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learning communications blog



eLearning is a misunderstood domain. Basically there are two types of companies in the space: those that supply technology and those that produce content. The latter often sell more than finished content - by producing webcasts, podcasts and screencasts



Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 02:36:42 +0000

 



Future of TV Update

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 04:59:00 +0000

(image) The future of TV was discussed at South by Southwest conference last week, and this has been reviewed by top geeks on the Gillmor Gang show. The emphasis of discussion is how the social networks integrate with television experiences, and iPAD as a TV platform. The geeks predict that at the next SXSW event will be focused on the interplay of television and social networks. It's a feature length video podcast, but worth checking out.

Steve Gillmor has followed Leo Laporte in moving tech podcasts forward to embrace video. If you watch this show, there are quite a few 'over-the-shoulder' shots of the technical setup which is based on the NewTek Tricaster. Very impressive use of low-cost video production technology.



Shake Your Tree

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 03:37:00 +0000

(image) Just read a great list - it's about things to do to start the 2010 New Year off right. I'm not usually a fan of lists, but this one is from photographer Chase Jarvis, and I can relate to it as a videographer myself.

The idea that prompted this post: "Do the thing on your list that you most dread doing. Call that client who hasn't paid. Sign up for Twitter. Develop a marketing plan." Well, I'm already on Twitter - maybe that's why I haven't posted here in months. But I especially like this one: "Remind yourself that the gear you can't afford is not the barrier keeping you from success."



Twitter Enhances Realtime Learning at Conferences

Mon, 27 Jul 2009 14:23:00 +0000

(image) A European study on "How People are using Twitter during Conferences" has demonstrated that participants use Twitter to enhance realtime learning. Although the sample size was small, and covered only 5 conferences, the researchers found that the majority of conference attendees already had a Twitter account (95.1%) and many of those who did actively used it to tweet during the conference (67.5%).

The most interesting insight was that nearly half the tweets were simple plain text messages while tweets with links to web sites only accounted for 10% of the messages. In other words, the Twitterers were using the medium to share the information they were learning at the present moment as opposed to posting links to information already available on the web.

The study report has been published in draft form. Thanks to Shel Israel for making me aware of this study.



Walter Cronkite - Our Most Trusted Voice is Silent

Sat, 18 Jul 2009 09:51:00 +0000

Walter Cronkite narrated for me and my generation the Kennedy assasination, the Civil Rights marches, the Vietnam War and the Watergate Hearings. But I especially remember his inspired commentary throughout the many 'space shots' of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programmes. He narrated the historic moon landing coverage on 20 July 1969 (nearly 40 years ago today), which was followed by audiences around the world.

Walter Cronkite has passed away at 92 years of age. He has been called the 'most trusted voice in America' and was remembered today by the folks at NASA Mission Control, as follows:

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"It is with great sadness that the NASA family learned of Walter Cronkite's passing. He led the transition from print and radio reporting to the juggernaut that became television journalism. His insight and integrity were unparalleled, and his compassion helped America make it through some of the most tragic and trying times of the 20th century."

"From the earliest days of the space program, Walter brought the excitement, the drama and the achievements of space flight directly into our homes. But it was the conquest of the moon in the late 1960s that energized Walter most about exploration. He called it the most important feat of all time and said that the success of Apollo 11 would be remembered 500 years from now as humanity's greatest achievement."
You can hear and see Walter describe the moon landing in this short clip from the series Walter Cronkite Remembers the 20th Century. It brings me goosebumps even now.




Google Wave is set to Transform Communications

Mon, 08 Jun 2009 11:02:00 +0000

(image) I've often complained about the poor communications support in Facebook. All your friends are there, but you can't really have a conversation except sending messages via email and having a teeny tiny little chat.

Enter Google Wave (http://wave.google.com), a next generation web communications tool that is a mashup of email, instant messaging, forums and wikis. Probably until you see the demo, you won't get it - but once you see it - you'll understand how this platform is going to transform communications. It's a long demo, but after you see about 10 minutes, you'll be convinced.

I first learned about Wave from the ACOR Cancer support group (http://listserv.acor.org) which is participating in a trial of the software. I happen to be a list moderator there. Anyway, ACOR uses an ancient email exchange protocol known as LISTSERV, so it's easy to grasp how their members could benefit from Wave. But imagine if this platform was released into an academic setting!

I feel very confident that email will be relegated to backward-compatible communications, much like fax was once email came along. And the editors at TechCrunch agree with me. The future is Wave.



