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by Stephen Downes
October 29, 2008

Saint John

So I'm working away, going from one place to another, busy but on top of it, working several pojects and presentations and the like, and then...mgmgmvmfmgmgmm... I hit Saint john and my internet access is like mud. The hotel here (the Delta) blames the weather and the equipment, but the problem is basically that the hotel is full and they've oversold their internet access. Too many customers equals muddy internet. And so everything takes twice as long, three times as long, as you expect it to, and your finely honed schedule goes out the window.... life in the muddy lane on the information highway. I'd run a link here but I can no access 'big' sites like Google Reader. Stephen Downes, Flickr, October 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What Do You Want to Learn?
Mark Wagner writes, "Yesterday morning I took my first concrete steps toward a prototype of the web-based learning tool I've been working on. I wrote a bid request on Rent A Coder. Happily, I've already had two responses, including a bid to complete the job for $299.. gotta love outsourcing. :)" I wonder how many e-learning business plans are going to depend on this model of software development. Nice of him to share his bid document. Mark Wagner, Educational Technology and Life, October 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why Google Can Offer So Many Apps
So my bicycle video is up and available on - why, you ask, did it take so long? Well, it turns out that the Google video uploader has been broken for the last two weeks (users can't log in) - the web forums are full of complaints and reports, but Google is doing, well, nothing. The YouTube 'director' accounts aren't helpful, limiting you as they do to 10 minute videos. There's no way to contact Google for help on this - just as it was impossible to contact Google for help when all my notifications started going to Google Mail (had to close the gmail account entirely in order to fix that one). Google support doesn't exist, and when you follow 'contact us' links you get directed instead to poorly written FAQ pages. As Scott Leslie says, "a support company they are not. Dealing with the morass of discussion forums and shoddy documentation would almost have you believe it is intentional." Scott Leslie, edtechpost, October 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

O Brave New World That has Such Realistic Avatars!
Here comes the comptition. "Nortel Networks has a different take on virtual worlds -- less fantasy and more reality. When the company offers its 3D 'web.alive' software to potential business customers sometime soon, the pitch will feature some important differences from online worlds like Second Life or gaming environments like World of Warcraft. Nortel is hoping that high-quality voice communication and easy integration with existing computers and networks will convince corporate customers that communication in a virtual world is worth the price." The Project Chainsaw blog could be more informative (subscribe to the RSS for full posts), but it's worth following. Here, for example, is a demo of the web.alive audio. Richard Bray, Ottawa Citizen, October 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Kusasa Cancelled
Interesting. An e-learning project called Kusasa is being shut down, apparently because (as Tom Hoffman says) it couldn't route around the need for teacher training. "It was apparent that the project success would depend on teachers developing skills we did not initially anticipate," explains King. "Teachers would need to develop confidence in the Etoys modelling environment used by Kusasa in order to effectively manage classroom interaction." Hoffman comments, "The problem is that if step one (or two) of your plan is 'successfully train a generation of teachers in a largish, mostly poor country to implement something sophisticated and unfamiliar,' well, that's probably at least as hard as the problem your original plan is supposed to solve." Lesson? If a project depends on teacher training, it will likely fail. Hard to think of a greater indictment of a profession. Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC, October 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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