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April 1, 2002

The CBDTPA is Immune to (Conventional) Criticism This article presents itself as a satire of the proposed Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA, which began life as a draft bill intended to be presented to the U.S. Congress called the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA)). It is intended to protect the copyrights owned by television, film and other content publishers. About half way down the article comes the insightful part: "The CBDTPA takes the form of legislation that bans the ability to commit a negative behavior. Unfortunately for the CBDTPA, this is an invalid form. No matter what negative behavior you fill the blank in with, the law is equally nonsensical, and impossible to enforce." By Jeremy Bowers, Jerf.Org, March, 2002.[Refer]

The XML Version of the TEI Guidelines This is not an item for a leisurely afternoon read. Peter Suber summarizes it nicely, "The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has approved and released version 4 of its Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange Version 3 has been in use since 1994. The new version is a very extensive document providing XML tags to mark nearly every conceivable aspect of a text that might have to be identified or processed by software." I had a look through it and Suber's description is, if anything, an understatement. Now I don't think that the purpose of this document is that it be used, but rather, that it serve as a model for your own XML schemas insofar as they deal with text: if your XML file is consistent with TEI then it will be translatable to other schemas consistent with TEI. By C M Sperberg-McQueen and Lou Burnard, TEI Consortium, March, 2002.[Refer]

New Standards Good post on a Yahoo Group list (you will have to register and sign into elearningleaders (something I think the list owner really should change)) on why the author thinks that the IMS and SCORM standards are bound to fail. In a nutshell, the IMS and SCORM standards violate some fundamental principles of useful standards, specifically:

  • Standards must be completely platform neutral.
  • Standards must be international in scope.
  • Standards are all about consensus - not cool ideas.
  • Standards require the active participation of people from all vertical markets and all related professions.
  • Standards must be durable.
  • Standards must accommodate people with special needs.
  • Standards must remain pedagogy neutral.
  • Standards must harmonize with existing standards.
  • Standards must be embraced by a wide range providers.
  • Standards efforts must be governed in a neutral manner.
It's hard not to agree with the argument presented in this article (each item above is discussed in more detail) and hard not to agree that the IMS and SCORM efforts violate at least some - if not all - of these provisions. Food for thought. By Neal Nored, Elearningleaders, March 30, 2002.[Refer]

I Have My Rights! The purpose of this article is to argue that people have no constitutional right to copy intellectual property, not even under fair use provisions. Of course, as this article is based in the U.S. Constitution, it has little applicability to the world at large. But what is important here is not the legal technicalism displayed but the application of a minimalist principle in the evaluation of our right to reflect what we have seen and heard elsewhere in our own work and expressions. This is not a view that I support. By Ed Stroligo, Overclockers.Com, March 31, 2002.[Refer]

Ask Jeeves Takes Aim at Google It's hard to imagine that any search engine could replace Google, but the designers of Teoma think that users will prefer their new layered approach. The company - purchased by Ask Jeeves last year - will have a lot of marketing clout behind it, but my own searches have yielded less than satisfactory results. By Michael Liedtke, Excite News, March 31, 2002.[Refer]

Defend your WLAN One of the knocks against wireless local area networks (WLANs) is that network security is a bit loose. As a result, a number of companies have developed tools to close your network data against intruders. This article (actually, a series of three articles - click on the link on the lower right corner) is a quick survey of the available WLAN security products along with some practical advice. By Lynn Haber, ZDNet Tech Update, March 28, 2002.[Refer]


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