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Back in May last year, I posted an item on the proposed Encyclopedia of Life.  I was interested to hear that the first 30,000 species were to be launched yesterday.  Unfortuately, the servers hosting the site couldn’t cope and it was down on the first day.  The entries are all written by scientists but it will eventually take contributions from the public – like wikipedia.  So despite my efforts I still haven’t managed to see the site as it is still down though most reports say this is a temporary problem – see if you are more successful than I have been


I was delighted to read last week of the formation by many of the world’s leading scientific institutions of the Encyclopedia of Life. This is an unprecedented global attempt to document all 1.8 million species of animals, plants and other life forms. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens would have multi-media access to all known living species. The aim of it is to provide valuable biodiversity and conservation information to anyone, anywhere at anytime. So over the next 10 years the project will produce internet pages for each species so far discovered and those yet to be discovered. There are a few sample internet pages already produced and it looks like it will be a fantastic resource. Check out the Death Cap Mushroom. Full report here.

I mentioned that Althea had sent me some more photographs. Here is a view of Tanga, which gives some of an idea of what the place is like.


As you can see it is a cross between the traditional with the little thatched kiosk and the modern with the concrete building.  I think this may be pretty typical of much of Africa.  Although the facilities at Emau Hill are limited – well there aren’t any, but there is a mobile phone signal which is more than can be said for my home village.   So no running water – well unless you count the river, no electricity, no sewage but you can text the world.  As you drive towards the city of Dar es Salaam every second billboard by the side of the road is for a mobile provider.   There is a two year old report by the BBC which states that 97% of Tanzania has got mobile phone coverage.  Fishermen from the island of Zanzibar take their mobiles out with them to check the prices in the markets.  If the price is too high in Zanzibar, they sail to Dar es Salaam and sell their catch there.  The digital divide is not being diminished by the use of the pc which is what all western experts predicted but by the mobile phone.  As someone involved in mobile learning it will be interesting to see what impact they may have on education.

So for those now falling asleep from boredom here is a nice picture of some dhows off shore from Tanga yacht club.


I’ve just come across this site.  Bram Stoker wrote the novel Dracula in the form of a diary and it is now being reproduced as a blog.  The first entry was on 3 May so there is a bit of catching up to do but my, it’s exciting.  It doesn’t just consist of diary entries as with any blog you can comment and there are  a lot of comments, and there is a google map showing Jonathan Harker’s journey from  Munich to the count’s castle.  It really is worth a look.

I was told about this at a workshop earlier this week.  It’s a bit like Twitter but cooler and you can post from your phone – even if it isn’t a really cool phone like Kevin, who can blog, make dinner and even extract your appendix with his phone!  Anyway – – join up and  join me – user name lisav.

Here are a couple of video links. The first one, the book, you may have seen it’s been around on Youtube, for a couple of months now but is worth revisiting as I think it is very funny, especially if like me you have to spend time trying to explain new technology to people.

The second one is also about technology but more informative. It is said there are two types of Internet user, those who use RSS and those who don’t. I couldn’t imagine not using it but if you think I’m talking techie jargon, check out this video which explains is so well and clearly, no jargon, no clever stuff, just a very imaginative way of putting a really geeky thing across. It is worth spending 5 minutes watching it.

Yeah yeah yeah – I know, but I was at a great m-learning workshop yesterday. It was hosted by the University of Salford and the most inspiring presentation of the day was by a Salford lecturer who presented the work of one of his undergraduate students. The basic idea was that bluetooth technology could be used for registration and ultimately public response – so you could have the ‘Millionaire – ask the audience’ technology within the lecture theatre. Great stuff but still in development, which is astonishing as Bluetooth is about 4 years old and nobody has thought to do this before. A good day – and sigh – another one today, whimper.

I mentioned a month or so ago that I’d been to a conference in Leeds – well the video is now out and can be seen here.  I think my red cardie looks rather nice!

This is going to be very short as I’m off for yet another meeting. I went to a one day conference at the University of Leeds yesterday. It was great to be able to go to an event on the train and to be back in Leeds, which is a great city. The event was sponsored by Edutxt who are a company who specialise in managing SMS messages for use in education. What a great day and there was so much innovative and creative stuff around. Andy Black was a great keynote speaker and we even got another chance to watch Catherine Tate and Tony Blair. Go on it’s worth watching again! Most of the stuff is reported on Andy’s site so won’t say much more here. Though the presentation from the guys at East Coast College was so good. While I was there I also popped in to see my colleagues from the other side of the Pennines who were doing a day’s event on e-portfolios. I even managed to sneek into a session on ELGG. So a good day all together. Probably the most astonishing part of the day was that I managed to walk past Primark on my way back down to the station!

Good meeting, with a great presentation on the ITN online project. We saw news items from Gaumant news reels, ITN and channel 4 news and Reuters. Archives from almost the last 100 years are being digitised and made available for download for FE and HE. Should be ready in beta by April and fully operational by the autumn. No news on the cost yet though. lovely meal at The Red Onion and further drinking at Intermezzo bar. If I sent anyone a valentine text rose at an inapropriate time I do apologise! Lisa

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