Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Shanghai Daily Science podcasts and the Shanghai Postal Museum

Shanghai Daily newspaper has a range of podcasts that serve as English language audio guides to an eclectic collection of museums in Shanghai. These include the Shanghai Postal Museum, the Museum of Traditional Medicine, the Earthquake Museum and the Shanghai Eyeglasses Museum. I tested one out at the Shanghai Postal Museum. After a short argument I lost control of the iphone and followed my 6 year old son around, being fed choice bits of information. It was quite a surreal experience, walking around an almost deserted museum listening to a pleasant male voice with a strong Scottish accent describe the exhibits!
Starting with bits of clay inscribed with messages for an emperor, we then passed through an interactive display of signal towers being lit on the great wall. There was a history of stamps, post boxes from around the world, posties as revolutionary fighters and unionists, and then the enormous expansion of the postal system to service Shanghai (and China's) huge population. It was really interesting.
The museum is housed in a beautiful 'eclectic style' building from the 1920s/30s, and there is a roof garden which was closed when we went. Many of the displays feature interactive elements to keep children button pushing, and there is a lot of old postal equipment on display. Definitely worth the (free) admission. The English translations are adequate but the podcast is a great bonus.

Shanghai Urban Planning Museum

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre is at People's Square, Shanghai. Like many Shanghai museums it is pretty deserted on a weekday, so there was no problem wandering around and looking at the exhibits freely. The most publicized exhibit is of course the scale model of Shanghai, as planned for the year 2020. This takes up a whole floor, and is great on the detail. We found our very own apartment building!
It is a beautiful piece of work and shows what a fast pace of development Shanghai is undergoing, with a lot of the proposed buildings already built or currently under completion. Another floor holds a model of the Shanghai 2010 Expo site, which is also fascinating with some great building designs.

There are a few interactive exhibits to please the kids, one of which enables you to race a boat at high speed across the bay and under the proposed bridge linking Shanghai to the new deep water port facility, or alternatively to race along a road and through tunnels at breakneck speed.
Old Shanghai is documented with a display of large historical photographs and beautifully produced very large format colour books of the old Concession era architecture.
The website link to the English site version unfortunately doesn't work, so you have to just look at the pictures!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

First post from Shanghai

Well, I've been in Shanghai for 10 months, and firstly wikipedia comes online here for the first times since last July, and now I can finally access this blog!
So now I will be exploring the museums and galleries of Shanghai once again, and posting any interesting observations I have here.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

definitions of web concepts

Blog/Weblog: site that is an ongoing chronicle of information, frequently updated, personal website.
It features diary type commentary and links to articles or other websites.

- main content area organized chronologically, often into categories.
- -archive if older articles
- Way for people to comment on content
- List of links to other sites (blogroll)
- One or more ‘feeds’ like RSS, Atom or RDF

Articles/posts/entries regularly updated. Can either write online or offline and upload later.

Readers can interact by leaving comments
Pingbacks/trackbacks are when you inform bloggers whenever you cite an article from another site. (like a trail)

Blog or CMS?
Cms – content management system, blogger software is a type of content management system for bloggers, which manages the site whilst the blogger inputs the content.

Backlist of articles often based on date, can be based on categories, or alphabetically

Automatically monitoring a site and posts updates when new content appears. Eg RSS Atom

List of links to websites, often in a sidebar eg Blogrolling or blo.gs or del.icio.us

A feed is a machine readable (usually xml) content publication updated regularly.
Reads the feeds RSS or atom, and provides you with new stuff. You feed the links to the RSS feeds you are interested in into the feedreader and it will inform you of new posts.

person A writes something on their blog. Person B wants to comment on Person A’s blog, but wants her own readers to see what she had to say and to be able to comment on her own blog. Person B vcomments on own blog and sends trackback to person A’s blog
Person A’s blog receives the trackback, and displays it as a comment to the original post This comment contains a link to Person B’s post.(Can be faked)

Sound the same, but uses different technology (XML-RPC and HTTP POST. Harder to fake that trackback, both pingback and trackback aim to add some sort of verification to the comment process, as you can usually claim to be anyone at all.

Comment moderation:
Allows website author to monitor and control comments.

Comment Spam:
Useless comments/trackback/ping posted to a blog. Can contain links to other sites or domains. Can be managed.

Permanent urls to your individual weblog posts, as well as catagories and other lists ofweblog postings. The url shouldn’t change as others may link to your individual postings.

Pretty permalinks:
Idea that the link should give some idea of what content is eg not /index.php?p=423 but /archives/2003/05/23/my-cheese-sandwich/ gives idea of date, subject, and gives user opportunity to hack into other articles by using /archives/2003/05/ for example.

Social Media:
Social media enable cultural participants to both explore images of themselves and
distribute those images across broad online social networks. Museums worldwide are
starting to use social media such as blogs, wikis and vlogs to engage online
participants with new interactive experiences.
From here

Winding up

Last week of internship - a very full couple of months, with a lot of hands on experience. Blogging, wikis, storyboarding, dvd production, a very useful experience.
I have been immersed in a part of the online world that is expanding and experimenting with the new technologies and web 2.0 processes in a way that it is encouraging to see. The move into the online world for museums is a very active process.