By Stephen Downes
January 27, 2005

This is pretty cool - a service hosted by Lulu that turns your blog into a PDF book (which Lulu can then publish on paper). Not that the world needs more paper. But what a great way to cap off an online course, with a published book of cour contributions over the year. Of course, it can't be long before services like Blogger follow suit (and before IBM patents printing electronic documents on paper). I have always wondered whether there would be a demand for OLDaily as a print publication. A book? A monthly magazine? Ponder, ponder. By Gads, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Vancouver Aerial Tagging: Holy Flickr
This is interesting - an illustration of how Flickr uses comments in order to ember a link (and thumbnail) from one image into another image. The results can be spectacular - like this areal photo of Stanley Park in vancouver which is inset with photographs different people have taken of the part in different places. Now I have Stanely Park photos too (I have walked all through that park) but it doesn't appear that I can inset them without loading them onto Flickr. Well, why should I have to do this? Cool technology, yes - but even cooler if it supports a distributed network. By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

More Patent Funnies
Tim Bray points to some recent abuses of the patent system, more absurdity to add to out list. "IBM Receives Patent for Using Regular Expressions to Extract Information from Documents, Google Receives Patent for Highlighting of Search Results, and Microsoft Attempts to Patent Object Persistence." It's like the patent office is not even trying to find out if something had ever been invented; send them a form and they rubber stamp it (and take your money). By Tim Bray, Ongoing, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Look ma, no metadata forms
Discussion of Automatic Metadata Generation, a system that exampines resource files and deduces appropriate metadata. One limitation: they can't deduce information that isn't there, so there must be a minimum of information available in the file (as is not the case, for example, for most images on the web). By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogosphere Subscription Trends
One thing about my predictions for last year that puzzled me was being mistaken about the cresting of the blogging phenomenon. The numbers said it should peak, and begin to decline, but as the year went by there was no sign of a decline. But could I have been right after all? Take a look at this chart prepared by Jon Udell measuring subscriptions to RSS feeds on bloglines. Udell offers the opinion that it's cyclic, but I see a crest there, right at September, 2004. Maybe that was the turning point, and subscriptions will churn but remain stable (that also seems to be happening with my newsletter). Or maybe the blogging phenomenon is just taking a breather. By Jon Udell, InfoWorld, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Thailand's Proposed Cyber University Could Help the Disadvantaged Get an Education
The reason I am involved in online learning is not simply that it is Cool Stuff (though it is that) but because it affords the possibility of probviding an education to everyone. That's the spirit in which I pass along this article. The Cyber University is being proposed by the Thai government "to increase education opportunities by providing low cost, life-long education to students and the general public online." That - and not making money, or off-loading education costs - is the right approach, in my mind. By Sasiwimon Boonruang, Bangkok Post, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OLS News
David Wiley writes, "Lots of news about our Open Learning Support project today, with more coming in the weeks ahead. First, our integration with Rice's Connexions project has turned on. There is now OLS-style discussion available for every single module in the collection (over 2200). Also, the source code for OLS has finally made its way to SourceForge; find it at http://sourceforge.net/projects/ols-usu. Finally, as the OLS integration with the outreach portion of iCampus is about to turn on, there is finally some minimal OLS training available. Dig the sultry sound of my voice in this Breeze presentation, which features some updates to the UI." Very nice, great work. By David Wiley, David Wiley's Stuff, January 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to facilitate Google Crawling: Notes for Open-access Repository Maintainers
Having an open access repository isn't useful if nobody can find the contents. This brief document outlines how to configure such a repository in order to allow Google to index the contents. By Peter Suber, January 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ECMAScript Menu System
Not only is this one of the better tutorials I've seen on the subject, it's also a nice way to demonstrate the separation of content and style, the way online content should be (and is almost never) designed. Technical, but a competent reader can skip the code and get the gist. By Unattributed, Juicy Studio, January 22, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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