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September 12, 2018

About The Mike Downes Page

I'm working on a new site called the mike downes page, postes this in the About area, it reads..

From the very beginning my YouTube channel has been called The Mike Downes Page. That was on 8 Oct 2010.

At this time of writing, today the 6 July 18, there are 953 public videos spread across around 150 playlists with 1 million views and 1.3 million watched minutes.

At youtube.com/mikedownes you will see my name as the public custom URL, yet it's really called themikedownespage, just click and see the name hidden in this URL.

Although any youtube channel gives the channel some tabs like: Home, Videos, Playlists, Discussion and About, it's still quite limited to display what you need or talk about the videos that people are finding useful or even forgotten.

Think of a channel as a library or a store - there are lots there yet if not presented nicely, it's very hard to locate what you are looking for - just image an internet without a Search Engine /o\

Even more troublesome is how youtube will be watched across mobile, tablet, desktop and a big TV. For a mindful video creator, they need to think about matching what and how they make a video to how it will be watched (see below for some data).

For me, I use two phrases:

  • at the mike downes page we make videos to help people learn and
  • come visit and learn at the mike downes page

To best understand it all, think of my channel and this site as one big page - I especially like how old newspapers look, see this one called the World News Herald - full of optimism and promise.

There are loads of images of old newspapers. All of them look back to a day when reading the news and learning about the world was so innocent.

For some reason on this theme I'm reminded of the World's Fair in the era of the 1850s to early 1900s, 'World Expositions with technological inventions and advancements.

Fast forward to 2018, and are we not seeing the same happening all over again with the smart phone and the wizardry it can achieve? Yet in my view, the average user has a magnificent phone, yet use it as little more than a thing to talk and text from - it's so much more, like a thousand times more than that.

As a timeline, I started teaching in UK Schools September 1998, the same time as Google was founded. I saw the internet grow, and as I did, I taught it to seven to eleven year old children.

Mr Downes in the classroom, circa 2006

For a look back then, read this news article from 2006 of me in a school classroom in Warwick, England. There was no internet in that classroom back then. I had to wheel in a large data projector on a trolley and attached it to a laptop preloaded anything I wished to teach.

I spent twenty years in and around the UK Primary School Classroom. I started out in 1992 teaching black and white photography on Summer Camp in North Carolina, USA - an experience that has never left me. From there, qualified teacher status from the University of Warwick, and an honours degree.

In April 2010, I started a blog called what's in kenilworth. It was my attempt to document what was in this small Warwickshire town. I also commented on local changes and issues as they happened.

There are now 1,031 published posts, although after the first few years, I started posting much wider issues like changes in social policing and topics on technology and video making.

From early 2012, I was invited to test for Google Hangouts on prelease software. In the last six years I have tested lots of software while looking to brainstorm and innovate then feedback to Google and other companies.

Getting back to youtube, many of my first videos were nothing more than mere video tests. That developed into making short videos to give people a few tips on how to solve a problem or learn a new skill on something they were finding difficult.

An example is the How to clean audio with audacity - it's the most watched video at the mike downes page.

Now youtube.com/mikedownes has passed one million views and growing all the time, I'd like to add more structure on how I make video to help people learn. I'm in progress right now creating this new site.

All of my top videos are made by recording my screen either on android or windows desktop.

One thing you will notice - I do not appear on camera. You and me are side by side looking at the lesson or the problem to be solved. I am not looking to entertain and get people to like me, if it's all going well I may throw in a smile or two.

I think that's why I have chosen this widescreen banner of the countryside - you and me standing shoulder to shoulder taking on the world. It's my photo by the way, taken with an android phone :)

The priority for me is to make sure:

  • the student will learn effectively in as short a time as possible yet leave nothing out
  • nothing gets in the way in the learning process
  • whatever I say is concise, clear and has a single meaning without any bias, hidden agenda or a double entendre

To aid with the planning for myself and anyone else who is interested, let me share some back room data ...

Every day around 1,500 people show up, watch 1.4 videos and leave. Thanks to youtube analytics and the new studio.youtube.com I can track pretty much everything.

I am located in England. I make a video, upload them to my YouTube account and have also been accepted on the YPP YouTube Partner Program.

