Life is Not a Race to be First Finished

I never realised when I started this blogging thing 2007 where it would lead. I called it Life is Not a Race to be First Finished cos kids in my class always seemed to be in a rush to be first wherever they went and it annoyed me. It went against my philosophy of ‘together we will get there bringing everyone with us’.

On this day, 31 January, in 2016 the title of this blog came into perspective and my life changed. Life was not indeed a race to be first finished.

I was working in Blenheim that day and saw that I had had four missed calls from a hidden caller ID. Alarm bells rang when eventually they got through. It was Nelson Anniversary Monday and they had rung me and asked for an urgent call back from my regular mammogram.

I cried in the car all the way home as fear set in. I had to pull over a couple of times as it got too much to bare. My sister had passed away from breast cancer sixteen years ago and her journey is always with me. It couldn’t be happening again could it???

What followed was further mammograms, MRI, biopsies, scans and specialist visits. There was talk of a double mastectomy and poisoned lymph nodes and long words that had little meaning. I tried to be strong but there was lots of tears especially telling the ones that I love most.

I had the mastectomy on March 16 followed by six cycles of aggressive chemotherapy here in Nelson, and then five weeks of daily radiation in Christchurch. My family and friends both in Nelson and scattered about New Zealand and the world helped me get to where I am now and I am indebted to them- their support, their love and sometimes just silence as I cried with pain and fear at what was happening to me.

Through all this there are a number of things that I am most grateful for…

  • my family, in particular Danny and Amy, who left their work and lives and came to be with me when I needed them most
  • my Nelson friends who came to visit with companionship, food and lawn mowing!
  • my scattered kiwi friends who supported me with moral support and driving when I needed it
  • my work friends who kept an eye on me from afar and gave me the support I needed.

I am thankful for…

  • not living in Syria and being displaced. I have my own place to live in that I know is safe
  • Nelson surgeons, oncology doctors and nurses- who can help me find laughter when sometimes it is burrowed deep
  • being able to work virtually with schools so I still got paid when I was having radiation in Christchurch
  • access to Daffodil House in Christchurch- I stayed there for free for the five weeks- it is wonderful- your donations are being well spent and are much needed
  • access to modern medicines- I am still on Herceptin- which costs quizillion dollars but is government funded
  • still being alive one year later- there were times that that wasn’t guaranteed and I was scared.

365 days later and things are OK. I have had a bone scan and MRI and they can’t see any more tumours. I am having some trouble in believing that I might have survived it and I suppose only time will tell but in the meantime….

‘My best medicine is to try and live without fear, have fun, live a balanced life, have check ups and just get on with it.’

My big message is have regular mammograms as without it it never would have been picked up- even the breast surgeon couldn’t feel a lump and it was 5cm big. And try and get what you need and enjoy every single day as you don’t know when it might all disintegrate. Life is not a race to be first finished.

2012 K-12 Horizon Report

Earlier this year I was asked to participate in the Advisory Board of the Horizon Report. The Horizon Report Advisory Board is a group of leading educators from around the world who pool their knowledge and expertise to try and predict what the trends will be in the educational landscape in the near future out to the next five years.

I was in awe of the other educators asked to participate and humbled that they would value my input.

To gain consensus we suggested trends and then voted on which ones we thought would come to fruition over the time frames suggested.

Key Trends that we identified

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.
  • As the cost of technology drops and schools revise and open up their access policies, it is becoming increasingly common for students to bring their own mobile devices.
  • Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models.
  • One-to-one computing is spreading to a large number of countries and regions. Providing students constant access to computers and the Internet is an education game-changer.
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to.
  • Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate and succeed.
  • There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based and active learning.

 So here is what we came up with……

 Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  • Cloud Computing
  • Collaborative Environments
  • Mobiles and Apps
  • Tablet Computing

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

  • Digital Identity
  • Game-Based Learning
  • Learning Analytics
  • Personal Learning Environments

 Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

  • Augmented Reality
  • Natural User Interfaces
  • Semantic Applications
  • Tools for Assessing 21st Century Learning Skills

Embedded below is four minute video that explains it further and a pdf to download that explains each of the terms.


