# Friday, 31 January 2003

Oxford University Chooses Boddington Quote Despite Thi

Oxford University chooses Boddington. Quote: "Despite this, we came down to two choices. Of the commercially available products we felt that BlackBoard offered the best balance between usability and functionaility. We were also very impressed by the freely available opensource product , Bodington, developed by the University Leeds. [Serious Instructional Technology]

After a quick trawl around the Bodington site, I particularly liked this:

It's Pedagogically Neutral

Most VLE products have at their heart an entity that they call a course and within that there are a number of tools that you can switch on or off. By trying to encapsulate the concept of a "course" within a software product they often lock you into the way of teaching they had in mind when they wrote the software. The Bodington System is different: it gives you buildings, floors, and rooms to allow you to structure your material the way that most fits the structure of your courses and it gives you tools such as discussion rooms, questionnaires, web documents, multiple choice papers etc. which you can arrange in any way you like. After about four years of use in the University of Leeds we see a wide diversity of teaching methods being supported via the same software tool. For example if it's appropriate you can publish your lecture notes as a set of pages in a reading room but if you want students to interact with you and the lecture notes you could create a discussion room instead and publish them as attachments to a series of messages you post throughout the course. You could even upload material into a multiple choice paper and use them in the feedback notes for the paper.

Abso-flippin-lutely. Having developed a generalised application framework for ASP which was leveraged for a class-room system, what I never liked was the pedagogy encapsulated in the software implementation. It deeply worries me about the BBC Digital Curriculum; my conversations with senior bods at the BBC some years ago implied that they would be implementing their own VLE and that this would be bound to what they considered 'best practice' - the trouble is, what is 'best practice'? (Teaching can't agree best practice for teaching reading).

From the sound of it, the BBC should be leveraging something Bodington, to enable schools to use the BBC material in the way most appropropriate to them. (The fact that schools might like to recast BBC content into their own appropriate contexts was an interesting and enlightening idea to the BBC some years ago - whether that view has carried though anywhere remains to be seen).

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Joshua Trupin of MSDN: What .NET means to developers. The long-term future is going to start with Longhorn and the inclusion of the framework in the operating system’s core.

I guess it is safe to say the fun is just starting :D [ScottW's ASP.NET WebLog]

Since everyone is onto semantics these days, fascinating to read that the future doesn't start for a while yet which leads to an interesting question, space-time continuum wise, as to where we are now; caught somewhere between the past, the present, and the future, aka limbo? ASP.NET is terrific, but I really just don't get 'WinForms', yeah you can do some good bits, theres some really useful classes but there is so much missing. Presumably Longhorn will fill these gaps and it will be a downloadable upgrade (just what does 'in the operating system core' mean?) for other MS OSs.

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# Thursday, 30 January 2003

Running As Local Admin On A DEV Box Just Say NO

Running as Local Admin on a DEV box - Just say NO!.  ..."One of the people whose views I am following through his writings is Keith Brown of Developmentor.  He has been advocating this for a long time... Here are some links to what he has to say about running as a non-Administrator on your dev box. "

Good links. [ScottW's ASP.NET WebLog]


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Microsoft Agent 20

Microsoft Agent 2.0 Sample: Visual C++ multi-character sample code. Multi-character synchronization sample code for Visual C++ using IAgentCharacter::Wait method. [Microsoft Download Center]
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Experimenting With Firebird Im Looking At Using The A Href

Experimenting with Firebird. I'm looking at using the Firebird (previously InterBase) SQL database in a project, because it sounds quite good, works on Windows as well as Linux (unlike PostgreSQL) and can be distributed with commercial software without a licensing fee (unlike MySQL).

Some bookmarks:

* Conceptual Architecture for InterBase/Firebird

* IBPhoenix Development

* High-level Description of the InterBase 6.0 Source Code

* A Cut Out and Keep Guide to the Firebird Source Code


[Second p0st]Experimenting with Firebird. I'm looking at using the Firebird (previously InterBase) SQL database in a project, because it sounds quite good, works on Windows as well as Linux (unlike PostgreSQL) and can be distributed with commercial software without a licensing fee (unlike MySQL).

