Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Twitters

[ image : vance ]
This image for me sums up the scope of FLNW as it struggles to cross boundaries with TALO in tow.
Till next FLNW......over and out.

Staying Foolish

This came via Leo Laoshi whilst I was out on the road in Melbourne.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. Truth be told, I never graduated from college. This is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?"

They said: "Of course." My biological mother found out later that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

This was the start in my life.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky D I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me D I still loved what I did.

The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.

Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it.

Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything D all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die.

It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades.

Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin a new, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry.

Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lunchtime Reflections

[ image : mobology ]

Bee and Alex reflect on 'people' - download the MP3 : 1.9 mbs.

Motivations : Donations

Folk's.... I urge you to read over Beth Kanter's Social Fundraising: Leveraging Offline and Online Connections and Motivations post which beautifully illustrates the need to mediate 'help' in a philanthropic context.

Give it some thought too as you determine how much you can give to effect change and not just for changes sake.

Edtech with Doug and Graham

[ image : mikecogh ]

Graham Wegner advises me that for your listening pleasure the EdTechTalks podcast archive from the FLNW08 inclusion is now ready for your download.

Educators educating educators.

Now we just need to get the recording for two brilliant people above.......*hint:@jomcleay:)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thankyou ! :)

[ image : ISB Alumni ]

FLNW08 - How Was It For You ?

[ image : mobology ]

Download the MP3 - 5.4 mbs

Michael and I stood on the balcony of this Melbourne motel room the other day and recounted what went right ( and wrong and in between ) over the last 6 months with FLNW.

Quite frankly, I'm exhausted.

Melborne for me has been the highlight. Why ?

Because I was able to put face to names, eat dinner and laugh, recount and interrogate exactly what it means to live and learn in this networked world.

For me FLNW has been a massive learning curve. As I stated at the Linux 2008 conference here yesterday, everytime I attempted to do anything FLNW slipped away from me like a oil covered swine on a slippery slope.

TALO has remained elusive. FLNW has only hastened my enquiry as to what it means to live in a networked world.

I take nothing for granted. The human connections are what mattered most for me.

You mean the most to me.

Bugger this technology that seems to want to taunt us though :)

Over and out.

An Undecided Future

[image : infocult ]

Perhaps the future of learning in a networked world is a soul-less , shallow series of machine mediated interactions purporting to actualize the occasional snippet of human interaction.

Pass the coke please......that's my pizza your eating.

Maybe Prensky was seriously deluded.

Copyleft....a dream.

Whatever your take, the last month has been a series of interconnected discords, unrequited expectation, accountable and impassioned pleas for conversation beyond the cold hard rhetoric of compliances.

Time to load to Flickr.

Sort the artifacts.

Live as humans who have not yet decided what the future of learning in a networked world holds for educators and those privileged to share time and space together as we have done whether physical or virtual......or both.

Shout outs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Audio recording: FLNW08 - Leigh and Teemu talk Open Education

Leigh and Teemu | Download | Permalink
January 21, 2008 02:56AM

Leigh Blackal and Teemu Leinonen settle their differences or come to terms with each others thoughts on open education and networked learning within or without groups.

Audio recording: FLNW08 - Leigh Blackall talks about Educational Initiatives at Otago Polytechnic

FLNW08 - Leigh Blackall talks about Educational Initiatives at Otago Polytechnic | Download

January 16, 2008 01:36PM

Some audio hassles due to lag in SL.. but nevertheless worth a listen. Many thanks Jo Kay for all your support and for making this recording.

Leigh Blackall talks about steps taken by Otago Polytechnic towards an IP policy that embraces individual IP ownership, organisational use of Creative Commons Attribution license, extensive use of for content development, and various Web 2.0 web services for content and learning facilitation.

