Between the U.S. House defeat of COPE Net Neutrality provisions and their recent 410 - 15 passage of DOPA, I am really beginning to question my online learning aspirations. Is it as dire as some predict? Are we headed straight for the Internet Dark Ages?
I didn't fully grasp the twisted mindset on the DOPA issue until I read the text of the DOPA House Bill - Warning! Like hearing Senator Stevens' explanation of the Internet, it is painful to read how our elected officials define and characterize the Internet resources that I rely on daily in my online learning interactions. With a sweeping broad brush, they condemn all commercial social networking websites and chat rooms. Setting aside the fact that Congress makes a distinction between "commercial" and "noncommercial" sites (I guess predators are repelled by "noncommercial" sites?), I am dumbfounded that the drafters of the Bill selected the word "trendy" as the best choice to negatively portray the image of chat rooms and social networking sites. Oooo! Watch out! You are reading this blog on a "trendy" Drupal social networking site . . . how scary . . . Lindsay Lohan may be logged on, too. Oh, wait, no worries . . . this is a "noncommercial" site . . . but, if I run banner ads? . . . Thank goodness Congress is there to burn our online wiki books, toss the baby out with the bath water and protect us from all this Internet madness . . .
Not only are there now two subscribers to my blog listed in Bloglines (along with my own subscription - set up when I was my ONLY subscriber), but I got a couple of shout outs from Jeff Lebow at Edtechtalk.com and Worldbridges.net. The first came during EdTechTalk #50 and the other one in my "voicemail" in the right hand margin of my blog. I had seen my name in the Edtechtalk #50 shownotes, but I didn't have a chance to get caught up with listening to the actual podcast until today. Then, at about 8 1/2 minutes into my workout this afternoon I heard my name! How exciting! Now I know just (almost) how Lindsay Lohan feels . . .
Blogged with Flock
My mom showed be a ginormous full page ad in the back of her local paper saying, "The cable company is making big bucks by keeping you from having a real choice." Assuming that this was somehow related to the Net Neutrality debate, we checked out the slick web site and read several pages that linked us to an e-mail template to write our Senators to "protect our rights". Fortunately, before we could get too far, we realized that this site and the coalition backing it is a shill for the telecom companies with "coalition members" including AT&T. So, the "coalition" is telling us to get behind the telecoms having the right to compete against the cable companies thereby giving consumers more choice. However, as is made very clear in a sentence about 3/4 down the page in the form letter, we are also to ask our Senators to reject any Net Neutrality provisions that impede their duopoly: "Unfortunately big on-line companies like Yahoo and Google are doing their best to confuse this important issue by attaching so called "net neutrality" language to this bill. I urge you to reject this tactic and put consumers first." What a scam!
Blogged with Flock
With 3 weeks left in a 13 week summer term, I don't have time to fully ponder the title of this post. However, JT on her Online Learning Blog got my neurons scrambling a week or so ago and I think this is an issue that needs much more of my attention.
When I first read about Constructivism, I had an "aha" moment. I could really grab on to some of the underlying themes, in particular the premise that learning is an active process in which the learner is the worker bee constructing meaning based what he / she "knows" and what is out there for discovery in the learning environment. I even appreciated the "social negotiation" aspects. However, this is also where I see very bad things happen between theory and practice and, in the worst case, the learning environment becomes one long run-on social negotiation (also known as "group project" work). Which leads me to the back to the title of this post ...
I forgot to mention in yesterday's post . . . lullabot.com is a great source for Drupal information. They have an awesome list of podcasts and videocasts to push you along the Drupal learning curve! One of their videocasts got me through a recent Drupal upgrade. In the often disjointed world of open source, it is nice to follow their lead!
Thanks for the "heads up" from D'Arcy Norman.net on the Open Source Content Management System (CMS) review from IBM Developer Works. Even though I'm a biased Drupal user, it is an interesting comparison of some of the most popular options, including Drupal (the winner!), Mambo, Typo3, Ruby on Rails, Movable Type, WordPress and TextPattern.