Some bookmarks:

* Conceptual Architecture for InterBase/Firebird

* IBPhoenix Development

* High-level Description of the InterBase 6.0 Source Code

* A Cut Out and Keep Guide to the Firebird Source Code


[Second p0st]
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# Monday, 27 January 2003

Net Recovers From Cyber Attack The Int

Net recovers from cyber attack. The internet is recovering after a virulent computer worm crippled online traffic over the weekend. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

Well it hit my web host for six for three days. In a fit of heartwarming honesty, rather than giving all the details on the assault they pointed to a site giving full details/history and amongst which was a rant about how can you call yourself a site admin if you don't install patches etc - exactly.

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# Friday, 24 January 2003

Zeepe Radio Case

Funny, I use this thing every day, and indeed run it from this web site so I'm using it in the way anyone else would. No-one else seems to - why, is it rubbish? I'll grant you need Windows, but supposedly that's 95% of users - or is it a significantly lower percentage of web loggers?
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# Thursday, 23 January 2003

NUnitASP NUnitAsp Is A Tool For Automatically Testin

NUnitASP. NUnitAsp is a tool for automatically testing ASP.NET web pages. It's an extension to NUnit, a tool for test-driven development in .NET.

Posted by Colin on Wed, January 22, 2003 @ 1:07PM [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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Flash MX Based UML

Flash MX based UML Modelling Tool.

Grant Skinner has just launched the beta of one of the sweetest RIAs that I've seen.  GModeler is a programming tool for developers working with ECMA-Script and deriviative languages such as ActionScript and JavaScript.  It's a UML modelling tool built entirely in Flash and supports importing XML exchange formats for UML.  It also does a beautiful job generating HTML documentation and XML content for integration into the Flash MX dev environment directly.

It's beautiful, useful, and also a great example of Grant's other pioneering work creating an operating-system style UI shell for Flash applications. [Jeremy Allaire's Radio]

Absolutely astonishing. Look at Flash OS as well.


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XP Startup Tweak Guide Thi

XP Startup Tweak Guide. This is a nice little tutorial that explains how to speed up Windows XP boot time. I followed the instructions and was able to shave 10 seconds off of my boot, not too shabby. YMMV of course. On a similar note, this article details the Windows XP boot process. Enjoy.... [Lockergnome's Bits and Bytes]

Might be useful.

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# Wednesday, 22 January 2003

Become A Wireless ISP For 163300 A H

Become a wireless ISP: for £300 [The Register]

Can we mesh from Thriplow to Radwinter (but somewhere we need broadband, so Radwinter -> Thriplow -> Royston? Gotta be cheaper than Satellite!.

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More About Topic Maps From Scott Leslie Here Is Some More Information And So

More about Topic Maps from Scott Leslie. Here is some more information and some helpful resource links from Scott Leslie (first posted in his weblog, EdTechPost). Scott is affiliated with the innovative center for educational technology developments in British Columbia, C2T2 (the Centre for Curriculum Transfer and Technology). For even more information/links about Visualization consult Scott's resource outline on the subject (http://www.island.net/~leslies/blog/outlines/visualization.html).

I started drafting a response to Joe directly in email, but then decided it made more sense to just post it here.

Joe's probably well aware of this movement, but it strikes me that what he is trying to do is similar to what others are trying to accomplish by visualizing Topic Maps, concept maps and other taxonomy visualization projects.

I only follow these peripherally, but my sense is that these things have been evolving for years, and certainly are far more real than when I was first introduced to the techniques and technologies in the early 90's. But what I find exciting is what I perceive as a movement towards the more organic creation of order, and visualizations that are not pre-set drawings into which we can locate resources and knowledge, but instead representations of semantic meaning that are created dynamically on the basis of some replicable and (eventually) recognizable algorithm or pattern and that further improve with use.

