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by Stephen Downes
December 25, 2008

Netbooks Vs. iPod Touch
Tony Vincent offers a convincing case to support the use of netbooks - small computers with wifi access, such as the Asus Eee - instead of the iPod touch. While the touch is flashy and sleek, the netbooks are easier to use and can do more things. Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Facebook Saves Lives
"Not all Facebook applications allow data to be exported. But need this be a overriding reason why Facebook should be avoided?" To Brian Kelly's question I replied, semi-seriously, "Yes." Ah, writes Kelly, but I was wrong. Why? "Facebook users are coming to the aid of children who need life-saving transplants." This is a ridiculous response. You don't need Facebook to send out appeals; it is merely one more channel in a universe full of channels. And while "Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content" it is nonetheless a violation of Facebook's terms of service to harvest that content. There is only one context in which Facebook should not be avoided: the current one, in which there is no decent alternative. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Scholarly Journals - New Free Service Makes Keeping Up-to-Date Easy
From the press release: "Keeping up-to-date with the scholarly literature just became much easier, thanks to a new service called ticTOCs - Journal Tables of Contents Service... It's free, its easy to use, and it provides access to the most recent tables of contents of over 11,000 scholarly journals from more than 400 publishers." What would be really useful would be were it to provide access to the papers themselves. Too much, I guess, to expect sch a contribution to innovation from the commercial sector. ticTOCs was funded by JISC. I've signed up; I'll let you know if anything comes of it. Press Release, Heriot-Watt University Library, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Time to Reboot America
Thomas L. Friedman asks and answers his own question - unintentionally. He asks, "What has become of our infrastructure, which is so crucial to productivity?" He answers, "I'd like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets." When was the last time you saw tax incentives produce infrastructure? Right: never. Friedman articulates the problem quite well, but the advances the tired old solutions that have been failing for the last decade and more. Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Microblogging in Education
This is a nice list of resources on microblogging in education. I bogged down almost immediately on the impressive list of teachers who Plurk - taking a detour and setting up an account on Plurk. Interesting it suggested a set of strangers to follow, based apparently on demographics (interesting the way it figured out my location automatically) - I shrugged and decided to follow them. Diversity, right? Malinka Ivanova, eLearning 2.0 Technologies and Concepts, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Occupation: Cloudworker
Ron Lubensky writes, "Thanks to Janet Clarey's nod to Venkatesh Rao's posts about cloudworkers, a term he coined to replace the anachronistic telecommuter." You know what would be better? Cloudwalker. Ron Lubensky, eLearning and Deliberative Moments, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Lessig: Ditch The FCC, Replace It With Innovation Agency
Lawrence Lessig calls for the abolition of the FCC, and the creation of an alternative agency, set up to provide "minimal intervention to maximize innovation." This is bad advice. Getting government out of the marketplace does not solve anything. It does not produce innovation - quite the opposite. And when the government is absent from the marketplace, corruption abounds, as it did in the financial services market. I agree, the government should not be 'picking winners' with preferential funding. But it should foster innovation and support national priorities. And it should set the ground rules and enforce them. This is what the FCC is supposed to do - that it fails to do so is not the fault of too much government, but a distinct lack of it Michael Masnick, Techdirt, December 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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