Thursday, December 14, 2006

Season's Greetings

A quick post with best wishes for Season's Greetings for all my readers. Of course, the lack of posts to this space over the past while means that this audience is slight, I wanted to take a moment to post and to wish any and all who stop by all the best over the holidays and into 2007. As regular readers know, I've been contributing more to my space at samlab over the past while.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Big Changes

It's remarkable how this interface has changed in the time that I've been a member. I was just noticing that I became a "Pro" user early on in 2002 to keep the predecessor of this interface going.

Makes we wonder (again!) what my $50 USD, I think it was, investment in blogger in '02 might be worth in 2006 Google dollars, had I purchased a share....

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Songhees Nation Open House 2006

This is a picture I took on the weekend at the Songhees Nation Open House.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


originally uploaded by dougsymington.
test post from flickr

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pulled in many directions

It's been a while since I posted and I wanted to drop a line to let you all know that I'm still out here, although I've been pulled in many directions the last while.

Apologies to those expecting an email response over the past few days--seems as though my email account at is currently experiencing some "technical difficulties."

I'll try to keep up with posts to this space; however, I seem to be gravitating more toward as of late....

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I wanted to post to say that the young man referred to in my last is named Oscar.

He has his own web site.

Friday, April 21, 2006


originally uploaded by dougsymington.
Here's a picture for Dave and Bonnie's new baby. Congratulations to all! I'm really looking forward to following the cribchronicles

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Extreme Closeup

Extreme Closeup
Extreme Closeup,
originally uploaded by dougsymington.
A picture of Sam at his favourite lake.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Apple Blossom Sam

Apple Blossom Sam
Apple Blossom Sam,
originally uploaded by dougsymington.
Here's a picture of an apple blossom and Sam from this afternoon.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Blogging--finding and making time

It's been over a month since I've posted. This is due to a lot of factors, not the least of which is that I have so many different online spaces (with more coming online all the time, it seems) that it's hard to keep up with them all. That's all for now, just wanted to make a quick post to say that I'm still out here and will try to make more posts into the future.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Life online

I can't believe it's another whole month since I'm back here. Apologies to all, although it seems as tho' it's been one thing after another as of late with some difficulties I've been having with my site. Due to recent "experiments" visitors on IE aren't able to see the front page. All's not lost; however, since it's possible to access "non-front" pages....

I also recognize that this is nothing compared to the turmoil experienced at

Here's a map with clickable links to the rebuilding efforts at

One thing I heard at Northernvoice that sticks with me was the notion of web as ecosystem and how it supported all manner of lifeforms. This concept came into full relief for me this week.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Confererence Reflections

Wow, what an experience. My head is still spinning trying to digest my experience at Moosecamp and Northern Voice this weekend. I can't begin to describe what a great experience it was for me. Julie Leung's keynote is a experience that I expect to resonate for me for a while.

's take on narrative, voice, and the "masks" we wear on the web has particular relevance, I think, to many of the discussions taking place regarding the relative merits of public vs. private websites and the implications, especially, for K-12 educators and students, given concerns regarding privacy and personal security.

Another session that I thought was great, albeit too short, was the session that Bruce Sharpe of Singular Productions did on Friday at Moosecamp. Bruce is an audio engineer who does post-production work as a volunteer with ITConversations. His Great Podcast Sound for Cheap was a great session, although I'd have loved to have more time.

Other sessions that also seemed way too short from Friday, and that bear mention are the Photocamp that Kris Klug ran and Part II of Photocamp (Digital Workflow) that Eric Soroos conducted.

Another "photocamp-related" session was the "one-minute movie" session led by Roland. During the session Roland used an application called Picture to Movie to make a movie out of pictures he's taken, and those that other session participants had taken and uploaded to Flickr with the tag "moosecampmovie", and an original soundtrack called Camp Walk by Derek Miller of -- the result (actually a minute and a half in length) is a styling movie that I think captures the spirit of the event.

I was taken by the fact that everyone I approached expressed a willingness to be a guest for one of our weekly brainstorming sessions at edtechtalk.

