Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Monday, September 04, 2006

A new home!

After talking about it for a few months, I've finally built my new house. I'm changing to a new blog, a new life.

I started Em duas línguas on August 13, 2004 with the post "Getting started". Phronesis begins on September 4, 2006 with the post "Refresh". The underlying principlies are the same. The practice has moved on.

Always interested in process, this is how I got there:

Year: 2006

1. January, 17. Thinking about my identity and who I am in relation to my blog in "Feeling who I am".

2. March, 23. Pissed off at blogger not having categories in "Clicking on home".

3. July 2. Worrying about being forced to categorise by the technology in "Intellecutal hygiene v. messy methods".

4. July 6. Realise that I am outgrowing this blog in "I've got it. I've got the answer".

5. July 19. Consider using Drupal in "Thinking of Drupal".

6. August 19. Contemplate using Blogger in beta while "Getting ready for the next phase".

7. August 22. Think about "Este modus em rebus" as the name for the new blog in "Name of new blog - looking for inspiration".

8. August 26. Reach the name Phronesis in "Strong opinions weakly held". Nancy likes it too!

Resumindo e concluindo, my new blog is called Phronesis and is in Typepad. I feel kind of anxious about moving, although I think it's the right thing to do. I had fun making a a poll (sondagem) so you can tell me if you think the new blog is better or not - see the right hand column.

So here's the link to my new blog Phronesis. And here's a link to the blog's feed.

Here's to a new phase!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'm not busy.

Logging my life
Two weeks ago I started my anti-procrastination strategy and bought a diary to record where I was spending my time.

Now I've done the accounts and these were my suprises:

Excercise (cross-country cycling + walking dog) = 10 hours/week;
MSN with family/friends = 8 hours/week;
Dinner out with friends = twice/week.

No matter that the rest of the time was spend working on projects and I am on holiday - it was more time off than I thought.

Shawn over at Anecdote refers to "the busy-ness meme", which I recognise that I subscribe to:
"Hi. How's it going?"
"Soooo busy."

He wonders what would happen if we said: “I have a bit of free time at the moment. It’s just the way I like it.”

And I wonder how much I make myself a prisoner of time by constantly talking about the lack of it. I certainly make myself bored by talking about it!

So I've made my decision. I am not going to refer any more to my busy-ness; I'm going to develop alternative language that refer to pleasure and time off. Here are some of the alternatives for my new repertoire:

> Hi. How's it going:

1. Fine thanks. And you?
2. Wonderful thanks. I had a great cycle ride this morning.
3. It's going very well. I've had some time for reflection this week.
4. I'm fine thank you. The Serra is looking beautiful at the moment. All the flowers are out.
5. Very well. I've been enjoying the varanda lately.
6. I'm well, and you? Very busy? Pity ... I've been enjoying some wonderfully relaxing moments.

After all, I have all the tools, a fast computer with high-speed connection to the Internet, and applications that help me do things quicker than ever before. Therefore I must have more time!!


Friday, September 01, 2006

Howard Rheingold - collaboration and technology

A great interview with Howard Rheingold by Robin Good, where he finishes with these words:
We have to spend part of our days retooling and if you don't do that you're not able to take advantage of the opportunities that are available out there.

It's not just going to come in a package on your desk. It's something you need to do with your mind.

Harold Rheingold, for who doesn't know, is worth listening to as he is one of the orginal and currently leading thinkers on the cultural, social and political implciation of modern communications media.

One of the things he says in the interview is:
It's the social part of the technology that I think is the tricky part. You can buy a manual and figure out how to make the machine work but the human communication the human working together part that involves a lot of other things that aren't in the manual.

Oh yes! "Technology" is such a concrete thing for people to get their minds round. You know how to use it or you don't. It is a unit that has a price. It has a shape and takes up space.

It's much easier to grasp "the technology" or the "how to ... " of the technology than it is to make sense of people just talking.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Only weirdos choose to move to Portugal

Miguel Vale d'Almeida spells out something that I recognise in the eyes of every Portuguese that meets me:
Ninguém vem para Portugal porque quer. A não ser que seja um certo tipo de reformado inglês em busca de campos de golfe e cerveja barata.
No-one comes to Portugal because they want to. Not unless it's a certain type of retired English person looking for golf courses and cheap beer.

