Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Seven sites in seven days: 25-31 Dec 06

Ahh, I'm lagging. A break for Xmas and then too much New Year cheer. Let me quickly hammer out a few sites and pages I have seen during that time.... and let's divide this up into three sections, e-learning (1-2), social networks (3-4), techie stuff (5-7)

e-Learning

1. I was chatting to a colleague recently on the possibilities of using e-learning to educate student nurses on how to interact with patients. Somewhat relatedly, I chanced across an interesting 'game' via Jennie Rothenberg in Altlantic online. The game, Façade, presents an emotional scenario, you play someone interacting with a couple with a failing marriage. However, the piece is about more than Façade; Rothenberg interviews Jonathan Rauch, author of "Sex, Lies, and Video Games," about "innovative and emotionally complex video games".

As an aside, Altlantic Magazine published Vannevar Bush's futuristic "As We May Think" in July 1945, predicting the invention of a personal computing machine, the Memex. This article influenced me heavily in earlier years, when I spent a significant amount of time thinking about hypertext and personal information systems.

2. Maybe, like me, you are interested in tools to support e-learning. A few which have been grabbing my attention for various reasons at the moment are Elgg, Drupal, and Confluence. Elgg is a combination of personal and group spaces, coupled with blogging facilities. To call it an e-portfolio system is perhaps a misnomer, although it started out as such. Drupal is a content management system that friends use in their web business, and that I have written about before, here. An interesting article from IBM on Drupal (and other open source systems) is here. (On the left, an Xmas greeting from drupal.org). Finally (for now), Confluence is an enterprise wiki that uses wysiwyg editing, and is free to open source projects. I installed Confluence over the recent holidays; full of promise for those needing a wysiwig editor and their own wiki installation, Confluence only has a rudimentary blogging facility, and for now I need a blogging facility rather than a wiki. Back to Elgg... or perhaps Drupal with the blogging module installed. Or perhaps you might like a combination of facilities, as here: Elgg, Drupal and Moodle, from Bill Fitzgerald. Incidentally, the Open Academic project seeks to unify these three systems together with Mediawiki.

Social networks


3. What's out there in social network land? The Mashable! Social Networking Awards identify a bunch of interesting social networks in eleven categories under three different headings, "our choice", "the people's' choice" and "hot for 2007". MySpace picks up Mashable!'s number one mainstream place with "We see MySpace as the new MTV, with one crucial difference: the users are the stars." Just pick up on the user centric zeitgeist there guys (see a previous post here about Time magazine's article Time's Person of the Year: You).

Incidentally, Mashable! doesn't do so well on the choice of MySpace Xmas pages, or maybe there's not much out there. On being msg'd a URL to Mashable!'s choice of Xmas pages on MySpace, my 14 year old reviewer dismissed them as "lame", claiming she could do better in ten minutes. Hmmm, better set her a challenge then.... OK, OK, Xmas is over, I'll shut up on this and move on swiftly:

4. Not a social network post per se, but a tool to leverage the power of social networks, in this case del.icio.us: Peter Shank's flickrCC finds photos on flickr with a Creative Commons licence. On the left is an image from Leigh Blackall, found using flickrCC and the tag elearning, with the attribution added using flickrCC's web-based editor. To get a better view of the image, open it in a new tab/window, and, if need be, click on the displayed image to enlarge it.

Techie stuff

5. You hack Javascript but don't use a Javascript debugger? Ease over to the Venkman debugger for Mozilla and ease your life.... Well, Venkman certainly eased my life recently. If you are still using FireFox 1.5 then you need to install Venkman from here.

6. I've been ignorant about Feedburner, and so I started researching what it is. Here are some links: here and here, together with an interview with two of the Feedburner team here. I'm still after Feedburner related material, if you have any good Feedburner related URL's then please pass them on to me.

7. Ohh, its a dry season here at markzspace, too many holidays and I'm running out of bookmarks I want to share. How about a recentish quality review of several 20" to flat panel displays? Being a fussy type I like to see discusrions on panel technology and its inerent quality, so never mind that this review is six months old. Or being techie in a different style, how about a guide to beef cuts, and the recipe I used to cook a hunk of beef to rare perfection on Xmas day? Different cut, but the timings worked perfectly for me. Just for the record here:

"3. Put a heavy-based roasting tray on the hob and when hot, add the beef.
4. Sear the beef quickly on all sides to colour and crisp the outside.
5. Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on its highest setting (about 240C/460F/Gas 8) for 20 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and roast for half an hour per kilo for rare, adding another ten minutes per kilo for medium rare, 20 minutes per kilo for medium, and 30 minutes per kilo for well done."

Catch you next week.

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