Event held on the Island of jokaydia in Second Life on 16 January 2008

Leigh will be making another attempt at getting this talk under 10 minutes on Jan 28 at the Linux Conference. For further information visit

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Spin The Globe

[ image : mobology ]

The other day Graham Wegner and Doug Noon stuck their head into the EdTechTalks Worldbridges room and invited a few FLNW2 people along.

Check out the Spin The Globe project that Graham and Doun have been using with their students. My connection was mucking up and with a billion things to do that year I said hello and gave Graham a rousing come-on which hopefully will extend into 2008.

A great project idea guys and one that could be employed with ease ( and access ) with those in other countries such as Thailand......interesting to note how difficult it seems to make connection with any semblance of language barrier although Leo's session stands testament to the fact that anything is posssible with a little bit of tenacity.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Drawing with Nancy - recording

Drawing Together Online session took place on the 16th.
Elluminate recording
What about: Nancy White - Drawing Pictures Together Across Distance. This is not a talk by any stretch of the imagination. It is an invitation to draw together to exercise our visual thinking. I have been doing F2F graphic facilitation work and it taps into something that I often feel missing online. So can we talk together, draw together then share our images to add to that conversation? What might happen? Let's play. Images in advance at

Friends & Travelling Companions

[ images : mikecogh ]

Check out Michel's hipcast.

Now that's what I call a fine dinner.

I would have dearly loved to be there to share in the festivities and to engage with others as friends and travelling companions for FLNW2 I am celebrating the coming together of a part of my large extended family in Sydney.

I'm here with my brother David, my partner Jane, my son Ethan , my daughter Amelia Manon, my niece Micaela and my Mother and Father. It's a rare moment but a special and important one.

I'm so glad that Trish, Vance , Michael and John managed to get to trip up the Mekong as planned. For me it's the culmination of an idea and an important milestone in making something possible to bring people together who value world connections and collective knowledge as part of teaching and learning.

Have a cold one for me folks. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mike Cog's Podcast out of BKK

/GN : Fireside Stories

[ image : dru ]

Digging a little deeper into the concept as to what it means to be living in a networked world has led us to render all things leet as we reach that time of the week to talk beyond day jobs and get truly connected........links discussed include:

Janet -

Alex -

Conversation went.....

balance between making things happen and making particpation and leadership easy
or sommat
Sent at 11:47 PM on Wednesday
me: sommat
making FLNW2 happen was like pulling teeth
plenty of screaming
Janet: hee
me: from me mostly
it was a lesson
Janet: i think people are like me
me: in patience mostly
Janet: listening to so much and doing whatever day job is big
me: jobs are disrupting real work getting done
Janet: im on too many lists
me: I'm just a soup
Janet: lots of people want design work done
and i cant
me: with a fly on the surface begging for attention
quote of the year
I can do design work
thats my passion
it's the monkey business that pays in nuts
ps. can I quote the last twenty or so lines here ?
Janet: /me scrolls up
me: it kind of encapsulates the power of how much networking is actually undoing things now
the swamped look
blank blogs
Janet: i think it is that there are efficiencies in not knowing
and we are figuring out for ourselves how to be effective and to be able to hear
me: micro-mashing, tripping over logins and paswords
in amongst so much noicse
woop woop woop
heavy din of traffic cascading through the crinkly concoids of the mind
Janet: yup
taffy in my mind alrighty
me: trying to make sense where non-sense is rewarded most highly
speaking of which I'm sleep deprived
quotes the last / 40
Janet: i listen more and post less now. perhaps that is age. i try to make the things i say useful
me: gn

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Connections : Make The Mesh Nest

[ image : mikecogh ]

[ image : mikecogh ]

[ image : mikecogh ]

Says it all hey ?

Pictures speak a thousand words.

Connections and building new nests.

It's even made it through to the Twittergrams:

jutecht Watching the ustream archive from ISB unconference session on New Literacy is my new favorite site!


Digital Nuances : Architectures ( Governing ) Participation

[ image : nswlearnscope ]

Download the MP3 - 1752 seconds - 7,057,159 bytes

Robyn Jay has determined that the 'old guard' is directly challenged by the explosion of access to digital technologies and yet accessibility still remains a challenge.

