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MOOC Reflections
Tony HrstTony Hrst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/10/09

Overview article by Tony Hirst on MOOCs, covering the commerical versions as well as the earlier connectivist forms. "Rather than the ‘on-demand’ offering of OpenLearn, it seems that the broadcast model, and linear course schedule, along with the cachet of the instructors, were what appealed to a large population of demonstrably self-directed learners (i.e. geeks and programmers, who spend their time learning how to weave machines from ideas)." Which is an interesting observation.

Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Merging Data Sets Based on Partially Matched Data Elements
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/09/27

This is a difficult read (especially as the code is not authored with clarity in mind) but it's a really interesting topic. At issue is how you equate data elements that are only partially matched. For example, human readers have no problem knowing that the string "S. Korea" and the string "South Korea" refer to the same country. But to a computer, this is a difficult problem. This post describes one algorithm for matching these sorts of pairs. You might think, it's just country names, do it by hand. But gRSShopper extracts author data from posts. Are "Clayton Wright" and "C.R. Wright" the same person? I have 8617 author records; I can't do it by hand. So - a difficult but significant problem.

Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]
A Gust of Wind Blows Across HE…
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/09/07

I've captured a lot of this already but Tony Hirst pulls it together into a nice neat package. Tellingly, he writes, "as the big publishing companies develop a stranglehold over education content, assessment proctering, and assessment setting, should we start thinking about notions of plurality." The story, as Hirst writes, is still running. None of this should be a surprise to anyone - the only people caught off-guard are those who don't know whether they want to be invested in this online education thing in the first place.

Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Checking HE for Cracks…
Tiny HirstTiny Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/09/03

Tony Hirst looks for and find evidence of cracks in the British higher education system. Here's the list (I am quoting Hirst here at length):

Today: Total:36 [Comment] [Direct Link]
So Google is No Longer OUseful.info’s Friend…? Use Bing.com instead…
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/04/17

One of the odd things I noticed about Google+ when it launched was its hobbled search system. That was why hashtags didn't work when it was first launched. I deduced that Google+ was using a word index to facilitate search, rather than looking for the string you typed (if you didn't type a word, it would search for the closest word and search for that. The idea of Google determining what words we can search for - and what words we can't - has Orwellian implications I don't even want to think about. And now, it appears, the word index system is spreading to the main Google search. That would explain why such an oddball string as 'OUseful.info' no longer turns up in Google searches. It's a string that is pretty unique to Tony Hirst - and definitely not on Google's list of Approved Words. I don't see how this will help with Google's main problem, which is SEO spam - quite the opposite. But Google Search is definitely on the bubble so far as I'm concerned - I never thought I'd ever leave Google search, but then again, I never thought it would ever become useless. Today: Total:61 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Infoskills 2.012 – Practical Exercises in Social Media Network Analysis #change11
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/03/28

Tony Hirst jumps int his (half) week at #Change11. We've had a rocky ride with the course in the last few weeks, what with trips to India and illnesses and all that. Butr we're rolling again. Tony offers "a review – of sorts – of some of the various ways we can look at social networks and the activity that takes place within them. The slides are prompts, keys, search phrase suggestions that provide a starting point for finding out more." Today: Total:44 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Tracking Inspired Hack That Breaks the Web...? Naughty OpenLearn...
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/03/14

Tony Hirst has a first-hand experience with the problem of open data: "I started a script, full of joy and light and happy intentions.... Then I got the error message, ran round in circles for a bit, got ranty and angry and developed a really foul mood, probably tweeted some things that I may regret, one day, figured out what the issue was, but not how to solve it, thus driving my mood fouler and darker..." Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sleight of Hand and Data Laundering in Evidence Based Policy Making
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2012/02/06

While I believe that evidence is crucial to decision-making, I am sceptical about "Evidence Based Policy Making" (or "evidence-based government" or "evidence-based education", etc.). Why, despite the apparent contradiction? Because the one is not the same as the other. In the former, you look at various claims from all sides, weigh the alternatives, take into account values and circumstances, and act on the basis of a reasoned decision. In the latter, you are led blindly by "the evidence" as presented, where (as Tony Hirst suggests) "'evidence' inherits the authority associated with the most reputable source associated with it when we wish to call on it to justify it." "Evidence-based..." is often, in other words, a mechanism used to disassociate decision-making with evidence and reason, and to instead stamp authority with the imprimatur of 'evidence'. Hirst offers a good examination here, and an equally good follow-up. Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OERs: Public Service Education and Open Production
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2011/09/12