That's why I'm such an oddball in Portugal. I chose to live here - not because I'm retired, nor for the golf or the cheap beer (although I do appreciate the price of good wine). And it's not because I was looking for low-salaried work that no-one else wants to do. And no, I didn't come because I fell in love with a Portuguese guy.

I'm just a peculiar person!

Maybe it's because of the scuba diving I was crazy about ... on the Portuguese wreck in front of Fort Jesus, Santo Antonio de Tanna. The stories of battles between the Portuguese and Arabs, reflected in the mix of Portuguese-Arab architecture and people in Mombasa fascinated me.

Maybe it was my excitement about the lost Swahili town of Gedi, north of Watamu. Gedi was a once great civilization (in the thirteenth century) that still puzzles historians because it was isolated and unknown. It was suddenly and inexplicably deserted, with no trace of its residents and my young heart trembled when we walked through the ruins, knowing that here lay the banquet tables, the sewing, and the signs of life that had been so quickly abandoned. The story that thrilled me was that maybe the people heard that the "the fierce men from the sea" (the Portuguese) were invading.

Also I was stung badly - and survived - by a Portuguese Man o' War while swimming, another addition to my mental map of the Portuguese.

Then when I lived in England I was an anti-apartheid activist and campaigned tirelessly for SWAPO (Namibia) and with FRELIMO (Mozambique). The stories of the Portuguese from our comrades in Southern Africa were not the same as the ones I hear now in Portugal.

None of that explains why I live here in Setúbal, but maybe it helps show that my canvas - and my childhood imagination which I have never shaken off - is different to the golfing, beer lovers from England. And it might help people in Portugal to pardon me for being a little peculiar!.

Fort Jesus, Mombasa:

Castelo São Filipe, Setúbal:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Strong opinions, weakly held

"Strong opinions, weakly held" is a post that jumps out at Shawn Callahan (Anecdote) which he reads in "Bob Sutton's blog. It is Bob Johansen's advice about the wisdom for moving forward in times when the future is uncertain. It's about having and testing your opinions, while leaving yourself open to listening to other people.

It jumps out at me too. And it comes as I contemplate wisdom and the name of my next blog. My current favourite blogname is Phronesis, a word I readily identify with. The easy translation of Phronesis (from Greek) is "practical wisdom", ecompassing reflection, ahieving ends, particular contexts, and experience and measure.

It also happens to relate to a small, but significant, personal story about "raining men!"

The Prato Dialogue

I have set up a blog, The Prato Dialogue, in Wordpress for the conversations we are organising in Florence about memories and forgetting in communities of practice, and which I have posted about before.

The reason it's The Prato Dialogue and not the Florence Dialogue is because it is timed to coincide with a conference about constructing and sharing memory in communities organised by the Community Informatics Research Network at Monash University in Prato. Some of us will stay on for the conference and present a workshop at that conference that lead from the Dialogue.

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Transmitting information

Teaching ...
Today I bought a MacBook Pro. And within 90 minutes I had copied everything from one computer to the other, using FireWire. And when I say I copied everything I mean that everything was copied - not just my files, but all my applications, my browsers, my favorites, my passwords ... everything. My desktop, files and folders all looked exactly the same in my new computer. It was wonderful. Every piece of information transferred perfectly.

Hmm ... Could I say that with this perfect transmission of information - today was a sign of good teaching?


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Name of new blog - looking for inspiration

Since getting more organised I've had time to start planning my new blog and mulling over what to call it. I was wondering if I could incorporate a Latin expression from a Roman poet that I have on a post-it note above my desk:
Est modus in rebus. (There is measure - a middle way - in all things).
I wonder sometimes why this quote fascinates me. I think it's partly because the story of my life has been someone who didn't measure things, I only ever fully immersed myself. But with age I'm learning the importance of measure.

And I think it talks to me in another way. While I often hear people framing ideas, concepts and solutions as if they had to be either one thing or another, wisdom actually lies in engaging in that grey area in the middle.

This quote is also on a really cool painting called "The Measurers" in the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. There are two things I love about this painting, which is a Flemish image of mathematics in the sixteenth century. First, it shows maths as an everyday activity. There is maths in a kid beating out the rhythm, in a woman working with cloth. There's an amorous couple in the background, and I guess there is some maths in what they are doing. But anyway, it's maths as situated cognition, (and the basis for theories of learning in communities of practice).

