Wednesday 31 March 2010

Three Jim Mora moments on National Radio

Jim Mora - NZ National Radio
I am beginning to relax into my  fortnightly chat with Jim Mora on National Radio. Hope it tells - and is, accordingly of interest to folks. The audio wee player is below:

1. Facebook A telling tale of sleeplessness - or what happens when your partners Facebook account is hijacked!

2. BBC news
BBC to delay building iPhone /iPad applications because of concerns from commercial publishers - read Murdoch - that they are too big a force and are inhibiting the market for paid news. I think this is a hugely interesting issue.

Story here
and here

3. Web and the Cloud
Is big and and centralised still the way to go in the age of the always on distributed web?

Two examples

3.1. Auckland City Council
The Auckland Transition Agency, ATA, is working on a bunch of big projects which will centralise the IT systems of the upcoming single city authority for Auckland due to go live in October. The notion, as in the good old days, is that centralisation of IT systems will give efficiencies.
Is this approach still the way to go in the new world of online data etc?
Isn't the promise of the web all about being small and nimble - sharing data, services, and expertise? 

3.2. National Library - and Archives
What's the rational in folding the NZ National Library and NZ Archives into the Department of Internal Affairs, DIA?
The argument goes that this will produce more efficiencies - but as in the Auckland City example is this still the case?

See NZ Cabinet paper on the proposal is here -  The paper speaks to having  consulted with key stakeholders. A whole swag of  groups, including LIANZA, Society of Archivists, Historians etc say they have not been consulted. Neither have LIAC, the statutory advisory group to the Minister to the National Library.

4. Web site
Virtual Museum of the Pacific - here

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Living and Learning in the Cloud - my valedictory lecture to the National Library, New Zealand

The Adjunct Director role - New Zealand National Library
Last week in Wellington at the Soundings Theater, Te Papa I gave my valedictory lecture to the role of Adjunct Director, National Digital Library, National Library, New Zealand. This role has been hugely engaging, allowing me the chance to participate, comment and on occasion contribute to a bunch of projects and thinking inside the NLNZ.

Living and Learning in the cloud
In the lecture, among other points, I ask three questions. Where are the online spaces for reflective thinking? Second, what is the role of a cultural institution in the cloud? And last, can we connect the two?

The slides and the audio
The slides are offered below. At the foot of the Slide Share presentation is a small audio player, which on click gives you the lecture.  We - the NLNZ and I -  decided separating the two was the best option - allowing people to move through the slides at their own pace while listening to the audio. And of course - I would totally love some comments.

Sunday 28 March 2010

UK Conservative party show how not to use Twitter in a campaign

bigger image here

Image Non-Commercial-Share Alike License from Meg Pickard, explains both the context and the timeline:
"On Sunday March the 21st The Conservatives launched the Cash-Gordon website. A site that included (unmoderated) tweets with the hashtag #cashgordon.
On the 22nd it all went a bit wrong. Here’s a timeline of tweet events from the first site “defacing” to the site being taken down 26 minutes later. Not all tweets are here, some people decided to delete their tweets before they could be plucked out of the API. These are the images and sites shown and redirected to …  " more

Saturday 27 March 2010

Wellington moments - Seraphine Pick , Francis Upritchard, Shane Cotton and Paratene Matchitt

Four Wellington moments
I was in Wellington for the week just past, and more on this in due course: however, I did take some time out to go look at some of the art in the Wellington City Art Gallery installed for the New Zealand Arts Festival. I also took the chance to look at the two NZ installations from Venice Biennale currently on show at Te Papa.

Seraphine Pick
The big ticket exhibition at the City Gallery stretches over both the North and the South Gallery the better to show a long arc of development around Seraphine Pick's art practice. She has been one of NZ's arts favorite daughters for some time now, but its the first time I have had the chance to walk round such a big collection of her work.

The curator, Felicity Milburn, from Christchurch Art Gallery,  has organised the works in  big slabs of consecutive time/series - from Private Universes, Fantasy Forests, Secret Gardens, and a more generic wall - the Image Bank -  takes a bunch of works, many on paper, and conceptualises them as Pick's store of future imaginaries.

The approach - especially the big slabs of time - very quickly draw you into a conversation with the works as a series of episodes to the artist's life - re-enforced by labeling which adds a lot of personal colour and intimacy from the artists history - relationships - break-up etc.

I found some of this a little predictable, but it definitely served to make such a large parcel of works come alive as a coherent series of consecutive moments, as well as offering a healthy domesticity to some of the more startling images on display, especially the self portraits boldly working through the pain of loss and abandonment.

But it was the most recent, more cheerful, and fantastical works I liked the best, especially the deep blue broodiness of Wandering Rose, the image above, and the earlier Hunters with Wallflowers, 2004. and He (disappeared into silence) . I also loved Burning the Furniture, where the heroine sorts out her life, watched by a deferential Celtic guy in lovely grass kilt.
Go girl
Summing up , and without over-examining the symbolism,  in these later works, I just  loved the big strong mixture of Victorian fairie - hippy chic, and nz girl.

[Notes: more Seraphine Pick work images at Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland, and Hamish McKay, Wellington.  Plus see more on Felicity Milburn at the Imaginary Museum project]

Francis Upritchard, Save Yourself, 2009
Currently showing on the fifth floor of Te Papa, are the totally amazing small sculpture works, Save Yourself, which Francis Upritchard created for the Venice Biennale , where she and Judy Millar were the NZ representatives

Although I was suitable captured by the scale, texture and intellectual curiosity of the  Judy Millar works next door, I adored each of these tiny figures from Francis Upritchard, Save Yourself installation, and was grateful to see them installed in Te Papa at a level where I could gaze at them on an equal footing.

