Classroom AV systems by Fraser Speirs

The same day I read Fraser Speir’s blog post on “The next generation Classroom AV system” I was staying with friends who happened to have a 42″ TV which is around the same size that Fraser discusses.

42 inch TV

Fraser’s piece is worth a read as he dismisses projectors and interactive whiteboards on the basis of their cost and limited value over a TV and so is trialing the use of 40″ TVs.

Having used the TV through the night for gaming and the Australian F1 qualifying at silly O’ clock I am even more interested in Fraser’s efforts.

My initial questions are “What is the maximum viewing range/angle that a student could sit at?” and similarly “what is maximum distance from the TV that this could work with?”. I’m guessing for many classrooms the room will be of a suitable comfortable size.

I look forward to his follow-up in months to come…. plus can i get me some 40″ plus home theater with surround sound??!!!


Fraser has a video with more details.

Thoughts on The Thank You Economy (book)

I have no idea how I originally stumbled across Gary Vaynerchuk but I have been following his video blog and occasional wine series episode for a few years.

I skipped his last book Crush it! but thought i’d give his next outing a whirl as I like to support people who’s online work has given me idea’s or food for thought.

The book, The Thank You Economy, sets out to explain why you should be engaging with your audience and that using social media as the platform makes sense in 2011 and beyond – get involved or get left behind. This is something i have been actively doing with the day job over at JISC Digital Media, rolling my sleeves up and taking the time to understand what folk are interested in, going to them and joining in. The results of which are that I am filled with new ideas and there has been a noticeable growth in interest to our services. Not huge, but a heck of a lot cheaper than marketing the traditional way.

The core theme is that of community engagement and is something that I have been interested in since University, stemming from using discussion boards and blogs. In many ways the contents of the book is obvious to folk like myself who are living the web every day. So the book is really aimed at folk like me to give the book to other people who are not yet convinced and Gary suggests starting at the top.

So while I didn’t discover much new, I did enjoy the book and like the idea that this is a marathon and not a sprint I will be recommending it to folk who are interested in learning about harnessing the power of web tools to improve their services and that bad reviews actually help us to deliver next time.

If your thinking of getting the book then next time your in a bookshop skip to the back “Part V” and see the highlights. If it resonates with you then pick it up!

Or if you want to borrow the book let me know as it now sits on the shelf and i’d love to do a book swap.


GitHub 404

For once I was happy to see a 404 page. Over at GitHub 404 they have a very nice graphic informing you that the page doesn’t exist. Better still, when you hover over the graphic it has a 3D effect! Go and check it out.

The effect uses HTML5, a series of individual graphics, absolute positioning and a technique (if you know the name please add to the comments as i’d love to know) to identify your current mouse position and alter the graphic on the fly.

JISC Conference 2011

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual JISC Conference.

The theme of the conference was ‘Financial challenges – digital opportunities’ and I was teamed up with three other great folk- Stephen Gray, Doug Belshaw and Dr Jane Williams.

We had around 60 people in attendance and one hour to cover a range of topics including: what we mean by attendance, digital literacies, benefits of digital media processes and workflows, student as producer and examples in practice.

I was keen to harp on about using standard processes and workflows as this allows us to make our use of digital media flexible, scalable, affordable and measurable. Each of which can support good practice and therefore make your planning and usage as efficient as possible, thus making best use of the investment in time and cost. Plus when we make mistakes we can rollback to our last known good point and improve.

We purposefully designed the session to weave various key points together and then finish on some great examples so I hope that each member of the attendance took something useful out of the session – if they didn’t then please let me know as I’d love to fix that issue!

We used Google presenter and a wiki to gather our outline thoughts and slides.

Audio for those not present will be made available very soon.


Music – Patterns Break EP

Fellow JISC Digital Media staffer Joel Eaton has just released an EP that I implore you to give a listen to.

These songs were made in Dec 2010/Jan2011, and aside from the odd radio, field recording from the forest, an analogue synth, and some drums, it’s all sounds from my guitar which have been mangled and processed, as far as my computer can manage.

Listen and download to the EP


I first discovered JR’s work back around 2005 and since then I have got his book and felt my heart skip a beat whenever I have been luckily enough to see one of his paste-up pieces on the street.

Earlier this week he gave an interesting TED talk on the subject of “Can art saving the World?”.

I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.