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by Stephen Downes
July 16, 2007

Intel, OLPC Come to an Accord
According to the Associated Press article, "Intel will join One Laptop Per Child's board and contribute money and technical expertise to the project." Intel's press release. Andy Carvin responds, "Hallelujah." Well maybe. But, "without a doubt, Intel would love to oust AMD as the processor supplier. After all, that is Intel's core business - not selling little computers." It's good to see companies like Intel and Microsoft and others finally get interested in the other two thirds of the world. But it's also hard not to see them as being a little crass. Like, what is this? "Intel and One Laptop Per Child might seek ways to package their computers together. For example, Intel's Classmate, which has to be plugged in, might be an option for governments to deploy in urban schools, while the XO laptops, which use very little power and can be mechanically recharged by hand, could go into rural districts." What about the wireless? The student centered design? The open source? Does Intel buy off all this, for a board seat and some cash? E-Commerce Times calls it a merger. "The interests of both parties are going to be represented. The real open question is which party is more powerful, and I'd put my money on Intel." Which would make it less a merger and more of a ... what? A sell-out? Andy Carvin, Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Training Blogs...All in One Place
Pageflakes has been around for a while but this Training Blogs page is relatively new. I aggregate something like 400 blogs, so I would say that Karl Kapp's use of the word "all" is a bit different from mine. But it does point to a weakness in the PageFlakes model of information display - when you array blogs for scanning, the upper limit is maybe 20 on a page (I'm sure a usability study could pin that down to 18.37 but you get the idea). Another problem is currency - I found myself clicking on a post from last April - because the scanning display doesn't disappear posts when they get old. I also don't like the constant pop-ups displaying feed text - you can't move your mouse at all without hitting a half dozen of them. I think there is merit in a scan interface - look at the broadsheet newspaper, for example - but I don't think PageFlakes is it. Karl Kapp, Training Day July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The $300 Linux-Powered iPhone Killer Arrives
They don't have a gazillion dollars to launch a mass media marketing campaign, so I'll note their launch here. "The first version of the NEO 1973 mobile phone, which carries the Linux kernel inside and is not locked to a specific network, is available for purchase... It's not as jaw-droppingly pretty as the iPhone, but it shares a design philosophy -- no buttons, just a screen -- and it's ready to be loaded with any number of open-source software applications." Via odd time signatures. Michael Calore, Compiler - Wired Blogs July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Twitter Aladdin
Yes I created a Twitter account. Purely by coincidence. I needed the account to fill out by Ning Edubloggers profile. But don't expect much in the way of tweeting. I don't see Twitter as being even remotely convenient to use (it behaves like Ning and Facebook and Explode and all the rest - it tells me something has happened (a message, a follower, whatever) and then I have to go to the site to find out what it was... sigh). Related: Digital Twitter Olympics. Claudia Ceraso, ELT notes July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Quest for Sustainability in Open Courseware
I want to be sympathetic, because the author is working with limited information (specifically, his Oxford background, Chris Anderson's book on the long tail, and a podcast on OpenCourseWare). So I'm supporting of his working through the ideas that might lead to something like sustainable open educational resources. But I fear a paradigm shift might be in order. He writes, "the professor is the academic authority who should drive the decision-making subject to the authorisation of the institution." We already know what happens if we allow the professors to drive the decision-making: nothing. That's why Open Access advocates like Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad argue for open access mandates. But also, we know something about authority-driven processes in general: they are top-heavy and ineffective. That's why (in my view) OCW projects cost so much. That's why I recommended a very different approach in my own paper. Paul Trafford, EDUCAUSE Connect July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard Unveils Plagiarism Prevention Service
Blackboard has launched a plagiarism detection service. It compares submitted work to a database of 2.6 million papers along with articles submitted by institutions and 'voluntarily' by students. The company is also up to its old tricks - despite the longstanding (and controversial) existence of TurnItIn, Blackboard does not even blush when it claims that "SafeAssign is a unique plagiarism prevention service because student and/or faculty papers are included." It's hard not to see the irony in the copying of an anti-plagiarism service. Via Liberal Education Today. Press Release, Blackboard July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wikipedia - Hypocritical?
I think Sean FitzGerald has a point here. As Wikipedia has suffered more and more criticism (criticism with is, I might add, for the most part reactionary and baseless) it has felt itself pressured to be 'more authoritative'. But this has been in turn defined as 'based in traditional media' with increasing frequency. The most recent case - where a hugely popular video has been removed from the 'movie' listing because it has not been reviewed by nationally-known reviewers - is a case in point. The movie has been widely viewed and widely reviewed. But it's a web-only phenomenon - probably because it's not generating megabucks for some studio (that alone would explain why it doesn't get reviewed in the newspaper). Sean FitzGerald, Sean's Emerging... July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

MyNewport - MyLearning Essentials for Facebook
This is an interesting article showing how a university mashed its local information system with Facebook. "MyNewport is a Facebook application that allows students to access to MyLearning Essentials resources from Facebook." That said, it is worth noting, Facebook is a closed platform. Graham Attwell: "Yes the college VLE uses open standards. But Facebook does not. It is one thing providing access ot a developers kit to write applications to get data in to Facebook. But what about the other way round. How can learners get their data from Facebook into their Portfolio. As far as I can see they can't." Why do we keep having to learn the same lesson over and over? See also Doug Belshaw on problem with education-related social networks. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Putting Canadian "Piracy" in Perspective - The Sources
The video isn't that great, and I hate the background music, but the story it tells is worth the ten minutes. In a nutshell, the numerous reports we have been reading in Canadian and other media about how Canada is a haven for copyright pirates is simply false. Not true. Not even remotely true. And while Michael Geist neatly makes the case against the lobbyists - notably the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), which represents mostly U.S. interests in Canada (the Canadian music publishers and artists have long since left) - what I would like to question is how these false reports end up in our newspapers and (hence) influencing public policy. Almost every day, it seems, people hold up the traditional media as the paragon of reliability the web, the blogosphere and things like Wikipedia ought to be aspiring to. But even more frequently, I see examples of blatant and deliberate falsehood in the traditional media. True, there is no point shouting at them - they have no intent to listen. But I do not intend to rely on traditional media as a standard of truth. Not while it continues to set new standards in deception. Michael Geist, Website July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Graham Attwell Mash-Up Video
Nice video contraposing an official-sounding description of the e-Framework, a set of protocols intended to standardize educational web services, and commentary from a talk by Graham Attwell. I especially like the way he was able to dig up the subtext from what would otherwise seem to be an innocuous technical video. Dave Tosh, Weblog July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Citizen Media: A Progress Report
Worthwhile and studiously accurate summation of the state of the (news) media at this point of the information revolution. I agree with Gillmor's assessment: "We need much more experimentation in journalism and community information projects. The business models are, at best, uncertain - and some notable failures are discouraging. Dealing with the issues of trust, credibility and ethics is essential; as are more tools and training, including a dramatically updated notion of media literacy." Dan Gillmor, Center for Citizen Media: Blog July 16, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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