In what seems a few short minutes, my video is available all over the world - that's pretty incredible is it not?

My videos are watched in most if not all countries. From my channel watch time in the last 28 days, we have this data:

  • USA 29% (of that Computer 57%, Mobile Phone 34%, Tablet 7%)
  • India 17% (of that Mobile Phone 71%, Computer 26%, Tablet 1%)
  • UK 7% (of that Computer 56%, Mobile Phone 29%, Tablet 12%)

My videos are watched worldwide on these devices:

  • Computer 52% (low 26 - high 57%)
  • Mobile Phone 41% (low 29 - 71%)
  • Tablet 5%
  • TV 1%

What you will notice is the extreme difference from the West to the East. Look how Mobile watch time in UK/USA is 29/34% compared to 71% in India. And how I can make a mobile portrait video and get complaints from those in the UK/USA, yet none from those in India/Pakistan.

For gender, my channel has a Male 83%, Female 17% - my aim a balanced fifty fifty.

I see the audience to my channel as intelligent people who have come along to learn something or solve a problem they are having.

That is definitely reflected in the comments - usually specific questions from a video they have watched or a simple, yet heartfelt thanks.

Mike Downes
Friday 6 July 2018, 4:25pm ..

March 03, 2016

This blog has not moved ..

Writing about web page http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/mikedownes

Edit 12 Sep 18 - as this blog is called 'the mike downes page' and fits inline with the name of my youtube channel of the same name: https://www.youtube.com/user/themikedownespage- i WILL keep posting here...

March 2016 update -- this blog has a new home and a new URL of: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/mikedownes.. And yes I know I've not posted here in last few years .. full update at: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/mikedownes/entry/the_laptop_show.. Many thanks, Mike

September 02, 2011

Google Plus has arrived

Writing about web page https://plus.google.com/113797508378819391794

This blog was once my only one. In the last year or so, there have been many including whatsinKenilworth.com and themikedownespage.com

Then one twitter account @wiKenilworth and now another @infotelligentia

But since last month, Google Plus has arrived as the most exciting platform to beat them all.

Find me at: +Mike Downes

October 21, 2010

New House Farm Pumpkin Cannon

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com/2010/10/new-house-farm-pumpkin-cannon-2010.html

There Warwick Pumpkinsare only two weekends left until Halloween - come and see the New House Farm Pumpkin Cannon in Hill Wootton, it's a tiny place near Leek Wootton just south of Kenilworth and off the A46.  See the two YouTube videos: New House Farm and The Pumpkin Cannon It's a boom - not a bang, see My Post

We are talking diesel generator supplying compressed to air some pretty high psi, then straw base with massive pumpkin shooting 300 metres in a field. More videos to come. The Pumpkin Carver will be at the Farm this weekend - fun for kids New House Farm Pumpkin Cannonadults...and students 

May 21, 2010

Kenilworth Weekly News

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com/2010/05/kenilworth-weekly-news-in-warwick-road.html

Warwick Road, Kenilworth

This post was originally made at www.whatiskenilworth.com, it is to date, the most visited page on that website - I wonder why? Read it here and make up your own mind. The post read in full:


Kenilworth Weekly News‎

31 Warwick Road CV8 1LJ

01926 852 870‎


(The KWN website has no relationship to the print copy edition. For example, headline as Fri 14 May 2010 reads 'Police target house burglars' - that is not found anywhere on the KWN website or with a detailedGoogle search). What is also alarming is the KWN website has now introduced intensive advertising).

Sad times for a newspaper that was established in 1946. When you pay 50p for the newspaper on a Friday, there are very few pages of Kenilworth News (around five feature stories a week).

Currently, the Kenilworth Weekly News sells an average of 3,533copies per week (in a town population of 26,000 or so). That was 3,704 copies per week in August 2009 as reported by thePress Gazette.

Did you know that one paper copy of the KWN laid end to end is about 24 metres in length, by selling 3,533 copies a week the paper will stretch for 53 miles - what a waste of paper and not searchable, linkable and clickable either. 

The KWN is owned byJohnston Presswho have financial difficulties and have shut five titles, but say they have 'no plans as we speak' to cut more titles (seeThe Guardian).