The balance of size, emotion, colour and grace in these figures is just beautiful. They start an emotional dance in your head/heart, while all the time stand silent and small.  Big big stuff going on here. The video has the artist talking about the works, as well as showing them in situ in Venice.

Shane Cotton
I adore Shane Cotton's work. He continually entrances me, especially his big leaps into new areas of work, each of which seems so self contained and of itself, leaving the past moments as episodes on his own journey exploring the dynamic of being Maori, or maybe just being Shane Cotton thinking about being Maori - the history, and the landscape of dispossession and reassertion.

Or  keeping it much more simple - I just love standing in front of one of his works, and asking it to unpack its story.

Nineteen Ninety Three
Currently on view in the main foyer of the City Gallery is one of his early works, Nineteen Ninety Three, now in the collection of the Wellington City Council.

It is a long narrow work which shows a waka [canoe] shape  - which might also be a long vessel sitting amidst a intense brown landscape. The deck of the vessel , or the rim of the vessel, also serves as a landscape showing small flagpoles and uprights, each of which is traversed by the sign 1-8 -6- 5 - this being the date 1865, when the Maori Land court was established which in turn converted communally owned tribal land into individual title.

Te Ara has more on this here - for Cotton, the establishment of the Maori Land Court marked the start of the dispossession, and the marker to the long march of cultural and economic reassertion.  It's a stunning work.  

Paratene Matchitt
Paratene Matchitt is another contemporary Maori artist and sculptor who just stops you in your tracks. Also on view in the City Gallery, and on loan from the main Wellington Public Library next door is his wonderful Waharoa [gateway] doorways, 1990, which serve as the entrance to the Maori section of the central library.  Positioned here in the art gallery, its conceptual power is intensified courtesy of the reflective space around it.

No images
I can't find images of either of these works to share with you, which feels a pity. Both works are in a public collection, and both artists have many images elsewhere.  For example, apart from the big institutions, check Hamish McKay or Gow Langsford for Shane Cotton,  or Judith Anderson, for Paratene Matchitt

Mercifully, Te Papa has a lovely image of Shane Cotton's Whakapiri atu te whenua,  It hangs in Te Papa, and I saw it once again on my way through to the Francis Uppritchard.

It gives you a parallel track to the motions I was touching on above. Again, it speaks to Maori  displacement and renewal.

Four moments - thanks! 
So - four separate quiet, contemplative art moments as I navigated an intense week of Wellington which was all about engaging, talking collaborating, thinking out loud.  You have no idea how welcome they were. Thanks!

Friday 26 March 2010

From Collection Trust: 10 principles for linked data in the cultural sector


This is a huge week for me - lots to report and reflect on. and then, later, a space to have a think through these 10 principles from  a session organised by the UK Collection Trust. Below is a piece of their report from a session, including the 10 principles:  
1. Data is rich, and includes Data created by Users
Data includes all forms of digital asset, including those generated in collaboration with our users. We must guard against information silos in our organisations, and promote openness as widely as possible.

2. Linked Data serves both the sector and its audiences
Linked data has the power both to improve our service to the public and the management of our Collections. Connecting the data we hold and curate is the best way to achieve Public Value.

3. Linked Data connects the culture sector to a collaborative effort across the Public Sector
Linked Data connects the culture sector to the broader context of Public Sector delivery. It also enables the sector to benefit from investment and innovation in other industry sectors.

4. Linked Data can help us achieve more efficient practice
Providing and consuming Linked Data can reduce inefficiency, and add value to existing content creation. It helps us improve workflows, reduce duplication of effort and foster a culture of cooperation within organisations.

5. Linked Data can help us deliver on our commitment to Public Access
Services based on Linked Data provide a channel through which Culture-sector content can be enjoyed and used by a wider, more diverse public. Linked data carries an implicit right of reuse for our audiences.

6. Linked Data is the next phase in our adaptation to the Web
Linking Data is the next logical step in the evolution of cultural services from curation to digitisation to the delivery of rich, integrated and personal online services.

7. Linked Data should become an embedded function of the software we use
Linked Data will only achieve critical mass in the Culture sector when it becomes an out-of-the-box function of the systems and software we use.

8. We must communicate the benefits of Linked Data throughout the sector
Embracing Linked Data across the sector will not happen by itself. The benefits of Linked Data must be championed proactively throughout the sector by strategic and political agencies, funders, managers and policymakers.

9. We must commit to commissioning Open Data, not Open Source
Open Source systems do not guarantee that the data they contain will be openly available. As a sector, we must ensure that all funding programmes, commissioning and procurement include a requirement to make publicly-funded data openly-available using open and established industry standards.

10. We must support a commercial market of providers and suppliers to support Linked Data
There must be a viable business case to support a long-term transition towards providing Linked Data as an established function of the sector. We must ensure that the broader marketplace is aware of the range of data that museums, archives and libraries can provide.

See Collection Council blog for more detail and more context, here

Thursday 25 March 2010

Media7 TVNZ - New Zealand and the Internet , et al

NZ and the Internet
Russell Brown of Media7 devoted episode 6 of his current series to talking about the Internet in New Zealand, the new Pacific Fibre project, the state of Telecom NZ, and the impact of the NZ government internet filter. He invited me on the panel to take part. This is the embed - the second part follows.

