By Stephen Downes
May 2, 2005

Using Bloglines (or How to Keep up With Dozens of Blogs Everyday)
Useful advice and even included a couple of tips new to me. The author describes (in lavish detail, complete with screenshots) how to use services like Bloglines and Feedster to scan and absorb content from a large number of websites. This is very similar to how I do it - and no, no miracles are required, just some good organization on the part of the reader. Via a number of sources. By Preetam Rai, betterdays, April 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The New Gatekeepers, Part 5: The Problem of Crowds
Part Five of the New Gatekeepers series I mentioned last week or so. Not the final installment - there will be a part six. According to the author, "because of the nature of information cascades, we find ourselves trusting people and stories simply because other people appear to trust them at all. There are enough independent thinkers out there to offer a useful amount of doubt. We just need to find them." Well, I have my answer to the problem of information cascades - reduce the size of the big spike and create a more distributed network. By Jon Garfunkel, Civilities, April 30, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Change or Die
This article has receioved widespread acclaim in the few days it has been published and I can easily see why. Indeed, I pass it along with a similar endorsement. The author's point is to question why people don't change - their habits, their beliefs, their work processes - when merely presented with sufficient information. "Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people's feelings. This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an MBA sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought." By Alan Deutschman, Fast Company, May 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

REM Song Row Halts Film
It's not often you can strike a blow against both education and the environment at once, but with copyright laws being what they are, I guess, you can do anything. Via BNA. Message to REM: stop being such jerks and let the kids play the song. By Deborah Haile, Manchester Evening News, April 29, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Creative Commons Crossing the Line?
I've mentioned BzzAgents in these pages before; it is a company that hires individuals to seed advertisements into everyday conversations. It has been represented in the press as a good example of grassroots network-based marketing, and so the managers of Creative Commons must have been surprised by the outrage expressed among their supporters when they announced a deal to have BzzAgents spread the Creative Commons message. They shouldn't have been. More here. By Kevin Marks, Corante, May 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Why Businesses, and School Administrators, Don't Blog
"Companies over the past few centuries have gotten used to shaping their message. Now they're losing control of it." This not only explains why companies and administrators have been slow to adopt blogging but also while the format represents a permanent revolution in communications. Oh sure, blogging itself may be a short-term phenomenon (the hype will eventually end and we'll settle into a few million core bloggers) but the shift in power will be long-term. And this is something businesses and school administrators can't change. By Kim Cavanaugh, `Brain Frieze, May 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Real-Time Sharing Of Microsoft Office Documents
Robin Good reviews two recent applications designed to enable the real-time sharing of Microsoft office documents and applications. Instalcoll and Conferall, both commercial products, support the sharing of PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, April 30, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SkillSoft Releases Dialogue Virtual Classroom
Skillsoft has released a live online classroom environment called Dialogue. Though it is intended for use with an LMS, it can also be used as a stand-alone application. Depending on pricing and functionality (they should really provide a demo on the website) it could offer competition to products like Symposium and Elluminate. What's neat is that the product can use existing Skillsoft learning objects (but would be even better if it could use any learning object). In addition to the press release there's a website and (PDF) brochure. By Press Release, Skillsoft, April 29, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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