It’s my last day in USA and I’m taking home so many lovely memories of USA…..except for Coca Cola and Cadbury chocolate.
IMHO it is a scandal!
The Taste of American Coca Cola and Chocolate
Being well known for my Coca Cola and chocolate love (it’s what I’m holding in my avatar) I feel a need to expose this scandal. Worse still that I have to confess I’ve been drinking Pepsi and feeling physically sick from the memory of eating Cadbury Carmello chocolate.
While other Aussies rush off planes from USA to grab a true Aussie meat pie all I’m thinking about is drinking my first real drink of Coca Cola in 3 weeks. It may be an extremely long flight home for the Qantas flight attendants if they serve American Coca Cola and not Australian. Off course I’m also now concerned that I will no longer cope with the sweet taste of our Coca Cola and our chocolate 🙁 .
Reason for the taste difference
Before coming to USA I was aware that the chocolate would taste different but assumed that Coca Cola tastes the same World wide (as did most non-USA people in my network).
So why the different taste? Well here they use high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. Besides not being as sweet it has a horrible taste.
In USA the price of sugar is considerably higher than the World sugar price due to factors such as sugar quotas on the import of sugar and government subsidies of USA sugar growers (read more here about the history of USA inflated sugar prices). The solution for reducing food production costs has been to replace sugar with high-fructose corn syrup or move production to countries like Canada where sugar is cheap.
Meanwhile Americans who want to drink soft drinks containing sugar go to stores that sell Mexican imported Coca Cola and Pepsi.
I’m arriving into Sydney airport Monday 13 July at 6.15 AM. Hopefully no one gets in my way as I run to grab some real Cadbury chocolate!
Sigh with a short time between my flight from Sydney to Perth hopefully in my rush to get some chocolate I don’t miss my flight home 🙁
PS yes I will tell you more about my USA adventure than just the chocolate and Coca Cola scandal. What else would you like to know?
Did I ever imagine that one day I would be sitting at a desk in USA writing a blog post? NOPE!
Yet, according to Google Maps, I’m currently about 14, 816 miles from my home (Perth, Western Australia). Fortunately I didn’t follow Google Maps directions and kayak across Pacific Ocean from Australia through Japan to get here!
Many of my Australian friends would love to know how the NECC sessions compared to Australian conferences. Unfortunately this is where I go sorry! I only attended two sessions, both of which were keynotes, neither did anything for me.
There were several reasons why I didn’t attend sessions. I was representing Edublogs at NECC; I knew I could watch recordings of NECC sessions and read blog post reviews later.But most importantly, a fact that people don’t appreciate, is I’m quite isolated living in Perth (costly 5 hour flight to most conferences just in Australia).
I don’t have many opportunities to meet and network with others f2f. NECC may have been my one opportunity to ever meet a people who I network with online f2f as there is no guarantee I will ever get a chance to visit USA again. Creating stronger connections with people, by interacting f2f, in my view long term provides greater opportunity for learning than any session you can attend.
Bloggers Cafe (a casual space set up for people to connect with each other)
and NECC unplugged (NECC’s unconference area where any one who wants can present to both f2f and virtual global participants).
I really enjoyed presenting at NECC Unplugged and plan to follow up with a later post on it.
Majority of my time was spent networking with others. Too many people, and too many stories to mention, but the slideshow below contains photos of most those I met. Definitely existing connections through blogging and twitter enhanced these f2f interactions.
In a crazy Sue moment I decided to use one of the shirts as a sovenior by getting people I meet at NECC to sign the shirt. I’m hoping now poor Paul (or anyone) can figure out how I might frame it to keep as the souvenior.
Here is a photo of my favorite blogger signing my shirt!
The Slideshow below has a closeup of all the different signatures.
The Exhibitor Hall
WOW! What can I say about the Exhibitor hall? It was massive!
Felt like the size of a football oval and had to be seen to believed.
Lots of NECC posts were critical of the exhibitors hall however I think Alfred Thompson’s Sponges and Participants post is a reminder to Edubloggers about the needs of different types of conference participants.
Thanks to everyone that I meet at NECC! I enjoyed every second (except for all my misadventures on US air planes). I will follow up later with some USA reflections in later posts.
Extra special thanks to James Farmer for giving me the opportunity to attend NECC!
For those that attended NECC — would love to hear about what aspects you enjoyed the most?
For those who attended NECC unplugged through Elluminate – what was it like? What was the best aspects? The most challenging aspects?
Feel free to also any questions about what USA is like to an Australian 🙂
In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to for the past few months, and why I’ve had less time than usual, I can now explain.
Although maybe not everyone has noticed this less time?
Working with WordPress MU
Besides all my usual Edublogs responsibilities I’ve also been working for Incsub developing WordPress MU (WordPress Multiuser and also known as WPMU) support material (some is still a work in progress).
While installing and managing your own single install WordPress blog is relatively easy, but can cause problems, WordPress MU is considerably more specialized and requires a certain level of expertise.