So what do you think? Did we get it right?



Education Review Article

A while ago NZ Education Review asked me to write an article for them sharing the path I took to change my practice over the last few years using ICT.

They published it in digital form today with Issuu which I quite like because it looks like a book to read and you can zoom in and turn the pages, just like the real thing.

The whole publication makes good reading- my article is on page 21/22. Click on the image to take you to the web book.

They even added a QR code to the article like I asked them too.


Making a digital video from a video cassette

I felt the need to convert a video cassette to digital and thought I would quickly write it up here because I do it so rarely that I tend to forget and have to learn it all over again each time I do it! I am totally not a technician so I hope I call the cables by the right names. If you know more about it than me please let me know in the comments.

You need

  • Fire-wire cable – my Apple Mac Book Pro has an older version of a fire-wire cable that comes with the camcorder but I presume that whatever comes with your camcorder will do to connect the camcorder to the computer.
  • 3.5mm audio to RCA stereo cable ($5) on Trade Me.
  • A digital camcorder- ours is a Sony Handicam.


First of all find the spot on the tape that you want to digitise. Plug the RCA cable into the OUT at the back of the video player. I had to experiment a little to make sure I had the right coloured plug into the audio/video. I didn’t have a hole to put the yellow one into but I suspect it is only for fancy stereo sound. Michael Fawcett adds that the yellow end is usually video… white (or black) is left audio, red is right audio.


Plug  the other end into the AUDIO IN on the camcorder.


Turn the camcorder onto VCR and then onto record- REC CTRL. Push play on the video and record on the camcorder.

When it’s done push stop and rewind the handicam to the beginning on what you recorded.

Now upload it to your computer. I am trying to use iMovie09 more now and it does make quick editing nice and easy.


iMovie09 has a nice direct upload to YouTube feature under SHARE. And now for your viewing delight is a video of my good self filmed about fifty years ago. It was originally recorded on film and then videoed as it played on a projector screen and now it has found its way into the 21st century.

You can Google solutions but the ones I have looked at seemed un-necessarily complicated.

Dairy Trainee of the Year

I am very proud of a young friend of mine who has just been announced second place in the Dairy Trainee of the Year Competition held in Rotorua last night.

During the last school holidays she asked me to help her make a video of her practice as part of her submission to the competition. I had never made a ‘proper’ video before and enjoyed the challenge of working with only a couple of people and not having to entertain the rest of the class while trying to make a decent video.

Andrea had pre=prepared her script and written it out on a large piece of paper just like we do in class. Friends held the paper behind the camera just like a real teleprompter really. We worked hard to move the thing along and vary the backgrounds to keep the thing zipping along. Filming and editing took ten or so hours and then I took it home to burn onto DVD. Three minutes of video from all that- I have an even greater appreciation now of the work of real video producers and editors.

I was proud of the cutting of the audio and laying video and graphics under the commentary.

Well done, Andrea. Well done me. I just found out that Andrea got the highest marks in the DVD part of the competition.

365 Photo Challenge

Two whole months have gone by and I have managed to keep my New Year’s Resolution going and I have uploaded a photo every day to my WordPress Photo Blog. Admittedly I have stockpiled a few to use when school is all I get to think about in a day but I am quite pleased with myself. A big part of maintaining the interest is gaining inspiration from looking at other people’s photos and receiving feedback from people viewing my photos.

Here is a summary of two months worth of photos. Thanks team.

Jan/Feb 2010

National Standards Review

This morning I attended a talk by Lester Flockton at which we got to hear his take on how he sees National Standards in New Zealand. My view of them is filtered through doom tinted glasses so anything I might add can be taken from that point of view. These are my views and are to be taken in no way as a reflection on the views of staff or BoT at my school. My reflections are in italics. This is what I took from Lester’s talk. I don’t usually blog about contentious issues but I wanted to share what I heard from someone who knows more about it than most. Here is what I heard…

National Standards have their foundations in politics not education so how can you discuss them with reason or logic. It was a political decision to start the National Standards process.

