The Benefits of Amplified Events

In just under 2 weeks I will be giving a seminar on The Benefits of Amplified Events as part of the Green Impact seminar series at the University of Bath. The seminar will attempt to define an ‘amplified event’ and will discuss the benefits for both consumers and providers of such events. It will take place from 12.15-13.05 on Thursday 17th November 2011 in room 4E 2.4 on the University campus.

There will also be a live video stream of the seminar for those who are unable to physically attend. This will be provided by Julian Prior and Marie Salter (Division for Lifelong Learning) using the Adobe Connect service.

If you are interested in attending remotely sign up using the online booking form (no cost).

Brian Kelly cannot physically attend the event and has pre-recorded three video clips which will illustrate
certain aspects of amplified events:

A brief definition of an amplified event and its benefits (see YouTube video clip – 1 min 45 secs)

  • How to participate in an amplified event (see
    Bambuser video clip – 2 mins – show first 1 mins 30 secs).
  • Why pre-recording talks at conferences may be useful in case of problems
    (e.g. illness, volcanic ash, etc.) and provide additional benefits
    (
    see Bambuser video clip – 1 min 48 secs long)

I’ll be putting up my slides after the event and will let you know how it goes.

The abstract for the seminar and an online booking form are available from the UKOLN Web site. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Openness and Event Amplification

Tannoy by Solver1 (on Flickr)

Tannoy by Solver1 (on Flickr)

This week is Open Access week #OAWeek and I felt that it would be appropriate for me to post something about the open access aspects of event amplification.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the concept of event amplification as I’ve blogged about it many a time but just to bring everyone up to speed…

Event amplification makes use of networked technologies to amplify an event beyond the physical location. It is a pattern of behaviours rather than a prescriptive term and one could consider the following approaches:

  • Amplification within an event – e.g. by use of Twitter between attendees
  • Amplification outwards during an event – e.g. by video streaming of talks
  • Amplification after an event – e.g. by sharing of slides or videos of presentations

I personally have always regarded event amplification in the academic sector as intrinsically open, though I realise that this isn’t actually the case. In the private/commercial sector there are many business models for event amplification and people often pay to view streaming or access resources. The streaming itself is often behind a firewall and people login and pay per view. It is likely, given the economic climate and changing face of online events, that these models could filter through to the academic sector. In efforts to test the water we have asked attendees of events we run (like IWMW) how they would feel about paying for content and this is an area we will continue to explore. Kirsty Pitkin (the Event Amplifier), with whom we have a good working relationship, designs custom event amplification and hybrid event plans, which can be open access or premium access. This way she enables event organisers to decide whether they want to simply spread their message and promote their event, or derive an additional revenue stream from making their event available online.

However having a business model in place should not prevent many aspects of event amplification from remaining free and open in the form of open content (such as slides on slideshare, documents and videos).

Staff Development

One key area facilitated by open access to events is staff development. Staff development it often one of the first areas to suffer when budgets are tight which is unfortunate given that there is clear indication that staff who are continually developed are happy, motivated staff. My colleague Brian Kelly is giving a presentation at this year’s Online Information Conference 2011 entitled Open Content and Open Events: Professional Development in an Amplified World. As Brian explains in his abstract:

In the current economic and political climate it is often difficult for organisations to provide funding for attendance at conferences, seminars, workshops and other activities by which information professionals update their skills and enhance their professional networks. In addition, concerns related to the environmental impact of travel add new challenges to those involved in providing such events. Technological developments, including the availability of WiFi networks at many venues, increased ownership of mobile devices with networked capabilities and the wide variety of communication and collaborative tools available, offer new opportunities for the provision and ‘amplification’ of events to enhance professional skills, whether hybrid or online only.

Using open content to support staff development has now become a fairly mainstream activity. I’m sure many of us have turned to YouTube or other online video services to work out how to fix our PC at some point or another. Screencasts are another excellent way in which we can use other people’s shared content to aid us in learning skills.

