[going paperless = a tidier desk]

Time for some procrastinating after all my work today...by procrastinating I erm...mean work. Because, everyone knows that tidying up one's work area is really part of the job description and...a tidy desk means more work gets done which has nothing to do with procrastination...

1) What do I do with the myriad of business cards I've collected from conferences, meetings, interviews and general travels (you'd be surprised who one can meet on the train out of London). Ah ha. I'll send my clutter cards over to shoeboxed and because it is now mashed with evernote, it means I'll be able to folksonomize all my cards...hey, tagging business cards, that'll make them way more searchable.

2) Next, looking around I see my desk has a lovely collection of receipts; train tickets, that ever-necessary coffee in the morning from the station shop, museum tickets etc...I think my receipts or pixily will be able to help. Interesting with my receipts, seems that they're partnering with shops so that receipts begin as digital copies rather than paper in the first place. This is how pixily works:

3) Ok. So papers on my desk are disappearing...but what about all those wires. Ugh, mouse wire, keyboard wire, web cam wire, camera cable, power cord, external hard drive cable, speaker wires, headset cables, printer, scanner...the list goes on. I think I'll be ordering the nice blue cable turtle from, hurrah, a uk company. So this doesn't really help me use less paper...but it does help with the digital tidying.
4) Some fiction books that I won't read again, an unopened box of Christmas crackers (don't ask) and some photo frames are going to my local freecycle site. Most already off to good homes.

5) Of course, what desk would be complete without a few old mobiles scattered around? With all my important information (i.e. my memory) in my snazzy pink blackberry, I can send my old mobiles to envirofone and even make a bit of cash in the process.

6) Online banking means no more silly paper statements messing up my lovely and now visible desk!

7) I'll be using remindr to, wait for it, remind me to do things like return those pesky library books that have been sitting on my desk, all used and ready for the bookshelf. I can also use remindr when little kitty needs to be combed (trying to keep fur balls at bay), bring in the laundry, return that dvd or pay the newspaper bill...I can get reminders to my mobile, via twitter, e-mail or gtalk. Excellent stuff.

8) Instead and jotting notes while I talk on the 'phone, I'll add my scribblings directly to a google doc or per
haps if I'm driving, I'll add my voice notes (hands-free of course) as a memo to spinvox.

9) So I'm a
ddicted to my lovely pink leather filofax (how old school, I know) and I get a good overview of my time because I can flick though pages and see weeks and months at a glance. However, a useful online tool is google's calendar where I can let friends and family add their info too so it becomes more like a community calendar. There's an app. for my blackberry too so I can sync the two, perfect.
10) Though most of my communication is done online, there are times when I need to send physical post. Handily, the Royal Mail now lets me buy stamps online which I can then print out. So, no more books of stamps sliding to hide indefinitely under my keyboard.
11) Those cds that I used to love now sound soooo 2001...I'll be sending them to music magpie. They also accept dvds and games.
That's so much better now...


[ioct now accepting master's applications for next academic year]

The IOCT is now accepting applications for master's in Creative Technologies (both MA and MSc) for the upcoming academic year, 2009-2010.

Are you:
  • a technologist with a creative dimension?
  • an artist working with technologies?
  • a designer with programming skills?
or someone with other cross/transdisciplinary interests?

The IOCT Masters in Creative Technologies is unique, groundbreaking and
innovative. Delivered by the Institute of Creative Technologies, the course is run in partnership with the Faculties of Art & Design, Humanities and Technology.

The programme crosses traditional disciplines and boundaries and is designed
to support students in developing and strengthening their individual creative technologies research and practice, enable them to work at the convergence of the e-sciences, arts and humanities subjects.

Students taking the MA/MSc Creative Technologies will be from a wide range of backgrounds and interested in developing multidisciplinary knowledge and skills in the production of digital media and products.

See the programme site for further details: www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/masters.html


[edmonton, alberta]

click here to see a bigger version

On a recent wintry visit to Edmonton, Alberta I was quite struck by the snow; it was a very different texture from what usually falls in the Greater Toronto/Niagara region and definitely different from the few flakes that have fallen across South/Eastern England this year. Edmonton is so dry that the snow falls more like glitter, it is soft and ever so sparkly.


[facebook listens to the public]

After suffering public outrage (including a Facebook group) when Facebook changed their terms of service, Facebook has reverted to the original rules:

So, the people do have a voice. Shame that didn't work when around 2 million people protested against the war in London.


[high-er tech & the simpsons]

HD hits our screens and also the Simpsons':

Though I do enjoy the Simpsons...I haven't yet caught any episodes with the new intro. so thanks to Andrew Sullivan over at the Daily Dish for pointing it out.


