Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
August 23, 2004

From the announcement (thanks for the heads up, John): "Urchin is a Web based, customisable, RSS aggregator and filter. Its primary purpose is to allow the generation of new RSS feeds by running queries against the collection of items in the Urchin database. However, other arbitrary output formats can be defined and generated using XSL transformations or HTML::Template templates. In other words, the collection of Urchin Perl modules form a foundation for building an RSS aggregation or portal service." I took a look at the code - the install will be a bit daunting, and it requires Mod Perl 2, which is not ready for prime time (as I discovered the hard way). But this product - which is basically the steriod version of Edu-RSS - is the real deal. I recommend giving it its own machine, though. Kudos to Nature Publishing Group (NPG), which released version 0.92 today, and to JISC, for getting the project off the ground. By Various Authors, Nature Publishing Group (NPG) , August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Get HBS Working Knowledge on your PDA!
The Harvard Business School has (finally) created an RSS feed for its 'Working Knowledge' publication. By Unknown, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Universities Beef Up Anti-Downloading Tactics
NewsScan is citing a Wall Street Journal article (which I won't link to, since a subscription is required) describing the increasing use of anti-downloading tactics on university campuses. What's interesting is the take: "We're not content police. We're bandwidth police," says UNLV associate provost Lori Temple. "We make it so downloading music is a horrible idea." Using software that detects the use of peer-to-peer software by scanning network traffic, administrators respond by cutting off internet access for a period of time. Guess they'll have to go back to using IRC to locate and download content... or (as is inevitable) breaking the music files into chunks disguised as web pages. By Unknown, NewsScan, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Are Trainers The Right e-Learning Designers?
Elliott Masie has hit on a winning formula and nobody should be surprised that it involves reader-generated content. In this item, Masies readers are invited to respond to the question, "Are Trainers The Right e-Learning Designers?" And what a surprise to see an old colleague from Assiniboine as the first person to answer! By Elliott Masie, Masie Center, August 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Semantic Web: 1-2-3
So I Googled someone who spammed the educational lists with a book review today (a book misleadingly called an e-book, since it's not even online) to see if she was related to trhe author or publisher and got sidetracked. Just as well; revenge surfing doesn't really suit me. But I didn't run into this item by the creator of Amphetadesk (and some of the cleanest Perl code you'll ever want to see - his work is beautiful). It's a good intuitive introduction to what it is that the Semantic Web (and RDF in particular) is trying to accomplish, and a bit on how it does this. His real name is Kevin Hemenway but he is (much) better known as Morbus Iff. Also read this, then go back to the portal for a a lot of quality work (because it's a little old, note that many links are no longer functioning). By Morbus Iff,, August, 2008 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Understanding Online Interaction
With the first part of a course he is teaching in the fall, David Wiley wonders "why we don't peer review each others course materials all the time" and then observes "Oh, right, most people are trapped in proprietary, closed LMSs." There's a certain risk to posting your course on the open net like this - especially when you know I will be one of the first to read it and comment (and you can see my comments in the discussion thread). But the course stands up quite well, and leaves us waiting for more. By David Wiley, autounfocus, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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