In any case, Joe's post prompted me to dig back and find some URLs that might be of interest on the topic. I definitely appreciate his motivation as I too find myself swamped by the sheer mass of information and the immense inter-connectedness of the various knowledge spaces and domains I work and play in, and long for good visualizations of this complex knowledge. - SWL

Topic Maps

The TAO of Topic Maps - http://www.ontopia.net/topicmaps/materials/tao.html

Easy Topic Maps - http://easytopicmaps.com/index.php?page=TopicMapFaq

LiveTopics for Radio - http://radio.weblogs.com/0107808/outlines/liveTopics.html

Ten Taxonomy Myths - http://www.montague.com/review/myths.shtml

Taxonomy and other visualizers

Touchgraph Link Browser - http://www.touchgraph.com/browser/LinkBrowser.html

Wordmap (Taxonomy mapping software, a bit expensive) - http://www.wordmap.com/index.html

Antartica Visual Net (hierarchical directory visualization software, also likely expensive) - http://antarctica.net/products.html

Conzilla (Prototype Concept Browser) - http://www.conzilla.org/

WebOnto (neat Java-based taxonomy browser, not sure of availability or release status) - http://eldora.open.ac.uk:3000/webonto

and finally, for a completely different kind of blog mapping:

Blogmapper - http://www.blogmapper.com/

[EdTechPost] [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]
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Web Browsers Go Back To Basics The Hum

Web browsers go back to basics. The humble back button is getting a make-over which could make it more efficient and easier for surfers to use. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

Bizarre that this one's been picked up again. Andy Cockburn (gets the picture this time) must have a darn fine PR team.

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# Tuesday, 21 January 2003

You Had 1200 Baud Sheer Luxury Oh Yeah Well

You had 1200 baud? Sheer luxury!. Oh yeah? Well, my first experience with dialing up in Jr. High was with a 300 bps modem on a C=64.... [0xDECAFBAD]

Oh yeah, but was it using an acoustic coupler - we 'ad rubber cups for breakfast.

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A Hrefhttprsscomcom21001001981381htmltypeptamppartrssamptag

Judge sets plan for Java in Windows. "This preliminary injunction is a huge victory for consumers who will soon have the best, latest Java technology on their PCs," Lee Patch, Sun's vice president for strategic litigation, said in a statement Tuesday. "It is also a victory for enterprises and for the worldwide Java community of developers and system vendors." [CNET News.com]

Ahem, I don't want Sun's Java thankyou very much, nor be required to download and install the darn thing on some IE update. It might be a victory for Sun, its got naff all to do with consumers.

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A Hrefhttpwwwdocuversecomblogdonpark20030121htmla156

.NET Blues. ... More I use .NET, more problems I find.  Interoperating with Win32 is a chore, having to manually import Win32 API one function at a time, an error prone process.  There are odd bugs too like RegistryKey.SetValue method's confusion over UInt32.   

Yep, I must admit when I saw huge chunks of the Win32 API is 'missing' I kinda lost interest.

What bothers me the most is the lack of aggressive plan to increase .NET installbase. 20 megabytes is not something users will casually download unless its porn.  Only solution I see around this problem is to bundle .NET Framework 1.1 with IE 7.  Will Microsoft do this?  I doubt it.

Yep, I doubt it too.

I don't think .NET will be ubiquitous on desktops until .NET 3.0 is released two year from now.  Until then, .NET makes sense only for server-side software.  So the situation is a mixed revisit to Windows 3.1 and Java.[Don Park's Blog]

That's about it for me as well - as I told the nice person from MSDN doing a survey.

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# Friday, 17 January 2003

Latest In CrossBrowser DHTML Library

Latest in Cross-Browser DHTML Library. While great deal of webapp look and feel can be accomplished with plain HTML, CSS, and PhotoShop, fancy stuff must be done using DHTML.  There are many cross-browser DHTML libraries for 4th generation browsers (i.e. IE 4, Netscape 4.x), but I don't recommend them because a) 4th generation browsers make up only about 6% of all browsers, and b) they are no longer being maintained.  While 5th generation DHTML libraries support only 5.x or better browsers (i.e. IE 5, Mozilla), there are less tricky workarounds and gotchas. At this time, there are very few actively maintained 5th generation DHTML libraries and most of them are not complete and lack sufficient documentation.  The one I recommend is DomAPI.  DomAPI 3.01 was just recently released so go take a look.[Don Park's Blog]

I agree with Don's comments - I extensively used DynAPI at one point but that project seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit (or at least the last time I looked). So, DomAPI 3.01, I went to take a look. Extensive and from a brief glance around, good. But, I found lots of bugs using this here Vanilla IE6 - the collapsing tree went AWOL, color picker didn't appear to draw correctly. I think the problem these libraries have is trying to emulate so many UI features that are present in the OS - its such a waste of re-inventing the darn wheel. There's an argument over in the Java camp about 'native widgets' and its always a problem for cross platform development (in native code) - the API surfaces of each OS tend to be very different and hence tricky to write a universal wrapper for that provides a clean OS independent API layer to you app code. But it can be done, as many have shown. Basically, I think these DomAPI projects for widgetry should go and XHTML should be extended with tags for many more widgets than <input>, <textarea> and <button>, then its down to the browser developer to render these tags appropriately (i.e. native) for these tags. What does XFORM provide I wonder - life is too short to read every spec that may or may not get implemented.

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# Thursday, 16 January 2003

Kate Britts Annotated Compilation Of Learning Objects Reposito

Kate Britt's Annotated Compilation of Learning Objects, Repositories, Standards, and XML. This site provides a useful compilation of resources for instructors and instructional designers. Anyone designing an online course today needs both expert knowledge of the subject and an awareness of a potpourri of technical areas: learning objects, standards, learning repositories, and XML. Kate Britt's brief comments on the links provide an orienting entryway to the sites. For even more information, look at Kate Britt's VERY detailed Resource Lists on Online Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy. These listings span everything from Accessibility Issues to Webpage Creation and include resources for both K-12 and higher education instruction (http://www.ibritt.com/resources/).  [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

A useful hub if you are into this sort of thing (interesting question, to which we seem yet to have an answer - will the BBC Digital Curriculum implement/support any of the e-Learning standards or are they going to be very 'too much money to burn and we want to be leaders and we're better than everyone else' and roll their own?)

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Train Service

Train services to be cut. More than 100 trains a day are to be scrapped by the government body overseeing the railways, the BBC has learned. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]....

The route between ... will also be hit, as will services between Southampton and Bournemouth.

Oh great, my brother puts up with standing most of the way from Cardiff to Southampton, now there's going to be fewer trains for the final leg. This is a rail service?

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Safari Newsfl

Safari Newsflash: Alternate Stylesheets. In the "Did you know Safari could do this?" category comes the following tip. Safari supports an extension for examining the preferred stylesheet set and for setting the current active stylesheet set, so if you want to swap between sets of sheets in Safari, you don't have to loop over all of them setting the disabled property. You can get and set the selected set using an extension on DocumentStyle called selectedStylesheetSet. You can examine the preferred set through preferredStylesheetSet.

document.selectedStylesheetSet = 'alternate1';
Surfin' Safari]

Err, excuse me, what happened to 'standards'? What the heck is the point of this, an extension on a (relatively speaking) very little used browser? To play this game, you need to become a popular browser first. Perhaps the game is that you become a popular browser by implementing 'must have' extensions. Not sure this fits into this category since all its doing is simplifying a few lines of code.

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Judge Gives

Judge gives Microsoft 120 days to ship Java. "When Microsoft has the will to achieve, the achievement is great, and when it has the will to obstruct, the obstruction is complete," says Judge. [InfoWorld: Top News]

I have a feeling he's going to get slapped about like Jackson.

Sun lawyer Rusty Day argued that while Microsoft seeks to defer the order, Sun's Java is losing ground to Microsoft's .Net Framework.

Question: Do Sun really, really think that Java is loosing ground 'cos it doesn't ship with XP? Loosing ground where?

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Market Malaise Hurting

Market malaise hurting VC returns. As the economic slump continues, investors in venture capital funds are seeing lackluster returns, according to a joint report from the venture capital industry. [CNET News.com]

Perhaps if they had got some brains and sense they might have seen better returns - very difficult to feel sympathy for the vultures isn't it?


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# Tuesday, 14 January 2003

On This Day In 1998 XMLRPC As An Idea Was

On this day in 1998, XML-RPC, as an idea, was born. [Scripting News]

Like there are many Pete Cole's born in this world - XML-RPC as an idea wasn't just born then but born in a lot of people's heads - some sooner, some later than - 14/1/1998.

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# Monday, 13 January 2003

An Entire Site Dedicated To Connection Strings The Idea Of Co

An entire site dedicated to connection strings!. "The idea of connectionstrings.com is to provide an easy reference for connectionstrings. All connection string and enumeration info are collected from other internet sites, books, helpfiles, Microsoft msdn, etc."

