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Finding solutions to group tyranny

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 17, 2006 - 12:34pm
I was scanning civil society stuff and stumbled upon a link to Paul Resnick, Mark Ackerman and Cory Knobel's workshop wiki at University of Michigan for a workshop on content management systems. (Drupal, it appears, int this case.)

I was interested because I'm working on a project that is adopting Drupal, but what intrigued me was the end of the page, where they talk about how this will be done in groups. Now group work often creates a grading conundrum in education settings. How do you value both the collaborative work and the individual contributions? I thought they had an interesting approach:

SI 631 PEP Workshop Grading

All of the deliverables will be graded: Deliverables 1-5 will count 10% each. Deliverable 6 will be 30% of the grade. Deliverable 7 will be 20% of the grade. Your team as a whole will receive a grade on each of these deliverables. Team members will also be asked to evaluate each other's performance, which may lead to raising or lowering of grades for individual team members. Tags: , ,
Categories: Attendees

Vote for me at the 2006 Canadian Blog Awards, please?

Larix Consulting - November 17, 2006 - 10:47am
I submitted two of my blogs to the Canadian Blog Awards ... they are in the same category, Sci-Tech.  So, A View from the Isle (my bloggy homebase) and Homely Scientist are up there.  While I see now that is was stupid for me to submit both in the same category (I didn't think both would be accepted), how about this ... you, dear readers, choose which one you like and read more and vote for that one.  Haven't read HS but like VftI, vote VftI (and vice versa).  You can vote more than once, just not more than once a day.  Please vote for me! The first round of voting closes November 21st. Tags: ,
Categories: Attendees

Vote for me at the 2006 Canadian Blog Awards, please?

Larix Consulting - November 17, 2006 - 10:47am

I submitted two of my blogs to the Canadian Blog Awards ... they are in the same category, Sci-Tech.  So, A View from the Isle (my bloggy homebase) and Homely Scientist are up there.  While I see now that is was stupid for me to submit both in the same category (I didn't think both would be accepted), how about this ... you, dear readers, choose which one you like and read more and vote for that one.  Haven't read HS but like VftI, vote VftI (and vice versa).  You can vote more than once, just not more than once a day.  Please vote for me!

The first round of voting closes November 21st.

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Categories: Attendees

Jim Turner hits the nail on the head ... blogs and the NASCAR sponsorship model

Larix Consulting - November 17, 2006 - 9:05am
Jim has a wry sense of humour.  Hey anyone who can put up with my snoring for two days and isn't romantically involved with me has to be a good guy.  Jim just sent this link to his first post of the morning over to me.  It's funny, it's telling, and you know I think we have to see the irony and satire in it ... as a warning for what we could become. Go read it, but put your coffee down first.  I take no responsibility for laughter-induced coffee spewing on keyboards. Tags: , ,
Categories: Attendees

Jim Turner hits the nail on the head ... blogs and the NASCAR sponsorship model

Larix Consulting - November 17, 2006 - 9:05am

Jim has a wry sense of humour.  Hey anyone who can put up with my snoring for two days and isn't romantically involved with me has to be a good guy.  Jim just sent this link to his first post of the morning over to me.  It's funny, it's telling, and you know I think we have to see the irony and satire in it ... as a warning for what we could become.

Go read it, but put your coffee down first.  I take no responsibility for laughter-induced coffee spewing on keyboards.

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Categories: Attendees

Review: Half Nelson

I went to see Half Nelson last night with Cyd (from the pool). Oh. My. God.  Such a fantastic movie; I can't wait until it comes out on DVD.  I've decided already that I'm definitely going to be teaching it when (if) I ever get my own classroom.  The film stars Ryan Gosling as junior high school teacher and crack addict Dan Dunne, Shareeka Epps as Dan's student and unlikely friend Drey and Anthony Mackie, as Frank, Dan's dealer and Drey's 'protector'.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

When I first heard about the film, I was pretty excited, mostly because Gosling is in it, but I'm so glad that I went.  It's one of those films that you can't necessarily process right away, but it gives you lots to think about.  Though it was shot with handheld cameras, I never got the feeling that the cinematography was unsteady or that it was distracting.  Instead, it helped me to really get into the characters, and not be a passive observer, but a more active participant in the film.  The film could have fallen off the rails in a big way, in that it COULD have focused solely on Dunne's spiral into addiction, but instead gave us a cast of characters that helped us realize why Dan's addiction was so potent, and how Drey took on the role of the authority figure in the relationship and helped Dan try to overcome his battle.

