So there I was, tagging some new social bookmarking web sites to (and of course actually social bookmarking while I was doing it) when my colleague asks me for a pen. As I hunted around in my rucksack pockets behind the cables and memory sticks to find a biro, she remarked: “You obviously don’t have to use a pen very often these days.”, thereby obviously cocking a snook at my technophilia and general nerdiness. I was vaguely ruminating on the truth of this observation when she jaw-droppingly pointed out the reason for her request: “I need it to write down the address of a web site”.

This provided some encouragement to my plans for a work-based social networking project, but left me wondering how much of an uphill struggle it might be to get it working. She readily agreed to join the project when I explained what it was and the irony of her request, but clearly didn’t have too much of a clue as to what I was going on about. I had a similar experience yesterday when explaining the project to one of our IT Power Users; he has decades of nerdiness under his belt but has thus far singularly failed to embrace the Web 2.0 world.

A presentation next week to staff seems to be the way forward with some clear guidelines and a pathway for the project to follow. You never know it might just work.

Aside from its usefulness in the workplace, as part of my studies on H806 (code for a module on the Open University’s MA in Online & Distance Education), this method of sharing resources seems to have great potential for increasing access to well targetted and useful resources related to ours studies. The system of tagging makes it easier to see the relevance of the resource at a glance and will almost certainly save time in looking for resources, hopefully also creating a synergy of aour efforts as they are combined for the greater good of all in this particular community of interest/practice.

My love affair with Ubuntu has experienced something of a renaissance with the arrival of Hardy Heron, or version 8.04, as my fellow Twitterers may already be aware. As I’ve already remarked elsewhere, this user-friendly version is approaching comparisons with Windows for ease of use but still has some aspects that need work. On the plus side, automatic detection of your router settings make navigating a one-click affair these days, while setting up your mail accounts is as simple as under Windows. File-sharing and CD burning are problem free areas. On the other hand, I was becoming frustrated with the general sluggishness of Firefox under Ubuntu, that is until I came across this rather wonderful hack. It makes all the difference and now Ubuntu seemsevery bit as good, if not better, than Windows (if only I can get my web cam to work in Skype). It’s just a pity that all this messing around with code was necessary – still there’s a certain nerdy appeal to it of course, and that surely makes it all worthwhile.

… or moving house if you don’t speak Spanish. I’ve been blogging with Blogger for years and, though I was never unhappy with the service and always found it user-friendly, I’ve come to like the look and feel of WordPress of late. Hence the decision to up sticks and head on over here, importing my last post from Blogger on the way. I look forward to exploring its features.

As a techie and self-declared webhead, it’s always nice to have something new to play around with and my decision this week to switch much of my activity to Ubuntu has been a rewarding experience, especially so with the arrival of the latest release – 8.04 or ‘Hardy Heron’. It’s not my first time, I’m not a Linux virgin, so I expected it to be a similar experience to previous attempts with Red Hat, Mandrake and Ubuntu 6 (Dapper Drake?). Imagine my surprise then when I downloaded it and Wubi and set about installing it. This kind of thing used to entail much time and anxiety, as well as reading up on lines of code necessary to make things work. After all, this was all part of the fun and set one apart from the average Windows user – almost feeling part of ‘Hacker culture’ as Castells saw it in ‘The Internet Galaxy’ (2001). As he pointed out at the time “…the main obstacle to Linux development into low-end consumer users is the lack of interest of sophisticated computer programmers for this kind of application.” He was referring to user-friendly applications of the kind that Windows users are used to, the kind of thing that both my small children and aging parents can cope with. So, the installation process being incredible simple and the fact that I didn’t need to worry about partitioning was a nice start. Rebooting gave me the option of choosing either operating system (I installed under XP), and once the user accounts were set up (anyone could do this), that was it. In fact, it was so easy that I was almost disappointed that there wasn’t more to it. This was just like installing Windows, and what’s more, everything works. No need to configure my internet settings, it detected them. No more searching around for Linux versions of file sharing applications etc as comes bundled with just about everything you need. I did have to look around for a version of Skype, but the command lines I needed can now be copied and pasted into the terminal window so even this was a breeze.

But is it a rival to Windows for the average user? Not quite yet. There are still some things that need tweaking – my webcam doesn’t work in this version of Skype (though my Bluetooth dongle does, while it crashes Windows). This article sums up the difference pretty well, I feel.

So now, I’ll have to start using this blog more regularly, writing from Ubuntu (actually this entry was written under XP) and reflecting on educational technology matters as frequently as is necessary for the remainder of my current course.