By Stephen Downes
September 11, 2003

Edu_RSS Upgrade
There's more to come, but we moved the website to the new server today and with the move put into production our new Edu_RSS scripts (thanks to the able coding of Raphael Blanchard). Aside from better search and sort mechanisms, readers will be able to search Edu_RSS by one or more of 80 or so categories. Coming soon (the code is in place, but we want to set up some pages; the code-jockeys will be able to figure out the links pretty easily) are topic-specific HTML pages, Javascript feeds, and RSS feeds. This will allow you to have very precisely filtered up-to-date information on your web page or in your RSS reader. The future of online content - finally - is here. By Stephen Downes and Raphael Blanchard, Stephen's Web, September 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogger Bucks Premium-Services Trend
People who make their livings selling blogging software are losing sleep as the other shoe falls - Google, which acquired Blogger a few months ago, is making eliminating the paid version and including premium services into its free version. By Paul Festa, CNet News.Com, September 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
Let's give a kind word to the Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning and the University of Wisconsin for putting video of its keynotes and forums online, as well as papers, handouts and PowerPoints from the sessions at the conference. By Various Authors, Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, September 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Free Brianna LaHara!
Gee, who could have predicted that bringing the full weight of the court system down on the head of a 12-year old girl would result in some pretty bad publicity? I agree with this writer: "what we've seen in the last couple weeks, on stage and in the courts, is the exposure of the current spiritual and creative (and perhaps soon, financial) bankruptcy of the pop music industry." And more: "we are seeing is an upwelling of mass desire (or mass frustration) by an entire generation." Now OLDaily readers may wonder why I keep returning to this story again and again: it's because I see the exact same scenario playing out (albeit on a smaller scale, with less publicity) in the e-learning industry. Do you still think you can lock up educational content and force people to buy special viewers or software? Several people sent me this item observing that MIT's Open CourseWare project has attracted more than 100 million hits in the last year. How can we make this any clearer? I have been up to my ears in DRM discussions over the last year and I've seen no evidence that the people at Microsoft, at Adobe, at Thompson or at Elsevier are any smarter than the people at the RIAA. That makes me sad, because there are hundreds of millions of people who need an education now and the only thing preventing them from getting it is a bunch of people with the same mentality as those who would sue a 12-year old honour student from the projects. And make her pay $2000. By Michael S. Malone, ABC News, September 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

B&N.com Pulls Plug on E-Bookstore
Oh gosh, I just so want to say, "I told you so." The Barnes & Noble eBook store has shut down with customers given 90 days to download outstanding purchases. DRM Watch opines, "we suspect that the main reason was customer support costs that were disproportionately high compared to the slow sales growth in the eBook market. The concept of providing technical support on products is one with which the book industry is unfamiliar, to say the least. The DRM systems incorporated into both Adobe and Microsoft eBook platforms are known to be significant sources of call-center activity, in addition to the customer service burden imposed by computer-based products in general." By Ryan Naraine, InternetNews.Com, September 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Response to Darl McBride's Open Letter
SCO's Darl McBride, in a letter to the open source community, offered on the one hand to negotiate but accused the community of hack attacks and of stealing a million lines of code. In a response which, as John Paczkowski remarked "forces open-source community to dip into sarcasm reserves," Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens basically say no dice. "We of the open-source community do not concede that there is anything to negotiate. Linux is our work and our lawful property, the distillation of twelve years of hard work, idealism, creativity, tears, joy, and sweat by hundreds of thousands of cooperating hackers all over the world. It is not yours, has never been yours, and will never be yours." By Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens, September 9, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sharp Unveils Notebook With 3-D Display
This is pretty cool. "Sharp Corp. has unveiled a notebook computer with a display that gives the illusion of depth and can display objects in three dimensions without the use of special glasses. The new notebook is scheduled to be on sale in Japan and the U.S. before the end of this year." By Martyn Williams, InfoWorld, September 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CanCore 1.9 Documents
Norm Friesen announced today the completion and publication of v 1.9 of the CanCore guidelines, covering all of the LOM elements, and the development of a searchable, customizable Web-based version of the CanCore guidelines. Version 1.9 is based on the IEEE LOM (Learning Object Metadata) standard. Writes Friesen, "These guidelines provide structured and systematic recommendations for all of the elements specified in the LOM. These recommendations are the product of a lengthy process of consultation with specialists, implementers and organizations located across Canada, in Europe and the US. The guidelines are available at no cost as one or more PDF files on the CanCore Website. Your feedback on these guidelines is encouraged, and will be used as a basis for revisions for the 2.0 release of these guidelines, to be released in January, 2004." In addition, a searchable and customizable version of the guidelines has been made available in beta form on the CanCore website. "This service allows users to view CanCore recommendations specifically for a variety of application profiles or element subsets, including the ADL SCORM, the uklomcore, and SingCORE. It also allows users to view CanCore guidelines on various levels of detail and technical specificity, and to search them for the occurrence of key terms." Cool. By Norm Friesen, CanCore, September 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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