We need to be strong to say what we think– will I actually post my notes as a blog post but people already know via Twitter what I think. Press had been asked to leave before the Principal’s meeting started so how different is my blog post from a post in a newspaper, apart from lack of readership of this blog. We have a culture of compliance in NZ- we need to THINK of implications for National Standards- its possible/probable impact on teaching and learning.

Here are some of the slides that Lester used in his presentation. To see them in a decent size hover over them and click fullscreen.

Pamphlets about National Standards were posted out to parents before Christmas. Interestingly no one in the room had received a pamphlet in the mail – they were posted and not given to teachers to hand out- no wonder! The pamphlets were filled with political rhetoric in talk back radio language like

  • 20% of students are failing (Lester says 10-15% of children are struggling for a variety of reasons). Every country has a large tail- to make a difference to those struggling kids there are needs to be a whole package of assistance that they need to become successful- a test without real resources to support the family/whanau is unlikely to be successful.
  • Identify struggling children early- like we don’t know already which children are struggling.
  • We need one national test to rule them all- thankfully but also fatefully National Standards don’t deliver one test to rule them all- each school/teacher puts their own slant on the standard.
  • National Standards are needed so children can be compared one school against another. Lester says that the Standards are already impacting with schools advertising for staff to raise standards. Schools should be collaborative not competitive.
  • Parents are tired of politically correct sugar coated reports. Plain language reporting- it was changed from plain English as by saying English it was not politically correct! LOL)

League tables- inevitable in the long run- John Hattie is going to be in working party to develop them. He says he wants to make them safe- only comparing like decile schools. Lester says NEMP data is much more dependable and reliable. Schools will be pitched against schools! Common data sources- you won’t find them with National Standards there really isn’t moderation between schools- league tables based on surface features- because they more easily measured. It will breed a whole new batch of data driven tests.

Revision of NAGs in November 2009- blue sheet. Lester handed out NAG revision handout. Now no need to assess AOs. Schools asked to report to MoE on demographic analysis and trends, weakness, and what they are intending to do about it.

If you have a good reporting process keep it but add on as an appendage to your normal reporting schedule in term one and term four. Bring data on from the end of the previous year- beware of children’s fading over the school holidays. Beware of last year’s teachers who are soft or too hard so you appear over hard with kids moving between average or below for example- if a child was assessed as average last year and you put them at below beware of the parental wrath– Beware teacher workload.

MoE timeline- BoTs report on trends and what schols intend to do to achieve those targets. There will be enormous variance across teachers and schools as on what is above/below standard. There needs to be ongoing moderation between teachers and across schools.

Looking carefully at the characteristics of the reading and writing standards- same word games as the Achievement Objectives- the characteristics of year five and six are the same- it will be up to teachers to make those judgments and actually put it in plain language.

The people who put the standards together weren’t teachers and were done behind closed doors without teacher practitioners being involved. Why trial something that is rubbish anyway? Overseas any improvement has come at the expense  of a balanced, broad curriculum. Is this what we want- to follow failed overseas systems?

Trending to a data driven system. Children are not data.

Learning is messy.

So there you go! What do you think. What have you got to add?

What should the students call you?

Tonight on TV3 television news they had a piece decrying children calling their teachers by their first name. You can view it yourself through this link here. The full text article can be found here.

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!Teachers and students on first-name basis - Story - National - 3 News

Anthropologist, James Urry, warned us that using titles like Mr or Mrs is an important part of creating boundaries for children; boundaries that are undermined by using first names. He thinks, ‘The practice threatens discipline and that titles help children understand boundaries.’

