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by Stephen Downes
July 20, 2009


As you know, I visited Montreal last week, and while I filled my blog with session reports, I filled my camera with all manner of images. Montreal was filled to the brim, with a massive sidewalk sale on St. Catherine Street, the African Nights festival, and of course the famous comedy fest, Just for Laughs. I decided to do something a bit different with my photos this time, and created three sets (view them in order, optionally as slide shows):
Portraits of Montreal (1) (Slide Show)
Portraits of Montreal (2) (Slide Show)
Portraits of Montreal (3) (Slide Show)
Enjoy. :)

Stephen Downes, Flickr, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Free Music Archive
I have mentioned Jamendo before, and now want to point your attention to the Free Music Archive, another source of free and legal music MP3s (up to 10,000 tracks to date). If you load them in iTunes (or any similar service), be sure to make a back-up, in case Apple decides to pull an Kindle (see below). Dan Coleman, Open Culture, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Double Plus Ungoods: Amazon Unpublishes Orwell
It's hard to overstate the irony in this case. Arguing that it had accidentally sold stolen books, Amazon reached somehow into their customers' Kindles and deleted, "in a stunning bit of poetic reality," copies of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Animal Farm". Reaction across the internet was immediate, sharp and critical, and Amazon has sworn never to delete customers' materials again. As if (and the main point, that it can, is not resolved). Kindle World has kind, if somewhat bemused, coverage of the furor, includijng reports of students' lost notes on the book, the justification for the move, and more.

The appropriately named Kafka notes that though "all sales are final" you have purchased only a "license" to the work, and not the copy of the work itself. Make magazine explains how to recover your deleted copy of an Orwell work (step one: go to Australia...). The New York Times covers the story very kindly, noting only that "Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea." Doug Johnson says "I see it more like turning on your television and finding some of your cable channels gone." Maybe, but Kindle books are not marketed as though they were here-today gone-tomorrow channels. Tim Stahmer says "Producers of video content would love to exercise this kind of control of your television and DVR through government-mandated schemes like the broadcast flag." They would also like this degree of ownership over your computer as well, and already have it over your mobile phone (as Apple has demonstrated, deleting app after app).

Amazon's Kindle was always a fiasco, bad for literature and bad for learning, and now it can only be called a total fiasco. We'll see whether incessant marketing can continue to promote the idea that people should pay for work they could easily obtain for free (an idea that has a lot of traction in academia) but socially and technically the Kindle has reached a dead end, its true intent revealed before its time. Glenn Fleishman, TiDBITS, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

TV Tropes
This may seem like a bit of an odd link - despite the fact that it is absolutely fascinating - but I think that it is useful to see this list of 'TV tropes' (a trope is an instance of a property or relation, and in this case, an instance of an over-worked narrative meme) from the perspective of media literacy. It's not exactly 'criticism' in the sense of identifying an argument and offering alternatives, but it is exactly that in the sense of understanding, and comprehending, media. Via xkcd. Various Authors, Website, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The e-learning skills gap
I know this is titled 'e-learning skills gap' but I think it would be more accurate to say that it refers to an 'instructional skills gap. Clive Shepherd, Slideshare, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Balance Your Media Diet

You have to wonder where the writers of Wired are getting their ideas from when 'learning' or 'education' do not occupy even one percent of their media pyramid. Raj Boora offers an alternative - but still no learning. CJR complains that news is still broccoli. The Washington Post notes that the food pyramid is no longer hierarchal. Salon, meanwhile, says "don't blame education for scientific illiteracy, blame politics and pop culture - i.e., 100 percent of the Wired diagram. Says it all, I think. Jason Lee , Wired, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Copyright Consultation Launches: Time For Canadians To Speak Out
Canadioans need to be paying attention to what's happening at the copyright hearings, even though it's the middle of summer and we'd all rather be out at the lake. "The consultation features five key questions:
1. How do Canada's copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?" Michael Geist, Weblog, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Creating your PKM processes

My first thought was, do I do it this way? And, of course, I don't - my process is much too haphazard to be dignified with the term 'method'. But then I thought, what does the concept of a 'method' here imply? That there is a 'best' way to manage knowledge an information? Isn't that what we've learned there isn't? It's a pick-and-choose sort of thing: the way we manage information has a lot to do with the information, and a lot to do with who we are and what we want the information for. "categorizing', for example, is something I do only if my head is in a vise and I have no alternative - and even then, I use scripts to do it for me. Harold Jarche, Weblog, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

LSU Starts Fining Students For File Sharing; But Seems Quite Confused About It
It's hard to say whether the university administration is this confused about file sharing, or whether it is merely the spokesperson, but there seems to be a lot of misinformation being fed to students at LSU about the RIAA and their anti-sharing campaign. Mike Masnick, TechDirt, July 20, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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