Reflections on Week 11 – Work Style and Why Silence is (could be) Golden

Work Style and Tool Wrangling

My work style means I make a lot of notes on deliverables, sometimes far ahead of due dates. Sometimes, even on even multi-year projects, I have an outline of every deliverable on day 1 of the project. They are usually just section titles or deliverable due dates and formal reference numbers, etc. But once that outline is there I am much more relaxed. Its almost as if after that you just have “to fill things in” even where months or work might be required to do that. Then as I go along I write some sections completely and in depth. For other things I add bullets as I progress. I frequently add the screen shots and other imagery along the way. This is another aspects of my “Big Space” approach which I have blogged about before. Its as if the whole project was there and I can dip in, do bits out of temporal order, and refine things as we go along. I never like to feel I am up against a deadline and facing a “white page” problem. Until I have a hook or story line for open ended deliverables – like the IDEL11 essay – I feel much less comfortable.

I have noticed that my style of working is not well supported by the way that the Elgg blog for IDEL11 works.. something Christine and myself discussed earlier when some of my weekly IDEL11 reflection postings seemed to be out of order. You can make a draft entry and just publish it as private to yourself… and later after its complete publish it to a group or fully publicly. But when finally posted beyond yourself it retain its very first date and time. That can be far removed from when you meant it to appear in a temporally ordered blog, and causes confusion. The RSS feeds of the event also show up at the earlier date meaning they are missed by all readers. It took me a while to even realise they were present, just far back in an event stream timeline. WordPress blogs as used on Digital Cultures works much better in this respect as you can create and manage drafts as you refine them, including all their embedded media. And then when ready publish them to the intended audience. It’s that date of publish which gets attached to the post and is used in RSS feeds.

Deep Immersion, Eureka Moments, and “Coming Together” Experiences

In the readings in the last few weeks, I liked the description in Levy (2009, page 244) about the feelings that Barbara McClintock had when studying corn… and how she was deeply immersed in the world of corn when performing her molecular biological studies. She had flashes of insight in which she saw a pattern or result, even though much more work was then needed to show that it was so.

Christine in an IDEL11 Discussion Forum post mentioned a “coming together” moment Peter Higgs described are very powerful and often do need some focus and concentration on an area.

Peter Higgs, of Higgs-Boson fame, and an emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh described his theoretical discovery in 1964. (Extract from BBC News article, 10 September, 2008.) It happened over a weekend.

I have an example from a while ago when doing some complex 3D shape modelling and I was trying to work things by the numbers with mental 3D algebra and loads of notes….. but in a moment things sort of swam before my eyes and the shapes made sense as an imagined 3D envelope in my mind’s eye was almost swirling round to see from various angles. It was quite vivid and I started to develop the actual formulae with that image still alive. But just then a family member came in to ask a question and the whole thing melted away. It took me ages to do the task after that and I never got the vision back.

Silence is (or could be) Golden

I am thinking of ways to get some quiet time to begin serious work on my IDEL11 Essay… and I am thinking of dropping out of watching my twitter time line for a period. The constant interruptions of immediate status updates and the lure of irresistible and interesting looking pointers to other material are very time consuming and distracting when really trying to focus, read and extract meaningful insights.

I notice that I was tetchy on the morning when the IDEL11 Adobe Connect session was on. I was annoyed with myself for failing to do any of a planned set of readings on VLEs and PLEs to add to the themes in my IDEL11 essay in the previous day or two, even though that had been my plan. Constrant interruptions and hard work to set up a new portal for the OpenVCE group on the APAN network (see ) had meant I failed to get on with any planned task in that period. So another 2 or 3 hours disrupted felt bad… but I realised it was just that I knew I was not achieving my own targets for reading and seeking essay inputs.

One of this week’s readings by Charlie Brooker in the Guardian on the demands and “force feed” aspects of new instant messaging techniques made me smile (or groan) as I know this feeling all too well.

Unfortunately, this coincides with a really serious virus/trojan infection on my main desktop computer… which occurred on Friday after a visit to an education blog which had a guest post that must have had malware in it and clearly infected my machine. It was a very deeply installed and persistent boot sector trojan which made a real mess. I am still not back in good shape yet.


Brooker, C. (2010). Google Instant is Trying to Kill Me. The Guardian, 13 September 2010.

Levy, D. (2007). No time to think: Reflections on information technology and contemplative scholarship.

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