Friday 19 March 2010

Future of Publishing

Friday Moment
I like this. Made by DK, here.  Based on this Argentinian poltical ad - here - not sure about the emphasis on brand - but totally worth a Friday moment.

Got it through Hamish MacEwan on Twitter. He has his own Radio NZ conversation spot with Jim Mora , here

Thursday 18 March 2010

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide

Tim Berners- Lee the year open data went worldwide
At TED2009, Tim Berners-Lee called for "raw data now" -- for governments, scientists and institutions to make their data openly available on the web.  At TED University in 2010, he shows a few of the interesting results when the data gets linked up.

TED original, here. You Tube version, here  Curiously, there is no embed option on YouTube [ that I could find] but there is one on TED.

See especially his commnets/illustrations on Haiti.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Jim Mora - NZ World Internet Project - BBC Internet survey - Pacific Fibre and British Museum and Wikipedia

 Afternoons with Jim Mora
I had my fortnightly conversation with Jim Mora on National Radio, this afternoon. See here for the programme and the context

The conversation
The chat with Jim  is available here - just click the wee player, or go for download: Ogg Vorbis   MP3

The  links and comments are:

1. NZ World Internet Project 2009 

The second full survey was conducted in August - September 2009. It questioned a sample of 1250 New Zealanders about their usage of, and attitudes towards, the Internet. Analysis focused on the social, political and economic impact of the Internet in New Zealand.
see post below for detail. The report is here

2. BBC Survey on the Internet 

Is Internet Access a human right 
Survey commissioned  by BBC  has 27,000   across 26 countries. says yes
"...Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests..."
Lovely image map feature on the history of the Internet. Story at the BBC is here . Click the image at the top to go to the interactive.
3. Pacific Fibre 

Pacific Fibre is looking to build another fiber optic cable for NZ to the USA 
This is a fantastic story
 Currently the NZ backbone up onto the rest of the world consists of the Southern Cross cable, and another link over the Tasman for redundancy. This new cable  is needed both for competition and to enhance the broadband speeds currently on offer here in NZ. For example, on a good night at home - central Auckland - I would rarely get above 1M/bps.

In context, the UK is calling for a minimum 2Mbps standard for basic internet use by 2010

4. Wikipedian in Residence
 British Museum

If you cant beat them - join them 
British Museum has announced the first in house Wipedian in residence.
The first Wikipedian  is Liam Wyatt - he is from Sydney -  very interesting move by  the British Museum .

Goes to the heart of the issue of the credibility of Wikipedia  - it's  growing authority - and how mainstream organisations like the British Museum are starting to take its presence very seriously - 
Liam Wyatt blog on why and how is here

World Internet Project NZ - the latest findings from late 2009 survey

World Internet Project NZ
The second World Internet Project NZ survey was conducted in August – September 2009. A
sample of 1250 New Zealanders has been analysed for their use of and attitudes to the Internet.

The sample was interviewed by telephone [land-line] and were asked a series of questions each of which follow the agreed pattern of the World Internet Project. The WIP have their own The World Internet Project Report 2010, here

The NZ version of this ongoing longitudinal study is conducted by the Institute of Culture, Discourse & Communication , ICDC,  at AUT . They have funding from the NZ National Library, and Internet New Zealand.  PDF of the full report, here

 Summary of Findings

Five sixths of New Zealanders use the Internet. Of the remainder, a third are ex‐users and two thirds have never used the Internet. One fifth of users are online at home for at least 20 hours a week, but three fifths for less than 10 hours a week.

Digital divide
Five sixths of users with a connection at home have broadband, while the rest have dial‐up. In general, the younger, wealthier and more urban people are, the more they tend to have broadband access. Younger people are more likely to belong to social networking sites such as Facebook. They also rate the Internet more highly as a source of information, entertainment and in overall importance for their everyday lives. Similarly, the more people earn, the more highly they rate their own ability to use the Internet. City dwellers are more likely than rural dwellers to have broadband, to rate their Internet ability highly and to belong to a social networking site.

There is little difference between male and female usage of the Internet, for example in hours spent online, frequency of playing online games and user ability.

Rating the Internet
The Internet has become integral to the lives of many New Zealanders. Two thirds of users say it is important to their everyday lives and think it would be a problem if they lost access. Nearly two thirds of respondents rate the Internet as an important source of information, compared with half who so rate television, newspapers or other people. However, more users rate television as an important source of entertainment than rate the Internet.

Activities online
New Zealand users’ involvement in the web is dynamic and multifaceted. About half post online messages, images or videos, while one in ten earn income from such activities. Other popular online activities are downloading music or videos, and playing games. A sixth of users are scanning for jobs on the Internet at least weekly. The Internet is also used frequently for transactions. At least weekly, over a half of users do online banking and a quarter pay bills online. At least monthly, a third of users buy something online and a sixth sell something. Half of students say the Internet is used as a teaching tool in their classes at least weekly.

