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by Stephen Downes
October 22, 2009

The Lion of Public Education

I'm sad to report the passing of Gerald Bracey. Here are his writings at Huffington Post and you can read his books here and here. Klonsky, Education Notes, Perlstein, Eduwonk. Fina, here he is, doing what he does best, flattening myths. Christina Gordon, Board Buzz, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Open Access is the short-sighted fight
So Jason Baird Jackson told people supporting open access to boycott commercial publishers, Stevan Harnad criticized him, saying he is "giving the wrong advice on Open Access, recommending a strategy that has not only been tried and has failed and been superseded already, but a strategy that, with some reflection, could have been seen to be wrong-headed without even having to be tried," to which I wrote a response saying that the non-commercial strategy is not a failure, to which Daniel Lemire wrote a rejoinder calling us all silly. Daniel Lemire, Weblog, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Windows 7 Launch on a Macbook Pro on Today Show
OK (and this may surprise a few people) I want to greet the launch of Windows 7 with more caution than I greeted the launch of Windows Vista. Why? I was prepared, based on what I read about it (and I read a lot about it), to label the Vista operating system a failure. And, in many ways, it was. But when I bought two new computers for the home last spring (one for me, one for Andrea) I decided to run them using Vista, not something else. My office computer also runs Vista (though when it's upgraded I'll have a dual-boot). As an operating system, Vista is more or less stable (well, it certainly has its quirks), but no less reliable than Ubuntu, which stopped upgrading properly after feisty Fawn (at which stage it remained irredeemably stalled thereafter). And the Office applications - where Microsoft excels - are (with the exception of Outlook) significantly better. Word 2007 is in particular a fabulous piece of software. I will not cease to be critical of Microsoft, or its predatory business practices, or of the commercial sector in general. But when I miss the mark -- as I am now willing to admit that I did with Vista -- I will own up, and set the record straight. So, with Windows 7, my advice is (as usual) wait for the bugs and the service packs before rushing to install it. Steve Borsch, Connecting the Dots, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The blue moon has come
A new blog has been launched by Linda Perlstein, public editor for the Education Writers Association. "I find myself taking up issues on EWA's internal listserve and in our newsletter that I realize people outside the organization might like to hear about. When I have a story idea to suggest, or when an oft-repeated myth needs debunking-no, states do NOT build prisons based on third-grade reading levels-or when a report comes out I know reporters will be calling about, I'll have a place to share." The lobbyist policy bloggers have already descended on her, pronouncing her wrongness after only a few posts, so I know she most be all right. Linda Perlstein, The Educated Reporter, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Networked Learning 2010 preconference online hot seats
I won't be at the Networked Learning conference, but I am participating in their pre-conference 'hot seats' - this at noon (my time) next Monday (which is 4:00 p.m. in central Europe) October 26. Attendance is free but you do need to register. The discussion kicks off a week-long forum. Various Authors, Networked Learning, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Time to change rules on textbooks
Rory McGreal takes the cost-savings inherent in web technology to the street, with this article in the Calgary Herald. "Electronic resources are infinitely reproducible at virtually no cost. So why pay for anything more than once? Why do our cash-strapped school boards and provincial government continue to pay over and over again for the same resources either for the physical copies or through licensing? This becomes a recurring cost, a cost we can no longer afford to pay. It is, indeed, a vast waste of taxpayer's money. One copy is enough." Now no doubt, just like the health insurers, the publishers will wield their strong lobby to keep us paying and paying. But we can't afford to subsidize billionaires any more. Rory McGreal, Calgary Herald, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wilbur Wright und seine Flugmaschine - 1909
Wilbur Wright and his Flying Machine. The first half of the 3:30 video shows scenes of the airplane flying; the second half shows (incredibly) scenes from inside the Flyer while it's in the air. I just thought you'd want to see this. Via Kottke. Anonymous, Filmarchiv Austria, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Enhanced Google Music Search
I have talked in the past about the way privileged markets are created for certain types of content, favouring commercial content partners over open access non-commercial content. Google today brings us a case in point: its music search. Go ahead, try it out, put anything in the search field. Then try to navigate through the search results to find a link that is (a) not Google, and (b) not an online store like Amazon. It's a closed system; if you search in Google music search you will be on the Google merry-go-round forever until you cave and go to a music store. Fan sites, independent music, Creative Commons content (not to mention Pirate Bay)? Forget it. Alex Chitu, Google Operating System, October 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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