Sunday, February 28, 2010
  The future of intellectual work
Geoff Pound has pointed me to a couple of really interesting resources recently (on Facebook rather than in Blogworld - How come these parts of the digital sphere are so separate? Except where we drag one into the other, as I will with this post ;)
Poster for Kubrik's film of Clarke's 2001 A Space Odyssey from túaw
First he remarked that Brian McLaren suggested that those of the emergent tribe who are interested in the future of seminaries should read the Life is a Mystery post "Wherein I figure out the iPad". Then he pointed me to Mark Coker's Huffington Post piece "Exploring the Future of Book Publishing at Tools of Change Conference" in which he highlights, from outside the sphere of Bible specialists, the significance of what Logos are doing to create networked books.

Unless I missed something important, (and I might well have as I was thinking about today's interactive sermon when I read it) despite the entertaining reference to Arthur C Clarke's 2001, the iPad post is not so much about the iPad, so don't yawn yet, as about how networked information (think ebooks on steroids, where everything is hyerlinked as in Logos Bible Software or imagine a hybrid of Google books and Wikipedia) together with changing approaches to imagining education may change the way we live our intellectual lives. (For my take on the broader educational context see my article: "Back to the Future: Virtual theologising as recapitulation" from Colloquium 37:2 in 2005.)
illustration from Victor Appleton's Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope Illustrator: James Gary
Interesting times! Networked books and digital libraries are making the activities of scholarship so much quicker, combine these with wider access to publication (and the economic "publish or perish" culture) and information overload becomes extreme, and mere information is again seen as worthless and human interaction more and more significant. Though paradoxically at the same time human interaction becomes (in such media environments) less and less deep or wide. Intense and casual rather than sustained or profound.

Something has to give?!

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Thursday, February 04, 2010
  Brick walls and motherly God-talk
I've run into a brick wall working on my Amos land and territory material, a belated [well the oral paper was supposed to be only that, thoughts of publication followed the colloquium, and last year was so busy] literature search has thrown up a highly relevant article that could impact hugely on what I write, but the journal may not be available in NZ :( So, if anyone has access to
S. D. Snyman, "The Land as a Leitmotiv in the Book of Amos." Verbum et Ecclesia, 2005, 26(2) 527-542
and could scan and email me a copy, I'd be delighted :)

In the meanwhile I need to change mental gears and work on the Day of YHWH and the structure of Amos. To help me with the transition [at least that's my excuse] I have been doing the mindless but necessary job of converting more of Not Just a Father, my book on the use of motherly language and imagery to speak about God in the Christian tradition into the format that will allow readers to comment on, ask questions about and argue with my thinking paragraph by paragraph.

I am now doing chapter 5 "Theology of God as Both Father and Mother" though I have cheated a bit as chapter 3 is not yet written ;)

All I need now are people to make comments, so once again (now that I am back at work after the summer) if you know someone who might be interested in this topic please point them to the site and suggest that they really say what they think :)

But before you do that do please email the Thai prime Minister...

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Thursday, February 05, 2009
  Prezi: Powerpoint killer
Prezi looks like it could (at last ;) be a Powerpoint killer or at least real alternative. Open Office offers Powerpoint-like presentations for free, but Prezi (to judge from their demo) offers ways to make different more intuitive and visually interesting presentations. It is based round the metaphor of doodling on a tablecloth to explain something to friends. This could be a MUCH bigger breakthrough in presentations for teaching than it sounds. It could be enough to get me actually using the projector for more than photos and videos!

Being in Flash it is all done with vectors, so you can swoop in very very close to the detail that's invisible on this screenshot, can include pictures and stuff as well as shapes and words... great for explaining ideas and their relationship in ways that let your students pan out to see the "big picture" and fit things in context.

But it is in private beta and I don't have a login :( If anyone knows how to get inside the magic castle please let me know - they say they will only let the filthy rich and venture capitalists inside, but surely they want potential users (especially those in the top 50 bibliobloggers) to try, demonstrate and generally rave about how wonderful their tool is? Don't they? Haven't they heard of Web 2.0???

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
  Why free is useless for significant ongoing work
There are a host of wonderful, inspiring and exciting free services available currently. Ranging from video sharing to file format converting, with mindmapping and other tasks in between. If you want an electronic service, the chances are someone out there is offering it for free.

This is great fun, and is driving a burst of creativity and colaboration. This easy availability of great free services is in large part responsible for the hype over Web 2.0 (which somehow refuses to fade quietly into the background like other twee slogans - but is rather perhaps being mainstreamed ;)

Yet there are feet of clay to all this. In the 1990s many of us started our first websites on "free" hosts like Geocities, but soon moved on to paying hosts. In that case it was advertising that caused many of us to move. Other were driven by restrictive policies or lack of space. Something similar could happen to the current crop of great "free" services.

As GOS the "Unofficial news and tips about Google" blog recently noted in a post about Google Page Creator closing:
This year, Google discontinued a lot of services: Browser Sync, Hello, Send to SMS and Send to Phone extension.
So, how safe are free services? The provider can drop or change them at any time. Don't rely on them! Use a free online file conversion tool, if you need to convert a few files in a hurry, but not if you convert files regularly. Use a free video sharing tool, to share video freely ( seems the best at hosting, but YouTube draws more of an audience) but if reliability matters to you, do make sure you have a backup plan!

Free is fun, but it is also vulnerable. Google is great - as a search engine (though even there one shudders to recognise the power they wield) but not to be trusted with your website!

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