A Google Desktopesque VLE?

    Okay, this is probably so obvious that everyone has already thought of it, but bear with me – Now I’ve gone over to Google Desktop (read ‘the dark side’ for some), I thought ‘why can’t my VLE be like this?’ Ie. a light client with dynamic panels that is always running. Just for starters here are the sections I’d have: Forum postings – any postings to forums I’d subscribed to (or been subscribed to automatically given my student role). Current content – links to the content that I am supposed to be working on. Especially if that content is wrapped in RSS or something similar so it can update dynamically.…

  • Football,  VLE,  web 2.0,  Web/Tech

    The irrationality of preference

    Having posted about Google desktop and Netvibes it made me consider why Netvibes is my preferred personal portal. There are many others available and while I could come up with a justification for Netvibes over Pageflakes, say, it would all be a bit post hoc. In a recent survey on VLE use in universities the OECD pointed out that "there was little to choose between different systems. The past seven years of intensive LMS development and adoption in tertiary education have seen considerable system convergence…. Some respondents asserted that a particular system was the “only genuine” enterprise LMS, or “by far the easiest” to use, but it was difficult to…

  • portal,  web 2.0,  Web/Tech

    Google Desktop vs Netvibes

    I installed Google Desktop a few months back, but didn’t really do anything with it, mainly because I was viewing it as it is billed – a desktop search tool. Probably because I’m quite linear in the way I work (I’m male – I don’t do multi-tasking), a desktop search tool isn’t something I really need a lot. Sure I need to find online resources, but then I use normal Google, or search journal databases (if Google could sort out the federated search across multiple database problem, that would be useful). But now I have my new laptop (a Vaio – why did it take PC manufacturers so long to…

  • e-learning,  PLE,  VLE

    Outsourcing learning technologies

    This article in the Economist Consumer technologies are invading corporate computing (via George Siemens) outlines how some universities are effectively outsourcing a lot of technical development, using the Google Apps for your domain bundle. The guy says that "Compared with the staid corporate-software industry, using these services is like “receiving technology from an advanced civilisation”, says Mr Sannier." A couple of things on this – firstly there is often a delay between the rhetoric and the reality when new ideas come along. The whole service oriented approach was one of these. I found myself wisely telling everyone to think of everything as a service, without really being sure what this…

  • VLE

    LAMS podcast

    After the LAMS Conference presentation I did an interview with Alan Carrington. This is now available from the LAMS site, if you really don’t have anything else to do.

  • Web/Tech

    The real reason behind that Cisco lawsuit

    So Cisco are suing Apple for the use of the iphone name. I heard this numerous times today and my initial reaction was ‘how could Apple have been so dumb?’ But then I noticed that every news report seemed contractually obliged to mention that the iphone ‘which Apple describe as magical’, was a really cool product – and who are this Cisco bunch anyway? And then idiots like me blog about it – in this day alone Apple have recouped more in advertising and blogosphere chat than any lawsuit will cost them. When you’re Steve Jobs and you have cool looking gadgets, all publicity really is good publicity. On the…

  • web 2.0


    I guess it was a result of my post about an academic LinkedIn, I got invited to join Academici.net. It seems to be what I was talking about (I’m a bit embarrassed I didn’t know about it), so I created a profile. While it is definitely more academic focused than LinkedIn, I still felt that it was a bit oriented towards getting a new job, and not so much around creating joint research proposals, or collaborative articles, or visiting fellowships, say. It has a good feature set – to quote from the email: An on-line journal to publish abstracts, drafts, papers or upload any kind of documents and the option…

  • Web/Tech

    Limewire and iTunes talking behind my back

    I thought I’d have a play with Limewire (while respecting copyright laws naturally), so downloaded it onto one laptop. For those who haven’t played with it, Limewire creates a folder for shared files, which you download to and share with others (it also offers to search your hard disk for any media files to search, which is a bit of a security nightmare, so I declined). While I wait for my Toshiba to be mended, I have put iTunes and all my music on another old, laptop. When I started this up iTunes created a menu item for my shared Limewire folder, which was on a different computer. This puzzled,…

  • e-learning

    The pointlessness of plagiarism detection

    Today I was invited to sit on an e-cheating panel at the Web Based Education 2007 conference in Chamonix. Unfortunately I can’t make it, but it prompted me to consider the whole plagiarism issue. This was something I had to wrestle with a good deal when I chaired T171 You, your computer and the Net back in 1999. We had 12,000 students, so trying to find a plagiarism proof assessment method was a priority. This was back in the early days of e-learning and there were lots of people waiting to see it fail. Rather like distance education in its early days, e-learning suffered from a legitimacy deficit, so it…

  • Asides

    When internet shopping goes bad

    As I am normally an enthusiast for doing everything online, I ought to report when it doesn’t work out quite as planned. For Christmas I bought my wife a Nano (yes, despite the fact that the last one corrupted, and that I have all those DRM and performance issues with iTunes, it is still cool looking and good for running). I ordered online a week before Christmas, and paid for next day delivery via City-Link. Sadly these turned out to be something of a keystone cops delivery firm. It was despatched on Monday, for delivery on Tuesday. I checked the tracking website and it was loaded on to a van…