By Stephen Downes
July 2, 2004

Moulin Ching
It was three years ago I wrote this, three years ago I entered it in some writing contest, lost, and filed it away. I don't handle rejection well - even if it could be called writing only by the widest stretch of the imagination. Anyhow, I was just thinking of it recently (and somewhat surprised to find it was almost to the day since I wrote it), so I pass it along to you - to read for your amusement or to use as an oracle to guide your life. Your call. MS Word document. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, July 4, 2001 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CETIS Quarterly Newsletter
A new initiative from CETIS, this quarterly newsletter will be usefully read by busy people without time even to read OLDaily. But I suspect that the CETIS staff will have more difficulty writing the second issue than the first, as in the first the topics covered the broad range of e-learning (assessment, accessibility, content and metadata) and drew upon developments over the recent years, not months. I think that if the authors let the news dictate the organization and content of the newsletter (for example, if font size becomes a big issue in blogs and at conferences over the next four months, dedicate a section to font sizes) then it will do all right. Otherwise, they will find themselves repeating themselves a lot. Oh, and for email readers, page margins would really, really help. Even ten pixels. Please. Overall, though, a good initiative which over time will get better. By Various Authors, CETIS, June 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Objects in a P2P Cross Institutional Framework
The P2P bit occupies only three short paragraphs near the end of the article and doesn't really satisfy. Experienced practitioners won't find anything new here, but the article will be useful for those looking for a short overview of learning management systems, learning objects, and learning object metadata. By John Perry, Australian Flexible Learning Community, June 25, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Capturing the Value of "Generation Tech" Employees
It's yet another explanation of "digital natives," the young people who have grown up with computers, and consequently, a new way of thinking and learning. But this bit is interesting: "Have you ever noticed that digital natives, unlike digital immigrants, donít talk about 'information overload'? Rather, they crave more information." The lesson here is that many of the concerns being expressed about online learning - I just heard someone talk about the 'fear of IT' - are concerns expressed by a generation, the last generation, of a pre-computer world. These concerns will disappear shortly, and I wouldn't spend too much time lingering on them. More important is to look at how the workplace will change when they arrive en masse - "the end of command-and-control management." By Marc Prensky, strategy+business, June 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canadian Supreme Court Rules Cached Music Files Not Copyright Infringement
It's an obvious ruling, but in today's environment it is still nice (and a bit of a relief) to see the court set a precedent. if you're wondering what it was about - internet service providers, who connect you to the internet at home, often save copies of frequently requested files so they do not have to retrieve them from the web every time they are requested. This saves on bandwidth costs and speeds access time. The complaint was that this action was a violation of copyright. More, More. Via digital-copyright mailing list and DRM Watch. By Simon Helm, Digital Media Europe, July 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Thomas Malone: Perspective
George Siemens points to this blog post quoting extensively from this article published in Fast Company last week, a transcript of a talk given by Thomas Malone (did you get all that?). The essence is that very large organizations are developing through decentralization. "150,000 of its sellers make their full-time living on Ebay. If those people were employees of Ebay, it'd be one of the largest employers and retailers in the world. But they're not employees." The author attributes this new form of organization to the declining cost of communication and identifies "three main ways large groups of people can make decentralized decisions: loose hierarchies, democracies, and markets." By Thomas Malone, Fast Company, June 24, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Managing the Connected Organization
Good article on internet-age organization, which begins with an observation from Shapiro and Varian: "There is a central difference between the old and new economies: the old industrial economy was driven by economies of scale; the new information economy is driven by the economics of networks..." (from Information Rules - if you haven't read this book I do recommend it). Most of the article is concerned with networks of information ploy between groups within companies. I have one observation: If knowledge is power, as the article suggests, and everybody has full access to knowledge, then what happens to power? Via several sources, and most recently, elearnspace. By Valdis E. Krebs, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Can-Spam Act a Failure
There are some important lessons in this item. "The U.S. Can-Spam Act is a failure... of the 547,685 messages examined, only 71 - 0.013 per cent - complied with Can-Spam." When the internet was first unfolding, advocates argued that it transcended national borders and legal restrictions. Then as it became a more established and safer medium, people scoffed at these early wide-eyed predictions. It took spammers - of all people - to hammer home the truth. What now, then, of other legislation intended to regulate the internet? By Jack Kapica, Globe and Mail, June 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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