Podcast of the Week #5: The Changelog

Git sounds like an insult, but it’s actually a distributed version control system which was originally invented by Linus Torvalds, the developer of the Linux kernel. GitHub is a phenomenally successful open-source code hosting site build around Git. GitHub is also a community and the unofficial voice of the GitHub community is The Changelog, a blog and weekly podcast which highlights developments in Open Source by monitoring GitHub. The podcast is hosted by Wynn Netherland and Adam Stokoviac who regularly get to speak to the developers whose code is being developed in the open on GitHub*. Rather eccentrically numbered like the releases of open source projects that it documents (episode 0.0.1 was released November 22, 2009, 0.3.2 is the latest episode), this podcast is an essential stethoscope for listening to the pulse of open source development.

If there is a weakness, it is the slight bias towards web development with so-called nosql (pronounced no-sequel) databases, JavaScript frameworks and web design tools taking centre stage. But even so, *The Changelog* has risen quickly to the top of my list of *must listens*. I’ve learned a lot in the 10 months it’s been broadcasting.
*Chris Wanstrath is interviewed about GitHub in [episode 0.1.1](http://thechangelog.com/post/352878673/episode-0-1-0-chris-wanstrath-from-github).

BBC Micro brought back to life

Really liked this story that was a small item on Today’s Today programme. Students on A level computing course being let into The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park to programme the BBC micro (in BBC Basic) in order to learn how computers really work.

Visit the link for a more detailed article, background to the BBC Micro, and video from BBC News team.

The Real Life Social Network v2

I was wandering aimlessly across the internet, as you do, when I came across an interesting SlideShare Presentation The Real Life Social Network from Paul Adams (@padday) who works as the user research lead for social on the User Experience (UX) team at Google. He works on projects like Buzz and YouTube (and maybe even Google Me).

The [SlideShare is well worth going through in its entirety](http://www.slideshare.net/padday/the-real-life-social-network-v2) as it brings forth some issues that all of us who are keen to maximise our use of social networks in our work and play. Although aimed at an audience of institutions and companies that are looking to exploit people’s social networks in their offerings and services, it has some clear messages about the mismatch how people actually think about their social networks and how the social network providers and exploiters actually behave.
The presentation is divided into six parts:
– it starts by discussing how the **social web** is changing the world-wide web;
– goes on to discuss the **connections** that people have with other and how these change our on-line behavior;
– illustrates what people’s **relationships** really look like and how they compare (badly) to the relationships possible in social networks possible on line;
– examines the **influence** we have with our peers and how this can override any influence we might want to impose, say as a service provider, from the outside;
– **identity** and our need to project different identities to different audiences; and
– **privacy** or how to keep your private life separate from your professional life.

Paul has clearly thought deeply about these issues and it is interesting to know that Google are researching it so thoroughly. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes there will be if and when Google releases its new social network offering.
I shall certainly be thinking through some of these issues.

Your Personal Learning Environment

Nice presentation made to students at the University of British Columbia as part of “JumpStart 2010″ UBC’s international orientation by former student Andre Malan (andremalan.net). Includes a very good presentation.

As well as an orientation presentation (in Prezi) of Personal Learning Environments from a student’s Point of View (POV), it concludes with some suggestions of suitable tools.

Would be worth Student Support Services taking a look and adapting for the Swansea University case.

A Level Day 2010

Today is the day that A levels results are released to students and their parents. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the news media has not been obsessed with grade inflation. The estimated 175,000 students who won’t get a place has moved that old chestnut off top spot. That said, universities which told a Guardian poll last week that they were full are suddenly able to take well qualified students (Clearing 2010: Universities offer lifeline to top students, The Guardian).

This is also the first year that the A* grade – awarded for grades of 90% and above – has been made available. [Few universities used it in making offers](http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/aug/17/a-levels-a-grade-universities), but more may use it in clearing.
The story is unfolding on the [BBC](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11012369), [The Guardian](http://www.guardian.co.uk/education), [The Daily Telegraph](http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/), and [The Independent](http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/).
The Times is behind a pay wall.

Podcast of the week: #4 Sprachbar

An odd one this … but bear with me.

Sprachbar is part of the Deutsch for Ausländer (German for foreigners) programming of Deutsche Welle, the German equivalent to the BBC World Service.

To quote from the website

Sprachbar is an offering that introduces you to the subtleties and secrets of the German language. You will listen to explanations of current headlines, quotes from literature, figures of speech and grammar.

I like it because my wife is German and though my writing and speaking skills are minimal, my aural comprehension is quite good, and I can actually understand these short, humorous explanations of the idioms of modern German. In other words, it helps to keep my ear in.

Deutsche Welle (dw-world.de) provides lots more interesting resources for the budding German speaker, potential visitor, or home-sick native. And don’t worry, lots of the web site and resources is actually in English. For the serious student there are also Lots of German as a Foreign Language resources including news, programming, videos and Podcasts.

The latest Sprachbar podcast is Ein Loch kommt nie allien:

Sommerloch – Astloch – Stopfloch: Es “löchelt” viel in der deutschen Sprache. Wer genug Löcher in die Luft gestarrt hat, besucht Loch Ness – und fällt dann vor Ent-täuschung in ein tiefes Loch.

There’s a full transcript (in German only!) on the site.

I can’t wait!

Cloud Computing – 44 Years On

Simon Wardley introduces cloud computing with an interesting history lesson on the commodization of technology. Includes an introduction to the OSCON 2010 Cloud Computing Summit. Memorable quote:

the only [service providers] who call their customers “users” are drug dealers and software vendors.

Update: Simon has posted his own introduction to the Summit in Arguably, the best cloud conference in the world?, Bits or Pieces.

Released by http://oscon.com under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Original source is blip.tv here.

More from the Cloud Computing Summit: