James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

James’ Journal for the week ending September 14

Posted on | September 15, 2012 | No Comments


It is actually incredible the number of things we do and learn in a week.

Through this weekly journal I am going to try to distill down what lessons have been learned, on a weekly basis, from my academic and professional activities.

If there is a word to describe my week it is BUSY.

I have come to realize that even though I am busy I am learning all sorts of things and this learning tends to be derived from the very things that are keeping me busy. 

In the classroom 2 things of significance happened this week.

First a group of 18 students in COM315 decided that they are going to produce the 1st College of Communication and Media Sciences information thing, yes thing.

I call it a thing because this will be a true converged media project where we will be linking words, images, moving images and audio to create a complete collection of stories. 

This project will reinforce media conventions and I hope invent a few new ways of thinking about information design.

What this particular class has taught me this week is that when we are given a blank slate it is frightening and we tend to fall back on what we know.

It is easy to walk the old path but far more interesting and rewarding to try new directions.

In COM280, new media, we have yet to turn on a computer but we have been considering what makes information worth considering?  To help prime the idea pump we watched a TEDTalk by Chip Kidd, amazing!

Here is the link to the talk I recommend we all watch this!


What I learned this week in COM280 is that creativity is not in a machine it is in and around us, just open your eyes.

And then there were the 8 hours of radio that I researched, produced and presented, live, on DubaiEye 103.8 FM.

Being a professional producer/presenter of a radio program in the UAE is easily one of the most exciting and terrifying parts of my day.

 Not only do I have to perform the technical side of broadcasting but also the creative side and there is little tolerance by the listening audience for a product that is mundane and unprofessional.

 We started the week with 2 call-in shows.

The 1st show asked who is responsible for teaching us our social skills today, etiquette.


 What was interesting about the response to this program was the number of people who seemed to think that the idea of presenting ourselves well was a thing of the past. 

It became very clear, over the hour, that we need to return to some of the basics and make sure everyone leaving their house knows how to eat, talk and interact.

Maybe our schools need to add etiquette classes back to the curriculum?

One thing is for sure we are missing a piece of vital education.

The second show was a little more tongue in cheek asking whether or not sports, as entertainment, is making us a society of couch potatoes?


Yes it is I suggested! We watch TV and sports and this seldom leads to action. More often watching sport leads us to eat and drink the very things we don’t want to be doing.

 But several people did suggest that the Olympics did inspire them to get fit so maybe my thesis is flawed.

Our next show was CarTalk with Callum Knox and Ian Batey.


I really do believe that motor vehicles are one of the main things that bind us as a community!

We all interact with cars, have opinions and ideas.

It was interesting to listen to Ian and Callum talk about their affinity with steering wheels.

We then moved onto a show asking if we trust people too much?


This was an interesting show because what became clear is that if we do not have some degree of trust then our society will fall apart.

The question became when do you draw the line on who and what to trust.  I thought that maybe we need to be more skeptical and cynical. As you may guess I did not win over a lot of people with that approach to the question.

One of my favorite hours of the week is TechTalk with Magnus from Pingdom.com.

This was our 94th broadcast of the show together. As usual it was full of new and ideas.


We talked apps for education, iPhones and even who is using what twitter service.

TechTalk was followed by an hour on the simple question is there too much about us online?


This was an hour of death by silence.

Very little in the way of interaction with the show.

A handful of sms messages and 1 call!

I guess it wasn’t something that really gets us going here.  From my side there is a lot about me on the internet and I do my best to control the message.

I really think that others need to think a lot more about what they say electronically and the implications their electronic identity might have on their lives.

We ended the week talking to Sean Petherbridge and Shereen Habib, both medical doctors, about your health. 


Warts, infections, rashes and even flu vaccines were all on the table.

What made this hour work is the simple fact that it is a Q&A about things we all have on our mind but don’t know who or how to ask.

And finally the inspirational show of the week.

Paul Kelly from Triplew.me brought the Dubai based jazz singer Rachael Calladine to the studio.

Rachael was amazing and left us with the message do what you love and have the guts to carry on even when people say it is a crazy job.

There was great music in this hour and stories that inspire.

I left the studio saying WOW!


That is the week in a nutshell.


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