A year and a day

Yesterday, The Black Blog turned one year. There were many ups and downs, nice experiences on events and at other ocations,and eventually my PhD project developed more quickly than I expected. Not everything made it to this blog, but still its worth to look back and recapitulate.

I looked back at the postings of the last twelve months and found that I covered quite a range of topics. I am also satisfied that the tag list gives good impression on the topics of The Black Blog. These topics range from cultural dimensions of media to creating code.

Code blocks

Many postings during the last year were about programming and code. For quite a while I didn't really found the time for coding, which could be easily seen in my contributions on CPAN. Last year I returned back to the code level. I learned a lot about software architectures, the programming paradigms of javascript, and developed a better understanding on web services while I was busy working on a new web-site called "team.sPace". I reflected briefly on this software in several papers and discussed some of the code related elements here. However, a general overview about this tool (set) is not yet ready.

The aspects of code that I discussed here were often pretty general and most of my experiences were not particularly new, but I found them not well or even wrongly discussed on the web. This was particularly the case for object oriented code in javascript. I learned that object oriented programming in javascript and perl are pretty similar and are to this point working around the limitations of the programming languages' design. I wished that someone else would have noted that before, it could have saved me a lot of trial and error.

Social Software and Non-formal Learning

The second hot topic were social aspects of software and non-formal learning. Although, I had a pretty good idea about the concepts of non-formal learning and "social software", I realised throughout the last year, that the practical aspects of bridging both domains are more tricky and less explored by research than I expected.

I started to publish these factors my scientific papers and reflected about them in my blog postings. Nevertheless, I foresee that this field will take up more space on The Black Blog. There are too many small things that are really interesting, but are not sufficient or "big enough" for getting past scientific review committees. I think that the role of so called social software for learning outside the class room needs more attention. This goes beyond the question of "how social software can be used in the class room", which is (too) often addressed in recent research on learning technology.

Reflexions on Media Theory and Media Culture

Another topic that concerned me during the last year was the reception of media cultures in massmedia. Related to this is the notion of philosophical positions in technological research. With regard to mass media, the last year showed that they are still pretty much shaping our understanding of the world with conclusions based on the finding that we don't really understand what is going on.

With regard to research related to social software I found something similar. Different media philosophical view points are simply taken and used to argue technological research positions as if they were nicely tested algorithms. With the focus on the social dimensions of using social software in different contexts, we see that the different research domains are more and more converting. Despite this trend I realised that the exchange of ideas is still little, and that there is a lack of understanding of the different approaches and positions.

As research and development in social software starts to shape socio-cultural realities similar to mass media, us researchers have to be more aware and more sensible about the shortcomings of what Robertson calls "academic diciplinarity".

Pains of Systemadministration and Project management

The last big topic concerned me during the last year were the small things of organisational life. I dropped a few notes on system administration and project management. While reading recent postings showing up on team.sPace, I understand that organisations are much slower that one would expect - as similar experiences are made by different people over a longer period of time. Keeping track of these thoughts and impressions helped at least me to develop my awareness on how our organisational structures work (and how other organisations manage to perform even worse).


The last year was pretty exciting and there many things to be learned and more things that I could have written about. And with this outlook I look into the next twelve months and wonder how I can report better on these findings ;)