The Internet plays an important role in the social lives of New Zealanders. Four fifths of users check their email at least daily. Half the users are members of social networking sites (mostly Facebook and Bebo), and of those, nearly half participate at least daily. Just on a third use instant messaging and a quarter participate in multiplayer online games at least weekly. Nearly half of users report that the Internet has increased their contact with other New Zealanders, and more say it has increased their overall contact with family and friends. On the other hand, a quarter say it has decreased face‐to‐face family time. A quarter of users have made friends online, and more than half of those have gone on to meet such friends in person. For people with under‐18s in their household, four fifths have rules governing online activities.

source - here

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Wikipedia study on First Monday - inclusionists versus deletionists - Vasilis Kostakis.

"Wikipedia has been hailed as one of the most prominent peer projects that led to the rise of the concept of peer governance. However, criticism has been levelled against Wikipedia’s mode of governance. This paper, using the Wikipedia case as a point of departure and building upon the conflict between inclusionists and deletionists, tries to identify and draw some conclusions on the problematic issue of peer governance."


Main characteristics of peer governance
Leadership and benevolent dictatorships
A summary of criticism on Wikipedia’s governance
Case study: Inclusionists versus deletionists
The governance process, inclusionists and deletionists
Lessons for peer governance

First Monday
Full article First Monday , here 
Identifying and understanding the problems of Wikipedia’s peer governance: The case of inclusionists versus deletionists
by Vasilis Kostakis.
First Monday, Volume 15, Number 3 - 1 March 2010

Tea Revives You

Saturday 13 March 2010

Giday the UK - Auckland calling - Te Ara and the new black of linked data

This post  was written as a guest blogger to the UK Museum Group - and a big thanks for the invite - original here.  Re-posting it here because I want the Te Ara thoughts to circulate in NZ as well. Curiously, Helen Clark, see post,  popped up as Friday's guest lecturer at the LSE in London , here.

Te Ara - The economy and the city
Thursday night the rain drummed its way down Queen Street in Auckland, making a small in-road into the humidity of this last week. But that's Auckland for you - as soon as it has any visitors, especially from Wellington, the rain pours down, the better to confirm their prejudices that it never stops raining here.

The Wellington visitors were a distinguished lot - including Steven Joyce, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Transport, and Tertiary Education , Louis Holden,  the CEO of MCH, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and, would you credit, Sir Don McKinnon, the former Secretary to the Commonwealth, 2000-2008,

They were here to help celebrate the next theme of Te Ara , The Economy and the City, from the  New Zealand Online Encyclopedia.

Actually, I'm cheating on the last one. although he is/was  a long term statesman, both nationally and internationally, last night Sir Don was there as whanau/family - being literally big brother to Malcolm McKinnon, historian, and Te Ara  editor of the Places theme.

 He is also co-editor of this theme - the Econmoy and the City, the 6th main theme to this extraordinary piece of cultural practice. The other published topic themes are :

Still to come are : Social Connections – social groups, families and communities : Nation– systems of government and symbols of national identity. : Daily Life – the customs, leisure activities and beliefs that make New Zealand unique –  and lastly, Arts, culture, invention and innovation.

Each issue, and the combined product represents months of work from the writers, illustrators and designers, as well as a mountain of collaboration with NZ and other museums, galleries and heritage library collections.

Issues and objects of conjecture
I've been an admirer of Te Ara  since it's inception, as would anyone who is remotely interested in the life and times of  this first class online cultural practice.

This doesnt mean I am either an uncritical friend, or unconscious of how the direction it took has influenced where it might end up. And how, it might even be time for some radical changes in direction.

Thus way back when it was first mooted as an idea,  it would have been lunacy on a stick for Jock Phillips, its Editor and mid-wife -  to say to any politician, far less a Prime Minister of Helen Clark's quality - now head of the UNDP -  that  if you buy into this idea Minister, you might want to also know we have very little idea of what the online landscape will look like in the next few years, far less the 10 year life of the project, and its entirely probably that we might have to rebuilt the whole thing to keep up with new and emerging online practice.

Are we nearly there yet?
And of course -  when we actually get online it will change everything, and there will be little point in asking are we nearly there yet - there is no there - the journey is the destination, and it will be for some time yet.

And even if he had said as much to her, its definitely unlikely he would have foreseen how quickly some passengers have started asking if they can  drive the bus, or at least have a go at the map reading. 

The critique
So what needs attention? Well for example, in the current site, apart from a good use of RSS feeds, Te Ara has no collaboration tools whatsoever. You can't make a personalisation folder, and by internal policy fiat  there are very few hyper-links links to outside sources. Moreover, you will search in vain for a co-lab rights framework like Creative Commons, or any substantive links to the outside world of social networks.

This lack of an external linking policy has come in for debate in the past. However,  I predict there will be a fresh airing of this lack in the weeks to come.

I say this because I believe that creative linking, and enhanced metadata behind the scenes, is now a mandatory part of the linked universe of cultural data.

Linked data - the expectation
Moreover,  in the forthcoming semantic web,  it will be a commonplace to expect that primary and secondary sources cited in objects like Te Ara  - and see any page for brilliant unlinked examples  of these - to be machine readable  to the digitised primary and secondary sources which it cites. And some of these - see for example the graphs  on economic activity, will be live.

As to what kinds of sources are on offer right now, have a look at the excellent work being done by the NZ Electronic Text Centre in digitsing NZ  primary sources - or the McLean Papers on the NZ National Library of NZ , or indeed over in  Australian , see the TROVE  gateway to the Australian National Library as an outstanding example of a federated discovery layer, which in turn will take you to digitised copies of the James Cook and Joseph Banks journals,  And out in the offing is the prospect of much more to come, including deep linkages to museum collections.