Yet another example of how open and inclusive everyone in this community seems to be. I'm not naive enough to think that it's all "sunshine and roses" but it's just as obvious that there's a lot of goodwill and espirit de corps from the organizers through to the participants of this year's Moose Camp and Northern Voice conferences.

Speaking of organizers, a special tip of the hat to all the organizers and volunteers who worked so hard to make the "unconference" a success. I really enjoyed myself and feel very fortuante to have been introduced to so many great individuals doing such great stuff. Apologies for the "stream of consciousness" style of this post, but I'm still working on digesting this experience.

I feel as though my trip to Vancouver has opened up a whole new world for me in terms of introducing me a number of really capable and creative individuals, and providing an opportunity to meet some of "the giants" in the world of blogging in general (and edublogging in particular).

Indeed, the only downside from the whole experience is that I picked a really lousy time to misplace the USB cable for my camera, so I'm not able to make my contribution (just right now) to the pictures being posted to Flickr. The good news here is that a service like Flickr allows me to access the thousands of pictures that others have posted with the tags Moosecamp (currently 1154 pics) and Northernvoice (currently 2390 pics).

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Blogging in Education at Northern Voice

Here's a link to a post from today by D'Arcy Norman The Vancouver Education Blogging Sessions from earlier in the week. Regular readers will know that I was able to listen in on the conversation via Skype, and did manage to capture a little bit of the audio from the Social Software Salon @ UBC on Thursday, which I played during the preshow for this week's EdTechTalk Brainstorming Session 22A.

As D'Arcy says in his post from today, Brian and Jason recorded audio from the session and will be posting these recordings -- I look forward to hearing these and will link to them once they're posted.

Unfortunately I missed yesterday's Edublogger Hootenanny due to the fact that I was "in transit" from Victoria and didn't get over in time; however, I'm happy to report that this afternoon's Blogging in Education
session will include "wrap-up of the Moose Camp Edublogger Hootenanny by Alan Levine (who has just posted the audio and notes from Nancy White's session this morning), D'Arcy Norman and Scott Leslie!" as an added bonus. I'll work on getting more audio and pics from the balance of the day and be back with more when I have it.


Quick post from the Northern Voice conference during the first coffee break for the day and the first hour and bit has been fantastic.

NOTE: I still fon't have pictures to post. Looks like I'm going to have to break down and buy a new USB cable for my camera. In the meanwhile, you can see the photos from Moosecamp and Northern Voice at Flickr.

We began this morning with Starting with Fire: Why Stories Are Essential and How to Blog Effective Tales by Julie Leung. Julie gave a great presentation which involved slides of photos and the role of narrative in blogging.

The second session from this morning, Silfry on the Blogosphere featured an interview of Dave Silfry, founder and CEO of Technorati, by Tim Bray. It was great to hear what Dave had to say about the state of the blogosphere and how Technorati is different from search engines and the growth of blogging since he began Technorati in 2002. He also spoke about the potential threats and opportunities of blogosphere going forward. Very interesting stuff.

Following the morning coffee break I had the pleasure of listening to Nancy White entitled, Snow White and the Seven Competencies of Online Interaction. At Brian Lamb's prompting I managed to get some audio of Nancy's talk and hope to have some of it available, once I get a chance to see what I have in terms of "raw" audio.

I'll be back with edits to this post as the day progresses. A big shout out to the organizers and speakers -- northernvoice rocks!!! If you're even remotely interested in blogging, or need to see what all the fuss is about, you need to get yourself to next year's conference.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Well I was a little late getting here, but I managed to make my way from the island to attend Moosecamp at the UBC Robson Square campus in Vancouver.

I've attended a couple of sessions so far and am looking forward to learning more. I really like the "unconference" nature of the event.

The informal approach seems to benefit both presenters and attendees and allows for flexibility and self-selection in terms of sessions and "sidebars" on topics of interest. was a lot of fun and I hope it's going to be an annual event.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


While I'm not able to be in Vancouver today (I'm heading over on the first ferry from Victoria tomorrow morning and look forward to the Edublogger Hootenanny, although I'll likely be late. Living on Vancouver Island is pretty cool, notwithstanding the logistical challenges it presents when you need to get somewhere :-)

I'm really looking forward to "attending" the Social Software Salon @ UBC via Skype today.