Holy cow! An entire site of just connection string examples! Cool! [John Bristowe: radio.weblogs.com/0112381] [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]


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Introduction To Educational Blogging Many

Introduction to Educational Blogging. Many articles are appearing about the blogging phenomenon as the "next big thing" or the "current big thing" on the Web. .. Comment: A couple of new ideas in there, but basically an overview article. [Serious Instructional Technology] [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

But, there may be something here to move using computers for creative writing forward.

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Are Government Services AnticompetitiveE

Are government services anti-competitive?.

Dismay as BBC Gets E-learning Go-ahead. No bias in this headline! The BBC has won the right to provide free digital educational resources to schools, as it should. The thought of making it illegal for a government to provide resources to its own schools is ridiculous. Sure, industry calls it "anti-competitive," but by this logic any government service (into which industry decided it would like to offer its services) is anti-competitive. Sorry, it doesn't wash. Industry doesn't have the right to prevent a people, acting through their government, to provide for themselves. By Richard Agnew, NetImperative, January 9, 2003 [OLDaily]

Not all government services are this lucky. For instance, PubScience was killed because members of the Software & Information Industry Association lobby didn't like competing against it. [Seb's Open Research]

Strictly speaking, the BBC is not a government service. It is arguable that the BBC licence fee is hypothecated central taxation - but the fee is not collected by the government, it is collected by the BBC (I think by a private sector company under contract to the BBC). You only have to pay the BBC if you have a TV - so the definition of "the people" is debatable here.

The sums of money here are significant as to whether the BBC is anti-competive. Until a year ago, the average annual spend on software in the UK schools sector was approx £35m [corrected 23/1 from £25m - its very complex, more detail can be found here: The Market Size for Online Learning Resources (Becta, pdf format) (the BBC has been one of many suppliers competing for this money for many years) - the BBC was/is now intending to spend £30m a year on the production of free content. Since this is spend on the production/distribution costs only (advertising is free to the BBC on its many outlets) it would produce more than the current purchasing (purchasing is limited by cash supplied by government, which consequently limits supply). It is easy to see that schools would shift its £25m spend onto other things (like fixing the leaking roof) and take the free content - overnight the BBC is not a competitor it is a monopoly provider.

Its not a question of whether Industry has rights, its a question of whether having the BBC as the sole provider/commissioner of content/software to education is a good thing.

In an attempt to reduce the possibility of monopoly the UK govt has significantly uprated the spend available for software to approx £100m per year. However, this money is heavily ring fenced and may only be spent on 'approved' suppliers. It is highly likely the £100m won't be spent (good news for the government) and still begs the question of what happens after 3 years, does the spend fall off a cliff again, once more leaving the BBC.....

All the money in this system is 'tax' money. From the goverments point of view, a BBC monopoly is a jolly good thing. They can then stop funding schools purchasing software from central taxation and leave it to the BBC license fee, which they then approve hikes in - its not a tax raised by the goverment, they are simply allowing a request from the BBC. Which is free here, and to whom - the government:

  1. pays someone (either an employee or other company) to produce some software and gives it to the schools or
  2. gives the money to the school and they pay someone or
  3. allows a company to raise money, which then pays someone (either an employee or other company) to produce some software and gives it to the schools

In which of these scenarios are the 'people providing for themselves'?

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Across Lots Of Forums And Heres One Computers Not Wo

Across lots of forums, and here's one, computers not working education, there's a common theme/argument - no-one is really sure what the computer is for.

A snippet from usenet (uk.education.schools-it)

What I'm maybe saying is that our current view of education and the
way we organise it provides little opportunity to really explore the
possibilities of ICT in learning and that the rather dull output of
many of our edsoft publishers is really a response to a rather dull
and uninspiring education system. Marshal Anderson

Sums it up right for me. Its also interest this to constrast this with the current music scene - the rather dull output, what is this a response to?


