I’, lagging a bit in writing up today’s MooseCamp experience, the day session before the Northern Voice 2006 Conference. All in all, it was a full and tiring day. On one hand, it was a bit like a standard conference format; the sessions seemed to fly on by and lack significant time to reflect and absorb.

It started with the EduBlogger Hootenany, with fellow blogmiesters Brian, D’Arcy, and Scott. This was in some sense a secondary follow-up of the Social Software Salon we did yesterday at UBC.

Instead of carefully planning out a scripted presentation, we set up in the middle of the room, joked around and almost spontaneously, a conversation started from the audience. I am thinking more about this as conference sessions as conversations rather than transmissions. It was extremely rich, and ended all too abruptly. D’Arcy has already posted a nice comprehensive summary. There is more too here I watn to let distill, what I find as a disconnect of what we call blogging, a false monoliithic vision whne people talk about blogging, and an artificial separation of blogging inside and outside of education.

Next up was AJaX for Geeks by Dave Johnson of E-Business Apps, a company that actually is in the AJAX business. The presentation is available. My big colusions:

  1. My current knowledge of JavaScript is decrepitly ancient.
  2. I hope to do something about number 1.

Structured Blogging and Microformats by Bryan Rieger who is part of the creative force beyond the nifty nifty Yiibu. He used those nice lego graphics to contrast the monolithy of blog content once pulbished versus what might be possible with microformats. There was a lots of interesting discussion about merits versus the overheads of having people fill out motre forms, and whether there should be mroe in the tools hands to facilitate.

There was a momemtn when I was partly distracted when he referred to D’Arcy, Brian, and myself to speak about the folly that was meta data for (ugh) learning objects in that the form filling that was asked was overbearing. Alas, it moved on, but it was even more mindblowing that he knew of our work. Turns our Bryan was among my pre-blogging online communities around Macromedia Director, and had nice things to say about the old Director Web.

After lunch I was present in the room for Blogging and the Future of (the) Media by Kurt Cagle. I have no recollections of this presentation and its reverences to Marshall McLuhan.

Next was Nancy White’s Community Building with Blogs session. This was the day’s highlight so far, because it was all conversation, it was people talking about what they considered online community and what sort of stories they had from their blog community. And there was chocolate shared.

There were two excellent PhotoCamp sessions led by Kris Krug, full if tips and massive in the room expertise on digital photography. And a room full og high end digital SLRs and big monstrous lenses. I picked up a few tips myself, and am going to aim for a better Canon 50mm lens, start trying some ND filters, and amining to do more experimentation in manual exposures. but frankly, bottom line, I just like taking photos, not the frittering over techniques or post production– I just like the capturing an idea, and seeing if it worked or not.

Another gem was the last session on Great Podcast Sound for Cheap with Bruce Sharpe, who is a volunteer sound editor for ITConversations. This was very practical stuff, and I learned I was doing almost everything wrong in my use of Audacity. He has some free tools and Audacity plug-ins at Singularproductions.com. The major tips for cleaning up audio include:

  • bandpass filter
  • noise reduction
  • snap, crackle, pop removale (Click removal)
  • EQ (maybe) over-rated?

Also suggested was Mp3 Gain – an open source tool that normalizes the sound levels for a group of files.

Rest of day: End of Camp. Walk to Stanley Park. Eat a Sausage. Be very Cold. Go Back to brians home. More beer. And Fish Tacos.


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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Alan,

    It was great to finally get a chance to say ‘hello’ – I’ve been lurking for a while and it’s probably about time I get a little more involved. Blogging is interesting, but I’m much more interested in how to help people create more lasting, useful and structured content that can be reused and remixed on other devices, platforms and applications. Sort of like learning objects that actually get made, used and work. 😉

    Microformats and structured blogging are a good start, but much of the interest there now is very commercial focused – that’s why I’d love to get an edu view on things. How could you envision this technology being used, do you see it even being of interest?


  2. I’ve been doing a lot of javascrpt lately, and it’s been really fun. The DHTML book from sitepoint is worth a look, and downloading the prototype javascript library the first step towards enlightenment (haven’t figured out steps 2+ yet). http://del.icio.us/zenkenobi/prototype for prototype links.

    I rememeber the soul crushing pain of doing DHTML in 1999. It’s gotten much better.

  3. Thanks for the comment back Bryan– I’ve mulled over from the first time I read about microformats/structured blogging as to what the leap is from movie/restaurant reviews are to educational environments. The trick is to identify something that is very appropriate to describe in a structured manner that would give a lot of bang for the buck’s worth of structured blogging effort.

    I cannot say anything big has leaped out– On weak idea is to apply it where learning object meta data did not fly, as a way of simply describing re-usable web content that teachers/students might create in a way that would make them easier to find, re-use, and to understand the context. It was something we tried to suggest a few clicks back in suggesting using weblogs to describe the situations and contexts where LOs were used:

    But that does not seem like a signficant example that would take off.

    What needs to happen is not only present/describe the schemas for microformatting, but also having ready some tools/applications that can clearly demo how this formats are used/accessed, etc, the benefits gained by doing action. Otherwise, again, it is the heavy emphasis on the meta-data and not the application of it.

    To be continued….

  4. Bruce does good work on ITConversations and has done some useful scripting for the engineers and editors. I’d add a couple of cautions re: sound tips above. First, be careful with the noise reduction. It’s easy to go overboard and get something that sounds very dead. EQ can’t add that sparkle. So there’s a trade-off here. Another is that the ITConversations website/wiki has some great tips for audio post-production. Just look for the engineers’ detailed checklist.

    Gotta get back to doing some work for ITConversations soon–I miss it.

  5. Thanks for the tip Gardner. I think I need to visit for a week and just hover over your shoulder and watch how aa pro edits. Yes, I’ve never had luck with noise removal- it always ends up sounding a bit under water garbling like.

    I did not get currect notes on the high pass / low pass filters- but wil check the ITConversations wiki; I had forgotten what a great resource it is.

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