By Stephen Downes
April 10, 2003

XP, Windows Server to Support AMD's Opteron
Yesterday I suggested that we ought to be watching for the next round of upgrades as 64-bit processing began to be widely deployed. It may hit sooner than we think. Microsoft said yesterday it will be supporting 64-bit technology with its new versions of Windows XP and Server 2003. The Opteron - AMD's 64-bit chip - is due for release in two weeks, just a few days before Server 2003. This is for early adopters only (trust me). But by this time next year, I would say, people will be talking about the mechanics of conversion. My three-year prediction for system-wide deployment stands. By Jeffrey Burt, eWeek, April 9, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Several people have sent me this item over the last week or so. From the website, "Media-S is an open-source development project that aims to create an open Digital Rights interface for the creation, playback, and management of multimedia files. Because of its open nature, Ogg Vorbis will be the first format to be protected by this initiative." (Ogg Vorbis is an open source audio format.) I haven't reviewed the spec in detail, so I can't comment intelligently at the moment. But I know I'm going to have to, so into the knowledge base it goes... and hence, into your edition of OLDaily. By Various Authors, Side Space Solutions, March, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Creating a Controlled Vocabulary
A controlled vocabulary is a set of terms that may be presented to a user when they are making a selection. In the example provided by this article, the vocabulary describes items for sale by two outdoor equipment stores. But of course controlled vocabularies will be of use wherever you need a systematic approach to categorization. This article describes the process involved in creating a controlled vocabulary. And, as usual, the decisions made in such a process need to be sensitive to the needs and interests of the user, not the vendor. Interesting note: the article favours the more generic term 'sleeping gear' used on the U.S. site to the more specific 'sleeping bags' used on the Canadian site. But it doesn't consider (and the author is probably unaware) that a generic term such as 'gear' is a bit of an Americanism; I think (though I can't prove) that a Canadian audience would respond more favorably to the specific description, even if it isn't all encompassing (in fact, precisely because it isn't all encompassing). At any rate, culture matters. By Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel, Boxes and Arrows, April 4, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Philip Greenspun's Weblog
If you are not familiar with Philip Greenspun, don't feel badly. This low key MIT computer science professor only launched his blog (at Harvard - go figure) a couple of days ago. But Greenspun is well known and well regarded among web designers for his authoritative work on how to build web communities - and for his unorthodox writing style (in which he gives part credit, for example, to his dog). So be sure to visit his website, read his travelogues and, if you search around a bit, get some of the best nuts and bolts advice there is. By Philip Greenspun, Harvard Weblogs, April, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

President Responds to RIAA Suit
The president of Michigan Technical University responds to the RIAA in the lawsuit against one of its students. The student was accused of file sharing and faces billions of dollars demanded by the RIAA. In a letter to the RIAA, Curtis J. Tompkins comes just short of accusing the recording agency of bad faith, pointing out that it abandoned its own process in this case. "You have obviously known about this situation with Joe Nievelt for quite some time. Had you followed the previous methods established in notification of a violation, we would have shut off the student and not allowed the problem to grow to the size and scope that it is today." By Curtis J. Tompkins, Michigan Technical University, April 4, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Google Turns News 'Bug' Into Payola Feature
There has been a flurry of comments in the online news community as the popular Google News service has begun linking to press releases along with news articles. Some writers - such as this one from the Register - were harsh with their criticism. But of course press releases are part of the news environment, and offer the advantage of getting the story straight from the source (though the number of fluff words may vary). But for this to work, two things must be in place: the press release must be marked as such, and every press release, not just 'favoured partners,' must be given an equal chance. Google appears to have failed on both of these counts, an uncharacteristic slip for the widely respected search service. By Andrew Orlowski, The Register, April 9, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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