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Well here we are at the end of October and I’m delighted to say that for the first time we’ve had over 3,000 hits in one month. The stats for the blog are slowly improving and in fact without the Appleby Horse Fair posts in May and June I think we would still be languishing in the 20 or 30 hits a day. They are still the most popular posts even now 5 months later. The progress is steady and we had the highest day so far last week with 144 hits, so I’m pleased.

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The above shows the monthly hits from when we started in January this year. You can also see a stats analysis if you hit the statcounter logo at the bottom of the left hand side bar. This will also give you details of locations of viewers. Although this blog started as just a report on my visit to Tanzania in the spring, it has sort of grown and incorporated my work, family and just stuff I’m interested in. So please, if you are a first time visitor or a regular – please come back again.

Lisa – with CottonKnickers

The people at CommonCraft who brought us the brilliant videos such as ‘Wikis in Plain English‘ and ‘Social Bookmarking in Plain English’ have brought out an instructional video just in time for Halloween. It’s title is ‘Zombies in Plain English‘ and it gives clear and unambiguous instructions on what to do in the event of a Zombie attack.

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I recommend you watch it and be prepared.

I’ve just got an email from Graham who is the driving force behind HandHeld Learning with a number of links to details of the conference and also continuing forums.

They have a Facebook Group – here.

Presentations from most of the sessions are – here. There are 50 presentations up there now – a great resource for anyone. In fact I pinched a graphic from Stephen Crowne’s presentation for our report at work.

Photos of the sessions and the social evening are here. I’m not including any of the photos as they’re on both my flickr and Facebook pages.

I see they also have a TV channel – which is I think using the same software as ours.

Finally, the most comprehensive blog reports of the three days must be on Mark van ‘t Hooft’s blog Ubiquitous Thoughts.

We’ve been trying to put together some videos at work this week, to both introduce the team and to pass on information. Needless to say when faced with a video camera everybody collapsed into frantic giggles. It was astonishing, and it’s not as if it is new technology, but point a camera at me and ask me to behave ‘normally’ – it’s never going to happen. Eventually, Kev put together a nice piece with each of the team introducing themselves, which hopefully will go on our TV channel next month and an even longer blooper collection which may get put up to Youtube if we are feeling brave enough. If you haven’t seen our TV channel check out www.rsc-northwest.ac.uk, click on publications and then select RSCTV. It’s fab and put together by our ACL adviser John.

There was a comment from Althea on yesterday’s post regarding the future staffing of the Amani women’s workshop extension.  They are on the look out for a qualified person to teach Batik techniques.  The person would have to be a volunteer and pay their way and there is no electricity so it would certainly be a challenge.  However there is fresh running water (in the stream down the hill) and a brand new workshop and it is in a beautiful part of the world with just delightful people.  Steve would really like someone who could also develop design skills and take inspiration from the natural environment.  I’d do it myself if I could leave work and oh yes, do batik!  If anyone is interested you can contact the Tukaepartners site or just leave me a message on Facebook.

On a seperate note you can order books and gifts from Amazon through the Tukae partners site and a small percentage goes to Tukae.

I’ve had a couple of short emails from Steve in Tanzania with news of the goings on at Emau Hill. The composting toilets are now up and running, though I’m not sure that is the appropriate word! This means that the area in front of the dining banda can be marketed as a camp site and they are getting income from travellers camping there.

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I presume this area next to the tented bandas will be the campsite.

The extension to the Women’s workshop is being built. This will be great for the team there as they will be able to source plain fabrics and dye and finish them themselves, making a unique product for them to sell.

The malaria project is going well with over £2,000 raised so far in this country and Steve tells me he will be starting to distribute treated bed nets this week. This will make a dramatic difference to the lives of the people there. Steve has had malaria in the last few months and Hilda and another member of staff are just recovering. Malaria is a devastating illness and kills three quarters of a million children every year. Providing treated bednets will reduce the incidence of malaria in both children and adults.

I changed the profile picture on my facebook page – it was taken at HandHeld Learning earlier this month.  Within a couple of minutes I had an invitation to join a new group – ‘People who are holding a beverage in their profile picture’.  Someone must have some pretty sofisticated software out there or they have a lot of time on their hands!

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a voice controlled mouse which will enable users with mobility problems to navigate the internet with ease.  It recognises vowel sounds to move in one direction or another and the speed in controlled by voice volume.

It can be used for browsing, playing video games and even drawing. The abstract for the ‘vocal joystick’ can be found here.

My nephew and I travelled down to the Peak District yesterday to visit his sister (so therefore my niece) and her husband who are expecting their first baby in the New Year. It was lovely to see her looking so well and happy and positive and I can’t wait to have a grand nephew! After the usual – how is everyone stuff we got in the car and drove to the pretty village of Beeley which is about a mile and half from Chatsworth House. The Devonshire Arms is a “chic country pub, traditional Inn and Brasserie” – and we went there for lunch and wow what a lunch it was. I started with marinated scallops – with a multi coloured salad. What I thought was a died egg – it looked like one ok – was in fact a dark purple potato. I’ve never experienced purple potatoes before and it was good and tasty and potato like, which is I suppose the requirement of a potato of any hue. Next was sausage and mash with a gravy that tasted like it had been simmered down for about 3 days it was so delicious. Finally and this is very unusual for me I managed a pudding – lemon posset. Simple, creamy, heavenly, exquisite, delicious – just wonderful, it didn’t touch the sides. So thanks guys and look after that not so little bump. I’ll see you in January – a promise!

Just a short update on yesterday’s training. It went well, though 4 one hour sessions without a break for lunch was pushing it a bit, but at the end of the day my colleague and I were delighted to be presented with a large bouquet of flowers each! We were only doing our job, but it was a lovely gesture – so thanks to Accrington and Rossendale College, you made our week.

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