By Stephen Downes
June 27, 2003

My Conversation With Mr. Safe
More on the potential successor to RSS, Echo. What strikes me as the most interesting about this is that the best way to design the specification seems to be to use the online equivalent of a blackboard with fifty writers. But, "Like I said, this is politically necessary. RSS has been handled in a far less collaborative -- some say dictatorial -- manner. There's a huge amount of resentment over that, and it's fueling this new movement. So the redesign is taking place in a fully-transparent environment -- a smoke-free room..." The article takes some jabs at Dave Winer; in his response Winer offers his qualified (but short-lived) endorsement for Echo but sounds some well-taken warnings about "the Bigs." By Jon Udell, Jon's Radio, June 27, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Popular Culture, Textual Practice and Identity
The author opines, "If literacy is changing, in the context of the new technologies, schools and teachers need to find ways to work productively with students to help them become critical users and producers of new texts and literacies." And given the analysis found in the body of the paper - analyses of text-based communication in the context of online gaming environments - it may well be that literacy is changing (something I have argued for elsewhere). While some bemoan the loss of literacy, I agree with the author that "Teachers need frameworks for reconceptualising literacy and curriculum that will both reflect and build on the digital literacies students have already acquired." Good paper, great examples. By Unknown, AARE 2000, Sometime in 2000 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Measure Calls for Wider Access to Federally Financed Research
It's hard to see this getting widespread corporate support, since they are the primary beneficiary of the current system, but in the U.S., "A group challenging the power of established scientific journals says legislation will be introduced to make the results of all federally financed research available to the public." Moreover, "The measure places results of research financed primarily by the government into the public domain so access cannot be prohibited by copyright." By Warren E. Leary, New York Times, June 26, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

BLOG SPACE: Public Storage For Wisdom, Ignorance, and Everything in Between
I have talked recently in a couple on online seminars about the changing role of teachers. This article hints at the direction in which that role will evolve. "What happens when you start seeing the Web as a matrix of minds, not documents? Networks based on trust become an essential tool. You start evaluating the relevance of data based not on search query results but on personal testimonies. You can research ideas or breaking news by querying the 10 people whose opinions on the topic you most value..." By Steven Johnson, Wired, June, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IDC: WLAN Coming to Almost All Notebooks
Forrester may be predicting a WiFi crash, but with wireless LAN chipsets becoming standard for laptops, as this article suggests, it's pretty hard to agree with that prediction. The Forrester prediction is based on the fact that people won't want to pay for wireless internet access, especially in places where they may spend only a few hours, such as coffee shops and railway stations. This is a classic example of really short-sighted narrow-vision thinking. There are many other economic drivers for wireless - such as the need to actually get people into your coffee shop - that will drive access. Forrester astonishingly predicts a much brighter future for Bluetooth - hard to comprehend given the format's 10 meter range. That technology has utterly no chance of success in less developed nations, where Wi-Fi is being touted as the key to internet access. It is not going out on a limb to say that Forrester is dead wrong on this call. One wonders what they could have been thinking. By Stephen Lawson, InfoWorld, June 26, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

StreamCast Vows Peer-to-peer Protest
What happens when the power of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is applied to political lobbying. It's hard to say, exactly, but we could hazard a guess as Streamcast launches its campaign against the RIAA in the U.S. Congress. "The record industry called (peer-to-peer) users pirates, but what these people are are hundreds of millions of voters," said Michael Weiss, chief executive of Los Angeles-based StreamCast. "At the end of next month, we're going to be involved in helping to mobilize P2P users around the world and ultimately around the globe to ensure that their voices are heard." All true, but can a P2P lobby ever match the fundraising clout of the RIAA (which, in the end, is what drives politicians, because fundraising equals even more votes)? By Reuters, CNet, June 26, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sunset Learning Community
This site really really needs an 'about' page (or at least an obvious link back to the Sunset Learning page, but I wndered through the forums and found that it is essentially as advertised: "We have created on line forums to assist courseware designer and courseware integrators. I [Jocelyn Martel] personally will mentor the LMS/LCMS one. The links are below. I have worked with over 30 LMS and designed 4 so far in the last 5 years; I will help as much as I can." If you are wondering about all the Cisco forums on the site, Sunset recently acquired some expertise in Cisco products. By Jocelyn Martel, June, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

First Lady of Senegal Inaugurates Community Radio
Things work a little differently in Senegal. According to this article, the Senegalese first lady has launched "a community radio in the Senegalese village of Mbissao last week. UNESCO donated a so called suitcase radio - a portable FM station - and 40 oil lamps comprising an FM receiver powered by the heat of the flame." By Unknown, UNESCO, June 23, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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