Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
February 12, 2003

Happy Birthday, XML! This week marks the fifth anniversary of XML. The specification was published as a 25 page document on the W3C site on February 10, 1998. Things, as they say, have become more complex since then. " Five years ago, XML tools could be developed by a good programmer in a week; now it may take full-time teams of the best programmers to keep up. Usability has suffered a bit." But where now? As the authors observe, "Our entire computing architecture is in flux." And a warning. "With these new architectures comes an increased need to interact with data. Large numbers of people must have intimate knowledge of information and of how to build systems to manage it. If these people cannot easily understand XML and its companion specs, they will find something else which is slimmer and trimmer." They speak the truth. By Dave Hollander and C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, W3C, February 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Copyright Issues Relevant to the Creation of a Digital Archive: A Preliminary Assessment If you are feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of modern copyright issues, this clearly written and relatively brief report might be just the tonic for you. Though written for a U.S. audience, it contains clear overviews of the concepts (for example, types of copyring, typical exceptions). It also includes a good description of the DMCA and a section on international issues. Nothing on moral rights, though, which is too bad. The text is presented as HTML for easy reading and fast loading. By June M. Besek, Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Shambles As summarized by Spartacus, "This website has been created by Chris Smith to support the International Schools communities in 17 countries and regions in Asia. The site has relevance to students, teachers and support staff, it is also also designed to be of help to families, both those already settled and those who are planning to move to Asia. It contains the most comprehensive searchable online database of international schools for this group of countries which is accessible in a number of different formats including text and interactive 'Flash' maps." Link wasn't responding when I tried, but you may have more luck. By Chris Smith, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Dublin Core Whew. You've just finished tagging your thousands of items in Dublin Core. Now you can relax, right? Wrong. There is a great deal afoot with Dublin Core. I confess, I'm not clear on all of it (and information on the web is basically impossible to obtain). The the long and the short of it is that Dublin Core is being "fast-tracked" to become a new ISO standard, "15836 The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set." That wouldn't be so back (except, of course, for the fact that you could now have to pay money to view the standard). But between Dublin Core 1.1 and the eventual ISO 15836 there are numerous changes. This link is to an email sent from Leif Andresen, chair of the DCMI Standards Interest Group. The ISO page on the initiative is here but the actual text is nowhere to be seen. The most recent version I can find (and which may be what is approved by ISO) is ANSI/NISO Z39.85, a 2001 version from the NISO website. That version will set you back $US 39. Now - was somebody saying something about open standards? Public domain? Oh yeah... By Leif Andresen, Catalogablog, February 3, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Eligibility For Dot-Edu Internet Addresses To Be Expanded A wider range of educational institutions in the United States will not be able to obtain .edu domains, according to this report. From the article: " Until now, the .edu domain has been restricted to postsecondary degree-granting institutions accredited by one of the six U.S. regional accrediting agencies. After the expansion takes effect, also eligible will be those that are institutionally accredited by agencies on the U.S. Department of Educationís list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies." By Press Release, National Telecommunications and Information Administration , February 12, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intel Starts Delivering on Wireless at IDF I'm sure it's a very good processor, but what about the name? The new Intel product - characterized as the internet on a chip - has been called 'Manitoba.' For those of you who don't know, that's the name of a Canadian province, a place where I used to live, in fact. Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem to me that the name of a Canadian province is something you can just pick up and slap a trademark on. Or maybe you can. By Rick Merritt, EE Times, February 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

My Short Life As An Unintentional Spammer The event described in this article has happened to me as well - it's one of the things that happens when your email address is widely posted. "This particular spammer took things one step further, and made the 'reply-to' address for all of his spam message set to my personal email address. If anyone looked at the headers, it was clear that I had nothing to do with the email whatsoever. However, most mail servers aren't so smart." So, yes, from time to time (like this morning) I receive angry messages from people asking me to stop spamming them. I can't help them. I had nothing to do with the spam. Typically, "the email came from a mail server in the Philippines, and pointed to a website hosted in China, owned by a company in London." By Mike Masnick, Techdirt, February 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

MS patents .Everything More on the Microsoft .Net patents, discussed yesterday. As the title suggests, this article expresses the concern that the Microsoft patents cut a wide swatch through web services, threatening the entire standards effort. "s this a specific protection of .NET APIs or a general claim to have invented web services, or indeed networked client-server computing, the universe, and everything? The details suggest the former, but section 101 suggests the latter." By Andrew Orlowski, The Register, February 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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