Educational Technology Resources

Fri, 13 Mar 2009 04:20:00 +0000

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Someone asked me to list some of my favorite online educational technology resources. Here they are:

Elliot Masie's Learning Trends (focus is corporate training)
Elliott Masie is an internationally recognized futurist, analyst, researcher and organizer on the critical topics of workforce learning, business collaboration and emerging technologies. He is the editor of Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie, an Internet newsletter read by over 52,000 business executives worldwide, and a regular columnist in professional publications. He is the author of a dozen books, and is the convener of Learning 2009.
- http://www.masie.com

EdTech Talk (focus is educational technology)
EdTechTalk is a community of educators interested in discussing and learning about the uses of educational technology. The team webcasts several live shows each week.
- http://www.edtechtalk.com

Opencast Project (focus is video in education)
The Opencast community is a collaboration of higher education institutions working together to explore, define, and document podcasting best practices and technologies.
- http://www.opencastproject.org

Future of Education (focus is academic teaching methods)
This community is devoted to providing an opportunity for those who care about education to share their voices and ideas with others.
- http://www.futureofeducation.com

There is a lot of sharing happening in these communities about what technologies do and don't work in education, whether corporate or academic, and it's free to you and me.



New and Old Media Coverage of Mumbai Siege

Sat, 29 Nov 2008 13:25:00 +0000

(image) It is very sad for an Indiaphile like me to see the Taj Hotel burning - if you've been there, I'm sure you feel the same. I regret the innocent loss of life, and seeing westerners gunned down in places that I have myself visited. And I am apalled seeing urban warfare, with citizens running in terror, live on the Internet.

For the past two days, Internet social media has allowed me to follow the Mumbai Siege in a breathtaking torrent of information. News reports came in via Twitter with much more immediacy than the mainstream media. The urgency and passion of reports from the front lines was evident - though sometimes the 'facts' were partially or even entirely wrong.

But images rarely lie, and I had direct access to live video feeds from Mumbai via NDTV and IBNLive. I could only fault them when they replayed scenes under the banner of 'live news', which they later claimed meant that the audio was live and the video was blocked to prevent compromising anti-terrorist actions in progress.

In the end, mainstream media are stronger on analysis. The best photo coverage goes to Boston Globe's The Big Picture. The best geopolitical perspective is found on Stratfor's defense intelligence site. And the most sensitive opinion piece I've read is the one by Suketu Mehta, author of 'Bombay Maximum City', in the New York Times.

India has to get much more serious about stopping terrorism, and Pakistan too if anyone can take them seriously. This siege has been a wakeup call for both Indian and Pakistani governments. In the meantime, we should all support Mumbai in whatever way possible.



Singapore Digital Media Festival Recap

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 00:28:00 +0000

One year ago, I was scouting for ideas to develop a new conference format to replace the iX Conference event I had been helping to organise for several years. iX is a thought-leadership conference focused on Web 2.0 trends and technologies, modeled on the successful O'Reilly conferences. The annual iX Conference is organised by Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), and up to 2007 my role had been as chair or co-chair of the organising committee.For 2008, I was interested in developing a digital media event that would combine a film festival screening and an IT thought-leadership conference, to explore business opportunites in the converged technology & content space. I travelled to Vancouver to see the Vidfest event, and I was impressed at how they combined games, mobile and a showcase of made-for-Internet films.So was born the Singapore Digital Media Festival, organised by the Digital Media Chapter of SiTF. The inagural DMfest was was held about 2 weeks ago. Did it live up to expectations, and does the format work? Well, we made a bit of money for SiTF, although attendance was not as high as I had anticipated. We planned for up to 500 but really it was quite a bit below that. It was interesting that the festival screening drew a different audience than the conference - perhaps only half those attending the conference had attended the film and video programme the evening before. But overall the programme was very well received and we had great feedback from sponsors, speakers, media, bloggers, and ordinary attendees.The conference sessions were all recorded, and have been published as webcasts, so you can be your own judge. The theme of the event was 'Television 2.0 - Internet Services and New Media Mashup', and we had filmmakers as well as technologists onhand to address the creative, distribution and community issues.The evening before the conference we screened about 3 hours of made-for-Internet (MFI) film and video programmes in HD format. You can get some flavour of this screening by scanning the online previews. The highlight of the screening (and the entire festival) was no doubt the live linkup with Mark Schubin, Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD. The Met has been pioneering delivery of operas live in HD to cinemas throughout the world, and Mark was there (virtually) to tell us about the making of these shows.Speaking of 'making of' stories... the live linkup was a story in itself. We ran the connection from Manhatten School of Music to the National Museum Theatre over the IPv6 network, commonly known as Internet 2. This is a next-generation network, which allowed us to transmit in HD quality (at about 4 megabits/second) for projection of the interview on the theatre screen. Many parties helped out, including Singaren, Mediacorp, NETe2 Asia and Singtel. The 'last mile' was a fibre optic cable laid from the telecom riser and snaking several hundred meters along the museum's back corridors into the projection booth. For safety, we shot a second interview with Mark in New York's Central Park a few days ahead, and couriered the tape to Singapore. It arrived just an hour before the show began.We faced a few key challenges staging such an ambitious event. Foremost among these was the short lead time, and the need to develop our DMfest brand to engage potential attendees and sponsors. I say short lead time, because it wasn't until early September (just 60 days before the event) that we had support commitments from government agencies and sponsors. We began the branding exercise with a good domain name and a wonderful logo (see above) developed by Nicholas Ang, a second-year student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Infocomm Technology.Next we developed a wiki and encouraged contributions from a list of 30 'organisers'. We also developed a formal organising committee that met every two weeks. We [...]



