Article on Blogging

I have plans to post about Second Life when I get a readership on older citizens. Don’t want to frighten them. So spread the word by commenting. Thank you very much.

Older Citizens Blogging

About

The purpose of this hub is to get noticed. As an older citizen I feel marginalised as so many other older citizens do. The purpose of my teaching blog is to help older citizens have a voice. I am 67 years old and feel in many ways to be in my prime.

Spammy?

I write domains as “example dot com” when I want to tell people of a site where there is no need for a link. We sub vocalise when we read which is a memory aid. Of course when we say a web address this is how we say it. It is appropriate when an html link is not appropriate. My first gTLD (global top level domain) is IrishSecure dot com and I have had it since 1998. You can visit it if you like but there is no need for a link. There is also the practice in some platforms and blogs that if you put in example.com it automatically becomes a clickable link. Maybe its idiosyncratic but there seems to be no research on how to remember a web address? It would be easy to set up an experiment to test my theory. Give one group a list of web addresses with words example dot com and the control group example.com and see who remembers more.

Experience

I have an honours science degree in Psychology and I am a trained counsellor. I have a masters degree in Social Work. I worked as a Probation Officer for ten years in inner city high crime patch in London. I had 3 murderers on my caseload. I set up and ran an alcohol abuse training course that the courts could sentence to. I did 14 hour shifts in a secure bail hostel on my own. For two years. My reports were used to train magistrates.

I have been around the world, mostly overland. It took ten years. I went to India via the Nile…true story!

I am bipolar.

I have survived lung cancer.

Computing

I had my first computer in 1981. In 1986 I helped programme and install a networked touch sensitive computer system for Manpower Services Commission a British government body to access a database, in real time, of job vacancies nationwide. In those days the “computer scientists” in MSC were a bunch of psychologists, the only ones to understand the system. It is now (?) used in every job centre in England well that was in the days of MSC now gone *sigh*.

In 1994 I built my first PC from scratch. In 1996 I set us up as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) with two web servers and two name servers which were built from scrap. We had a Silicon Graphics work station as used by NASA to control the Mars lander. In 2000 we offered secure wireless Internet access to the whole town of Tullamore in Ireland. In 2006 we went bust through lack of support and repercussions of the dot com crash.

My YouTube channel which I set up in 2008 has had over 100k views and there are over 400 videos. I have published over 80 documents on Scribd (not written by me) which have had over 60k views. My major sites have a library of select books all out of print copies I have found, including James Joyce Ulysses, Moby Dick etc. available to read online or download. It’s on this site too as I love it so.  My blogs have over 6k subscribers.

Currently I operate a rented web server and name servers and have 25 gTLDs and untold WordPress blogs. The blog linked below took a week to set up including content.

I know what I am doing.

If you don’t blow your own trumpet will someone else? Older Citizens should have a voice, my aim is to give them one.

Our brains still work

“The good news is that far from slowing down in old age, the brain can actually keep growing new dendrites, which are the connections between neurons. Old brains are as plastic as young brains; in fact, the connections between the two hemispheres of our brains become better integrated with age……”

Dr. Natash Josefowitz “On becoming 90” Huffington Post

Yet there are some failings as Dr.Josefowitz points out in the excellent article. I find, myself, memories of 50 or more years ago can be quite fresh but I forget the password I created 5 minutes ago AND I am only 67. I use sticky notes on my computer to remember stuff. So clearly things aren’t perfect. However it doesn’t stop me. My email box is littered with “password reset” notices. No big deal. This has been recognised by the powers that be and I can log on using a one click Facebook login.

You can teach an old dog new tricks

I blog a lot and I find it keeps my brain ticking over nicely. I learn new stuff everyday and the important bits I retain. So the idea that learning stops at a certain age is a fallacy. So with this in mind I decided to teach blogging to older citizens and that it can be done. There is a noticeable lack of older citizens blogging and this needs changing. It helps greatly that with a computer and access to the Internet this is not difficult. It could be done in a library, It takes minutes to set up a wordpress blog. When you are in wordpress dot com “If it doesn’t exist register it” . How Zen! People use their name which makes it easy to remember. Given that there are there are approximately over 150 million blogs on the Internet getting a name may pose some problems however marionjwinslow for example or billwatkinssuperblog are probably available. Just need a bit of imagination.

Capitals are ok

The web treats capitals as lower case so when you are writing the name of your blog you can write it as MarionJWilson or BillsSuperBlog which makes it that more memorable when people read it. They don’t have to write it in capitals as a link BUT IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! So be imaginative and you can write a short but memorable sentence. MaybeOldButWhoCares is a potential blog address, it is memorable and that is the important thing. When chatting with friends you can say “MaybeOldButWhoCares dot wordpress dot com” and they will remember it. (By the way the teaching blog I have set up on wordpress is 100% free and there is no reason to spend any money).

Imagination

So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I'll give them a login

 So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I’ll give them a login

Research

After an extensive trawl I can find no research that has investigated cognition and blogging in the older citizen. Nor the potential impact on feelings of isolation and exclusion. Nor on the potential impact on family life. If a persons mother starts putting up pictures of when they were a child or writing about a holiday they had in 1965; anything that gives the son or daughter an historical perspective will bring families closer.

I have a very old family album which goes back to 1949 – 1952 and I used my camera phone to take a picture of the photograph. I then uploaded it to my computer and added it to my blog. Any family picture can be put in a blog.

A free wordpress blog is there in perpetuity not so people. If you have left a blog as a legacy how uplifting it can be. There needs to be research on the impact of blogging on mood. As the population ages, older citizens are a potential resource that shouldn’t be ignored.

Me and Mum 1949

 

The good old days

I read an interesting article on Facebook by an 86 year old who was lamenting the passing of an age in England that was post WW2 a time of the creation of free health care, a boom in affordable housing, education blossoming and freely available work. Its on my blog. After watching I, Daniel Blake it makes you wonder about the value we put on citizens today. Older citizens can take the values of yesterday and resurrect them for today’s generation and demand a return to things we hold dear. Compassion and honesty being the watch words. Daniel Blake received no compassion.

Older Citizens on WordPress

So I have set up a teaching blog for getting older citizens blogging. I have used video extensively with text support; a complimentary oldercitizens dot com and a quick start dot org. I am in the process of propagating it globally (why not?) and have plans to set up complimentary country sub domains on the dot com. It took me a week to set up the three sites including content so not much reaction yet. This is a free service not a business. No profit is being asked for nor made. Below is a video I made for adding your first post. Please watch full screen.

First Post

The Blog

There are four main sections to get you started

  1. Setting up and registering your blog
  2. Your first post
  3. Inserting an image and embedding a video
  4. Changing the theme

There are also sundry pages:

  • Contact
  • Useful Programs including the free Microsoft Expression Design image editor
  • A page on Widgets
  • And a Library of books (pdfs for online reading or download) which I love and put on all my sites including this one.
  • About Me

Yes a weeks work indeed…..

High hopes

This may take some time but having retired I have time, its a hobby as well as I hope a valued service. Getting noticed on the Internet is not easy and I know this. I put up my first web page in 1996 (its still there in Archives) and during a five year period as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) I am no stranger to the web. I rent my own web server and name servers so I know what I’m doing. The cost is minimal, a few Euro a week. What I am doing now is spreading the word so please visit the site leave a comment or fill out the form provided. I need feedback so I can improve. Nothing is set in stone and I will respond to both criticism and praise but I have high hopes. Hope you enjoyed this hub, there is a poll……

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New Stuff

I have neglected this site for about a couple of years since I got sick……

So I will be updating it. Meanwhile here are some links to the work I have been doing.

We have OlderCitizens.com which does what it says on the box. Then you have my teaching blog on OlderCitizens.wordpress.com and then half a dozen wordpress sites that I needed to make a video. I love the Zen of “if it doesn’t exist then register it”

maybe old but

Older Citizens on WordPress

So I have set up a teaching blog for getting older citizens blogging. I have used video extensively with text support; a complimentary oldercitizens dot com and a quick start dot org. I am in the process of propagating it globally (why not?) and have plans to set up complimentary country sub domains on the dot com. It took me a week to set up the three sites including content so not much reaction yet. This is a free service not a business. No profit is being asked for nor made

There is a quick start on OlderCitizens.org too.

So work in progress. What do you think of this theme? Got it on eCollege.me too, another site that needs updating.

I have registered Older Citizens as a business name too. I have high hopes of it. As one person it is a full time job to keep up. Fortunately I am on a bit of a high at the moment so bags of cerebral energy.  Got one splendid review from my friend Seren. She loves it.

I am also making an effort to document my life did 1965 today. My first holiday alone with my school mates. Ahh memories. OMFG I have so much to write about:

  • Tour of Italy when I was 10
  • Years 17 to 21
  • Bartending in Spain for six months aged 22
  • Squatting in Elgin Avenue 1971 – 73
  • The Great Journey (have done a bit)
  • University
  • Tibetan Buddhism with HH Dalai Lama
  • Theravadin Buddhism a monk for a year
  • Teaching English in Japan
  • ………and that just takes me up to my early thirties

Sigh but my memory is quite fresh.

Wrestling with Hub Pages at the moment – they don’t like me…..

Here’s my favourite video, the gasometer reminds me of behind Kensal Green cemetery as a child by the canal with the gas works behind….hmmm Kensal Green another blog post…

 

 

 

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A Mixture of Moocs

Taken from eCollege.me

 
A heady mix of MOOCs the good brain bad brain led me to Oliver Sachs “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat” (in the library) a very interesting study that makes you think about how perception dictates some behaviours. Then Critical Thinking and Philosophy opened up the can of worms about free will. I made a post :

 

It has been said that we are “creatures of habit”. If we are presented with a situation that requires a response this response is dependent on the cumulative responses we have had in the past. If we are “successful” in responding to a situation we are more likely to choose it. It could be said to be predetermined. If however the past creates a situation that is novel how we react is indeterminate. We can predict behaviour to a certain probability but never 100%. Kilgore Trout ( Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions Chapter ” And now it can be told” ) was created because his behaviour as a human being was totally unpredictable so fascinated the Creator. He had free will. My point is that the past may create the present and the present creates an indeterminate future because we cannot safely i.e. 100%, predict the response to the present therefore the future cannot be predicted. We have free will to respond to the present in any way we choose. This is my vision. Y A H O O !!

