By Stephen Downes
January 22, 2004

How Dynamic Categories Work
People in the wider community are finally discovering dynamic categories, something I've been plugging for a couple of years now, and which you can view (as always) on my research page and on Edu_RSS Topics. What is a dynamic category? Think of it as a predefined search. What's new, though, is how they're doing it - a very elegant XPath approach. Are you busy creating hierarchies and structured directories? Forget about it. Think dynamic categories instead. By Jon Udell, Jon Udell's Weblog, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

You Got Google mail - Report
Because of spam, the future of emails and email newsletters is that there is none. Enter Google. Google forbids the use of AdWords in email newsletters (where it would be remarkably effective). Why? Suppose Google created an email service, made it spam free, and allowed it to support advertising (as Reuters is supposedly reporting, though the link hasn't shown up yet). This may only be a rumour, but it has legs. Join permission based highly focused advertising, Blogger and RSS, no spam, and Google's reputation for goodness and you have a winning combination. By Andrew Orlowski, The Register, January 21, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

4 Colleges Collaborate on Open-Source Courseware
You have five days to read this before the Chronicle lowers the silicon boom and charges you for access, so copy it now and send it to your friends(*). The headline: "Four universities have announced a $6.8-million collaborative venture to create open-source courseware tools and related software for higher-education institutions." All I can say is, YEAGH! (* Note: this advice is valid only if copying and forwarding is legal in your jurisdiction.) By Andrea L. Foster, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

It's still a usability disaster (people need more than just headlines), but it has been getting a lot of press, and rightly so. The service is, as it asserts, "a social bookmarks manager. Using simple bookmarklets, you can add bookmarks to your list and categorize them." The software is "pre-pre-alpha" and changing almost daily. But if you squint real hard, you can see the future here. As noted in Robin Good, "Our approach, therefore, is to create a navigation tool that copes with Internet complexity at the individual, rather than the organizational, level." By Various Authors, January, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Scout Portal Toolkit
This is a very interesting software release with some nifty features. In addition to the usual search request features, it allows user annotation, user rating and user agents. It also adds an intelligent metadata tool to assist submissions. The free software runs on PHP and MySQL, so if you have a computer with an internet connection, you can get it running for free. What is needed now is to make the user generated content - like the annotations and rations - available to other readers via RSS or some similar format. Ah, it's all just a matter of time now, isn't it? By Various Authors, Internet Scout Project, January, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Self-Publish And Be Damned? Not Always.
They used to call it vanity publishing, and it was the last refuge of the talentless. But as writers become more frustrated with publishers - their rules, their share of the profits, their slow response time - they are turning with increasing success to self publishing. And some, like this writer, are finding success. By Andy Kessler, OpinionJournal, January 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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