Camera back in action

I arrived back home last Friday to find that my camera had arrived back from Fuji. I was so pleased that it had been returned. I opened the box to find inside another box – the distribution packaging for a more modern model. I anticipated that Fuji would have put may repaired camera into the nearest equivalent package to give it adequate protection whilst in transit. On opening the inner package I could see that they had supplied a CD with the camera software and a set of connecting cables. Then I took the camera out of the box to discover that a brand new replacement model had been supplied. So I am now the proud owner of a FinePix S9500. I am really please to be back in action again – but its a bit like learning a new language as the camera has a number of functions that my old camera did not have!

So I am now looking forward to many happy hours getting to know the new camera! Here is an example photo which I too on Saturday – I am pleased with initial results but I do think that I need to obtain a skylight filter which I will do at the earliest opportunity.

This photo of a bird taking advantage of our garden water feature to have a refreshing bath! I had the sense that he was looking right at me – not camera shy at all!

I do want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent service I feel that I have received from FujiFilm on this occasion. I really feel that the repair service has been excellent and I now have a brand new camera with an accompanying 1 year warranty.

Google obtains Marratech

I heard about this on Thursday last week and have been interested to know what implication there might be for Glow which uses the Marratech product as an integral component. Bottom line is that the some original indications that “Google has obtained Marratech” could be interpreted in the wrong way.

Have done some reading in Blogshere ( a Google search for “Marratech and Google” reveals loads of interesting and relevant posts) – I believe that what has happened is that Google has purchased the Marratech software for its own internal use. Not to say of course that this will not lead to an extension of the Google online functionality for general web users.

So “Google has obtained the Marratech software for its use by its employees” would be a more precise interpretation. Google has not bought the Marratech company. At least this is my current understanding.

Of course the fact that a corporation like Google has chosen Marratech is a inticates of its believe that Marratech is fit for purpose and robust.

I have been using Marratech for about 2.5 years now and have see the product develop. I for one have a fair degree of confidence that it will meet the needs of Scottish Education used when deployed through Glow.

For further information see this post which contains the following quote from the blog Google says:

“As a company, we thrive on casual interactions and spontaneous collaboration. So we’re excited about acquiring Marratech’s video conferencing software, which will enable from-the-desktop participation for Googlers in video conference meetings wherever there’s an Internet connection.”

Googlers is the term used by Google to refer to its own employees.


Back to work again

Well this has been quite a week. After 8 days leave which was very refreshing I find my self playing catch up for the last 5 days. It is remarkable how much jobs can stack up when you take a well earned break. In any case, and due to the workload this week, I have not had much of a chance to do any blogging but I hope to get in to a more regular routine now.

One very disappointing event of the holiday period was the failure of my camera. It was working one day and the next it was broken. I have to confess that this was a source of great disappointment for me as I have been enjoying using if a lot over the last year. In any case, the good news that after a visit to the Fuji repair center it arrived back home yesterday – so I will be trying to find something worth photographing next week.

I should say for the benefit of Fuji cameras (mine is a FinePIX PRO20) that the repair service which is accessible the Fuji we site seems to offer a very good value deal. At considerable less cost that working through a high street store. My camera was sent of at my cost by Royal Mail special delivery about 10 days ago and was delivered back to me with a brand new 1 year warranty. I have been able to trak its progress through the repair progress using the website tracking system – click here for more details if you are interested.

Lighting up Learning – Glow

I have commented here about the YouTube service which can be use to publish videos etc. I just heard that video about an educational project that I have been working on for the last few years has been published on YouTube.

The project is now called Glow and will deliver a Scotland wide education intranet. The solution which is still under development includes a Portal, Email system, a Virtual Learning Environment, Discussion Groups, Web Conferencing (video and audio and application sharing). Eventually, the user base can include all of Scotlands pupils, teachers and other people who work to support the classroom. It is a very ambitious project which is being implemented on a scale which is big by any standards. A key feature of Glow is that it is a closed environment which is only accessible by authorised users. Pupils safety in the online environment is a number one priority so this system is definitely not like other ‘public’ on line community environments like BeBo and MySpace.

The video shows a teacher (actually one of the project educationalists) talking about the Glow system and how she uses it with her pupils. Of course this is actually simulation as the Glow service is not fully developed as yet.

You can read more about the Glow project here

Click here to view the Glow Project web site.


Click here to view the video on YouTube.

It is currently planned that Glow will be available for use starting in late August 2007. I expect that it will take some further time before it will be fully available to users throughout Scotland. Local Authorities and schools have some work to do to setup user accounts and configure their networks to facilitate access for their users. Glow can also be accessed from the home too assuming that the user has a suitable connection.

I think this is a very exciting project that has the potential to allow teachers and pupils throughout Scotland to deliver and support learning in ways that hithertoo have not been possible.