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May 18, 2012

Scholarship and the 'Tyranny' of Openness
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, May 18, 2012.

Now I'm not sure how a course you don't have to take and can leave at any time could be called a "tyranny" but I'll deal with the question raised in this post head on: "Are we are attempting to impose our values (of openness, sharing, online learning as the future of education, etc) without a critical examination of what that means for practice and for individuals who are part of social organizations?" And the short answer is: no. For two reasons. First, nobody's imposing anything here; if you want to go back to your structured formal education, where you pay a substantial fee, there are thousands of institutions who would be happy to help you. Second, the openness (and the rest of it) is the result of a critical examination. As I have argued with respect to the principles of successful networks, if you want your social organizations to be effective at all, you need to embrace things like autonomy, openness, interatcivity and diversity. We select these principles, not because we're arbitrary, but because the best evidence tells us they work.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks, Online Learning]

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And So It Begins…
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 18, 2012.

As david Wiley reports Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is facing bankruptcy "as it faces a lagging textbook market due to drops in educational funding." And he asks, "Why are we surprised this bankruptcy is happening? Anyone who’s been paying attention isn’t. The shake up in educational publishing we’ve long anticipated is beginning… and students will be the benefactors." Of course, one bankruptcy isn't a trend. But my thinking is with Wiley's. It's the beginning of the end for these guys.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Thomson Corporation, Books]

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S3 Storage for WordPress Blogs
Joe Brockmeier, ReadWriteCloud, May 18, 2012.

I have been thinking of setting up a hosted version of gRSShopper but things like storage pose daunting challenges once you get into large numbers of sites. A solution like this, though, points to an innovative way of solving the problem. One one site, you provide access to the software - WordPress, an LMS, gRSShoppper, whatever. And the actual storage is  handled by a service - like Amazon's AWS - which specializes in that. Of course, for my money, speed remains a major concern - AWS isn't exactly fast. But that, with time, will change.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: RSS]

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Ready or Not, Adaptive-Image Solution Is Now Part of HTML
Scott Gilbertson, WebMonkey, May 18, 2012.

One of the (few) really neat things about OpenPublish on Drupal is the image system. Here, you upload an image once, and the system creates several versions of the image, which can be used by a device-aware system (which OpenPublish isn't) to put small images on small screens and bigger images on the large screens. As Webmonkey says, "web authors use a variety of hacks to (incompletely) work around this problem, but to really solve it the web likely needs new tools." Using HTML, for example, that will read information from the head of the document to serve the right image.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Drupal, Content Management Systems]

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Here's The TED Presentation About Rich People That TED Doesn't Want You To See
Grace Wyler, Business Insider, May 18, 2012.

Normally people with these sorts of views would never be allowed near a TED stage. But a millionaire slipped through the cracks and as the National Journal reports, TED's Chris Anderson is refusing to publish a talk given on its stage by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. As Time reports, Anderson's explanation is that the talk was “too political” to be posted during an election year, and that "a lot of business managers and entrepreneurs would feel insulted" by some of Hanauer’s arguments. Alas for Anderson, the video has surfaced at YouTube, so the rich will be insulted no matter what. Anyhow, you can read Hanauer's radical arguments on that beacon of socialism, Bloomberg. Or read the full text of the talk here. Meanwhile, you can read the discussion at TED where members are shocked - shocked! - to discover that TED wasn't the open marketplace of ideas they thought. People who read me know I have been critical of this aspect of TED for a long time. Maybe now, a few more eyes will be opened.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: YouTube, Books, Video]

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OAuth is your future
Dan Hon, Flickr, May 18, 2012.

OK, this doesn't exist, but it is imaginable that we could read something like this in the near future: "Klout is trialling a beta program with the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to provide fast-track entrepreneur visa entry to individuals with high Klout scores in specific areas." Now - I know the first reaction is to say how bad this is. But is it unreasonable for government to have as much information on you as some company? Is it unreasonable for us to use it in some practical way, like crossing borders? And maybe - just maybe - if it becomes used in this way, maybe we'll have some rights to access it, use it ourselves, and ensure it is correct. Because right now none of that is the case.

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Justice Dept. defends public’s constitutional ‘right to record’ cops
Kim Zetter, Ars Technica, May 18, 2012.

Via Metafilter: "In a surprising letter (PDF) sent on Monday to attorneys for the Baltimore Police Department, the Justice Department also strongly asserted that officers who seize and destroy such recordings without a warrant or without due process are in strict violation of the individual’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights." It really is time that governments (or at least those that defend civil liberties) were clear on the rights of citizens to make digital media, to store digital media, and to share digital media, without unreasonable interference from the state (or for that matter those individuals who don't want to be seen, discussed or filmed doing things they should not be doing in public).

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“I will never stop learning”
Harold Jarche, Weblog, May 18, 2012.

The Automattic (WordPress) company creed is funny - it starts out really strong, weakens through the middle, and by the end relies on a tired old cliché as though the author ran out od ideas even as he or she was typing it out. Also on the same page, some strong words from Lawrence Lessig: "We’ve lost a decade of competitive innovation in ways to spur and spread content in ways that would ultimately benefit creators, because the dinosaurs owned the lobbyists."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Lawrence Lessig]

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Learning Networks
Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 18, 2012.

I somehow lost the first version of this eBook (and I think I might never have actually posted it online) but as all the individual papers will exist it was pretty easy to recreate in more or less its original form. Hence, reposted (possibly for the first time) an eBook containing the papers and talks leading to the development of the concept of learning networks in 2004. It's the latest addition to my eBooks page (and I'm in the final stages of a preparing a major new eBook for release possibly next week).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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