Education podcasting

Amy Bellinger from Learn and Teach Online has found a new site for podcasting within education called Education Podcast Network, or EPN for short.

The site looks to be setting itself up as a directory of sorts within the education space on podcasts and blogs. The directory looks like it has been built using RSS feeds, content from Del.icio.us and suggestions. I wonder how much of the content has been sourced from iPodder.org and whether or not EPN will offer their directory as an OPML file? It does seem that EPN has more podcasts than iPodder.org.

Tablet PC’s in Education

For the last 3 months I have been wanting a Tablet PC, specifically the Toshiba M200, and since returning from BlogTalk Downunder this want has increased. Why? Firstly I got to see Mick Stanic’s up close and personal and I got to use the iBurst wireless broadband.

My personal view is Tablet PC + Wireless Broadband = Freedom

Now through a new blog (via Scoble) called The Tablet PC Education Blog I see a whole new set of uses. It is a fascinating read on how Tablet PCs could be used within the school system, and this can easily be extended to higher education and the corporate environment. The integrated learning and knowledge management environment would be amazing.

To comment or not comment that is the question

James Farmer has begun to formulate some thoughts on the comments question posed by Mark Bernstein at Blogtalk Downunder,
what a debate this will be!

Having spent a fair bit of time discussing this with James during the conference it will be interesting to see where this goes and what the rest of blogosphere thinks (if they care at all).

I think there needs to be a balanced view here, while comments are good they are also bad, everything in moderation I say. From where I sit James’s argument number 2 is probably the biggest reason not to have comments. While the destruction of spam is a good reason, keeping a complete narrative of your thoughts in one place is the best reason to remove comments. But on the flip side, I commented today on The Podcast Network about getting them listed in iTunes, and this short comment would not have worked as a post on my blog.

At one point we reached a consensus at BlogTalk that comments existed in some part because of the limitations in the current tools on offer. If a comment was most of a “send an email” to the owner feature then we would be getting there. Essentially there are two types of comments, first the short feedback type such as mine to Cam earlier today. The second a more complete well thought out response (like this but better 🙂 ). The short feedback items are directed to the writer of the blog specifically and typically has no further use to other readers. The longer post has use to the blog owner, blog readers and comment maker, therefore needs to be handled differently. Trackbacks do a good job at this and if all blogging tools automatically tracked back (except where a nofollow tag was used) then everyone would see what was going on. WordPress does a really good job with trackbacks, even when you forget to include them.

Looking forward to James’s next installment, oh and thanks James for summarising the discussions and taking things forward, this is FUSE in action.

Corporate surveillance

I have blogged about this before, now it seems that it mainstream news organisations are picking up on the trend. Why is this important? Because two things will now happen, firstly some oversight will take place to ensure that privacy and security of these services is satisfactory, and there will be more growth in the industry and vendors like RefSure will expand.

Of course as long as the balance between data and privacy is kept right. On an issue like this the first time a background checking vendor drops the ball I can see the whole industry being shutdown.

(Thanks to Trevor Cook for the pointer.)

Presence in your organisation

Jim Ware from The Future of Work Weblog points to an article by Sandra Gittlen of Network World on presence and instant messaging (IM).

Sandra raises some of the issues with presence aware applications like IM, but does not seem to provide solutions. This might be because solutions involve you naming vendors. She provides a summary of most of the issues:-

What are the ramifications for bandwidth, especially when you tie in instant Web videoconferencing and IP telephony calls? Do you have the budget for software licenses and gear to outfit the whole company? How will all this communication be monitored for compliance and auditing purposes? Do you have adequate enterprise storage silos and filtering tools to handle real-time transcripts? If they are to be used for business, then they are held to the same standards of record-keeping as e-mail and other types of business communications.

These can be broken into four areas, bandwidth, budget, security, and auditability. The first two are related in that you will need budget for bandwidth and software. As long as you control they types of collaboration, ie limit video or VOIP then bandwidth should not be an issue for most organisation. As soon as you move towards video or VOIP then bandwidth is an issue and needs to be professionally reviewed, ie by the IT department.

Security and Auditability are two massive issues that should not be under estimated. However there are products in the marketplace that can help provide “proxy” like servers that sit on your network to ensure security and keep track of all IM messages. I have a couple of posts that cover some of these issues and links to vendors who provide some third party solutions (ie non-Microsoft).

Sage growth in Australia

Another article from the Australian on the launch of the Sage brand in Australia. I see a period of consolidation is in place within the Australian HR/Payroll vendor market, which is probably overdue as the features required in a modern HRMS requires significant investment and I do not see that most second tier vendors have the spare cash.