Hooray – schools and university have broken up for Easter! No more work for two…hang on a minute, I’m still working! Due to the amount of marking and work I have to get done, I won’t be taking any holidays over Easter although hopefully I will be able to have a break on Easter weekend. Since everyone will probably be taking a break from their daily browsing through blog posts, I thought I would write this week’s waffle on something which I wanted to share with you. The many faces of Wilson Waffling…
While I was at the gym with my niece last week, we got talking about blogs and whether she actually wanted to start writing one. The discussion covered audience, content, how to cope with reactions and the numerous platforms to blog from. It was during the discussion that I started to realise how many different aspects of Wilson Waffling there were and whether this was one of the reasons that I spend a lot of time and also pennies on maintaining it. In order to get all these recorded somewhere, it seemed to be a perfect opportunity for a waffle…
Hosting and Domain name – Although I have attempted to blog before, the first Wilson Waffling blog was here, a blog provided by the university for all their staff and, I think, students. Interestingly enough the first waffle I posted (25th February 2013) was about visual recording, which I was just talking about on Twitter the other day! I waffled on this site for some time, but I felt that I wanted to break away from the hosting which was provided and also wanted to use different themes and plugins to make my site and content my own. Almost a year later, well 29th December 2013 – I moved to the current site of WilsonWaffling.co.uk. I actually pay for both the hosting for the site and the domain name from a company called YourNameHere. Although many people might recommend other companies, I have been with this one for a while and I appreciate both their customer support and the fact that they are a UK company based in the UK.
Ustream Hosting – Although I have always had my YouTube channel to accompany Wilson Waffling, I always wanted to stream a live show. I have grown up watching sites like JustinTV (no longer available) and TwitchTV and being a great fan of TwitTV (‘podcasts you love, from people you trust’) and I had always wanted to get into live broadcasting. After starting with JustinTV shortly before it closed down – hope it wasn’t anything to do with me – I soon took up a monthly subscription with Ustream. This allows me to stream Wilson Waffling Live every Sunday. I’ve currently completed thirty seven episodes of this and, although its ‘form’ is still developing, I do enjoy doing it. Uploading the recorded videos to Youtube after provides allows for a further audience to view the shows. I’ve still got to figure out an effective chat platform and to build up a regular audience base, but things I feel are moving in the right direction. There is also the software which needs to be taken into consideration here – more about this later.
Gamifcation – You have have visited my site recently you might have noticed that the leveling up game is back! This is one of my attempts at introducing gamifcation to my site. I use some software called Captain Up at the moment. This allows participants to get points for completing actions and as the points are collected they advance levels. There are also a range of badges/awards that you can achieve by completing certain tasks – e.g. visiting the site once a week for a month. This is, of course, all optional. I do use another piece of software called Gleam which allows me to run my monthly competitions. At the moment this is for a ‘I waffled with Wilson’ Badge, although I am considering expanding this to include vouchers and books – does this make me sound desperate for viewers! There is also, currently being but still in development, a series of open badges within the site. I’m using BadgeOS to create these. There is some cost involved in this for some of the extras – something else to add to the monthly bill – and hopefully when they are completed it will add another level of participation to the site and community.
Minecraft Server – Although we all lost an hour today – BST begins! – I was still up early watching YouTube videos and working on my Minecraft server. This is a recent addition to the expanding empire of Wilson Waffling. I have read a lot about the benefits and use of Minecraft within primary education and wanted to get involved with it all. I always think the best way to learn is by doing, so after a huge amount of research I have eventually set up my own server. This is currently hosted by NitrousNetworks – another UK based and run company. I have some ideas for this in the future including open badges and tasks to be completed in game, but currently I have a small group of dedicated wafflers minecrafting away on a regular basis. Hopefully this will increase over the next year but I am certainly learning a lot about both the game and running a server. If you are interested I do write a weekly waffle about it which you can read here and you can spy on the current server map here.
Minecraft Farm – smile for the camera!
I really didn’t realise there was so many things to talk about!
Software and Spammers – As Wilson Waffling has expanded the amount of software I am using has increased. Initially this was just WordPress – a great blogging platform! – but as I have taken on new projects the software which I have either bought or downloaded free has increased. I’m not going to provide a complete list but just briefly include some of the regulars. I record the waffles using GarageBand, although with the new update I am thinking about moving to another piece of software – maybe Audacity – but need to research this and get some new music before I make the move. I use audiboom.com to host these (paid version due to the length of the podcasts). Skitch and Photoshop are what I use for all my graphics (probably too posh a word for my images!) whether this be for waffles or thumbnails for videos. Wilson Waffling Live is streamed through Ustream, but I use Wirecast 6 to capture and produce the ‘show’. I some times use this to stream to TwitchTV as well, although OpenBroadcaster Software is just as good. If I need to edit my videos I use Premiere Pro – this is because it came with my yearly subscription to Photoshop and I wanted to start using a new piece of software – guess that comes back to my learning by doing. This also allows me to edit the ‘Wilson Waffling with..’ videos – although these have taken a break for a while, they will soon be reappearing – plenty of filming organised for over Easter! My screen recording software of choice is Screenflow which I use in conjunction with Reflector to capture my iPad screen for Wilson Waffling does Apps. It was only when I started to venture into online discussion forums and encouraging users to register to my site that I became aware of the number of spammers out there! Although WordPress comes with a great plugin called Akismet, I have recently started to pay for a plugin called CleanTalk which is working fantastically! I used to get hundreds (not a mistype or exaggeration) of spammer emails for subscription a week. Now I get hardly any! well worth the payment.
Phew, that’s it! Well that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ve tried to remember has many different aspects as I can. As you can probably tell, there is a cost to all this which currently comes from my own pocket. I don’t want to get down the random advertising route at the moment and until things are more ‘aclaimed’ I not sure that anyone would want to advertise on the site. Plus, this is my own venture, hence my own money. As well as the cost there is of course the time element of running the site, servers and channels – good job I enjoy it all!
My new poster!
People might ask – why? Well this goes back to previous waffles. First, I enjoy it – this will always be the most important aspect of the site and ‘job’ for me. Second, I hope that the content of the site whether this be playing on a server or reading a waffle, might have an impact on someone. The nature of this impact could be anything from enjoyment to motivation – I’m happy with any. And finally – and, to quote Jim Chapman’s poster, I hope to one day have a community which is Wilson Waffling – a group of wafflers who engage with each other as well as the various content of the site. I know I might be dreaming big here – but you should always dream…