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October 2007
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December 2007

Traditional Music in Schools

Calum Been spending my time recording tutors and young students in a variety of primary schools in north west Scotland. The scheme is called Traditional Music in Schools and its aims are pretty much stated on the tin. Run by the very capable Allison Watson of Feis Rois , the project has been very successful. Imagine my surprise, when I got my first request for an autograph because I was spotted in the P&J . I am in the process of editing the audio of over 20 hours of recording into a series of manageable byte sized podcasts. I will post links to wherever they eventually ( but VERY soon ) appear. They all come with a health warning - the kids are good and there was some serious fun being had, in addition to the obvious hard work. I am filing this project under "Serious grin" because my cheeks hurt so much from grinning at what I am hearing.

However, I did get a chance to interview Allison with a noisy playground and some low flying RAF jets in the background. Here's what she had to say.

43 Folders

I am currently writing a proposal document, editing some audio, re-organising a blog and about to launch a new podcast series. Oh, and struggling to learn two new software packages and interviewing for a voluntary organisation. Like the rest of you, I am also trying to keep the life-work ( in that order ) balance. And Merlin Mann is helping me. His entertaining podcasts, lifehacks and productivity tips have been invaluable. For any non-American, he can come across as a tech space cadet but hang on in there; there's some gold in them hills. The title of his web site is actually a clever koan in itself.

Facebook and the world

Social networking sites are the 'hot' topic of the moment. Just recently, I have had a couple of interesting conversations to report. In one exchange, a friend pointed out the evident dangers of social networking; you might 'hook up' with people you would rather not. The second conversation was a more heated affair where I was regaled about tales of ID theft and subsequent threatened penury. I was reminded of my favourite Mark Twain quote; "I have lived through some terrible experiences; some of which happened.". Anybody we knew had their bank account cleared out by posting their age of Facebook ? Nope, but there was the possibility.
The simple answer is the whole internet is about freedom of choice. You don't like MySpace; Facebook frighten you or Bebo bugs you; then don't bother. Walk away and say it's not for me.

Can kids do good stuff ?

Rkbusiness_r3_c1_2One of the great things about working with young students is they can step up to the plate and do amazing  things. We did this trailer for the Blair Podcast Series a wee while ago and it sounds fresh.  But it does underline one important principle of any form of  broadcasting media; bring the talent to the front. As I am going through with one client at the moment, senior doesn't mean sexy and executive doesn't mean exciting. And engagement is all.

Download this and see what you think.

Just stop someone

Communication_2 I have used this a couple of times and if you don't think it works then Google 'unversity'.  You can stop people and grab their attention for good reasons and bad reasons.
I would humbly suggest this is a bad reason. But increasingly, I am amused by simple typos that seem to squirm by and make it out there into the fresh air.

Over at Lesley Riddoch dot com

LrdotcomOn a day to day basis, I am managing the on line presence of Lesley Riddoch. In the last three years, this broadcaster has moved from a vanilla website which would be 'brochureware' to something very different. Her web site now supports her corporate work, her print journalism and her BBC Radio Scotland programmes. Her audience seems to enjoy her particular 'feisty' exchanges with the great and good. All her programmes are available through iTunes and are proving very popular, judging from the metrics. In the middle of this year, I added a blog.  Again it reflects an opportunity to share some of the things Lesley is involved with that are not directly tied to her 'mainstream' broadcast/print activities. A recent example of the power of the blog was her appointment to the Scottish Government's Commission on Prisons. The Sunday Times ran a piece that could be interpreted as suggesting Ms Riddoch was an advisor or doyen of the grandees. The blog gave an opportunity to set the facts out and also lay out the official press release.
I have learnt a lot about Web 2.0 technology through its practical application to a real business like Lesley Riddoch dot com. And before anyone says it was easy; I have a large folder on my desktop called 'applications I would never use again', 'ideas before their time' and 'stuff that sounds too good to be true'.

Anyway go over and visit the site and see.