Bernie Goldbach

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Looking inside technology and social media through Bernard Goldbach's perspective as a journalist and college lecturer.
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Learning How to Read Better

Sun, 11/20/2022 - 12:32

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel, Ireland

MY TEENAGED DAUGHTER inspires me to read more because I see her perched in the corner with a paperback nearly every evening. She is a smart person because she reads a lot.

There's something about reading that makes you smart but the smartness isn't measured by how many pages you scroll on your Kindle or how many books you buy in the shop.

Simply reading doesn't make you smart.

If you don't think about the words you've read, you don't learn from the pages you've seen.

I can clearly remember the name of the book I've read most recently. It was Tom Crean The Brave Explorer. I read the book with my primary school son. Unfortunately, besides remembering where Tom Crean grew up in Ireland, I don't remember the specifics about his role in exploring Antarctica, a place I supported as a C-141 pilot. (Photo below was taken in Greenland, another cold part of my flying experience.

I've looked into what smart people do when they read. They think about what the author is saying. They take time to reimagine sections of the books they've just read. This is an important process because when you're reading, you're just following the narrative set by the author. You're letting the author offer a mental map but you often don't know where the map is taking you.

At least that's what I think is happening when I'm just flipping pages and scrollling text. I believe to read better you need to read actively.

Highlight as you read

I highlight parts of paragraphs that resonate with me. Sometimes those sections are items that cause me to think. Other times, the highlights are sections I need to remember for classes I teach. I see my daughter highlighting parts of her school books and then using those highlights as points of reference. My highlights often fold into Readwise where they resurface as part of a daily routine.  I get to see the highlights as part of email summaries and inside the Readwise app. I know that this mass exposure effect cannot be used in isolation because simply scannining hightlights doesn't make you more intelligent.

Annotate your highlights

I think it's important to know why you highlighted an item. For that reason, I add short notes to most of my highlights, either when initially saving them in Readwise or when I spot them inside Obsidian, my personal knowledge management system. It's very important to read why you hightlighted an item and then to review the words you wrote about the highlights. Writing in your own words (instead of copying and pasting the original text) forces you to think about ideas more thoroughly. Seeing your perspective about someone else's idea improves your thinking.

Review your highlights

I spend a lot of money on paid subscriptions, e-books, and traditional books. This could easily be money I flush away without even opening the cover of the book I bought. Most of the people I know will at least read cover notes of the books they own but they don't take notes on what they read. That's a recipe for forgetfulness because I know that I need to review my notes constantly because when they resurface, I'm often in a different place or I need additional support material provided by the notes. Reading my perspective from years ago helps me improve my perspective.


I hope to improve my reading because I want to develop better and enhance my insights. At this mature stage in my life, I know my notes will never be complete because I can always update and enhance them. Good notes are like green shoots that grow and cross-pollinate. But this growing process never happens if you do not regularly review notes you make from items you read.

I'm looking at a way of being able to share notes that I've made through, a top-rated well-designed iOS app that's also on my Windows 11 Surface Book. Click here to see my shared notes about this blog post.  I treasure the ideas I've shared online. I get excellent follow-up ideas from friends who often blast me for my unformed thoughts. The thought leaders I hear on podcasts tell me that they have built their audiences and grown their opportunities by sharing ideas. And I know that oftentimes the most-discussed items aren't original thoughts because well-read people keep notes about things that have evergreen characteristics.

Now it's time for more deep reading and note-taking. And if I'm successful with this goal today, I'll crank out a Topgold Audio Clip to share what I've annotated during today's 100 page reading session.

If you're a deep reader too, let me know if you would add to these tactics that I'm using while learning to read better.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches digital transformation on the Clonmel campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]

Using Rode Wireless Go as Laptop Mic

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 11:09

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

SOME OF MY BEST successes happen when I discover the items I own can be used in more than one setting. So I'm very pleased to discover that my Rode Wireless Go II microphones can be used along with my Microsoft Surface Book. They're detected as a standard audio input. This means I can walk around a classroom with the Surface Book's rear camera capturing broadcast quality audio from a conversation I have with people up to 200 metres away. Our auditorium is only 15m deep from front to back which means it's easy to pass a roaming mic to students in the cheap seats and they can talk in a normal tone of voice to visitors who Zoom in for guest lectures.

I love it when tech just works.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative leadership on the Clonmel Digital Campus for the Technological University of the Shannon.]

Moving to Obsidian

Sun, 10/23/2022 - 12:36

By Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

AS I RAMP UP teaching materials for a module I'm teaching about digital transformation, I've decided to migrate my Personal Knowledge Management process from Notion and Roam Research to Obsidian. I'm migrating because I believe I can teach principles of Zettelkasten and PKM with a series of hands-on tutorials that students complete with their own instances of Obsidian.

I like the cross-talk I've seen between Obsidian developers and the Obsidian community. Judging by the hundreds of community plug-ins, Obsidian has a user base that overlaps a demographic a student demographic. The MA students I have are mid-career professionals who need to know how to manage a flow of information that I will share with them as we develop a better understanding of the forces of digital transformation in the 2020s. I will have a password-protected Obsidian vault that contains all the essential materials connected with the academic module. My students will explore those learning materials and they will learn how to contribute to this shared collection of readings, images, video clips, and audio snipppets.

Owning Your Data

I think it's important to save material you've created and to store that material in places that your control. Obsidian sets up folders on my Microsoft Surface Book and through a set daily routine, I add actionable content to those folders. I discovered that everything I add to Obsidian automatically backs up on OneDrive. I've been able to open my Obsidian vault on another computer after copying its contents to another computer. Power users offer important tips about source file conflicts that I've taken on board. I'm very happy to be able to see part of my PKM system within 20 minutes of setting up my Obsidian vault on my laptop.

It's a website protected by a password that I will give to my students.

Connecting My Daily Routines

Obsidian has a variety of plug-ins that grab content from several services I have used for more than a decade.

  • connects to my vault.
  • Todoist shows upcoming tasks and completed tasks with links to support information.
  • syncs with my Obsidian vault.
  • I can connect all or part of my Obsidian vault to the my Ghost site.

Now it's up to me to review all the links and content that drop into Obsidian from paid subscriptions I read inside Kindle, Feedly, Instapaper, Stoopinbox. I pay to get Washington Post, the Irish Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Each of those apps have Share Sheet options to Instapaper, Readwise, or directly to Obsidian. I plan to review the best way of going directly from my premium content sources to Obsidian where I can distill the content for review by students.

Obsidian Templates

I grew accustomed to the dashboards I tweaked inside Roam Research and Notion. During the next week, I will create special dashboards for my use.

  • Daily Dashboard
  • Readings
  • Teaching
  • Travel
  • Ancestry
  • Research Projects

Let me know if you're an Obsidian user. I'd like to discuss eureka moments that new Obsidian users acclaim. Those a-ha moments could help inspire my students as we ramp up to a shared PKM System.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative leadership on the Clonmel campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]

Ireland Culture Night Venue Tour #clonmel

Fri, 09/09/2022 - 18:25

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

FOR MY FIRST hour of my autumn 2022 academic schedule, I'm taking 20 animators on a field trip of local Culture Night venues in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland.

Culture Night is a nationwide event in Ireland, normally on the third Friday in September. This year, it's Friday 23 September 2022 and it celebrates the richness and diversity of culture in 21st century Ireland today. Locally, it suggests pathways to ongoing engagement for the creatives on the Clonmel Digital Campus as we drop by five venues hosting six exhibitions or events. Several of the venues are listed on the map and short descriptions below.

Old St Mary's Church

On the grounds of Old St Mary's Church will sit a sculpture that represents five months of work with the artist Brigid Teehan, Clonmel children, and their families. Some participants live in the Suir Island Hughes Mills complex.

This special Arts Council 70th anniversary commission explored creative play with children using a diversity of natural materials and techniques including cob, an ancient traditional building material.

Museum of Hidden History

Two exhibitions run in the Tipperary Museum of Hidden History. One is a short film and another is a set of table mats created by Aoife Barrett with inspiration from Tipperary Food Producers. The artistic prints reflect the essence of regenerative farming, cheesemaking, beekeeping, animal husbandry, and biodiversity synonymous with The Apple Farm.

South Tipperary Arts Centre

The local arts centre will hold a screening of Now & Then, an intergenerational project finished by local artists, daycare centre members, and primary school students.

Elderly Clonmel residents living in the Irishtown Day Care Centre and young students in Gaelscoil Chluain Meala participated in this project.

For tasty ideas across Ireland:

Culture Night Food Events deserve to be in the spotlight with the help of Tipperary Food Producers. Perhaps we could plan a culinary touch in Clonmel for Culture Night 2023.

Blogging during Zoom Call #RUN_EU

Tue, 09/06/2022 - 14:11

by Bernie Goldbach while on a Zoom Call in Clonmel.

I REVERTED TO FORM and started blogging during the four hours I spent on a Zoom call with 113 others who expressed an interested in learning more about how to successfully apply for research funding under RUN-EU. I saved my rough notes as part of this blog post (see link below) because I think it's important to establish open and distributed nodes of communications between researchers who are scattered throughout the EU.

It's all about collaboration.

As a faculty member of the Technological University of the Shannon, I can easily join an European Innovation Hub. However, because I work 50 km from the nearest canteen where other innovators can easily meet to chat, I have to establish a virtual chat zone. I'm going to kick start daily blog posts on my 20 yo blog because it's always on my phone. Moreover, I'm asking Leo the AI to listen for Erasmus+ inside my Feedly web service. We need to have a presence on campus with Erasmus Plus.

I'm joining a collective of creatives who are part of a European Innovation Hub and hope to encourage them to offer visual representations when sharing progress reports. I know screencaps and flow charts can often tell more about the stages of a process than well-written prose.

The pain of producing

More than half of the breakout sessions during the Zoom call concerned how to minimise the pain of producing research reports, manuscripts, and journal items. I felt like a boisterous lad in the back of the bus when I advocated a call to document exhibitions and performances through data capture tools such as Elsevier Pure Portal. Since nobody on the call was familiar with the standing of Pure Research facilities, I decided to park my ideas as follow-up discussions with senior librarians on our two major campuses.

I know I'm part of the unpublished researcher problem because I haven't refashioned any part of my two decades of working notes into published materials. During our day-long RUN-EU Zoom meeting, I kept a tab open to track what Catherine Cronin was sharing from the ALT conference. Catherine Cronin knows the rigors of academic publishing. Most of her work slots into Open Education Resources that I use. I think it would be invaluable to invite Catherine Cronin to the next virtual meet-up of RUN-EU and include a way to sit in the same room as Catherine when she shares her ideas about inclusivity, sustainability, and agency with the group.

Most of the academics on the Zoom call have not submitted research to a journal. Because they lack an awareness of the harsh criticism they may endure from peer reviewers it would be nice to hear from researchers like Catherine Cronin who have navigated the research publishing space.

I also think there would be exceptional value in kick starting Open Coffee sessions once a month in the Absolute Hotel on Sir Harry's Mall in Limerick.

I've six pages of notes that I distilled into five working points for discussions with my Clonmel campus colleagues and for a possible follow-up collaboration on the topic of Limerick Lace with Giordana Giache.

Bonus Links

From Bernie's Microblog via

    Bernie Goldbach 

Bernie's Working Notes from Zoom Call 6 September 2022 (16 kb DOCX file)

[Bernie Goldbach teaches digital transformation for the Technological University of the Shannon.]

Three Readwise Discoveries #knowledgemanagement

Mon, 09/05/2022 - 04:33

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

COULD I SHARE three quick discoveries I've made while using Readwise as a core tool of my personal knowledge management? I've learned some things that would help loyal readers who are knee deep into their PhD research.

Readwise helps me master books.

I have nearly 500 hard cover books in our home. I haven't read more than 120 of them from cover to cover--although I've read several at least twice. Reading is important and remembering is super important for someone like forgetful me. I want my 11yo son seeing me read the books on shelves behind him while he surfs for television content in our sitting room because I know he wants to learn. 

I learn by reading. As I read, I often manually add snippets of text from my personal bookshelf collection to a shared Readwise library I've started with 14yo Mia. The structured repetition of selections from Readwise helps me master the written material scattered around us. This is transformative.

Listen to "Three Readwise Discoveries E601#PKM" on Spreaker. Readwise converts my handwriting.

For years, I've been concerned about what would happen if I lost the decades of handwritten working notes I've compiled in the hundreds of Moleskines I've used and kept.

The highly efficient text extraction capability of Readwise has ensured I can revisit evergreen ideas I've annotated decades ago. The Readwise process is ten times faster than Microsoft Office Lens. It would be a superpower for anyone saddled with written research notes.

