Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Halloween, cave, mountain

Sculpty halloween cave mountains installed: 1 (good); No. of coffins installed: 2 (good); no. of gravestones installed: 3 (good); no. of funky multi-time-zone chronometers installed: 1 (v. good); No. of pumpkins installed: countless (v. orange)
As a break between serious work with students (3 sessions so far) and numerous education meetings, have been installing and decorating Halloween cave mountain. Discovered basic mountain (2 levels of cave complex, plus 2 layers above with one cave room each, plus assorted waterfalls and paths) I forget how, but anyway was designer whose work hadn't really explored before and his/her sim turned out to be filled with exotic sculpty cave constructions. Had seen some grottos made out of Scupted Prims, but this takes to whole new level (literally), with apartment blocks of caves.

Buying finger was itching to purchase, and v. soon thought of excuse, namely that had not yet determined form of the 2009 Infolit iSchool Halloween celebration, and a cave complex seemed just the ticket.
Think, with all those rushing waterfalls (which cover cave entrances BTW, so is actually Secret Sculpty Halloween Cave Mountain) is probably also v. v. laggy, so waited til after 1st student session. Then positioned carefully in what is normally the empty corner of Infolit iSchool and have proceeded to stuff with accumulated Halloween Fun, as collected in Halloween 2007 and 2008, with several must-have 2009 additions.
My 3 favourite items, in no particular order are:

1) Aina's Grave and Prayer, consisting of a grave and a patch of ground. In each you SIT and then cycle through 3 poses by clicking the item. In the Grave the positions are: Buried (invisible); One hand sticking out of grave; Leaping Out of Grave. In the Prayer object the positions are: Praying, Startled and Running Like Hell. In the pic you see Ishbel as the dead person, and me as the mourner. Ishbel had just bought a free pair of wings from an ajoining cave, which think adds to the effect. Creator: Aina Yoshikawa (I've also put her Chair That Drops A Flowerpot in the caves)

2) Halloween pumpkin chronometer. This has time in various places of SL and RL, and it whooshes out steam and bats, also there are spooky noises. It is thus the only item in the caves that has some vague kind of utility (the time function, rather than the bats). I started by putting it outside the cave and then moved it to be the piece de resistence in the innermost of the ground level caves. Creator: Greene Concept.

3) Pumpkin hanging lights. These do not do anything apart from hang there, but they are v. cute and colourful. Creator: Oddment

If you want to Explore, then the bottom entrance is at but go soon, as it will all disappear after Halloween.

PS am thinking of adding recording of me reading entries as another way of wasting own time and possibly yours. Below is the recording of this one. Am too close to microphone in some places, but frankly can't be bothered to record it again, but, anyway, there it is. Will do better next time.
URL is :

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pigs fly

Research launches attended: 1 (invigorating); Flying pigs rezzed: 1 (joyful); No. of flying pigs set with Poop On: 1 (amusing)
In RL attended today launch of Digital World initiative in which researchers in all reaches of university are exhorted to work in purposeful harmony to bag huge wodges of dosh for research that is, in some way, however tangential, about The Digital World. As far as can see are not v. lucrative new opportunities for dosh, but idea is that by working together can grab more of what is already on offer from research councils, EU etc.
Anyway, most memorable part was when assembled company was exhorted not to submit crap research bids, since said crapness would soil fair name of uni and make it likely that any future bids from other parts of uni would be lightly tossed aside simply from have originated from same institution. Obviously everyone v. sobered by this awful prospect, though must say that was seized by sudden urge to go home and write crap bid just to be awkward. Burning question remains though: exactly what IS a crap research bid? e.g. is it worse if the proposed research is crap, or if the proposal itself is?
On further thought, realised that could propose whole research programme stimulated by this theme, e.g.
1. Phenomenographic investigation into variations of conceptions of “crap research” at a Russell group University **
2. An action research project with starting problem “I want my research proposals to be less crap”, with at least two iterations of the action research cycle and employment of a panel of embittered old dons as critical friends
3. An auto-ethnographic investigation conducted by someone who has a well-documented trail of evidence showing that s/e always submits crap research proposals; leading to playfully transgressive accounts of lived experience of not getting research grants.
4. A case study of an academic department which is reknowned for its crap research bids, using Eisenhardt’s process of theory building to develop a model of crap research bid production;
5. A Delphi study to gain an expert consensus on the future character and prospects of crap research;
6. An investigation into factors determining crapness in research proposals, using a grounded theory approach;
6. A poll on Facebook of which researcher you would most like to throw crap at.

