Sharing offices / workspaces in Melbourne

So…. am thinking in 2008 that I should mix things up a bit, and get to work in some more social environments… in other words move out of the shed for a few days a week and see if I can find a decent office sharing space in or around the North / North East of Melbourne.

So far the most promising possibility I can find so far is The OpenHub… although am somewhat peterbed by their lack of any, um, address and also some pretty stringent bandwidth limits… although it looks like a nice central place. However, while it’d be nice to be in the city I wouldn’t mind somewhere I can easily drive and park at… so maybe Fitzroy, Collingwood or Northcote?

Have been having a look at a gumtree search too but nothing really stands out.

Anyone know anywhere good as a shared working space I could take a look at? Recommendations would be great!

Introducing Edublogs Campus

(small drumroll)

Ladies and gents, we give you Edublogs Campus.

It’s the next generation of ‘Edublogs Premium’ (which always was a bit of a silly name) and is much more than a bit of rebranding.

Now with every installation you can batch create users and blogs, manage plugins and privacy to the nth degree and even monitor every post and comment on your site for ‘bad’ (or good!) words.

And of course it’s got everything that you find in the regular Edublogs, except in a box, all for you, with a bow on :)

Heck, in case you weren’t sure why you needed it, well, we’ve even put together a list of 10 straightforward ways you can use Campus in your school, uni or organization.

And what’s more, it’s pretty competitive too… our ‘Unlimited’ license comes in at less than a decent managed server for a year, which is what you’d have to buy before you even considered the software.

So, get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do for you, mention this post and we might even be able to cut you a deal!

Introducing The Edublogger

New stuff at Edublogs today, a brand new (and official!) blog… The Edublogger, by the most excellent Sue Waters (of Mobile Tech in TAFE fame).

Sue’s going to be providing something that I reckon we’ve been needing for a long time,  a regularly updated hints, tips, idea, feedback-orientated blog about edublogs and other online educational software (with an edublogs slant).

Sue’s starting off by asking what interests you? So why don’t you scoot on over there and tell her :)

If you do me one favour this year…

… vote for Tessa Farmer in The Times/The South Bank Show Breakthrough Award!

Vote for Tessa

You can vote here… you do have to be a registered timesonline user but I promise that the registration isn’t too time consuming :)

And naturally, you shouldn’t just vote for her cos she’s my sister, she also happens to be the most talented of the bunch:

“Farmer creates a reflection in miniature of our society. She shows us its fragility and its ferocity, its poetry and its repulsion, its beauty and its brutality. Damien Hirst did something like this with his dead animals. But if Hirst is Francis Bacon in 3-D then Farmer is probably Albrecht Dürer. ” [from the article]

And you have my solemn oath this is the one favour I’ll ask of you for the next 12 months so go support Tess!

Simple email subscription comes to edublogs

We’ve just introduced a new feature to edublogs, simple email subscription.

All you have to do is drag the ‘Email Subscription’ widget to your sidebar (or sidebar of choice) and readers will automatically be able to easily subscribe to your blog by email (and manage their subscriptions to any edublogs blog)

It’s not ‘official’ yet (will make a splash in about it next week) so if anyone wants to have a look at it, test it, share any ideas they might have or generally fool aroudn with it… and let us know how you go… that’d be much appreciated!

You can leave any feedback below or on the forums.

EduSpaces bashed by Google?

How odd, just back from a nice break and browsing my stats to see how many hits I’m getting from the new movie (starring Denzel Washington as a much worthier James Farmer than I!) and I noticed that I’m getting quite a few ‘eduspaces’ queries so ran a search on them and, kaboom, there I am at the top… and there’s at, well, about number 60!

Which…. and I’m entering into the lands of wild speculation here (I’m also tired and have had a couple of beers, so could well be completely wrong!) would seem to indicate that google has in some way put the kabosh on them… if not just recently then in the last month or two.

I know all about this having been (I finally figured out) kaboshed by google for WPMU theme packs ;)

So what’s going on here? Just a switch of owners or a dodgy SEO play?

Of the addictions of twits without a life

OK, so before you start, you can read that in different ways, and it made you look didn’t it. Exactly.

But I have to say, it was refreshing to hear Simon Chen calling it as it is and expressing something that I’ve been waffling on about over beers for some time but never here… WTF is it about Second Life and Twitter?

Sure, I get the fact that it’s nice, and very addictive, to get and send texts all the time, and that you can form a closer relationship with a community (or join in with a community) via that, but even on that front it just doesn’t grab me.

And it’s not really micro-blogging, because it’s not really publishing… it’s more like micro-email.

Same with Second Life… it’s full of whizz-bang FX, and again it’s got a very addictive quality (speaking as an old skool Sim City-er!), but fundamentally it does little for me except remind me of hanging out in a chat room all those years back, with voice.

Besides, it’s even more screwed than Twitter as it’s entire model depends on people using an alternative environment, at least Twitter has the web / phone thing just about right.

For my $0.02 I don’t think you’re too old Simon, I think it’s just a matter of taste… whereas facebook, blogging and web apps  (although I’m not too sure about Mahalo :) have a kind of universal appeal, dare I say to be subverted as you wish, and can slip into anyone’s pocket, the specific thing about SL and the big ‘T’ is that they aren’t.

They’re geared towards very specific audiences, and for those audiences, they’re the best thing since sliced bread. They get hooked, and this is why (I suspect) we get to hear so very much about them.

Which isn’t to say that they’re not worthwhile, just that it’d be nice to hear slightly less about them.

But then, addictions can be very consuming.

Searching for decent FTP Sync software

A request for help!

Am looking for a decent FTP synching application for XP (or a dedicated LAMP server) that’ll allow me to keep multiple FTP accounts (let’s say 100 to start with) synchronized with a set of data on my laptop (or said server).