Consolidating my Online Identity

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 11:33:00 +0000

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After much frustration these past years trying to remember which account goes with which login identity, I recently made a determined effort to consolidate my online identity. Now, every account has the same identity 'wmclaxton', rather than some hyphenated or reverse order version of my name. Consider the elegance of this:



Not easy for everyone, I know. How do you find a unique name suitable for all the services? Lucky I guess - I managed to find a rather unique way to signify my name that no one else seems to be using (for now). W and M are my first and middle initials, and together they are a short form for William.

Did I lose anything? Not really. It was a challenge to migrate some of the identities (notably Flickr), and Facebook still requires an account ID as part of the URL. I had to export my Skype contacts and lost the groups when re-importing them. I orphaned some photo sets on Flickr, and had to re-invite my Flickr contacts. Google, Skype, Twitter and Linked In were a breeze.

Plaxo and Google have tried to offer consolidated identity management, but I've never trusted Plaxo, and hey - this approach works for me. My social network is now just a bit easier to manage.





Next-Generation Podcasting Solutions

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:42:00 +0000

Bertrand Serlet, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at Apple, has filed a patent application on a next-generation podcasting solution. It has some intriguing features such as automated switching between the video and display graphics, perhaps using a pointer device to detect when attention should be focused on the display graphics. But I don't think Serlet's idea represents a significant innovation in podcasting technology - it is generally about presentation recording and specifically intelligent switching technology. And as for presentation recording, Serlet's idea is not nearly as impactful as Panopto's innovations, which are available today. The factor that makes Panopto so different from what Apple is proposing is the multi-stream synchronisation. Apple's idea focuses on the intelligent switching problem from the perspective of producing one final output video stream. This has its limits. If you look at say TED Talks, you can see that no matter how good the switching between video and display graphics, there is still a sense that the recorded presentation is playing catchup with what the audience is able to see. On the other hand, Panopto's approach inherently scales to synchronisation of many data inputs which might include chats, instant messaging, Twitter feeds, pointer coordinates, assessment data, audience response data, and of course audio, video and display graphics. In fact, one of the feedbacks we see from clients is delight that they can use Panopto to record from two screens at once (eg- PowerPoints and Bloomberg terminal). The final output is not a merged and flattened video file, but a set of separate standards-based data streams which can be rendered in a variety of ways using player skins. This is way better than a flattened video file, and is more flexible to device and bandwidth constraints. Apple's useful innovation in this patent, if they can do it, is to provide a set of pointer data that can be used for switching. My friend Peter Du and I were noticing that presenters are so comfortable using laser pointers, but that this data is lost during a recorded presentation. He suggested we design a tool to sense the location of the pointer beam relative to the screen, and use it to drive the cursor in realtime. That would be a way to capture the gestures of speakers that prefer laser pointers.Some work has been done in this area by Johnny Lee. Lee is really an interesting guy with great educational technology projects including the Wiimote (using Wii as a laser pointer). Check out his Wii projects page. One possible application would be a classroom tracking camera which follows the presenter.Coming back to the switching problem highlighted by Apple's patent, I think the real switching problem is between cameras - TED Talks have at least 2 cameras, usually 3. Say that one camera is wide and another is tight, how do you control the PTZ and switch between them automatically? Audio sensing has too much lag, motion detection is prone to extraneous inputs (eg- a member of the audience walks in front of the presenter and the camera follows him/her). The best approach I've seen is similar to what Lee proposes - using an IR badge or reflective tape worn by the presenter, which the wide camera locates within the 'stage area'. It then relays the location data to a second camera so that it can PTZ for tight shot on that target. This is smart and reliable way to follow the presenter. You can switch cameras as suggested by Apple's patent application, eg- if the presenter is using the keyboard, or mouse, or has his back to the camera or is using the pointer, switch to the wide shot. Overlay that with a voice sensing or push-to-talk audio subsystem so that a third or fourth camera can zoom in when someone asks questions, and you have a fully [...]



Ending the Relationship

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 12:12:00 +0000

There is a great quote by Thaksin Shinawatra, past Prime Minister of Thailand. Referring to the finance companies that collapsed in 1997 after devaluation of the Thai Baht, he said: "Sometimes the dog gets too mangy and you just have to shoot it".

In that vein, I am no longer reselling Echo360 products. My company Iterate Ptd Ltd has resigned as an Anystream reseller effective 31 July 2008. There are better solutions available for presentation recording, especially Panopto.

The company Panopto is a recent spinoff from Carnegie Mellon University. Their solution is built on a distributed multi-stream architecture, and is priced competitively for large and small installations. In fact, the pricing for corporate customers is less than 50% of what Echo360 charges, and qualifying academic customers need only pay for support services. This is in line with my prediction that capture of display graphics will be commoditised, and the value-add will increasingly be on the server side.

Panopto today supports editing, something that Echo360 has promised for more than a year. You can tell the difference between Panopto and Echo360 - one logo is pointing forward and the other is pointing backwards.

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Launching Active Content, Revisited

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 07:24:00 +0000

Since the original post about launching active content, which appeared nearly a year ago, I've changed the way I do it. So it's time to share the improved approach.

The latest Flash-Fix script works great and has been updated only for readability, but the original Net-Share script had at least three problems:


  • the script fails if there is no network

  • the script fails if network sharing is disabled (eg- in secure enterprises)

  • the script tends to run very slowly if a virus scanner is enabled


I have since come up with a replacement called the IE-Fix script, and it directly updates the user's registry to allow active content to be launched from removable media and the current working directory. This works like a champ in most instances, and directly overrides the default settings of the IE browser, rather than trying to trick the browser into thinking that the content is running from a network device. It does not slow the presentation down in any way, and fails gracefully. So use IE-Fix instead of Net-Share workaround.

(image) The IE-Fix script would fail if virus scanning software or admin rights prevented a user from updating their registry. But registry updates are now so common that this is not usually blocked. And the script only operates on the HKCU hive, where even guest and limited account users can make registry changes. In the readme.txt file on any CDs or DVDs that use this script, I also advise that the IE settings for launching active content can be modified manually (be sure to tick both My Computer and CD options).

I also launch the Flash-Fix and IE-Fix scripts from a script named autorun.bat located in the root directory of the removable media. This simplifies testing.

Hope this updated information is helpful.




Reactions to Podcast Lectures at USD

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 01:43:00 +0000

(image) A review of how podcasting is being used at University of San Diego (USD) caught my eye. As a reseller of Echo360 (a presentation recording solution formerly known as Apreso), I subscribe to Google Alerts that mention the product. As you'd expect, most mentions are fairly dry reviews.

But the article on USD's deployment of Echo360 was insightful because it highlighted both the pluses and minuses of using presentation recording technology in the classroom, and it also drew lots of online comments. Some of the more interesting comments:

"Technology rocks.. this IS the way of the future and the way modern college kids work and it appeals to them."

"This sort of technology is definitely geared towards the 'Me' Generation. I want it now, and I want it faster, better, stronger than before."

"ITunes U has many many more lectures online that just ones from USD. It's really amazing the number of subjects you can learn about through podcasts."

Fascinating piece.



Social Computing to Transform Enterprises

Sun, 24 Feb 2008 13:38:00 +0000

(image) A Gartner Research report cited by Enterprise Innovation talks about huge changes sweeping the enterprise IT environment, and raises questions about whether the current crop of CIOs are prepared to handle it.

"85% of chief information officers (CIOs) see significant change coming over the next three years as they look to meet rising business expectations for IT to make a difference in their enterprise strategy... and social computing is rapidly becoming a way that IT can play a direct role in making a difference to the customer and the market."

