Updated: 10/2/2004; 9:02:10 AM.
Bruce Landon's Weblog for Students
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

100 GB Email Account [Slashdot:]
10:40:08 PM      Google It!.

Judge Strikes Down Section of Patriot Act Allowing Secret Subpoenas of Internet Data. A federal judge ruled that the provision broadly violated the Constitution by giving federal authorities unchecked powers to obtain private information. By By JULIA PRESTON. [The New York Times > Technology]
8:44:35 PM      Google It!.

PalmSource unveils Cobalt OS. Phone-friendly for fast Wi-Fi data [The Register]
8:41:21 PM      Google It!.

Canadian copyright reform will hurt research and education. Educators fear effect of copyright changes, Canadian Press, September 22, 2004. Excerpt: "Educators across the country are gearing up for battle, fearing proposed changes to Canadian copyright law could hinder Internet use in the classroom. They say extended blanket licensing as proposed by a parliamentary committee on Canadian Heritage last spring, could create a costly pay-per-use system that might cause schools to deny students access to the Internet entirely....Educators are saying it's one thing for people to protect their work by passwords and encryption that allows only paid users to access it, or by creating low-resolution images that are inadequate for reproduction. It's another issue to charge a blanket copyright fee when many of those posting information do so without the expectation of being paid for it. 'Why should we pay for access to public information?' said Robert Schad, a University of Regina administrator and member of the Council of Ministers of Education." [Open Access News]
8:26:13 PM      Google It!.

Lancet supports OA to genome data. Keep genome data freely accessible, The Lancet, September 25, 2004. An unsigned and OA editorial. Excerpt: "[W]hile free and open access to [scientific] data is a boon to science, it carries some risk: among the genome sequences freely available on the internet are those for more than 100 pathogens, including the organisms that cause anthrax, botulism, smallpox, Ebola haemorrhagic fever, and plague. It is possible that a government, a terrorist organisation, or even an individual could use data from these repositories to create novel pathogens that could be used as weapons. Concerned about this possibility, several US agencies...commissioned the National Academies of Science...to convene a scientific panel to evaluate the risk and recommend policies to govern access to such data. On Sept 9, the panel released its report Seeking security: pathogens, open access, and genome databases. The panel concluded, rightly, that current policies should remain unchanged....The panel noted that the threat of misuse is not as great as some might fear....But even if sequences were identified as being particularly dangerous, the panel noted that it would be 'difficult, expensive, and probably counterproductive' to try to restrict access to these data....The current system also offers tremendous benefits. The panel pointed to the recent experience with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as an example of the power of an open system....But beyond the practical, open-access policies of the genome database repositories serve another purpose. One that might, in the long run, be more important. They present the world with a model of international cooperation, trust, and altruism that offers a compelling alternative to the worldview of those who would use bioweapons to impose their political and ideological views." [Open Access News]
8:23:50 PM      Google It!.

More on Canadian copyright reform. CBC News staff, Educators pan web copyright proposal, CBC News [Open Access News]
8:16:50 PM      Google It!.

AAU endorses the NIH OA plan. The American Association of Universities (AAU) has released a Statement on the NIH Public Access Proposal. Here is the statement in its entirety:

AAU strongly supports efforts to achieve the widest possible dissemination of the results of federally funded research, and the association commends the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its proposal to increase public access to published results of NIH-funded research. Making research results freely available to the public six months after those results are published should not only benefit the public through expanded access to information but should benefit scientists and advance science through wider dissemination of new knowledge.

We appreciate the recognition by NIH of the need for any such proposal to preserve the quality of scientific information through peer review, editorial, and scientific quality-control processes. The basic elements of NIH’s proposal appear to be consistent with this goal. NIH’s stated intention to work with affected parties during the further development of this initiative should achieve the goal of expanding public access in ways that preserve the quality of published scientific information. AAU will submit comments on the proposal and looks forward to working with NIH and other affected parties toward this goal.

(PS: This endorsement is very important. The AAU represents the leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada and carries great weight with Congress on issues relating to higher education, copyright, and scholarly communication. The statement is undated but was apparently released yesterday, September 27, 2004.) [Open Access News]
8:14:42 PM      Google It!.

How Technology Will Destroy Schools. David Wiley reflects. "As the price for these human-network interfaces decreases (which it certainly will), as network access becomes increasingly ubiquitous (which it will), and as the ratio of retrieval from the network to retrieval from human memory approaches one (which it will), it makes less and less sense for our children to spend their early years sitting in classrooms trying to develop the ability to retrieve inert information from memory faster than they can retreive the same information from the network." Don't miss the comment posted in reply. By David Wiley, David Wiley's Stuff, September 24, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect] [OLDaily]
7:43:24 PM      Google It!.

EFF p2p Copyright Guide. Interesting reading foreveryone and enormously useful for those working with peer-to-peer (P2P) software, this guide reviews relevant case law and offers ten valuable suggestions to avoid litigation. By Fred von Lohmann, P2P Net, September 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect] [OLDaily]
7:40:20 PM      Google It!.