An interesting approach was taken by the Student Learning Centre at the University of Leicester in 2009. They decided to open-up their annual Learning and Teaching in the Sciences Conference (usually an internal event) in the form of a participant-driven ‘unconference‘, focused on the theme of assessment. Prior to the event they used many social networking tools to raise interest from both internal and external participants. They also created a Twitter hashtag for the day. On the day 20 participants watched plenaries and took part in group discussions. During the day Twitter messages containing the designated hashtag were projected on screen by a data projector via Twitterfall. Displaying these tweets allowed “the contributions of the participants in the room and the remote participants to be merged.” Not only this but “Twitterfall also allowed participants to see commentary from groups other than the one they were in, and to participate in multiple groups if they wished to.

After the event extensive analysis was carried out on the Tweets from the day using tools like Twittertag and AGNA network analysis software, a free social network analysis tool. The data showed a high level of network connectivity between both internal and extenal Twitter users. Attendees were also asked to give their thoughts on how it went. There was a lot of positive feedback. Much of it centres round the openess of the event and the involvement of other people. As one participant put it “The best part of the meeting was talking with people other than ‘the usual suspects’.

It is clear that opening out events brings in a new perspective that would probably have been missed by involving only those who have the time to physically attend. Not only this but it helps those who are physically there to see in new ways too. Openess brings an element of serendipity, as Marcel Proust once said “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Transparency and Impact

One other aspect of openess that is probably worth mentioning here is transparency. The move to transparency is something that is being driven very much by the government and I think is, on the whole, felt to be desirable by those working in academia. It brings with it a whole set of issues (I’m sure much will be written on open data during this week) but it allows people (and by people I mean both the public and those working in academia) to see more clearly what they are for their buck. Not only this but much more emphasis will be put upon impact and value for money. Kirsty Pitkin wrote an interesting blog post earlier this year on How Do We Measure Engagement?. In the post Kirsty reflects on a different blog post by Ann Priestley presenting a graph from Socious who use the high peak of activity during an event and sharp tapering of this activity after the event as part of their argument to sell their product. As both explain: Their implication is that unless your event has a long tail of post-event activity, it is not as successful at long-term engagement. Kirsty says that her concern is that it is easy to confuse “activity” and “engagement”. My concern is that you also need to add impact into the mix! As Kirsty concludes:

There is no way to get a complete picture, any more than there’s a way to judge the way a paper handout is used post-conference. The only difference is that no-one questions the value of the paper handout!

Her summary highlights the difficulties that lay ahead when trying to measure these areas:

How we define engagement and impact will affect the types of metrics we attempt to collect to demonstrate the success of an amplified event over time. However, accepting that engagement with the event will not necessarily lead to clearly definable, traceable digital objects may be the first step in rethinking not just how measure success, but what we are trying to achieve through the event in the first place.

Conclusions

There are many who say that open is always a good thing. I’d have to disagree, open raises a whole host of issues and many of them do not ultimately benefit the majority (I’m sure many of the positives and negatives will be explored in other posts during this week). That said open access to event amplification can be a positive thing and it brings with it a lot of pay back, so it will be a area that I will continue to explore.

One way in which I will be doing this is through my work on the Greening Events II Project funded by JISC Greening ICT Programme. We will be delviering a best practice report and guidelines on tools and approaches to event amplification.

MediaSite at JISCres11

Yesterday I watched the JISC Research Integrity Conference online. The conference was of interest to me because it took a look at the real issues being faced by institutions in the research data management arena. There is an increasing emphasis being placed on preserving research data for future re-use and safeguarding research integrity and this throws up a number of technical and strategic issues. UKOLN is involved in the Digital Curation Centre who have done a lot of work in this area and I’m always keen to hear about new developments.

Mediasite AllinOne version: Rebecca O'Brien Intro

Mediasite: A little Technical Background

For the event JISC used Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite suite to stream talks. Sonic Foundry have been kind enough to supply me with a few technical details:

Mediasite requires a Mediasite Recorder and the Mediasite EX Server Software.

