April 12, 2010

Googled by Ken Auletta and Here Comes Eveverybody by Clay Shirky

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com

Googled by Ken AulettaThis is far the best book I have read about Google and it's founders. Amazon lists the book as 25 Feb 2010, so it's quite new. Ken Auletta talks at length about the ideas - he comes across as humble and genuine.

Have you read it? Tell me what you think. I don't see Google as a company that chases the $100 billion. Or how Google is in the news for all the wrong reasons i.e. China, News aggregation, rows with Apple. I see it as two guys who had a project to download the whole internet twelve years ago and filled up a house with computers in the process. They were $25 million down before they had a clue how to make the first cent.

Auletta weaves interesting fact with the thoughts and behaviours of Sergey Brin and Larry Page. There was a freaky moment while reading the book where I thought that any web page is just an advertisement for something else - well is it? Go read it and find out for yourself.

Here Comes Everybody by Clay ShirkyI first heard of Clay Shirky from WWGD do? by Jarvis with the idea that people can organise themselves while using the internet to get off the internet (see Meetup and the witches). This book is a harder read, but is worth it, even to understand how Wikipedia was a failure at first (Publish then Filter solved that).

Key ideas like the Birthday Paradox, Power Law and the Long Tail now have meaning - ask the Mermaids from Coney Island, see Flickr.

Shirky claims we now have the tools to change the world - is he right? Read this book and find out. As history states, the medieval scribes were none too happy about the printing press. Shirky has many videos at ted.com - see one on groups here.

I am not a fan of Facebook, but group organisation was in action when an X-factor winner's song failed to reach number one in the music charts.

April 05, 2010

For Sale in De Montford Road Kenilworth

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com

Home Made Jam, Pickled Shallots all from wild or local market produceI needed to photograph Castle Hill, couldn't get parked as an event was on. Circled Clinton Lane ended up looping down Woodcote and into De Montford.

It was then I stopped and jumped out. This is what Kenilworth used to be all about and sometimes, even now - it is.

It was then I had a Back to the Future moment (where Marty McFly is back thirty years and keeps citing modern inventions and met with odd looks).

I met the lady, 'Can I photograph your jars...for a webpage...so Google can find you?' Blank stare. 'Google...the internet?' Very blank stare. 'Do you go on the internet?' Smile and shake of the head, 'Oh, No.'

This experience made my day. After a quick chat, I learned most of the fruit was wild and the produce from the local market. It took three weeks for the jams to be ready and the shallots a lot less.

It's at this point I will stop writing as I realise (and you too) I know absolutely nothing about making jams or anything else that goes into a jar...like er food.

What I do know is - get yourself down to De Montford Road and buy some - no buy the lot. Prices are from 20p to just over £2 (if you look close enough, you can see the top corner of the honesty box on the table. I'm back tomorrow with my kids for the Apricot Jam and if you get there before us - hands off it's ours.

465 Photographs and Pizza Pizzo

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com

Pizza Pizzo Kenilworth

Today was spent photographing all the walk in businesses and shop fronts I could find in Kenilworth.  Out of the 465 photos in my Nikon there were not many duplicates.

While they are being processed and geotagged, I wish to carry on the theme of seeing what Google indexes and how fast. This was posted on the Kenilworth site about six hours ago and is already features in the search results.

Pizza Pizzo Spring Menu Online Now Pizzo Delipizzeria - Gourmet Pizzas to your door‎, 25 Warwick Road, CV8 1HN tel 01926 855 544 email mail@pizzopizza.co.uk and web www.pizzopizza.co.uk

Pizzo Pizza is the latest concept in the home dining market place. Order a Pizzo Pizza and you will always come back. All of our toppings come from our well stocked deli, and our dough is organic!  See the full menu here
For the What's in Kenilworth? Web Album click here

April 02, 2010

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Writing about web page http://www.buzzmachine.com/what-would-google-do/

What Would Goggle Do? by Jeff Jarvis_3There has been no other single piece of information (apart from all the rest) that  has influenced me in the last six months than What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis.

I have to be careful when I talk about the book as it clearly states under copy right that I am not allowed to reverse engineer the book in anyway - I take that to mean using all letters in the alphabet, so I am clearly breaking that rule already.

So why is it so good then? It's a Manual for the Future with it's simple ideas that make perfect digital sense. but that comes at a price with depression, anxiety and loss.  If you are on the digital side of the net, it could be a party.

See my full notes about WWGD? here I am interested to hear from anyone who has read it. When Sergey and Larry founded Google on 4 September 1998, I qualified as a teacher and began my first post. Twelve years on I struggle to be heard in a school when it comes to technology. Professor Stephen Heppell at Bett 2010 summed it up when he said there is a gap between the schools that are doing pioneering stuff and those simply doing a shiny version of 19th century teaching. See the tag cloud below for a summary:

What Would Google Do? tag cloud

March 31, 2010

The Mike Downes Page

Writing about web page http://www.themikedownespage.com/

I have called this blog The Mike Downes Page as you can see, I am interested to see if a similar blog with similar content called www.themikedownespage.com will perform better or worst in the Google search results. I have been told that as Google likes Universities, then if you have a University blog, Google loves you and rewards with high search results. Let’s see what happens.