Which is saying that the past determines the present but every present moment is unique and how we respond to that moment can be unique so the future is indeterminate. Therefore we have free will, though often given stimulus response our responses are limited admittedly.

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EDCMOOC

I’ve started an online course a Massive Open Online Course. #edcmooc Its title is E-learning and Digital Cultures and there appears to be over a hundred participants a good proportion well educated to degree level. We evaluated several videos this week and so far a lively discussion has ensued through threaded comments. (see eCollege.me).

My first comment was:

Very dangerous to give a machine total sway over the way we do things. I still see (or want to see) Technology as a tool. I don’t see it as deterministic. It is my axe head, my flint. These shaped society but did not determine it. The printing press is another technology that shaped society and its attractive to ascribe god like powers to it. It was its use that transformed society, it was not worshipped as a god. To suggest that society is technologically driven, in my view, leaves out the serendipity of the second video. We are so much more than the sum of our media.

The third video in the series is below:

 

My comment was as follows to what is found and what is lost thread:

While its a horrible thought in my view the little bird should have died after banging into the window (not an uncommon occurrence, The figures reported for bird strikes against windows are astonishing. It is often said that between 100 million and a billion birds die in the US each year after striking windows ref: BBC however this was done through extrapolation not fact!. )  as the natural is being sacrificed and ignored in favour of the technological. (see climate change) This is not new as city dwelling has had these problems ( lack of interaction with the natural) since inception. Seen as metaphor the natural is excluded, by choice (?) in favour of the technological; the natural has the power to interrupt the technological (e.g.bird in the machine) and the human agent is oblivious to nature until forced to react (frown) when banged in front of his face. the female has no problem with being unconnected as she has her mobile.  The journey into space may provide “The Big Picture”  but this does not translate into viewing the minutiae which are ignored.Digital education has no final goal where we are all digitally educated, learning is open ended. It is also a process, a very efficient one whereby we can interact quite promptly. It is interactive distance learning. What is missing? For me very little, a pint in the student union bar? Where it is so advanced is this ability to interact, a natural occurrence. Being talked to by lecturer, writing assignments and asking questions is standard fare. Seminars may work through the Google hangout? ( sorry no experience) What we have by writing here is a multi threaded argument whereby we can choose (or not), to respond.. Choice is expanded. Time is elongated. Pace is self regulated.  I completed two Microsoft certified professional courses entirely  online (Moodle) at my own pace. This is a four / five week technologically based course yet so far the “human” touch has not been ignored. We have videos of everyone. I feel quite at home.”He is happy whom circumstance suit his temper but he is more excellent who suits his temper to any circumstance”

David Hume

I also came across this picture, updated Sistine chapel:

sistinetechno

I tweeted it.  #edcmooc

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Sigh revisted

I took down the previous post due to objections. No one saw it except a good friend of mine and my partner.  Here it is abridged. Its a shame people don’t leave comments. What are they frightened of?
bkgtxtThought I better revamp my site. The old site is here I still have my commitment to poverty and I am still working on being extraordinary:  feeling alone. I realise that  we all are alone when it comes down to it. “Be thou an island unto thyself O Ananda” The Buddha’s last words to his chief disciple.

Loneliness – sabishisa or sabi, is profoundly important for haiku. Sometimes arising out of our well known solitary sadness, it is a state of empathy, of interpenetration, with all things. Loneliness is actually sought by the haiku poet so that he may be open to sabi. One of Basho’s haiku is addressed to a mountain bird, always heard in the distance, whose cry augurs rain:

Ah kankadori,
Deepen thou
My loneliness
(Basho)

Not sure if I like this theme but as usual I have no one to ask if its ok. So I can only persist in my folly. What the fuck I’ll keep trying. I will never give up in trying to make the world better than when I left it. I am a voice crying in the wilderness. No one hears, no one listens. Sigh.

So eCollege is looking good very proud of that site. I have high hopes of it. Its very sophisticated and has many features especially being mobile friendly. I will be pushing it shortly on LinkedIn through the RSA. It looks very good in my second life profile. I need to come up with lesson plans; they are there still haven’t got them down yet. I will ask for requirements I think. People should have Microsoft Design and Web. I will teach how to get a self hosted web site up and running. I can train people up and then “Train the trainers” so it is self perpetuating.

If you want to help please fill out the form below and we can get started. You can Skype me dude.starship ask for eCollege details and we can do something. The Internet is now part of our lives ever thought you should be a part of its?

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