  • The Mediasite recorder is a purpose built device that automatically captures, synchronises and compresses the audio, video and presentation material in a lecture/presentation.
  • The Mediasite recorder automatically uploads the synchronised/compressed content to the Mediasite EX server for streaming live/on-demand. Content is streamed without pre or post-production, and is available on-demand either immediately after the presentation has finished (an hour long live stream is available on-demand within minutes), or after you have edited the content.
  • The Mediasite EX server allows content to be managed, branded, cataloged, secured and automatically integrated in a website/LMS with existing Active Directory/LDAP.

The Mediasite player also comes in two player versions: Classic or Microsoft Silverlight. It can be streamed simultaneously in each. Currently Mediasite will not work on a mobile devices but version 6 (planned for winter this year) should be able to do this.

JISC’s Use of Mediasite

JISC are using a hosted version of the Mediasite EX Server and are clearly planning to use it for forthcoming online events. They have created a useful page on the JISC Web site describing Mediasite features and explaining the technical requirements. Some of the most interesting are the ability to switch between the presentation and the streaming video and reorganise the layout using the side buttons. There are also opportunities to use polls and ask questions.

The JISC team had put a lot of planning into making the JISCres11 online experience a good one. Online users had their own programme with extra sessions in the quiet time summarising missed parallels and breakout groups. This gives some elements of a ‘backstage room’. It’s an idea that James Clay has recently tried out at ALT-C 2011, he called his approach ALT Live Beta. As James explained:

So at ALT-C 2011 I am trying a new idea in order to capture, create and engage in that “silent” online time. Probably the best way to describe what ALT Live Beta is, is if you have ever watched Glastonbury or T4 on the Beach on the television, as well as the “front stage” stuff, they also have a room back stage where they chat, discuss and interview the people who have just been on stage. ALT Live Beta is a live internet video stream of the “back stage” of ALT-C 2011.

Details of the amplification of ALT-C are now available. James reflections on the event are available from his blog e-Learning stuff.

OK, back to JISCres11….Unfortunately despite the preparation the online side of the JISCres11 conference was plagued with technical difficulties, most of these relating to the viewing capacity. The amplification got off to a shaky start and even before the online viewing had begun there appeared a message stating that “The connection limit has been reached!“. At first it seemed like the technical issues had been overcome and we were treated to an introduction to the day by Rebecca O’Brien but the problems persisted throughout the morning.

JISC’s version of Mediasite seems to have 2 layout modes:

  • The Mediasite AllinOne version offered a Slide area with the presenter inset in a small box. There were also two twitter feeds – JISC Live stream and a #jiscres11 tag search. Unfortunately there seemed to be a problem with the Twitter search and tweets were delivered in reverse chronological order with some as old at 150 days being delivered!
  • The Mediasite Classic Player version (which apparently doesn’t require silverlight) offered a larger screen for the presenter and a smaller screen for presentations. This layout worked better for me.

Mediasite itself offers many ways to set up the layout and later in the day we were provided with a more out of the box layout in an attempt to sort out some of the technical problems. An example of the full screen standard version an be seen here.

The Mediasite player for embedding on a webpage: Panel session

The Mediasite player for embedding on a webpage: Panel session

When Mediasite worked the quality was excellent. The picture and sound were both clear and there were no delays or interference. The camera operator did a great job too of spanning out on the audience and focusing on the speaker. All in all it was as like being in the room. As the Twitter feed on the AllinOne layout wasn’t particularly helpful I did have to keep flicking back to TweetDeck to tweet so the “dedicated one-stop-shop online area combining the livestreamed video, twitter feeds and links” didn’t really work for me.

During the first plenary a lot of people had problems connecting. After a broadband problem I couldn’t get in again and it became clear that the event had reached it’s full capacity. Apparently 85 people tuned in for the opening plenary, which much have been a few more than they expected. Note to self – Event organisers should make efforts to anticipate the remote audience numbers and make provision accordingly. One way to have avoided the issue would have been to ask for expressions of interest in the streaming prior to the event. This way JISC could have gauged numbers better. Also when using a commercial provider it’s important that they are notified of the possible numbers too.

A few of the tweets summed up the situation:

@Jezcope - Well this is disappointing: was looking forward to watching #jiscres11 talks

@atreloar- Page refresh doesn't help. Problem visible in both Classic Mediasite and AllInOne. Grump. #jiscres11

The live tweeter on @JISClive put considerable effort into responding to the comments related to streaming and announced that all the presentations would be available asap and the those interested could email events@jisc.ac.uk and would then be emailed the links. They also explained that they’d reached maximum viewing figures and would increase capacity for the next session.

Hector Peebles from JISC shared images of the Mediasite setup

The afternoon’s plenarys were delivered on the whole in a smoother fashion but at times the video caused my browser to hang, I’m not sure if this was my fault with my flaky broadband, or due to other reasons. Unfortunately for me it interfered with viewing and I missed quite a bit of the plenaries. I’m planning to catch up by watching the archived recordings.

Nevertheless technical difficulties are part of life and the team put a lot of effort into contacting people and keeping them informed of the situation which really helped. I think Mediasite has the potential to work well, it might just take a little more practice ;-).

Event Amplifying With Adobe Connect

#iwmw11 At this year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop we live streamed all the plenary talks using Adobe Connect. We were supported with our efforts by Collaborate who support enterprise wide implementations of collaboration solutions. Although I’d had a look at Adobe Connect set up before this was very much a case of learning on the job. In this post I’d like to share what we did and the lessons learnt.

Running Adobe Connect from behind the scenes

Before the Big Day

In advance of the day we set up an Adobe Connect room for the event. We decided to have one room, with one set up and to use this for all the plenaries. This meant that we would only need to pass on one url to remote attendees and they could spend all day in this virtual room. In the room there were two layouts:

  • a start layout for when attendees arrived with a clock, a timetable, a chat facility suggesting people say where they were from, a screen showing a running video on how to use Adobe Connect and an IWMW slide saying “back soon”
  • a main layout for talks with a video feed of the speaker, the speakers slides, a twitter stream and a chat facility.

Using preparatory mode a moderator can flick between these layouts and alter them without attendees seeing. The start layout was used until the beginning of the first plenary and then again during breaks.

We also set up a video streaming page with details on how remote attendees could enter the IWMW room. All delegates had to enter as guests and would have no microphone privileges.

On the preceding day we tested all the AV equipment and the video feed. Everything looked fine, though there was a slight issue with using a guest account on the Reading University network. It was agreed that all moderators would need a wired connection. We also made sure that responsibilities were clearly assigned and moderators were given in log ins. Rich Pitkin, one of our event amplifiers, would be responsible for the video feed. Pauline Foley from Collaborate would be responsible for recording sessions and monitoring any attendee audio or visual problems. I would be responsible for all other aspects of the set up including uploading and replicating slide movement (all slides need to be progressed manually as it is too complicated to feed in from the speaker’s PC/laptop), monitoring remote attendees chat, monitoring the layouts etc. The moderators have a private area that allows them to see all the attendees and chat amongst themselves – this was really useful when there were AV problems.

On the Big Day

On the first morning I had responsibilities for opening the event, introducing the speakers and chairing. I wanted to get as much done in advance so made every effort to get hold of speaker slides in advance. Adobe Connect allows you to open up documents in advance, it then caches them, which saves time later on. PPTs and PDF seem to work best, we didn’t have a lot of luck with key note.

Moderator view of Adobe Connect

Just before the start I changed the layout screen to the main layout. During the talks I replicated the slide movement and kept my eye on how things were looking.

Some Tips

  • Have a laptop next to you that shows what the remote attendees can see. This is invaluable for checking that what you are doing is being shown correctly.
  • Write a methodical list of what you need to do before the start of each session – for example each of our plenaries had a different hash tag (e.g. #p1). This needed to be changed in the Twitter search box, occasionally I forgot to do it right at the start.
  • I should have hidden the chat after each talk, this would have made each session recording stand alone.
  • During one of the plenaries we had a few audio issues – we should have made more effort to test the set up in each break.
  • Some slides were slightly messed up during the conversion to an Adobe Connect friendly format. I probably should have checked each set before using them. Possibly converting a PPT to a PDF would have retained the formatting better.
  • I had to continually refresh the Twitter search – I am still unsure if there is a way to have this done manually.
  • A couple of the plenaries included live demos. Although there are ways to share your screen the moderator needs to be prepared for this so they can replicate the link clicking. If possible ask your speakers what they are planning. In the final session we actually gave up replicating what the speakers were doing and ended up removing the document box and just using the video stream.

Conclusions

We peaked at around 30 remote attendees and had over 20 at all the sessions. Aside of a few technical difficulties at the start of day 2 we managed to provide good quality streaming throughout the event. Pauline did a great job of turning around the recordings and we were able to offer these on the same day as the talks were given (see individual talks for the recordings). Overall I would thoroughly recommend Adobe Connect for any event amplification, it was slick, fully customisable and easy to use. Thumbs up all round!

The Economical way to Amplify Your Event

Last week at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2011 I facilitated a session entitled The Economical way to Amplify Your Event with Brian Kelly.

In the session we compared two approaches. Firstly we tried out amplifying using a decent camera and delivering it through a net vibe page. The live stream recording is also available.

We also streamed the session using a phone and Bambuser.

In the session we highlighted the work carried out by the Greening Events II Project funded by JISC Greening ICT Programme. The first stage of work, carried out by ILRT based at the University of Bristol, produced the Green Event Guidelines document and the Rethinking Events report. The second stage of work has brought UKOLN in and has us creating a toolkit for event organisers.

The rest of the session built on some work I’ve already done in this area looking at tools, approaches and concerns. The slides are available from my Slideshare account and are embedded below.

Supporting Researcher Engagement With Social Tools

Today I signed in to the Netskills “Supporting Researcher Engagement With Social Tools” online talk presented by Alan Cann, University of Leicester. Alan wrote a guest blog post on Go Forth and Amplify! for us last year.

It was a really interesting talk and presented very effectively in Elluminate.

More Tips for Elluminate

Everytime I attend an Elluminate session, either as a presenter, moderator or participant there seem to be more tips to add to the list. Here are a couple from today’s session:

  • Tick list – I liked the ‘tick list’ slide at the beginning of the session. The moderator asked all participants to give him a green tick in response to the questions: Can you hear me? Can you see slides,? Can you see the Web cam?
  • Clarity about chat – Clarity over questions and discussion is always important. Steve Boneham explained that the rules were: general chit chat in chat box, formal questions by hand raising in the discussion time.
  • Discussion time – The session was nicely split up in to brief (10 minutes or so) sections with a 5 minute break for discussion time. This worked really well.
  • Video – The Netskills team explained that the Elluminate session would be available for watching later on and that the video would also be available by itself for sharing. They use blip.tv for this.

The Talk Itself

Alan used the RIN paper If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0 and his response to it (Cann, A., Dimitriou, K. & Hooley, T. (2011) Social Media: A Guide for Researchers. London: Research Information Network.) as the basis for the talk. He used a couple of case studies and quotations from researchers about social media to raise a number of different issues. For example he introduced the Visitors and Residents principle – Residents are much more comfortable with social media and live out a portion of their identity online whereas Visitors see social networking as tools that you use (and leave). There’s a good introduction to it by Dave White from the University of Oxford. [Dave gave the previous Netskills online talk on The Rhetoric of Openness.]

Alan also talked about some other interesting ideas: A holistic view of social media – it’s all an incremental process including the QA of knowledge, information overload being more filter failure (ignore or read or park or discard!), filter bubbles, bad networks, web personalisation and more.

A lot to follow up and some good book recommendations too! I’ll share the recorded session links with you as soon as I have them.

I’ve also just spotted Emma Cragg’s notes on the session – these are great – page 1 and page 2.

Video Conferencing: the Green Choice

Over the last few years more people have started to advocate the green benefits of video conferencing, however we continue to tread with caution. Projects like the How Green is my Videoconference? and the JISC Greening Events Project have looked in more detail at both the real benefits and the possible negative aspects of such practices. Systematic responses like the rebound effect can sometimes offset the beneficial effects of new video conferencing technologies. However video conferences remain a much greener alternative to long-distance travel and the technologies used are improving all the time.

Rashed Khan is an advocate of video conferencing. He graduated from the University of Bradford with an Msc in Software Engineering where his dissertation involved a large amount of research on video conferencing as well as RSS. Rashed is now working part time as a web developer and is also involved in marketing on behalf of Video Conferencing and Telepresence experts Lifesize. He has written a guest blog post for us on why video conferencing is the green choice.

**********************

Video conferencing not only saves money by eliminating travel costs; it also reduces the harmful emissions and fossil fuel use that are necessary for business conference travel. By using the power of the Internet for clear, sharp video and voice transmission, video conferencing allows people from across the country or even across the world to meet and conduct real-time, face-to-face discussions from the convenience of their own offices at a mutually agreed upon time. Often, that time is convenient for all participants in the discussion no matter their own time zones.

This means that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in travel and lodging costs are saved, as the price of a video conferencing session often amounts to less than that of even an automobile trip from a neighbouring American state. Moreover, video conferencing uses only small amounts of electricity, as relatively little power is needed to maintain an Internet connection and a computer during the video conference. This contrasts remarkably with the huge amount of fossil fuel that is expended when participants in a traditional conference have to travel to a central location by car, train or airplane.

In addition, Internet communications, including Video Conferencing, do not emit any significant levels of greenhouse gases or other pollutants into the air. Needless to say, this is not the case with any form of travel in any vehicle that is powered by fossil fuel. Therefore, relying upon video conferencing for business discussions, or even for family reunions, minimizes harm to the environment.

Video conferencing also eliminates the need for arranging lodging for conference participants. The budget for lodging associated with a traditional conference can easily equal twenty or thirty times the cost of a video conference.

Since everything which is discussed in a video conference is saved and downloaded, there is no need for the huge amounts of paper that are often given out at traditional conferences. This saves printing costs and also is beneficial to the environment. Less paper means less waste in our landfills, and relying on Video Conferencing servers for saving the proceeding of the conference also eliminates the need for disks and other non-biodegradable materials that are often distributed at traditional conferences. In addition to this, the video can be saved using the H.264 video format which drastically reduces the file size of any content that was recorded since H.264 is capable of compressing files up to 50% more than some of the older file formats.

The introduction of HD Video conferencing has enabled video to be viewed in crystal clear High Definition and many organisations now offer full 1080P video conferencing which results in an amazingly life like experience. Sceptics would often refute the use of HD video conferencing by claiming that a high amount of bandwidth is required in order to be able to transmit a High Definition signal which would prove too costly but this is no longer the case since the H.264 video format allows a HD signal to be transmitted by using only 768kbps of data. This is relatively small compared to what today’s broadband internet connections are capable of.

Video conferencing is arguably the most effective way to gather large amounts of people and allow them to have a face to face conversation without the need to travel many miles. As technology becomes more advanced, video conferencing solutions are becoming cheaper than ever which is bringing video conferencing to the masses and more people are realising the financial and environmental benefits of video conferencing as a tool to communicate to people all over the World in the comfort of their own home or office.

A Fool and Her Password are Easily Parted

I’ve just spent a couple of days away at the JISC conference in Liverpool. The event was really useful (I particularly enjoyed the session by JISC Digital Media and co on Using digital media to improve teaching and learning) and there were plenty of oppurtunities to network (with colleagues I already knew (physically and virtually) and people I hadn’t met before). Our session on Amplified events went well and Chris Sexton has written a nice post that sums up the main discussion points. Brian Kelly has also produced a Storify story about the session.

However I know that in years to come it’s not the conference or the talks that will stick in my mind but my journey home. Liverpool to Chippenham isn’t a straight route and there is quite a lot of changing trains, finding seats, lugging bags about. By the time I got off the train in Bristol I was feeling pretty tired and looking forward to getting home and climbing into my bed. It was then that I realised that I’d left one of my bags on the train.

