By Stephen Downes
August 16, 2005

Lloyd's Taking on Open Source IP Risk
When I spoke at the Moncton Cybsersocial last fall about open source, one businessperson took me aside after and asked, "what about liability?" I didn't have a good answer at the time, but in the days that followed, it occured to me: open source liability isn't risk, it's opportunity. Now, Lloyds of London has found that opportunity. "Lloyd's of London is now offering to insure companies that use open source software against copyright and patent infringement lawsuits." Via Slashdot. By Gavin Clarke, The Register, August 12, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Another step forward in the distribution of free content. Yoto photo allows users to search for free photos you can use (licenses vary, most are Creative Commons, with some other open licenses thrown in). The search needs improvement; it should tell the difference between elm and Elm Street, for example. Via ace:uk. By Various Authors, August, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Feedster Top 500
Feedster has joined the blog ranking game in a big way with its list of the top 500 released today. Sad to say, downes.ca has once again been overlooked in the quest for web fame, despite, according to Feedster itself, racking up 7,988 links (see Feedster, or if you need speed, the screen shot), a number that would put me in 18th place. The 1045 links that Technorati gives me would put me in 348th, which to me seems low. Ah well. Perhaps I'll just take my newly acquired B-List status bestowed by Blogebrity and smile. Or better yet - given that these list don't even touch the massive blog readerships in LiveJournal - perhaps it would be best if I just let the subject drop. Ah, but it's too much like a road accident, isn't it? By Various Authors, Feedster, August 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogger for Word builds on Radio Userland
Nifty. "Now you can use Blogger right within Microsoft Word. Just download and install the Blogger for Word add-in and a Blogger toolbar will be added to Word allowing you to: Publish to your blog, Save drafts, Edit Posts." By Roland Tanglao, Roland Tanglao's Weblog, August 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Things I Used to Teach That I No Longer Believe
I have roots in journalism and to this day think of myself as partially a journalist. And it is in that role I note my agreement with Jay Rosen when he asserts, "If you teach journalism ethics too near the surface of the practice, you end up with superficial journalists." I don'tg see myself as a non-political truth-teller; far from it, for I know that those who write from such a stance leave themselves open to manipulations of 'the truth'. The truth will be for me always the truth 'as I see it', but this does not mean it is valueless. Quite the contrary; there remains an obligation to report honestly, to see clearly, and to adhere to what is right and is good. Higher ideals, and they apply, I think, as much to the profession of teaching as to that of journalism. By Jay Rosen, PressThink, August 14, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ARG vs Wikipedia vs Blogosphere
Bryan Alexander offers a good analysis of the Jamie Kane controversity, an incident in which the BBC, in the course of staging a distributed alternate-reality game (ARG), appeared to use Wikipedia to promote its product, creating controversy and accusations all round. Alexander correctly identifies this as a Web 2.0 controversity, and while noting that the criticisms raised questions of trust and reliability, points to how quickly the user-authored media quickly self-corrected. The big question is whether user-authored media can respond not to isolated media events such as Jamie Kane but to the barrage of commercial content that is sure to follow. By Bryan Alexander, Infocult: Information, Culture, Policy, Education, August 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This is a pretty interesting application. The idea is that members add or amend arguments, creating chains of reasoning. It reminds me of ReasonAble, except a wikified web version, without the nice graphics. Via argumap. By Various Authors, August, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Tom Abeles sent me this week last week or so and I didn't have a chance to follow it up until today (sorry Tom). And I might add, to follow it up in detail would require much more than a week. Open Croquet is a multi-user software environment that allows users to rewrite the environment while working in the environment. It is similar in this way to a MOO gone mad. The documentation is daunting, the download - at 115 megabytes for Windows - even more so. But I think there's something very interesting going on here. It's all open source, under about the most liberal license I've ever seen. By Various Authors, August, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Technology
This special issue of Learning Technology, focusing on immersive learning, is well worth the read. Though most of the examples relate to engineering and robotic technology, the general approach is one that could be emulated in other disciplines. Tommaso Leo's opening editorial is a natural starting point, but worth a look as well are Busetti, Forcheri and Ierardi on learning object design for immersive technology and Falsetti, et.al., on learning evaluation in immersive environments. By Various Authors, Learning Technology, August 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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