An interesting way to put it - "TV on-demand".
Basically, the BBC are putting several shows (EastEnders, Doctor Who) online for downloading after they've aired. I wouldn't call this TV on-demand - Joost fits that bill much more accurately. Interesting though that the BBC have developed their own downloading software for this, the iPlayer. All in all the BBC seems to think the whole thing is a big event; I'm not sure what's so hype-worthy about it all.
Some interesting figures on global Internet usage and affordability, though I find some of the wording dubious:
"The annual e-readiness rankings ... shows Asian and African nations catching up with big net users such as Denmark... The report says this is partly due to broadband which is now cheap and affordable in almost every nation."
"In North America broadband costs about 1% of monthly incomes and even in the regions where it is the most expensive it only costs 10% of income."
Only 10% of income? That's quite a lot I'd say. And I assume that's based on average income, so in fact for a substantial part of the population Internet access would cost decidedly more than 10% of their income.
So while in general this is welcome news, I think the figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Nick Bradbury, author of FeedDemon, on the artifical battle between desktop and web applications. Die-hard Web 2.0ers seem convinced that everyone is permanently connected to the Internet and therefore think that all applications will move towards a web-based system, i.e. with the application running on a webserver, with the user accessing it via a browser (such as http://docs.google.com. Nick's point is that not everybody is permanently online and that most users value a choice, and therefore want the same application to be available as a desktop client and as a web-based service. I completely agree. Most of the time I like to have everything installed on my computer - it makes access faster, and if the Internet connection goes down I'm not completely lost. For those times when I travel, though, I like to be able to access my RSS feeds, bookmarks etc online, so like being able to synchronise my desktop with a secure web-based interface. No battle here - a hybrid's the answer, in my book (and Nick's).
"The 13-year study, which followed more than 80,000 men, found that those who downed several beers most days of the week had a higher risk of dying from any cause."
So does that mean that the more I drink the more I'm likely to die from something?
"... But the American Journal of Epidemiology report found that men who drank roughly the same amount each week, but drank less often, showed no increase in their death risk."
So in total the upshot is that whether I drink regularly or not has no effect on my death risk.
Could that be because my death risk is somewhere around the 100% mark?
A British woman living in France was sacked for writing a blog. She has now won her tribunal case against the company - great news.
Interesting new browser in development for people with vision impairments: "Technology giant, IBM, is soon to launch a multimedia browser to make audio and video content accessible to people with vision impairments".
I'm pleased to hear this. Oxford Brookes University has decided not to privatise its English language department, though for reasons other than ones one might have hoped.
I've spoken to a number of teachers whose universities have privatised their ELT departments and they're uniformly unhappy about it. You can see the logic behind it from the part of the university: they have relatively easy routes to market (overseas students coming to their UK university who are "prime targets" for ELT provision) but don't want the hassle of actually employing teachers, setting curriculums, dealing with all the admin etc. So instead, they allow a private organisation to do all the work for them on-campus while charging them (the organisation) a fee for the right to do so. The university gets money without having to do a great deal while the private organisation wins because they've got a captive audience. To the student meanwhile it seems like it's a university provision.
In principle this may not be a bad thing; however, the way it's been gone about appears to be irresponsible. Before privatisation, staff had university benefits such as tenure and pension. After privatisation those have all gone. And while one can argue that that's the way the world is going and that ELT teachers should stop griping, I think that's unfair and short-sighted. Universities have been attractive to ELT teachers in the past for exactly those benefits; now that those are gone, there is likely to be less incentive for teachers to teach there, meaning the competition will be less meaning the quality of provision may well go down. Very unfortunate.
The AUT wants to Alan Johnson to enter into discussion with websites such as http://www.ratemyteachers.co.uk. Some teachers feel bullied by students' comment on them on such sites. A tricky situation I feel: on the one hand a teacher's popularity is not necessarily an indication of their quality as teachers, so popularity shouldn't really be an issue anyway. On the other hand it certainly can be embarrassing or even downright humiliating to see negative comments about yourself in public. On the third hand (?!), what about freedom of speech - shouldn't pupils be allowed to speak their minds?
Very funny spoof clip of Darth Vader being the boss from hell. Anyone who's ever had their contributions roundly ignored will recognise this.
Thoughts and links to articles about a variety of ICT and education-related topics. Where an article or resource is referred to in the header of a blog post please click the header to read the article.
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