I stumbled on this statement from U.S. Senator Russ Feingold from the 6/12/06 Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Net Neutrality (made me proud to be from Cheddarland). It inspired me to check in on the status. While the House passed COPE without meaningful Net Neutrality provisions and the Senate bill failed to pass the committee (by an 11-11 tie), the battle is far from over. According to SaveTheInternet.com, Feingold is currently one of 20 Senators on record as being "for" Net Neutrality legislation (based largely on the lack of competitive broadband market options). Only 12 have confirmed that they are "against" it and the stance of over 60 Senators is "unknown". Most supporters of Net Neutrality hope that the Senator who is most vocal in his stance "against" Net Neutrality legislation will keep on voicing is opinions. Warning! It is painful, but it is important to compare the opinions of our elected Government officials. It is hard to say who is doing more FOR the Net Neutrality side - Feingold or Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. . . . Maybe you can send Senator Stevens an "Internet" with your thoughts. Score "1" for Wisconsin voters; "0" for the good people of Alaska.
I'm giving Feedburner a try. If you have a couple of seconds, please update the feed to my blog.
Ok . . . this is the ultimate in lazy browsing! Perfect for a late afternoon session of browsing while rocking on my hammock. Click on over to Web 2.0 Slides and rock yourself to sleep as you catch up on the latest and greatest. Per the site, here is what it is all about:
Web2.0Slides is a self-running slide show of over 1,400 of the best Web2.0 sites. It's categorized by tags and sorted alphabetically. What's
cool about it? You can click on any site in the left-hand column to
pause the slide show and surf around. When you're done, simply click PLAY,
and it will begin right where you left off. Perfect for Web 2.0 couch
'taters. But if you're antsy and want to click around on sites, go
right ahead—it won't stop the show.
One thing I have learned while reading up on "Net Neutrality" is that each person seems to have a different definition of what it is, what is should be or even what it should not be. As I have stated several times before, I agree that Internet providers should receive "just compensation" (however that is determined) for the infrastructure and access they provide. However, there are two nagging issues that keep me very interested in this debate: 1). the lack of broadband choice I have given the cable / telecom monopoly that currently exists, and 2). the walled gardens I experience with my mobile device. Here is why I get nervous:
After my "being spaces" post yesterday, I started thinking about the missing link of local social interaction in online distance learning. One Google search led to another and before you know it, I stumbled on Meetup.com, a site designed to help people find others who share their interests to form local community groups. Believe it or not, but there are 5 other registered users of Meetup.com near my zipcode who have an interest in forming a local group to discuss Online Education and 22 others with an interest in Education and Technology - go figure! The "Online Education Meetup" is set up for those wanting to" "Meet other locals who are interested in discussing online university educations. Students, graduates, and professors at online universities are meeting up to form social networks, filling gaps left by the online learning model." How funny and cool is that?!
Blogged with Flock
Back in 2003, Intel's introduction of the microchip for cell phones and PDAs was part of "The Great Cell Phone Chip Race". I wonder why Intel decided to cash in its chips? MobHappy wonders the same thing.
Blogged with Flock
I love being a online distance student. On-demand learning is definitely for me! While I am amazed at the "friendships" I have developed through online collaboration, distance learning can be a lonely experience. Most of a distance student's learning time is spent in solitary activities - reading, writing papers, adding comments to asynchronous discussion boards. While most courses now include some synchronous component (we use Breeze at IU for weekly live webcam sessions), there is little opportunity for live informal (virtual) sessions with fellow students and no opportunity for live informal (human f2f) interaction.
In the past few months, I have tried the new IE Beta (wow - it has tabs), Netscape, Firefox and Flock. I have yet to try the newest release of Opera, but I am so pleased with Flock that it will take a lot to get me to try anything else for awhile. Built on the Mozilla project codebase, Flock offers all of the Firefox bells and whistles, but the interface is somehow "fresher". While I still occasionally need to boot up IE - Microsoft sites often "require" IE - Flock has become my primary browser. Here is a list of my favorite things about Flock (many are found in Firefox, too):
I just tested Itzle, a fun little web based chat application with a unique twist. As you are surfing the web, you can "invite" your fellow Itzle buddies to visit the web page you are on making the web surfing experience seem more collaborative. Itzle then provides a small pop up chat window that overlays the web page that gives you the sense of collaboration - in other words, a "you see what I see" experience. This is in contrast to other chat applications that just allow you to "cut and paste" a URL to share a link to what you are seeing . . . the same outcome, but a different interface.