Luke Hodges brings to the table that despite the explosion there remains some key issues underpinning what value people place on information and it's ease of access.

As Sue Water's has noted affiliations with recognised enablers of embedded communication technologies widens participation and interaction....a key facette of getting things to the ground and working.

As for for me......I'm still thrashing out why things have to be so different in a VET sector that directly services step away and yet a world apart.

NOT technology for technologies sake.

Related discussion links :

The Artistic Merits of Deep Sea Creatures | Ted Talks

New Journey In Interaction | Sue Waters

Activist's Reject Whale Meat | SMH

"Live" Reporting | Ushahidi

Ogg Ogg : DJ Country Mike


Download the MP3 - What a rippa mix !!!!

ps. if you want to listen to the .ogg file import it into Audacity as a project audio file and press go !!!

Courtesy of Luke Hodges :)

--- alternative downloads --- seems to be spluttering lately. Download the cleaned up Leo Wong interview and the 1st 2 days FLNW08 mashup here:

Connection Rates

[image : mikecogh ]

Michael makes remarks about the connection rates crisis in his latest post over at his blogspot.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stephan's recording of Beth Kanter and Nancy White

Download the MP3 file (1 hr 5 Min 15 Mbyte)


A FLNW08 skypecast conversation facilitated by Beth Kanter titled "Networked non-profits, social media and social good in an networked world". Beth was joined by Stephan Ridgway & Nancy White. 15 Jan 2008


FLNW08 wiki

Beth Kanters Slide share presentation

Beth Kanter's Blog

Technorati Tags:

Stephan's recorded interview with Leo Wong

Download the MP3 file (28 Min 6.4 Mbyte)


Stephan Ridgway (Adelaide, South Australia) & Leo Wong (China, SooChow University) have a conversation about the Future of Learning in a Networked World FLNW2 networked unconference commencing on the 14 Jan 2008.

Technorati Tags:

Stephan's recorded talk with Alex Hayes

Download the MP3 file (14 Min 3.2 Mbyte)


Alex Hayes (Sydney, New South Wales) & Stephan Ridgway (Adelaide, South Australia) &have a conversation about the Future of Learning in a Networked World FLNW2 networked unconference commencing on the 14 Jan 2008.

Technorati Tags:

The Un-networking Principle

Blocked Site

The site - Beth Kanter&blob=jyzxPQI-GdLeE0ut89akjFtP4_SIu150cJ9IWSydUbakMgzJtzpA-1m6pmZIPHpSjj6vgg is blocked.

It has been classified in the category/ies Web Phone


Yes .....Skype can be construed as being a web phone but that's the idea....and yes we have spent years exploring this concept as part of my working duties to show how and enable connections with others using these tools.

So....what I "feel" is excluded. Not able to be included.

I'm sure many people "feel" this as well. This is not a complaint.

I'm exploring ways to demistify why Skype is a good tool for education and not a threat to the controls that would otherwise thwart an organisations mandate.

Connections matter.

What does it mean for you to be living and working in a networked world faced with such challenges ?

Nancy White : Drawing Together Online

Making Wi-fi

[ image : kat ]

It feels a little bit like that....we have jumped in and there is no going back.

I'd like to hear from Kat.

Tall bikes, Linux, wi-fi and connections sound like a good starting point. perhaps we could all "wave* and we may get a Gtalk podcast back :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Evidence

[image : stephendownes ]

More evidence that groups, networks and some on are all just a mass of individual and self assertive individuals who occasionally get things happening together without too much friction or politics.

I still see many new things in Stephen's whiteboard rendition from 2006.

