By Stephen Downes
July 30, 2004

Alt-I-Lab Results: Mind the Gap...
Wilbert Kraan summarizes the recent Alt-I-Lab meetings in San Francisco. The gap is "between user expectation of interoperability and reality." From where I stand, what's happening here can be summed up with this sentence: "The final concern raised last year - just build stuff - stop making new specs - doesn't appear to have had much traction." Basically, the report describes a bunch of beginnings... but that's it. We still don't have a working system. Sure, we have a "A Service Oriented Approach is emerging amongst a variety of vendors and groups, to the point that implementations are already underway" - but my question is, how is that going to help us? Oh - and if you want to join the mysterious Redwood Group alluded to in the article - it's here. Don't know why Wilbert didn't run with a link. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, July 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Feature Creep: 500 Books In Your Gadget Bag
So why aren't e-book readers taking off? The old stand-by excuses - that they are hard to read, and that people prefer books - are falling away as the technology gets better and people become used to reading electronic content. The sticking point is DRM. Still, the author argues, " If publishers stop wanting DRM, it's the end of popular creative arts. Not as we know them, but period." This wiull eventually be overcome, he argues. "Most of them won't admit it now, but on the day iPod was announced, many of Apple's most ardent supporters labeled it the dumbest thing to come out of Cupertino since Pippin. Oh, how they were wrong." Well, maybe. But remember - what's being sold when iPods are sold is not the content - it's the iPod. And that makes all the difference in the world. Via Kairos. By Unknown, Gizmodo, July 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

DLORN Upgrade
I have made a minor upgrade to DLORN, the site that harvests learning resources RSS files. Specifically, DLORN listings are now available by RSS (0.91), Javascript and in ticker format. More changes coming. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, July 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Todd Bingham showed me this nifty application this afternoon. I don't know what it took to set it up, I do know it's Windows-only, he said it can be synched with your Outlook Exchange calendar, and I know from seeing it that it's about as useful a took as you could hope to find, a great little calendar that becomes a part of your desktop. He found it browsing through this Weblog Tools collection. By Various Authors, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Spiral Dynamics and Education
Marcus Barber responded to my Vygotsky link yesterday with a longish email, which I appreciated, and a link to this presentation. It's a longish PDF (a format my distaste for which he acknowledged) describing an off-shoot known as spiral dynamics. The bulk of the paper is devoted to dividing learners into six colour-coded groups, ranging from the deferential purples to the lone wolf reds. Value systems, according to the paper, are "wave-like processes that oscillate between a focus on the external world and how to master it and a focus on the inner being and how to come to peace with it." Now if I were a colour on the colour chart I would probably be a little tangerine (or beer-coloured). So obviously such a table is just a rough approximation, as any such taxonomy (for which educators have an undue fascination) will tend to be. But are learning and life really reducible to a struggle between the inner and the outer? It's like describing a coin by saying that it has a head and a tail. True enough, but there is something in the essence of being a coin that is missed in the description. By Marcus Barber, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Apple Threatens RealNetworks
Without being overly cynical, without suggesting that a certain company's politics wave with the wind, let me respectfully not respond to Apple's protestations against RealMedia. And in that positive spirit - because I do support what RealMedia has done - let me offer something constructive, something useful. I have the perfect campaign slogan for Real's new product line. Catchy, short, to the point, and expressive. What is it? Just this: Rip, Mix, Burn. By George V. Hulme, InformationWeek, July 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to run a brainstorming meeting
Via the Cogdogblog Furl, this item provides some useful advice on holding a brainstorming session, including what to do after the session is over. By Scott Berkun, UIWeb.com, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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