Web 2.0 at Nottingham Festival of Words

February 12, 2013
Map of the Internet (courtsey of Opte project, CC BY 2.5)

Map of the Internet (courtsey of Opte project, CC BY 2.5)

The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words has officially started and is building up to the main events over the weekend of 16th/17th February.

I’ll be speaking on Sunday afternoon, presenting some of the future-facing material from my recent Web 2.0 book and looking ahead to the development of a global brain.

If you are interested in the future of the Internet, Web Science, artificial intelligence and the wisdom of crowds then why not pop along?

There are still tickets: http://www.nottwords.org.uk/homeIndex.html


A free Internet?

December 3, 2012

This campaign map of social media support for a free, and open, Internet is both beautiful and powerful. Add your voice to Vint Cerf’s campaign using the #freeandopen hash tag.

Live map of #freeandopen trending on twitter

Live map of #freeandopen trending on twitter


Nottingham Festival of Words blog

November 21, 2012

“Have you ever thought about what the World Wide Web looks like? Some people have. They are mapping the interconnections we make in cyberspace, the flow of information and the trail this leaves behind. Like astronomers exploring a newly discovered galaxy, they are sketching out the details of the brave new world of the Web and social media to produce amazingly beautiful maps…”

Read the rest of my piece for the Nottingham Festival of Words blog at: http://nottwords.org.uk/WordPress/?p=143

Turing: nearly on the money

October 29, 2012

Turing statue at Bletchley Park (photo: Antoine Taveneaux, Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

I’ve long been a supporter of the campaign to put Alan Turing on the back of a ten pound note in recognition of his mathematical achievements. So I was pleased to get an email over the weekend confirming that the national e-petition has reached 21,996 signatures. This is good news for the campaign and as the e-mail from HM Government says:

“As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response: The Bank of England has been including historic characters on its notes since 1970. The Bank welcomes suggestions from members of the public for individuals who might feature on future banknotes, and publishes a list of these suggestions on its website. These suggestions inform the process when a new note is under consideration.”

So all good. A glance at the published list, however, shows the competition that our Alan is up against. There must be around 150 names, ranging from philosopher Roger Bacon to singer Robbie Williams (yes, you read that correctly).

More signatures on the petition can only help. Surely the inventor of the founding theory of digital computers can beat the singer of 90s hit ‘Angels’?

First review of the book

September 17, 2012

“Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies explains Web 2.0 and its wider context in an accessible and engaging style, helping readers, especially beginners, understand every aspect of Web 2.0 without difficulty.”

The first formal review of my new book has been published in the highly respected Internet journal, First Monday. The author, Yijun Gao, an Assistant Professor in library and information science studies, paints a generally very favourable view of the book, particularly emphasising its suitability for undergraduates with little formal academic knowledge of Web 2.0 and social media.

You can read the full review at First Monday’s September issue: http://www.firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4227/3314

Festival launch update

September 13, 2012

The bloggers at Creative Nottingham have a fine summary of last night’s Nottingham Festival of Words launch.

Nottingham’s new Literary Festival

September 10, 2012

On Wednesday evening I’ll be at Antenna media centre in Nottingham, doing a quick spot at the official launch of the inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words. It’s a taster for my full session, which takes place in February 2013, where I will be talking about the new science of the Web and exploring some of the stuff there wasn’t space for in Web 2.0 and Beyond. Unfortunately I gather that there are no tickets left, so I can’t invite anyone, but I’ll post a summary later this week.


August 7, 2012

How many people might get to see a particular university lecture? The biggest academic halls hold a few hundred students. If the talk is more or less repeated every year then this might tot up to a handful of thousands in the entire career of a lecturer. How then about the idea of reaching out to a million?

The flattening of the globe which was so powerfully explored by Thomas Friedman in his book, The World is Flat, is coming to the fusty old world of the university lecture. Leading institutions are scrabbling to get on-board the latest educational technology vehicle, massive open online courses or MOOCs.

Using the power of Internet video technology these services offer university-level lectures to anyone with a computer and broadband, anywhere in the world. The leading proponent is Coursera, a US for-profit social enterprise which provides free online courses in a range of subjects and themes from the human genome to algorithm design.

The service launched in April with a small, but blue-chip, selection of US universities, but the University of Edinburg announced last week that it is joining the scheme and offering courses including an introduction to Astrobiology and Extra-terrestrial Life.

It is part of a wider move to what are being called open educational practices, offering as Edinburgh’s Jeff Haywood describes it: “ways to flex and bend the constraints that much of our traditional HE formats impose on us, and on our learners.” Or as Tim Berners-Lee put it at the Olympics opening ceremony – “This is for everyone.”

Aurora restaurant

July 16, 2012

I dined at Nottingham’s newest restaurant over the weekend, the Aurora, and it was a fine experience. The menu is described as eclectic modern british and the setting is a lovely old lacemarket warehouse basement. If you are visiting Nottingham, I can highly recommend, not least the stunning desserts:

Aurora’s modern twisted on rhubarb parfait.

Book cakes

July 12, 2012

For all those of you at my recent book launch who complained that this blog has been slacking with respect to the lunch side of matters. These book-themed cakes were brought to the editing course I’m doing at the moment.

Not quite sure how they would handle “The loneliness of the long-distance runner”…

Famous books on cakes (cakes by http://www.classy-cupcakes.co.uk/)