Share .. and Share alike

Creative Commons
In a previous entry I mentioned an audio book (lecture actually) with David Weinberger. Well a new piece of work crossed my vision this week, thanks to Leo Laporte’s column in Enterprise (formerly Small Business Canada) magazine – I guess they figured with the Star Trek show of the same name getting cancelled the word could be ‘repurposed’ – but I digress

In Leo’s article he lists 5 tech trends he sees as key for 2005. Number 5 is the ‘New Net Customer’, his recommended reading is “The Cluetrain Manifesto” by Chris Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. While the book has much value in itself, the major piece of news is the entire book is available online for free.

http://www.cluetrain.com/book/index.html

The inital theme quotes
“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.”

So to add this free book to the growing list of publicly availble (I will avoid free) materials, including sources like Wikipedia.

The reason I have avoided free is due to the fact that most of these public works are not, in fact, free. They are available to all under one license or another. A powerful example of this type of content can be seen in the Creative Commons licensing program.

Creative Commons recognizes use from the ‘All rights reserved’ model to ‘Open Source’ but also includes options in between. The ‘tween’ options recognize various rights for people to reuse content under specific rules.

The best defense is keeping bad people far away.

Comment on Defense Policy
A recent news item showed a town on Vancouver Island trying to keep out a person that was convicted of murder as a teenager. They did not want this person to be located in a halfway house in their neighborhood. There did not seem to be an argument for putting him back in jail but rather if he is going to be out – distance equals safety. Interesting concept.

This weeks Jane’s defense notes (http://jni.janes.com):Germany meets asymmetric threat – The German Navy is rapidly changing from an escort navy to an expeditionary force in response to new threats.

US turns to trade to boost surge sealift capacity – US military with assured access to additional commercial cargo vessels, to enhance its sealift capability in times of emergency and for general maritime transport.

I guess the folks on Vancouver Island weren’t the only ones to think that it is better to deal with bad people ‘over there’ rather than ‘over here’.

The Canadian government is going to release a new defense review shortly. The one completed last year is being redone; it was reported to be “a train wreck waiting to happen”

In an era where the odds of anything bad arriving on Canada’s doorstep from a Military point of view is approximately zero, it appears to be hard to convince ‘the public’ we need to spend money on defense.

So I would like to suggest to the Minister of National Defense, the new CDS, and anyone else the following, simple, defense policy;
“Canada’s Armed Forces – keeping the problems over there – over there”

Apparently one place in Canada has already figured out the value of that idea.

What about ‘fixing’ the problems through aid, peacekeeping, and imposing our will through force?

Well aid and peacekeeping assume the people involved are willing to solve the problem and we should help them. That is a good goal as well but it should be apparent that it is the people there that need to solve their own problem. We can help but we can ‘fix it’ for them.

The Iraq and Ivory Coast models of force (US and France respectively) involves applying force to ‘Stop’ something. This is also a way to deal with a problem but it typically requires being willing to kill the people doing the ‘bad things’. Whether in the long term this solves the problem is debatable but I doubt Canada is really prepared to do that. We have not show the desire in recent history to use force.

I’m from the government .. and I here to help.

I have worked for both public and private sector organizations so what follows is not specific to government projects, I just liked the quote for the title. 😉
In British Columbia, there will be an election in a couple months so this is the time to promise great and wonderful things. Having worked for several levels of government, I have one request ……

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t do that.

You realize in very short order how a million, or even a billion, dollars is not a lot of money when you start dealing with ‘everybody’.

By way of example, $1,000,000 in BC buys (approx)

One Cappuccino or Latte for everyone that lives in Greater Victoria.
One pad of paper for every doctor in BC.$0.20 off the ferry fare between Vancouver and Victoria. Keep school libraries open for 3 hours after school for about a week. (What can I say, my sister is a librarian)Bus fare (both ways – one day) for all the college (not university) students in BC.

So what should we do, well if you can’t do big things how about doing little things.

Every day tells a story. …..

I would really like to have a blog entry everyday but like many people – my life isn’t that interesting. Some days my life isn’t even interesting to myself. let alone anyone else.
I have always found amusement in very small items. Yesterday it was the woman with the white cane reading the travel deals in a store window. Now she was probably just visual impared rather than completely blind but it is the sort of picture you could write a whole story about.

Today, it is the local news item. I live in beautiful Victoria and I know there is always a premium to live in a place like this.

But today’s news was that the Victoria Harbour Authority increasing the fees they charge buskers to work on the lower causeway in the Inner Harbour. The justification is that the fees they currently collect does not cover the cost of operating the causeway. Just to be clear the causeway is a 10 foot wide sidewalk around the harbour about 500 feet long.

THESE FOLKS WANT TO TURN A PROFIT, RUNNING A SIDEWALK!

Now I am not the best businessman in the world but I always felt that sidewalks were kind of a non-profit enterprise. Little did I realize I was missing out on a lucrative business market. They should have Donald Trump make this a task on the Apprentice! Maybe I should buy a curb and gutter franchise and work my way up.