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Very Interesting Interview With Alan Cooper And App

Very interesting interview with Alan Cooper (and apparently the 'Father of Visual Basic', never been a VB man so dunno). Personally, I've always likened programming to being an artist (craftsperson) since when you switched your computer on it did nothing (well way back when, you just got c:>) and after a day of crafting it did something interesting as a result of one's efforts. The trouble is, a) how do you make accounting systems interesting and b) stop the 'crafting' taking over and allowing the person to retreat into "but I'm an artist". I agree with his development as apposed to construction view, lets face it there's an aweful lot of software which is still under development. Better would be that it had been built and is now having new extensions or a new kitchen fitted. Interesting that web sites used to say 'under construction'.
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Dan Bricklins SMBmeta Heavily US Biased As Commented By Others A

Dan Bricklin's SMBmeta. Heavily US biased as commented by others (Paolo and JY). The question alluded to, but not answered is the tools to search this info - but this sort of thing may be the more practical approach to implementing the 'semantic web'.
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# Sunday, 12 January 2003

Jeff Keys NET Samples I Just Stumpled Onto A Set Of Ver

Jeff Key's .NET Samples. I just stumpled onto a set of very cool .NET samples from Jeff Key and *had* to share them. There are too many cool things to pick a favorite. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

For the query analyser - repeat in .Zeepe

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# Friday, 10 January 2003

I missed a trick

At Christmas, I had an interesting discussion - where should NASA go next - with the recently retired Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute . One idea put forward was putting an astronaut on a Lagrange point and seeing what happens. Of course, silly me, I should have suggested WebLogging from Space - but perhaps that sounds too much like a Muppet production.

(Oh, I argued for a base on the moon).

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Major NTFS Vulnerability Via KnoppixEM

Major NTFS Vulnerability via Knoppix. From Lockergnomie David Bott: "Hi Chris, I'm not sure if I'm the first to discover this, but there is an EXTREMELY easy way to bypass the security of the NTFS file system... [Lockergnome's Bits and Bytes]

Not an NTFS vulnerability. Basically, you boot an OS off CDROM and then it can read your hard disk - what ever the format of the HD and assuming the booted OS has drivers to understand the layout of info on the disk. Applies to any format of the HD, not just NTFS. Presumably Macs have bootable CDs as well. Scary.

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Looking For Whitepapers Presentations Amp Webcasts My Friend And Au

Looking for whitepapers, presentations & webcasts?. My friend and author of only4gurus.com has enhanced the site with more that one thousand and five hundred whitepapers, presentations and webcasts for IT professionals. This site is extremely usefully for consultants and field support professionals. David [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

The trouble is, I hate the very instrusive ads.

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TeeGofer TeeGofer Is A Tool Designed Specifically For The NET

TeeGofer. "TeeGofer is a tool designed specifically for the .NET Component writer. Written in 100% native C# code, it works by reflection to read in metadata from .NET Assemblies (.DLLs or .EXEs) to create first class quality online help documentation. The Tool is extremely easy to work with, presenting a tree navigator of the entire structure of any Assemblies selected for the Help Project."

Really Cool! [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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# Thursday, 09 January 2003

Issues Regarding Learning Objects This Article Wa

Issues Regarding Learning Objects. This article was recommended by Vicky York, "an interesting article 'When is a Learning Object Not an Object: a First Step Towards a Theory of Learning Objects' appeared in the latest issue of International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning." The authors, Mike Sosteric and Susan Hesemeier of Athabasca University, use this definition of learning objects, "A learning object is a digital file (image, movie, etc.,) intended to be used for pedagogical purposes, which includes, either internally or via association, suggestions on the appropriate context within which to utilize the object." [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

Its the trouble with the education world - 6 years down the line and they are still coming up with definitions. I wonder if the BBC will spend £60m on implementation (but heck, theres loads around already anyway) or arguing pedagogical niceties.

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Oh My Gawd Look At This DCMSnbsp Somehow I Feared The Textonly

Oh my gawd, look at this: DCMS - somehow I feared the text-only version might be even worse.
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Digital Learning Plans Approved The Gov

Digital learning plans approved. The government has given the go-ahead for the BBC's controversial plans for an internet-based "digital curriculum" for schools. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition] ... The BBC has promised to spend half of the £90m budget for content on services from the private sector.

And given the total budget is £150m what the heck is £60m being spent on, and can I have some please (Mr Tabbera said my efforts were worthy [and would have been/are a darn sight less than £60m).

Later, Mr Clarke says:

"With the funding already announced this provides £100m each year for the next three years to give schools access to online curriculum materials," he said.

There ain't that enough content out there to absorb this money. This govt are daft and profligate with it.

