OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

November 2, 2011

How Google Reader's Overhaul Betrayed and Irked Its Most Passionate Users
John Paul Titlow, ReadWriteWeb, November 2, 2011.

files/images/occupy-google-reader.jpg, size: 66518 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I am one of Google Reader's power users. I don't use the community features so much (I have other applications for that) but I am finding the new design difficult to work with - and, you know, I did use the 'share' feature quite a bit, it had a specific purpose, and several hundred subscribers. And I'm not going to send stuff to Google+ the same way I sent to share - G+ is different. As the article says, "Even a former product manager for Google Reader chimed in with a biting critique of the overhaul and a small, but passionate #OccupyGoogleReader meme was born. " I'm also finding that Google Reader has been 'optimized' for Chrome (which is a nice way of saying 'broken for Firefox') so it spends a lot of time stalled and unable to move. "Because in its big push to reposition itself as a social-friendly company, Google just displaced an entire community of users, effectively shutting down a social ecosystem that had existed for years." Yep. Because Google doesn't want to use RSS, IMO, and is working to push RSS out of the system, to be replaced entirely by +1 buttons and social sharing in a closed environment. Not good.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google Chrome, Google, RSS]

Share |

files/images/20111102-095428.jpg, size: 128328 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Michio Kaku Keynote Mindmap
Clark Quinn, Learnlets, November 2, 2011.

3D TV. Toilet analysis. Driverless cars. Intelligent clothing. These are the easy predictions. From someone who has practically trademarked the phrase "in the future..." I want to see some hard predictions. Anybody can read Bruce Sterling or Neal Stephenson and come up with self-built hotels or do-it-yourself education. Or even Larry Niven to come up with flash mobs and organlegging. But where are the hard predictions? Here's a few:
- roads replaced with ribbons - with the rise of 'quantum locking' technology almost all energy-intensive travel (car, rail, air) will be replaced by the network of friction-free 'ribbons'. 'Ribbon sailing', though dangerous, will become a popular.
- no fixed address - people will carry what they own, and the most free will be the people with the fewest possessions; everything we need will be available for free at way-stations, so as a result, people will wander slowly from place to place.
- 'in-reading' - reading internally a stream of text (and/or images, etc) presented mentally (as a retinal projection, for example). In-reading will be touted as cognitively superior to the lazy and wasteful 'in-viewing' (which, as we all know, will never replace in-reading as a way to learn, and is just a cheap form of entertainment).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Video, Networks, Copyrights]

Share |

Collective intelligence: an interview with Pierre Levy
Eelke Hermens, Masters of Media, November 2, 2011.

files/images/levy.jpg, size: 47134 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Pierre Levy is interesting and this interview is definitely worth a read, but it awakens the crank in me when I read it (yes, I'm old enough to be a crank now!). Take this, for example: "Universal does neither mean 'out of history' nor 'out of culture'. The notation position system of numbers, including the zero, is universal. The decimal system is (almost) universal. The time zones system is universal. The meridian and parallel systems for geography are universal. The Internet Protocol and the HyperText Transfer Protocol are universal. However, all these symbolic systems have been invented somewhere, sometime."

This got me thinking, what would my life be like if I did not adhere to these "universal" systems. I would 'count', like some cultures, using relative analog measures like distance and volume. I would calculate geo-location like a child, as a direction and distance from home. I would keep time the way my clock does, at a rate of 24 hours and one minute per day. And I already use non-standard HTML. So, maybe these universals aren't so universal at all. And maybe Levy's assertion that "If ideas and concepts are not formalized, it is impossible to compute their semantic relationships automatically" is just false. Only syntax needs formalization. For semantics, 'close enough' is not only OK, it's the way we actually do it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Semantics, Semantic Web]

Share |

files/images/microsoft-age-patent-kinect.jpg, size: 85234 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Why parents help their children lie to Facebook about age: Unintended consequences of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act’
danah boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey, First Monday, November 2, 2011.