Tony Hirst makes the very good point that recent discussions of open educational resources have overlooked recent (and not-so-recent developments in the field of open learning. "from my quick reading of the OER impact report, it doesn’t really seem to consider the “open course” use case demonstrated by MOOCs, the Stanford courses, or mid-70s OU course broadcasts. (Maybe this was out of scope…!;-) Nor does it consider the production of OERs (I think that was definitely out of scope)." If your model of OERs requires their use in in (or as) university courses, then that's all you're going to get. And funding proposals, such as Hirst's, which propose "creating the materials in public and in an openly licensed way, in a way that makes them immediately available for informal study as well as open web discovery, embedding them in a target community," will have to look elsewhere. Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Most Accessible Media Player on the Web?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2011/02/07

Tony Hirst links to what is self-described as 'the most accessible media player on the web' developed by the British government's Office of Disability Issues (ODI). I tried it out and it certainly seems to cover the bases - described video, captions, screen-reader support, big buttons (so nice for someone like me), toned interface, and more. What I didn't see, unfortunately, was a way for me to use the player to distribute my own media. So the 'most accessible media player in the world' plays exactly six videos. What's the use of 'the most accessible media player on the internet' if people can't use it? Here's on the player, and there's the player itself. Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open University Undergraduate Module Map
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2011/02/01

More fun from Tony Hirst in the form of one big course graph. "The links between courses are the ‘related to' links contained within the linked data. The nodes are sized according to degree and coloured according to modularity group, following application of the Gephi modularity statistic. The layout is an expanded form of a Yifan Hu layout. The modularity statistic seems to identify clusters of courses reasonably well, allowing a student of potential student to get an overall view of the courses offered by the OU along with the courses that are naturally taken together." Here's the actual data and more network building. Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Tags Associated With Other Tags on Delicious Bookmarked Resources
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2011/01/27

Tony Hirst looks at the connections between tags on Delicious for resources tagged CCK11 or cck11. For those interested in following his work, he provides the Python code used to create the diagram. Today: Total:56 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Subscription Models for Lifelong Students
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/11/25

As usual I am in agreement with Tony Hirst. "For all the talk in the funding crisis debate today about what new models might emerge around university funding, I think the point that there's a global network of knowledgeable folk and open information resources has been missed. I'm not a team player, I'm a network player. And whilst some might argue that we may always need teams, I think we'll increasingly make use of networks and ad hoc comings together too." Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

PLENK2010 – Twitter Clusters
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/09/24

Analysis of the Twitter network that forms a part of the PLENK 2010 course reveals a number of distinct clusters within the course, writes Tony Hirst. The clusters appear to be mostly geography or language based, and each cluster has different interests, as revealed by word clusters. It's a great visualization, and it is of course not entirely certain what it means. But as I state in the comments, I see it as a realization of a design objective.

I write, "The intent of the course design is to distribute and diversify participation. We tell people to find their own unique perspective on the material and the commentary. In other writing I have described the desired outcome as a structure resembling 'a community of communities'." Today: Total:54
files/images/5016942393_6e848387be.jpg, size: 81702 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
[Comment] [Direct Link]

In For a Penny, In For a Pound… My Promotion Case for Support
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/08/27

Tony Hirst, after calling for input a few weeks ago, posts his promotion case online. "Throughout my career," he writes, "I have explored new methods of digital scholarship and ways of using technology to transform research, dissemination and knowledge construction, developing an international reputation as an advocate of emerging web technologies through community engagement." Absolutely the hardest kind of writing to do is writing that promotes yourself (and does so in an honest non-blatant way) and it is consequently the most difficult to post online. Today: Total:59 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Crowd Sourcing a Promotion Case…
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/08/11

I totally admire people who are willing to take a risk like this - Tony Hirst outsources his promotion case. He writes, "I have been told there is a need to "demonstrate clearly your claims of excellence in relation to the promotion criteria. The statement needs to inform the Academic Staff Promotions Committee of the contributions you have made at the Open University, and the impact and significance of these.... So racked with embarrassment at doing this ('tis what happens when you don't publish formally, don't get academic citations in the literature, and don't have a "proper" academic impact factor;-) I'm going to take the next 10 days off in a place with no internet connection…. but anyway, here goes: an attempt at crowd-sourcing parts of my promotion case…." Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Overview of Google App Inventor Blocks
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/07/20



Very useful overview of Google's App Inventor Blocks. "From demos posted on the Google group, it looks like you can use this as a proxy for web content – e.g. allowing a web app to post stuff into the DB, and then the inventor app to pull the results (and maybe make additional requests) via the web database. The representation format used to support comms between the app and the web database seems to be JSON." But what does this remind you of? Oh yeah...