The GLAM thing down under
And just in case you think that the above examples, are a tad library and non museum focussed, its well to remember that down here in the Antipodes there is a much tighter connection between museums, galleries and museums - e.g. TROVE sources  from , inter alia, Picture Australia which in turn has a mine of sources from Australian museums.

Similarly  museum collection metadata  is not only expected, but a common place pillar to the likes of Digital New Zealand, and its older sister Matapihi. Moreover, the likes of The Powerhouse Museum isn't so much leading the way in discovery and presentation, in the likes of its experiments with Open Calais, its way over the horizon out of sight and sound of the rest of us.

All of which brings us back to my central point that Te Ara not only needs to offer more tools and toys for its visitors to play with - simply told - like so many other online cultural entities - it needs to get out more!

That said, Te Ara does have a bit of relationship with Wikipedia. Not only will you see Te Ara links in there, its fair to say this is one area in which they could and would do a lot more provided the Wikipedia community started to talk out loud as to how they wanted to frame new kinds of relationships.  It would also be great if some of the Wikipedia guys relearned that a conversation works best with at least two sides.

Like others, I'm aware  of progress in that direction - for example,  the Wikipedia guys are heading up and over to the MW2010, Museums and the Web 2010 conference for a session on extending  the conversation they started in Canberra last year at the GLAM wiki session.

And on that note, I'd also love to commend the British Museum news that in June this year, they are to host Liam Wyatt as their first volunteer Wikipedian in residence. I think this is a great development.
[Update: Liam has a great blog post on this announcement and what he/they are hoping to achieve, here ]

Creative Commons
Talk about Wikipedia, and you start talking IP rights. Back on Te Ara, there is another huge conversation to be had on their current rights framework.

Basically, like a lot of  museums, galleries, etc, they dont have one. Sure they might think they do - i.e. a re-written analog policy posted on the web site. But as yet - as do almost all the museum sector worldwide -  they have still to work out their relationship with the read write generation.

That the Creative Commons framework is a key tool-set in  this new realtionship is I believe, a given.  On that note, here in NZ  life for the CC community just got a little interesting.

Royal Society NZ
In an unusual move to say the least,  Creative Commons International has endorsed the moving of the NZ CC  head licence away from the now defunct NZ Humanitites Network  into the slightly startled arms of the NZ Royal Society with whom the NZ Humanities Council has now merged.

Local misgivings on the move, mostly from the creative open source community of NZ , have been largely put at rest, not least by the Royal Society's willingness to set up a new external advisory board which they hope will help them work out how to manage this interesting development.

As someone who was involved in setting up the original framework I was a little dubious as to how sensible it was to send something as fragile as the CC into the stern arms of scientific rigour without at least a basket and a note to be gentile with the baby. But it looks like we should be fine.

The Pacific thing - Pasifika!
Finally, as I tap, its Friday night. I'm heading out tomorrow for Pasfika the annual cultural- arts - and community festival for the Pacific community here in Auckland and beyond. You have no idea how blessed I feel by access to the Pacific way. And as for Pasifika, believe me Notting Hill aint got nothing on this.

It runs all weekend. Every island nation has a piece of a local park. Trust me, this is totally the real thing - something that the person who thinks a Samoan tattoo is a good idea will find out tomorrow. And on the kava thing  - just how difficult is the concept of a mild narcotic!

Virtual Museum of the Pacific
As for the virtual Pacific - there is a lot more to tell - and maybe next time - if I'm asked back. For the moment - have a look at this You Tube video frrom  The Virtual Museum of the Pacific, here. The site itself is here.

It is one of the most interesting things to cross my desk in a 12 month. Linked data - the new black!

Friday 12 March 2010

NZ On Screen feature on Flying Nun Music Video Collection

" NZ On Screen has today launched a collection of classic Flying Nun music videos, curated by the label’s founder Roger Shepherd.
The clips are accompanied by an inside story from Shepherd and written tributes from ex-MTV Europe chief Brent Hansen and media commentator and former Rip It Up editor Russell Brown.
The timing of the Flying Nun Collection marks Shepherd’s recent buy-back (from Warner Music) of the record company he founded in Christchurch in 1981.
Flying Nun is synonymous with Kiwi indie music, and with autonomous DIY, bottom-of-the-world creativity. This collection celebrates the label’s ethos as manifested in the music videos. The collection features a choice selection of 21 music videos reflecting their significance to Flying Nun history, and Shepherd’s personal favourites.
Included are label legends such as Chris Knox (Nothing’s Going to Happen, The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, Face of Fashion); The Clean (Beatnik, Anything Could Happen, Getting Older); the Verlaines (Death and the Maiden); Straitjacket Fits (She Speeds); Sneaky Feelings (Husband House); The Bats (North by North); and The Chills (Heavenly Pop Hit)."
Source: NZ On Screen press release
The collection is here

Thursday 11 March 2010

Coming up - two public lectures on science and the world it lives in

Empty Space weighs something?

Is science too hard?
Curiously, I'm writing this post almost in tandem with the announcement that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the world's science academies to review work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Like many others I have a growing interest in how science is discussed and understood by non scientists, including me.

I'm also increasingly aware of the need to discuss how science is debated in the media, and indeed how much scientific literacy the bulk of us have at at our disposal, especially when trying to come to grips with some of the big ticket political issues like climate change, environmental degradation, re-newable energy etc.

