Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [About] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
September 10, 2007

Setting Up Sunbird
I'm in this big project with lots of people and meetings and stuff. I absolutely refuse to use Outlook, and anyways, I've usually been able to just remember things. But now I figure I should have something people can consult (including me, as these meetings are flying thick and furious). So I spent the better part of Sunday setting up my calendar applications. Sunbird is the Mozilla calendar application. It is intended to run alongside the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email client as your open source alternative to commercial software (and in particular, Outlook Exchange). It turns out that it all works, mostly, but the online documentation is just awful, and the stuff that doesn't work can be a real back-breaker. So I wrote up a complete guide that will help people create and share open source calendars. Well, mostly. Stephen Downes, half an Hour September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

A Short Update On Repository Specs
Very useful update of repository specification initiatives. And it looks like all is the same in the world of standards. IMS is working on something in secret. OASIS has a web services approach. The open source OAI is taking something simple and making it complicated. UKOLN has a JISC-funded project to create something from scratch (with an acronym - SWORD - that ensures nobody will ever find it using Google). Via Andy Powell. Phil Barker, Phil's JISC CETIS blog September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Anatomy of a Community Meltdown
It reads like a horror story, but it's a pretty good object lesson in how an online community can be seriously disrupted. And it should be noted that, while it's tempting to say that disruptions should be handled 'with authority' there may be very little that can be done. In this case, one person was handled with as much authority as possible - by being banned from the site. Two years later (!) she comes back with her response, enlisting the aid of an ally moderator to (apparently) wipe out the site. What's the real lesson here? In my view, it's - you can't control people online. Oh yeah, and back up your data! Karoli, odd time signatures September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Behold: High-Quality Flickr Image Search
Good idea. Behold "attempts to catalogue CC images with quality comparable to that of professional image archives such as Getty Images or Corbis, by using the social structure of Flickr and image content analysis." I will note that when I tested it this afternoon it was returning zero results on all searches. Cameron Parkins, Creative Commons September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wiki Wake-Up Call and Use Cases
Good discussion of how wikis are used (because you can't simply assume they'll work for everything). The author lists a range of user-types, from single-user wikis to public megawikis like Wikipedia. He also offers a set of use cases - some good suggestions to which experienced wikinauts could no doubt contribute. Ray Sims, Sims Learning Connections September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Use PRISM To Start A Dialogue On Open Access
Finally, from ACRLog, signs of 'getting it': "The question for librarians, higher ed administrators and scholars then, is why hasn't open access in physics led to journal cancellations? Do we really want to set up two systems, an open access repository system while maintaining the old system with publisher embargoes so that libraries will have to maintain subscriptions? Do we really want to 'partner' with the kind of companies that have launched such a deceptive and distorted PR campaign?" It is certainly, I would say, time for librarians to begin talking about what their discipline looks like in a world without expensive books and journal subscriptions. Marc Meola, ACRLog September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

New York Times Enters Distance Learning Market
The new York Times is partnering with several colleges to provide single-seminar and multiple-session online courses. The cousres - which won't be cheap - will access customized content packages. "These packages will provide access to special packages of content - summaries of articles, interactive maps, video, audio, graphs - on a wide range of topics (the European Union, nanotechnology and so forth)." Interesting to see EDUCAUSE vice-president Diana Oblinger commenting favorably on the initiative, and especially the content packages prepared for teachers. See also Liberal Education Today. Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Schools Alone Cannot Help Poor
Children who are poor need a number of things. They need good nutrition, perhaps more than their parents can afford. They need a stimulating environment, preferably with good internet connectivity. They need support and encouragement, an environment that sets high expectations and recognizes and values when they are met. Out-of-school programs may be key to this. "The arrival of extended schools, which will provide homework clubs and help for children and families, offered the opportunity for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience some out of school learning that better off children had access to, the report said." Unattributed, BBC News September 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.