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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Open Data

One of the remarkable developments over the last three or four years is the opening of data by organizations such as OECD, UNESCO, World Bank, and city, state/province/national governments. Recent funding cutbacks to this movement in the US – see Death of Open Data? – indicate that, in spite of commonsense and democracy, there is [...]

Amazon gives its future a black eye

I spent the first 6 years of my life in a small town near Ciudad CuauhtĂ©moc. The region consisted of hundreds of small villages (50-100 residents in each) and was agriculturally-based, but it wasn’t a very advanced economy. Each farm was largely a self-contained unit of skills. A farmer was a generalist and needed to [...]

The Architecture of Access to Scientific Knowledge

Lawrence Lessig is skilled at taking complex issues and reducing them to their fundamental critical elements. I’ve crossed paths with him at several conferences over the last few years…and just last year, Athabasca University hosted him for an honorary doctorate for his work (most prominent of which is Creative Commons). I interviewed him in 2003 [...]

iPhone tracking – so not an issue

Apparently Apple is being secretive (and by default, bad). If you own and iPhone, it will track where you’ve been, roughly every few minutes. A neat application- iPhone Tracker – is available for individuals to visualize what type of data is on their phone. None of this data is sent to Apple. It sits on [...]

Higher Education – is it worth it?

People like Peter Thiel (PayPal) are suggesting people drop out of school and start companies. Here’s the idea: “Pick the best twenty kids he could find under 20 years of age and pay them $100,000 over two years to leave school and start a company instead.” Interesting. And as an experiment it is worth pursuing. [...]

Amazon Kindle Ads

I drive a Honda Civic. It’s a fine vehicle overall, but it has an issue with me not wearing a seatbelt. Like most vehicles, it starts with a mildly annoying beeping sound reminding me to put on my seatbelt. Unlike most vehicles it doesn’t stop reminding me. Ever. It beeps for 10 seconds, waits a [...]

Social Networks & Learning: Research Seminar

Last year, TEKRI and Athabasca University hosted a week-long research seminar on networks and learning. The event was quite successful. As a result, we are organizing a similar event this year. The seminar will be held in Edmonton from June 20-24 and is open to students and faculty. It’s an opportunity for review of existing [...]

Knowledge, Networks and Nations

Religion, economics, and science are global entities. To explore what is happening in these three domains provides greater insight into global trends than the aspirations, intentions, or policies of any particular country. The Royal Society has published an outstanding report on Knowledge, Networks and Nations (.pdf). The report is packed with all kinds of statistical [...]