See also Google App Inventor – Can It Boost mLearning? by Yogesh Agarwal. Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Contextual Content Delivery on Higher Ed Websites Using Ad Servers
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info, 2010/07/20

I agree with Tony Hirst that content delivery from libraries should be contextual. And from other content sources too (why do libraries always assume they are the only source of relevant content?). But I'm not convinced that ad servers have given us a useful model for that yet. Either that, or ad servers have reached some sort of understanding of my needs and interests that is deep and impenetrable to me. Really, AdWords is a fairly naive association of advertisements with keywords on a page. That's hardly what we expect from our libraries. Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Google Charts Now Plot Functions
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Another Tony Hirst post that costs me a half hour or so, this time exploring Google charts. Basically. what Google has ndeveloped is a chart-making topol that allows you to simple send them a URL to insert a chart into your page. Like this:

Too cool! Here's the Google chart API.
Today: Total:90 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Signaling Important Document Paragraphs in WriteToReply – And a Possible Mobile Theme?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst discusses another first-rate idea: signalling the importance of each paragraph. It's one of these things that might catch on or might not - I think it would have to be based in something pragmatic, like say, you select a paragraph (or highlight a sentence) and it's stored in your repository, and the paragraph meanwhile earns a +1 in some database somewhere (and if read with that turned on, appears as slightly larger print than the rest). Today: Total:56 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Searching the Backchannel – Martin Bean, OU VC, Twitter Captioned at JISC10
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Twitter captions over (live) video feeds? Yes, it appears to be possible, though to be honest I think the description skips a few (dozen) steps. Sure, the Pip aggregates the feed from Twitter, I get that. But where is the video coming from and how is the caption placed over it? Details like that. It's very cool, though, so even if I can't see how it's done, I feel better knowing it can be. Today: Total:91 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Getting Started With Gephi Network Visualisation App – My Facebook Network, Part I
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

More fun from Tony Hirst as he graphs his Facebook network. That's "getting started with Gephi... a way of using it to explore a graph in very general terms; but that's not where the real fun lies. That starts when you start processing the graph by running statistics and filters over it. Today: Total:69 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Due Out Soon – The Google Qualified Developer Program
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

So you're hiring: do you chose the BSc Computer Science, or the "Google Qualified Developer"? Like other technology companies, Google is coming out with its own certification program, but unlike other companies, a Google Qualified Developer is likely to have a range of directly applicable skills for internet development. Today: Total:63 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Starting to Think About a Yahoo Pipes Code Generator
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst asks the important question, What happens if Yahoo Pipes disappears? There are so many uses for the system that mixes and mashes aggregated feeds, and the system that is used to build them, while not the most intuitive in the world, at least works. Ah, but building a replacement? I can say from experience: not so simple. Today: Total:69 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Getting Started With Wookie Widgets
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Various widget platforms exist, but the principles that apply to one generally apply to the others. Wookie, writes Tony Hirst, "is an Apache (incubating) project that is making huge inroads as an implementation of the W3C widget specification." They resemble what we now call apps. "The Wookie platfrom essentially provides a W3C widgets compliant packaging format around bundle of zipped up HTML, Javascript and CSS files that implement an app typically designed to fit in a sidebar or fill the screen of a mobile device." This post demonstrates a simple load and render of a JSON feed, load and render of an RSS feed (via server proxy), and generation of a Google maps embed code. Today: Total:65 [Comment] [Direct Link]

iTunes and iTunesU in a Browser, via HTML
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Is it possible to view learning content from iTunesU in a web browser? Yes, according to Tony Hirst. Here's an example of the application. Basically it takes the XML feeds offered by iTunes and renders them into (badly designed) HTML. The videos are then viewed directly from the providing institution's website. I can't imagine it will be around long - how dare people use a non-commercial means to access free educational content! Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

More Link Pollution – This Time from WordPress.com
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

WordPress.com is rewriting the links placed into posts by member bloggers to add redirections and tracking data. According to a WordPress forum explanation, "[R]edirection is related to the ads that sometimes are placed on WordPress.com blogs … [P]urchasing the No Ads Upgrade will stop the redirection." people have to own their own server, their own domain, unless they want to contribute to the fog of advertising that hangs over us all. Today: Total:63 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Google/Feedburner Link Pollution
Tiny HirstTiny Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

