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by Stephen Downes
February 26, 2010

Giving Up On Patents
Tim Bray says of the patent system, "The whole thing is too broken to be fixed." He cites a stream of recent events, including the ongoing harassment of RIM, the argument that they do nothing to spur innovation, evidence. showing patents do not increase innovation, and the huge drain litigation creates. "While we all might agree that, in theory, it'd be good to introduce legal structures that provide incentives for inventors, the evidence is in, and it's clear that the current structure fails to achieve that while imposing horrendous costs and inefficiencies." Tim Bray, Ongoing, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

When using open source makes you an enemy of the state
The IIPA may be lobbying the U.S. government to consider open source to be a form pf piracy. According to this report, "the International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its 'Special 301 watchlist' because they use open source software." The "Special 301 watchlist", of course, is the list of intellectuual property violators. Sad and shameful. Unattributed, The Guardian, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

You are Never Alone
Starting March 1, and curriculum corporation are being merged. The new website reads, "Education Services Australia Limited has been established through the merger of Curriculum Corporation and Limited. While the new website is under construction, please access our existing websites by clicking on the logos below for information and news." Kerrie Smith, You are Never Alone, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Due Out Soon – The Google Qualified Developer Program
So you're hiring: do you chose the BSc Computer Science, or the "Google Qualified Developer"? Like other technology companies, Google is coming out with its own certification program, but unlike other companies, a Google Qualified Developer is likely to have a range of directly applicable skills for internet development. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Ten rules for writing fiction
It's pretty clear that some of the authors involved did not take the "10 rules" seriously. Others, meanwhile, got a little carried away (reminding me of the 'postcards' being exchanged in Barbara Ganley's Joyce-reading circle. "They feel like little bursts of felt response–by readers who love to read and love to feel the pen on a card, having to move within the confines of that small white square, and caring enough to take the time to find a postcard." As Al Kennedy says in his ninth rule: "Remember you love writing. It wouldn't be worth it if you didn't. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back." Ah yes, but then there are the writers who, like me, love having written, and would prefer to get to that point with a minimum of excess and puffery. Via Open Culture. Unattributed, The Guardian, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Course dimensions
Presentation from Gráinne Conole based around 5 facets of a course. "The categories were Guidance and Support, Information and Experience, Communication and Interaction, Thinking and Reflection and Evidence and Demonstration." Well, yeah, but I am left wondering about the theoretical basis for this characterization. Why, for example, are 'information' and 'experience' lumped together in the first model. Why are 'content and activities' together in the second (which consists of "Guidance and Support, Content and Activity, Communication and Collaboration, and Reflection and Demonstration")? Educational theory loves taxonomy, but on most days I fail to see the benefit. Gráinne Conole,, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

ePortfolio Showcase Feb 2010
I confess I was more interested in the use of Prezi than in the content of this talk on e-portfolios. The advice was fairly basic and obvious, and I began wondering what animation would be used next, and wondering why the '3-2-1' countdown kept repeating, and never ended. I don't think Prezi helps its own cause by slapping great big 'Educational Use Only' warnings on the startup screen. Jamin Lietze, eFolio in the UK, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Video DownloadHelper
My new favorite toy is a Firefox extension that downloadss my YouTube videos and converts them. It works faster than I can watch. First, I installed the Firefox extension (as 56 million people have done ahead of me). Restart my browser. Then I install the converter, which is an instance of the great ffmpeg tool (if you can't find your Download Helper icon, it's right beside your Home button). Then, when you go to YouTube, say, look for the icon next to the video title. Various Authors, Website, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

An Open Letter to Educators
"Society no longer cares how many facts we can memorize because in the information age, facts are free." This is one of the observations offered in this relentless video calling for change in institutional education. Dan Brown, YouTube, February 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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