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W3C CCS3 Spec Fornbsplayout Control Of Printed Output 1999 So There Doesnt See

W3C CCS3 spec for layout control of printed output. 1999, so there doesn't seem to be a great impetous for such things. With Safari making a bit of noise, one looks at the browser wars again and sees that really people are still catching up with specs from n years ago. Whatever happened to 'Internet development time'?
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# Wednesday, 08 January 2003

Screenweaver MX Flash Desktop ApplicationsEM

Screenweaver MX: Flash Desktop Applications.
Rubberduck, a Netherlands-based software group, just released Screenweaver MX, a powerful tool that enables developers to build full-featured desktop applications using Flash MX.   The product enables developers to use native Windows functionality ... Any developer interested in building Internet-connected Windows-integrated desktop applications with rich, engaging user experiences should take a look at this powerful tool.[Jeremy Allaire's Radio]

Seeing as I always wanted to name my software company The Pink Pig, that this is from Rubber Duck is, err, well nothing - I just like the name. Weird that this is apparently Win32 only, but I would suspect, depending on the interface, that this is serious competion for something like Zeepe.

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Have I Got This Wrong Wasnt Dave Hyatt Behind XBLXUL And Also Behind Or At Least Involved With Phoenix If Hes Nownbspp

Have I got this wrong - wasn't Dave Hyatt behind XBL/XUL and also behind (or at least involved with) Phoenix? If he's now part of the Safari team working with KHTML what happens to XUL - will that get ported into KHTML I wonder? 
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Startup Marries Blogs And Camera Phones Is Th

Start-up marries blogs and camera phones. Is there no escape? [The Register]

Blimey, they really are desperate for something to do with these 'phones and video pictures.

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ISSNs And Z3950 Thanks To Alf Eaton Author Of A Hrefh

ISSNs and Z39.50. Thanks to Alf Eaton, author of HubMed, an alternative interface to the PubMed database, for noting that LibraryLookup could easily be extended to match ISSNs. I've made the change, and if you reacquire (or recreate) your Innovative or iPac bookmarklet, you can look up an article from an abstract page like this one. ... [Jon's Radio]
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RSS Bandit A Hrefhttpwwwkuro5hinorgstory2003131954266524

RSS Bandit. Dare Obasanjo: So this morning I decided to write an RSS News aggregator.

My advice is to test it on Joe's and Shelley's feeds. This requires two simple, albeit a bit unconventional, rules: anything in the namespace of the DocumentElement is equivalent to the null namespace, and items can be either inside or outside of channels.

And then there are synonyms, e.g., dc:subject vs category...

[Sam Ruby]
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New Rdflib Release A Hrefhttprdflibnet20030102rdfli

New rdflib release. rdflib 1.2.0 is now the latest stable release of Daniel 'eikeon' Krech's Python RDF parser/generator.

Do check it out if you're working with RDF. It takes much of the guesswork out of it, and makes it very easy to generate valid, meaningful RDF.


[Second p0st]
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Genus Species And ISBN A Hrefhttpradioweblogscom

Genus, species, and ISBN. Jiri Ludvik has identified a new class of LibraryLookup-compatible OPACs: Talis systems. I'll go ahead and derive a service list from that page, and add Talis to the bookmarklet generator, but Jiri's contribution raises another ISBN complication. ... [Jon's Radio]
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Andre Torrez This Application Allows You To Map Out A

Andre Torrez: "This application allows you to map out a new XML-RPC message with a tree control and then submit that request to any XML-RPC server. The response is then viewable in a separate window." [Scripting News]
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Chris Morley A New C Implementation Of XMLRPC Client And Server For

Chris Morley: "A new C++ implementation of XML-RPC client and server for easy integration in C++ apps based on py-xmlrpc.". [Scripting News]
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Creating And Finding Learning Objects More Steps

Creating and Finding Learning Objects: More Steps. I'm reposting this CETIS article about the Design of Learning Object Repositories, with Stephen Downes' comments from OLDaily. _____ ADL Takes First Step to Repository Profile. Interesting. As Wilbert Kraan summarizes it, "With the publication of a report on 'Emerging and Enabling Technologies for the Design of Learning Object Repositories', ADL is taking the first tentative steps to designing a learning object repository application profile to complement its existing learning object reference model, SCORM." As I have discovered in my own work (and as OAI discovered in theirs), you can't just rely on learning object jetadata to make the contents of a metadata repository accessible. At the very least, you need some sort of index or list - and that entails another profile. Or, if all else fails, RSS will do the trick. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, January 2, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect] [OLDaily] [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

Well, its interesting to me.

