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by Stephen Downes
January 30, 2007

Well how many times have I harped on diversity? George Siemens links to this political site. "Innovation provides the seeds for economic growth, and for that innovation to happen depends as much on collective difference as on aggregate ability." Collective difference. Now that's a good phrase. He has also compiled a list of connectivism resources, but the site demands a registration, which is not cool. Don't forget, in addition to diversity, you need openness. George Siemens, elearnspace January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Definition: Massively Multi-Learner Online Learning Environment (MMOLE)
Well of course someone had to describe it and give it a name. Now the education community will act as though whomever gave it the name actually invented it. "MMOLE is a genre of computer generated learning environments in which large numbers of learners interact with each other in a virtual three-dimensional (3D) world with the goal of learning." Derived from MMRPG - Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game. Good enough. Next. Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

OpenID for Non-SuperUsers
I've been skipping more links on OpenID than I've been passing along - there has been a proliferation of them recently. But this item is a good moderately techie description of OpenID, with example, and enough links to let you dive in, look at actual PHP code (ugh! spaghetti) and find out about HTTP digest authentication. Whew. I will be doing something of a summary and a primer at some point in the future, but not until I've written the code and made it work on my system. Sam Ruby, intertwingly January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

eBay Bans Auctions of Virtual Goods
eBay makes the right call here. Forget the dire prediction offered by this article, that "eBay may be effectively forcing players who participate in such trades into the hands of giant third-party operations that buy and sell virtual goods." The demand is created by the ease of selling on eBay and the ready market that the online sales site provides. Take that away and you take away a lot of the market as well. And although Second Life customers are not affected by the ban, eBay was probably looking at reports like this: The Liquidity Event (via Mark Oehlert). Basically, Second Life "land will likely become completely devalued and possibly even inaccessible except for further expenditure... because of a choice Linden Lab itself has already made, which is to open-source the server code and create the possibility for people to host their own virtual worlds." How much is virtual land worth if it's no longer scarce? D'Arcy Norman, meanwhile, crosses over to the dark side, offering criticisms of Second Life, echoed by Leigh Blackall. Not feeling so lonely over here any more. Daniel Terdiman, CNet January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

10-Year-Old Twins Expelled From U of O
"The university recognized their status, accepted their fees, issued them student cards and allowed them to complete more than half the term before expelling them." One only assumes they were getting good grades, too. There's a message in this. Unattributed, CANOE January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

What I Learned About Social Search On Yi-Tan
There has been a lot of movement recently in the field called 'social search', which is: "people helping people find stuff." This article summarizes a discussion (a telephone conference call, no less!) on the topic and offers a number of links and insights. "The first perspective we heard was that folks are sharing via email because it works best. They know and trust the source. The existing social searches are simply too big for trust - the information flow to huge and overwhelming... We trust someone who we know to summarize but to scale it won't work because you loose trust... There is also the issue of wow do we get there when there are people who want to catch our attention for profit not for edification?" These are my observations as well, and these are the sorts of considerations that will drive development in social search. Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Via Alexander Hayes, who writes about a 'river of news' created with Planet. "Planet is an awesome 'river of news' feed reader. It downloads news feeds published by web sites and aggregates their content together into a single combined feed, latest news first. It uses Mark Pilgrim's Universal Feed Parser to read from RDF, RSS and Atom feeds; and Tomas Styblo's templating engine to output static files in any format you can dream up." So it's written in Python and is, of course, open source. And it's the flip side of the service we see next.

In the same breath, I may as well mention SplashCast, which I tried out earlier this week. There was something in their email about an embargo before the launch, but I see Robin Good has a big write-up, which was echored by Jennifer Maddrell, where I saw his item (usually an embargo means "never cover this" because if I have to go back in time, I probably won't). Anyhow I thought Splashcast was a good idea except for the relentless (and hence broken) Flash interface. It reminded me of Flickr when it first came out; I wonder whether they remember my complaints. Jeff VanDrimmelen also writes about them - hey, that's a pretty successful launch. Targeted relevant email backed by a good concept - works every time. Scott James Remnant and Jeff Waugh, Journal January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Announcing the Media 2.0 Workgroup
This is an interesting site, even though it feels somewhat plastic. The Media 2.0 Workgroup is a signature launch for software called Touchstone, which purports to "manage and filter the flow of information into your consciousness" (and for publishers, to "persist your brand on desktops while alerting users about new content"). The software - currently in alpha, so it's not yet available - in the Alpha stage, requires Microsoft .Net to run. Since this would wreck my Linux box, I won't be testing it. Anyhow, the Media 2.0 group, which includes some names I know and some I don't, seems to be some sort of Touchstone channel. Their rationale? "Every community needs some help to grow. The long tail has a head, and conversation needs a topic." We are your leaders. Trust us. Chris Saad, Touchstone January 30, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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