Pro Tip: If you want easy scanning from a smartphone, write your notes with dark lead or black ink in straight lines with white space between paragraphs.

API Love for Shortform.

Like a true power app, Readwise offers an API key and that is helpful when a share sheet isn't available for a process. I use the Readwise API to burrow directly into Shortform to read titles that help me think and teach better. As I read, I highlight passages that later drop into my Readwise collection.

My 14yo daughter shares access with several of my Readwise services so we're getting a two-for-one special that is sweetened by thoughtful material I'm enjoying in conversations. I know parents who lose touch with their teens as they grow. Being able to converse through shared snippets of media text is glorious.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches digital transformation for the Technological University of the Shannon where he unpacked important elements of personal knowledge management for students.]

I Have Achieved Parity #milestone

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 07:47

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

FOR THE FIRST TIME in 15 years, my blog has recorded parity because an equal number of people have visited using iOS and Android. My experience mirrors a global trend.

However, when university students return to my classrooms, I suspect their higher usage of Android handsets will push iOS back down into the 40% range with my webstats. Meanwhile, the community is heavily slanted towards Apple products.

[Bernie Goldbach has used Statcounter to track more than 100,000 page views of]

Still Learning How Young People Think

Sun, 09/04/2022 - 04:50

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

I SHOULD BE well able to maneuver through twists and turns associated with parenting. But sometimes I wonder if I've ever learned from the young people in my life.

Although I'm currently overtasked by Dylan (11) while he continues upskilling as a mobile journalist, his reporting skills have dramatically improved during the past six weeks. I plan to have him produce a short video that explains his perspective on the making of YouTube clips for his Little Bit of Tipp series.

[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media on the Clonmel Digital Campus.]

CB Chatter from Times Past

Sat, 09/03/2022 - 21:09

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

I REMEMBER the day when I motored along with a whip antenna.


1977 Realistic 424 CB ad

Where are we getting nails in tyres

Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:53

WE PLAN to deal with a flat tyre every two weeks. What can I do to figure out where the nails are coming from?

Fortunately, there isn't much to complain about with our rock-solid Skoda Yeti.

Previously, we had a big adventure with our Nissan Qashqai.

[Bernie currently owns a 2013 Skoda Yeti. It has exceptionally strong resale value.]

Another Maker Using

Tue, 08/16/2022 - 08:59

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel.

I'M IMPRESSED by the people using infrastructure because a wide cross-section of them are makers and thinkers. I plan to use a recent github repo to enhance my own presence at with the Paper theme. I've copied the installation steps below.

-- The theme is compatible with Hugo 0.91 which is available as a setting on

-- Uninstall any theme that you have installed as a plugin.

-- Set the current theme to blank and Hugo Version to 0.91 in the design section of your blog.

-- Make sure there are no other conflicting custom CSS configured for the previous theme.

-- Install the "Paper theme" plug-in from the directory.

-- Once the theme is successfully installed, you can configure the social icons displayed in the header by modifying the available options as plug-in's settings.

-- Additionally, you can also configure parameter to display full post content on homepage or not to display categories on archive page.

[Bernie Goldbach started using the microblog infrastructure in July 2022 and hope that his current blog pushes content from Typepad to Microblog.]

Going Local with Young Voices

Wed, 08/10/2022 - 19:00

by Bernie Goldbach in Clonmel

DYLAN IS REFINING his podcasting skills by seeking out people in places he enjoys. He's using our Rode Wireless Go microphones when interviewing people he has met in various local venues, such as Sylvia in Martin's Fruit and Veg.

Listen to "Finding Martin's Fruit and Veg in Clonmel" on Spreaker.

I hope to train Dylan to handle all the workflow behind the vox pops he's creating. He knows how to scout a place, run down a willing participant, record with safeguards using Voice Record Pro on a broken iPhone, and then upload the recording to Google Drive where I edit the clip. The finished clips, normally no longer than four minutes, drop into A Little Bit of Tipp podcast. Some will be uploaded onto the Youth Media Interviews playlist on YouTube.

Within a year, I think Dylan will be proficient enough to train his friends in primary school so they can produce short clips for local radio. Those audio segments might be powerful enough to convince dozens of Dylan's extended family to visit Tipperary instead of choosing the standard Dublin-Kerry-Dublin route so many of our friends select.

[Bernie Goldbach trains teens who are part of Ireland's Youth Media Team.]