Provided it's ok with those participating, I intend to make an audio recording of proceedings with the intent of playing some excerpts during tonight's EdTechTalk Brainstorm.

I'm also happy to report that Charles Campbell--an "artist in residence" for the City of Victoria--will be by to talk about the podcasting project he's putting together with a group of youth here in Victoria. Here's a link to a newspaper article about Charles' project in Victoria.

Please join us this evening (in North America, the show starts at 0200 hrs GMT Friday) for what I hope will be a very interesting and informative show.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Social Software Salon @ UBC

It's a long story, but I'm back in Victoria. I'll be making my way back to Vancouver on Friday for Moose Camp and Northern Voice on Saturday, but I hope to "take part from a distance" in a session that's just been announced.

Brian Lamb has posted in his blog about a session that's taking place tomorrow afternoon: the Social Software Salon @ UBC looks like it's going to be a great session and I've just sent Brian an email asking him if it's ok for me to join the "salon" via Skype.

I've also asked for permission to record proceedings in order to play some excerpts during tomorrow night's EdTechTalk Brainstorming Session.

I hope that I'll be able to make this work since I know that it will be an informative and entertaining session. One that I hope to be able to share with my audience for "Brainstorming Session 22A."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Beginning Coding for Drupal

Apologies for the brevity of my last post, it was composed on my cell phone. I'm back to report that the Beginning Coding for Drupal session was very informative. Aaron did a great job with the presentation. All the more given the fact that the room in which the session was held was nearly literally bursting at the seams from the numbers of those in his audience. All the chairs were taken early on, and many of us were sitting on the floor during his presentation.

It was very informative for me as someone who isn't much of a programmer to be able to see "under the hood" in terms of Drupal module development and to hear the questions that those in attendance had regarding Drupal development and how best to accomplish tasks in terms of design and implementation of Drupal, PHP and databases.

I'd hoped to include a picture of Aaron from today's session, but "technical difficulties" (I don't seem to have the USB cable for my camera with me) will preclude this, at least in the short term.

As always, watch this space for details.


Well I made it over after all for the conference and look fwd to a session today on Drupal basics. I will be back w/ more details after the session.

Monday, February 06, 2006


It's been a week since I posted. I've been struggling to keep up with my various online spaces and it seems as though it's always this blog that suffers. Apologies to the regular readers who have taken the time to enquire about the lack of recent posts. I'm happy to report that it has been due to nothing more than being too busy to take the time to post to this forum.

My schedule also means that it looks as though I'm not going to be able to make it over to the "lower mainland" (i.e., Vancouver) for this week's Open CMS/ Drupal conference, which is too bad. I'm still holding out hope that I'll be able to attend Moose Camp / Northern Voice, but that's not for certain at this point either....

What makes this a special pain, is that I had hoped to be able to do this week's EdTechTalk Brainstorming webcast from Vancouver, but that's not going to happen; indeed, I'll be lucky to get over at all. As always, watch this space for details.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival

For those of you "on the island" it's time to take in the 12th annual Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival, which started last Friday.

I haven't been out to see any of the films so far, but I did work as an usher at one of the venues last night. Like events and festivals the world over, VIFVF relies on volunteers to make it work. Volunteering is also a chance for individuals to contribute in ways that might not be immediately apparent--to both the volunteer and "beneficiary."

For those of you in and around Victoria--get out to see some of these films and get some enjoyment and help ensure the success of the festival. I'd also encourage anyone reading this to look for opportunities to volunteer in your community. You might be surprised by how much you learn and how much fun you have.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Battle of the Titans

Just finished listening to the live stream of EdTechTalk #34 by Dave and Jeff with this week's guests, Stephen Downes and George Siemens. Regular readers will know that I've long been a fan of both of these "titans" in the world of Canadian education technology.

Today's discussion revolved around a couple of posts from late last year. Stephen made a post that prompted a response from George, including a note that it was too bad that Stephen's post happened at a time (between Christmas and New Year's) that meant it was "under the radar" due to the fact that many of Stephen's regular readers would be away on vacation and, presumably, not have ready access to his post. Stephen responded in today's 'cast that the timing of the release coincided with him having some time off work in order to be able to produce his paper.

I have to confess that my head is still spinning trying to digest what I've just heard. Try as I may, I can't seem to bring myself around to what I understand to be George's premise when it comes to the "objective." As I think more about it, I keep coming back to the notion that the objective has to be subjective in that "common sense" or "community standards" will ultimately dictate what constitutes the "objective" in a particular circumstance.

For instance, I know that interacting with others from literally around the world in the last while via WorldBridges has greatly expanded my horizons and added an "objective" I didn't have prior to participating.

To cite two examples, in a very short time I have an appreciation of GMT/Zulu time and the vagaries of sound editing and post-production. This experience, and an expanding "frame of reference" leads me to "filter" information in new ways to have it make sense in the face of my subjective experience.

I'm definitely still reflecting on Stephen and George's conversation and think I need more time with the "source material" that led to this conversation. As I think about the discussion, I keep coming back to the notion of the wiki textbook. Specifically, how should the subjective contributions to a wiki be vetted or "objectified" and become part of the "canon" on a given topic? I think there has to be a "back channel" for "radical" or "dissenting" views to be heard. I think at one point George mentioned the need to for individuals to remain as such and thus not be assimilated and result in groupthink.

Isn't there a danger of the "objective" view amounting to the same thing? Doesn't the presupposition of a "right" or "correct" answer, in and of itself, preclude discovery of alternative, and perhaps better, solutions to a given task or problem? Lots of great food for thought to be sure. Thanks to all for a stimulating conversation, including those who participated in the dialog in the chat room. Look forward to seeing you all online again soon.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Making Connections

I'm here with a recap of some of the online interaction I had yesterday using conferencing applications on the 'net. Via Skype I was able to interact with colleagues across town, across the continent and on the other side of the world. Jeff used Skype to let me know that he'd made an archive of the 'cast from Thursday night (I have some post-production work to do, but many thanks to "Jeff from Ann Arbor" for capturing and posting a MP3 of Thursday night's brainstorming session).

Although more "technical difficulties" prevented a stream of yesterday's "Literacy" show, I was able to use Skype to get participants "up to speed" and look forward to a webcast on Fridays at 1800 hrs GMT.

Due to some problems with the audio on Skype I also revisited a conferencing application that's been produced by a former employer of mine, SMART Technologies Inc.

Bridgit supports VoIP, webcam and desktop sharing amongst conference participants. Yesterday afternoon I used it to have a conference with colleagues at a lounge in the airport in Ottawa, at a residence in Calgary and me here on Vancouver Island. Furthermore, the "share desktop" feature meant that Brian, in Calgary, could show us the web page which had pictures of the car he was thinking of buying this weekend.

We didn't get a chance to test the streaming capabilities of Bridgit, but it does support full duplex audio and I look forward to experimenting with it to see if it might be something we can use going forward as a webcasting medium. As always, watch this space for details.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Last night's 'cast

Notwithstanding some issues in getting the stream started at the beginning of the 'cast, and the fact that I don't have an archive file of proceedings, last night's show was a blast.

I was joined online by Clarence Fisher and Brian Mull and had the chance to hear about the work that they're doing with their students and how they've come to work together in a web-based project with their students and others on the web. It was especially cool to be able to meet Jesse, one of Brian's students, during the webcast.

As I said in this post to the forum at edtechtalk, congratulations to Jesse for being the first "student" to join the discussion and I look forward to hearing more from Clarence and Brian's students.

Thanks to all who participated in the conversation--via VoIP or the chat room--and I look forward to seeing you online again soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Webcasting

In a little less than 1 hour (0200 GMT Friday), I'll be hosting my 4th webcast for edtechtalk.

Tonight I'll be hosting EdTechTalk Brainstorming Session 19A. I'm a late fill-in for Jeff, but I'm really looking forward to a discussion with Brian and his students.

I'll also be hosting a webcast at 1800 hrs (GMT) on Friday about literacy. I'll be joined by colleagues from Project Literacy Victoria as well as from the GRAIL project at OISE/UT.

I'm especially interested in discussing new and emerging technologies and the role they have to play in literacy and I hope tomorrow will be the start of regular meetings to get together and share ideas and "best practices" when it comes to using technology for learning and community building.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Blogging and wikis

Brain Lamb has recently posted a call for submissions in support of a talk he's doing next week in Vancouver, BC.

I recommend that you visit the link above for the complete list of Brian's questions, but I thought I'd respond to a couple here:

In your mind, what is most misunderstood (or little understood) about these tools?

The most "misunderstood" aspect of these tools is the whole notion of public/private and walled gardens and the need to "protect" those in online environments. While I agree that certain age groups, and perhaps new and beginning users, need to be sheltered from the "black hats" that one finds on the 'net -- it's also imperative that we teach individuals how to conduct themselves in online environments from the outset.

Call it 'net-proofing if you like (although this may engender a false sense of security), but I think it's important to turn the responsibility for one's "online persona" back to the individual.

Those participating in the "read/write web" need to be responsible for both deciphering the semiotics of the web, but, just as importantly, have an appreciation of the fact that what one is posting is indeed accessible by anyone with a connection to the 'net.

Of course this means that the potential--good and bad--of posts to impact one's life is huge. Rather than be intimidated by this fact, I think we can do a lot to educate and encourage the effective use of blogs and wikis as a tool for sharing and building knowledge and communities of practice.

Are blogs and wikis evolving into something else?

I think that blogs and wikis are definitely evolving. I believe that audio and video will continue to play an increasingly important role in online environments. I think this is true for all kinds of 'casts -- be they audio, video, or screen, "canned" or streaming. I think that interfaces like elgg are examples of how blogs and wikis are evolving.

Elgg is "open source, learner centred, community building platform" that allows for the incorporation of "media" files into the interface and also provides for the tagging of objects and syndicated feeds with publishing details. This is one example, but I think that "sky's the limit" in terms of what we might see in terms of open source "mashups" and hosted web services applications.

I also think that "services" companies who provide "solutions" based on open source platforms will continue to drive "the open source movement" and make it viable and sustainable.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Once again, I'm happy to have this space as a "backup" for my "online presence" when an experiment at my web site doesn't work as it might >;-)

Dave and Jeff were talking about PLE near the end of last week's show, and I think that "personal learning environments" are great, but they aren't all gravy. I use my site as a "sandbox" to play with "free" and open-source" software applications. For the last while I've been using Drupal. I hadn't bothered to try accessing my site with IE, until in a meeting downtown today.

Here's what Rob at my ISP had to say in response to an email.
Updating a production site to a beta piece of software is a very bad idea because things like this can happen and there is really nothing we can do until they release a final version.
Rob recommends that I restore a pre-update version of the site and I may do that, but I figure I might as well keep "messing around" given the fact that it still works in Firefox, and it seems as tho' only the "front page" is broken in IE (links to "non-front-page" pages seem to still work). I'm also confident that it's something I've done whilst messing with settings that causing IE to choke.

Those who seek out my ramblings on the 'net. And yes, I do have an audience (meagre as it may be ;-) and the "die-hards" know to check this space when one of my "experiments" at samlab gets away on me.

I've begun hosting the EdTechTalk Brainstorming "B" Sessions at 0300 am GMT on Sundays (Saturday night in North America).

Join us in the chatroom or VoIP with Skype and join the conversation. In addition to a computer with Skype installed, you'll need a microphone and headphones. As a listener to the stream, you need to stop the stream BEFORE joining the conference. This serves three purposes:
  1. It prevents hearing loss on the part of participants of the "live" show

  2. Greatly improves the quality of the audio

  3. Cuts down on the amount of "post-production" needed

Hope to "see" you online this weekend. Here's a link to a chat I had last night with Art Gelwicks. It's about 13 minutes long, and just over 3 MB in size. I'm posting it here to test how it reacts in Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

keeping up

I haven't been keeping up with posting here. I've become intrigued by the possibilities presented by the API from Google Maps and have been playing with that. The reason that the video below (in the previous post for those of you in the archive ;-) isn't playing may be due it's file size (too big for my account at From what I can see of the code, it should work.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blogging Anniversary

edit from 06Jan06--the videos in this page show in Firefox, but I can't get the first to show in IE and will keep working on it.