[Learn, Teach and Play in 3D Virtual Worlds]

Second Life and City University London

A one-day seminar on the topic of "Learn, Teach and
Play in 3D Virtual Worlds"
We welcome teachers, students, educational technologists, researchers, and anyone interested in 3D virtual worlds and games. We welcome you to showcase your virtual world projects (e.g. education, virtual museum, etc), to present your research findings, or simply to voice your opinions about it.

Time and place
• the seminar (whole day, 18 March 2009) will be face to face meeting at City University London (time and room will be announced later).

Types of participation
• If you are interested in attending this event, please send in a short bio (50-100 words) to us.
• If you are interested in showcasing your project, please send in a short bio (50-100 words) and a short description of the project (around 300 words)
• If you are interested in presenting your research findings, please send in a short bio (50-100 words) and an abstract of the study (around 300 words)

We are not just looking for presentations but participatory formats to share and debate. Thus, we welcome ideas of other types of participations. Please submit a proposal (around 300 words) to let us know what you would like to discuss, how you think we could best
exchange ideas in this event and the anticipated outputs.

In addition, a virtual meeting (in Second Life) will take place a day before the face to face event and everyone is welcome. Further information of the virtual event will be announced shortly.

Please register the event at http://learnteachandplay.eventbrite.com/ If you have further enquiries please do not hesitate to contact Ulrike Pfeil (U.Pfeil-1@city.ac.uk)

Jim Ang, City University London
Panayiotis Zapihris, City University London
David White, Oxford University
Steven Warburton, King's College
Palitha Edirisingha, University of Leicester

This event is sponsored by JISC EMERGE http://elgg.jiscemerge.org.uk/


[interdisciplinary research & digital culture]

An interesting position for someone with a ph.d in digital culture or with wider experience in recent developments in cultural studies. It's only for a year but seems as though there's possibility for renewal:

Jobs at Anglia Ruskin University

Interdisciplinary Research Fellow in Digital Culture

The Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute

Faculty of Arts, Law, and Social Sciences

Ref: 6109

Based in Cambridge

Fixed term contract for one year in the first instance

£29,704 - £34,435 p.a.

Join us as we enter an exciting new phase of our development. Our ambition is to be recognised as a truly 21st century university, fully relevant to the changing needs of students, staff and employers. With our energy, enthusiasm and ambition matched by our friendliness and approachability, Anglia Ruskin University is a great place to be.

You will join the interdisciplinary team of the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute, a project housed within the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences. The Institute involves colleagues working in media theory, humanities computing, digital music and video, fine arts, video games, serious gaming and digital text, yet also has an important scientific contribution from colleagues involved with design and technology, audio engineering and computer design and animation.

The Interdisciplinary Fellow in Digital Culture is expected to take a key role in the Institute's activities. You must be familiar with state-of-the-art experimental, theoretical and practical issues in cultural theory, arts and the emerging sciences of digital culture. You are expected to have advanced IT skills and a knowledge of the field(s) of interactivity in sound and/or digital image would be an advantage. The Fellow will typically engage in personal research and publishing in the field of digital culture and collaborative research initiatives that bring together the different strands of the Research Institute.

The project commences in March 2009, or as soon as possible thereafter.
For further information please contact Prof Eugene Giddens, on 0845 196 2965 or eugene.giddens@anglia.ac.uk

Closing Date: 06 March 2009 (12 noon)

It is anticipated interviews will take place on 20 March 2009

CVs will only be accepted if accompanied by a completed University Application form.

Further details are available from telephone 0845 196 4740 (24 hours). E-mail jobs@anglia.ac.uk or visit on-line at www.anglia.ac.uk/hr/jobs

We value diversity at Anglia Ruskin University and welcome applications from all sections of the community.


[narrative and social evolution]

"Why does storytelling endure across time and cultures? Perhaps the answer lies in our evolutionary roots. A study of the way that people respond to Victorian literature hints that novels act as a social glue, reinforcing the types of behaviour that benefit society.

Literature "could continually condition society so that we fight against base impulses and work in a cooperative way", says Jonathan Gottschall of Washington and Jefferson College, Pennsylvania.

Gottschall and co-author Joseph Carroll at the University of Missouri, St Louis, study how Darwin's theories of evolution apply to literature. Along with John Johnson, an evolutionary psychologist at Pennsylvania State University in DuBois, the researchers asked 500 people to fill in a questionnaire about 200 classic Victorian novels. The respondents were asked to define characters as protagonists or antagonists, and then to describe their personality and motives, such as whether they were conscientious or power-hungry.

The team found that the characters fell into groups that mirrored the egalitarian dynamics of hunter-gather society, in which individual dominance is suppressed for the greater good (Evolutionary Psychology, vol 4, p 716). Protagonists, such as Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, for example, scored highly on conscientiousness and nurturing, while antagonists like Bram Stoker's Count Dracula scored highly on status-seeking and social dominance."

Read the rest of the article at New Scientist.