So far (on the XP front)  I’ve found FTP Synchronizer and Multi FTP Sync so will give them a play, if you’ve got ay suggestions please let me know in the comments and I’ll give them a shot and report the results here.

Thanx :)

On Eduspaces…

Update: Alicia Wyatt posts a quick ‘how to’ (and associated issues) for moving from EduSpaces to edublogs.

Shame that Ben and Dave couldn’t manage to keep eduspaces running.

(incidentally, if any eduspaces users want help moving over to edublogs then please feel free to email support (at) edublogs /dot/ org for assistance)

I have to say I was a little surprised by the gratitude expressed by their soon-to-be-non-users – I’d expect, personally, to be run out of town with a pitchfork in my rear end but perhaps that’s just me ;)

Still, I think it’ll be very interesting to look at the whys and wherefores of what made the site initially successful and then less so as and if Dave and Ben publish them.

My suspicions are that it was essentially a site based around a very specific community – and any community-centric site has a serious cap on the number of users it can support and all the associated issues prevalent with communities over time. What it needed to be was an educational version of Ning or Yahoo Groups, but that’s no easy task (I can tell you!), in that it could have operated as a service, as much as a community. But heck, I could be completely wrong, let’s wait to hear what they have to say.

Also of particular interest is Tom’s comment:

“Something else I keep trying to warn you about. And yes, it will happen to Blogmeister eventually. It has to.”

To which I’m not sure I agree (and left a comment asking for more info.) What’s the ‘has to’ element here? Please explain :)

[I should also note, just for the record, that edublogs continues to go from strength to strength… we completed a split over the weekend so that the site now runs off over 4000 databases (same as, are about to do a very fancy upgrade, and have some pretty exciting plans for 2008 including new partners and functionality… we’re not going anywhere, so don’t even think it!]

The awards curve

I haven’t done a stats related post for ages, well, an unrelated to one at least, so this is kinda fun.

So, you wanna run a blog awards huh? Fancy you’ll get a bot of traffic do ya? Well, you’d be right… but not perhaps where you might first expect.

The background to this is the shift of The Edublog Awards (in their fourth year) from the somewhat dubious URL of to the rather more snappy

The process was split into three stages, nominations of blogs for the awards over a few weeks (we received over 500 via an email contact form… nice barrier!), voting over a couple of weeks and then the announcement of the winners.

Nominating not a big deal:

edublog awards nominations

While there was some initial interest in the awards (new domain, graphic design etc.) the actual nomination process, despite garnering many many links out of pretty significant mavens in edublogosphere-land didn’t exactly test the servers ;)

On a related note one of the biggest whinges seems to have been ‘I didn’t know about these’… so perhgaps it was a marketing thing, none of them have any excuses next year though!!!

Shortlists big, voting quite big, results kinda small:

edublog awards voting stats

However, as you can see once the shortlisted blogs were announced (about 70 of them) things got a bit more busy!

Voting went on for two weeks and I reckon the dip for the second week might have a lot to do with me making the ongoing results invisible (oops… I thought it’d attract more action;).

Perhaps the most interesting element is the last 3 spots on the graph… as that’s straight after the winners being announced. Sure it was all done in Second Life and on Audio etc. but it’s hardly the burst you’d imagine. Again, perhaps a bit down to tired organisers, lack of marketing push etc.

So in conclusion:

The process of nominating has to be easier and more fun too… perhaps a mini vote in itself, or maybe something like the Mashable blog-partners thing?

Announcing the shortlist is really crucial and that’s when you really want to pay attantion… better (and more) badges as well as code snippets for people to copy into sidebars would be good. Some tools to allow people to promote directly from the site (import webmail stuff?) could work well.

Don’t shut off the developing results, even if it does make the awards party more fun :)

In that vein, announce the winners on teh site first, get a day or so out of that (i.e. steer more traffic and links to the site) and then have a party… that way, as everyone knows who’s won it’ll be more fun… right?

Any other ideas?

Melbourne tech events need to pull their heads out!

There are a not a great deal of excellent webby get togethers in Melbourne, but there are three that I’ve been to and will probably carry on going to… if they weren’t all on the same frickin night!

Come on guys, this is getting ridiculous… tomorrow is MODM 8, Melbourne’s Twitter meetup and Melbourne Web standards Group (WSG) (featuring me :)

Now, much as the prospect of a cross-CBD geek crawl appeals to me this is patently silly, WTF is so special about the first Thursday of every month?

Anyways, make you’re own mind up which one you want to go to but please heckle the organizers of each to changes their silly dates.




I’ll say it again, CommentPress is on edublogs

Every now and then we get a support request for a ‘CommentPress Plugin’ and we kindly remind them that it’s not a plugin, but a theme, and that it’s already available on edublogs (and all the student sites).

As Alan comments, it’s a ‘slick, elegant, and powerful way to put papers online’ – however, it’s also only available to educators and students who can set up their own WP installs…. unless they come to edublogs where you can get it for absolutely free, without any advertising whatsoever and with plenty of complementary plugins and spam stopping measures built in.

I was actually pretty shocked at the lack of w00t value deploying this initially got… maybe it was just a communication thing… either way it rocks and you can try it out for yourselves at you know where.

Just not late Friday night US time today as we’ll be splitting databases :)

Now Fray really is back – and web/paper hybrids too!

Fray, the pioneering storytelling site, is back and back with aplomb is a rather beautiful web / quarterly hybrid.

This edition is called Busted and is, as ever, beautifully illustrated.

You can subscribe to the print version for as little as $15 a year.

Me, I’m getting the T-Shirt… literally :)

Great example of where web / paper subscription hybrids can go and I reckon they’ll clean up.