The other thing I like about the painting is that the central character is a designer of mathematical instruments. This was, apparently, unusual. The instruments (and their maker) were normally taken for granted. I like the focus on the tool maker as a central part of the activities, in amongst - and probably in conversation with - the people about him.

Anyway, the long and the short of my meanderings is that I'm not going to call my blog "Est modus in rebus", much as I like the expression, the poet Horace (65 BC to 8 BC) and this painting! But I do find myself coming back to the Renaissance for inspiration, so perhaps my next blog's name lies somewhere there...

Monday, August 21, 2006

More anti-procrastination strategies

I've been reading Suw Charman's Desk diary update, in her fight against procrastination, with interest.

I am Queen of writing to-do lists, which only ever get longer. I've got (real) post-it notes all around my workspace, I've got a flip-chart prominently placed in my sitting room. I have two or three small notebooks. And that's before I even start talking about the post-it notes on my computer desk top and my iCal to-do list that sends me reminders.

And still, my lists get longer. And still I spend a lot of time turning over in my mind all the things I have to do. And all the things I'm not doing. It makes it difficult to take time out because I'm haunted by all those things to do. But in not having sufficient breaks I can see that my continuous partial attention disorder worsens.

Also like Suw, I've tried keeping track of my hours in Excel. Perhaps I made it too complicated because I created lots of columns where I had to categorise what I was doing. But the act of categorising makes me anxious and I gave up after a month.

Now she has an A5 desk diary, where she notes how much time she spends on things, including time spent on having a shower and faffing about. And she discovered that she faffs about less time than she thinks.

As I set myself up for a very busy September and October, I have to get my systems set up right. I want to know how much time I'm spending on what. And I need to be sure that I'm building in enough time for myself.

So I'm off to buy an A5 diary. And I'll cut back to one small notebook and my iCalendar. Post-it notes, flip-chart, pieces of paper and extra notebooks are all going to bed. Hmmm ... now is this is yet another procrastination strategy or am I really about to transform my life?

Suw is a speaker at the SHiFT conference on 28, 29th September and I'm looking forward to meeting someone who understands my condition.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

SHiFT - early bird registration

SHiFT - Social and Human Ideas For Technology
Today is the last day for early bird registration to ShiFT (Social and Human Ideas for Technology).

They have got a really great lineup of speakers for the conference, including some friends I look forward to seeing and other I hope to meet.

There's a lot happening in September/October!

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Getting ready: next phase

So I haven't been blogging much because:

1. I've had lots of reports to write and work to finish.

2. I'm starting some new projects and have to take care of them.

3. I'm working at less than half speed because I am tired and I dream of going to the beach and doing holiday like things.

4. I feel the time has come to start a new blog.

5. I've been wondering about the question: who am I?

But ... reports have mostly been written, new projects are on the schedule and I think I've got a bit of headspace to go to the beach. Who am I will change as I've decided to work only part-time in Ensino Superior and continue doing more of my own projects - related to designing for learning in distributed communities.

What's more, getting less fuzzy about my identity helps me conceptualise the transition to my new blog. And although it might not be obvious, getting clearer about my identity will also help me finish writing my doctorate.

As for my new blog I've been toying with converting to Wordpress. But yesterday I got distracted with the new Blogger in beta. What I have always liked about Blogger (unlike Wordpress, Typepad etc.) is that you can manipulate the html stuff much easier - but what has bugged me (not to mention the boring templates) is that you can't categorise your posts. Now with Blogger in beta you can categorize your posts. Another small but welcome change is that you can preview your post before sending it.

So ... here's to the small and big things that signal a next phase creeping up!

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Bar Camp Portugal

I would like to go to Bar Camp Portugal which is taking place in Coimbra Portugal 2 - 3 September.

The idea behind Bar Camp, held in different places all over the world is cool. It's about Web2.0 and related things:
BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.

Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.

When you come, be prepared to share with barcampers.
When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

But I have to say that I am staggered to notice that of the thirty-four people who have signed up to participate, only one is a woman. Rita Duarte of Marciana, you've got a cool blog and I'd love to meet you at BarCampPortugal, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Today I was distracted

burning ....

View from my appartment ...

The fire's have started

9th August - fire's have startedCalmly working on the varandah, but it got cut short. A reminder of things over which I have no control.

We have a fire in Viso. The sky looks eery. The sirens are ringing and the helicpoters are overhead. I hope everyone is OK.