Johnston Press have played down suggestions that their idea of a paywall (they were asking online readers to pay £5.00 for 3 months access) for their online versions has failed, seeBBC NewsandThe Guardianonce again.  In my rough estimates from searching the web, KWN may get 16% of their revenue by selling the newspaper for 50p, the rest comes from advertising. But in these difficult times advertising spending is decreasing and Johnston Press are trying hard to cope with the threat of full digital editions and competition.

For those of you who do not know, many years ago there were very few ways to get the news - the most popular, buy it every day in hard copy paper version from a newsagent (yes I know there was TV and Radio too). Since 1998 (when Google came alive) titles have disappeared as people like Google aggregate the news which means linking to all the news stories and show them in their search results.  This has left people like Rupert Murdoch not selling papers like The Times and losing money, blaming Google and trying to charge for readers for online news, see thisBBC article.  Many say this will not work, I agree. On the other hand,The Guardianhave introduced aniphone applicationand sold it via the Apple iTunes store where readers pay once and possibly never again.

This idea that a town newspaper (aka the KWN) is shrinking and may eventually close is one of the reasons I have made this website. And it does not stop there, theOfficial Kenilworth Town Websiteis also under threat as it has never really been updated since it was first published (well over a year). If you missed that articleclick here.Even then it caters for the large businesses but not the small ones who matter - they need the coverage most to survive.

I have always been a big fan of the Kenilworth Weekly News since my first Soapbox column in 1999, but times are changing and anyone can report the news these days - even me. Read the 1999 here.

April 19, 2010

How did I make this Polaroid? If I can – anyone can.

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

How did I make this?I made this. see how I did it at The Mike Downes Page.

Yes I know, for all you University Techies - it is really easy, but for those who want a fast way of creating reasonable graphics, then it's for you.

It's made with Google's Picasa in case you are wondering.

So who are the Election Candidates for Kenilworth?

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

I've been avoiding anything to do with the election at all. I noticed the BBC News website had a new ELECTION 2010 section and that made it even worse. There I was skipping TV channels last Thursday evening and thought I would give the debate five minutes. 

And like the rest of the country, I am saying in a typical Brucey way - Didn't he do well. I am now a big fan of Nick Clegg (I don't think I have ever seen him speak before that night). For the whole program (and still right now), I have no idea at all who to vote for.

So who are the candidates for Kenilworth and Southam? A quick google search gives us the BBC and Coventry Evening Telegraph as two trusted sources (The Kenilworth Weekly News gives us a promise of 'Election candidates: The full list Your choice at the ballot box,' but when we click it gives a list for 2007. Oops - not really, sorry to say there is no relationship between a paper KWN and the website (I will be writing about that very soon and spilling as many digital beans as I can). 

This website is all about how we find digital stuff and if you cannot be found on Google then you do not exist. Sorry, but that's the way it is (see my other site The Mike Downes Page for all about the that). I've had personal email replies from two of the candidates (yes, I know you know who you are) and one of the top three - nothing. Shame really - I vote soon. So to the list then, we have (in alphabetical order): James Harrison, Nicholas Milton, John Moore, Nigel Rock and Jeremy Wright.

Nicholas Milton- Labour

John Moore- UK Independence Party

Nigel Rock- Liberal Democrat

Jeremy Wright- Conservative

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April 17, 2010

What's in Kenilworth Spines

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

Take a few photos of some Kenilworth Shops. Crop to rectangles. Use the Google Picasa Collage Tool.

Arrange like books on a shelf, then we have...effective for a webpage banner - let me know.

Shop Fronts and made to look like book spines

April 12, 2010

The Sonali Indian Take Away Kenilworth

Writing about web page http://www.whatsinkenilworth.com/2010/04/sonali-authentic-indian-take-away.html

Sonali Indian Take Away Kenilworth

Sonali Indian Take Away
33 Warwick Road
Kenilworth, CV8 1HN
tel 01926 857 733 or 01926 856300

Here is an example of a business possibly having a niche market. . The Sonali in Kenilworth does not have a website, however it does have an online ordering facilty.  I found this awkward as I could not browse the whole menu in one go, but had to navigate 20 sub menus (there is a search box though). Have you used it? I am told that many online orders come from the University of Warwick.

Compare this with the full menu at whatsinkenilworth.com, click herefor the direct link.

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