Data, data, data…

There’s certainly a lot being written at the moment about the significance of data in our lives. With the advent of advanced networks, virtualisation and cloud computing, massive (and cheap) storage etc., together with the ever increasing demands for storing large, multimedia files, we’re beginning to see a completely different perspective on data stemming from concerns such as.. what data do we need to store and manage? how long do we need to keep it for? where will it be stored? what format(s) will it be stored in? who can access it? what about backup, support, failover etc.? what can … Continue reading Data, data, data…

When disaster strikes

A number of years ago I had the misfortune to be caught in a heavy rain shower on my way to work. Not only did the water penetrate the raincoat I was wearing, leaving me totally saturated, but it also ‘drowned’ my laptop, leading to problems occurring when I tried to start it up, resulting in the hard drive being completely unusable and nothing able to be retrieved from it. Fortunately I worked in an organisation that allowed me to send daily backups of my laptop across the network to be stored on the server. Within a few hours I … Continue reading When disaster strikes

Visualising data

I spent this morning with the staff at Ellesmere College, just south of Chrischurch at one of their teacher only days. I was presenting some ideas about how ICTs can be used to assist in the development of thinking in our students, and referenced the ways in which we can now use technology to help visualise data. In that context I showed them this wonderful site called the History of the Australian web, which allows you to ‘see’ the development of the web in Australia from 2001. The x and y axis can be altered by clicking on the various … Continue reading Visualising data

Measuring the right things

I’ve just read a fascinating publication from Microsoft titled “Interoperability: Improving Education” which came about as a result of 10 or so educators and ICT practitioners who were brought together by Microsoft for a meeting running alongside the annual NAACE conference held in Blackpool, England, earlier this year. The brief was to talk about the way that schools use pupil data. And the wisdoms that ensued are contained in an new Microsoft discussion document for school leaders and local authorities, “Interoperability: Improving schools” (download the PDF here). The contents of this paper provide timely insights for NZ educators because it … Continue reading Measuring the right things

What’s next for newspapers?

I’m now back in NZ, getting used to the time zone differences 🙂 Over recent months I’ve read an increasing number of stories, articles and comments on the future of newspapers that I’ve been storing away to make comment on, as I see the whole debate as being indicative of the paradigm shift in the “knowledge economy” we’re all a part of. As a blogger this thinking has been percolating in my mind for some years now as i think about how I access the news, how I filter it, engage with it and report it. The interactive map above … Continue reading What’s next for newspapers?

Making the world’s knowledge computable

A few days ago a friend of mine sent a link to Wolfram|Alpha, due to be released about now. The brain child of distinguished scientist, inventor, author, and business leader  Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. Wolfram is also known as the  creator of Mathematica, a powerful computational and visualisation tool upon which Wolfram|Alpha has been built. I’ve spent a bit of time playing around with the search functionality and am impressed. While the search results at this stage tend to very US-centric in terms of the range of … Continue reading Making the world’s knowledge computable

Looking forward to 2009

Back to work today after a welcome three weeks away camping, no phone, no computer and no broadband –  it’s likely to be quite a culture shock! Browsing through my email in-box over the weekend I came across the thoughts of a number of others who, like me, are pondering what the new year might bring… Each year since 1985, the editors of The Futurist have selected the most thought-provoking ideas and forecasts appearing in the magazine to go into their annual Outlook report. Here is a summary of the editors’ top 10 forecasts, covering topics as diverse as the … Continue reading Looking forward to 2009

Google Flu Trends

Interesting article from ReadWriteWeb about the release of Google Flu Trends that highlights the usefulness of aggregating information from search queries – in this case, relating to influenza. The idea is simple – by tracking search queries relating to influenza (eg queries about symptoms, cures, treatment etc), the team at (Google’s non-profit arm) they discovered that – after cross-referencing that data against information from the Center for Disease Control – they had the ability to predict flu outbreaks by monitoring search patterns. And the advantage of doing this…? Traditional flu surveillance systems take 1-2 weeks to collect and release … Continue reading Google Flu Trends

Teaching Boolean Searching

I came across this wonderfully easy to use search tool today after reading Jane’s Blog. Boolify provides a simple, yet effective way of introducing students to the complexities of Boolean searching. Librarians, teachers and parents have told us how hard it is for students to understand web searching. Boolify makes it easier to for students to understand their web search by illustrating the logic of their search, and by showing them how each change to their search instantly changes their results. It’s simple, immediate and is easy and flexible to use with your class, no matter the subject matter. Search … Continue reading Teaching Boolean Searching

How private is your data?

The uptake of web-based tools and applications in the Web2.0 world prompts a question in my mind from time to time – “where is all the information stored, and who has access to it?” I thought about this again when I read Sue Water’s latest post in which she has published the results of a Twitter poll she conducted by asking her Twitter followers to name their favourite 3 Web2.0 applications (apart from Twitter, and Frirefox.) I’m very interested to note the extent to which Google applications emerged in the favourites list from her poll. I’m a big fan … Continue reading How private is your data?