06 March 2011


How do you know if you are happy? my daughter asked. I know I feel better than I used to, she said, but I don’t know if that means I’m happy now. I suppose she meant what if this is it, and I’m not appreciating it, and then it passes? It’s important to know what happy is, and savour it.

What I know, I said, is that happiness is in the present, in every moment, in many separate moments. Sometimes there are many in an unbroken series. Sometimes they are discrete. There’s the slow sigh of eternity in meditation, when the heart settles without fear or premonition, no memory, no desire, deep and safe, free falling. There’s the silvery sound of trees that whisper with the visit of the wind. There’s the embrace of many kinds of love, chest pressed to chest; moments of pure exchange. You got the love. Exult, hands in the air. There’s sunlight on colour, fruit in a jar, poppies that bow, the shift of autumn light. Watch them, let them pass by, let them go. These things strung together make happiness remembered. The trick is to exist in them. Taste them, fully be in them. Pass on to the next one, land softly.

I remember whole tracts of happiness in my life. I wouldn’t have said so at the time. I was planning for more, for better, wishing my life away. I know now these days were unrepeatable happiness. So I treat now with reverence. Happiness evaporates just beyond your grasp if you pursue it. Come back into the moment and look at it. There is no future except when we get to it, and the past another country.

22 February 2011

Oh, Ok then ... I don't want to leave a blog in limbo


There's something a bit perverse about having started a thing with a life of its own, and then making a snap decision to abandon it. So having said I was off to WordPress in a way that sounded like "I may be some time...." I feel as though I'm creating a lost orphan leaving this one behind to fend for itself. Maybe I can blog in two places... until I get the hang of the "301 Redirect" I was told about by a sage blogger at WordCamp. I Googled it, and stopped at the geekspeak. So I'll also be here. Someone next to me at WordCamp said they had about a hundred blogs :\ Surely I can do two.

I returned here to re-read posts, because I was having a telephone conversation with a media academic in Leipzig and he said he's been reading my blog. I'm thinking today about the 'media studies' space now swirling with events such as the toppling of tyrants and debate about the role of social media in what has been dubbed Revolution 2.0 (a term attributed to Wael Ghoneim), the numerous intersections between crumbling traditional media institutions, the significance of reputation and the management of it, the Public Sphere, accountability, citizen engagement and ownership of framing... I'm thinking about the vital role of social media in thickening the layers and webs of global interconnections. And the distinctive International Communication space that brings all of these, and more, together.

18 February 2011

Moved to WordPress....

It had to happen - you can't really be at WordCamp and still be using Blogger. If I've learned nothing else today, it's that there's no point in blogging unless you do what you can to maximise searchability.

So I'm off to http://float2.wordpress.com/ ...

Minimonos - "Story-telling for a better world"

Gwen Walton-Wegener talks at WordCamp about Minimonos, a kids blogging and game site - "MiniMonos is a virtual world for children, focused on sustainability, generosity, community and fun. We're based in New Zealand". Walton-Wegener opines that kids who are online are more likely to be writing generally. Encouraging blogging brings about interesting developments such as kids enjoying having the "first scoop"; building own blogs using Wordpress, writing html code, using images... no limits to what they can achieve. Kids are just as involved in social media as we are. "Kids who blog are really inspiring!"

How to publish a bestseller for nothing, without being Alison Holst

First speaker Vaughn Davis (The Goat Farm) at the third NZ WordCamp at Te Papa Tongarewa talks about How to publish a bestseller for nothing, without being Alison Holst.
Well OK it's easy, says Vaughn, to publish in NZ if you are a cook or an All Black. But if you're not a cultural icon and you have views to share, Twitter will only get you so far - you still can't beat the credibility that a book gives you, even if it's the same content. Once you've got past the 'what makes you qualified to publish?' issue (there's always going to be someone in front of you, and someone behind you...so get over it) - there's a new way to distribute.
A creative team Innovative Thunder - created "Pay with a Tweet" ("a social payment system") = piece of code to create a distribution network. For Vaughn, a first Tweet about his book ("Tweet this Book") on 10 Dec led to 15,172 readers and downloads worldwide since then; and one printed copy.

27 October 2010

Open educational resources or closed Learning Management Systems - Patricia Arnold

Interesting to hear what's going on among a highly specialised group of researchers in CI. Thinking how much more successful such a research network could be, for building critical mass in (especially) new and rapidly changing research fields. For goodness sake, here we all are re-inventing the wheel - yet even with my "other" hat on as having a central interest in e-Learning strategy (including use of Moodle) at Unitec - and here I am listening to Patricia Arnold from the University of Applied Science in Munich, talking about exactly the same challenges there! Must invite her to the e-Learning Futures Conference (ICeLF) we are hosting at Unitec next year....

Doug Schuler keynote: Community Informatics Research Network, Monash University, Prato Italy

Doug Schuler's keynote at today's conference opening leads me to think the research activity I've engaged in in recent years, as well as the extension of it through the role I take at Unitec (strategically orienting itself very much toward serving community needs) and now being an invited member of the Auckland Computers in Homes Steering Group, positions me well within the ambit of the CIRN network. Here in Prato, Doug's comments to a gathering of internatonal community internet activists are focusing on the need, now, to mobilise as a network rather than continue to have a localised focus. Leadership (shared?) is required, that will help to 'frame' what we do with cyberspace. It's not enough to find community informatics interesting & study it – it needs to be framed it in a larger sense.

This is all timely and good to hear. How do we use what we are learning about CI – how do we focus it on our community? "Civic intelligence", Schuler argues, is ultimately what we are about – trying to increase it – in a collective way.

How do we structure our network? How do we put the sort of structure on our networks that will get the work done without becoming that rigid hierarchy that we don’t like, that has all the wrong features? Dynamic leadership – or no leaders? Alternatives include - issues as nodes; shared projects. How do we organise the technologies we use?

Some possible uses of this more strategic CI approach include that it will enable us to find the information that we need – papers, projects, people, events. It's there but we have to searhc for it. It's not necessarily central, Schuler argues; we can find it – but there’s not a ‘there’ there (with a nod to John Perry Barlow). We could... share policy documents; identify other people with similar interests; develop and test theories; find others with whom to collaborate; facilitate larger research projects less expensively by sharing the load more broadly and intelligently; create and manage projects and campaigns; make our work more accessible to the world as well as more legitimate, necessary possible and effective; build our community.

This all resonates so wel with where I find myself in the terms outlined at the beginning of this post. Schuler suggest that for this new energised CI network to be effective, it needs to be easy to join – eg sign up and you’re on board – with some small commitment (rather than just communicating with the network). In this way we can create an enormous resource.