Hmm, that last one is a bit nasty, but if Facebook then would only be virtual crap. Anyway, might well ask what connection this have SL. One answer is that any of the above might become Virtual World Research candidates were the words “in SL” inserted somewhere within them. Other is that, although have been doing digital stuff for aeons, SL has made RL alt more likely to troll along to events such as these.

Day was not without SL activity, in that after zipping from said research meeting to some teaching, zipped back to help Bluewave who was introducing SL to a roomful of people in Texas. Bluewave has been v.v. successful in getting money to purchase dozens of regions, and is also v. helpful person generally. Have pics of this but on my other computer, so may add one later.
Afterwards spared a few minutes to fiddle around with latest animal purchase, namely flying pig.
Was in v. cute shop on Wednesday (see first pic) when Pancha IMed re. the posters that we are putting together for Alejandro’s Spanish-language discussion in Infolit week. As well as flying pigs, are also flying moles, moles that pop out of ground, lamb and pig merry-go-rounds (they wiggle their legs! they are so cute!) and much more. Tped Pancha to admire same and also have more serious discussion, and could not resist buying pig before leaving for Infolit.
Pigs are copy, and can set height, range o flight, and set chirp and poop (splats descend from sky) on and off. They take off v. gracefully, and are good size for those occasions when some animal interest is in order but you don’t want people being knocked over all the time. Also could be useful if you have to implement decision of Facebook poll, though might need to rez whole flock to get sufficient splat coverage.
Unfortunately haven't yet taken close-up pig pic., but looks like pig in 1st pic, but with wings. Is speck above me and Pancha in 2nd pic., happily chirping and pooping. 3rd pic shows Pancha and me contemplating her information literacy poster with multiple embedded notecards. Alfabatizacion Informacional para toda la vida. Indeed.
** [note to Australians: this is like “sandstone”; note to Americans: this is not quite as good as Ivy League]

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Found (sort of)

Posts rediscovered: 63 (good); Of these, posts actually visible on blog: 0 (bad)

Seems to be some magic in writing about problems on this blog, since as soon as had done so, was able to access posts in editable form on Wordpress. However, if want to use them in some way, will still have to get them out of the iheartsl blog and into another one. Immediately created another blog on Wordpress in vain hope that option would pop up enabling one to transfer posts from one to the other in an easy click. Know is EXPORT function but think it applies to whole blog

At any rate, have not time to puzzle that out today. Will have another look when current work-related frenzy is past ... which will be ... not any time this week (teaching! more teaching! marking! finishing a paper! being internal examiner in a viva! and so forth) ... but will fit it in somehow.

In the meantime, this is the information-literacy-skydeck that students will be using in 7 days time. It features one 7 Pillars of IL wheel per group. Spent most of Friday night converting Educational Informatics Village into this.


Blogs deactivated: 1 (bad); Blog posts vanished: 63 (v.v. bad)

