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by Stephen Downes
May 28, 2007

Things I Don'T Like About the Mac
I am in 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland, and quite jet-lagged. Just before I left I wrote this summary of things that bother me about my new MacBook Pro. The responses are not surprising - and thanks to everybody who took the time to helpfully comment on my list. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour May 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of YouTube
Hm. I have a general scepticism of attempts to create a cultural theory of anything, much less of something so ephemeral (and branded) as YouTube. The article says, in essence, that youTube is a hybrid media space that serves as a meeting place for amateur curators and creators. YouTube is valuable because you can embed and distribute videos in social networking sites. With Flikr, it allows people to record the world using devices they carry around with them; this transforms them from passive observers at an event to active participants. Users capture media, remix media, and exchange media in social networks (the nature of which, unfortunately, resists diversity). All of this is more or less correct; none of it really characterizes anything like a cultural theory. Henry Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca-Fan May 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Knowledge Should Be Free
John Connell discusses this CERI-OECD paper Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources, which is the summation of recent discussions in that organization on open educational resources. I read it over the weekend and while it's not bad I can't say I really felt it grasped the possibilities. For example, I really dislike the title, as it perpetuates the consumer-producer mentality I argued against throughout the process (why couldn't they have titled it 'Creating Free Knowledge' or something like that?) and demonstrates that the final authors didn't - or wouldn't - accept the whole concept of user-generated concept. Open Learning' continues for them to be the stuff produced by big universities or institutions. From where I sit, the concept of 'free learning' is not a charity. But I don't know whether OECD is constitutionally able to accept that. John Connell, Weblog May 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why Nerds Are Unpopular
This has been around for a few years, but it's absolutely worth a read, because I think anyone who has been a nerd at school will recognize how true it rings. Worth quoting:

"Why are smart kids so consistently unpopular? The answer, I think, is that they don't really want to be popular... Nerds serve two masters. They want to be popular, certainly, but they want even more to be smart. And popularity is not something you can do in your spare time... Nerds don't realize this. They don't realize that it takes work to be popular.

"You get much worse treatment from a group of kids than from any individual bully, however sadistic... Because they're at the bottom of the scale, nerds are a safe target for the entire school.

"Like prison wardens, the teachers mostly left us to ourselves. And, like prisoners, the culture we created was barbaric... The inhabitants of all those worlds are trapped in little bubbles where nothing they do can have more than a local effect. Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery.

"Bullying was only part of the problem. Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on... And there was no way to opt out." Paul Graham, Website May 28, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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