What has Bruce been up to in the second half of 2020?

I write these pieces every 6 months, usually for the Centre for Social Informatics’ all-centre meetings. (I’m usually incapable of speech by the time it’s my turn to report.[1]) Really miffed that we can’t get together in person this time. Click this link to see all the pieces in this series.


This isn’t the full list – some things can only be publicised later.

Success The RIVAL network: I’m still PA to the ∏, administrator, map-creator, data-analyst and much more. This includes a lot of work to run event 3 online, after postponing two planned in-person meetings thanks to the ‘rona.

Here’s my preview of event 3 and my earlier thoughts on running online events.

We were praised because participants could watch the main presentations in advance at times that suited them. So the participants were only stuck in front of their web-cams for an afternoon. (We did put in breaks, but they weren’t long enough to escape my office, have a smoke, and get back in time.)

Another is that 4 teams of network members are working hard on 4 tangible outputs: a follow-up event; an article for Information Professional; a funding bid; an evaluation of RIVAL’s success in meeting its objectives. Watch out for progress updates in March 2021!

Success information avoidance and diabetes project: because I still don’t want to know about my diabetes, but I do want to to help others with this bad combination of disease and lack of knowledge, and to maybe generate some theory! This work was done mostly in the second quarter of 2020, but crept into July – and hence into this update.

Along the way, I contributed some ‘production’ input to two guides about drinking and diabetes. (The authors are Alicja Szewczyk and Jacqui Charlton. Final design was by Chloe Wooldrage.)

Success (well, it will be when it’s complete)
  • Marking: some marking of students’ courseworks. This work would go much faster if I could type without mistakes: I can’t criticise students’ presentation if my own is rubbish! Then again, it is a joy when I come across a coursework that is really good. I’d love to run a course on how to write reports.
TBC Peter Cruickshank and I plan to supervise two MSc students gathering and analysing data to refresh our surveys of community council online presences. Here are the 2014 and 2012 reports. Blast from the past!


Success Still minutes secretary and web-weaver for 3 Edinburgh community councils
Success £eithChooses PB event: publishing, IT, web, admin, working with Edinburgh Council to enable online voting…
Success Community Councils Together on Trams: taking minutes and asking important impertinent questions
Success Created a website for a local artist. Paid web-design work!
TBC Currently working on a website for a community interest group. More paid work!
Success Occasional bits of proof-reading and writing for my wife’s company, Glen Shuraig Consulting.
TBC Helping my sister buy a house so she can live near our brother and sister-in-law. Never, ever try to help someone else buy a house in England acting under Powers of Attorney. These have been rejected by organisations involved, who want to deal directly with my sister. She just isn’t equipped to deal with all the complexities and stages. As of yesterday (13 December 2020), we have negotiated completion date (18 January 2021). We started in early July 2020!
TBC Trying to get through probate for my late mother. It does’t help that her lawyer-executor gave me a telling off for emailing them, and that they don’t understand BCC. They have been supremely incommunicative.
Failure – but not my fault Not had our cycling holiday to a hobbit-house in the Netherlands. And now a combination of the ‘rona and the clowns in the UK government means we may not be able to go next year.
Failure – but maybe not my fault In September 2020, it became possible to ‘re-acquire’ the Austrian citizenship I would have inherited from my mother if she kept her own. (She was born Jewish in in Vienna in 1930, and only just escaped in 1938.) I’ve just not had (made?) the time to apply yet. However, I am getting lessons in Austrian-accented spoken German from Kerstin Steiner.

I think the above explains why I feel shattered right now!

[1] by Dorothy Parker

I wish I could drink like a lady
I can take one or two at the most
Three and I’m under the table
Four and I’m under the host.


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