Today marks the 4th anniversary for this blog. I'm still enjoying the "blogging experience" and am especially thankful for the opportunities it presents to interact with a very dynamic community of practice.

Lately my attention has returned to media--especially video--for the web. This "vlog entry" contain my thoughts on the "biggest challenge" for online video producers. Thanks again to the good folks at for hosting the videos.

The videos are in QuickTime format and running times for the videos are 26 and 13 seconds respectively:

What's the biggest issue facing a prospective audio-, screen-, video-, or web-caster of multimedia for the web?

ok, so what do we do about it?

I used the Embedded Media HTML Generator to build the code to embed, and "objectify", these *.mov files.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Surfing Controversy

Here's a link to the RSS feed for my files at Because I can identify my files in any manner I see fit, I have the ability to tag them in ways that may makes sense to me or colleagues with whom I'd like to share.

In the latest instance I can provide a link to a QuickTime file I produced by melding an AVI video file that I produced with my Pentax Optio S41 camera, a still picture with same, and a WAV file I captured with Windows Sound Recorder and the built-in microphone on my Dell laptop. Once again, thanks to for hosting the video.

I'd liked to have included a link to the Times-Colonist article mentioned in my latest "movie", but the T-C only offers 7 days for their free archive.

Some newspapers need to wake up to the fact that access -- in the way of a link from this post as an example -- is the key to them remaining relevant. The relevance, of course, is about being accessible from the 'net and less to do with this blog ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Media on the web

I think that this is the year that media on the web will really make it's presence known. Indeed, 'casting -- be it "old fashioned" blogging, or audio, web or video casting -- continues to become more prevalent all the time.

As I've said elsewhere, the biggest issue that I see in all of this is the logistical and technical. It really is comparatively easy to produce media for the web. The issue then becomes, "what do I do with the media that I've produced?"

When considering this question one is well advised to consider all (or as many as you can think of...) the issues associated with posting media to the 'net. Of course one's primary consideration needs to be one's audience. What type of file format(s) do you intend to offer your audience? What type(s) of connections to the 'net do they have? Apart from considerations of your audience's ability to access your content, the next thing you'll need to consider is where on the 'net you'll post your content.

How much disk space do you have at this location? What will you do once you've filled this space? What contingencies do you have in terms of backups and alternative venues in the event that this space/service "goes away?"

As you might be able to tell from this partial list, there are a number of issues associated with producing and posting media to the 'net. This becomes particularly true when one considers issues of persistence and the media itself. As always watch this space for developments.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Cross Posting

At the risk of contravening "netiquette," this is an example of "cross-posting" due to the fact that it has also appeared in my space at

I've taken the liberty because of what I deem to be the importance of the message, and as a "hedge" in the interest of my audience until I decide what to do in terms of online posting and my growing number of web spaces.

I've been blogging for a while and my interest has recently returned to 'casting. Specifically what the individual 'caster can do. It's quickly becoming apparent that disc space and persistence of one's artifacts are two key issues for those starting out with 'casts -- be they pod, screen, video or web. The good news is we have Dave and Jeff (aka Marathon Man) to thank as exemplars for those of us who might aspire to follow in their steps.

I have to say that it was a blast to be able to check in on the goings-on at the World Bridges webcastathon. It was an inspiration to be able to connect -- even if I was only listening, and making the occasional post in the chat interface -- with people around the world.

I think that technology provides the means for "real people" the world over who can see the sense in making connections and reaching out to others to make the best of opportunities and situations as they present.

It's scary to me that govenrnments have decided that "all bets are off" in terms of civil liberties and rule of law. My hope is that the 'net provides a way for the people to have a say in how things work themselves out.