Two public lectures are coming up in New Zealand which, from different perspectives, and disciplines, will cover this ground in spades. 

Professor Lawrence Krauss
First up, Professor Lawrence Krauss  is coming to Auckland University - 22 March 2010 6:15pm - 7:15pm
Venue: Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Building 301, Faculty of Science, 22 Symonds Street, Auckland
Professor Lawrence Krauss is the award winning scientist, educator, author and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He is the best-selling author of The Physics of Star Trek, Atom: an Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth and Beyond and Hiding in the Mirror.

In this lecture - free to all -  he is planning to 'discuss the distinction between science and fiction and between sense and nonsense'

Science - media - scientific literacy
As part of this, Prof Krauss will also cover the 'challenge that journalists face in presenting science appropriately, not only in a society in which scientific illiteracy is rampant, but also in which the public is exposed to a host of scientific fallacies presented as fact in the media'.

More on the presentation, here.

Exchanges at the Frontier
For a taste of his style, see the video above. It comes as part of the  Exchanges at the Frontier series, recorded late  2009 when the Wellcome Collection joined forces with the BBC World Service to host some of the biggest names in world science.  The Welcome Insitute have their own web resource on this, here, plus the excellent  BBC world Service series is , here

Martin Lord Rees  in Wellington 23d March, 2010
Next day, Tuesday 23rd, in Wellington,  Martin Lord Rees, current President of the Royal Society of London,  is giving the Rutherford Memorial Lecture  in Wellington.  He is also UK’s Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He will be speaking,  at 

7.00pm Tuesday 23 March 2010
Wellington Town Hall, Wakefield Street, Wellington
(entry via Town Hall Foyer, Wakefield Street)
Lecture title:  The World in 2050
" As a cosmologist, Lord Rees studies the universe, and tries to understand its evolution on grand timescales of billions of years.  But he is also concerned with the much smaller time scale of a human life.  In his book Our Final Century, he gave our civilization a 50/50 chance of surviving the 21st century.

What does he think now, five years on from the publishing of his book and what is his view of how things will stand in 2050? .."
See here , for more
There is no charge but you need to book - tickets are available at 
Enquiries to: or 04 470 5781

Lord Rees at TED in April, 2005
The alert among you will have figured out the TED video is 5 years old - so the lecture coming up in Wellington  follows on from these early thoughts from 5 years ago,  the  time of the publication of his book, Our Final Century

Tuesday 9 March 2010

iPad versus Courier - work or play - can I have both!

Courier or iPad
The word is the iPad commercial at the Oscars -  see above -  had them rocking in the isles. and being a happy flappy mac kind of guy I can relate to that.

However, this doesn't mean that Apple is going to have it all its own way this year. Just up  on the Twitter wire  is a viral to a bunch of videos espouses just what you can do with a Microsoft Courier -  their answer to the iPad - even though, apparently,  Microsoft is denying this project exists.

What is interesting me more and more though - is not the  MAC/PC competition,  but the different user frameworks that seem to driving the way these developments are being offered up  to us.

Hang loose
The iPad advert, and all the other design  and brand collateral,  is all about lifestyle - hanging loose - leisure - and a smart kind of Renaissance like style - the 21st century Quattrocento.

Perpetual Journal
Microsoft , as seems inevitable  is much more Weber - Protestant ethic with a look back to the Medieval Scriptorium. It's all about - the project - the meeting - and of course - the deal. Check out the video script  below to see what I mean.

My reaction
Notwithstanding my ongoing troubles with chippy American accents talking about inspiration et al, I do like the notion of the endless journal.  I also like the collaboration tools. In short, I like the idea of a device that helps me create contributions to the digital revolution, as opposed to one which seems to focus on how I can consume them. 

Mrs Lenin

So please Apple - can we have a little less cool - and a little more work ethic! And of course, it would be just great if you could get your head round the fact that real revolutions require multi-tasking. Ask Mrs Lenin! As for Microsoft - is this real? Spill!

Monday 8 March 2010

Nina Simon launches the book, The Participatory Museum

Nina Simon - legend!
Some days are just made for giving a shout out to interesting people - and none comes more interesting, at least to me, than Nina Simon , the Museum consultant and Museum 2.0 blogger, who electrified  the last session of the  New Zealand National Digital forum with her thoughts and insights into the Participatory Museum. Who can forget that gong!  Liam Wyatt hasn't, for sure

The Gong
And for those who havn't come across it, the gong was on stage  waiting for people to come up and bang it to announce they had just found someone to help in a project, or had become that someone and was prepared to help.

Believe me, being a Scotsman of a certain era, I can assure you  my first- second and third thought - was no way hosaie - not on yer nellie dug are you getting me up on that stage and anywhere near that gong. But hey ho - as the tape will show for all eternity, never say never. And the project - cant say just yet - but it just started last week.

The Participatory Museum
All of  which is a long intro into the welcome news that Nina  Simon has a new book out - The Participatory Museum - you can buy it - here - but you can also start reading the first few chapters under the CC licence, here. Or just use the short-cuts below:
The plot
The Participatory Museum
is a practical guide to working with community members and visitors to make cultural institutions more dynamic, relevant, essential places, written by Nina Simon, exhibit designer, museum consultant, and the author of the Museum 2.0 blog.
Preface: Why Participate?