Last year when I didn’t have a class of my own and worked mostly with adults everyone called me Allanah. The world did not stop turning, no one was mean to me and I never had anyone disrespect me. On my return to the classroom this year I thought I would give it a go as I felt I was a bit old to be Miss King and suggested the children could call me what they wanted- Allanah or Miss King.

Now they call me a mixture of titles- one great spin off is that everyone now pronounces my name correctly- the children have taught their parents how to pronounce it how my family have always pronounced it. I even get called Mum, Dad, Nanna, whatever.

I don’t feel any harm has been done by being Allanah. It is not school policy and some teachers at school prefer their titles and it is their choice. Surely we should have choice over what people call us- fairly fundamental I would have thought.

What do you think?

Prevailing Technology

This week I was saddened to attend the funeral of a dear lady who had lived her life in full. It came to me how much the use of technology had helped the grieving family during this difficult time. Her family are not particularly ICT savy but there was plenty technology in use during the service. The chapel at Marsden House was wired with an audio loop for the hard of hearing. The family had put together a slide show that played on a ceiling mounted data projector. The service was being relayed live to family members overseas that could not attend and a grandson had emailed an oral tribute and song of remembrance to be played to the gathering. The whole thing was being recorded to DVD. Each of these enhancements were much valued by Joy’s family and friends. They weren’t particularly special or made a fuss of- they were just tools that people used to fulfil a need.

Augmented Reality

ImageThe things you discover on the internet! As you do on a Saturday morning you have a little time to play while the washing machine finishes its cycle. Via my friend @tricias in the UK I came across this little piece of magic that I just had to follow up on.

The idea is that you print out a piece of paper and hold it up in front of your web cam and a whole virtual reality world opens up in front of your very eyes with spinning wind turbine, 3D and the sun shining above. They have two scenarios- the other is showing solar power! It’s just magic! Do it. You’ll love it. No idea how it works though but think of the possibilities. Here’s a little video to show you how it works….

Virtual World Video

To get the link to the piece of paper that you print off and to see the so easy instructions click here. It only took me a minute to print and play!

Piers and his Mum had a bit of a play with it as well. Have a look at Piers’ blog for the video the made.

Tweet of the Day #gr8t

For the month of March, a group of educators and lifelong learners will be picking a “Tweet of the day” and ReTweeting it with a tag: #gr8t
Hopefully, you will join us in doing this too.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to participate:
• To share what you value about twitter.
• To see what others value about twitter.
• To celebrate the power and wisdom of your Personal Learning Network.
• To find interesting people to follow on Twitter.

My choice for what to retweet with #gr8t will be a Tweet that I find interesting, or insightful, or humorous. It might link to something I enjoyed reading, or it might have something profound or even fortune-cookie-like that appeals to me:

external image File?id=d75khsb_353fn9ztxg5_b

There aren’t really any rules to participate: Find a tweet you value, and share it!

For Example, here is a Tweet I’d like to share:
external image File?id=d75khsb_354cwzv39hs_b

And so I retweet it with #gr8t:

Hey- I’ve never been the first in the world to do anything- this might just be a first! The joys of being the first to see the sunrise.

New Zealand Education Gazette Article

Gazette Early in February this blog got a little recognition from the New Zealand Education Gazette so I asked the Wayne Erb, the reporter, if I could put a copy of the article on the blog and he said that would be fine so here it is for downlaod in case you missed the paper copy.


Our new photocopier at school scans to a pdf and sends it off to an email address so it was a useful exercise in coming to grips with a new bit of learning.

International Peer Support

I had the good fortune to do a little travelling over our summer holiday spending time in Hong Kong, London, Portsmouth, Abergavenny in Wales, Londonderry, Ireland and Bangkok, Thailand. Until 2008 I had only ever been to Australia which you can hardly count as being overseas- a bit like visiting your cousins! It doesn’t really count.

My holiday snaps are here in a Flickr photo set slideshow if you would like to lurk a little.

While I was away I managed to meet with a few people who are in my Personal Learning Network.

My first meet up was with Paul Harrington in Wales. Paul and I first contacted each other through our mutual interest in podcasting and our two classes collaborated on a number of occasions over the years. As I expected when he met me at the Abergevenny Railway Station for the first time, we not strangers even though we had only just met. Image It was incredible to think how far we had both come on our journeys through cyberspace. Paul took me to Cefn Fforest School where Mini-Dylan and I surprised his students with a real visit. His excited students met me with real enthusiasm and I enjoyed their happy faces and beautiful accents. While in Wales we had a great conversation with Joe Dale from the Isle of Wight, another great podcaster and inspiration to me.

Unfortunately Doug Dickinson, ICT consultant, was called away at last minute to organise some stuff for BETT but Tricia Neal drove all the way from Leicester to Cardiff and back again so we could meet up. How cool is that!

On the way home I called in to spend some time at the International School of Bangkok staying with Chrissy Hellyer and meeting with Jeff Utecht and Kim Cofino.

These people have all influenced my learning network in some way and I was honoured and privileged to meet them all. The thing that struck me is openness of the people who help me on my journey. All of these people lead busy working lives but always give freely of their time and expertise to mentor and support fellow teachers like me.

I have never once come across anyone since I first started learning on line who has ever turned down a request for assistance or advice and I try to ‘pay it forward’ myself and do the same. These people help to form a wonderful support network for me as I venture into cyberspace. Thanks guys– for your hospitality and support.

Call To Prayer Recording
1.3MB 1 minute 24 seconds

Not happy with that last recording so I cleaned it up with Adobe Soundbooth and got rid of the white noise and a few of the extra clicks and clunks. Much nicer.

Call To Prayer Recording Cleaned Up

Staying in Bangkok was my first time living in a culture that is so very different from my own and it was fascinating and wonderful. Every morning at 5am you could hear the Muslim Adhan-call to prayer. It was beautiful and I was lucky enough to capture it on my iTalk microphone on my iPod. Our class podcasts will be starting up as we go back to work this week. I wanted to publish this recording to Edublogs to take advantage of some of the extra storage space now that I have paid for hosting in order to get rid of the ads!


Thanks Chris, Penny and Amanda for getting me blogging again in 2009. The deal is that people encourage you to write some stuff about yourself that others might not know.

I did another prompted by Miguel a while back- The Passion Quilt. And this Bucket List one from Cathy, this Random Facts one from Jane. And this one from Sheryl called Simply Successful Secrets.

So here it goes for 2008….

  1. I just bought my first house and will be 81 years old before I pay it off. I have lived in a lot of school houses with low rent and never before felt the need to buy before now. I bought when house prices and interest rates were at their peak!
  2. 2008 was the first year I had ever been overseas apart from Australia- and now I have been to America, Hong Kong, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire and Thailand. I am a late bloomer.Caerphilly Castle
  3. I have been a fairly ordinary teacher for most of my teaching career but have now through the use of ICT found something I am actually good at- it has taken a while to find my passion in teaching but hopefully it has been worth the wait.
  4. My great-great grandmother was the first pakeha girl born in Nelson- local Maori helped deliver her in a whare on the sides of what is now the Queen’s Garden’s in Nelson, but was then a harakeke swamp. My great grandfather was part of the Armed Constabulary that went to Parihaka to subdue the Maori. I am not proud of that but it is good that my best friend’s great grandfather was also there but not part of the Armed Constabulary.
  5. I have an abject fear of spiders and weta. I once lived in a house that was crawling with weta- even on the inside- I would have to check the bed every night to make sure it was weta free and I used kitchen tongs to inspect every piece of firewood bringing it into the house.
  6. I love New Zealand. It is my home and I can never imagine permanently living anywhere else. I can understand people fighting for a country but I can’t understand them fighting over a religion.
  7. I love to take photos and I have way too many cameras but keep on upgrading. Does anyone have a need for a couple of very good film cameras?
  8. Oh- and one last thing- For a previous job I had to sign the NZ Official Secrets Act- I can’t tell you what the job was as a bit of mystery is always a good thing.

No tagging of anyone else ‘cos we are all very busy getting our classrooms sorted.

Kids Can Make You Cry!

Only one week of my 2008 employment to go and on my last official visit to Riwaka School the kids sat me down to watch a video they had made entirely by themselves over the last week and then presented me with a stunning bunch of flowers. This year has passed by in a whirlwind and I have loved every minute of it- the kids, the opportunities, the connections, the freedom, the learning, the people, the friendships.

Riwaka Farewell Video

This text will be replaced

Thank you to Janice Gulbranson who saw the job advertised in the newspaper and told me about it. (One pitfall of no longer buying a newspaper!)

Thank you to Jill Hammonds who suggested I apply for Adobe Educational Leadership.

Thank you to Adobe, who helped by sponsoring my exciting journeys to Sydney and San Francisco.

Thank you to CORE for hosting such great ICT conferences where I get to meet such open and wonderful people F2F who help me and encourage me.

Thank you to my Personal Learning Network who are always there for me anytime of the day or night scattered about the globe.

ImageThank you to all those wonderful people I met along the way this year.

Thank you to my dearest Mum, who passed away this year, who would have been so proud of me- my biggest fan.

It’s taken a year!

This little project has taken a year in the making. In the same way I have a 2009 to do list I had one for 2008 as well. David Kinane’s project ‘Intrepid Journeys’ gave me the inspiration. I had to go over to Motueka on Sunday to help a teacher with her home computer so it gave me the chance to cross another thing off my 2008 to do list. I set the camera up on a tripod on the passenger seat and set it to capture time lapse photos at the fastest refresh rate that the camera allowed which was 30 seconds. As I arrived in Motueka the compressed video lasted all of 4 seconds! When I got home I dropped it in to iMovie and slowed it down as much as I could, exported it and repeated myself. I then dropped a little FreePlay Music over the top to add a little interest. Thanks for the inspiration, David.

Speed Test NZ

While I was working wirelessly at Parklands School today we were trying to do a little viewing of a Flickr video and it was all buffering annoyingly so I decided to do a speed test from When I got home I tried it again. I have what is supposed to be a very fast domestic broadband account- I was surprised at the difference. Parklands is on the Loop. Can’t wait to get back to my class next year and use The Loop and put it through its paces. Click on the graphic for a close up.


The other interesting thing that happened was that our Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was visiting while on the campaign trail for our forthcoming election. I thought I would wander over the road and have a bit of a look. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of people about so pulled out my trusty video recorder and fired off a few seconds of video. “Our Helen” is the lady in pink.

PM IN Motueka


I’m home safely after another brilliant ULearn08 conference. The whole thing is really such a whirl and I think you do need some time to internalise things but here are my thoughts as they comeULearn Left Overs to me now there is nothing left but empty wine bottles and a head full of wonderings.

I’ve been at home out in the sunshine doing a little weeding with my fingers busy and my mind reeling about that word, CHANGE. I look reflectively at my own classroom practice and wonder how much it has really changed. How much connectivity I allow? Is it more about me and my teaching or about the children and their learning? I am looking forward to going back next year and putting my money where my mouth is with a new group of Year 1/2.

I want to do an action research project on the changes that podcasting makes on oral language. It will be great to have a fresh slate on which to write. My network will be invited to act as my peer review.

This was my first conference where I was more of a leader than a follower- in lots of senses of leadership. I lead a great group of six teachers from Discover IT Tasman cluster. What a great group to give up a week of their precious school holidays.

I presented three sessions and here are my Twitter presentation notes for download. “You’re No One If You’re Not On Twitter” by JB Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons. I now have a new heap of Twitter followers- I hope I can live up to their expectations!

Here are my Cool Adobe Applications on the Web notes with links to the websites for download as well.

And I also did a workshop on podcasting which was very rushed but hopefully people will be able to follow up on when they have a moment. Here is the wiki link to that one. It would be great if people could add their podcast to the ‘People Who Podcast‘ page as they get their own podcasts under way.

