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by Stephen Downes
July 18, 2007

Facebook - Friend or Foe?
I thought Facebook was pretty good, in a limited proprietary application sort of way. Then it introduced widgets and third-party applications, and I find myself constantly being asked to joing this application of that application. Meanwhile, Judy O'Connell writes, expressing the angst of the social software user, "I'm not yet sold on Facebook - but on the other hand I am pretty tired of skipping from one NIng network to another - and overwhelmed by the fact that I could actually be writing what amounts to a blog on each of my networks. Chills the spine." She adds, We're told that a major development in the history of widgets occurred just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. What kind of road will this take us down? Judy O'Connell, heyjude July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Noncommercial Isn'T the Problem, ShareAlike Is
David Wiley takes another look at the whole issue of licensing and restrictions. He argues, "The biggest legal problem facing the open educational movement is license incompatibility... Why, when we are so worried about preserving freedoms, do we prohibit choice on the part of downstream users as to how they can license derivatives works they make?" My response is, "The fundamental dilemma, in my view, is that some uses of a work essentially destroy the openness of the work." David Wiley, iterating toward openness July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

A Recipe for OpenID-Enabling Your Site
Kind of a surprising place to find a useful article on OpenID, but if Plaxo is ever going to redeem itself (I received far too many Plaxo 'information requests' over the years) this is it. Of course, the stumbling block for many will be "Step 0: Install an OpenID consumer library". The site recommends the JanRain libraries; I can't speak for the other languages, but the JanRain Perl version involves a lot of grief (fortunately, there are other Perl libraries in the nice list of OpenID libraries provided). Via Simon Willison. Joseph Smarr, Plaxo July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Breaking News: Web Crash 2007
Some summer silliness from the Onion. Via Christopher D. Sessums. Unattributed, The Onion July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Released last night, Miro - formerly known as the Democracy Player - is now available. "The only video player you need. Free and open-source, because open media matters.... The app lets you subscribe to RSS channels, download in the background via BitTorrent, and view most video formats in full-screen resolution." Play video and HD, internet TV, download YouTube, and use BitTorrent. I'll be playing with it this evening. Via Mashable. Meanwhile, Google's head of TV technology states, broadcast TV is dying. Various Authors, Website July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

3D Mailbox Trailer
I got this from the Richard Bartle interview, and it's just a scream. No, this advertisement for 3D mail is not a gag - but it may as well be. Here's the main site. Various Authors, Website July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

MUD Creator Richard Bartle On the State of Virtual Worlds
I have always had - in the context of our online community - a unique perspective on things like Second Life because of my history working with Multi-User Dungeons (or Domains, MUDs). So I was especially pleased to encounter this excellent interview with the creator of the first MUD, Richard Bartle as he discusses, among other things, 3D virtual worlds like Second Life. Some highlights:

Why are people less altruistic in the new virtual worlds? "The virtual worlds are not as sophisticated. Yes, they have the 3D graphics, but what you can do in them as a player isn't as sophisticated as what you can do in a textual world."

Can virtual communities really become important? "Game worlds in particular are places of adventure and excitement, similar to the real world but apart from it. People go there as part of a hero's journey - a means of self-discovery (shh! don't let the players know - they think it's just "to have fun"). When they've grown as people and become the individuals they set out to become, they have no need to play any more."

Will Web 3D take off? "Text is very good at conveying information. You don't need a 3D environment to read text, and indeed it could get in the way.... Also, in an avatar-based virtual world, you're controlling a character... Do I gain anything from having to direct my character to read something I want to read? Or is it an unnecessary level of indirection?" Keith Stuart, The Guardian July 18, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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