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by Stephen Downes
September 19, 2007

September 19 - Talk Like A Pirate Day
Arrrrgh. It's 'Talk Like a Pirate' Day once again - has a year passed so quickly? Well, me hearties, this here is a nice article from last year with advice for would-be swashbucklers. Like: "Choose yer battles well, mate. If ye shoots a broadside at a galleon, ye'd best have more than a dinghy to back it up." Arrrrgh! Ye got that right, mate! And most important, "Know that you are master of your own ship. You never have 'no choice' in your life, even if you're in prison and shackled hand and foot. Even if you're about to die, you can choose to die well." Aye, matey. Unattributed, Jack of all Blogs September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Open Source and Open Standards
Four postulates on the role of open source in standards-based and online learning technology. Rob Abel, CEO of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, offers this guest blog post with the intent of enticing people to take part in the IMS community. It's not a very enticing invitation - I mean, let's face it, individuals play virtual no role in IMS; it's an organization dominated by large institutions and corporations. But I joined the 'community' anyways (not the first time I've signed up on the IMS site, by any means) - that way I can see, no, not a discussion board or social network, but rather some articles and reports I can download. There's also some webinars advertised - for June, 2007 and October, 2006. My advice to IMS? Try to be more open. Rob Abel, Terra Incognita September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Digital Rights Management and Consumer Privacy
When you read this report you'll utter, as I did, "Holy cow!" or words to that effect. "This report confirms that DRM is currently being used in the Canadian marketplace in ways that violate Canadian privacy laws." And really blatantly, too. "We observed tracking of usage habits, surfing habits, and technical data... we observed e-book software profiling individuals... A number of organizations used DRM to collect, use and disclose personal information for inappropriate purposes (e.g., Napster indiscriminately monitors its customers' communications to 'check for ...abusive language')... undisclosed communications to third parties..." Via Michael Geist. David Fewer, Philippe Gauvin, and Alex Cameron, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Google Presentations: The New Google Docs Module
A lot of people are talking about the new Google presentation service. This article from Robin Good offers an overview. I set it up for myself and imported one of my presentations. The slide design is pretty basic, but I like being able to include the audience in the sidebar (I wish I could make the sidebar bigger). And I like the 'revisions' feature, which lets me go back to previous versions. What I'd really like is a slide library I can simply draw from to create presentations. But you can't even drag and drop slides inside presentations. You know, it's funny, Google has all those programmers, but this is a really basic application, inexpertly done. Robin Good, Master New Media September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Wisdom of Crowds
Nice summary of James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. Take note especially of his "four conditions that characterize wise crowds: Diversity of opinion... Independence... Decentralization ... Aggregation." Mohamed Amine Chatti, Weblog September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Online-Learning Patent Dispute Heats Up
Meandering article that updates readers on recent activity in the Blackboard patent lawsuit and fills in some of the background, including some discussion of the Blackboard lawsuit over TurnItIn and the question of elearning patents generally. Robert L. Jacobson, eSchool News September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Bebo Boomers Make a Stand
I've begin to see more cases like this, where people are using their contacts in social networks to organize. In this example, students in Scotland are using Bebo to save their schools. There's more. A Facebook campaign forced HSBC to reverse a policy and refund student charges. More on this here and here. And another Facebook campaign convinced Cadbury to restore the canceled Wispa candy bar. These are a welcome switch from the corporate and political advertising campaigns. And we're seeing a financial side to this as well, with services like ChipIn being used to support Beth Kanter's trip to support Cambodian bloggers and the upcoming Future of Learning in a Networked World series of meetings in Thailand, and microloan programs like Kiva actually being oversubscribed. Ewan McIntosh, The Guardian - Comment Is Free September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

YouTube 101 - Yes, It'S a Real Class
Nice bit of journalism from Andy Carvin as he examines the depths of a university course on YouTube. "The idea behind it is to engage a group of students around the culture of YouTube, while requiring them to use YouTube as one of the primary mechanisms for communicating during the semester." I don't think that the idea is as flaky as some of the commentators - communicating using only video, and especially within the constraints of YouTube video - is hard. And studying the YouTube culture is worthwhile on its own merit. Andy Carvin, Learning.Now September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Strategy Letter VI
Joel Spolsky serves up another hit, this time an insightful analysis of the future of Web 2.0 applications. In a nutshell: something like C for browsers, a pre-compiled framework that supports extended Javascript operations and runs in your browser. Yes, Javascript - not Java or any other 'sandbox' type language. And Google has two choices: be the company that makes this and gives it away, or be the company that is always playing catch up with its browser based applications. Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

I Want My Eee PC!
More angst about the OLPC, the price of which is not up to $188. Of course, prom my perspective, the prive has hardly budged at all. The Canadian dollar was around 70 cents when the project was announced. Now it's almost 99 cents. The price - in U.S. dollars - may be rising, but U.S. dollars are becoming cheaper and cheaper for me to buy. Meanwhile, there's more competition for the OLPc on the horizon, Asus's new Eee PC, coming in at $199. cel4145, Kairosnews September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Russian OS to Be Installed in Every School
This article isn't as clear as it could be but the gist seems to be that Russian software engineers will be adapting Linux and other open source software for use in Russian schools. This makes sense to me. Miguel Guhlen responds with a provocative post, questioning why American schools don't do the same. We could do without the war analogies, though. It's just school software. Unattributed, CNews September 19, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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