July 5, 2006


Alec Couros[Edit][Delete]: Reasons For Not Adopting FLOSS In Ottawa-Carleton, Couros Blog [Edit][Delete] July 5, 2006
[link: 4 Hits] This item caught my eye partially because the Ottawa-Carleton school board is where I went to school, and partially because the response from a superintendent, Laura McAlister, was described in this post as "clueless". Well, I'm always up for a good scandal. Except that, as I read the letter, it didn't seem clueless at all. These are genuine issues: "central authentication, file storage and security, costs of obtaining software, which for the most part today is free to schools courtesy of the OSAPAC program, adapting new applications into existing curriculum, security, staff training, portability, adaptability."

And the letter demonstrated, to me, at least, openness and willingness to listen. "Perhaps," wrote McAlister, "you or a member of your organization can assist school districts such as ours with meeting these challenges." While I know there are open source answer to all of her concerns, it is unfair to place the onus and the blame on a school board superintendent for not knowing them. I agree, "Microsoft sales reps got to her first." That's why it's important that people keep writing and keep demonstrating. And we have to be fair and generous in our regard for people who, through no fault of their own, don't have all the open source answers. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Amanda Congdon[Edit][Delete]: Net Neutrality, Rocket Boom [Edit][Delete] July 5, 2006
[link: Hits] I was disappointed to learn that Amanda Congdon and Rocketboom are parting ways, as each was perfect for the other. I've linked to the groundbreaking video site a couple of times, and for what is likely one last time, today. In her last episode (actually a week before the show's current hiatus) Congdon argues for net neutrality, balancing in her unique style an accessible delivery and grasp of the issue. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: E-Learning!, July 5, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] This magazine showed up in my email (maybe I subscribed to it?). The first few pages had me rolling my eyes but the articles were pretty good. The 'private' splash page links to a big 11.5 megabyte download giving you the full glossy version (featuring numerous photos of nameless and irrelevant but very atrractive people). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Vrious Authors[Edit][Delete]: Washington Business Journal - Blackboard, July 5, 2006
[link: Hits] I followed what turned out to be a pretty uninformative link on a new Blackboard community product and ended up at this page - a summary of stories about Blackboard carried by a local Washington D.C. publication. I can't really explain the results ordering (what's so hard about ORDER BY crdate DESC?). The product? Well, I found the Blackboard press release on the new K-12 starter edition, but it wasn't really that informative either. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Lucy Gray[Edit][Delete]: Live from San Diego, July 5, 2006
[link: Hits] An ordinary person. An ordinary camera, an ordinary afternoon at a Padres ball game. A postcard from the future. The sound and the image are so clear, it's a beautiful video, beautifully shot, a stunning video all the more so because it's so ordinary. Perhaps you need to be an older observer to see the wonder of this. Perhaps not. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott Wilson[Edit][Delete]: How to Harvest Standards, July 5, 2006
[link: 8 Hits] The conversation on standards continues with Scott Wilson offering some much needed correction to the process outlined by Michael Feldstein yesterday. As Wilson says, begin by "Identify[ing] a community which is already tackling a problem. Don't invent a problem, look for people who are clearly trying to do something new and are finding ways..." [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott McLemee[Edit][Delete]: Public Access, Inside Higher Ed [Edit][Delete] July 5, 2006
[link: 8 Hits] This article rekindles in me a project I have been pondering for a while, though if only by catering to some of my more crass motivations. Book publishers, argues the author, tend, at their peril, to ignore the blogosphere as a means of marketing their works. And this is manifest in their reluctance to furnish desk copies to notable bloggers; even well known writers have received only three or four books in as many years.

I have thought about explicitly reviewing books for a while now, not so much because I need new writing projects (heh) but because I want to capture and pass on the range and flavour of the longer reading I do. And, I confess, the thought of perhaps getting review copies has occurred to me. Moncton is served only by one Chapters store, an outlet that has been steadily shrinking and dumbing down its selection since the chain's takeover by Indigo. My best source of books these days is the independent bookstore in the Moncton airport.

So I have started my book review blog, imaginatively titled Review. It is currently located at Blogger, though I may shift it to a site devoted to book reviews (no, not Amazon - if you have suggestions, let me know) as I continue to experiment in distributed publishing and microformats (if you look at the source you'll see the review is in the hrevew microformat). It covers a wide range of topics, not just e-learning (the first review is of Gwynne Dyer's Future: Tense). And the free books? I'll play that by ear. I'd be happy if our local bookstore stopped selling trinkets and started selling books again. [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Stephen Downes

About Me
Bio, photos, and assorted odds and ends.

You know, the ones that appear in refereed journals of Outstanding Rank.

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Stephen Downes

Copyright � 2006 Stephen Downes
National Research Council Canada

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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes


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