I received an e-mail yesterday outlining the upcoming Innovate-Live Webcast schedule for this summer. Here is a cut and paste of the schedule:
All times are New York time. You may use the world clock at
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ to coordinate the time with your
time zone. The schedule for the June/July Innovate-Live Webcasts is provided
The Network Neutrality debate moved from the blogosphere to prime time TV news - public television prime time, but prime time TV none the less! An Amazon.com lawyer and telecom lobbyist debated the issues tonight on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. A commentator on tonight's Nightly Business Report covers the Net Neutrality issues, as well. Same story ... to a more mainstream audience - maybe my mom watched!
Blogged with Flock
Always willing to be the guinea pig for new software, I am in the process of downloading the Beta releases of MS Office, including Office Professional Plus 2007, Viso Professional 2007, Groove 2007 and One Note 2007. There are many other titles available for download from the preview site. The full versions will run until February 2007. After that, they will continue to work, but in a "reduced functionality mode" - whatever that means?
Accessing and reading Internet content on a mobile device is a pain. It is typically very slow and hard to view. While some sites have optimized their content for users who access the site on a mobile device (Google, Yahoo! and Bloglines just to name a few), the mobile Internet experience is generally bad and quite frustrating.
Using the "chart" functionality on Technorati, I tracked blog posts mentioning Net Neutrality (see below). Looks like it lost tremendous steam in the blogosphere after an early June '06 peak. Is that due to fading interest or lack of new activity in Congress?
More for the "cool stuff" category! From this e-clippings link, I came across Gliffy.com - a web based diagramming application (Visio meets web 2.0). It has a lot of great bells and whistles, including:
Who has time to evaluate all of these cool web sites?
Looks like this Net Neutrality debate will be raging on for some time to come. Today, the Senate is beginning its third day of hearings on draft telecom legislation after the House passed a bill last week that largely ignored the Net Neutrality supporters' concerns. Most supporters of the "Net Neutrality" concept want to ensure that network providers do not create (or enable) Internet content monopolies. However, there are a host of other issues that must be considered before such a "concept" could be (or should be?) drafted into law. The Wikipedia page on Net Neutrality does a nice job of summarizing the diversity of issues.
Please log on an read today's Washington Post Opinion Section: Lawrence Lessig and Robert McChensey "No Tolls on the Internet" - I couldn't have said it better myself! Please also keep checking in at Save the Internet.com
As I mentioned yesterday, zoho.com has options for hosted polls / surveys / tests / evaluations in their suite of web applications via zoho challenge and zoho polls. Today, I noticed that my web host (BlueHost - they are awesome!) offers several evaluation web applications for easily upload to my personal site via Fantastico. Maybe these will come in handy in my Evaluation course this semester ... hmmm ... Here are the links to these sites:
I updated several posts today (tags and such). Sorry for the RSS dump of old junk!
I'm trying out my second Mobile RSS Aggregator, Plusmo - if you count Bloglines viewed via the mobile Internet browser as my first. I read about it on the MobHappy blog. While Plusmo is stressing the app's ability to push content to a smart phone or PDA device, they have made a really nice RSS interface when viewed on my computer browser, too. I set up my account in about 7 seconds on my computer and in about 15 seconds later on my mobile device - after I opened the URL in my mobile Internet browser. It is also possible to download the app on your mobile device via SMS if you don't have browser capability on your phone.
I am testing out my new laptop (a Dell Inspiron 640m - the business brand sister to the home version E1405). Including Tom's work laptop, my Cingular 8125 and Tom's Blackberry, we now have 6 devices to access the Internet (including the iMac and our other laptop). However, I NEEDED this new super fast "thin and light" laptop :) Here are the basic specs: