It's not everyday you get to attend an event that could be described as "symbolic", but the social media cafe held at Bletchley Park today could certainly be described as that. The site is the birthplace of the IT as we know it today and social media is the very latest development in how we use computers, and the place has pretty much everything in between those two points that to its hosting of the National Museum of Computing. It is also the site where incredibly important work took place that is credited with shortening World War II and saving millions of lives. It is an amazing site, and there is so much there that it is difficult to see it all in one day, and the dedication, friendliness and knowledge of the staff and volunteers bring the place to life and make it a visit a rewarding experience. Despite all this though it hangs under a big black cloud of government indifference, it has to attempt to meet the increasing challenge of restoring and maintaining this complex site largely though money it raises itself, an issue you may have seen highlighted in today's Telegraph online.
It has been a very interesting year for social networking, microblogging, the practice of sharing short messages with followers has really caught on and Twitter has certainly enjoyed the most buzz of 2008. A notable feature though of Twitter's rise has been the number of problems they have and its bizarre reverse product development cycle, it now has less features than when I first joined; and all in the name of stability, a goal that Twitter is going through a lot of pain to achieve.
Last week I had the pleasure of being at the SocialLearn workshop held for OU students, staff (including many Associate Lecturers - the vital members of staff who act as learning mentors to students) and alumni to discuss and get input for the SocialLearn project (a next-generation educational social network platform, more information can be found in Martin Weller's slideshow).
Ambient technology is definitely not about mood lighting, instead it is something far more interesting. It is a term which describes an idea that technology will adapt itself to your presence, performing the necessary reconfigurations and integration to meet your needs or simply increase your comfort. Typically it will do this without much of a need for human interaction, instead it just quietly gets on with its job.
Along with many of my OU colleagues, I have been using Twitter to regularly post my 140 character thoughts and share them with people who follow me. It has become a very popular service, and despite the simple nature of its core service all sorts of innovative add-ons have been dreamt of to enhance its functionality, Twitterholics gives a good sense of what is being developed. Twitter can be updated through its website or an increasing number of clients that are being developed for it. One of these clients is KDE Twitter, which I first saw on a screenshot on the Kubuntu website, but had a bit of trouble it tracking down. KDE Twitter is a Plasmoid, a widget that can be added to the KDE4 desktop.