By Stephen Downes
August 2, 2004

How to Be Creative
Nice article that should probably have been titled "How to be good at anything." The author's main point is that "everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb," and that the difference between a worthwhile life and the other lies in the decision to climb it (my 'Everest' is stated at the bottom of my home page). Once you make the decision to accept your own particular challenge, it becomes a matter of aligning your priorities and being clear about your motivations. "If somebody wants to rip my idea off, go ahead. If somebody wants to overtake me in the business card doodle wars, go ahead. You've got many long years in front of you. And unlike me, you won't be doing it for the joy of it. You'll be doing it for some self-loathing, ill-informed, lame-ass mercenary reason. So the years will be even longer and far, far more painful. Lucky you."

I really agree with the advice in this article. Believe in yourself. Ignore the jerks. Stand fast to your ideals. Learn. Be the best at what you love to do. Find Everest, and whatever you do, at least try to climb it. "The pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it's going to. I know. It sucks. That being said, doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have, in this or any other lifetime. If you can pull it off, it's worth it. Even if you don't end up pulling it off, you'll learn many incredible, magical, valuable things. It's NOT doing it when you know you full well you HAD the opportunity- that hurts FAR more than any failure." By Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid, July 25, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS Calendar
Finally, an alternative to pre-XML garbled calendar formats. The RSS 1.0 Events module has been kicking around in pre-dev mode for a while now. But now we have RSS calendar. Oddly, the RSS calendar doesn't use the proper RSS format (mostly because readers can't yet read ir). "RSSCalendar is an exciting new way for individuals and organizations to share their calendars with family, friends, and colleagues." Works fine; I'll probably emulate a server-side version. By Various Authors, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Group: Linux Potentially Infringes 283 Patents
It's discomforting to see the two sides gear up for what may become an all-out patent war against open source. Can't say I didn't see it coming, though. Of course, this claim, by an insurance company offering patent protection coverage, seems a little self-serving. Welcome to the world in which litigation (or the threat of it) is more profitable than creativity - the sign of a seriously damaged economy. By Stephen Shankland, ZD Net, August 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canada Music Biz Bites Dentists
Another example of the stupidity of the music industry, as a Canadian dentist is dinged for playing music from his iPod in his office. What gets me is that there is no way the performers - mostly traditional celtic artists - are getting compensated. After all, it's not like the dentist's iPod is being monitored, which means that if SOCAN divies up the profits at all, it is among the big-label bands pumped out continuously from big-label radio stations. Meanwhile, the owners of Woody Guthrie's classic folk song, This Land is Your Land, have contacted lawyers in an effort to remove a brilliant parody based on the song from internet circulation. My attitude is Guthrie's: "anybody caught singin' it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." By Katie Dean, Wired News, August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Patchworking - Showing Off Your Assets
This is pretty interesting. The author adapts the concept of 'patching' - a business process where an organization is broken into loosley associated pieces or 'patches' - and applies it to individual learners to create a 'portfolio' of assets. The resulting map (see the diagram in the article) goes well beyond what we might see in a typical profile, inmcluding such things as the person's vision and beliefs, their network of contacts, their work environments, and more. I think this would be a good development tool - people often sell themselves short, but only because they do not take a good look at all their assets. By Marie Jasinski, Australian Flexible Learning Community, August 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

'Degrees for Sale' at UK Universities
There is a danger in having an organization that gets paid for teaching people also be responsible for evaluating whether that teaching has been successful. This item, in which it is alleged that universities are passing students in order to keep the money flowing in, is illustrative of this danger. By Martin Bright, The Observer, August 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy
According to the author, a knowledge management strategy "must identify the key needs and issues within the organisation, and provide a framework for addressing these." It then outlines a process to do this. He notes that "It is easy to jump into 'solutions mode', recommending approaches such as communities of practice, storytelling, content management systems, and much more." But such practices must match the actual need of the staff, which you only find out if you ask them. By James Robertson , KM Column, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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