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Where Angels Fear To Tread Roger Costellos Excellent A H

Where angels fear to tread. Roger Costello's excellent XML Schema Tutorial includes a detailed breakdown of the ISBN. I've excerpted the documentation (along with Roger's GPL) here. The example also includes a complete ISBN schema, which involves a huge pile of regular expressions. The hyphens, which most book-related Web services ignore, are meant to carve up the address space in a very TCP/IP-like way: ... [Jon's Radio]
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Apple Safari Browser An Interesting Email From T

Apple Safari browser - an interesting email from the engineering manager - most interesting from the point of view of they went for the KHMTL library rather than Gecko.
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# Tuesday, 07 January 2003

Figleaf Software Has Just Released WYSIDRAW 10 A Pretty Cool Flash

Figleaf Software has just released WYSIDRAW 1.0, a pretty cool Flash component for shared drawing and whiteboarding.  When used standalone it allows any end-user with Flash Player 6 to easily draw and markup a graphic or create one from scratch, and all the graphic data can be saved via XML to your server of choice.  The more powerful use is when it is combined with Flash Communication Server, where it becomes a shared design and whiteboard environment.  Take a look at the live demo happening on their site. [Jeremy Allaire's Radio]

I couldn't make it work, but it sure looks interesting as a component that can be put inside a nice frame.

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In The Space Of A Week A TitleThis Blog Is Powered By Exchange Server HrefhttpwwwdotnetremotingccDotNetCen

In the space of a week, Ingo and Greg have transformed MS Exchange and Outlook into a competitor for Radio. Who would've guessed? [Gordon Weakliem's Radio Weblog]
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# Friday, 03 January 2003

Ah WhatnbspnbspDon Parknbspis On About Is A Href

Ah, what  Don Park is on about is WBI - indeed not part of Sash at all but something completely different - a programmable proxy. It could be used with Sash, it could be used with anything (inc. Zeepe or, well, anything). They (IBM) claim the history is interesting and entertaining - I might just about go for interesting, but entertaining, no.
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# Thursday, 02 January 2003


Sash is Trash.

Sash is also slow, bloated, and bewildering.  A simple weblication that should require only a few K of JavaScript and DHTML somehow end up almost a megabyte of download.  Funny thing is that source code (wdx) files are indeed small (a few K) as expected but compressed.  What is the point of using compressed source format when binary ends up being hundred times larger?

Installation of these weblications is even worse.  You have to individually review and grant security rights to them.  Why not just download them into a quaranteened area and then ask when they are actually used for the entire group of weblications?  As it is, they are discouraging people from trying out sample weblications with all the warnings and prompting.  Its like a waiter asking the temperature and ratio of tomato over brocolli in my salad.  Can't IBM afford to have a UI specialist review Sash?

Sash is huge and makes one wonder what is in it.  Even worse is the development environment which seems as big and slow as Visual Studio.  I'll bet most users will gladly trade fancy debuggers in return for ability to directly edit with a simple text editor and test with a web browser.

Put it all together and one ends up feeling that Sash is nothing more than a pile of glittering Trash.  All the neat ideas, potentials, sweats, and dreams that went into it ends up being nothing because of bad amateurish execution. [Don Park's Blog]

One hopes, modestly, that Zeepe is more than a pile of glittering Trash.

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Don ParknbspDon Parks Blog Joins In Abou

Don Park [Don Park's Blog] joins in about Universal Personal Proxy and opines that IBM Sash is almost exactly what they are talking about.

First, I don't think that's at all what they are talking about - to me the UPP discussion has been about a proxy that sits in on all your 'conversations' on the web, filtering, analysing, categorising, agent based recommendations etc. Indeed this is not a new idea but is not what Sash is for, but then he goes on:

It has a cool IDE for writing weblications.  There is even a Linux port of Sash.  What really intrigues me is why it hasn't taken off.

Indeed. He has an idea:

One has to download a large toolkit and myriads of extensions.  Web developers need only a text editor and a FTP client. 

Well, Zeepe is small (approx 260K), does an aweful lot of what Sash does and (ahem) needs only a text editor and FTP Client.


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# Wednesday, 01 January 2003