NMC Online Conference Post…. err…. Mortum?

This morning was the release of my keynote on “Mysteries Revealed! Inside the Maricopa Learning eXchange” at the New Media Consortium Spring 2004 Online Conference. This turned out to be a 52 minute Breeze presentation, weighing in at a 70.5 Mb in authored PowerPoint, but a streaming 15 Mb via Breeze delivered Flash.

At 9:30 Am PST was the scheduled audio teleconference, which is a little of an odd format because the call in participants hear me via the audio telephone bridge, but post questions via the conference chat, and host Larry Johnson relayed them to me. Actually it kind of works well, and was a fast 30 minutes. The audio has been posted to the conference site.

It was good to see some new names and institutions listed in the chat area. I am guessing, but maybe there was disappointment that my vague reference to “franchising” was not the unveiling of a “Download MLX Source Code Here” link. I am hoping there is some more conversation about this.

At least on the fun side, there was an inquiry as to the whereabouts of the MLX tour guide “Biff Cantrell”….


WaterField Designs Novel Concept: Excellent Laptop Bags and Personal Service

Of course you can pick up a $20 bag at OfficeMax for your laptop, and end up with the same one as every other cheapskate on the plane playing solitaire on with their ThinkPad, with zippers that bust, too many stupid pockets, and just no protection for your investment of several hundred/thousand bucks.

On the flip side, I have just purchased my second beautiful RacerX from Waterfield Designs, the first was for my personal iBook and the new one for my G4 laptop at work. These bags are elegantly and smartly designed, as they have been crafted for use by San Francisco bike messengers (the RacerX has a grip that feels like a rugged Mountain Bike grip). The computer compartment is way padded to keep your laptop secure from major bumps and bangs.

Yeah a WaterField bag will set you back more, but why lug around a $1500 machine in a bag with the durability of a trash bag? And they look so cool.

But more than that, when you order from Waterfield, you get a personal email thanks from “Gary” the owner, and it is not a form e-mail, because he has replied directly to my replies twice. Even the invoice arrives signed with a thanks.

With a solid product first, and personal attention to boot, they have me easily hooked as a returning customer. I would think they teach that kind of stuff in business school, but since Waterfield’s attention and service seem to be the minority, I would say most businesses skipped that day of class.


Stupid Email Request of the Week

Set up a feedback form on your web site, and you get cruft like: I am a marketer and am interested in buying the e-mail addresses of all your community colleges. Sure! Your odds are as good as a July blizzard in Phoenix. At least this spam merchant was direct.

Blog Pile

Closing Some of the Comments All of the Time

Back in November 2003, when I was wasting a lot of time dealing with blog spam, I wrote blogged the approach I took to close comments for this site after an entry had been up for 30 days. In a nutshell, I have a timed job calling a PHP script that rummages through the MT database and closes comments for entries that are more than 30 days old.

It worked great.

Except yesterday that it was doing this not just for this blog, but all the other blogs hosted on the server. Not quite what everybody may want, though we heard nary a complaint.

But I found out when Bob Stepno wrote asking, Is that real or phony blog spam in demo blog?

While following links about the NMC conference, I found my way to your previous Breeze thing about RSS… not a bad tool, it seems, and a nice presentation that I’ll point some friends to.

However, if you’re going to link to fictitious blogs (e.g., http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/boris/), please put a note to that effect on the blogs themselves so that real humans don’t waste their time posting comments trying to interact with the “authors.” (All readers might not get to the disclaimer/credits at the end of the presentation. They might even google themselves into the blog itself.)

Meanwhile, I don’t know if this blog-comment-spam is authentic or also a “demo”… but it’s amusing either way. Yikes, “phony spam” — what a concept!

And sure enough, Boris’ old entry was littered with porn comments and nude people links, likely sneaking in under the radar before we put up the blacklist and closed the comments. Strangely enough, the blog spam cockroaches descended on the post titled “Cool Gizmo”.

Then I started looking around the database and noticed that every entry had its comments value set for closed.

The fix was easy, modify the PHP script so it acted only on one blog. Since I was rzor sharp on my mySQL queries from banging out the last bits of the online dance registration site, this was cake.


Meta-Data Yeti-Data

My position have been made too many times regarding the apparent over-obsession with learning object meta-data, 4 words guaranteed used together will put most ordinary humans into a mild coma. I’ve given thought to meta-data and our Maricopa Learning eXchange, where the “M-D” words will never appear, but certainly lurk under the cover of our […]

Blog Pile

31 Vanillas

This will likely be a first and last blog entry referencing politics. I might be judged as apathetic, but I do my research quietly, make my decisions, and vote, without foaming at the mouth or making it an obsession. However, after some hasty mulling, I decided to share my summary of the political scene. We […]


Mysteries Revealed! Inside the MLX (@NMC Mar 9)

I am coming up for air…. gasp…. gasp… This is crunch week for prepping my keynote session at the NMC Online Conference, scheduled for Tuesday March 9. My Breeze-d up show is called “Mysteries Revealed! Inside the Maricopa Learning eXchange” and should be action packed, irreverent, and over the top. This will be a guided […]