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April 11 2012

Four short links: 11 April 2012

  1. Inside Apple (Amazon) -- If Apple is Silicon Valley's answer to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, then author Adam Lashinsky provides readers with a golden ticket to step inside. In this primer on leadership and innovation, the author will introduce readers to concepts like the "DRI" (Apple's practice of assigning a Directly Responsible Individual to every task) and the Top 100 (an annual ritual in which 100 up-and-coming executives are tapped a la Skull & Bones for a secret retreat with company founder Steve Jobs). Hopefully it can provide a better template for successful executive behaviour than "be an arsehole who has opinions about design" which seems to be all that many have taken from the life and works of Steve Jobs. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Microsoft Buys Netscape Patents from AOL (Slashgear) -- when your employer says "we need you to file for a patent on this, just so we can build up our defensive arsenal", bear this in mind: you can never know that the defensive portfolio won't be bought by an aggressive competitor in the future. I'm not sure that we can all sleep sound knowing that Microsoft owns autofill and SSL.
  3. Open Data and The Gulf Oil Spill (Ars Technica) -- competing interests meant uncoordinated data collection, reporting distorted research by omitting caveats on preliminary work and findings, and talking openly about what you're doing can jeopardise your chance of publication in many journals. I found data collection stories particularly horrifying. (via Pete Warden)
  4. Smart Meter Hacks -- Liston and Weber have developed a prototype of a tool and software program that lets anyone access the memory of a vulnerable smart meter device and intercept the credentials used to administer it. Weber said the toolkit relies in part on a device called an optical probe, which can be made for about $150 in parts, or purchased off the Internet for roughly $300. “This is a well-known and common issue, one that we’ve warning people about for three years now, where some of these smart meter devices implement unencrypted memory,” Weber said. “If you know where and how to look for it, you can gather the security code from the device, because it passes them unencrypted from one component of the device to another.” Also notable for the fantastic line: “What you’re hearing is the sound of [a] paradigm shifting without a clutch,” Former said.

January 19 2012

Play fullscreen

Justin Reich, Berkman Center Fellow

Will Free Benefit the Rich? How Free and Open Education Might Widen Digital Divides (permalink - Berkman Center)

Tuesday, Janary 17, 2012

The explosion of open education content resources and freely available collaboration and media production platforms represents one of the most exciting emerging trends in education. These tools create unprecedented opportunities for teachers to design and personalize curriculum and to give students opportunities to collaborate, publish, and take responsibility for their own learning.  Many education technology and open education advocates hope that the widespread availability of free resources and platforms will disproportionately benefit disadvantaged students, by making technology resources broadly available that were once only available to affluent students. It is possible, however, that affluent schools and students have a greater capacity to take up new innovations, even free ones, and so new tools and resources that appear in the ecology of education will widen rather than ameliorate digital divides. In this presentation, we will examine evidence for both the "tech as equalizer" and "tech as accelerator of digital divides" hypotheses, and we will examine technology innovations and interventions that specifically target learners with the most needs. A lively discussion will follow to consider how educators, technologists, and policymakers can address issues of educational digital inequalities in their work. An introduction to these issues can be found in this video op-ed.

About Justin

I’m a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Fellow at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. I’m the project manager for the Distributed Collaborative Learning Community, a Hewlett Foundation funded initiative to study issues of excellence, equity and analytics in the use of social technologies in K-12 settings.

I’m also the co-director of EdTechTeacher, a social venture that provides professional learning services to schools and teachers. Our mission is to help educators leverage technology to create student-centered, inquiry-based learning environments. We also publish the Best of History Web Sites and Teaching History with Technology.

Fundamentally, I’m motivated by the belief that young people are tremendously capable, and we need to develop educational systems that tap their energy, creativity, drive and talent.

Personally, I’m a husband and father and an avid adventurer and traveler. I have a long association with Camp Chewonki.

Links

October 31 2011

September 06 2010

Four short links: 6 September 2010

  1. Akihabara (Github) -- open source (GPL2 and MIT dual-licensed) HTML5/Javascript engine for classic arcade games. (via chadfowler on Twitter)
  2. Eureka Streams -- open sourced Java app for enterprise Twitter-like activity: build a profile, join groups, post updates, subscribe to updates from individuals or groups. (via dlpeters on Twitter)
  3. Open Microbiome -- hoping to build open tools, standard samples, data, and metadata for analysis of the microbiome (all the microorganisms that live in, on, and with macroorganisms like us). Early days, but glad to see people are already thinking of building this research open from the ground up. And if you think sequencing the human genome gave us a lot of data we struggle to find patterns in, wait until you start including microorganisms: we have 10x as many bacteria in us as we have cells and the species variety is vast. (via phylogenomics on Twitter)
  4. Habits of Mathematical Minds -- fantastic list of skills and approaches that are hallmarks of many successful minds, not just in mathematics. (via ddmeyer on Twitter)

August 26 2010

July 05 2010

Four short links: 5 July 2010

  1. The Open Spending Data that Isn't (OKFN) -- the UK government mandated councils release details of expenditure over 500 pounds in size. Councils have been sending data to a proprietary service and claiming this is releasing it. Everyone needs to realise that government must always wholesale its data (offer bulk downloads), even when it doesn't retail that data (offer useful visualisation or analysis tools for it).
  2. SenseAware -- sensors for shipping that wirelessly report back where they are, whether there's light (i.e., has the container been opened), what the temperature is. (via data4all on Twitter)
  3. Open Science, Open Data, Open Methods (Ben Goldacre) -- open data is sometimes no use unless we also have open methods. (via OKFN)
  4. Sones -- cross-platform open source graph database built on Mono.

June 11 2010

Four short links: 11 June 2010

  1. Joshua at Seven on Seven -- Delicious creator Joshua Schachter participated in a Rhizome "Seven on Seven" recently. He was paired with artist Monica Narula and together they explored guilt and absolution with the help of the Mechanical Turk. Check out the presentation PDF for the quick summary.
  2. How to Align Researcher Incentives with Outcomes (Cameron Neylon) -- the open science data movement battles entrenched forces for closedness. We need more sophisticated motivators than blunt policy instruments, so we arrive at metrics. [...] What might the metrics we would like to see look like? I would suggest that they should focus on what we want to see happen. We want return on the public investment, we want value for money, but above all we want to maximise the opportunity for research outputs to be used and to be useful. We want to optimise the usability and re-usability of research outputs and we want to encourage researchers to do that optimisation. Thus if our metrics are metrics of use we can drive behaviour in the right direction. It sounds good, but I have one question: I remember The Rise of Crowd Science. Alex Szalay didn't have to change researcher incentives to promote shared astronomical data. I'd ask: what can the other sciences learn from astronomy?
  3. Making an iPad HTML5 App and Making it Really Fast (Thomas Fuchs) -- some curious hard-won facts about iPad web development, like that touch events are delivered faster than click events. (via Webstock newsletter)
  4. Appcelerator -- open source platform for building native mobile and desktop apps with web technologies. Local filesystem access and native controls, but built with HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, Python, and Ruby. OS X, Linux, Blackberry, iPad, .... I've not tried it, but it may be the variation on desktop web apps whose time has come. (via ptorrsmith on Twitter)

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