OLDaily

By Stephen Downes
April 27, 2005

A Collected Group of Educators
Mark Berthelemy notes that Will Richardson makes his subscription list available on Bloglines. You can also view my subscriptions as well. This list is my filtering list for EduRSS 0.2 - in other words, the sites listed here are the sites that will be harvested by the next generation EduRSS - so if you think I'm missing an important one (and I know I am) please send me a note. By Will Richardson, Bloglines, April, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Forthcoming Government Report to Pave Way for Greater OSS Use in UK Schools
BECTA is sitting on this report while the British election runs its course, but its contents have spread like wildfire through the open source community. "The landmark report will show that OSS can be implemented successfully in schools and present documented examples of cost savings from its use." More from Graham Attwell. By eGov monitor Newsdesk, eGov Monitor, April 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Trackback is Dead. Are Comments Dead Too?
Without saying "I told you so" let me ponder for a moment where we go from here. Trackback and comments are suffering for the same reason: they provide a means to allow spammers to put their content on your site (the same is true of spam email, expect their content goes into your inbox). So how do we address this? First of all, it seems to me, is that we need to change the location of the comment. If I make a comment on your site, where should my comment go? On my site. Yes, my site, even if I used a comment box on your site to make the comment. How do we do that? Ah - therein lies the trick. Your site need to know somehow where my site is located. Which means that my browser needs some way to tell it, some way to say "My comments go 'here'". If we can get that functionality (any volunteers? ideas?) we can stop the spam problem dead in its tracks. OK, so now my comment is on my website. How does your website know that I've made the comment. It harvests it and - since we've included a 'replyto' element in our RSS item - associates it with the original post. You, of course, don't harvest from everybody in the world (that would defeat the purpose). You only harvest from your friends (as defined in, say, your FOAF file). My comment makes it to your website if - and only if - there is a chain of social contact between me and you. And so we get the other half of the equation - social networking with a purpose. And, may I say it, this is the semantic social network. (Now that I've given this away I can just hear the rush of parasites lawyers to the patent office). By Tom Coates, PlastigBag, April 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Grounding the Innovation of Future Technologies
I'm not sure this is true: "innovation, development, and evaluation of design ideas cannot be based only on the designer's intuitions but must be grounded in users' actual needs and behaviors. We need to apply social and psychological sciences to understand how technology could qualify a positive change for the users." The reason why I express doubt is that the 'need' for an innovation often becomes knowable only after the innovation has been introduced. Moreover, it seems to me that 'need' is a very fluid concept, susceptable as much to media and marketing as to any basis in day-to-day life. And when the variables we are measuring for can be created and manipulated by the experimenters, the reliability of such empirical research can be questioned. Anyhow, this paper argues for the contrary position and is one of a half dozen in the newly launched open access journal, Human Technology. PDF. By Antti Oulasvirta, Human Technology, April 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Social Computing Symposium: BlogTrace Demo
Interesting work on the mapping of weblog communities. The idea here is that a 'knowledge flow' is the communication of some knowledge, typically a natural language post on a weblog as viewed by a reader. This research project is attempting to establish "what knowledge is being exchanged and to what degree the participants in the communication share conceptualisations." The research involves the use of a tool called BlogTrace and this entry links to several papers discussing the research, diagrams illustrating knowledge flow, and some reflections. Good stuff. By Lilia Efimova, Mathemagenic, April 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Social Computing Symposium: BlogTrace Demo
Interesting work on the mapping of weblog communities. The idea here is that a 'knowledge flow' is the communication of some knowledge, typically a natural language post on a weblog as viewed by a reader. This research project is attempting to establish "what knowledge is being exchanged and to what degree the participants in the communication share conceptualisations." The research involves the use of a tool called BlogTrace and this entry links to several papers discussing the research, diagrams illustrating knowledge flow, and some reflections. Good stuff. By Lilia Efimova, Mathemagenic, April 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Google Print Search
You can now search Google Books, and the masters behind the search engine have done it right. Pointing to this resource, Aaron Swartz offers a sample search. Clicking on the search brought me (surprisingly) a useful result, this Perl text from O'Reilly, Perl Template Toolkit. Expecting only to find a title and a plug to purchase the book (that is, useless results) I found myself looking at a full page and three more pages in either direction - usually more than enough to give me the information I need. The book, I might add, is a work that has never ever graced a bookstore here in Moncton (and probably never will, given Chapters's new policy of not stocking books). By Various Authors, April 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An Old Design for an eLearning Aggregator
Study this item carefully - this is very much what e-learning of the future will look like. Scott Wilson bases his approach on the design of social networking sites such as 43 Things, then inserts an interface with learning resources. I like his design - clean, simple, colourful. This is just a concept, but - note well - all of this could be designed with existing technologies. What's key here is the change of attitude, from being course and institution centered, to being learner centered. By Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog, April 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SoulPad : Using USB Storage to Migrate Personal Computing State
Further to the discussion of loading your browser and email on a USB stick, Rory McGreal sends along this link describing the Soulpad, an entire computer (stored in hibernate mode) stored on a USB stick. By M. T. Raghunath, SDI/LCS Seminar, April 21, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Search Engines, Startup Media Sites Dream of Becoming Video Hubs
More on video hubs, the topic I raised yesterday with coverage of the Open Media Network. This article surveys several efforts to become video hubs, including not only Open Media Network but also OurMedia (I helped design OurMedia), the as-yet unlaunched Google Video hub, Brightcove, Singfish, and Yahoo!'s video hub. By Mark Glaser, Online Journalism Review, February 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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