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How to design a product at a startup
Yevgeniy Brikman, O'Reilly, 2018/07/11

This is a long, detailed, and in many respects very orthodox treatment of the subject of designing a product at the startup stage. Though this isn't something most of us will do, the lessons are more widely applicable to the development of any new service including a course or a program). The focus here is on iterative and user-centered design. You don't build a Great Work of Art and then launch it. You do a bit at a time and interact with your audience. Also, "the second question, 'What are they trying to accomplish?', still trips many people up." It's difficult to get past 'how' something will be done to look seriously at 'what' should be done. There's a lot more in this, and if you want to get a good sense of the design process in 2018, have a look.

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Delivering WordPress in 7KB
Jack Lenox, CSS-Tricks, 2018/07/11

This article focuses on "obese websites" that take up too much energy to function. It's an issue I've faced in my move to Reclaim as I jumped from a dedicated bare-metal server to a shared hosting environment. It has taught me some lessons about gRSShopper - there are some pretty clear areas for improvement. Now the headline refers to getting the load of the homepage down to 7KB of data transfer. I'm more focused on the CPU cycles operating the PLE costs. Either way, the lesson should be this: we should be designing for fast, efficient and low-overhead services. As devces get smaller and energy gets more expensive, this will become all the more important.

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An Invisible Tax on the Web: Video Codecs
Judy DeMocker, Mozilla Blog, 2018/07/11

I created the term 'techpayer' on Twitter a few days ago to convey the idea of costs we all pay for necessary technology that are s inevitable and unavoidable as taxes. And a lot less democratic. This article describes a case in point, the royalties charged for the video codec (coder/decoder) we all use to watch, say, YouTube. In this article Mozilla is promoting a roylty-free alternative, AV1 . It's worth spending some time thinking about these issues.

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The LMS is broken, so what’s next?
Nelson Sivalingam, Training Journal, 2018/07/11

"It’s time to make learning fun again," says this article. " The LMS might have got content online, but it hasn’t improved how or the way we learn, it simply moved content from a textbook to a computer screen." I think the LMS has done a bit more than that, though to judge by some of the page-turners I've been subjected to, it hasn't done much more. But this isn't the solution: "companies can create engaging content that can be personalised to fit with an individual’s learning needs, and accessible to anyone at any time across the globe." Yes, relevant content is helpful, but a page-turner is a page-turner. Learning needs to be usable and interactive as well. But we've known this for a long time.

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Get the Re:Learning Newsletter
Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018/07/11

I welcome the addition of another entrant into the field of education-focused newsletters. From the Chronicle: "It’s written by Goldie Blumenstyk, a longtime reporter here, who is known for her expertise on innovation in and around academe. Goldie’s reporting brings her close to many of the institutions, organizations, and companies that increasingly wield influence over the direction of higher education, and the Re:Learning newsletter is our way of sharing what she’s hearing with you." This newsletter joins the Teaching Newsletter, devoted to, um, teaching. "This issue was put together by Beckie." Who I guess doesn't have a last name (it's probably Beckie Supiano).

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How to solve the local news crisis? Look it up in the library.
Don Day, Medium, 2018/07/11

I live in a small town in Ontario where decisions about the local school and the local (badly paved) main road have a big impact. News was always a challenge in small towns, and now it's a major challenge. And contrary to what is suggested in this article, I don't realy see the library stepping in and filling the gap. A library serves an informative function, sure, but what it lacks is an investigative function (where by 'investigtive' I mean nothing more complicated than asking the obvious questions (like, "where did that $2 million extra cost really come from?").

P.S. This post, the 30109 is the first post created entirely on my new platform at Reclaim Hosting.


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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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