Says the report: "However, they [the current crop of CIOs] are guarded in their confidence in IT's ability to create results in these areas." A two-year old Forrester report describes why. "To thrive in an era of Social Computing, companies must abandon top-down management and communication tactics, weave communities into their products and services, use employees and partners as marketers, and become part of a living fabric of brand loyalists."

I've recently been working with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to implement blogs, wikis and document sharing for a large multinational bank, and it has not been easy to use. My sense is that the Social Computing solutions business is about to grow very fast, mostly benefiting third-party Independent Software Vendors like Blogtronix which emphasise rapid deployment, integration and ease-of-use.



Media Development Music Video

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 09:00:00 +0000

(image) The Media Development Authority (MDA), a Singapore government body responsible for everything from film ratings to funding animation projects, has produced a music video of their own. Singapore is a never say die place, and this video seems to say: "if you can't beat em join em".

It's getting lots of attention here in Singapore, both positive and negative, but some of the more interesting comments have compared MDA favorably with the FCC and RIAA. Anyway, I enjoyed the creativity and liveliness of the piece, even if it's a bit overburdoned with "mission statements and action plans". Gotta say that MDA's Communications Director Cassandra Tay, who created it, has some guts.



Inspiration - Music as Communications

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 08:27:00 +0000

"The organ was really the instrument that inspired Bach to be a composer." So says Felix Hell in a new documentary film on Johann Sebastian Bach, to be shown at the Entertainment Gathering in Los Angeles next week. Makes you think about the influence of computers - both instruments and computers help us extend the elegance of mathematics into our consciousness, and ultimately generating our reality.

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In his introduction to the YouTube preview clip, presenter Dr. Lewis Thomas intones "We are a jeuvenile species, just beginning to learn how to use our thumbs and how to use language. And considering that, this early on, we managed to turn out Johann Sebastian Bach... I think we've done pretty well."



Marc Cantor on Open Social

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 06:28:00 +0000

(image) Google this week introduced a set of open APIs known as 'Open Social' that allow social media software to interoperate. Specifically, Open Social lets developers create containers and applications that can easily integrate with web sites.

Many have speculated that Open Social is Google's challenge to Facebook, and indeed many partners have immediately embraced the new API, including MySpace, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Ning, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING. But (Macromedia founder and CEO of Broadband Mechanics) Marc Cantor says that Google had nothing to loose (since Orkut wasn't that popular), and everything to gain (by positioning itself as a platform for the socialisation of every application). He also doesn't count Yahoo and Microsoft out of the picture.

Robert Scoble has recorded a 20-minute video interview with Marc Cantor that starts slow but has some amazing insights on the Open Social announcement. And there are a couple follow on clips too.



Finding my Voice

Sat, 03 Nov 2007 02:29:00 +0000

I'm planning to deliver a speech, and I thought it might start like this.

"I want to speak with you today about technology in education. More specifically, about information communications technology as it applies to learning. This is a domain which I describe as 'learning communications'.

Learning communications may be thought of as arising from the eLearning market, which is traditionally segmented into, one the one hand, companies which produce technology solutions like learning management systems, and on the other, companies which produce content. But the learning communications market includes both content and communications, in much the same way as say, interactive digital media.

If we look closely at eLearning content, we can see that even the content courseware, modules, and RLOs (ie- reuseable learning objects) cannot be separated entirely from communications. Each comes with an agenda, protocol, pedagogy and set of desired learning outcomes. It would be nice to think that an RLO is a static, stand-alone piece of content. But it is much like the tree which falls in the woods; if there is no one around, does its falling make any sound?

(image) Thus we must always return, in fact we should begin, from the perspective of communications. We must ask, what is the best medium of communications in order to affect the desired learning outcomes? That is the perspective of learning communications."

Comments welcome.



Bewildered in Class

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 11:59:00 +0000

"Today’s child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment..." So begins a video called "A Vision of Students Today" produced by students at Kansas State University Digital Ethnography Class. Professor Welch, who leads these students, has a blog with more information about the class and motivations for producing the video. The quote is by (who else) Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan.

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If you think you know something about educational technology, watch this 5 minute clip. If you think you know what learning communications is all about, play it again.

The point is that social media is having a profound affect on the way students see, hear and learn. I've recorded a lot of lectures, and I can tell you that the computers used in classrooms are almost always tuned to another channel. Howard Rheingold calls this the 'back channel', and suggests that unless instructors leverage the back channel, they are failing their students and isolating themselves.

