Abject Outage: Day 4

We continue our intensive coverage of what has now become known as The Great Abject Outage of Aught Thirteen.

It has now been 4 days since Brian Lamb closed down his Internet newsletter, or Webb-Log, leaving only this cryptic message:

Screen Shot 2013 02 12 at 8 04 41 AM


There was no further explanation. Cryptographic and steganographic analysis of the message have turned up no clues. There is no indication of what is meant by the number “509”. Is it a prophesy of the number of days until Mr. Lamb will return? A portion of a numbered Swiss bank account? An area code? If so, it suggests that Lamb and his followers may be hiding in the Cascade mountains of America, a short drive south from his last known hideout.

His followers, now lost and confused without his daily missives, have been holding nightly candlelight vigils in an attempt to make sense of Lamb’s opaque message. Some describe it as a symptom of existential crisis, that Chairman Lamb has, to use the words of one devotee who asked to remain anonymous, “flown too close to the sun.”

Others point out that this is likely not the case, as Lamb is most certainly human, or post-human, and likely has no innate capacity for flight.

After reaching one follower in his compound in the state of Virginia, wherever the hell that is, I mean is that even a real place?, Reverend Jim had only this to say: “Bandwidth exceeded? What kind of bullshit is that? I want the TRUTH! I AM THE TRUTH!”

Um. Ok.

We were able to contact another follower, identified only as “Cogg Dogg”, in an airport at an undisclosed location. When asked about the Abjectopalypse, Mr. Dogg said “Look. Freak. I’ve told you like 20 times already. I don’t know. Probably just something on his server or something. I’m busy, man. These GIFs don’t make themselves.”

Two generals of The Abject Army. Leaderless. Dazed. Confused. Trying to cope in any way they know how. GIFturbating relentlessly, endlessly, and apparently tirelessly, in a futile attempt to fill the void left by the apparent closure of Lamb’s news-letter.

And still, we are left wondering about the meaning of the cryptic message. Bandwidth exceeded. Indeed, our collective bandwidth has been exceeded.

Join us tomorrow, for what will likely be Day 5 of this long, global tragedy. Mr. Lamb, why have you foresaken us in our time of need? Our roving reporters are en route to the rugged mountains northeast of Kamloops BC, where Chairman Lamb was last spotted. It is rumoured that he has been hiding in this mountainous region, perhaps in a secluded cave or even, some have gone so far as to speculate, in the home of an Abject sympathizer.

Update: As of 9:19am Pacific, our long global nightmare is over. Abject is now back online.

on trusting wikipedia

Brian Lamb raves about the awesome Murder, Madness, Mayhem project that was run by Jon Beasley Murray – where students in his course worked to create and edit pages in Wikipedia to bring them up to “Featured Article” status. Brian talks about how wikis are powerful examples of collaborative editing, and that although the students’ work is in the open, that any errors or omissions (or worse) would be fixed by the wikipedia community very quickly.

I finally decided to test this out. Not that I didn’t believe Brian – I did – but I wanted to put it to the test. Does this REALLY happen? How quickly? Even on relatively obscure pages?

So, while watching Brian’s awesome TTIX 2009 keynote, I pulled up the wikipedia page that he was talking about, and proceeded to make my own contribution to it.


Seems like a pretty good edit, to me. It looked official, and linked to 2 other (albeit nonexistent) pages on wikipedia. I know I enjoyed the performance of the Saskatoon Prairie Theatre.

Then, I monitored the page.

13 hours later, this happened:


Some anonymous person in Brazil noticed the edit, correctly decided that it wasn’t a valid contribution to the article, and yanked it from the published version of El Señor Presidente.

Is that something that can be generalized? Can all wikipedia pages be trusted? Probably not. But, knowing that a relatively obscure page was monitored and corrected in 13 hours gives me more confidence to trust the rest of the wikipedia collection of articles.

Canadian eLearning 2007 Video Party: The Movie

Here’s the presentation, with the clips and selections Brian and I used during the welcoming reception for the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference on Tuesday. I wound up not recording audio during the presentation, so you’ll just have to imagine witty and entertaining banter and intros for each video. Brian was responsible for both the witty and entertaining portions of the presentation.

The video selections came to 48 minutes. We were given a 45 minute slot after the welcome reception supper meal. You do the math…

[flv:http://www.darcynorman.net/video/CanadianELearningVideoParty_320_240.flv 320 240]

Canadian eLearning 2007 Video Party Playlist

Here’s the playlist Brian and I used for our presentation during the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference welcome reception on Tuesday evening. I’ll try to compress a version of the presentation with our clip selections (we only showed short clips from many of the videos) but I won’t get a chance to do that until the weekend.


  1. who the hell are we, and what the hell are we doing there?
  2. Brief riff on new abundance of online video and DIY creativity in era of YouTube
  3. Intro clip of Guy Caballero, followed by SCTV’s Hinterland Who’s Who, followed by the Crack Spider version.
  4. Overview of Online video awards

changing nature of education

  1. Ken Robinson – TED Talks 2004
  2. Spare Me My Life! Cultural values implicit in instruction

web 2.0

  1. Doug Engelbart- The Demo
  2. Apple’s Knowledge Navigator Video
  3. Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us
  4. 2014 EPIC, by Google
  5. Le Grand Content – information visualization

Hallucinatory Interlude:

  1. Safe tripping

creative commons and open content

  1. Creative Commons – Wanna Work Together?
  2. A Fair(y) Use Tale
  3. The Future is Open


  1. Rick Noblenski- Blasting Caps Expert and Wiki Advocate – an edu. reuse of old content
  2. Winnie the Pooh meets Apocalypse Now
  3. The Shining Recut
  4. Monty Trek
  5. Instructional Video: Mash-up made from instructional videos

Live, from Edmonton, it’s Tuesday Night!

I had a total blast hanging out working with Brian for the Canadian eLearning 2007 conference welcome reception entertainment gig we got coerced invited to do. Here’s the clip we put together as the intro segment for our Online Video Party redux, based on being in the spiritual home of the most inspired group of video comedians ever assembled: SCTV!

[flv:http://www.darcynorman.net/video/LiveFromDeadmonton2_320x240.flv 320 240]

That was re-edited and audio dubbed in a cookie-cutter “pub” in “Bourbon Street” at West Edmonton Mall. We could tell we were in “Bourbon Street” because of the authentic Celine Dion and Bryan Adams soundtrack, and the always impressive New Orleans wide selection of only the finest alcohols – Coors, Coors Lite, Bud and Bud Lite.

Bourbon Street

We took the vast majority of the videos from the video.learningparty.net site we used for the NMC Online Conference presentation of similar name. It was interesting – many of the videos work really well when viewing them by yourself, but really flop on their faces when viewed in a crowd on a big screen. And there were a couple videos that went the other way, too. Hard to predict what will work. We did manage to get at least a handful of edtechers to participate in a shared group video-induced hallucination, so that was a bonus 🙂

And, I got to play with Brian. That’s even worth spending a couple days in Deadmonchuck 😉 I’m still feeling the pain of letting Brian down. I forgot to bring The Hat, as I promised to do as part of my presentation garb. I tried to console him that it wasn’t an idle forgetting – The Hat was left at home, right beside Evan’s lifejacket that was to be used in the water park at West Edmonton Mall (we wound up renting a lifejacket for him, but I couldn’t find a Hat to rent in time…)

I’ll work on cleaning up the video playlist a bit and will share that somewhere. I might even compress down our edits and clip selections as shown to the conference folks. Unfortunately, I forgot to record the audio for the session, which may actually be a good thing…