Learning Object Production and Implementation: UT Telecampus. The article appears to have an editing malfunction near the beginning, but stick with it as the people interviewed - Jennifer Rees and Michael Anderson of the University of Texas - offer some good insites on the practicalities of implementing learning objects learned during the course of a large scale course development project using learning objects. Note especially the discussion following the observation that standard e-learning can be boring - "However, if you concede that LOs include a message component, we can enable LOs to "talk" with other objects: tests can be posted to grade books; RSS feeds can be pulled into pages and pushed into blogs; student interactions can be tracked and guided; teams can explore and learn and solve complex problems together in an immersive, communication-rich online community. In what seems at times a silent digital wilderness, voices can be heard." You can visit their site and have a look - follow the instructions at the bottom of the article. By Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen, September 18, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect] [OLDaily]
7:39:00 PM      Google It!.

The Future of Online Learning and Knowledge Networks. Slides from my presentation at education.au in Adelaide today (yesterday?). I outline the 'consensus view' (or perhaps, the 'orthodox view') of learning objects, repositories and federated search, outline why I think this view misreads the marketplace, technology, business models and convergence on the internet, and outline my own distributed search and management proposal. I have something like five hours of audio from yesterday; it too will be available in the future. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect] [OLDaily] -- this is a coherent but unsettling vision of the future in part because it implies that previous stability in the structure of education was just a moment in time and the future is one of continual structural change. The only locus of stability is the individual learner. -- BL

7:37:08 PM      Google It!.

On Google news and copyright. Adam L. Penenberg, Google News: Beta Not Make Money, Wired News, September 29, 2004. Penenberg explores why Google News, a site that crawls multiple news sites and gives readers a choice of sources to view, remains in beta. He explains that Google cannot derive advertising revenue from others' headlines and lead paragraphs or risk violating copyright law. Evidently, Google News has run into copyright troubles in other countries such as Germany and Hong Kong. Ironically, Penenberg notes that Google's founders sent a cease and desist letter to one who devised RSS feeds for Google News, saying they don't allow "'webmasters to display Google News headlines on their sites.'" (Source: Scripting News) [Open Access News]
3:16:35 PM      Google It!.

RadioShark Is Vaporware No More [Slashdot:]
3:14:34 PM      Google It!.

Electronic Back-Seat Driver System to Be Tested. Australian scientists have invented an electronic driver's assistant system, similar to the back-seat driver who forever points out road signs and warns against speeding. [Reuters: Science]
3:13:01 PM      Google It!.

Detailed look at the launch of PLoS. Will Harper, Publisher for the People, East Bay Express [Open Access News]
3:11:43 PM      Google It!.

BC Commons licence.


It struck me that while there will be quite a few out there who have seen this before, I haven't seen it make the rounds of the blogosphere and so maybe it is worthwhile...

The BCcommons Licence is a open content licence inspired by Creative Commons but aimed specifically at facilitating sharing of content created within the BC post-secondary system with the rest of that system. It has been developed by my employers (and my boss, Paul Stacey) at BCcampus. It's a kind of middle ground between "closed" content and the full Creative Commons, a way for our provincial system to promote sharing between institutions but hopefully not pushing people as far out of their comfort zone as the full on Creative Commons might. The first content to be released under this licence should be coming along shortly so we will soon see if this fills the anticipated niche and has the desired effect. And a final note: in a cool twist, the BCcommons licence itself has been released under the creative commons, so if it somehow inspires you and you think it could serve as the basis for your own middle way, dig in! - SWL

3:08:47 PM      Google It!.

Introduction to E4X. I recently met with John Schneider, chief technologist at AgileDelta and lead editor of the ECMAScript for XML (E4X) specification. I've mentioned E4X before, in the context of Alchemy. John's demo convinced me to give E4X a try. I'll say more about why I think it's important in an upcoming column, but meanwhile here's a glimpse of how it works. Warning: geekery ahead! ... [Jon's Radio]
3:07:41 PM      Google It!.

Canada should adopt a policy similar to NIH OA plan. Michael Geist, Tackling innovation deficit a balancing act, Toronto Star [Open Access News]
3:06:03 PM      Google It!.

Defense, IT Companies Form Standards Group. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The five top U.S. defense contractors, communications companies joined on Tuesday with some European rivals to develop technology standards that will allow better communication among future weapons systems. [Reuters: Technology]
3:04:44 PM      Google It!.

Seagate seeks system builder support for 100GB notebook drive. Ideal for barebone laptops, apparently [The Register]
3:02:04 PM      Google It!.

IBM Says Its Supercomputer Is World's Fastest. NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp. on Wednesday said it has developed the world's fastest computer, putting it back on top after a Japanese supercomputer claimed the title some two years ago. [Reuters: Technology]
11:20:42 AM      Google It!.

New social work journal. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics is a new peer-reviewed open access journal. From the editorial: "Early in the conception of JSWVE, the committee decided that the online publication must not have a subscription fee. Not only is the editorial board made up of volunteers, the publisher must be a volunteer. " (Source: Behavioral Sciences News [Open Access News]
11:19:27 AM      Google It!.

© Copyright 2004 Bruce Landon.
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