While it may be one of the most blogged about videos on the Internet, I am grateful to Mitch Joel for sharing this gem. I immediately showed it to my 10 year old son Lucas.



Learning from Great Presenters

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 04:34:00 +0000

(image) Recently Garr Reynolds posted an analysis of the presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Garr's tone is respectful and yet humorous, with digs about Bill's obsessive use of the word 'rich' and the Steve's theatrics. But there are great insights in this post, including Garr's conclusion that "...the biggest difference is not the fact that Steve's slides are simpler with fewer elements and fewer bullet points, the biggest difference is in the way they are used."

Presentation Zen is one of my favorite blogs.



Asus Eee PC Rocks!

Fri, 26 Oct 2007 10:20:00 +0000

(image) Folks in the educational technology community will no doubt be aware of the OLPC project championed by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte. Conceptualised as a poverty alleviation scheme, Nick's vision is a US$ 100 sub-notebook to get kids communicating and sharing over Wifi networks. And it's packed with learning oriented software and an innovative user interface.

However, like the X-Prize has spurred low-orbit travel innovation, Nick's cheap laptop has got Chinese and Taiwanese vendors to think differently about how laptops are made (and used). Intel at first disparaged the effort, and then came up with their own 'Edu-wise' subnotebook.

The next phase of this revolution is the much anticipated launch of the Asus Eee PC subnotebook. Imagine this: The Asus "Eee PC 8G" is pre-configured with 1GB of RAM, an 8GB SSD, and webcam for US$ 399. And for only US$ 299, you get 4GB SSD, a bit less RAM and no webcam. This little puppy rocks! If nothing else, it will be a wonderful ebook reader.

For more information check out the official Asus Eee PC website, view a recent video review, or discuss it.



Facebook as Communications Vehicle

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 12:29:00 +0000

(image) Facebook (FB) is expanding its relationship with Microsoft, and proving that its a good investment vehicle. "Facebook and Microsoft Corp. today announced that Microsoft will take a $240 million equity stake in Facebook’s next round of financing at a $15 billion valuation, and the companies will expand their existing advertising partnership. Under the expanded strategic alliance, Microsoft [Adcenter, Google Adwords competitor] will be the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook, and will begin to sell advertising for Facebook internationally in addition to the United States."

But is it a good communications vehicle? I personally feel that FB has too much friction to be a good communications medium. I keep it open most of the time, but the messaging is still very much like webmail. The apps are kind of cute but not very useful. I do think it's great for media sharing and building a sense of community, but am already looking for the next generation of social media sites that offer more of a sense of a conversation.



Gore Wins '07 Nobel Peace Prize

Fri, 12 Oct 2007 09:15:00 +0000

(image) Did anyone notice that winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are often also great communicators? Al Gore, whose film Inconvenient Truth and global Live Earth campaign have awakened a nascent environmental movement, has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. He now joins an illustrious list of peace prize laureates that includes Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandella, Jimmy Carter, and the Dalai Lama.

Gore was tipped for the prize based on his "wide-reaching efforts to draw the world’s attention to the dangers of global warming". He had my vote for what was arguably the best PowerPoint presentation ever delivered.



Remembering Phil Dodds

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 01:07:00 +0000

(image) Philip Dodds, an American engineer long active in multimedia standards efforts dating back to the first MPCs, and widely acknowledged for his contributions to learning communications, passed away on 6 October. Phil is credited with design and development of the SCORM standard for eLearning communications, and he played a bit part as sound engineer in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (center person in the photo).

Phil was founder and CEO of Visage - an pioneering company in interactive media, was later VP of R&D for Kurzweil Music Systems, and his most recent post was chief architect of the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, a project of the US Department of Defense.

When you ask a prospective engineering employee who his/her role models are, and they answer Bill Gates, I suggest your next question should be "Why not Phil Dodds".



Web 2.0 and Internet Democracy

Tue, 25 Sep 2007 07:27:00 +0000

(image) The Vidfest conference programme took place today. Some of the topics included social media, Web 2.0 and Internet democracy. It was all pretty engaging, but the discussion seemed to dwell on issues of identity and trust. Nothing much on the bigger issues like Net neutrality. In any case, I was most impressed with how the Canadians are moving video and film productions onto the Internet.

Following are video webcasts of the first 5 sessions of the day.

Opening Keynote with Ori Brafman
Wisdom of Crowds: Web 2.0 Democracy or Mob Mentality
MyFace, YourSpace: Maximizing Your Online Identity
Baby, You've Been Branded
Find Some Sanctuary