Sunday, October 31, 2004

Techo trickery

Mobile phones and photos

Guy's blog gives us a link to help us in our mobile photography ettiquette (netiquette?) but here is a site which deliciously breaches all the rules - treating us to celebrity morsels stuffing their faces.. What else could a mobile phone be for, other than capturing scrumptious pix like these? (I could work for The Mirror). Techo trickery allows us to impinge on people's lives ... my sister's partner told me mobiles are banned from his gym because of unsuspecting nudes appearing on the web.)

A heart breaking story about i pods
I know that loads of people love their i pods; I too was in a state of euphoria with mine for about 72 hours. And the potential for un broken i pods is definitely there as Michelle says.
But see what happened in my ipod drama. There was the excitement that my partner brought it as a gift from his travels to San Francisco. The lovely white smooth case. I crammed its hard drive with my CDs and music bought from the i-store as quickly as I could. I listened to it as I walked to and from work on the day after I got it. (Oh if only the walk had been longer.)

But then when I took it to the gym it broke. I pressed the button to turn it off and CRACK. The screen miraculously shattered.

The tragedy continued as phone calls to San Francisco were made; I sent it back to Apple for repair. It was sent back broken. I phoned them. I was invited to send it back again. I was promised it would be fixed. The man was kind and told me that all would be well. (we are talking about eight phone calls, four e mails and four mornings spent at home awainting deliveries.)


They again returned it broken saying I had vandalised it.

My heart and my i pod were broken.

Despite reports of my vandalism I notice that the i pod has been redesigned with controls further from the screen, situated on its little wheel.

And now I have the Sony hard disc walkman which has better sound, is easy to operate and compared to apple’s ‘big white fridge’ is neat and sweet. A happy end.

My i pod lies broken in the cold dark cellar of my home. ( And of my heart. )

My daughter has advised me that, 'there are people out there who are just into making money' . She could be right.

The Moral to the two tales of techo trickery
It is up to us to be ethical with our hardware and our software. And just because someone can come up with a great idea for technological advance - it does not mean they have our well being in their minds.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Burqa blues

For ages I have been obsessed by burqas. They make me feel uncomfortable as they look oppressive - restricting movement and vision, freedom to express through clothing, and stopping vitamin D through sunlight. The argument goes of course, that the burqa liberates women from male gaze, or as Bourdieu says, 'recipricoal gaze' - therefore giving power to women. This is a view I find seductive in its feigned feminist stance - but then falls down since it sees male sexuality as supreme ruler, as irrepressible and women as victims unless they deny their identity. The insult to men is pretty mammoth. Yet the pro burqa argument is more complex than this , since it is tied up with religion, modesty and so on. That a woman must not be vain, should be mysterious etc. If Muslim women who wear these garments are not oppressed, then it is I who feel oppressed by the implied judgement - that I, who does not cover her body is immodest, wants the constant attention of men and is not asking to be taken seriously. I have become keenly aware of this because where I live more and more women seem to be taking to the veil. I hate to feel like this am I being discriminatory and judgemental about something I do not understand? I am trying to understand.
If one looks at the marketing which goes with the sale of burkhas, they seem like sophisticated garments. They seem fashionable and for serious people who rightly wish to escape 'prying eyes', "cover with pride... cover with style' sounds very attractive as a proposition even to young western women - to acquire 'pride and style' from a garment sounds very consumerist in its approach, that one can purchase such sophisticated attributes. Burqas are for the serious woman who wants to concentrate on her life.
There are even dolls available on e bay, where the seller, here, for example, talks about the promotion of pride in Islam and earnest religious beliefs through the purchase of dolls in burqas. The association is with devoutness and familial pride.
Even Giorgio Armani is quoted as talking about the exotic nature of burqas on Parisien streets. So burqas can be cool, sophisticated, and are part of a serious attitude to life.
It can even be liberating,'inside it you feel free' we hear. Although athletes in Athens have disagreed, there are apparently attempts at making burka style sports wear. (Although this is of course a spoof.)
However, I still feel unconvinced and uncomfortable I am afraid when I look across reports from all over the world.
I am not keen on the idea of banning any type of clothing as in France, or for fining people, as in Italy, see here. This constitutes a restriction on people's life style choices so I still do not know where I am with this.
Maybe you would like to hear the Burqa band from Afghanistan, now though, singing rock and roll about how they feel. The lyrics are marvellously ironic. You will not be disappointed. And of course this last link comes from a blog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

An Exciting day today!!!

