OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 29, 2012

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Six Famous Thought Experiments, Animated in 60 Seconds Each
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, March 29, 2012.

Some thought McGuffins for you, to stimulate thought.

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The Alan Lomax Sound Archive Now Online: Features 17,000 Recordings
Dan Coleman, Open Culture, March 29, 2012.

Maybe we could just do a reset on our musical tastes and go back as a society to these standards and start over, remixing them and sharing them as a culture this time, instead of spawning a proprietary music industry. Or - ah - maybe I'm just dreaming. "

It’s an amazing resource. For a quick taste, here are a few examples from one of the best-known areas of Lomax’s research, his recordings of traditional African American culture:
- “John Henry” sung by prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Parchman Farm, in 1947.
- “Come Up Horsey,” a children’s lullaby sung in 1948 by Vera Hall, whose mother was a slave.
- “In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town” performed by Big Bill Broonzy, 1952.
- “Story of a slave who asked the devil to take his master,” told by Bessie Jones in 1961."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, United States, Africa, Audio]

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CRTC Stands By New Disclosure Requirement on Software Installs Over Objections From ESAC, RIM
Michael Geist, Weblog, March 29, 2012.

This is something I can stand behind: a set of regulations from the CRTC, as excerpted by Michael Geist, describing actions a computer program cannot take without advising the user ("the person seeking consent must obtain an acknowledgement in writing from the person from whom consent is being sought that they understand and agree that the program performs the specified functions"):
(a) collecting personal information stored on the computer system;
(b) interfering with the owner’s or an authorized user’s control of the computer system;
(c) changing or interfering with settings, preferences or commands already installed or stored on the computer system without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(d) changing or interfering with data that is stored on the computer system in a manner that obstructs, interrupts or interferes with lawful access to or use of that data by the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(e) causing the computer system to communicate with another computer system, or other device, without the authorization of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system;
(f) installing a computer program that may be activated by a third party without the knowledge of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system; and
(g) performing any other function specified in the regulations.
As Geist says, "While this is obviously designed first and foremost at spyware, it targets many other possibilities including the infamous Sony rootkit case and other attempts by software or app developers to unexpectedly collect personal information or interfere with a user's computer. It could also have an impact on some digital rights management systems."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Digital Rights Management (DRM), Privacy Issues]

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Five Trends to Watch in Educational Technology
Rob Reynolds , The Learning Lot, March 29, 2012.

Rob Reynolds lists "five trends that I am actively watching" along with comments: curriculum, OER learning platforms, learning analytics, smart mobile devices, and ebooks and digital reading. It's interesting to compare Reynolds's list with what Horizon is watching, which (like most) is really mobile-device centric. Not that mobile devices aren't important; I saw an iPhone being used to test blood sugar levels on the news this morning. But, you know, none of the platforms sending data to these devices are mobile, and there is a lot of infrastructure behind the scenes, opaque to an analysis focused on consumer technology. I think Reynolds captures this a bit.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources]

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Got a Profitable Flash-Based Videogame? Adobe Wants a Cut
Scott Gilbertson, WebMonkey, March 29, 2012.

Well this is going to mean the end of Flash. "Starting Aug. 1, 2012, Adobe will begin taking a 9 percent cut of game developers’ net revenue over $50,000." No doubt game designers are looking at the HTML5 demo by Mozilla as a way of avoiding Adobe's tax.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, HTML5, Video]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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