By Stephen Downes
June 6, 2005

Microsoft vs. Open Source: Who Will Win?
Good analysis that doesn't toe the party line (sadly rare these days). The authors argue that the market edge belongs to Microsoft largely because of its initial position; Linux is playing catch-up. But also, Microsoft can and will leverage piracy to its advantage (people who pirate Windows don't contribute to the bottom line, but they do contribute to the user base, increasing the valkue of Windows). It can also exercise price differentials to strategic advantage (we have already seen this) and to advance the campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the corporate market, as we have seen with the SCO lawsuits. Surprisingly, the author misses another significant advantage for Microsoft: strategic alliance with chip manufacturers, who with the embedding of DRM into the hardware itself will make increasing quantities of content unplayable on free and open source platforms. By Sean Silverthorne, HBS Working Knowledge, June 6 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Wittgenstein's Pictures
Interesting meander through the concept of the picture in Wittegnstein's thought. As I read this I thought about an article I had read over the weekend, saying that things that are found infrequently - such as weapons in baggage or breast tumors in women - are harder to find if detected infrequently. We want, said Wittgenstein, to associate a concept with a picture, especially if it is a new concept. But it seems to me that it can't be a new picture either. We form a vocabulary of images in our minds, generated through an associative process of repetitive experience, and this vocabulary attaches itself to concepts through a mechanism of sub-symbolic similarity. Which is why, every time I butter bread, I think about Babylon 5. By Cultural Revolution, Long Sunday, June 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Establishing Trust Online Is Critical For Online Communication Say NJIT Experts
Do you trust me? Did you begin trusting me shortly after signing up for OLDaily? If so, then I'm doing something right. How do good instructors develop a positive social atmosphere on line? "They model solidarity, congeniality, and affiliation." said Hiltz. Via Science Daily via ADL Co-Lab News. By Press Release, New Jersey Institute of Technology, April 11, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Let Me Tell You a Shibboleth
Overview of Shibboleth, a system used to transfer identity information from one institution to another in a learning resources federation. The author notes that both Moodle and Bodington (which was new to me), both open source learning management systems, support Shibboleth. He also adds, insightfully, that the same sort of login might work well for health records. By Derek Morrison, Auricle, June 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Effective Corporate IT Training: Bursting the E-learning Bubble
More of the negative coverage of e-learning that has been a bit of a trend recently. According to the author, the reason why "e-learning is virtually guaranteed to fail" is that "even the most dedicated workers will lack motivation when there is no structure." How sad, to think that all those years I've spent online learning about technology and e-learning have been a failure. By Roland Van Liew, IT World, June 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

More Nursery School Children Going Online
Well, this one is all over the wires so I may as well cove it here: 23 percent of nursury school children have been online. "Young students don't differentiate between the face-to-face world and the Internet world." They get email, they visit pre-school educational websites. "It helps them become more relaxed, more adventurous, and more willing to take risks as they learn." The articles - more here - are based on a report released by the U.S. Department of Education. By Ben Feller, Associated Press, June 5, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

LMS Survey Results
Results of an Learning Management System (LMS) survey hosted by Learning Circuits. Readers submitted responses to a poll. Most reported being satisfied with their LMS, with the centralization of learning management being the most common reason for having installed one. Reporting, compliance tracking and testing were found to be the most valuable features. By Various Authors, Learning Circuits, June 3, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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