By Stephen Downes
January 25, 2005

Future VLE - The Visual Version
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes it's worth a lot more. This picture posted by Scott Wilson is one of the latter variety, as he nails the vision once again. Note the intersection between FOAF, RSS and portfolio. This is the semantic social network. By Scott Wilson, Scott's Workblog, January 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Six Laws of the New Software
Most educational designers don't think of themselves as software architects, but of course, that's what they are. And as such, this document - which starts from the premise that most people already have the software they need - will be relevant. Especially in education, designers are competing with existing products - the classroom, the television, the telephone, the book. This article outlines the six principles needed to make an impact: do one thing, not everything; collaborate with existing software; make the interface unobtrustive; simplify use; release early and often; comply with standards instead of building new ones. By Dror Eyal, Change This, January 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Information Wants to be Liquid
The liquidinformation.org site is responding very slowly at the moment, suggesting that the concept may not be ready for prime time. But it's a neat idea with educational implications: make every word on a web page a hyperlink to something else. "Further, every link can point to more than one place, pulling up all kinds of background context from the web as a whole." Sounds like the old Xanadu project. By Jason Walsh, Wired News, January 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Academics Give Lessons on Blogs
Nothing that will be new to readers of OLDaily, but it's interesting to see that educational blogging has reached the mainstream news. By Shola Adenekan, BBC News, January 23, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

What Are JSON, JSON-RPC and JSON-RPC-Java?
Introducing JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), "a lightweight data-interchange format with language bindings for C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, TCL and others." JSON is the scripting language that makes things like Google's GMail so much faster than other browser-based tools. "The XMLHttpRequest object (or MSXML ActiveX in the case of Internet Explorer) is used in the browser to call remote methods on the server without the need for reloading the page." By Hemos, Slashdot, January 24, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Making Memories Stick
Numerous things happen every day, but we remember only some of them. Why? "When an event is important enough or is repeated enough, synapses fire to make the neuron in turn fire neural impulses repeatedly and strongly, declaring 'this is an event that should be recorded.' The relevant genes turn on, and the synapses that are holding the short-term memory when the synapse-strengthening proteins find them, become, in effect, tattooed." By R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, January 24, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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