In the profit versus non-profit discussion; there is an old bumper sticker “It will be a great day when schools get all the money they need, and the Air Force holds a bake sale to buy a bomber. ” Well in Canada that is at least partially true as last Christmas at the Canadian Air Force Base “At CFB Cold Lake, Alta., for instance, a silent auction will be held Nov. 24 in hopes of raising about $10,000 to buy turkeys and all the trimmings for soldiers.” Now that is just sad for so many reasons.

Meanwhile we have a public sector organization trying to turn a profit on a sidewalk.

Everyday there is always some thing that will make you go …. Hmm!

Running Clinic – Session 2

Training for the TC 10K
It was a slightly rainy Sunday morning for the second session of the 10K training clinic. This session’s goal was to set pace groups for future sessions. This involved two timed 1 mile laps. Looking forward 3 months, the actual race day is a long way away. Having done this before, it is going to be alot different on that day than today. It is hard to imagine what that will be but it is the kind of thing you need to keep you eye on the goal.

All that kept going through my head was Don Henley’s “How bad do you want it?”

Running Clinic Session 1

The mass – annual Running event in Victoria is the Times Colonist 10K. . That is roughly 3 months from now, so the start of training is this week. Last time I participated (2003) I did the in-training clinic at the local community center.
This time I am going a little up tempo with the Running Room

The first night was 5.4 k at a 10 and 1 pace – 10 min run/ 1 min walk. This apparently is a signature of the Running Room programs.

So there will be some pain over the next couple weeks as you get into shape but there will be a day in April when it will all be worth it.

Slow boat to nowhere

Ship overhaul, JSS replacement project, and the visit of the Albion
The only supply ship on Canada’s East coast may be back in service shortly. HMS Preserver is currently in for refit but will likely be late and over budget. As noted last month in the blog, the Joint Support (Supply) Ship project is in its early stages and a long way from signing a contract – let alone cutting metal.

Now a example of what Canada might we looking for floated in to Halifax harbour this week with the arrival of the HMS Albion. While a full amphibous assault ship might be an optimistic goal for a military that is still trying to balance its checkbook, the Albion is a close enough comparision. The fact that it is also nice and new makes the contrast even more stark.

Their is an open question on whether Canada still has the capacity to build ships of the type proposed for the JSS. Well I’m sure the folks that produced the HMS Albion and her sister Bulwark would like to talk about a deal, the only problem is we still have an issue with those submarines that still needs to be sorted out.

It should be noted that the contract for Albion was signed in 1996 and the shipped launched in 2001. Ships like these are very seldom purchased ‘off the shelf’

(Re-)Discovering Audio, Online lectures and Uses for Education Part II

Looking at the spread of internet-delivered Audio.
Macsurfer added another audio application announcement. Apparently the NFL will be ‘podcasting ‘ their games (News Item )

“The National Football League on Tuesday announced an agreement with Audible Inc., an online distributor of audiobooks and other spoken-word programming, to make recordings of this year’s remaining playoff games available for portable audio players, including Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod.”

There are other specific sites for podcating like Podcast Central. But there are plenty of sites for just regular audio files.

I previously mentioned the use of sources like the audible.com and Library of Congress for audio files.

There are also a large number of Internet Radio sites with downloadable and streaming content.

(Re-)Discovering Audio, Online lectures and Uses for Education

Using the more modest technologies of the internet to gather rich information, and how that could be applied to education.
Anyone who hasn’t got that AUDIO is the biggest application (by data transfered) on the internet, probably hasn’t been paying attention. I had the opportunity over the last couple of days to think about a number of technologies and how they could be applied to my former career as a teacher.

As a delivery model, internet and web traffic, has gone from text to graphics, and now to audio. While video is available on the web, it is significantly degraded from what most people have come to expect. As the CEO of Netflix pointed out, 3 DVDs in the back of a station wagon currently beats the fastest data network as a transport media.

The advances of commercial online music like iTunes shows that you can get audio at a quality that the mass market is prepared to pay for.

So with my iPod in hand I have gone looking for other audio that would be useful.

First I found audible for fiction and non-fiction books. I find non-fiction as a more useful than non-fiction for an audiobook. I actually got into blogs after listening to a Free audiobook. Library of Congress Series on Digital Future: Blogs with David Weinberger

So how does this apply to teachers, well most of the items that we use in print could be presented as audiobooks. Most of the major text used for English classes are already availible as audio files.

While there is an argument for digital textbooks for reading, the audio versions might make the market before their electronic type cousins. This is despite the good work of the Gutenburg project.

I especially like the idea of downloading these audio files to my iPod so I can listen to them while I am out walking or driving. So these are generally more useful than text or video for this purpose. By the explosion of the term Podcasting , I gather I am not the only one. For an example of some Podcasts see http://audio.weblogs.com/

….. Continued tomorrow.

It's about the little things now.