[dac conference]

DAC09 will be held on the campus of the University of California Irvine,for three and a half days in mid-December 2009.

The Themes for this iteration of DAC:

* Embodiment and performativity
* Mobile/locative/situated/wearable practices
* Software/platform studies
* Environment/ sustainability/ climate change
* Interdisciplinary pedagogy
* Cognition and Creativity
* Sex and sexuality

More information can be found at the conference website: http://dac09.uci.edu

DAC09 is now accepting paper proposals, and inviting offers of participation in other aspects of the conference.

The site and the conference are at this point a work in progress.

New and updated material will be added regularly.


[socio-technical summer residency: US scholars only]

Such a shame that this amazing opportunity is only open to PhD students, post-docs and pre-tenure scholars at US institutions... If you're one of them, you'll definitely be interested in this call for participation:

2009 Summer Research Institute for the Science of Socio-Technical Systems: 11-15 June, 2009
At Syracuse University's Minnowbrook Conference Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY

Application screening begins 2 March, 2009

Eligibility: Doctoral students, Post-doctoral scholars and pre-tenure faculty at US-based institutions.

Notification: Late March, 2009 Cost: Most will be covered for accepted participants

A science of socio-technical systems is emerging from research in the fields of HCI, social computing, social informatics, CSCW, sociology of computing, and other domains. The Consortium for the Science of Socio-Technical Systems (CSST) is a new organization devoted to advancing research on socio-technical systems. Building on the success of the 2008 Summer Research Institute, the CSST will, again, be hosting a summer research institute for advanced doctoral students and pre-tenure faculty in summer, 2009. A primary goal of the institute is to build a new cohort of faculty and graduate students who are interested in research on the design and interplay of technology and humans at the level of individuals, groups, organizations, and larger communities.

Examples of this kind of work include research on:
* new forms of organizing (e.g., virtual organizations, massive online activities)
* social computing (e.g., online communities, social network sites);
* distributed work (e.g., collaboratories, virtual teams and organizations);
* new technologies (e.g., recommender systems, prediction markets, ubiquitous computing);
* novel forms of production (e.g., open source software, Wikipedia);
* new forms of expression and entertainment (e.g., blogs, wikis, massive multiplayer online role-playing games);
* information and communication technologies for developing regions (e.g., cell phone-based applications to assist economic development, infrastructure development for local economic action).

Institute faculty
With funding from the NSF, the institute will bring together a faculty of distinguished scholars in the domain of socio-technical systems with up to 30 campers, drawn from among advanced doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and pre-tenure faculty conducting research on socio-technical systems.

Steve Sawyer, Syracuse University, Director Tom Finholt, University of Michigan, Co-Director Mark Ackerman, University of Michigan Bill Dutton, Oxford University Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft Corporation C. Suzanne Iacono, National Science Foundation Wendy Kellogg, IBM Wayne Lutters, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Tony Salvador, Intel Corporation Suzanne Weisband, University of Arizona

Institute goals
The goals of the institute are to:
* Expand on and strengthen connections among the cohort of researchers in this area, and build on the network of relations formed through the 2008 Summer Research Institute.
* Guide the work of the new researchers by having experts in socio-technical systems research give advice.
* Provide encouragement and support for the selection of socio-technical systems research topics.
* Illustrate the interrelationship and diversity of the field of socio-technical systems research.

How to apply
The application process requires two parts:

1. A 300 word response to this question:
*How does your research advance our scientific understanding of socio-technical systems?
* A few references, particularly if they are not to your own work, may be helpful but are not required.

2. Your current curriculum vitae (as PDF or in a Word or WordPerfect format).
Please send this response as an attachment in a common word processor format or as PDF of an email with the email subject being CSST'09 application to csst2009@syr.edu.

For further information please visit si.umich.edu/csstinstitute.


[conference: language in the (new) media]

Language in the (New) Media: Technologies and Ideologies

Thursday, September 3 to Sunday, September 6, 2009
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Download a PDF version of this call for papers

Keynote speakers

This is the third in a series of conferences organized around the role of the media in relation to the representation, construction and/or production of language. The first two conferences were held at Leeds University, England: in 2005, Language in the Media: Representations, Identities, Ideologies, and, in 2007, Language Ideologies and Media Discourse: Texts, Practices, Policies. In 2009, the conference will be leaving Leeds and coming to Seattle.

Conference theme
We invite you to submit abstracts for papers which explore the representation, construction and/or production of language through the technologies and ideologies of new media - the digital discourse of blogs, wikis, texting, instant messaging, internet art, video games, virtual worlds, websites, emails, podcasting, hypertext fiction, graphical user interfaces, and so on. Of equal interest are the ways that new media language is metalinguistically represented, constructed and/or produced in print and broadcast media such as newspapers and television (see below).
With this new media theme in mind, the 2009 conference will continue to prioritize papers which address the scope of the AILA Research Network on Language in the Media by examining the following types of contexts/issues:

  • standard languages and language standards;
  • literacy policy and literacy practices;
  • language acquisition;
  • multilingualism and cross-/inter-cultural communication;
  • language and communication in professional contexts;
  • language and class, dis/ability, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality and age;
  • media representations of speech, thought and writing;
  • language and education;
  • political discourse;
  • language, commerce and global capitalism.

