Google Wave

Google started rolling out developer invites to Google Wave and reviews and applications are starting to appear.

A larger set of invites will appear later in the year according to various articles.

Slashdot reported that “Ray Ozzie says that Google Wave is ‘anti-Web,’ which seems rather odd, as at least Google have said that it will use standard internet protocols and be open source. Rather like the internet and the web and not at all like Silverlight or the lacklustre IE8.

Facebook versus VLE

A collection of links and materials that i’m collating for a section on loss of control – in particular the way that more student interaction may be taking place in social networking sites rather than in institutional owned VLEs. Is this something to worry away, or does it create trust and ownership issues?

imprisoned by your vle (has a link to the delightful analysis referring to Bentham)

Panckhurst, R.; Marsh, D. (2008). Communities of Practice. Using the Open web as a
collaborative Learning platform. iLearn Forum, Paris, France

Selwyn, N. (2007). Screw Blackboard… do it on Facebook! an investigation of students’
educational use of Facebook. [Available at:
seminar-paper-Selwyn, accessed: 17.04.2008]

Naidu, S. (2003). Trends in faculty use and perceptions of e-learning

Good Practice and Innovation, Effective Use of Virtual Learning Environments (2006). JISC

Girls form bonds but boys form bridges

Research discussed in time magazine indicates that girls are more likely to form close knit friendships with a small number of people, whilst boys have larger collections of looser friendships. This seems to be hard wired into the genetic makeup and correlates nicely with the heavily male dominated area of entrepreneurs, which requires wide ranging connectivity.

This all neatly comes back to social capital theory, of course, where strong or weak bonds exist. After reading all the social capital text, i’m starting to see everything in terms of SC, so to rephrase the first paragraph, girls are better at forming bonding SC whilst boys are better at bridging SC.

All extreme generalisations of course!

Youtube dropping support for IE6

One way to get users off IE6 is to literally stop access to their favorite web sites unless they upgrade – Youtube has started to run a banner that indicates that time is running out for those stuck on IE6. Interestingly, in a sample study from digg, many of the sample IE 6 users surveyed indicated that they would upgrade, but they couldn’t due to corporate policies or lack of upgrade rights.

Techcrunch article

Its worth reading the history of IE6 at wikipedia, which suggests that 12% of people are still using a browser brought out in 2001.

My Personal Learning Environment workflow – from the cloud to Papers

PLE workflow
PLE workflow

I’m currently sourcing journal articles on Social Capital, looking for links to learning, learning communities and social networks. Finding these either involves Google Scholar or Lancaster Universities meta-lib which is a web based search engine that collates results from a variety of online journals and the other ‘consolidation’ portals that are out there.

No matter where the journals come from they all end up in Papers, which is effectively iTunes for PDFs. It offers collections (which are like playlists), embedded notes and perhaps most importantly a match facility to get meta information (title, authors, dates, journals etc.) from a variety of online sources automagically. A fantastic piece of software which is a must buy for Mac users doing research.

Google netbook OS

Well, Google finally “dropped its bomb” as the commentators would have it, with its announcement of an open sourced web powered operating system for netbooks. The question is – will Windows 7 be good enough to maintain the stranglehold that Microsoft has maintained by extending the life of Windows XP (and giving it away virtually for free to netbook manufacturers).

Coverage everywhere:-





Guardian comment on Asus and Linux

Social Capital by John Field

Social Capital by FieldI’m currently working my way through the second edition of Social Capital by John Field, which is in the Routledge Key Ideas range. Chapter one covers the history of the term and idea, mentioning the work of Hanifan (1916), through Dewey to the three contempory writers who have shaped most of the modern thinking on the concept – Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam.

Bourdieu’s work seems to be routed in problems deriving from the European class system and social hierarchy. Social Capital is used by those that have it to reinforce their position.

Coleman suggests that SC is a by product of people acting from their own self interests (rational / game theory). Interesting point here about side effects and the way that social capital is raised – as in Web 2.0 applications

Getting to Putnam soon.

Firefox vs IE

Neowin is reporting that Firefox has jumped a couple of points (with IE dropping a few).

Internet Explorer fell from 62.09% to 59.49%, while Firefox rose from 28.75% to 30.33%

Congratulations to FF and the open source world, but what are the reasons why IE is still at 60%?

Microsoft has achieved a lock in the corporate world by binding the use of IE into its Exchange and Back Office infrastructure. Users accessing Outlook through a non Microsoft browser see a very reduced functionality (there is really no reason for this as all modern browsers support xmlhttp like functionality). Seems like a non-standard proprietary lock-in to me.

Of course one of the main reasons people don’t switch is that they don’t even know what a browser is, as demonstrated by the Google team in New York.

IE has made some improvements to get to version 8, including better CSS 2 support, although much of the functionality seems to have borrowed from the other browsers.  Any reasonable analysis indicates that innovation is taking place in Chrome, FF or Opera.

Techmeme is also reporting some stats


Have we just seen the death of XHTML2? The XHTML 2 Working Group charter will not be renewed after 2009 according to an announcement on the w3c site. Seems likely that parts of this will reemerge inside future parts of HTML5 (or stricter versions where it looks like XHTML) but only if the hackers at Google and Mozilla want to implement it.

The arguments and confusion that occurred during the development process were detailed in a register article, which is interesting because of its claims that proprietary RIA plugin development was causing conflicts. An IBM developer article neatly lays out the different paths that the two standards took. Looking back, it seems obvious that such major changes to the standard were far too dramatic – incremental change looks like the way forward.

Standards Vs Market

An interesting split is occurring inside the group developing the next iteration of HTML.  Many of the individual companies working in the group would like audio and video support (in the style of appropriate codecs that would be embedded inside the browser executable). Reaching agreement on which particular formats should be supported is the problem:

The current situation is as follows:

   Apple refuses to implement Ogg Theora in Quicktime by default (as used
   by Safari), citing lack of hardware support and an uncertain patent

   Google has implemented H.264 and Ogg Theora in Chrome, but cannot
   provide the H.264 codec license to third-party distributors of
   Chromium, and have indicated a belief that Ogg Theora's quality-per-bit
   is not yet suitable for the volume handled by YouTube.

   Opera refuses to implement H.264, citing the obscene cost of the
   relevant patent licenses.

   Mozilla refuses to implement H.264, as they would not be able to obtain
   a license that covers their downstream distributors.

   Microsoft has not commented on their intent to support video at all

However – Mozilla (Firefox) and Google (Chrome) have committed to actually supporting Ogg, despite some questions about the quality that is possible. Will the market simply respond to these by using them? Or will the proliferation of (perceived) freely available codecs mean that nobody cares? It’s well worth looking at some of the astonishing apps built using javascript and an embedded codec to see what’s possible (Ajaxian has great coverage):

Update: arstechnica has a detailed analysis

links: whatwg webmonkey