Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
August 24, 2004

Disruptive Technologies Spark Upheaval in Corporate Learning Technology
Today's newsletter is about perception, networks and blogs. Realities that people will not see and new ways of understanding the semantic web. And in an odd way, this item sets the stage perfectly: "The corporate eLearning Market in the US peaked in late-2001 at about $6.5 billion and has seen 15-20% negative growth in both 2002 and 2003. In 2004, the market leveled off and has remained flat. As of mid-2004, the market for conventional eLearning is $4.5 billion with content accounting for half of the revenues." The e-learning field is changing in front of our eyes, and yet people are not seeing it. Content is flat, services are the future. "By 2008, at least 60% of eLearning revenue will derive from services." By Business Wire, The Workflow Institute Blog, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Douglas Rushkoff - Breaking Through
This is related to the next item. Solid Rushkoff: "I do feel like I've been saying one thing, all along: reality is up for grabs, so learn the codes through which the narrative is crafted and participate in its unfolding. It's the great psychedelic insight, as well as the thing people realize when they get involved in computers, systems theory, fantasy role-playing, or even a rave gathering, or media making." Douglas Rushkoff 'gets it' and his vision is so far out there it's over the horizon. The links to parts 1 and 2 are tiny; look for them on the bottom right. By Jonathan Ellis, PopImage, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Semantic Web Meets The Blogosphere
Let's begin with the end on this one, a very Kantian thought: "each animal in cyberspace is a placeholder for a human being with a certain unique sphere of interests. This way, no node in the network is ever redundant or obsolete: everybody contributes, and there is no dead weight." This is right, and deeply right. Now how does this come to be? "Blogs make the perfect basic units for a human-driven semantic web (just like neurons are the perfect basic units for a brain). Of course, this kind of a semantic web is an emergent behaviour rather than an intentional construct (anthill vs. bridge, to use cliche images)." Abstract this just a touch - after all, a person's web footprint doesn't have to be a blog. But the important message is this: people expect the cybersphere to be like a big expert system, with rules, categories, and inferences. But it won't work like that - look up combinatorial explosion. Via Monkeymagic. By Sergiy Grynko, Sergiy's Blog, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Record Companies, Schmecord Companies say the Pixies
It's still a longshot at this point, but when a well-known band bypasses the record companies, it's news. And "if they get away with it, this could be the beginning of the end for big music." Via Copyfight. By Leigh Phillips, Digital Media Europe, August 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Dog Wags Tail, not Vice-Versa
The meme of the week seems to be the recognition that the brain does not see what it doesn't want to see (or doesn't know how to see). Jay Cross leads off with this meme to introduce what amounts to a battle cry for workflow learning. "Listen up: a new way of computing is on the way. It's web services-based, decentralized, rich-client, Internet logic, interoperable, process-driven, individualized, real-time, pervasive, and absolutely inevitable." Yes. mostly, but why does this end up as workflow training? The same changes are coming to the workplace - why put the new technology into an old house? Cross makes the point that business needs drive learning: "It's difficult to understate how little say-so the training function is going to have in choosing the new approach to conducting business." But these training decisions won't be - can't be - centrally based, demand driven, business based either. Once the locus of power in training shifts, it will shift all the way: to the person doing the training. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, August 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

There's AdSense in My Blog!
The message from Blogger (aka Google): "We are going to start paying bloggers. Soon you will be blogging for dollars." The move comes only a few days after Google removed the advertising bar from Blogger blogs (to the cheers of bloggers everywhere). They write, "We were making money from those ads but you weren't getting any of it." The AdSense program is not restricted to blogs served by Blogger; any blog is eligible. But don't expect any ads here anytime soon. NRC probably has some squiffy rules about it. And although I get a fair amount of web traffic, most readers use the email subscription or RSS feed, which are still out of bounds for Google ads. But hey, everybody else in the Edu-Blogging community could benefit. By Biz Stone and Phillip E. Pascuzzo, Blogger, August 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SharePoint Links Updated
Microsoft's Sharepoint is an application that helps users "easily create, manage, and build their own collaborative Web sites and make them available throughout the organization." It seems like a natural environment for syndication technologies, and RSS has come to Sharepoint, both in the form of feed generators (More) and RSS readers. This page links to a list of Sharepoint blogs (with RSS feeds, naturally) which, as a group, constitute an indispensible resource for Sharepoint users. Looks like a classic environment for an Edu_RSS type common feed. By Ralph Poole, What Ralph Knows, August 24, 2004 10:25 a.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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