As I know, I am not the only Mike Downes out there – I am the University of Warwick educated teacher, not the Canadian jazz musician or the auto electrician from Grimsby. We will see what happens – I have read far too many books about Google over the last few months. More on that in my next post.

What's in Kenilworth?

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com/

New project for me called What's in Kenilworth? It seems a really easy question, but between The Official Kenilworth Website, the local newspaper and all the web searches I have done - I cannot answer the question. I thought the release of Kenilworth in Google Street View would help, but that is very out of date already.

Good news is some of my geo tagged images can be seen and linked within street view, click here to see Warwick Road. I have definite plans to help the small businesses of Kenilworth, especially the ones that have no website and do not appear on Google Street View i.e. Cake Kingdom, Kenilworth Sweet Shop - there are many. Click the photo to see the What's in Kenilworth web album by Mike Downes


September 19, 2009

Website or Blog?

Writing about web page http://www.leighcofeprimary.com/

It is the start of the academic year for schools.  I am working with Leigh Church of England Primary School, Tile Hill, Coventry to reorganise their web profile.  Many schools have a traditional website with static front page and sub pages.

At Leigh, I am offering the blogging concept.  I am interested to see, not only how the site grows, but in what direction? For example, there is a community of 155 children with home school links by the normal pupil-post.  Will it make a difference to have every newsletter, homework task or permission slip posted online.  The use of the mobile phone is also interesting as texting is everywhere, but rarely used from school to parent.  Furthermore, email is used in the real world, but again very rare from school/teacher to parent or child.

I am trying to close all obvious loops.  For example, the site should answer any and all questions a parent could ever ask.  By using the Google's Blogger and associated Picasa 3, documents and calendar, life should be simple and easy.  However, there are many barriers with schools.  I have found it frustrating and time consuming to negotiate the Virtual Learning Environment i.e. Moodledo.  For those of you who do not know, the government is states all schools should have a VLE by 2010, but little is said what the schools should do with it. OFSTED produced a report, but surveyed only six primary schools.

See the site at: http://www.leighcofeprimary.com/

I would like to hear from anyone who knows of schools using blogging sites as their main portal.  Also, from schools who have broken from the pack to use technology that is fast and free, delivered to a mobile or even a school that uses Twitter.  In my opinion, using a blog site or twitter to distribute important and urgent information must be more reliable than the note home and lost in a puddle.

September 18, 2009

Must Add This

Follow-up to Prezi update from The Mike Downes Page

Just Spotted this called Choosing a Top University (http://prezi.com/s7bs5quum3rv/) ...it says Cardiff, surely someone out there can make us one!?

Prezi update

As you know, I believe Prezi will offer something for everyone - far beyond it's intended design as a presentation tool. 

So, I have spread the word today from Sports Centre to Med School to Library Teaching Grid to Arts Centre to Hospitality Services to Business School.

Thanks everyone for your time, mostly personal visits, (a few by email) namely: Robert, Dave, Peter A, Hannah, Peter L, Brian, Simon and Zoe.

Performing a Prezi Showcase search from the web...there are 21 Prezi's about Warwick, mostly about the castle see of the best at: http://prezi.com/itfevo0shhmv/

But, still none from the University...not yet anyway (Yes I know, there maybe private ones knocking around from those of you who have saved, downloaded & deleted public file...or even puchased the brilliant Prezi Desktop).

September 16, 2009

Prezi for everyone

Writing about web page http://www.prezi.com

I am Mike Downes, this is my first blog entry.  I am Warwick Alumni and have been a teacher for eleven years.
A few weeks ago I watched the BBC tech show Click which featured Prezi, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/8223175.stm
As a teacher, I have seen many great presentations and many 'death-by-powerpoint' ones that sent me to sleep.  But Prezi is fantastic software, all for free at www.prezi.com Have you got it already?  I searched the Warwick blogs and not one hit at all.  So, I headed to The Learning Grid...no one had heard of it...any new students would be directed to powerpoint I guess.
For those of you who do not know, Prezi is Dutch, released as free and still in Beta.  It is all based on the Zui (zoo-ee) concept http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooming_user_interface(i.e. like google earth, you can zoom from planet to chimney top in seconds).
My goal is to see Prezi used in the UK, Prezi themselves tell me they have no events planned in the UK. So, I would like to see what staff, students and anyone else can do with this software to create presentations yes - but so much more...see my first Prezi at: http://prezi.com/-re0ryqy8d-a/(It was for my daughter, but it showcases ease, simplicity and the odd embedded video).
Please comment back on what you have made and how easy it is to use.  The majority of Prezi's remain web public - but sadly not any from Warwick so far...if I have overlooked some, please let me know.
My first Prezi

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