Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for May, 2008

Seesmic versus Twitter versus Blogging
May 18th, 2008

This afternoon I thumbed through the old feed reader and a post by Kevin Lim caught my eye. He was exhorting one and all to take up Seesmic. I had seen it raised in blog posts before yet put it on the digital backburner. Then, a few weeks ago, Sarah Teo of U21Global mentioned how they had been using Seesmic as part of the delivery process of their various online MBA programmes.

What is Seesmic? Well if Twitter married YouTube you will get Seesmic.

Well, Kevin’s post stirred me into action and I sought out the old email invitation, copied the key and signed up. I sought out Kevin’s Seesmic profile and responded. I made a lame first post and then another tongue in check post in response to Kevin. I thought on that and wondered how would my employer and students react. I immediately posted another video about public versus private identity. That garnered an immediate reply from Mark Taylor. I have embedded the thread here if you wish to view it. Basically, be professional and apply some commonsense.

The exchanges are quite exhilarating and, in my humble opinion, leave Twitter for dead. Perhaps I am a visual learner. I began a thread on Seesmic versus Twitter versus Blogging. Quite a few picked up on that, including Christy Dena, Dean Terry, Andrew Brackin, Kevin Lim, Freida Wolden and Kamel Daoudi. The demographics and the geographical location of the respondents was diverse. The respondents included a young student from England, researchers from the USA and a retiree. A number of the conversations can be viewed on this page.

The discussion covered such topics as mockumentaries, ARGs, Second Life, avatars, World of Warcraft, historical recreations and collaborations. Useful, very useful.

I was surprised when Andrew Brackin joined the conversation from England. He was incredibly articulate. He may be 12 or so. You can see him pictured above. I have no idea how old he was. I was actually quite reluctant to respond to his observations given the paranoia here regarding online safety and the like. Would appreciate any input on that thought. I wonder how the books on Andrew’s shelves compare with Kevin’s? Addendum: Andrew is in the process of setting up This is Andrew’s blog.

The conversations obviously all exceeded 140 characters and the visual aspect is wonderful. I noticed that at one stage a number of participants were wearing sunglasses. I thought that was weird so I grabbed some wigs and some puppets and utilised those in the discussions. That caused others to wear hats. You can see some examples in the images above and below. It was a visual meme. Weird. Fun. Connectedness.

Well, what can I say? Give Seesmic a try. I feel it is quite useful. I found it quite liberating. Twitter feels like a closed shop. If you feel Twitter is not for you then give Seesmic a burl.

Postscript: Seesmic Wishlist

1. Could the Seesmic developers set up an education entry point for Seesmic so that some of the more controversial posts on the public timeline can be avoided?
2. Would love a tool that allows the downloading of a thread or selected posts in a thread as a combined single .flv, .mp4 or .m4v file.
3. A search engine for threads would be neat too…


Wikipedia: Seesmic
My Seesmic page

Seesmic ~ captured thread on public identity
Seesmic ~ thread of Seesmic versus Twitter versus Blogging

Bullying then…
May 17th, 2008

Few days back Clay Burell began a meme, Bullying then, Successful Now. I responded with a comment on Clay’s blog. I recounted an experience that still impacts upon me to this day. Once again, as I consider the events of that year the ninth floor of a particular building and an almost empty room spring to mind. I decided to just call this post Bullying Then… as opposed to Bullying Then, Successful Now. I have not quite completed the journey through to the other side.

I made reference to an album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds called The Boatman Calls in my comment. One track from the album, Into My Arms, is particularly special for me. In fact music has always been important for me. It has helped me get through some, let’s say, interesting experiences.

Clay responded within the comments and asked if I could reproduce the lyrics that did it for me. I do so here. These are extracts from the lyrics.

People Ain’t No Good

People just ain’t no good
I think that’s welll understood
You can see it everywhere you look
People just ain’t no good

It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
They can comfort you, some even try
They nurse you when you’re ill of health
They bury you when you go and die
It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
They’d stick by you if they could
But that’s just bullsh*t
People just ain’t no good

People they ain’t no good
People they ain’t no good
People they ain’t no good
People they ain’t no good at all

Into My Arms

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candlew burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?

I’ve felt you coming girl, as you drew near
I knew you’d find me, cause I longed you here
Are you my desitiny? Is this how you’ll appear?
Wrapped in a coat with tears in your eyes?
Well take that coat babe, and throw it on the floor
Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?

As you’ve been moving surely toward me
My soul has comforted and assured me
That in time my heart it will reward me
And that all will be revealed
So I’ve sat and I’ve watched an ice-age thaw
Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?

Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built
Out of longing great wonders have been willed
They’re only little tears, darling, let them spill
And lay your head upon my shoulder
Outside my window the world has gone to war
Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?

O we will know, won’t we?
The stars will explode in the sky
O but they don’t, do they?
Stars have their moment and then they die

There’s a man who spoke wonders though I’ve never met him
He said, “He who seeks finds and who knocks will be let in”
I think of you in motion and just how close you are getting
And how every little thing anticipates you
All down my veins my heart-strings call
Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?

Black Hair

Last night my kisses were banked in black hair
And in my bed, my lover, her hair was midnight black
And all her mystery dwelled within her black hair
And her black hair framed a happy heart-shaped face

And heavy-hooded eyes inside her black hair
Shined at me frome the depths of her hair of deepest black
While my fingers pushed into her straight black hair
Pulling her black hair back from her happy heart-shaped face

To kiss her milk-white throat, a dark curtain of black hair
Smothered me, my lover with her beautiful black hair
The smell of it is heavy. It is charged with life
On my fingers the smell of her deep black hair

Full of all my whispered words, her black hair
And wet with tears and good-byes, her hair of deepest black
All my tears cried against her milk-white throat
Hidden behind the curtain of her beautiful black hair

As deep as ink and black, black as the deepest sea
The smell of her black hair upon my pillow
Where her head and all its black hair did rest
Today she took a train to the West
Today she took a train to the West
Today she took a train to the West

Lime Tree Arbour

The boatman calls from the lake
A lone loon dives upon the water
I put my hand over her
Down in the lime tree arbour

The wind in the trees is whispering
Whispering low that I love her
She puts her hand over mine
Down in the lime tree arbour

Through every breath that I breathe
And every place I go
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so

There will always be suffering
It flows through life like water
I put my hand over hers
Down in the lime tree arbour

The boatman he has gone
And the loons have flown for cover
She puts her hand over mine
Down in the lime tree arbour

Through every word that I speak
And every thing I know
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so

All words and music by Nick Cave.


Nick Cave / Bad
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave Online

I have began a page of bullying links. I would like to add more. Can you suggest any?

Updates to Prisoner of War site
May 15th, 2008

Have been doing a little work on the site about my dad, Francis Xavier Larkin Snr. Added some additional links and corrected a few others this week. Presently in the process of gathering together some students to work on a similar project.

Do you have relatives who also experienced the trials and tribulations of war? Would love to hear about them.

Jaiku server down… again
May 12th, 2008

The Jaiku server is down. Again. I like Jaiku. It gathers in updates from a variety of feeds and displays them in the Jaiku badge. It acts like a “What’s new?” for my main site, etc. It has not been quite the same since it was purchased by Google.

30 second tour of a Singaporean new town
May 10th, 2008

In my previous post regarding clotheslines I referrred to the high rise residential buildings in Singapore. This reminded me of a little video I had created that captures these buildings.

I am specifically referring to the public housing that is built by the Housing Development Board of Singapore. They are referred to by Singaporeans as HDB flats. Several years back I sat at the front of a Light Rail Transit vehicle with my little video camera and captured the journey around half of the circuit. I used Apple’s iMovie to create a simple Quicktime movie of the project. I increased the speed of the movie. I reduced a 20 minute journey to about 30 seconds.

The movie provides a perspective of Singapore’s new towns. Shao Ping and I lived in Choa Chu Kang for a while. We lived within walking distance of both the Hai Inn Temple and the Uttamayanmuni Buddhist Temple.

Whenever visitors came up from Australia or elsewhere we always took them on the LRT. The vehicles are driverless. We never mentioned that to our visitors until they asked the inevitable question, “Where is the driver?” I remember taking a ride on the LRT the day it was opened.

The vehicles pass close to some of the buildings and in order to maintain the privacy of the residents the windows of the LRT vehicle frost over as you pass by the building. You will see in the video the imposing avenues of the HDB blocks and it almost feels like flying an aircraft down a man-made canyon.

The population density of Singapore is 6489 people per square kilometre. You never get the impression that it is crowded however. It feels different to other cities such as Hong Kong. Sure, some peak hour trains are packed, but not like a tin of sardines. Some shopping centres can get a little crowded on Sunday afternoon.

Singapore’s Rail Network
Mass Rapid Transit in Singapore
Light Rail Transport in Singapore
Flickr tag: hdb