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Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Getting Things Done (GTD) is nearly 20 years old! Although tools have moved on, the mass of demands heading towards us hasn’t and I still find David Allen’s principles to be the one thing that keeps my life in order.

There’s five stages; Collection, Processing, Organising, Reviewing and Doing; and I will also cover project organisation and automation.

It’s really hard to describe what Trello is, because it can be so many things. It’s essentially a Kanban board app (web and mobile) where you can create Lists, and Cards to go in those lists which can be dragged and dropped between lists, have all sorts of meta added and be ordered and filtered. There are paid upgrades, but you don’t need those to get the core functions. …


YouTube’s Up Next selections can direct people to extremist or conspiracy content, or in the case of the YouTube Kids app, to dumbed down content.

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Photo by Andrew Wulf on Unsplash

I have worked on alternative ways of surfacing content for years, mainly when using WordPress to build information/magazine sites as opposed to strictly chronological blogs. I eventually felt the need to more flexibility and taught myself Python and Flask.

My son uses YouTube Kids and I’m in general very happy for him to have access to a method of finding things out during the period where his reading skills don’t quite match his curiosity. …


You don’t need to pull all-nighters or wear fleece gilets (but you can if you want).

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Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

I started learning to code in my mid-30s when my son, Cian, was four and I was doing my Media Studies Masters degree. I do work but it’s freelance from home and I homeschool Cian, who’s now six, too.

What I’m outlining doesn’t replace a college course or a bootcamp, but it will hopefully enable you to use code to solve your own problems, and to give you a decent grounding if you do decide to pursue it professionally. Robin Hauser Reynolds, the director of a documentary on women in technology, says that one reason why women often don’t make it beyond introductory programming classes in university is because the male students are often ahead of them as they’ve spent a long time gaming and have accumulated knowledge of the basics. The women also often lack “ambient belonging” where they don’t relate to associated but not essential subjects like science fiction and gaming. …


Using the Pi-Stop with GPIO Zero

I found the Pi-Stop on Pimoroni just before Christmas so I thought it would be good for my three-year-olds stocking. He likes vehicles and he’s intrigued by what he calls “tiny umputers” and he’s got the impression I can make him cool stuff! The documentation they list is using Scratch but I prefer Python simplified with GPIO Zero.

To use the Pi-Stop you’ll need a Raspberry Pi and either a monitor and keyboard or a way of connecting remotely, a Pi-Stop traffic lights set, a power source and perhaps something for reinforcement like insulating tape or Sugru.

I’m assuming you’re using Raspbian so sure you’ve got the latest version by going to the Terminal and entering sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade. This should make sure the GPIO Zero library is installed and on the latest version too. …


This is a web chatbot designed to help home-educated under–13s create and expand self-directed projects.

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UPDATE: I’ve now made a dedicated website for the bot!

Further information

  • Regarding project-based home education, I have found the book Project-Based Homeschooling to be very useful, along with the author’s blog and email newsletter.
  • Pickert advocates setting aside blocks of time to work on a project, so this chatbot is designed to help if you’re in “project time” but don’t have any ideas.
  • There’s an introduction to the idea of chatbots here.
  • I have built this with motion.ai.

Privacy

The bot won’t track you in any way unless you enter your email address for further updates, but anonymous data and quotes may be published in my project text.


Twenty-First Century Studies encompasses the political pathologies dominating international discourse, the flows and networks of global power, and the media and technology that makes it possible.

The following narrative is in the order that has seemed most natural to me, drawing out connections between the objects and texts discussed and created that have only become visible in an overview of the module.

I have attempted not to replicate my conclusions, but to put my experiments in their context within the material studied.

People in this country have had enough of experts (Gove, 2016)

The actions of politicians like Donald Trump and Michael Gove (as an architect of Brexit) have drawn heavily on nostalgia, in many cases entirely fabricated, and a strong strand of anti-intellectualism is evident as in Gove’s statement that “people in this country have had enough of experts” when asked if any economists backed Brexit. …


This is the accelerated world of a three-year-old, he’s interested in potholes, smarties, other kids, running, climbing, his scooter, running down hills.

This is what the world looks like without the stabilisation that our senses do for us.

The child before he develops impulse control is a natural accelerationist; his world goes faster and faster as the day goes on until his capacity to learn from it becomes overwhelmed then he’ll fall down in a pile of tears and frustration and then he’ll create his world a little more in his dreams.

No one’s told him that learning is a boring slow activity defined by a central neoliberal authority where he will be rated and ranked. …


A Manifesto

Written by Steph Bishop, Louise Brough, Neil Montgomery, Becky Stocks, Michelle Yates and Mary-Ann Horley

Let us pour a glass of wine to reminisce on how things were. Nostalgia plagues every waking moment, the ache of memories fostered in heart and mind. Change stimulates these feelings. Nostalgia cascades our being through our deepest recollections. We desire change, but regression will only become a perpetual cycle. Acceleration ploughs through the core of culture and social collectiveness. We tie ourselves to the past for closure. The time is ripe. The time is now.

Let us pour a cup of tea with minds set on the future. A future of defeat, where the reaper of post-Brexit has trampled on British tradition. Capitalism is climbing even higher on the ladder of corporate prosperity. Debt and austerity will rise. Policies and rights will be shredded under the loosened chains of governmental powers, the dark fibre in our segregated communities.

Let us pour a glass of wine and cup of tea down the sink, and realise what we have now. The present. Our future does not look utopian. Utopia is merely conceptual, as is dystopia. Acceleration will persist in resetting culture. Capitalism will be at the heart. Our materialistic values are as engrained into our subconscious as our natural abilities to walk and eat. We cannot merely dispose of these artificially contrived habits. Only through speculative notions can we hope to change them — redesign them — for the better. Are we to surrender to capitalism, austerity and the decay of our landscape? No. We are to nurture capitalist and neoliberalist values by reinventing it for our own purposes. …


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Marketing imagery for the clothing company Joules

Conclusion: Legislated Nostalgia

Reynolds (2011) describes nostalgia as “a wistful pining for a halcyon lost time in one’s life,” and “a collective longing for a happier, simpler, more innocent age.” I want to extend this on to a longing for a feeling of safety, but instead of acknowledging that life can never be safe, it’s tempting to long for something you can never have instead.

A recent trend for brands such as the Co-Op, PG Tips and Daz to move back towards design and type reminiscent of the 1950s seems to be portraying that era as a golden age of all things domestic — a current Daz package even uses the snowclone “Keep clean and dazzle on” — but history shows that that time period was far from safe. …


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Crary talks about the social and collective consequences of 24/7 as well as the more individual effects

What is 24/7?

Crary uses the phrase “24/7” as a noun, for a time without any of the previous markers of time, in “the aftermath of a common life made into the object of technics”. By this I believe he means that a person can now be seen as an application of various products or services, rather than those products and services being for the use of the person.

Because apps and websites are available at all times, demarcations and sequences are removed, down to “the diurnal pulse of waking and sleeping and the longer alternations between days of work and a day or worship or rest”. …

About

Mary-Ann Horley

I'm a writer, editor and home-educating mother in the UK.

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