Abstract submission
Please submit abstracts for papers (20 minutes plus 10 for discussion) by email to lim2009@u.washington.edu no later than Thursday 26 February 2009. Abstracts should include a title, your contact details (name, mailing address, email) and a description of your paper (250 -350 words). The conference committee will begin reviewing abstract submissions immediately after the deadline; notification of acceptance will be Thursday 19 March. (Please send your abstract as a Word document or in the body of your email.)

Program and registration
In order to help your early planning for the conference, we have already finalized the basic program structure for the conference a copy of which can be downloaded here (as a PDF). This outline shows the start and finish times of the conference, the main social events (reception, BBQ and conference dinner), as well as lunches and coffee breaks. The conference planning committee is also arranging an optional program of tours and activities for Sunday 06 September. A business meeting for the AILA Network will also be scheduled for the Sunday morning.

Official conference registration will begin on Thursday 19 March, with early registration ending Thursday 21 May. The final deadline for presenter registration will be Thursday 23 July in order to be included in the final program. Registrations after 23 July will be charged an additional late registration fee of $25.00.

Conference registration
Early registration – until 21 May $350
Early registration (full-time students) $300
Registration – until 23 July $380
Registration (full-time students) $330
Day rate registration (accepted until 20 August) $150


[social media & marketing]

When writing (righting?) the title for this post I was struck by how the conjunction changes the proximity of social media to marketing...they aren't really situated at opposite poles of a spectrum; they can in fact embody similar values.

Speaking with an advertising company today about incorporating aspects of social media into their "marketing strategy" (erm, online identity) I found myself being asked (repeatedly) what exactly *is* social media. Well, that is a big question, with answers of varying depth and complexity. Perhaps the simplest and clearest explanation of social media is, well: having conversations online. Because it is *social* media, i.e. media that's social. Its use stimulates discussion and, surprise, there is a feedback loop here, there is plenty of opportunity to respond.
However, using Facebook and tweeting about the latest, coolest, ├╝ber product is not really *social;* it's marketing. We're told how savvy social media users are now (Pew) so really, there is no excuse for being (as a company/advertiser/etc...) anti-social...(geddit?). Just look at these stats (via online gaming news):
  • Community users visit nine times more often than non-community users (McKInsey, 2000)
  • Community users remain customers 50% longer than non-community users. (AT&T, 2002)
  • Community users spend 54% more than non-community users (EBay, 2006)
  • In customer support, live interaction costs 87% more per transaction on average than forums and other web self-service options. (ASP, 2002)
  • 56% percent of online community members log in once a day or more (Annenberg, 2007)
Findings: community is key.

So, companies (or whomever) need to build communit
y, not just a facebook profile. They need to be seen as experts in there (no matter how focused) field, not novices. Easy words to say, time-consuming to develop. And that's key too, "develop," rarely does community or expert knowledge happen in an instant, that takes time too.

Engage, build conversation, listen and connect.

Oh yeah, and as I noted at a meeting in Paris last week, "google is truth." At least in terms of online visibility and that certainly counts for something.

And, for those of you already decreeing the death of social media...take a look at Mitch Joel's post "
Social Media is Just Getting Started."


[recession for academic quality]

Usually, when facing a financial crunch, businesses need to make cuts and borrow money to keep afloat. Arizona State University has come up with a rather different method; force staff to take up to 15 days unpaid from work:

"All 12,000 Arizona State University employees will be required to take 10 to 15 days off without pay before July to meet budget cuts required by the state Legislature, the university announced Wednesday.

The mandate includes top administrators, varsity coaches, faculty, office and maintenance workers, but the unpaid leave, or furloughs, will be staggered. ASU will remain open and classes will meet.

"I want to assure all of you that ASU is committed to continuing to deliver all our academic programs to our students, to not reducing academic quality and to maintaining our university student financial aid programs," Crow said.

Top University officials, including President Michael Crow, vice presidents and deans, will take 15 days without pay.

• Faculty and other academic professionals will take up to 12 days off, excluding any day they are expected to teach.

• Other employees, including clerical and maintenance workers, will be required to take 10 days unpaid leave.

Employees were encouraged to stagger their days off to soften the blow. Salary loss for these employees will be equivalent to 8 to 12 percent of the pay they would have received until June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

ASU expects to save $24 million from the furloughs. Lawmakers are still debating the size of budget cuts that ASU and other state universities will be expected to make."

Via Scott Rettberg's facebook post.