This article proposes that, since Facebook simply imposes an age limit in its terms of service, rather than providing parental controls, then, as shown by a survey of American parents of children ages 10-14, parents are willing to allow their children to lie about their age to access Facebook. And - given Pew survey results showing almost half of 12-year-olds are on social networks - the practice is widespread.

I found that there was a lot of push behind this article - see danah boyd's blog post, the Huffington Post op-ed, CNet Coverage, and more. And the survey was actually conducted by Harris Pollsters using "an invitation–only, opt–in panel that offers potential respondents an incentive in the form of a drawing for a reward," and only interpreted by the study authors.

So I conclude there was money behind this study, most likely (to judge from the Acknowledgements section) from Microsoft. Hm. Microsoft has long been interested in parental controls. It recently applied for a Kinnect patent for a parental control setting based on body dimensions (see image, above). See also this report. It has an existing product, Windows Live Family Safety. danah boyd should know, when you work for Microsoft, it just looks bad when you run studies critical of Facebook.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Microsoft, Books, Operating Systems, United States, Marketing, Patents, Networks, Copyrights, Academia]

Share |

files/images/Layered-1024x602.jpg, size: 71530 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Sage at the Side
Clark Quinn, Learnlets, November 2, 2011.

Clark Quinn has come up with a diagram and phrasing which characterizes at least part of what I take to be connectivist pedagogy: sage at the side. "As you traverse the ‘rocky road’ of life," he writes, "imagine having a personal coach who would observe the situation, understand the context of the task and the desired goal, and could provide some aid (from some sack of resources) that could assist you in immediate performance." I think it's an interesting concept - though I would envision less 'coachy' and more 'sagey' (though individual styles no doubt vary). A typical learning, as well, could and should take advantage of multiple 'sages at the side', as the situation warrants. And of course the 'sage' may indeed turn out to be a computer persona that accesses resources and mentors for you as needed. "Individual mentors don’t scale very well. But here’s the twist: we can build this. We can have curricula, learning objects, and build a sage via rules that can do this... Imagine going through your workday with a device (e.g. an app phone or a small tablet) that knows what you’re doing (from your calendar), which triggers content to be served up before, during, and after tasks, that develops you over time. We can build the tutor, develop and access the curricula and content, deliver it, track it." This, oif course, is the much-discussed Personal Learning Environment.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Mentors and Mentoring, Learning Objects, Personal Learning Environment]

Share |

files/images/arvan_economics.PNG, size: 56809 bytes, type:  image/png
Open Educational Video Content Viewing
Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology, November 2, 2011.

Lanny Arvan has been posting materials for his intermediate microeconomics course online. Leaving aside my misgivings about economics as a discipline, the videos make for interesting viewing. Here's the YouTube video channel and here's the Economics Metaphor blog. Arvan writes, "the viewers are finding the videos - mainly via search... from within YouTube, either via YouTube search or from related videos.... With online learning, ... content resides in an LMS ... which may entirely preclude this sort of external discovery." (sorry about the ellipses; Arvan's blog writing style has always been excessively wordy).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: YouTube, Video, Web Logs, Online Learning]

Share |

Why Isn't YouTube Canadian?: My Appearance Before the Industry Committee
Michael Geist, Weblog, November 1, 2011.

Michael Geist weighs in with the observation that many of the services that define the web today - Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc., were actually invented first in Canada, but did not become world leaders because of legal and policy problems in Canadian law. He writes:
- ICraveTv was a video sharing service that persisted until the U.S. complained and the law was changed, making the service illegal (Here's my article from back then).
- OpenText, while still today a large company, could have been our Google, but Canada had a much more restrictive fair dealing provision that prevented OpenText from offering the same sort of results Google did.
- Nexopia started well before Facebook but was not protected by the same sort of 'safe harbour' provisions Facebook did to support sharing and messaging

[Link] [Comment][Tags: YouTube, Books, Video, Google, Canada]

Share |

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.