Have mentioned that do some SL fashion blogging at, which is a blog on Wordpress. This is/was a huge blog, with a lot of people directing in feeds from other fashion blogs. Some people, like me, just posted there directly. When I posted yesterday, there were over 16,000 postings. This is the post, on the right (just managed to catch it before it vanished off the aggregator). Now, you might think that the world is better off without such bizarre postings, and indeed if I don't fashion blog any more that will be, um, XXX hours per year saved to do more meaningful things. However, had thought that it was harmless fun.
Anyway, when logged in today, found that was unable to access iheartsl blog, or any of my blog posts on it. Instead was notice that blog had been deactivated for breaching Terms of Service.
To cut long story short (since should currently ber finishing off teaching for tomorrow, not maundering over lost fashion blog posts) the blog contravened TOS in that took paid advertising. Gogo (also my landlady in SL, for my shop on Juicy), who runs iheartsl, claims that they had been in communication with someone who was not her, which is why she didn't give anyone any notice, see
She has set up another site, but basically for people who feed in stuff from other blogs, and she doesn't say anything about people like me who are apparently waving bye-bye to their old posts.
Have sent report to Wordpress asking for access to posts back (as certainly don't want whole 16.000 posts to sift through for my 60!) and will also notecard Gogo, but is is rather depressing.
Lessons learned:
- remember that when use free blogging services, can all vanish overnight
- beware services where you are not the admin
- back stuff up (sigh) (of course I hadn't)
If really want to, can probably retrieve entries searching on Google and then clicking on "Cached" for each (just checked, yes I can) and probably should do it soon before they aren't cached any more. However will take time, which at present, don't really have. O bother.
Worst thing is that was going to use some of these entries in Serious Presentation giving on 12th October as a contribution to a seminar in an ESRC Research Seminar series. Am going to use autoethnographic approach to chart my personal journey. So not just frivolous nonsense. Honestly.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Presentations made: 1 (wonderful); No. of natural breaks taken: 1 (convenient); No. of problems with voice: zero (good); No. of times buried unexpectedly in chair: 1 (bad)
Have given 10 minute presentation, possibly taking 12 minutes, but at any rate kept roughly to time. Here you see me seated on the podium with other panellists, with my introductory slide.
Had newbie moment when tried to sit in chair on podium and suddenly found self sort of embedded up side down. Even in SL is slightly embarrassing when done in front of audience. Knowclue (the one with wings) had similar moment, which led me to recall time in July 2007 when we were both newbies and met in Abo Akademi. I was wearing a garish assortment of garments and Knowclue had trouble unbending her knees. Happy days. I found the pic of this and sent it to her afterwards.

Back to 2009. In fact didn't use powerpoint, just had notecard which inevitably spent 3 times as long preparing as thought I would. Used voice, and although had had no time to test, it worked ok. Was talking about Innovative Media Literacy. Suppose should put notecard up somewhere and link to it, so (pause while copy it into textpad and save on server) here it is. Had good response though mostly people DO say nice things after SL presentations, whatever, so sometimes difficult to tell whether actually did go down well. Other speakers were Alexandria Knight, Larry Klugman, Celestia, and Knowclue Kidd, plus Valibrarian Gregg who was chairing.
Knowclue showed some nice films done by her students, only drawback was that, whilst watching films, suddenly was unable to type in any kind of chat or IM, and list of Friends disappeared. Decided would be too rude to relog whilst still on podium, so waited to later, and was just grateful that no-one asked me direct question. Turned out afterwards that several people had the same thing, somthing to do with the media texture.

Is obviously one of problems in SL that have these glitches which cause one to need to log on and off. However earlier had enjoyed benefits, when decided that would like to answer Call of Nature before was due to speak, and could remain on podium in SL strapped to chair (at least, that's what the animation looks like) whilst flitting off to the Conveniences in RL.

Stayed on for next session, talk by Krull Quarr (who has v. nice whiskers, here is pic of him earlier, listening to concert), but not for later musical entertainment which promised "amusing modern songs about real life." Who needs amusing real life when can listen to a cat talking about scripting?


Sim crashes: 1 (bad); Concerts attended: 1 (unexpected) (but pleasant, obviously)

Am speaking on panel about Innovation in SL education and libraries this evening. Is part of opening celebrations for new Innovation Infoisland. In fact was due to be speaking in 9 mins time, but instead am listening to live improvisatory recital from AldoManution Abruzzo, together with everyone else on the panel and about 40 others, due to earlier sim crash and thus delay to all proceedings.

When happens is going to be rather of a Speed Panel as we only have 10 mins each, a challengingly small time even in RL. But - hark - the music has stopped. So must stop blogging and go to Panel instead.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.