Part 1: Design for Participation
Chapter 1: Principles of Participation
Chapter 2: Participation Begins with Me
Chapter 3: From Me to We
Chapter 4: Social Objects

Part 2: Participation in Practice
Chapter 5: Defining Participation at your Institution
Chapter 6: Contributing to Institutions
Chapter 7: Collaborating with Visitors
Chapter 8: Co-creating with Visitors
Chapter 9: Hosting Participants
Chapter 10: Evaluating Participatory Projects
Chapter 11: Managing and Sustaining Participation
Powerhouse Museum
Another reminder - Nina Simon's  entire December , 2009 workshop session with The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is online, here  There are also links to the slides.  Or  just click and watch. Very generous gesture from both parties.

Nina Simon on The Participatory Museum - Dec 2009, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney from Powerhouse Museum on Vimeo.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Sunday books in Aotearoa - The Good Word - speaking truth to power

 no embed - so click image, or here, to go to TVNZ Ondemand

The Good Word
I have just been watching The Good Word  hosted by the NZ writer  Emily Perkins,  a weekly books programme on TVNZ 7, one of the new digital channels on Freeview, and now Sky, It s also available on TVNZ OnDemand, here

TVNZ 7 is one of the new channel outcomes  from the governments 2006, $79 million largess to TVNZ  to help them, over 6 years, set up  and run their digital strategy. Would be nice to see something similar emerging for their cash strapped sister Radio New Zealand.  But I digress.
The latest episode
The latest series  of The Good Word  is broadcast in the twilight zone of Saturday night. However, mercifully, the entire series is up on TVNZ On Demand.  Last nights episode, the one I've just  watched  here,  has a lovely spirited panel exchange talking about Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. Emily Perkins, host and anchor, keeps it all running nicely.

Under the Covers 
I also enjoyed Finlay Macdonalds Under the Covers segment. In this episode he talks with  Ranginui Walker, the Maori scholar and intellectual who has been ' speaking truth to power' for nearly 50 years.  They discuss the ongoing relevance of his 1990 book, Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou - Struggle Without End, There is also some good contextual footage to the issues they traverse - including tv and heritage materiel on Maori history.

Man Alone
I like the Under the Covers idea - it brings out some of the real treasures to the New Zealand literary landscape, and Macdonald, one time editor of the NZ Listener, columist, and one time Sunday Star Times books editor, and now anchor host to the Auckland Msueum LATE series,  is in his element here.

See for example one of the early pieces in the first series on John Mulgan's seminal text Man Alone,  with its classic  terse tale of the returned 1st World War soldier coming back to a New Zealand about to be torn apart by the politics of depression and want.

Penguin classic
Man Alone is also one of  the 10 titles chosen by Penguin NZ  to mark their own version of the Popular Penguin series.

The others are: Going West, Gee Maurice, Potiki, Patricia Grace - The Skinny Louie Book, Fiona Farrell - Plumb, Maurice Gee - Smith's Dream, C K Stead - Oracles and Miracles, Stevan Eldred-Grigg- The GrandifloraTree, Shonagh Koea- The Whale Rider, Witi Ihimaera- Came A Hot Friday, Ronald Hugh Morrieson

Jason Books
By the by, the establishment shots for the Under the Covers series, take place in Jason's Books , the lovely second hand book store at 3 Lorne Street Auckland. I pass through it every day en route for lunch, or whatever. Great tø see it on the screen.

Friday 5 March 2010

Friday moment: Sir Ken Robinson, Hammer Lecture - talking about The Element, and other things

The Element
I have to hand a copy of The Element -  looking forward to hearing the voice on the page. This lecture is about a year old - but it is still worth it. Still waiting on his TED presentation, 2010

The talk
He goes for 58 minutes without a note - or a slide, just himself thinking aloud, and taking the time to engage with the audience. For sure I've heard a couple of the jokes before, but it's a beautiful piece of work, and yet more one liners to take into the week-end and think on
Death Valley, California, flowers, April 2005
He also talks about how, in 2005, after a rain storm, the buried seeds of Death Valley germinated and flowered. So as I listened to him,  I went off and looked for some - this is from Wikimedia, here

Thursday 4 March 2010

KPMG report on Radio New Zealand, November 2007, released under OIA

The KPMG report on Radio New Zealand
The Hon Jonathan Coleman, NZ Minister for Broadcasting, in his reply to my email, and of course, dozens of others who also emailed him - is at pains to point out that he is a supporter of Radio New Zealand and simply wants to help them figure out ways of maintaining and improving services within their current budget.

However, as the KPMG report below points out, this might be a bit harder than we,  and he,  anticipated. Among a number of other telling comments they baldly state, " we have concluded that RNZ is underfunded in terms of ensuring the sustainability of its current outputs"

Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?
Seems clear as mud to me - RNZ can't do what they are tasked to do within their current budget - so the question Minister is, are you going to change "their outputs" - and make this change public - or are you going to help them achieve their existing outputs with additional resources?

And if the former - they have to do less - then can you make it real clear to them - and indeed the rest of us, just what less means. Or as Mozart - via IMDB - famously had it:
Emperor Joseph II My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.
Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?
The KPMG report
Yesterday, I asked  MCH, the NZ Ministry of Culture and Heritage, for the KPMG report - they sent it by email today - thanks - much appreciated.
Here it is - its a a PDF - 83 pages

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Jim Mora conversation on Pew Report on Future of the Internet, Onyas, Te Ara, and Picnik

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."

