Berkun on ‘How to detect bullshit’

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/14

From Berkun’s latest ‘How to detect bullshit’

White lies are the spackle of civilization

That is awesome.



Watch this Net Nuetrality video now

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/11

At Gnomedex 6, it was Kathy Gill who called for someone to come up with a better name for Net Neutrality –– something that would resonate beyond our edge case communities.

While it’s not a new name, this video is a step in the right direction –– putting the discussion to more human/humorous terms. Watch it now –– very good supplemental material around the rest of the web site as well.

http://wearetheweb.org/



Zoe gets a heart

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/10

This is Zoe. Daughter of our good friend’s Paul and Jenny Faultner (and sister to Noah). Paul is a project manager at Ascentium in Bellevue, WA.

Zoe had a severe heart defect detected in the womb and was born on July 3rd. We’ve all been waiting to see if a heart would become available for a transplant.

Last night we got word that one is here.

Zoe is in surgery right now at Children’s Hospital in Seattle –– an outstanding organization where I used to work.

If you pray, we would appreciate you stepping in on Zoe’s behalf.

Many, many thanks. My wife Jen has more details here.

IMG_2878



Blackboard adopts a ‘Patent the Obvious and Sue’ Revenue Model

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/08/02

Seems that eLearning vendor Blackboard is the latest tech company to switch to a “patent the obvious and sue” revenue model.

According to this post by Harold Jarche they’ve ––

  1. Been granted a far-reaching patent for “Internet-based education support system and methods”
  2. Already filed a lawsuit against its main competitor Desire2Learn

My understanding at this point is that their patent covers all rudimentary LMS functionality and seems to overlap with a lot of standard content management system (CMS) functionality as well. (Excerpt from the patent is below –– text of full patent is available here).

For instance, seems the patent guarantees a lock on ––

  1. Role based user functionality that defines some users as “administrator”, some as “instructors”, and some as “students”. (Patent claim, point 1)
  2. Grouping content into “courses” (Patent claim, point 1)
  3. Creation and editing of content that can be grouped into courses (Patent claim, point 2)
  4. Role based access to said courses (Patent claim, point 1)

I could go on, but you probably get the gist –– friendster has patented friend relationships reflected in technology –– and now blackboard has patented teacher/student relationships reflected in technology.

Can we take a moment and acknowledge how immoral this kind of corporate action is? Especially at the heart of emerging educational systems?

The thing that kills me is that we have to use up valuable brain cycles to discuss/combat this kind of dumb patent (can you say $$ lost via time spent on dumb stuff?)

Even with prior art (which there is tons of), combating it in legal/political channels is very expensive with no guarantee of “equitableconclusion being reached (depending on what the definition of Tubes is, of course).

So many resources that would be better spent building cool stuff -– not very often that you see this kind of “cost” calculated into these sorts of “revenue models”.

From my perspective, any company that tries to do this “patent the obvious and sue” tactic deserves to be called to account by the blogosphere — we’ve got small voices, but when you add them together they can get pretty loud.

––

From the patent ––

  1. A course-based system for providing to an educational community of users access to a plurality of online courses, comprising: a) a plurality of user computers, with each user computer being associated with a user of the system and with each user being capable of having predefined characteristics indicative of multiple predetermined roles in the system, each role providing a level of access to a plurality of data files associated with a particular course and a level of control over the data files associated with the course with the multiple predetermined user roles comprising at least two user’s predetermined roles selected from the group consisting of a student role in one or more course associated with a student user, an instructor role in one or more courses associated with an instructor user and an administrator role associated with an administrator user, and b) a server computer in communication with each of the user computers over a network, the server computer comprising: means for storing a plurality of data files associated with a course, means for assigning a level of access to and control of each data file based on a user of the system’s predetermined role in a course; means for determining whether access to a data file associated with the course is authorized; means for allowing access to and control of the data file associated with the course if authorization is granted based on the access level of the user of the system.


Read the Founders

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/07/04

With the 4th of July here, I’m jumping in to Stuart Maxwell’s Read the Founders meme —

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Take a moment to read the entire Declaration of Independence.



Amnesty International: “It’s not happening here but it’s happening now”

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/06/13

Posting this here because it is such a great combination of design that provokes me beyond complacency. Caught this reference on 37 signals the other day to a new ad campaign Amnesty International is running in Switzerland.

Amnesty International it's not happening here but it's happening now example

Series is titled “It’s not happening here but it’s happening now”

wow.

Images are close-ups of currently occurring tortures and violence with transparent backgrounds that are inserted into bus/strain stop shelters.

Effect brings the given event right there to your doorstep so to speak — very engaging.



Avoiding corruption with blank default dialogue text in Firefly

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/05/11

Here’s a helpful addition to the info from yesterday’s post on customizing UI text in Knowledge Planet’s Firefly (v 4.1.19).

Don’t make any text under “Simulation >> Customize Interface >> Customize Text (tab)” blank — ever.

My best understanding at this point is that this is what will corrupt your custom text settings and make them un-editable.

Work around is that I put some blank HTML font formatting in when I want to make some of the systems messages blank (no time to explain why you would want to do this — just trust me that there are some compelling reasons to do it). Code I’ve used is —

*CONTINUE_INSTRUCTIONS = <font size="0"></font>

This seems to be enough of a placeholder that the Firefly edit routines for these setting will not choke and corrupt them.

Will post more info if I come across anything to the contrary.



Yahoo! makes it easy to do the right CSS thing

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/05/11

Yesterday Yahoo! released another in its series of open source CSS/AJAX framework resources. This one includes a pretty cool Grids CSS library that will take the headache out of trying to do CSS layout.

For quick reference, take a look at the examples of their available templates and grids.

As someone who’s been trying to make the jump to CSS layout for a while, dealing with the necessary browser quirks has been a bit too much for me to make the full jump — most of the projects where I’ve tried to go full CSS have been too short for me to really get my head around things.

Standardized libraries like this make it easy.

This is where I think that Yahoo! really understands web developers and Microsoft just doesn’t.

I was at the Real World AJAX Seminar a couple of weeks ago in San Jose and got to hear Eric Miraglia from Yahoo! Presentation Platform Engineering present on why/what Yahoo! is making freely available with these libraries.

They have basically made these libraries free (even to their competitors) to make it easier for developers to increase the quality of user experience on the web — that makes me happy as a developer because they are making it easier for me to do the right thing (CSS layout, cross browsers support, etc).

Conversely, at the same conference, I got to see some of the Atlas platform from Microsoft that is supposed to do the same kind of thing — it was cool, but when MS keeps rolling out products that don’t support other browsers — well, it’s not a bridge builder for a developer like me.

With these two very different ways of doing business, it becomes clear, very quickly, that MS and I do not hold the same things dear — and that’s where they are losing this race with developers like me every single day.



Nothing like a closely followed policy

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/05/04

From the annals of “The Daily WTF” comes “Hungry Hungry HIPAA” — a story of healthcare IT training (my specialty) gone awry — very very awry.

The lead in (quoted below) is great — the story is priceless — hard to read if you are at all security minded — you’ve been warned.

I get pretty excited whenever a new regulatory framework like HIPAA or SOX is enacted. Not only does it bring the potential to sit on a committee responsible for deciding the procedure needed to formulate a project request to initiate the creation of group responsible for determining the key players on a compliance assessment team, but it brings some pretty interesting stories of non-compliance like this anonymously submitted one …


Leak 2.0: Origami Was Staged

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/02/28

Microsoft’s Origami leak last weekend was staged. What – you think its dominating the tech blogosphere a few days before a mysterious Steve Jobs announcement is coincidence?

Guess again, newbie.

And the ‘old’ demo video that just ‘happened’ to be out there a marketing agency web portfolio and has since ‘disappeared’ but is all over YouTube – this is happenstance?

Fraid not, Gulliber.

And to tell you the truth, I’m glad — sure I’ve been manipulated in a way that leaves me skeptical and used when I think about it, but who has time to think when there’s a meme tracker to be refreshed?

The whole thing is like watching that Rain Man friend of yours who you’ve completely written off come back with a knack for the numbers and a way with the ladies.

Sure, Boo Radly stuck his customers with scissors but that was a long time ago — now he’s showing up in the quiet jazz shadows of the buzz channel baby.

This is a new Microsoft — drunk on Scoble’s kool-aid they’ve come to terms with the fact that no statement is the new uber statement.

I got to say that watching el borgo come back to life in a way that actually ‘gets it’ makes me almost want to go down to the lake with them again and throw flowers in the water – now that’s disruption.

Welcome to Leak 2.0 — yeah, I do it to myself.



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