By Stephen Downes
February 18, 2005

EU Software Patent Law Faces Axe
We will probably see this surface again, attached to a regulation on dog licensing or something, but for now the European Parliament has given the idea of software patents the boot. This is good news, and preserves - for now, at least - an innovative envrionment in the European software industry. By Unattributed, BBC News, February 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Company Pulls out of Contract to Track Students
A plan to track students using RFID tags has fallen apart. Probably just as well. By Unattributed, CNN, February 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Groupware Bad
There's more, but the tenor of the argument is this: "If you want to do something that's going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy. When words like 'groupware' and 'enterprise' start getting tossed around, you're doing the latter." Couldn't say it better myself. Via Jim McGee. By Jamie Zawinski, February 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Take Back the Web
Discussion of the theme from yesterday. Will Richardson recounts this story of a principal's response to the suggestion that students be taught how to reserach on the web. "Oh, no," the principal said. "They won't want to do that. They don't have the time for it." Instead, "I think it's better for everyone if we just give them a list of sites they can use when they do their papers," the principal said, "and tell them they have to have a certain number of those resources in the final product." More discussion from Ken Smith. By Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, February 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Times Company to Buy About.com for $410 Million
I remember considering way back when whether it would be worth my while to become an About.com 'guide'. I launched this newsletter instead. Not that I would have earned any of the $410 million the New York Times is paying for the company. But I have to ask, with Gian Trotta on Online-News, "why any large media company with a large number of beat reporters/subject matter experts won't just give them some templates, $1,000 a month and/or a split of ad revenues to play the same role for their companies that the Guides play for About." By Unattributed, New York Times, February 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Rod Savoie sent me this. "MoonEdit is a collaborative text editor which allows many users over the internet to edit the same document simultaneously. Every user can modify documents at any place or time - without restriction. You can watch other people's cursor movements in real time as they make changes. Each user writes text in their own color so you can easily tell who wrote what." The software doesn't really work well with the mouse, but it's otherwise pretty interesting. By Tom Dobrowolski, February, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Beyond the Big ©: Copyright Becomes "No Right to Copy"
The editors of Scientific American wake up. "Overly strong property rights can threaten the Internet as a medium capable of fostering dynamic interchange of ideas." The editors praise the Creative Commons copyright as a remedy - but that's just a stopgap measure, isn't it? By Editors, Scientific American, February 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Googlepedia: The End is Near
I am not as sceptical as the author of this article but I do share a healthy caution. Because this, at least, is true: "Maybe the nice guys do not want to create a situation that locks out the Microsoft crawlers. The needs of the corporate entity, though, demand it. Maybe the nice guys don't want to take over Wikipedia and clean it up, change the way it worksóruin itóas per the lawyers' demands. The corporation demands it." Ross Mayfield responds. By John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine, February 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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