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by Stephen Downes
November 7, 2007

Immodest Networks
Scott Wilson is right; there has been very little (much needed) attention to the depiction of statements on the web, such as "you have 124 friends", as claims, and not statements of (indisputable?) fact. This also applies to metadata in general, and it should be noted, that with some few exceptions, statements made by the authors of resources are also claims, and not statements of indisputable fact. Scott Wilson, Weblog November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Big Juicy Twitter Guide
Bound to be popular and a good site for offering a good introduction to Twitter. And it gets to the heart of Twitter: "Unlike blogs, Twitter is a real time broadcasting medium. You update, it is broadcast to your followers..." There's a lot here, not just the tech, but also how it's used, such as "socializing with Twitter." Via HeyJude. Caroline Middlebrook, Weblog November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

New Dublin Core in X/HTML Spec Available for Comment
For those who havebn't given over meta tags completely to the spammer, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative has a new specification for the encoding of 'meta' and 'link' elements in HTML and XHTML. Pete Johnston, eFoundations November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Berger and Stevenson On K-12 Entrepreneurship
Tom Hoffman cites an interesting paper on innovation in the education sector. Be sure to read the paper itself and not just the summary. In addition to some great tidbits ("it turns out that the health sciences R&D climate in the US - and most of the breakthroughs - depend largely on government funding of innovation through the NIH and at universities") it also provides some compelling insights into the distress of the education innovation market. I think that the observations are certainly accurate, everything from the lack of investment in research and development to the oligarchical commercial sector in the field to the difficulty in reaching and speaking to the market. I don't think that some of the solutions that seem obvious - like pooling buying power and research - are necessarily the best way to go, because such 'big' solutions tend to impose a uniformity on the system that is not healthy (and is endlessly subject to politics and manipulation). But the small-scale solutions defy easy explanation. Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Comet Daily
Another tech term is making the rounds: "Comet." It doesn't stand for anything. Comet describes a type of client-server interaction that is like Ajax, but "Comet applications can deliver data to the client at any time, not only in response to user input," according to Alex Russell in his seminal article on this topic (makes me think of good old 'keep-alive'). Seminal, at least, according to this article in Comet Daily the weblog devoted to Comet. Is there a point to this? Yes, it has always been useful for "chat, games and real-time monitoring of prices and states." Will the term survive? Hard to say - but there is some tech behind the concept, so even if the name fades, the idea won't. Via Simon Willison. Various Authors, Comet Daily November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

20 Ways To Aggregate Your Social Networking Profiles
Social network aggregators allow you to associate your identities on different social networks (these are the primary beneficiaries to an initiative like OpenSocial, because they will now be able to export content into and out of the social networks). This site summarizes twenty social network aggregators. Via Andy Powell (who links to a copyblog on this item). Stan Schroeder, Mashable November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Blackboard Is Losing Customers, but What Does It Mean?
Blackboard's stock, despite the lawsuit and the bad publicity, has continued to climb historically, probably spurred on by recommendations from industry analysts. Probably they like not only Blackboard's hold on the market - "the high cost of switching to a new system is likely to encourage customers to stay with Blackboard" - but also the company's continuing emphasis on commercial transaction systems, such as today's announcement of support for contactless card technology. Nonetheless, Michael Feldstein notes, the company is continuing to lose customers, the result of major universities moving to Moodle, as Louisiana State did. What's going on? "The big loss appears to be unambiguously in Blackboard Basic licenses... there is no evidence at this time that Blackboard is losing its most lucrative Blackboard Enterprise or Vista customers. And to a certain extent, the loss of the lower-end customers could actually be beneficial to Blackboard's financials." Michael Feldstein, e-Literate November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Web 2.0 Inside D2L - ProtoPage Widgets
Lots of talk about widgets these days. Here's a post about using a Widget system called Protopage inside Desire2Learn (presumably this would work for just about any LMS). What people have discovered about widgets is that thy can contain dynamic content. That's why Tony Hirst has been trying things like creating an Open University desktop using a system called PageFlakes. He has also been rolling OU pages using Grazr (and showed us how using the Stringle Grazr studio). Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wisdom (?) of Crowds
It is always worth revisiting the conditions set by James Surowiecki for the wisdom of crowds (in this case, as summarized by Dave Snowden:
1. There has to be a way of aggregating individual responses to provide collective judgement
2. There has to be cognitive diversity in the participating group
3. Each of the participants has to make decisions independently of the others.
The similarity between these conditions and my own is no coincidence (and not just because I read Surowiecki's book (though I did)). Where my account differs from this is that I think that the wisdom is emergent, not aggregated. And I think that there needs to be semantic inputs for individuals, something not stated at all here; that's why I insist on connectivity and openness. There is a temptation to require a veil of ignorance. "The agents are not independent, they influence each other and the system." But I think it is useful to learn from each other, so long as we can make our own decisions. That's why I say that autonomy is important, rather than independence. Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Not the Sunday Funnies: Lessons From Webcomics
Fantastic post from Alan Levine (fresh from his Australian tour) on the history of web comics. This history, which begins in 1993 with a one-panel comic called "Doctor Fun, was outlined in a session presented by Ruben Puentadora at NMC Regional Conference at Tulane. Levine provides the summary of the presentation, rich with links. He also brings us some of the flavour of New Orleans. Alan Levine, CogDogBlog November 7, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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