The reason why people use WordPress MU is once you want to hosts lots of blogs on the same domain then you need to use it. Edublogs is a customized version of WordPress MU designed to include features that specifically assist educators with using blogs with students.
Most themes and plugins used on WordPress can’t be used on WordPress MU, and you also use mu-plugins on WordPress MU (some of these can be challenging to install). The idea of these support material is to help make the process of installing and using WordPress MU easier.
WordPress MU Support Material Locations
For a ‘one-stop shop’ for those that use WordPress MU here is where you will find these support materials:
And yes, if you were wondering, it does mean I’ve had to install WordPress MU, bbPress, plugins, themes, languages, mu-plugins, use FTP and Text Editors.
I’ve also felt like I’m going crazy (occasionally) remembering the Site admin differences between Edublogs (WPMU 2.6.3/2.6.5 hybrid), Edublogs Campus (WPMU 2.6.5) sites, newer versions of WordPress MU (2.7 & 2.7.1) and site admin (and system admin) in blogs.mu.
People are now asking me about Blogs.mu in terms of school blogging programs so I’ve decided it’s better to clarify because most people won’t appreciate how very different Blogs.mu is from other hosted blogging solutions.
But before I do it is important to point out, to ensure full disclosure, that I work for both Edublogs and Incsub (who own Blogs.mu).
WordPress blog vs WordPress MU blogs
When you sign up for a blog on Edublogs or WordPress.com what happens is these companies host your blog and you can get on with the job of writing your posts and blog design. The highest level of access you have is as an administrator and because it is a hosted solution features like adding extra plugins or uploading themes aren’t possible.
The other option for single blog users, who want to use WordPress but have more control over their blog features such as extra plugins or custom themes, is they will install WordPress from WordPress.org and host their own blog on either their own servers or pay a hosting company.
Once you want to hosts lots of blogs on the same domain then you need to use WordPress MU (WordPress Multiuser and also known as WPMU). Both Edublogs or WordPress.com use WordPress MU but Edublogs has been highly customised by our specialist team WPMU coders to include features that specifically assist educators with using the blogs with students.
WordPress MU blogs vs Edublogs Campus Site
Often schools and universities want higher level of control and access than achievable with Edublogs so they will look at solutions like hosting their own WordPress MU site or Edublogs Campus.
While installing and managing your own WordPress blog is relatively easy, but can cause problems, WordPress MU is considerably more specialized and requires a certain level of expertise.
This is why educational organisations choose Edublogs Campus because it provides all the powerful features of a WordPress MU site without having to worry about the stress of hosting, maintenance and upgrading the software.
The main feature which provides the higher level of control that educational organisations want is access to site admin. On a WordPress MU the next level of access of access above an Administrator is the site admin user.
As site admin user you can:
Manage the access and level of responsibility of all users
Manage blog features including access to plugins, themes and blog privacy settings
Create new users and new blogs
Edit posts, pages, comments on any blog
Edit and delete any blog
In really simple terms, if you have problems with a student, as site admin user, you can immediately log into the dashboard of their blog, without being attached as a user to that blog, then edit/delete a post/comment plus change whether that student can access their blog.
WordPress MU blogs vs Blogs.mu Community
Blogs.mu is quite a bit different from the hosted Edublogs and WordPress.com. When you sign up with either of these services you are provided with a blog.
On Blogs.mu you can sign up for WordPress MU site of your own and then set up your own blogs, or blog community under it. For example you might like to set up a community on writing called writerspot.blogs.mu and then if the writer John Smith signs up in your community his blog is writerspot.blogs.mu/johnsmith.
With Blogs.mu just like Edublogs Campus you are getting your own WordPress MU site with the high level of control minus the stress of hosting the site and specialist expertise required to maintain or upgrade WordPress MU.
The features of these two sites are quite different because Blogs.mu is designed for anyone who wants to set up a community using their WordPress MU while Edublogs Campus has been customised specifically to meets the needs of the educational community.
The reason why I majored in Botany, Biochemistry and Microbiology at University and NOT Zoology is I don’t like the idea of killing animals or looking at bloods and guts.
Still consider it ironic that I’ve spent the past 21 years of my work life cutting up sick fish (DON”T tell anyone but the killing, blood and guts still makes me feel sick).
I’m a fish farmer who specializes in fish diseases but don’t ask me how to cure your sick goldfish because you WON’T be happy with the answer!
I talk to fish, each species has a different personality, but I would never be caught talking to a goldfish!
Passionately HATE talking on phones, mobile phones and SMSing but totally LOVE my iPhone….
My f2f friends are (mostly) totally UNAWARE of my work online — lets just say testing the water with a simple explanation, early on, didn’t quite go so well! Needless to say I haven’t told them about changes to my work life.
My husband Google’s me in his lunch break sometimes to find out what I’m doing!
The 8 thing should be my success rate in tagging people in memes is extremely low…..oh well here are the 7 8 people I tag: