Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [About] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
October 31, 2007

(Re)Presenting Community 07
OK, it's official. I do not have good video editing software for the Mac. I know that may seem astonishing, but I have to say, the stuff I was using on Microsoft - from MovieMaker to Camtasia to everything in between, worked much better (ie., worked) and much more smoothly. Mac's iMovie 08 is a disasterous piece of software - it is unstable, it assigns audio tracks to the wrong clips, it is slow, and it is stupid. Final Cut Pro, which of course does everything, in fact does nothing, or at least, nothing I want it to do (such as, say, preview a video without taking 10 minutes to render it first). Snapz Pro worked pretty well as a screen capture tool, without the limitations of Jing, and managed to create a 5 gig video without crashing, but is a lot more awkward to use. So the USQ audience is still without a video - one does exist now, and I'm going to try to clean it up and get rid of the echo before posting it, and then see what I can do about getting NRC to give me a good Windows machine for video editing. Yes, I said Windows. Various Authors, Website October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Joint IEEE LTSC-DCMI Task Force Meeting
I missed this meeting but the use of FlashMeeting - and especially the posing of the meeting for public viewing - makes me all the more inclined to go to the next one (I am not a part of this workgroup specifically but I am a member of IEEE-LTSC). Indeed, I would venture to say that this sort of public deliberation ought to become the norm in standards-building. People may say that some people may not want to contribute in public meetings, but my response is that such people should not then be defining open standards. So that attempts to gerrymander the process are seen in public view. And so that communications between groups are easily maintained without a whole lot of fuss and bother and secrecy. Here's the other standards meetings, and yes, there is an RSS feed. Mikael Nilsson, IEEE October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

One Qaddafi Conundrum Per Laptop Purchase
Well, I think we're seeing the cartel in action here. Originally, Libya had agreed to purchase a million OLPC computers. This numbr steadily dropped, until we now read that "Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp are supplying Libya's government with 150,000 rugged laptop computers that cost $200 to build and are designed to meet the needs of children in developing countries." Wayan Vota, One Laptop Per Child News October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Coase's University: Open Source, Economics, and Higher Education
Michael Feldstein interprets open source through the lens of economic theory. It's a nice paper, and this sentence caught my eye: "We typically reduce all of economics to supply and demand, but it could be equally well formulated in terms of cost and benefit. Every system of production, whether it is a company, a market, or an open source community, has its costs." That's a good point, and of ourse, the economic advantage of open source is that it lowers costs. But that got me thinking: supply-demand, cost-benefit... could there be other pairs of variables that explain economics equally well, if not better? Economics is, at heart, the science of the trade-off. How about, then, pairs like desire and dislike? Hope and fear? Because, after all, the driving force of the economy might not be money at all. It might be something more intangible, like love or fear. Indeed - when one views the irrationality of the stock market - it is rather more likely that markets are driven by psychological factors rather than financial factors. Which is why not only ruthlessly calculating people make money; passionate people do too. (I have no doubt the economists know all this, and scoff at people who trivialize economics as 'supply and demand'). Michael Feldstein, Terra Incognita October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Performance Support and Connectionism
OK, I need to clarify what I think has become a confusion. People like George Siemens and Jay Cross and others are talking about "knowledge that's stored outside your head". This is an incorrct depiction of knowledge, one that perpetuates the idea that knowdge is atomic, like 'facts', that can be moved and stored, as though it were some sort of object. We can see how ridiculous this picture is when we ask how we can 'know' something that is not 'in our head'. We are being asked to create some sort of elaborate fiction here.

In order to understand how knowledge works with complex tools, it is helpful to consider how knowledge works with simple tools. Consider, for example, the knowledge that "Stephen is 6 feet tall." This is knowledge that is 'stored' in the measurement device. But of course, the knowledge does not exist until a person actually uses the measuring device. The 'knowledge', properly so-called, resides in both the tool and the person doing the measuring. It would not exist without either. In the same way, knowledge provided to us by the GPS, the social network, or any of these 'outboard devices', exists, not as objects to be moved about, but as a distributed series of connections between ourselves and these devices. The tools contain 'facts' and 'data' and 'measurement' but the 'knowledge' doesn't exist until it is recognized and interpreted (which is why 'learning' is not accomplished by remembering the 'facts' stored in such machines, but rather, in the skills of recognition and interpretation). Jay Cross, Informal Learning Blog October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

OpenLearn2007 Conference October 2007
Nice use of Yahoo Pipes to collect and display blog posts covering the OpenLearn conference. One of the features of Pipes that I like, and that I use in edu_RSS, which makes you almost impervious to spam, is to aggregate content from a selected list of feeds, and not the entire world. You can, if you want, open things up to the wider world by aggregating a feed (the OpenLearn feed doesn't do this). You also need to strip the advertising from some feeds. openpad, Yahoo Pipes October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Behind the Scenes: How Did He Do That?
Dean Shareski shows us how he did the 'green screen' videos for his K12 video (scroll down to see it) - specifically, in addition to the green background, he used Pinnacle Systems software to create the effect, and Visual Communications software to create comment bubbles. Interestingly, he is producing his video on a Windows machine. I got a Mac specifically for video, and I must say, I am not impressed. The one redeeming feature of iMovie is that it automates loading the video from the camera (until iPhoto 08 blocked that). Final Cut will do everything, but you can't see what you've done until it has been rendered, and it takes forever to render. So I don't have good video editing on the Mac. Meanwhile, Camtasia has it all over the best screen capture I've seen for the Mac, which is Snapz Pro X. Dean Shareski, Flat Classroom Project October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Edublog Awards
The Edublog Awards are back again this year, this time with 20 categories. Nominations are open; you can visit the site and submit your (ahem) favorites. James Farmer and Josie Fraser, Website October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Details Revealed: Google OpenSocial To Launch Thursday
Here's the Slashdot discussion. Due to launch tomorrow, Google's OpenSocial will be "a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called 'hosts') that choose to participate." This will allow users to manage user information, their social graph, and activity information, which will be available on multiple sites. One of the nice things is that "developers use normal javascript and html (and can embed Flash elements)." This is being depicted in some quarters as an alliance against Facebook and Microsoft. But Mark Andreesen (Ning, one of the partners) depicts it as the next step in a process initiated by Facebook. "A big part of what's happening today is market expansion, and Open Social will definitely help fuel market expansion, which is in everyone's interest, including Facebook's." Alec Couros writes, "When proprietary standards are threatened, I am a very happy guy." And as Harold Jarche asks, "can OpenSocial become OpenLearning?" Related: FOAF Sites: "These FOAF Sites are open social networking sites which host a large amount of 'Friend of a Friend' FOAF data. they generate it automatically for all users. If you know of sites not on the list, please add them." Michael Arrington, TechCrunch October 31, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.