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by Stephen Downes
November 1, 2007

OSIS User-Centric Identity Interop at Catalyst Europe 2007
Fascinating set of test results posted to a wiki comparing user-centric access systems for interoperability. Worth noting (in my mind) is the way Shibboleth seems totally out of place here, and also the "issues" SxIP has with OpenID. Also, Scott Wilson flags MyOpenID's support for InfoCards. But before drawing any conclusions, it should be noted that these are very preliminary results for a very untested technology. Via Scott Wilson.

Related: Tom Hoffman ponders on some meandering remarks from Jeff Utecht (Hoffman is very tongue-in-cheek, I would say, especially while discussing ODBC). Still, what he says here is worth noting: "What you really want are API's that allow the two applications to talk to each other as peer applications, respecting each application's programming and business logic, rather than plunging their dirty fingers into each other's databases without asking... So... what Web Services are widely (at all) used in K-12 enterprise apps, in the US, at least? Ug... SIF. To say I have a love/hate relationship with SIF would be an overstatement. Grudging acceptance/hate is more accurate, but it is nearly the only game in town." Quite so. "What we really need is an open source SIS built on a modern extensible web framework, so that each of these strategies, and hopefully better ones coming in the future, can be pursued in a wide variety of schools, with improvements and enhancements rolled back into the main distribution." Really? Hmmm. Where could we find that? Bob Blakley, Burton Group Identity Blog November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

CogDog Gets Coded!
OK, I'd like everybody who is getting all excited about QR codes to go out and look up the CueCat (see also this). Thank you. End of rant. Leonard Low, Mobile Learning November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

First Asus Eee PC's On Sale Today
Major competition for OLPC is now on the market. Christoph Derndorfer takes a closer look at the impact of the Asus on OLPC. "As previously highlighted in Wayan's story the main differences between the various models are the size of the RAM (256MB to 1GB), the size of the flash mass-storage (2GB to 8GB), the camera and the batteries. Compare that to the OLPC project and its "one size fits all" approach and you'll realize that Asus offers more choice, both in terms of the hardware and the price per unit." cel4145, Kairosnews November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

OpenID Is Not a Provisioning Engine
Having a single login ID is one thing. Having attributes - such as an email address, or list of friends - that you transfer from one site to another is quite another. I have always thought that it would simply be a FOAF file derived from the login ID - that's one of the reasons why I made them URLs, and not, say, unique identifiers. If a user logged in as '' then their attributes should be found in ''. But OpenID does it as a request-response style interaction. That's way too much overhead for something so simple. I think that the reason this hasn't prevailed is that people want to control who gets what attribute. My response to this is: have different identities. That's why mIDm proposed to put them in a dropdown list in the browser. This is - eventually - where we'll end up. Unless the large companies pull a Microsoft and create an obfuscated system nobody can write code for. Will Norris, Weblog November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Today's Learning Terrain
Nifty illustration found in the badly titled but quite interesting Rather Graphic weblog, a site that focuses on the use of visual language to communicate. I dislike the term 'e-learning 1.3' as well (it sounds way too much like Java nomenclature). What Tony Karrer described as e-learning 1.3 last year is properly a part of e-learning 2.0. Via elearningpost. Marilyn Martin, Rather Graphic November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Reflections On CommunityThe Google Video That Results Is Quite Ungainly
My video for the (Re)Presenting Community 07 conference has finally been produced - goodness, what a disaster. The Mac stripped the voiceover from the screen capture, another feature of iMovie 08 (it does this for all screen capture software, making them notoriously hard on the Mac). Still, that did remove the echo, which I guess was a good thing. The Google Video that results is quite ungainly and hard to download. Stephen Downes, Google Video November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere
The entire tenor of this Nw York Times article is captured through the following: "Andrew Delbanco, the Columbia humanities professor, said flatly that it would be impossible to put his seminar on war and culture online because 'the energy and spontaneity of discussion among people sitting together in a small room cannot be replicated by electronic exchanges.' His statement, not surprisingly, came in an e-mail message." Joseph berger, New York Times November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

A Skeptic'S Take On Academic Blogs
The sceptic's take is not so sceptical, the author having actually blogged, and not merely a critic of them. The main point - with which I am sympathetic - is that it is very difficult to conduct a rich academic discussion in the blogosphere. I think it is easier to consolidate discussions into groups (as the author describes) but this carries with it the weaknesses of groups: the sway of group loyalty, the 'circling of the wagons' mentality. Working in the large, diverse, messy, blogosphere is harder, but it is ultimately richer and deeper. The same edition of Inside Higher Ed carries of blogs by Scott Eric Kaufman. Adam Kotsko, Inside Higher Ed November 1, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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