As someone who creates posts and edits links (in part) by hand, I have also noticed the 'link pollution' being propagated by Google and Feedburner (note that links served through OLDaily are always cleaned of 'utm' link garbage and redirects (such as Feedproxy or Feedburner) are dereferenced to provide actual (original) links). Link pollution like this breaks the system of using URIs as identifiers. I have long argued against the use of Feedburner; now we have more reasons: "1) it can pollute your links, first by appending them with Google Analytics tracking codes, then by rewriting the link as a proxied link; 2) you have no idea what future 'innovations' the Goog will introduce to pollute your feed even further." And yes, I'm also tempted to rewrite Google analytics code to highlight my own web site. Today: Total:70 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Thoughts on JISCPress
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

More on WriteToReply, which I mentioned here last week (it turns out that Eduserv will be covering hosting costs for the project). Tony Hirst describes in some detail how it works and what it is supposed to do in the context of the (wider? renamed?) JISCPress. Today: Total:72 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Retail Learning
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

"So it seems," writes Tony Hirst, "that Lord Mandelson 'says he expects students to adopt a more consumer-led approach to their university education' (Mandelson backs consumer students). So as well as students championing their (consumer) rights, I guess that means the marketing folk will also get the opportunity to hatch all sorts of new marketing plans…" Meanwhile, Mark Oehlert is saying the term "Learning 2.0" is "torquing" him off because it "puts all the burden of change on the learner. If they are all 2.0 and changed then clearly we (The Organizations) don't need to do anything on our end." Which is not true at all, but if that's how he wants to think of it... Finally, John Connell reports on an even more extreme opposition to learning 2.0 and related ideas. Today: Total:44 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open Training Resources
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst questions the purpose of open educational resources (OERs): "I wonder (again) what it is we actually expect to happen to these OERs (how many OER projects re-use other peoples' bids to get funding? How many reuse each others ‘what are OERs stuff'? How many OER projects ever demonstrate a remix of their content, or a compelling reuse of it? How many publish their sites as a wiki so other people can correct errors? How many are open to public comments, ffs? How many give a worked example of any of the twenty items on Liam's list with their content, and how many of them mix in other people's OER content if they ever do so?" He concludes, "So here's where I'm at – OERs are probably not that useful. But open training materials potentially are." How about plain ordinary open content? Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Scripted Diagrams Getting Easier
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst links to Diagrammr, which creates diagrams out of written descriptions you give it. He links to a number of other diagramming tools he has been looking at as well.
Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open Educational Resources and the University Library Website
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Is the university library actively subverting the movement toward opn educational resources? One could argue that it has significant incentive to do so. And one could argue, based on evidence presented here, that it is in fact doing so. "If anyone using an academic library website can't easily search educational resources in that context, what does that say about the status of those resources in the eyes of the Library?" We cannot, I argue, expect support for open educational resources from institutions dedicated to their elimination. Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

People Who Referred To This Book Were Taking This Course
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

This is usage metadata, or what I call 'Second Party Metadata', and is perhaps by itse;f worth more than all the metadata created by publishers combined. Of course, in Tony Hirst's hands, it gets complex... Today: Total:62 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Visualising Where the Money Goes: Westminster Quangos, Part 2
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

They've been around for a while, but Tony Hirst is making some nice use of syndicated data to create quangos to help visualize complex data. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open University Podcasts on Your TV - Boxee App
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

I don't think I've written about Boxee here before. "For those of you who haven't com across Boxee, it's an easy to use video on demand aggregator that turns your computer into a video appliance and lets you watch video content from a wide range of providers (including BBC iPlayer) on your TV." Anyhow, Tony Hirst writes about an Open University project to put content on Boxee. Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Pandering to the News Cycle, or Enriching It?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Not sure if people will be interested, but this is a back-and-forth between Tony Hirst and myself on the idea of crafting news and information especially for traditional media sources. Of course, to me that just feeds into the culture of branding and celebrity, which is so pervasive it should not be fed. But Hirst responds that that's where people still get a lot of their news. Maybe so - but nothing we do is going to change in any great measure the toxic stew traditional media serves as information, and feeding them simply gives them a credibility they don't deserve. Just my view. Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Guerrilla Education: Teaching and Learning at the Speed of News
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst references a "linkbait" post by Don Tapscott (jumping on the recently resurgent 'end of the university' meme) and, after musing on some items of greater news value, ponders, "should we as academics be engaging with the news cycle in order to deliver informal, opportunistic 'teaching' at the point of need?" My answer: no. Not when 'need' is defined as 'powerful' or 'influential'. Because then it's not teaching, it's just lobbying, or worse, pandering. Today: Total:66 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Creating Your Own Results Charts for Surveys Created with Google Forms
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst is a master at finding ways to work with the services offered by companies like Google and Yahoo. He makes what can be a difficult application perform complex tasks, laying it all out like a how-to book. In this post, he describes the process of creating results charts from a web survey created using Google Forms. For my own part, I use LimeSurvey, a locally hosted application in PHP (though I'm conflicted about its use, because I don't really believe I can trust the data I would collect using such tools) but if you need to use a web-based tool, this is probably better - though more complex - than SurveyMonkey. Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Non-Linear Uncourses - Time for Linked Ed?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

