By Stephen Downes
November 9, 2004

Persistent Identification and Public Policy
This article is a response to the discussions held at the Persistent Identifiers Seminar at University College Cork, Ireland, last June (presentations are available on the website). The summary to which I refer is not yet available on the internet. When (and if) it is made available, I will link to it here. Not only should the government take into account the access needs of individuals, I argue, it must take into account the needs of those individuals to create and distribute their own information. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, November 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Firefox 1.0
The wait is over. Firefox 1.0 has officially launched - the Firefox website is staggering a bit under the load but you can still get in to upgrade now. Oh, and in case you have any doubts, I am recommending that you switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox now. Today. Here's a guide that tells you how to switch. Yes, you'll have all your plug-ins - and the installer in Windows is almost seamless. It will import your Internet Explorer settings, like bookmarks. You'll find Firefox a lot faster, and you'll love browsing without popups or the risk of viruses. Once you've loaded Firefox, go to my home page and look in the lower right hand corner of the browser status window. You'll see an orange RSS button. Click on it and 'subscribe'. Now check your bookmarks - you will see that my RSS feed has become your bookmark, updated daily. Too cool. As for me - well, I didn't code the browser, but I've been with it since day one and pitched in with cash - so today feels a bit like my day too. This is the day we take back the internet - and not a day too soon. By Many Athors, November 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Accelerating Change
The thrust of this useful summary of the Accelerating Change conference: Meatspace is over. By that, what we mean is "the inevitable migration of community and productions into the digital world." The conference featured discussions of digital environments, change management, co-production, and MyLifeBits. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, November 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OAI Compliance
Just a note to remind myself: CiteSeer, a collection of abstractsof academic journals, often with full text access, is OAI compliant. By Unknown, November, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft Claims Ownership of the Internet
No, this is not a joke. "According to an article by eWeek dated Friday Nov. 5th 2004, Microsoft appears to be claiming intellectual property rights on over 130 Internet protocols that make up the very core of the Internet inrastructure. These protocols include for example TCP/IP and the DNS system." It goes without saying that any such move on the part of Microsoft would be an outrage, an abuse of the power of litigation, an affront to everything internet stands for. We expct Microsoft to offer an immediate clariffication, a statement to the effect that it owns no rights to, and is not entitled to license, the basic protocols of the internet. In the meantime, the Microsoft 'license' to implement such things as HTTP may be found here. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, November 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

From Mechanism to a Science of Qualities
Stephen Talbott is tapping into many of the same strands of thought informing my own thinking about the internet and online learning. Witness: "I propose that much of the order in organisms may not be the result of selection at all, but of the spontaneous order of self-organized systems.(Kauffman 1995, p. 25)" This link is to his online book-in-progress, 'From Mechanism to a Science of Qualities', and the quote above may be found in his (recommended) essay, The Lure of Complexity. I don't agree with everything Talbott says, but he is absolutely asking the right questions. By Stephen Talbott, November, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Meta-Data Repositories Meet Semantics
This article gives readers a glimpse into what is intended by metadata and metadata repositories. Specifically, "semantic metadata ensures that technical and business users are relying on common business meaning, regardless of how it is represented or referred to. This reduces the all too frequent communications gap that exists within large organizations between IT and the business." Sounds good, but look at the presumption it is based on: "Semantics define a concept's meaning in a manner that is both unambiguous and universally correct in meaning." This is not a sound presumption on which to base an industry. Semantics - human semantics - work precisely because they are fuzzy and sometimes liable to error. It is through the reconceptualization of meaning that advance in science or any discipline is possible. Is stasis in meaning the best avenue for an information society? Go ask Byzantium. By Joram Borenstein, The Data Administration Newsletter, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Email Teaching Scheme Under Fire
Sign of the times. "Teachers' unions today attacked a plan that would see staff answering email queries from their GCSE pupils outside school hours." They are concerned not only about the requirment that teachers work outside school hours but also about potentially abusive emails sent to teachers' homes. Both concerns are valid and could easily have been predicted prior to the proposal. Replacing study leave with online contact hours? Dumb idea. By Staff and Agencies, The Guardian, November 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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