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4 mars, 2003

Peter De Vries. "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be." [Quotes of the Day]
What do you think? []  links to this post    8:02:58 PM  
Humility, usefulness, and blogs

Joi's party of 150.

Had a great time at Joi's party in Palo Alto last night.  The buzz was certainly reminiscient of the days of yore.  The difference is humility, an interest in making things people actually use and that nametags have blogs behind them.

There are some bloggers who have already written about the party: Chris Pirillo, Gnome Girl, Jason Defillippo, Dave Winer, Marc Canter, Kazuya Minami [Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

Humility, usefulness, and blogs. A revolutionary combination. Image might still be everything, but the images have gotten much richer. I really like that.

What do you think? []  links to this post    6:08:00 PM  
School and meaninglessness

Serious senioritis? Fewer students say courses are meaningful. [Christian Science Monitor | Learning]

This is an interesting finding.

While 40 percent of high school seniors reported that their schoolwork was "often or always meaningful" in 1983, a mere 28 percent offered that response in 2000.

Meanwhile, the percentage of students who reported that their courses were "quite or very interesting" dropped to 21 in 2000 from 35 percent in 1983.

Even among A-students, fewer and fewer forecast that their schoolwork will be very important later in life.

These declines, noted across the board, were largely independent of the type of high school program - academic, vocational, or technical - the students were enrolled in.

Very well, so based on this you'd expect students to detach a little bit from school and invest in other, more fulfilling activities, right? Wrong! Here's the punchline:

Notably, the Michigan study found that declining interest does not equate with declining effort. Over the decades studied, students reported putting a consistent level of work into their assignments.

Students are willing to put up with more and more stuff that is meaningless to them.

Why is it so?

My best guess is that we are generally conditioned to seek extrinsic rewards, and that in that context the meaning of tasks (or lack thereof) is immaterial.

What do you think? []  links to this post    5:57:14 PM  

Oscar Levant. "What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left." [Quotes of the Day]
What do you think? []  links to this post    5:25:50 PM  
Pied Pipers wanted

Yesterday Donna Wentworth linked to a Stanford project to help people in their community start weblogs. Right on. [...] Also note that it's important to have a Pied Piper. It's not enough to put up a server, you'll wait a long time before the weblogs start. Someone has to make it look interesting and fun and point to the cool stuff. That's what Jenny does for librarians, and Denise and Ernie for the attorneys. I always keep an eye open for a Pied Piper. I of couse am a PP myself. [Scripting News]

If you're reading this, if your area isn't well covered in blogspace, and if you don't run a weblog yet, please consider becoming a Pied Piper. We'll all learn so much.

What do you think? []  links to this post    4:56:06 PM  
Blog lingo explained

This is a nice piece. See also Joi's meme story. I learned stuff in both.

"Phil Gyford has produced An introduction to weblog terms for weblog readers. It explains RSS, permalinking and trackback - some of the more commonly mentioned weblog-specific pieces of jargon." [ via The Shifted Librarian via McGee's Musings]

What do you think? []  links to this post    4:46:57 PM  
How lucky we are

A task as large as Africa itself. An academic struggles to tell the story of higher education on his continent. [Christian Science Monitor | Learning]

Unsurprisingly, things are pretty bad almost everywhere in Africa.

The entire continent has only 300 institutions that could even be classified as universities, making Africa the world's least developed region in terms of both institutions and enrollments.

While Nigeria and Sudan top the list with 45 and 26 universities respectively, at least six African nations, including Djibouti, Cape Verde, and Gambia, have no universities at all.

In some nations, such as Somalia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many postsecondary institutions have been completely or partially destroyed by political unrest and war.

On a more encouraging note, check out Collaborative Development of Open Content: A Process Model to Unlock the Potential For African Universities (via Stephen).

What do you think? []  links to this post    4:43:01 PM  
George Siemens rocks (part II)

I've said it once but it bears repeating. George really does kick-ass syntheses.

Article: Free and Open Source Movements. I've posted a new article on elearnspace: Free and Open Source Movements - Part 1. [elearnspace blog]

Here's the summary:

This article reviews the development and need for Free and Open Source movements in software development. Part 1 provides a global overview of climates and conditions that fostered the revolution. The climate in software development in 1984 is being mimicked in education today - closing doors, content as individual property, proprietary offerings, and for-profit challenges to the education environment. Part 2 (to be released March 8) calls for a similar revolution in the field of educational content and will announce the formation of an organization committed to fostering Open Source content development.

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:33:11 PM  
What people want to hear

Radio Stations Learn From Online Music Sharers. [...] someone had the bright idea, "hey, the music that people are sharing online might be the stuff that people really like - instead of the awful music that we play." Of course, while the industry is suddenly realizing how helpful file sharing systems are as a research tool, they're still trying to shut them down.

This at least shows a little creativity. [Techdirt via A Man with a Ph.D. via Robert Paterson's Radio Weblog]

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:24:03 PM  
"My Comments" as a sideblog

Michael Fagan:

I added a new feature to [my blog] Puzzlepieces today: Comments I’ve Made. You’ll find it on the right hand side after my links and such. Whenever I post a comment on someone else’s blog or a forum, I will post a link to it there. Actually, this “sideblog” is another blogger-powered blog, included on this page using SSI.

This simultaneously resolves two issues I have with comments:

1) Authentication. It becomes possible to verify that comments with my name on them were indeed penned by me.

2) Return on investment. The comments I leave elsewhere are given a second chance to be read and reflected upon, presumably by a different set of people.

I don't know to what extent Michael has automated this process, but it sure would be cool to have an intermediate commenting software layer that posts to both places with a single click...

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:55:27 PM  
Music quest update

Here's an update on my ongoing quest to find good ways of finding music I like. offers a number of quite narrow (in terms of styles) radio channels - there's even a subchannel that only plays Ninja Tune artists! I like their simple interface. They tell you upfront what artists and albums they're playing, let you skip tunes and remove artists from the playlist. Don't try to remove too many, though!

Audioscrobbler (site down right now) captures your playlists and tries to compute how your tastes overlap with other members', making it easier to find "like ears". You don't have to register to explore the database. MusicMatch's recommendation system does the same, but that one is a commercial service.

Interestingly, Radio Userland also originally was a playlist sharing application.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:47:03 PM  
Coevolving collaborative tools mailing list

The Blue Oxen folks and friends are having great forward-thinking, eyes-wide-open conversations on collaboration technologies over on the yak-tools mailing list. Here are a few nuggets that I found quite interesting:

Chris Dent posts weekly summaries of the action on the CollabWiki.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:28:59 PM  
The Social Web and its implications

I will be speaking at the Constellation W3 event on the future of the Web in Montréal on March 15th. The tentative title of my talk is The Social Web and its implications. All kinds of interesting people that I'd been meaning to meet for a long time should be there. I'm really looking forward to this.

What do you think? []  links to this post    2:06:30 PM  

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