If there is a next time I don’t think I will offer to present so much- there was so much more I would like to have been at that I think I might have missed some great opportunities to participate.

At our unconference the topic I brought to the table was that of Twitter- on line etiquette. While at the conference some people who maybe didn’t understand the public nature of Twitter thought it was OK to make derogatory comments about people who they knew were connected and likely to read them. Apart from being bad manners I think it is important for people to understand and help the children in their classes understand that what you write on the internet doesn’t just disappear after you push ENTER. What you write is a reflection of yourself as much as it is a reflection of what you think. If you want to say something potentially harmful maybe you should move into a more private conversation mode like Skype chat or F2F discussion at a more appropriate time.

Microsoft Innovative Teacher AwardI didn’t win the Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award 🙁 but it was fun trying. I got to go up on stage and be acknowledged as a finalist which was nice. I had to laugh though as Warren told me I wasn’t to take my laptop up on stage. With more than one way to skin a cat- I took my iTouch and twittered with that. Lenva tweeted that she could see my fingers moving and new what I was doing!!! Hehehehe!!!

Tools wise I learnt how to make news items with Adobe Visual Communicator- another great tool for 2009. Watch this space as I get the hang of it and work out how to do a little blue-screening

One of the best personal moments was at the very, very end, just as I was leaving Jared Holden from New Plymouth came up to me and said how much he appreciated my blog posting and contributions to our community. I left with tears in my eyes and a light heart. What a nice thing to say. Thank you Jared.

It was a top class event for me to meet up and converse with top people from NZ and overseas, topped off with a great weekend showing Sheryl, Will and their families our stunning country.

Thanks everyone- keep the shift happening and turn that supertanker!

Virtual Highway

Virtual Highway
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Paul Wilkinson just posted this rather excellent find- Virtual Highway– which is a wonderful Google mash-up of a Google map of New Zealand and video of what the drive actually looks like. As the video plays a little car moves along the highway keeping in synch with the video. Here is a screen grab of part of my commute. Way cool.

Riminiscences of David Kinane‘s Amazing Journey.

Thanks Paul- hours of fun here!

Mum’s Passing

I haven’t blogged for ages as a lot has happened and I haven’t felt up to the challenge. I am blogging this while waiting to get a wheel alignment on my car. Best blogged in a place where my tears are only on the inside.

On Thursday 1 May I was at the Nelson airport about to head up to Whangarei for the ICT cluster mini-conference. The plane was delayed so I thought I would give my dear Mum a quick call on her cell phone at the rest home to say farewell before I left. As I rang a new voice answered saying that Mum had had a fall and was having multiple seizures and they had called an ambulance.

I was able to get my suitcase back from the flight attendants and call a taxi. The driver was great and I managed to beat the ambulance to the rest home and go with Mum to the hospital. The doctors at the hospital were fabulous and got Mum all the attention she needed immediately. A volunteer of the St John’s Ambulance stayed with me at that time as well and told me it would be all right- there was going to be a way through this.

After the necessary CAT scans and X-rays we were transferred to a medical ward. Mum nearly died just then but hung on in a coma from which she never emerged. They jacked me up with a fold-up bed in Mum’s room and my vigil began. As I went home each day and via Twitter through my cell phone I was able to keep contact with my on-line friends and I was humbled and comforted by the support offered from people I had never met. These people were so warm and caring and I felt uplifted by their direct messages. Thank you.

Exactly one week later Mum passed away as I wished her well on her journey. I was so pleased that I was there for her right through to the end.

Mum’s funeral was lovely with a mixture of love, laughter and tears. I had whipped up town to buy a decent iPod set of speakers and I made a iPhoto slideshow of photos from Mum’s life that started the service. Mum was always interested on what I was getting up to on my ‘video’ as she called my computer.

I show you now this video as a tribute to my Mum- my best friend and a wonderful woman.