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by Stephen Downes
February 8, 2007

The Recognition Factor
My presentation today to the Online Connectionism Conference. Slides (1.8 meg). Audio (11 meg). Connective knowledge is based on pattern recognition of emergent phenomena in networks. In order for a pattern to have any meaning, therefore, it must be recognized. This means that knowledge formation in a connective environment is a combination of two elements: the perception, which is the pattern to be recognized, and the perceiver, who does the recognizing. Knowledge, therefore, is not uniquely inherent in a network, but exists only insofar as it is recognized to exist. This talk explores this argument and its implications on a theory of connective knowledge. The Conference Moodle now has no login barrier at all! Good stuff. Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

A Quick 30 Writing Tips for the Start of an Academic Career
An odd combination of something that is at once common sense and distasteful. Like this: "you might also be a bumblebee at conferences and walk from room to room (stand in the back) and see what other researchers are talking about. Normally, most speakers at conferences are boring. But if you listen to someone for 5-8 minutes, you can get some useful things from them in terms of what is current and what might be publishable down the road." Yeah, good advice, but I can't see myself doing it, because it doesn't seem like a nice way to treat the speaker. Or "If you enter a hot field just slightly before most, you will find yourself in a great situation for publishing." Well, yeah, but what does that about following your interests and your passion? Or this: "Finding an area to explore or direction for your research and build a career around is vital." All this advice is good, I guess, in that it will help you be a good researcher. But not a great one, to whom almost none of this applies. Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Anne Galloway links to this video. I don't think you have to be in an institution to be an unperson. You simply have to be thought of as deficient in some way. And if you think of yourself as deficient in some way, you see this as yourself being treated as an unperson. As Neko Case sings, "And if I knew heartbreak was coming, I would've set out running, 'Cause I just can't shake this feeling, That I'm nothing in your eyes." I know, none of that is the point of the video. But that's what I thought as I watched it. Anne Galloway, Purse Lip Square Jaw February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Universities Register for Virtual Future
According to this article, "more than 70 universities have built island campuses in Second Life." I have been asking people what it is that appeals about Second Life, and the answer seems to be 'presence' (that should make Terry Anderson happy). OK, I see that, but how is presence in Second Life different than, say, presence in a chatroom? Or maybe it isn't - I've seen no real slowdown in chatrooms per se, it's just that nobody makes a big fuss about them any more. I think that what we are seeing is a return to the familiar. It's not just presence, it's environment. That's probably what bothers me about it, too. That kind of environment never did anything for me. All the capabilities and freedoms I got by moving online, I lose again when I'm in a 2L lecture. But maybe that's the way the teachers like it. Stefanie Olsen, CNet February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

A Nice Substitute for Plant Tours
I like this - "The National Association of Manufacturing has been posting a weekly video for over two years that shows how things are made." For example, mattresses are made amd baseball bats are made. Jim McGee, McGee's Musings February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Microsoft Backs OpenID
This is obviously a major development, and one we've been waiting for. "This is a major development in identity management, and marks the beginning of a serious effort to unite OpenID's distributed identity specification with the CardSpace system developed by Microsoft." If CardSpace is new to you, it is "a framework developed by Microsoft which securely stores digital identities of a person, and provides a unified interface for choosing the identity for a particular transaction, such as logging in to a website." Similar plugins are being developed for Mozilla and Safari as well. Now if Google and Yahoo play ball, we have one seamless identity system (I should note that Liberty Alliance is a holdout as well). More at Michael Graves, Scott Kveton (Jan Rain), David Recordon (VeriSign), Brad Fitzpatrick (Six Apart), Kim Cameron (Microsoft), Johannes Ernst (LID), and Dick Hardt (Sxip). Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

It doesn't seem to be working with my Firefox at the moment, but it is certainly worth passing along. "Pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment." There's also some discission on Digg. Tony Hirst also comments, with lots of screen shots. Via OCC 2007. Various Authors, Yahoo February 8, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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