I went up to Liverpool on the Sunday and so had taken a couple of days clothing and essentials, my various bits of ‘on the road’ technology (such as laptop, chargers, headphones and the like) and my usual handbag stuff – keys, money, phone etc. – all this equated to 3 bags of stuff. I realised I’d left my laptop bag on the train. The thing was this wasn’t just a laptop bag containing a laptop (which would have been bad enough) but it was a laptop bag containing my laptop, my note pad and my other work papers. As I realised my mistake and I started mentally going through the contents of my bag I suddenly realised that there was something in there that I wanted to lose even less than my laptop and what was on the laptop…

I don’t have that great a memory, there is quite a lot going on in my life and I resolve this by being methodical in the way I approach things. My way to stay organised is to be very systematic and write particular things down in particular places. I also back many of these things up just in case (experience has taught me to do this) e.g I now back up contacts by 1) writing them down in an address book 2) having them on my phone 3) synching them with Yahoo. I am also methodical in the way I remember passwords. I write them all down and have a copy of them that I store in a particular place at home. Unfortunately having a back up wasn’t really the issue here. The fact was that my laptop along with a written out list of about 250 user names and their corresponding passwords was now in an abandoned bag heading to Cardiff. There were passwords for all sorts of services from Twitter to Facebook, Paypal to Ebay, Skype to O2 – and many of these accounts had credit card details attached. I was doomed! Anyone who found the list could hack into my identity and quite possibly spend a lot of money on my behalf. Cancelling my credit cards might stop this but someone could still make my life very miserable by ‘being me’ and using my accounts.

Needless to say I was pretty upset and feeling mighty cross at my stupidity.

After a lot of running around like a headless chicken, a lot of lamenting down the phone to my team leader and a fair amount of pleading with the Bristol station to see if they could get in touch with the train I eventually resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do there and then and I got on a train home. By the time I arrived home I’d already constructed a plan of my next steps – cancelling my cards, running through my ‘at home’ password list and changing the passwords on the most sensitive accounts, banging my head against the wall! However I was saved the effort, luck was on my side and as I walked in the door my husband told me that a train manager had found my bag and was taking it back to Bristol. My husband very kindly drove over to Bristol to get it for me.

So the end result is a big gold star for south Western Trains and their staff, a big gold star for my husband and a big black mark for me, my bag handling and my unacceptable way of storing passwords.

Needless to say I realise I’ve had a lucky escape, I’ve been saved the cost of a laptop and goodness knows what else. I can now clearly see the error of my ways and am on a mission to come up with a better solution for dealing with my ever growing number of logins and passwords.

When I get some time I’m going to take a look at some passwords managers. So far I’ve come accross:

Any recommendations much appreciated. I’d also be interested in any other methods people use to store their passwords.

I realise that I’ve been a fool but hopefully telling my tale may inspire others to be less foolish. Hey I’m here to help!
;-)

Amplified events, seminars, conferences What? Why? How?

Tomorrow I will be facilitating a workshop along with Brian Kelly (UKOLN) entitled Amplified events, seminars, conferences What? Why? How? at the JISC Conference 2011. The JISC conference is being held at the BT Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool from 14-15th March 2011.

The workshop will review a variety of approaches which have been taken at a number of national, international and regional events. It will look at the reasons for such approaches, address possible concerns and outline various business models, policies and emerging technologies which can be used to maximise the benefits of amplified events.

I will be concentrating on the How? aspect and talking about some events at which amplification has been carried out. My slides are available from Slideshare and are embedded below.

Other resources from the workshop are available from the UKOLN Web site including a Scribd poster.

Paul Shabajee from ILRT was also meant to be facilitating the workshop with us but unfortunately can’t due to a family bereavement. Paul is now working on the second stage of the Greening Events project.

Amplifying Events in Ariadne

I’ve just had an article published in the latest Ariadne Web Magazine on 10 Cheap and Easy Ways to Amplify Your Event.

The article is a write up of the presentation I gave at a UKOLN seminar back in December.

Next month at the JISC Conference 2011 I will be facilitating a workshop with colleagues Brian Kelly and Paul Shabajee entitled Amplified events, seminars, conference. I’ll be using the workshop as an opportunity to expand on some of the case studies mentioned in the Ariadne article.