- Lewis Carroll

Jim Mora in the Afternoon on Radio NZ
It's that time again - talking to Jim Mora on National Radio about the Internet - and other such cabbages. Click wee player to listen - alternatives are  Ogg Vorbis   MP3

Future of the Internet - Pew Institute
A Pew Internet survey  on the Future of the Internet spoke to  nearly 900 Internet stakeholders and revealed new perspectives on the way the Internet is affecting human intelligence - memory - and the way we think,

The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers and technology developers. This reportcovers the experts responses to:
• Will Google make us stupid?
• Will the internet enhance or detract from reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge?
• Is the next wave of innovation in technology, gadgets, and applications pretty clear now, or will the most interesting developments between now and 2020 come “out of the blue”?
• Will the end-to-end principle of the internet still prevail in 10 years, or will there be more control of access to information?
• Will it be possible to be anonymous online or not by the end of the decade?
The Nicholas Carr article
As noted above, this year they asked a bunch of experts to comment on the challenge thrown out by Nicholas Carr in a cover story for the Atlantic Monthly, Summer of 20081: "Is Google Making us Stupid?

2. Onya Awards
The Onyas, the NZ Internet Awards winners and runners up.  We discuss the big winner, Xero, and also gave out a hand to Radio NZ.

3, Bits and Bobs
Te Ara - On Line Encyclopedia
Has a new section launching on 11th March, 2010
Economy and the City

NZ Eventfinder  / NZ Live

NZ Event Finder - the big commercial event database  is merging with the NZ Live . The later is/was a NZ Ministry of Culture and Heritage venture - cost a fortune to set up - and is now being absorbed by  its commercial competitor.  Who incidentally, loathed NZ Live  with a passion when it was in competition with it.

The argument is that it makes for a brand new public private partnership  - others are wondering what went wrong at NZ Live that it could be absorbed and taken away by Event Finder with hardly a murmer from the arts and cultural sector which  it was set up to serve?

Great tool for fixing - cropping - sorting your family fotos etc
Just announced -  been bought by Google   -  interesting move - whats in store?

NZ Minister for Broadcasting, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, answers my email re Radio NZ


2YA radio station under construction, Mt Victoria, Wellington.1927.
Timeframes - NLNZ Read more ...
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Like others who were concerned about stories  that Radio NZ is facing a funding crunch, I wrote to Broadcasting Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman urging him to give more support  to Radio NZ , rather than less.  I also wrote about the story, below. A few moments ago, I received this reply from my email
Dear Paul

Thank you for your email about Radio New Zealand, which I have read.  My apologies for not replying to you sooner but I receive a lot of correspondence and I like to ensure everyone gets a reply.

First, I want to make it clear that I am a supporter of Radio New Zealand and a regular listener.

I also want to make it clear that Radio New Zealand does not need “saving,” quite simply because its existence is not under threat.

However, Radio New Zealand is one of the vast majority of state owned operations that are being required to tighten their belts thanks to the recessionary environment this government inherited.

This doesn’t mean the government is requiring cuts to services.  I have simply asked Radio New Zealand to come up with a plan for maintaining its present outputs with its present budget.

Again, this scenario isn’t unique to Radio New Zealand.

The government’s spending priorities at this time are law and order, health, and education.  For everyone else it’s about maintaining existing services within present budgets for the foreseeable future.

As a fan of Radio New Zealand I am sensitive to its cause; however as a Minister of the Crown in a country with a massive debt burden, I am equally sensitive to seeing the country emerge from its present financial difficulties by doing what’s right.

I look forward to having a reasoned and constructive discussion with Radio New Zealand on its plans for maintaining its operations within its present $38 million annual budget.

Yours sincerely,

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Broadcasting

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
MP for Northcote
Minister of Immigration, Minister of Broadcasting 
Associate Minister of Health,  Associate Minister of Tourism

John Markinson , CEO Penguin defines company's future as software - application developer - not publisher

The e-book market and the business opportunities tø come for both platform providers, and publishers continues to morph into view.  It is a fast moving space, and I miss stuff - not least this from John Markinson, CEO, Penguin from earlier in Feburary, 2010.

In this three minute video extract,  he seems to have re framed Penguin as a software content company -application developer -  not a book publisher?

He also seems to be saying that Penguin isnt all that interested in the ePub standard because it won't give him what he wants - audio - video - gaming - as well as text and graphics.

At the least, his dismissal of the ePub standard as not currently capable to take care for their requirements is worth our attention.

Monday 1 March 2010

Virtual Museum of the Pacific

"The Virtual Museum of the Pacific is an experimental social media platform that is developed in collaboration between the Australian Museum and the University of Wollongong. The Virtual Museum of the Pacific contains 427 objects from the Australian Museum's Pacific cultural collections. Users can explore, tag and annotate these objects with rich media. In this video, we introduce its background, motivations and user experience, and also lead into its future research direction and technology platform..."
To see for yourself, visit here
Virtual Museum of the Pacific
The Virtual Museum of the Pacific interests for  a swag of reasons - semantic/social web - digital repatriation - creating cultural frameworks  to potential virtual worlds , et al.

However, I had no idea this project was so interesting, and that there was such a great presentation on the way it is being structured. Suspect I will have lots more to say on this project once I manage to get a login to see inside. In the meantime, I wanted to share the video.

There also seems to be a OLPC Oceania connection  in the making - see here for a hint.