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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Top Ten Films of 2007

Chris Campbell

Here we go for the 6th time and another list of 10 films that I loved this past year. It was a good year for film and it featured films from some of my favourite directors such as the Coen brothers, Danny Boyle, Bruce MacDonald and David Lynch. It seemed a bit thin on documentaries, but many of the films incorporated documentary elements or reality into their worlds. Challenging and entertaining, it was a year that had some great moments.

The films in perhaps a rough order are No Country for Old Men, Sunshine, Control, The Tracey Fragments, Inland Empire, Michael Clayton, The Bourne Ultimatum, Low and Behold, Juno, and Good Copy Bad Copy. Read on to find out why they made my list.

Favourite Software of 2007

Chris Campbell

I'm not a fan of big expensive applications (with the notable exception of Final Cut Pro), but I love open source and shareware that is the product of small companies or individuals. There is something satisfying about sending money to someone who crafts something useful and affordable. Over the past few years I've come to rely upon a small collection of applications to read, write and create things for the web. With many of them I didn't realize how much they have become part of what I do until I switched to my newer MacBook Pro and there were a lot of things missing.
Essential software for me would be NetNewsWire, MarsEdit, Pukka, Twitterific, Flickr Export, Graphic Converter, and Transmit.

Five Years of Creative Commons

Chris Campbell years ago today things changed online in the copyfight. Frustration with the increasingly hostile environment surrounding intellectual property and a fundamental shift in copyright law in the United States, a brilliant and positive initiative called Creative Commons launched. It shifted things around by not asking "how can I stop people from stealing things?," but by asking "how I can I share what I make and work with others?" With a set of licenses that were legal as well human and machine readable, an amazing amount of creativity and collaboration became possible.
This blog had started a few months before the launch in December of 2002 and I licensed all my blog posts from that point on. Now I have 331 posts that can be shared and remixed as long as it's noncommercial and I've given credit. All of my 6,547 public photos on Flickr have the same license. The 10 episodes of the Bad Metaphor podcast are also licensed and everything that I create and put online will be licensed in a similar way.
It's been a positive and encouraging experience to use the licenses as I've been able to meet and work with people from all over the world because of the project. The more that you give and share, the more you get back.

Changing Bitdepth

Chris Campbell

When I started this site in May of 2002, I was using Rael Dornfest's amazing Blosxom script that takes text files and converts them into postings. It's worked without a hitch for over five years, but I've been wanting to use a more comprehensive system for a while now. Yesterday I installed WordPress and migrated over. Importing my previous posts was a bit of a pain, but I was able to do it. The biggest changes are in the look and in the addition of comments to the site. One of the reasons that I haven't been here as much over the past while is probably the lack of comments and interaction as there is nothing like an audience to motivate you and I've been spending more time where I'm connecting with people.
Things have changed a lot with web hosting and blogging systems over the past five years. Configuring and installing systems is much easier now and for many people, they won't have to use MySQL commands or even use the terminal to set up and configure things. I think that I've struck a good balance between a system that I install myself and can configure and change without a lot of effort.
Now instead of using a text editor for posts, I'm using MarsEdit and I have to say that it is a fun and geeky day for me and I hope to be writing more and to be hearing from you as well. Thanks for being here and enjoy the new look and site.

Full Circle

Chris Campbell

Five years ago I started working at the Nova Scotia Community College and one of the requirements for full-time employees is that they have to take part in a program called CCEDP (Community College Education Diploma Program). It usually takes about 2 years to complete, which includes a couple of summers spent in residence taking courses. I completed the program and was lucky enough to be chosen as the valedictorian which gave me the opportunity to sum the experience up in my valedictory address. The best parts of the experience of learning how to teach adults were the connections made between the participants and instructors in the program. Now I know dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds) people from all over the province who work for the college.
A few months ago Carolyn asked me if I'd like to be part of a session that she was organizing called Engaging the Digital Learner that would be part of the New Faculty Orientation that happened in Yarmouth in October. I had a great time when I was in Yarmouth for it and I jumped at the chance to be able to give something back. It was a lot of fun and I contributed with some information about podcasting. I didn't realize until afterwards that I'd been in CCEDP courses with most of the members of the team that facilitated the workshop, but now we were all at the front of the classroom with a few years of experience within the organization. It was very nice to have it all come full circle, and I'm so glad that I could be involved.