All entries for Wednesday 20 September 2006

September 20, 2006

Yay Gedcom

Writing about web page

I’ve been working on my family tree on my second cousin’s website ( It’s been excellent, he’s put a lot of information on there and having it as an interactive source of information makes it a lot easier to read than loads of separate pages. Plus, since his surname is Christmas, it means that as represented by the software, I’m actually on the Christmas tree.

However, i wanted a bit more control over the editing of what i feel is my bit (the ancestors I have that aren’t his) since the information I’ve got keeps changing and I don’t want to hassle him with the changes, so I’ve set up a tree at I wasn’t looking forward to transferring across all the info. However, there seems to be a standard interoperable format for family trees called Gedcom. I downloaded my tree as a gedcom file, then uploaded it to, and all the information is there, every relative, the various sources. All in one go. You have to select a starting person (I picked me :#) and there’s a maximum of 8 generations so I’ll have to top it up where my tree goes back further than that. But dealing with so much in e-learning that isn’t interoperable, this just seems akin to magic. Just thought I’d share.

rehearsing the posthuman

Writing about web page

A thought for the PhD. One of the reasons I wanted to get into this research is the sense that there might be something socially maybe psychologically or even evolutionary about this development of avatar-based systems, or even a persistent online self through chatrooms, blogging etc. One of the concepts I’ve just started reading around is the idea of the posthuman – developing new versions of human through surgery, nanotechnology, cybernetics. Although creating an avatar and acting through it probably doesn’t really count as having a posthuman body, perhaps theyre a way of rehearsing what that experience might feel like. Anyway, it gives me an opportunity to shoehorn some weird stuff into the study.

One thing though, if you’re meeting someone and trying to impress them this could be a set of ideas that might work in intriguing them, but only if you don’t mention that you stumbled across it accidentally while looking up forthcoming star trek novels.

homeward wends his weary way

Writing about web page

Thing is – the wender in Grey’s Elegy didn’t have to sit in a queue of other ploughmen for hours in order to get home. Although the snarl-up yesterday was probably due to them still clearing up the mess on the M6 from the day before. This blog isn’t going to be a daily strop about how long it takes me to get home (6:50 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. last night) but it’s been a particularly bad week. At least today I’m working at home. Far more efficient. Apart from being climbed over by the cat slowing me down. I was in a telephone conference on Friday with the University of Amsterdam and had to close it down early to stop her from ripping apart a lampshade.

Just starting a podcasting exercise with the URSS students, in order to publicise the URSS event on the 25th October. That should be interesting. The system we’ve got here at Warwick is great – fulfills the 3G criteria for e-learning admirably. The 3G criteria are gemak, gewin and genot. If your Dutch is no better than mine that will need translating. It’s easy to use, has value and is fun. And creating the mp3s is getting easier. It seems every new thing you buy has an audio recorder built into it. I’ll add a link to the podcasts from here when it’s up and running.

I’ve also spent today reformatting all of the design patterns for the learning patterns project. The patterns are at the link above. The idea of a learning pattern is that you take an educational scenario, deconstruct it, then put it into a taxonomy. The intention is that this becomes a standardised way to exchange experience and expertise between different disciplines, making tasks like games design simpler. That’s the plan. I’ve found the analysing and deconstructing easy, but not the recasting those structures into the correct template for sharing. The project manager keeps telling me that they’re still not real patterns :S.

This is one of those activities that you can only really do away from the office – if you work in open plan. A couple of hours uninterrupted is really necessary to get your head around it. Maybe we should get movable curtains that we can put around our desks with a big “Do Not Disturb” sign.

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