By Stephen Downes
June 30, 2005

My Web 2.0
Yahoo! is beta-testing the closest thing to the semantic social network I've seen so far with My Web 2.0, which is a combination social networking and content sharing site. It also incluides tagging (which I think is what Yahoo! really wanted with Flickr). What I like is the RSS import, which I set to import my own content (though you could import any content). Google, which has the two things needed to make this work (Blogger and Orkut) can't be far behind. The crucial question: will they work together? By Various Authors, Yahoo!, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web Content by and for the Masses
The New York Times discovers Web 2.0 - "From photo- and calendar-sharing services to "citizen journalist" sites and annotated satellite images, the Internet is morphing yet again. A remarkable array of software systems makes it simple to share anything instantly, and sometimes enhance it along the way." It's not just Yahoo! and it's not just online journalism - it will reach right into your online course and turn it inside out. As it should. By John Markoff, New York Times, June 29, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Building a Proper Shared Syndication Feed Foundation
Orchard could be describing word for word my own need: "Once Iíve acquired feed data, I need to store it in some form usable by my other programs and by some method as agnostic as possible toward the actual contents of the feed." The rest of the post analyzes four approaches: fine-grained relational DB tables, triples in an RDF store, XML database storage and coarse-grained persistence. None of these does everything; each has weaknesses. I'm pretty much in the same situation, complete with code littering my website (only in Perl instead of Python). What I won't do is buy something off the shelf or start using a packaged designed by someone else. If I can't build it, I won't understand it, and if I don't understand it I'm not very useful as a pundit and critic. By Leslie Michael Orchard, 0xDECAFBAD, June 28, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Smith, Ragan: Instructional Design, Third Edition
McToonish points to this online support site for a textbook, Smith and Ragan's Instructional Design, Third Edition. Normally I am sceptical about such sites, and about instructional sdesign texts in particular, but the full set of presentations and illustrations from the book alone make a visit worth while. The first four chapters are online as well as the complete list of references. By Patricia L. Smith and Tillman J. Ragan, Wiley, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Advertising Invades Textbooks
David Bollier gets to the heart of the problem: "I can hardly wait until Microsoft starts advertising in computer science textbooks; Ford pitches its SUVs in forestry school books; and professors start wearing corporate logos on their herringbone jackets like tennis stars and Nascar drivers." And his observation nails it as well: "advertisers have a laser-like ability to home in on anything that has credibility, and then become a parasite that slowly eats away its hostís insides." Via Kairosnews. By David Bollier, On the Commons, June 28, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Digital Rights? Whose Digital Rights?
Derek Morrison learns a valuable lesson about DRM before it costs him too much: never, ever buy DRM-enabled hardware or content. Morrison reports, "This device is making the assumption that all MP3 files are rights-protected music and so I've lost the right to do with my non-rights-protected data what I like. This wasn't much of an issue when the iFP799 was working because I listened and deleted but now that it's broken I've had my rights unilaterally terminated." By Derek Morrison, Auricle, June 30, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I Have Been Told I Can't Talk to Students
Steve Sloan reports, "I have been told (by my boss) that I can't talk to students on my podcasts." Student Ryan Sholin, who appeared in one of Sloan's podcasts, writes, "I find it completely, 100% ridiculous that any bureaucratically-minded folks at this University would censor what their staff members write in their free time, or what they record, or share with the world." That's pretty much my feeling too. In another post, Sloan argues, "When you isolate any group, whether it be students, staff or faculty and try to prevent them from talking to each other you destroy the power of the conversation to help your organization." Sloan points to the Cluetrain Manifesto. He is right to do so. By Steve Sloan, Steve Sloan, SJSU Tech on a Mission, June 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Identity Gang
Link to discussion and resources produced by the clique at Berkman. You'll find some good stuff here, including a link to Kim Cameron's famous Laws of Identity paper, LID, identity commons, and more. More interesting, though, is the stuff they've left out - where is Sxip in the listing, for example? Or OpenID? I've tried to get in on the discussion but they haven't yet responded to my hails. By Various Authors, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Where Belief is Born
Good, though short, article summarizing work on the foundations of belief and memory. People, it seems to me, have this folk-psychological view of beliefs and memories as static, sentence-like, off-or-on. The examples offered here may shake those perceptions. By Alok Jha, The Guardian, June 30, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Webtext on Band School Organization in Canada
I think this is a worthwhile project and I hope the community will extend a hand to Jim Bruce to see it through. He writes, "My Goal: Creation of a wtext (webtext) that is the central resource for a course "Band School Organization in Canada" that is current, interactive, largely user-maintained, and of lasting value to the wider Band School community as well as to course students." By Jim Bruce, Band School Education in Canada, June 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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