I am the proud owner of a new Sony Walkman.
I have just unwrapped the little darling and plugged it in to charge it up. I will cherish it forever and will always remember to put it back in its velvety wrap. I am at work at the moment so cannot play with it till I get home in five hours. Can I bear the wait?
If you want a popular culture history tour of Sony Walkmans go and look at their museum. Very nostalgic trip.
I have been working too .... Of course everyone knows Gee's book on video games and learning but there is a good synopsis of some of the learning principles on Stephen Downes' site. The site is a treasure trove of articles, publications and links, links, links. He even has recordings of presentations he has done. Really useful site.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bourdieu, photos and a trip to London

Officially it was a trip down to London to attend a meeting at The Institute of Education ... but (sneakily) I went early and saw an exhibition ...
Bourdieu talked about the veil being used in Algeria as a liberating garment where women denied others the benefit of reciprocal gaze. I wondered if this was his argument, or theirs.

I think Japanese culture is fascinating and like this site which gives upto the minute snapshotz of street life. I have a book called Fruits which is a collection of photos taken from a magazine about Japanese Street Fashion see here

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I know it sounds silly but ....

I am really gutted that John Peel died today. I really liked him and I will miss listening to him on Saturday morning which I seem to have been doing for years.
This line in one of the reports made my heart miss a beat:
'Peel is survived by his wife Sheila and four adult children.'
I bet they did not expect to read that today. He provided the soundtrack to a lot of people's lives.

Monday, October 25, 2004


1. It is very important that you go here and see these strange figures. Check out the forehead and fingers in Gallery 4.


The artist is apparently a dog. TRULY.

2. I have been working on an idea for a book today. It will be about: Discourses for Learning and how these change in context. I am going to use data from teenagers' websites; from their discussion boards; weblogs; AND from classroom talk. Yes I am. It will be a thing to do with Communities of Practice; have Discourse Analysis; will show how brilliance derives from banality. (I hope it does.) I know that Third Space Theory will fit too and that I want to get in something from the Sheffield College's wonderful wonderful blended learning course Young People Speak Out.

3. My son told me that at his school they are banned from going on this site.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A day where I have been obsessed with photos

Went to Bradford Film and Photography Museum today and saw a new exhibition. Twas OK but I have been spoilt a bit lately by seeing truly HUGE photographs like advertising hoardings. I saw the huge Sternfeld photos in London earlier this year. Twas a real treat. Funnily enough the best photo was of a dead elephant blocking the road. (No offense to elephants but the picture had that certain je ne sais quoi. ... Anyway ... So it seemed like hard work to peer forward into photo frames to look at these by Tony Ray Jones. Quite interesting though ... his photos stop around 1972ish, (understandable as he then died) but his photos depict Englishness before (and he said this) 'Americanisation really set in'. I am not sure that lil ol England does, as he predicted, look anything like the USA actually, and that we remain a very distinct, queer culture still. But maybe I am the only one who thinks that. One of the things about looking at the photos - spanning from late fifties, was that they showed my childhood. I always like that. (Didn't show Triang bikes though.)

Anyway my daughter came for the trip and brought her bear (it's not real) to photograph. He is soon to have his own website and will apparently be depicted all over Great Britain in various poses with stories of his journeys to go with the pix. Lucky bear. Hope he does not get harrassed by those weirdoes who lurk on the Internet though. (You know who you are). Well, I'll keep you posted when the site goes up and we'll all have to hope that having his photo published will attract no harm.

Just to keep you going check this out ... site about Walker Evans American photographer - a nice piece is chapter two on using photography as research method. One of the photgraphs in Chapter 4 is really interesting - showing how graveyards used to be central to communities (cf Foucault talks about this in his work on Heterotopias. But you probably are not so interested in that as I am. I saw these along with a lot of Martin Parr stuff, (See earlier post) and a stash of other quality work in Cologne at the Ludwig Museum. The exhibition was called Zartlich und Grausam (Cruel and Tender)and was BRILLIANT. It was first on in The Tate Modern in London but we missed that so scooted off to Germany. Cosmoploitan indeedy. (But the flights cost nowt these days don't they?)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

E bay

This is quite a story for e bay - the guy who was invited to a wedding and put the tickets on e bay. Was it all a hoax to bring more publicity? - Certainly the site was announcing record profits this week, (SEE HERE) so maybe this was a nice little hype to bring even more attention to the world's greatest car boot sale ever. The story was certainly reported widely here in the UK (THE GUARDIAN), as well as abroad (THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD).
Personally I love the site and have enjoyed buying rubbish at low down prices - copies of Jackie from 1970 and a 1952 Good Housekeepings cookery book being amongst my favourites.
The temptation of course, is compounded by my desire to gain credibility points next to my name!
And take a trip here to see Martin Parr's selecton of mobile phone photos. Then Google Matin Parr and enjoy his representation of contemporary society.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Feeling a bit self conscious about this first entry.
I want this blog to help me think about / share / develop my research into New Literacies, especially Internet stuff. I am interested in teenagers on-line work - their blogs, personal sites, discussion boards. I guess this blog is intended to help me understand what on line diaries might do for someone, how addictive they are -or otherwise etc etc.
That's all for now as I want to check out the gizmos on this site.

About Me

My photo
Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.