A friend today hearing of my plight between trying to help others and getting in the way reminded me of two things which were totally unrelated to the subject matter however they made great sense ;

".......I think it is good to accept our sensuous nature - I have written on my bathroom scales: 'without my greed and lust I would be lichen whether I like it or not' and the Buddha said: 'to the first beings even the rocks tasted sweet'

I screwed up today with my UTC times and we now will have to reconvene a few things but hopefully those involved will understand that this traveling roadshow is a joint responsibility and without that collaborative spirit we'd all be bunkered down and blogging mindless dribble otherwise......perhaps....speak for yourself Alex you might say.

A rock I am....I wonder what Budha would say of me at the moment.

Zen is what Bee reckons.

Thanks to Stephan for his great recordings;

Stephan Ridgway and I chatting about FLNW2 - download

Stephan Ridgway and leo Wong connecting about FLNW2 - download.

Transcribing Leo and Alex

Well, it turns out that it was Leo Laoshi from China is the one who started us off in the online conference for FLNW with his recorded discussion with Alexander Hayes. I was actually quite moved to hear Leo's voice at long last as it has added a whole new dimension to my sense of connection with him.

I think it is entirely appropriate that it was Leo that kicked us off in the conference. He has been active in TALO for some time now, and has really shared himself and his work with his students, and we have helped him along with moral and technical support. This FLNW2 is all about reaching out with our network, finding and strengthening new connections, and that is exactly what we've done from day one.

We tried for hours to work out a way to get a live connection, but in the end we decided we had to go with an audio recording due to all the barriers to forming a live connection. Alex called him up on Gtalk and recorded a conversation with him which is well worth the listen. I have started transcribing the audio into text on a wiki, so you can help out with that. Concentrating on the words for purposes of getting a transcription adds another dimension to the experience and what we can get out of this too.

Many thanks Leo, I hope you'll remain closely connected with us through the coming weeks.

Keep an eye on the itinerary for what's coming up next. It is typically changing by the minute and at the last minute, so keep refreshing the page for the latest info, and keep an eye on this blog for announcements and summaries.

Leo Laoshi : Bridged Connections

It's an interesting situation when your guest speaker states that Skype is blocked after you've spent 5 hours the night before ensuring all Skypecast connections are valid.

It's even more interesting when you've arrived at work only to find that you yourself as the Skypecast convenor are blocked from access.

Despite these vagaries I managed to get in a chat with Leo last night which gives you an idea as to what he's up to at SooChow University with his Freshmen and Sophomores.

Download the MP3 file conversation.

Check out the Slideshare which underpins his response to my questions.

Time coded Wikieducator neo-constructivist mode

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wiki clean up

I dunno about you lot, but the wiki was freaking me out. Every time I looked at it I got confused. There seemed to be a lot of double up, and room for simplification, so that's what I did, consolidated and simplified.

There is now a main menu across the top of every page. There are essentially 3 main pages to the FLNW2 wiki, home; participants; and itinerary. I've added a link to this blog and the email forum as well, so the full navigation is:


  • Home contains intro, history and sponsors of 2008.
  • Participants contains details of everyone who is or wants to be involved.. Get you name in there now!
  • Itinerary is the one stop place for everything that is happening day by day. The Google Calendar would have been good, and maybe someone will help keep it up to date, but I think in terms of it being simple for anyone to add an itinerary item, and for it all to be in one place - the wiki is easy enough.
  • The blog obviously goes out to the blog, and I hope that Alex and anyone else who wants to maintain this main channel for reportage will use it more that the email forum. So, announcements, summaries and reporting to the blog.. discussion and where necessary, copy pasted blog posts to the email forum.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Public Agenda for the Future of Communications

Is the Future Of Learning In A Networked World [ in your part of the world ] becoming increasingly regulated, mediated, controlled ?

Why ?

Does a declaration sound like a digital form of democratic civil disobedience ? What happens when the musicians start singing about net neutrality and other forms of culture jamming ?

Seems Bee has arrived just in time to see Australia using tier 1 of wireless ADSL Telecom Australia style.....

Get your t-shirt.

Wear it proudly.

Keep it free and open.