Friday, 30 May 2008

UCISA Conference

Spent some time working through actions from the organising committee. Chris Sexton suggested a speaker at Educause called Bruce Schneier. This is his home page

and a summary of the talk he gave at educause can be found at Chris's blog:

Worth a read

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Returning from London

Sitting on the train which left at 18:33 and reflecting on a long day full of meetings at the rather plush JISC offices at the side of the River Thames. The first session of the day was a presentation from the Open Group and I'm still not sure what it was all about. I wasn't the only one at least who didn't understand but kept quiet rather than asking dumb questions (relief shared). There was an interesting report attached to a Group report about the Unique Learner Number (ULN) which I wasn't aware of and must pass onto the student admin people. Seems like that could be important. There was a lively discussion about customer service versus technology and professionalising not just the IT service but the raft of customer service points in a University. Interesting that University of Bradford is one of a handful of UK Universities that already have "customer first" accreditation but this is for our RKTS enterprise rather than for our IT service. Same for Leeds being promoted on the customer first homepage. Perhaps we have more catching up than we think or maybe students don't know (or care?) about plaques and certificates (but only if they get a great service!). The conference committee was very lively and the train journey home has allowed time for writing up the notes AND sending them to the rest of the group before they get home for tea. Helen and Megan are at Northern Broadsides in Dean Clough to see Shakespeare - apparently one of its claims to fame is full frontal (male) nudity - I guess my ticket will have gone to a female friend as I'm missing it...........

National Express takes the strain

Although I'm not at work today (ie in the office) I am at work on the train on the way to a UCISA meeting in London on the embankment. The rail ticket was bought online using and it was £80 cheaper by selecting two singles at specific times - I was on the 08:17 from Wakefield - but it meant that although I was at the station for the 07:32 I couldn't get on without paying the extra £80. Doh. However, the wireless network is free on this train and is working quite well so in this window I am writing this and in another window I am just downloading a document from the staff filestore that I need for today but forgot to save onto my laptop. This seems quite cool to me and would have been far fetched five years ago. Andy and I talked anout the Microsoft coffee table computer yesterday and we found a clip on Youtube. That would also have been far fetched but may soon be appearing in an office near you.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Mobile technologies

John F came over for a chat about the presentation by Nick Jones at Gartner on key trends for wireless devices - he subtitled this presentation "toys for boys". From my limited observations of teenage girls and boys I'm not sure it isn't the girls who chase the tech on mobiles phones in particular but perhaps that is more of a fashion statement. John called them feature phones rather than smart phones - so that's a bit of terminology to remember. In passing he also asked if I'd help pilot something new to me called Funambol which may provide a solution to push email among other things. Will report future progress on that when its loaded. I think that makes me a boy!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Party on the amp

I wonder how many people in the University are aware of the party taking place in the amphitheatre to celebrate the end of year for most students? We went over for a sandwich and mellowed out to the sound of reggae and the steel band - although there was only one steel drum. It was interesting to see some of the staff faces as they walked by - what a racket etc I'm pretty sure some of them were thinking that this party means I cannot get on - well hats off to the students for organising a great party and lets hope the rain holds off.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Ecoversity Action Group Happenings

Should meetings start with a statement: we are meeting because...
and should those present agree that this meeting will help. If not should we all go and do something else instead?

Apparently the University uses 15000 tonnes (or is that tons) of CO2 each year. It is going to cost at least £150,000 in carbon tax if we do nothing about this. Some of the more interesting things that were mentioned today that could help:
recycling waste?
local action groups?
education for sustainable development?
sustainable purchasing?
food and drink?

Two silly things: why can't payslips be printed on recycled paper? (not why do we print payslips at all). Can someone make some recommendations on how to hold paperless meetings (if we ask certain people about that we are likely to end up with a paper on it).

Saving the planet? Maybe its small steps in a bigger journey

An invitation to a one hour debate

The One Hour Debate – Emerging Trends

I was very fortunate to attend a Gartner Symposium event called "Emerging Trends" last week. The University has a subscription to the Gartner Group ( There were some really interesting people, topics, and presentations which it would be interesting to share and debate with others who are interested. Almost every presentation is available together with speaker notes. It would be interesting to see if other people would be interested in discussing some of the emerging trends and having a debate about how they might affect our students and our staff at the University of Bradford. So this is an open invitation but please let me know directly ( if you would like to come along so there is a big enough room and sufficient refreshments. The slots are all on Fridays before lunch for one hour. If there is enough interest there is material to do at least 5 sessions in the first instance but there are other topics we could do too so if you'd like to vote on your favourites let me know and we can be very flexible:

Friday May 30th 11:00-12:00 The $100 laptop
Friday Jun 6th 11:00-12:00 Top Ten Disruptive technologies 2008-2012
Friday Jun 13th 11:00-12:00 Key trends for wireless devices
Friday Jun 20th 11:00-12:00 Creating an emerging trends radar screen
Friday July 4th 11:00-12:00 A day in your life 2028

Other possible topics

Cloud computing - what on earth it means and how it might develop
Cool ways to shop - the store of the digital native
Putting IT strategy before business strategy (all the books say the other way round!)
The Future of e-learning in Higher Education
Why Green IT matters

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Tihs mdae itnreesintg rindeag

Provided the first and last letters are correct the rest of them don't matter because we read the whole word in one go.

Welcome to paradise

You should try anything once (even morris dancing) so I suppose you've also got to try this to see if it changes your world or anyone elses world. In desperately seeking a novel and imaginative name that no-one else had thought of (err and also took less than 20 seconds to think about) I've settled on this because it happens to be the place where we live - our address is 4 Paradise. So its hardly novel or imaginative but its a faltering start.