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by Stephen Downes
May 2, 2007

The Scary Little Computer
Some changes in the specifications for the One Laptop Per Child computer (aling with a new $175 price tag) are raising questions among some pundits. Especially interesting (and troubling) is the allegation that more expensive components are being sued in order to allow Windows to run on the platform. A Wired story states it outright, "Negroponte: OLPC Hardware Altered for Microsoft." Here's another item from ZDNet. But I read something last night (I can't find the link, I'm sorry) from someone who was in the room when the decision was made, and the assertion was that it is to improve the computer, not to accommodate Microsoft. So I'm not so quick to accept those reports without verification. Tim Stahmer, AssortedStuff May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Open Letter to Linden Lab
This post reports on an open letter from Second Life users to the company that runs it, Linden Labs. Second Life is beginning to show some strains. People are concerned about their inventories disappearing. There are frequent search outages. The grid itself isn't stable, meaning that teleports routinely fail. The build tools are not working properly. And there are even questions about transactions and Linden dollar balances. These are, in my view, just the sort of problems to be expected from an overly centralized system. I'm not sure there's an easy way out for Linden Labs. Stan Trevena, PacificRim Exchange May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

FLOSS, OER, Equality and Digital Inclusion
This posting, writes the author, "is intended to direct the discussion towards the rationale for software libre in education and the broader impact on sustainable development." A sober assessment, well stated, one that argues the case for free and open educational software and content without overstating it. K. Tucker, Terra Incognita May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Journal of Applied Research On Learning (JARL)
Brand new journal launched by the Canadian Council on Learning, and I am happy to say it is freely available online. The journal covers a wide range of topics, from Potential Risks to Reading Posed by High-Dose Phonics to Assessing the Effectiveness of Informational Video Clips on Iranian Immigrants' Attitudes. Various Authors, Canadian Council on Learning May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Silverlight: Ruby and Python in the Browser
Silverlight is a browser plug-in for Mac and Windows that allows scripts written in a variety of languages, including C#, Visual Basic, Ruby and Python, to run in your browser (the way Javascript does today). Silverlight does run in Firefox (though not on Linux). Worth noting is that Microsoft also released, on Monday, a Firefox plug-in (for Mac and Windows) that allows it to run Windows Media animations. Pundits are saying this is Microsoft's answer to Flash, but I would say it's also its answer to AJAX and Javascript, which were running away on them. Will all this extra turn things around? A lot depends on implementation. As Scott Wilson comments, "I do (cynically) wonder how long it'll be though until the first Silverlight Critical Vulnerability patch?" Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

One Click Award
Not an award site, but rather, the best explanation I've seen of how the mouse cursor moves across the computer screen. You don't want to miss this. Thanks, Georges. Undetermined, Recruit May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Principal Blogging Not Allowed
Sign of the times: "Scott, it looks like I won't be able to follow through with the [Principal Blogging Project]. Our district technology person has decided not to open up access to blog sites, therefore I cannot access the site from school (our filter blocks it)." Ewan McIntosh comments, "Should we let people just resign themselves to the fact that 'not everyone is forward thinking', or make that backwardness and inability to compromise a point to pursue more rigourously?" Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Digg This: 09 F9 11 02 9d 74 E3 5b D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
Definitely one for the annals, what we have here is the secret code that can be used to decrypt HD-DVD videos (the Wikipedia article has a very useful table describing the difference between DVD formats). A media giant ordered Digg to remove the code, which Digg did, the company not have millions of dollars to fight lawsuits. Digg users rebelled. Digg displays stories based on votes submitted by users, and so for the rest of the day every story on Digg contained the code as users voted for them en masse. "After seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments," writes Kevin Rose, "you've made it clear. You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company." Bavatuesday has screen shots of the Digg RSS feed (my own is similar). BBC post on the topic. Cognitive Daily asks whether social networking sotes are doomed to fail. Kevin Rose, Digg: The Blog May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

The Last Lecture
Brian Lamb highlights the idea of the 'last lecture' as evoked in Gardner Campbell's presentation. "if you were you to give one last lecture or presentation, what would you say? Presumably you wouldn't hold anything back, you would share your deepest passions and convictions... but how to use that precious time?" Me, I'd probably be like, "No, no, I don't want to die!" Brian Lamb, Abject Learning May 2, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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