It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens, a book by dana boyd.  Available at all good bookshops or as a free download.

dana boyd, a researcher with Microsoft and Professor at New York University writes about her research on “how youth integrate technology into their everyday practices”.  Interesting stuff.

And here she is discussing the book on YouTube.


Students taking the PR and Digital Media module are required to make a video for part of the blogging assignment.  Here are some resources you might find useful


Free Software

  • Windows Live Movie Maker – if you have a PC this software is free and can be downloaded from the Windows Live website.  It is fairly easy to use and a series of video tutorials showing you how to use it can be found here on the Vimeo website.   This series of tutorials covers everything you need to know to make your own video ready to upload to YouTube or Vimeo .
  • iMovie – Apple Macs come with the IMovie software installed and you’ll find everything you need to know about how to use it in this series of video tutorials, also from the Vimeo website.
  • Jing free software that allows you to “create images and videos of what you see on your computer screen and share them instantly.”
  • You might also want to take a look at the free trial software that’s available from a number of companies.  Adobe will give you a one month free trial of their Photoshop image editing and Premiere Pro video editing software for example and Camtasia is also available for a trial period.

Online Video Editing

There are a number of sites that allow you to edit a video online.  Here are three of them.  With these sites you don’t need to download software, you upload your videos, still pictures and music to the website and perform the editing online before downloading a completed video.


Blocking Ads

As a confirmed grumpy old git I get unreasonably annoyed by web sites which are loaded up with large numbers of flashy adverts.   And I’m not the only one – this post has been inspired by a friend who has recently been getting annoyed at Facebook.  He knows that Facebook serves up customised adverts based on users’ activities and cannot understand why they seem to have decided that he should be served up a stream of adverts for male incontinence pads.  You can add your own jokes  – I’ve done them all already.

To save myself from this sort of minor annoyance  I use the Adblock Plus extension for Firefox, When enabled this extension blocks all sorts of obtrusive adverts, including those on Facebook and YouTube, and has other features to protect my privacy.

To show you how  how Adblock Plus works I’ll use the Spice Up Your Blog web-site as an example.  This blog occasionally has some useful information for people using WordPress blogs, so I follow its RSS feed on Google Reader. But I find the large numbers of adverts on the site rather annoying and to make things worse some of them are animated.   Here’s a screenshot of the site this morning – taken while I was not using AdBlock Plus.


When I enable  AdBlock Plus on Firefox all the annoying ads go away and it looks like this – much better.


Meanwhile Facebook seems to have decided that I’m several stones overweight and that need to buy a new house.


But with the plugin enabled (the normal state of my browser) I don’t need to know this.


Adblock Plus is  is also available for Internet Explorer and Chrome and I  there’s a similar plugin for Safari on Macs.

There’s some controversy around the use of advert blocking as many websites are reliant on advertising for revenue.  Well most of the community behind Adblock are quite happy with what they  term  “acceptable”, “plain and unobtrusive” adverts and the extension’s default settings allows adverts meeting  guidelines that I personally consider quite acceptable – so I leave the extension configured to “allow some non-obtrusive advertising”.

According to the text on the screen where you enable or disable this option “The goal is to support websites using non-intrusive ways to advertise and to encourage more websites to do the same”.   That will do for me.

Adblock Plus is an open community project.

Student Video

My favourite video from last year’s students.  It’s not the most professional production I’ve ever seen but it’s very  creative and gets the point across well.