By Stephen Downes
April 20, 2005

Short item pointing to Radio@UPEI, "a new type of media exchange where anyone can learn about rich media, where anyone can contribute and enjoy a diverse range of music, where anyone can contribute as well as listen to independently produced 'shows'." Rock and roll! By James Farmer, incorporated subversion, April 19, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Capella Education Company
Capella University, which " provides online accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs to working adults and employers," has filed for its initial public offering (IPO). It intends to raise up to $86 million. This comes just a few months after it received significant venture capital funding. By Unknown, Prospects, April 18, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Gift Economy
Dave Pollard writes, "The Gift Economy offers us a means to learn, to understand, to take charge, and to change our world. It is a natural economy, steeped in millions of years of pre-civilization human culture and the culture of all life on Earth. If enough of us embraced it, the modern 'market' economy, built on the faulty and inhuman foundations of inequality, scarcity, false quantification of value, and acquisition, could not survive." In this thus far I agree, and in what follows he provides a pretty good overview. But. I'm unhappy with this: "In a 'market' economy, says Hyde, the highest status belongs to those who have acquired the most. In a Gift Economy, the highest status belongs to those who have given the most." Money, status, power - the gift economy always seems to be presented in terms of how a giver can, after all, get something in return for the gift. I have not been immune to this myself. But it leaves me with a certain dissatisfaction, the sort of dissatisfaction I might feel with my wealth in the last days of life. Maybe that's just me, though. By Dave Pollard, How To Save The World, April 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia
With more than a million entries and able to compose credible and authoritative articles years before its more traditional competition, Wikipedia has emerged as a force in online publishing. But how did it start? In this two part essay (Part One, Part Two) one of the people who worked on the project in its early days, Larry Sanger, offers a retrospective. This is a well-written and fair-minded attempt not only to describe the thinking behind the project but also to shed light on some of the issues surrounding the project as it weathered (and continues to weather) exponential growth. Essential reading. By Larry Sanger, Slashdot, April 19, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

When iPod Goes Collegiate
Overview of Duke's experiment with iPods (the university gave one to every student last year) with some frank admissions that they weren't well used combined with some interesting observations on their use. Two things stood out: this fair statement of education's role in a student's media mix: "It's holding 90 percent music and 10 percent course content, no question, but I'm so grateful for that 10 percent." And this non-regulation use of iPods: "Students can also communicate with one another through "podcasting," the newest type of blogging in the form of audio files." By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Christian Science Monitor, April 19, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blocking VoIP Calls: Foreboding Harbinger or Benign Fluke?
The nation of Qatar has already started cracking down on what it calls "illegal VoIP" (Voice over IP) and there are signs that this trend is spreading as some U.S. carriers have already attempted to block voice traffic, citing it as unfair competition. I personally don't see what's unfair about using technological innovation to provide the same service at a lower cost, but then I have maintained that the global business ennvironment has long since ceased to be based on the principle of free competititon and now relies on cartel, copyright, patent and trade legislation to support otherwise unprofitable business methods. So I support EDUCAUSE in its statement of concern and echo its opinion that "When broadband providers succumb to the temptation to block Internet packets at the network layer in order to avoid competition at the application layer, this subverts the open, modularized structure of the Internet and undermines both the ability of [people] to communicate with one another and the ability of the educational community to perform its mission." More from Garret Sern, Om Malik, Advance IP Pipeline, Robert X. Cringely, Boris Mann, Technology Liberation Front, Information Week... By Press Release, EDUCAUSE, April, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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