"The notion of linear courses," writes Tony Hirst, "has just left the building.." Well, yes. And no. Yes in the sense that arranging one thing after another is no longer practical. No in the sense that people still progress through the world in time. Time is where the linear meets the non-linear. More very soon. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open University Relaunch
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst has a fun post on how not to launch a website, including such pointers as 'put a link to the website in the press release' and 'give the website the same name as the one used in the press release'. OK, let's see how we do in the rankings for open university relaunch. Today: Total:48 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Trackforward - Following the Consequences with N'Th Order Trackbacks
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Neat little demonstration of an idea - use Google and other gizmos to track links of a starting post - both backward and forward in time - and create an RSS feed out of the results. "By using this sort of algorithm to generate an RSS feed of links, it becomes possible to subscribe to a feed that will keep you updated of all the downstream posts." Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Serialised OpenLearn Daily RSS Feeds Via WordPress
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

The idea of a 'serialized feed' is that you receive RSS feed posts according to some sort of schedule (usually one that is based on when you subscribe) rather than new posts as written. It's a bit more involved to set up than an ordinary RSS feed, but is ideal for online courses and similar events. Tony Hirst promises to look at this more seriously in 2009, and so do I. He writes, "I've spent a little bit of time putting together a WordPress MU site that republishes OpenLearn content in a blog format, and additionally provides a daily feed for the republished courses." Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OU Podcasts Site Goes Live
Tony HirsyTony Hirsy, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

The Open University had prebviously made podcasts available through iTunes, but this had the disadvantage of requiring iTunes. The new site has no such requirement. Tony Hirst describes and reviews the site. Today: Total:41 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OU Goes Social with Platform
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst writes, "Earlier this week, the OU quietly opened up its new social site - Platform - with a mailing going out today to inform students and alumni about it's availability." What follows in the post is an in-depth look at the new site. Today: Total:57 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Future of Search Is Already Here
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

These is the sorts of things that would be really useful. "SnapTell: a mobile and iPhone app that lets you photograph a book, CD or game cover and it'll recognise it..." And "Shazam, a music recognition application that will identify a piece of music that's playing out loud..." Instead of looking up birds in a bird guide, carry a little device that listens... every time a bird chirps, it would show you the name of the bird (useful for those scary nights in the forest... I can picture campers looking at the screen while in their tent... 'twig snapping'... 'white owl'... 'porcupine' ... 'grizzly bear'...). Today: Total:57 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Chasing Data - Are You Datablogging Yet?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Not sure what I would datablog - website hits, maybe? Certainly not running miles! "Want to ‘datablog' your running miles or your commute times or your grocery spending? DataDepot provides a simple way to track any type of data over time. You can add data via the web or your phone, then annotate, view, analyze, and add related content to your data." Hm... Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Viewing Campaign Finance Data In a Google Spreadsheet Via the New York Times Campaign Data API
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

This is only one of the crazy things Tony Hirst has been doing with table scrapers (from, say, Wikipedia) and Feed mergers (such as, say, Yahoo pipes). It's time to think of data as, well, data - as something we can start feeding into our online applications to make them current, fresh and unpredictable. Today: Total:41 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Time to Build Trust With an Open Achievements API?
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

Tony Hirst is on to a good idea with this opening discussion about an 'open achievements API' - that is, a way top syndicate qualifications information. The trick to this, of course, is that you can't depend on the person being described for the information. Qualifications need to be displayed by the institution granting them - but only (?) with the permission of the person being granted the qualification. This is one of those innovations that would have wide-ranging consequences, as institutions would (very suddenly) come to be evaluated according to the students they qualify. It's a space a tough independent testing agency could make a name for itself. Today: Total:49 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Figure:Ground - Mashing Up the PLE (MUPPLE'08) Links
Tony HirstTony Hirst, OUseful InfoOUseful Info,

You have to love the name 'MUPPLE' for a conference. This post offers Tony Hirst's (somewhat opaque) slides for a presentation to the event along with quite a few links to things like "the Yale opencourseware feedification story" and "The Digital Worlds uncourse blog experment." It seems that everyone is messing around with this stuff now; just waiting to the mixture to crystallize into something neat, as it surely will. Today: Total:53 [Comment] [Direct Link]

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