OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 15, 2010

News Consumption, RSS Readers, and New Business Models
Rob Reynolds, the xplanation, September 15, 2010.

files/images/news.png, size: 42776 bytes, type:  image/png You look at charts like these and you begin to think that if it weren't for the internet, people wouldn't read at all. That's maybe an exaggeration (though Harry Potter notwithstanding, one wonders how much of one). But it's certainly fair to say that, in the US at least, people would not be reading any news offline. The unfortunate part is that the number of people who actually read news is in a distinct minority, which means at that at the very least their news is punctuated with misleading political advertisements, and more probably, is itself a political advertisement.

Rob Reynolds writes, "I think George Siemens is correct when he says that "The cohesion or sociality that hold an online group together are far less explicit than I recall even a decade ago (Yahoo groups, or prior to that, online bulletin boards, the Well (I never joined)). The enabling structure of engagement is no longer the group or network. Instead, it's a tweet, or a single picture." It is precisely these social forces or influencers that have led to the stagnation or decline of many RSS reader services. Rather than sort through the news on their own, most are relying on tips from others via Twitter or Facebook." Of course, you know where these influencers are getting their tips, right? That's it - RSS readers.

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Handheld E-Book Readers and Scholarship: Report and Reader Survey
Nina Gielen, ACLS Humanities E-Book, September 15, 2010.

files/images/HEBLogo.gif, size: 3916 bytes, type:  image/gif Survey of practitioners, mostly librarians, who used e-book readers, mostly Kindle, Sony Reader, or Stanza for iPhone, who viewed one of three ebooks, and reported on navigation, formatting, errors, search, note-taking, and other questions. The purpose was to compare scanned eBooks, XML versions, and those obtained from vendors. "Titles formatted for existing handheld devices," report the authors, "are not yet adequate for scholarly use in terms of replicating either the benefits of online collections-cross-searchability, archiving, multifarious interactive components-nor certain aspects of print editions that users reported missing, such as being able to mark up and rapidly skim text." I wish they'd compare these things with reading on browsers, the way I read this paper. Browsers work just fine, have none of the limitations of eBook readers, and are free. Via Tony Bates.

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Ants spiral of death – how ants kill themselves
Unknown, buZzhunt.co.uk, September 15, 2010.

I'm sure there's a lesson about forging your own path or following leaders like ants in there somewhere. At the very least it's yet another example of what amazing things you can learn from the internet. It's "a circular mill, first described in army ants by Schneirla (1944). A circle of army ants, each one following the ant in front, becomes locked into a circular mill. They will continue to circle each other until they all die."

Via Cynical C and The Ant Room

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The Death of the RSS Reader: Another Debate That Needs to End!
Luis Suarez, E L U S A, September 15, 2010.

files/images/4767601264_eaa8e648e2_m.jpg, size: 32517 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I spend more time on RSS each day than probably any other tool, except maybe email (sorry Luis). And RSS is at the core of things like the PLENK2010 course. So no, I don't think that RSS is going away, and that's why I appreciate this defense of it. "RSS feed readers will come and go," writes Luis Suarez, "just like with any other Internet (social) tool available out there... However, that's not where our focus should be. Our focus should be on the behaviours; on the task at hand; on building the good habit of ensuring people understand and comprehend fully, so they can adopt it successfully, key concepts like aggregation of relevant content or subscribing to the content that matters to them."

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A free tool for creating SCORM learning materials yourself
Ray Fleming, Microsoft UK Schools News Blog, September 15, 2010.

files/images/0435.image_5F00_3.png, size: 147222 bytes, type:  image/png I am not sure I would recommend actually using this as e-learning, but if you want to create some SCORM content this tool may be for you. This marketing from a Microsoft blog: "Have you heard of the free Microsoft Learning Content Development System? We've just updated it to version 2.5, which now supports more complex content, and is Firefox and Silverlight 4 compatible. It is a free tool that lets you create high-quality, interactive, online courses, and publish them in SCORM 1.2 packages (exactly what your Learning Platforms like to consume!)."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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