SPOILERS BELOW - SKIP THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE FILM

Set in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Brooklyn, the film opens with a series of shots showing Dan getting ready for a day at school, including his requisite eye check (to make sure they're not red after his long night of drinking and getting high).  As a history teacher, Dan bends the curriculum to fit his own views of the past, encouraging his students to think in terms of dialectics (opposites, to put it simply); the notion that change is a spiral motion rather than a linear motion is one of the central themes of the film. Dan's students are engaged in a discussion of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, and their short, direct-to-camera/audience monologues give us the impression that Dan's really trying to get a handle on his problem.

Drey catches Dan in the girls locker room after a basketball game, higher than a kite, and unable to lift himself off the ground.  With all of the poise and maturity of someone much older, Drey wipes the sweat off Dan's forehead and begins to care for him in a way that he cannot begin to care for himself.  Like most 13 year old girls with a male teacher and coach, Drey has a crush on Dan, and part of her development is coming to terms with the fact that she’ll never be more than his student or his friend.  Their relationship progresses to the point where they each consider the other a friend, and Drey's continuing presence in Dan's life at times seems to be the only anchor in his existence.  As Dan's life spirals out of control, we see Drey try to reach him, but he pushes himself further away from her so that he can spiral downward on his own.  Dan's darkest point comes jsut before the end of the film, when Drey delivers a supply to his hotel room.  He gives her the money and looks at her with a look that says “I'm sorry.  Please help me.” 

Dan isn't the only father figure in Drey's typical 'single working mom' life.  Drey's brother is in prison, but his friend Frank tries to push his way into Drey's life to take care of her, until she begins running drugs for him and collecting payment from his clients.  We can't even begin to understand what it means for Drey that she's relegated to running drugs for a 'friend', and Epps doesn't let us see the revulsion until the end. 

SPOILERS ABOVE

The relationship between Dan and Drey in the film was decidedly non-sexual, which was a good decision, because that sort of thing would have taken away from the surreal quality found in the film itself.  Epps was remarkable in this role, and showed her mettle, standing up to one of the finest actors in the industry at the moment (in my humble, and COMPLETELY objective opinion). 

I'm a pretty big fan of Ryan Gosling, and have been since he was on Breaker High (yes I watched it.  Deal with it).  I was more or less blown away by him in The United States of Leland, and also enjoyed him in The Notebook.  What got me in this movie was the way he played such a convincing crackhead.  Cyd commented to me that he did the druggie thing well, and she's absolutely right.  I think that it definitely takes a certain talent to act the role of something or someone you've never been and probably never will be, but he pulls it off well.

I would strongly recommend this film to anyone and everyone.  Though there are some obvious shots of Dan getting high, the bad language is minimal, and the violence is almost non-existent.  Instead of relying on a lot of dialogue, the film moves through its scenes because of the wonderful connection between Gosling and Epps, and the simplicity of setting.  Although it’s not clear how long the idyll in the end will last, there’s a real sense of hope for both Dan and Drey, that they’ll come out of their situations as better, stronger people. 

Macbeth

Is anyone interested in watching a performance of Macbeth on Friday (Nov 24) in the afternoon at McNally?  Tickets are $5.  My mom's even going to come!

Let me know.

links for 2006-11-17

The Last Minute (Duncan Rawlinson) - November 16, 2006 - 8:21pm

Game Dialogue Transcript: “Everywhere Now: Kids, Games, and Learning”

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 16, 2006 - 4:19pm
I just started taking a peek into the transcript of an online dialog about games and learning and it looks very interesting. First, the content interests me about learning - beyond kids, to everyone. Second, you don't see dialog transcripts cleaned up and shared out much any more. In fact, I've noticed a decline in the use of web forums in some of my networks. Finally, I noticed it was a "dialog of experts." What does that mean anymore?

Anyway... this caught my eye. It is part of the MacArthur Foundations new digital learning initiative.

Game Dialogue Transcript: “Everywhere Now: Kids, Games, and Learning”
Sixty experts, three weeks of dialogues, led by “Ecology of Games” MacSeries editor Katie Salen, on the future of kids, games and learning. Check it out…

For three weeks this fall more than sixty experts drawn from the world of game development, design, education, sociology, and media studies came together in a series of online dialogues to discuss and debate the future of kids, games, and learning. The transcript of these conversations reveals a wealth of ideas, references, hopes, fears, misconceptions, and competing pedagogies--the words are raw and unedited and make for a fascinating read. "

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Categories: Attendees

How could Zune's software suck so badly?

MasterMaq - November 16, 2006 - 12:11pm

Perhaps you've heard on the news recently that Microsoft's new digital media player, the Zune, is hardly flying off the shelves. I guess that's not too surprising given the early reviews the device has received. Now I know Microsoft is pretty good at hardware (Xbox, mice and keyboards, etc.) but they are still a software company. How is it then, that they could have screwed up the software side of the Zune so badly?

Now I haven't seen or tested a Zune, so I can't say I have had similar experiences. And granted, not all of the reviews are so negative (indeed there are quite a few positive ones), but still. A software company should have gotten the software part absolutely right, don't you think?

Categories: Attendees, Speaker

Coming together to support Sitemaps

MasterMaq - November 16, 2006 - 11:27am

As much as I enjoy reading about how Microsoft plans to defeat Google and how Google has trumped Yahoo and started on their way to ruling the world, it always gives me a good feeling when I read about the three giants working together. Sitemaps are the latest technology that Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo have come together to support:

The goal of this effort is to improve search results for customers around the world. This protocol enables site owners everywhere to tell search engines about the content on their site instead of having to rely solely on crawl algorithms to find it.

Interested in the gritty details? Read more about the Sitemaps protocol at the official website: http://www.sitemaps.org.

As I understand it, Sitemaps do not replace they very common crawling algorithms, but instead augment that data and help improve the crawlers. Seems like something that should have been developed a long time ago! It's amazing what can happen when you work together isn't it?

Oh, and the coolest part of all - Sitemap 0.90 has been released under a Creative Commons license.

Live Search Blog  
Categories: Attendees, Speaker

When Building a Blog, Don't Forget to Register the Domain Name

Blog Business Summit - November 15, 2006 - 4:58pm
Jeremiah Owyang (newly of PodTech) e-mailed me today and made me aware of this e-mail he had received. Edelman, which was recently embroiled in a blogosphere scandal, set up a pro Wal-Mart organization Working Families for Wal-Mart. The organization’s website uses blogging architecture. It was recently revealed that all the content on that site is written by Edelman staffers. Edelman covered a lot of their bases, but it looks like they forgot a crucial step: reserving the domain most closely associated with their organization. Now the anti Wal-Mart group Wal-Mart Watch has regitered the domain workingfamiliesforwalmart.com and has set up a spoof website there. There’s a stereotype in the blogosphere that whenever people sit around getting great ideas, the first person to register the domain wins. The same is true here. Anytime you’re doing anything on the Web, it’s a good idea to register any and all domains that are even closely related to the project you’re working on. Technorati Tags: , , ,
Categories: Other Conferences

When Building a Blog, Don't Forget to Register the Domain Name

Blog Business Summit - November 15, 2006 - 4:58pm

Jeremiah Owyang (newly of PodTech) e-mailed me today and made me aware of this e-mail he had received.

Edelman, which was recently embroiled in a blogosphere scandal, set up a pro Wal-Mart organization Working Families for Wal-Mart. The organization’s website uses blogging architecture. It was recently revealed that all the content on that site is written by Edelman staffers.

Edelman covered a lot of their bases, but it looks like they forgot a crucial step: reserving the domain most closely associated with their organization. Now the anti Wal-Mart group Wal-Mart Watch has regitered the domain workingfamiliesforwalmart.com and has set up a spoof website there.

There’s a stereotype in the blogosphere that whenever people sit around getting great ideas, the first person to register the domain wins. The same is true here. Anytime you’re doing anything on the Web, it’s a good idea to register any and all domains that are even closely related to the project you’re working on.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Categories: Other Conferences

File Conversion Website Zamzar

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 15, 2006 - 11:30am
Via Barry Dahl comes a pointer to Zamzar a free web based file conversation site that launched late in October. Mmm... looks interesting, useful and, well, time to PLAY a bit!

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Categories: Attendees

Channel 9 -- The 1000th Video - Send us your favorite clips.

Jeff Sandquist - Microsoft Evangelist - November 15, 2006 - 8:31am

We're very close to shipping our 1000th video to Channel 9.  It is a pretty amazing milestone when you think about it.  We're asking the Niners to highlight there favorite clips of all time using the Channel 9 Clipster (Clipster is a feature of Channel 9 that allows you to save your favorite sections of videos)

Charles writes:

Dearest Niners,

We are rapidly approaching our 1000th video and we would love for you to share with us, using Clipster, what your favorite scenes are of all time! We will then create a collage of these clips as the way we celebrate this momentous occasion. We have some of our own favorites too, but, as always, what matters most to you (what made you laugh, cry, jump up and down, scratch your head, jump for joy, etc) is what we really want to celebrate.

Please name your Clips so we can easily spot them. So, prefix their titles with "C9-1000:".

Let's make something really cool together. We need to get your clips by November 29th so please start your clipping engines! Thank you!!!

Keep on Clipping!
C

This will be fun and will be our second clip show for C9.  We did one previously with the Channel 9 Song at PDC'05. :-)  More details on getting started.

technorati tags: channel+9, 10

Categories: Attendees

Channel 9 -- The 1000th Video - Send us your favorite clips.

Jeff Sandquist - Microsoft Evangelist - November 15, 2006 - 8:31am
We're very close to shipping our 1000th video to Channel 9.  It is a pretty amazing milestone when you think about it.  We're asking the Niners to highlight there favorite clips of all time using the Channel 9 Clipster (Clipster is a feature of Channel 9 that allows you to save your favorite sections of videos) Charles writes: Dearest Niners, We are rapidly approaching our 1000th video and we would love for you to share with us, using Clipster, what your favorite scenes are of all time! We will then create a collage of these clips as the way we celebrate this momentous occasion. We have some of our own favorites too, but, as always, what matters most to you (what made you laugh, cry, jump up and down, scratch your head, jump for joy, etc) is what we really want to celebrate. Please name your Clips so we can easily spot them. So, prefix their titles with "C9-1000:". Let's make something really cool together. We need to get your clips by November 29th so please start your clipping engines! Thank you!!! Keep on Clipping! C This will be fun and will be our second clip show for C9.  We did one previously with the Channel 9 Song at PDC'05. :-)  More details on getting started. technorati tags: channel+9, 10
Categories: Attendees

A Group's Technology Configuration

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 15, 2006 - 7:00am
Jim Benson shares his company's distributed collaboration configuration - the set of tools and processes they use to work regardless of who is "in the office!" Where's William? "In order to maintain cohesion, the group uses the following types of tools:

Communications

1. Skype - Most holy Skype allows us to have a common stand up meeting every day at 9 am in Seattle and 6 PM in Paris. It allows the group to have immediate voice, IM and file transfer contact any time of day.

2. Trillian - As nice as Skype is, being in constant contact on Trillian gives us a great depth of historic tools. We can text chat and search or organize those chats in a number of ways.

Project Management

1. Version One - We have started using Version One an un-cheap Agile Project Management tool that allows the entire team constant access to everything in our release plan. The system holds all features and tasks to be created and tracks responsibilities, estimates, hours work, velocity and all those other Agile niceties.

2. GHS Wiki - Still under development, this Wiki holds the written record of GHS processes. Our coding standards, our tool sets, what to download, where to get it, how to install it, what we do with it. Of course, this will always be a work in progress.

Collaboration

1. Groove - Previously a Ray Ozzie package, now Groove is part of Office 2007. In the first part of the project, Groove helped us finish key tasks well under budget by keeping GHS completely transparent with our client. All documents were on Groove - which is a peer to peer system - so the moment we saved something in Word, the client received it. The nice thing about Groove is that since it is peer to peer, it is also invasive. When something is saved, they get an alert. This is very different than something being on Sharepoint or Jotspot, where the client has the luxury of ignoring things.

2. del.icio.us - While the group is researching things on-line, bookmarks are tagged and then form a common research repository for the group.

Coding

1. Subversion - Our source control is very important. The development tools should be commonly available so that our distributed team never is estranged from the code.

--

So Seven Simple Tools create a bedrock upon which William can spend 10 weeks in Paris with minimal impact to the project. Of course, we've had some growing pains easing into things - but in 20 years of consulting I've found all new teams and projects have an initial period of adjustment.

The kicker is that on Thursday, I'm going to Hong Kong for three weeks. William and I come back to the States on the same day. I'll still be there for our morning scrum at 9 am (10 PM in HK). I'll still be working just as William has.

But these technologies have allowed flexibility. William can share Europe with Ryan and I can be there for my family obligations in HK."How aware are teams/groups/networks of their technology configurations? Who stewards them in your life? How consistent are they across the membership? I expect teams to have fairly tight consistency, and networks to have just enough to connect members.

These are the sorts of questions we have started to surface in the "who-knows-when-we'll-finish-it" report on Technologies for Communities, so it is great to read Jim's description of his. Thanks, Jim.


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Categories: Attendees

Synching Collaborative Applications - My Offline Life

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 15, 2006 - 6:48am
When Groove first came out, I jumped for joy. It offered a collaboration toolset, with some really cool features, that could be used offline and online. So many of my colleagues around the world did NOT live in an "always on" world. Still, Groove presented challenges of synchronization because my network not only often had limited online time, but also limited bandwidth AND the members had diverse cycles of coming online. This created havoc with the older versions of Groove. I called it synchronization hell. I know this is something that they have been working on, but Groove then also floated into the more costly range. Most of my network looks for tools that have the word 'free' attached! That said, Groove was one of the few offerings that even paid attention to offline work and synchronization. I was a Ray Ozzie fan and I think he has brought some good sense/ideas since Groove was gobbled up by Microsoft. (Oh, and you can no longer buy Groove standalone. In 2007 you can by Office Groove, so alas, that will probably fall even farther out of cost availability for my networks.) Anyway... I was happy to see Brady Forrest blogging that Zimbra Adds Offline Use of Their Productivity Apps. EDITED LATER: I was also happy to see that Anne explains how they do that magic synchronizing! Time to go check it out, particularly noting that they appear to have separate pricing options (but not posted on their site - grrr) for non profits/NGO and government. And they have an open source base. Have any of you used it with a group? Have stories to tell? Recently I have been thinking about this dichotomy of online/offline life. It is not always a useful split. I'm interested in thinking about bridges that allow online tools and "stuff" to be more seamless with our offline lives. Are tools one way? Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Attendees

Website Changes

MasterMaq - November 14, 2006 - 10:10pm

Unless you read my blog in an aggregator of some sort, you probably noticed an updated color scheme and picture on my website today. I was getting bored with the blue so I decided to change it. I also tweaked things a bit so that it's easier to change this sort of thing in the future. Thanks to everyone who has commented on the look already - some of you like the changes, some of you don't. The picture is a little too formal for my tastes, so my Dad has agreed to take some new ones for me when he's in town in a couple weeks.

I also added a find me online feature recently. Basically it's a list of links to my various profiles around the web. I haven't done it yet, but I am going to clean up the sidebar as well. It's horribly out of date, and I think I could be using the space better.

Any other feedback, suggestions, or requests?

Categories: Attendees, Speaker
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