouTube site where I put videos of some of my lecture material, and  I put some of those materials together online using prezi.com and screenr.com .  How am I supposed to remember all this? I need a notebook to write them all down in.

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