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by Stephen Downes
March 4, 2008

Microsoft Having a Bad Year
Call it the "Stephen Principle" (*). It is the computer analogue to the Peter Principle. It is this: "In a hierarchy, software continues to be developed to the point at which it can no longer function as designed." My first experience with the principle was with WS-FTP, which was a really good FTP client until it was 'improved'. Microsoft has now reached that point with Windows. "[Microsoft] executive Mike Nash's complaint that compatibility problems turned his $2,100 PC into nothing more than an 'email machine.'" (* yet another effort to attain immortality through nomenclature). Richard Nantel, Brandon Hall Research March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Holding Theorems in Their Hands: The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project
This is the sort of story I like. Because it is about embodying theory on so many levels. Related: Collaboration and its fractal. Anne Galloway, Purse Lip Square Jaw March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

OLPC Haiti: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of XO'S in Abject Poverty
The OLPCs are being given a pilot test in Haiti. It's a mixture of good news and grim predictions. "OLPC is finally realizing that pilot projects are not only required, they are necessary, and they will be subject to objective measurement to determine effectiveness. No one is going to buy laptops by believing in 'OLPC magic'." But "To expect Haitian children in this environment to be safe walking around with bring green $200 laptops is the height of denial." Wayan Vota, One Laptop Per Child News March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Open Educational Resources: The Way Forward
The "final version" of a UNESCO position paper on open educational resources (OERs), "The Way Forward", has been released. I have posted a copy on my site. Related to this is a wiki filled with OER Stories, including BC Campus and WikiEducator (it's kind of neat to see an announcement from the Commonwealth of Learning about WikiEducator on the UNESCO list and then see people arriving from India on the WikiEducator list). Related: pending posts on OERs. Susan D'Antoni, UNESCO March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

People Don'T Scale, People Networks Do.
This is a point well worth making. Networks extend individual capacity, but they don't do so indefinitely. At a certain point, the network itself takes over from the individual, to perform tasks beyond individual capacity. That's what I mean when I talk about processes on a network being 'unmanaged' - they are 'unmanaged' because (effectively) managing them is beyond human capacity. David N. Wallace, Blob March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What Is Schooliness? - Overview and Open Thread
Clay Burrell wrestles with 'schooliness' - something that's hard to define but asy to recognize when you see it. As when, for example, personal blogs become nothing more than a place to hand in your homework. "I'm battling with schooliness now, most distressingly, in the very people I thought would battle it with me: my high school seniors. It seems they are so unfamiliar with having their own ideas, and writing about them, that they simply cannot do it with any engagement. Pretending to have ideas they pretend to care about... Twelve years of schooliness seems to have beaten the desire to learn - the pleasure of learning - completely out of most seniors. Also the subject of a guest post on Wes Fryer's blog. Clay Burrell, Beyond School March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Great Debate at IWMW
I am right now listening to a talk on virtualization and the 'plug and play datacenter'. Virtualization allows things like multi-core processing, load balancing, distributed computing, and more. It basically makes the operating system independent of the underlying hardware. Virtualization also allows universities and institutions to seamlessly outsource computing infrastructure - moving a 'computer' is as easy as moving a data file. "This is a much bigger deal than it may sound," he writes, "as this is also the institutional IT response to the PLE challenge." As VMWare's Scott Davis said here today, "It (virtualization) gives you the experience of a personalized operating system, because it's your VM, you can customize it as you want, but with the centralized control of an IT department." Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog March 4, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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