25 October 2009

Summary of this week 18 Oct - 24 Oct

From my Diigo Bookmark this week. Please also feel free to follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/Web_Evolution



In a brave new world of learning, OER content is made free to use or share, and in some cases, to change and share again, made possible through licensing, so that both teachers and learners can share what they know.
OER Blogs is attempting to unite the world of Open Educational Resources
Vast amount of open educational resources mostly available in English.


This document is a code of best practices designed to help those preparing OpenCourseWare (OCW) to interpret and apply fair use under United States copyright law. The OCW movement, which is part of the larger Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, was pioneered in 2002, when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched its OpenCourseWare initiative, making course materials available in digital form on a free and open basis to all. In 2005, MIT helped to organize with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation a group of not-for-profit organizations interested in following the OpenCourseWare model and standardizing the delivery of OCW material. This group of institutions, known as the OCW Consortium (OCWC), has grown into a concern of more than 200 universities worldwide promoting universal access to knowledge on a nonprofit basis. The mission of OCWC is “to advance formal and informal learning through the worldwide sharing and use of free, open, high-quality educational materials organized as courses.”


Washington DC – The student Right to Research Coalition, a group of national, international, and local student associations that advocate for governments, universities, and researchers to adopt Open Access practices, has now grown to include some of the most prominent student organizations from the United States and across the world. The recent addition of 8 new organizations brings the number of students represented by the coalition to over 5 million, demonstrating the broad, passionate support Open Access enjoys from the student community.
Additions to the coalition since its launch this summer include: the United States Student Association (USSA), the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), the National Graduate Council of the Canadian Federation of Students, the International Association of Political Science Students, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council, the University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the University of Nebraska
- Lincoln Graduate Student Association, and the Student Government Association of St. Olaf College.

“Our core mission is to protect and enhance students’ access to education,” said Angela Peoples, USSA’s Legislative Director, noting her organization’s motivation for joining the coalition. “We believe Open Access plays a crucial role in ensuring that all students have access to the academic research on which their education depends.”
 More information on this can be available here


Looking for great cultural and educational video? Then you’ve come to the right place. Below, we have compiled a list of 46 sites that feature intelligent videos. This list was produced with the help of our faithful readers, and it will grow over time. If you find it useful, please share it as widely as you can. And if we’re missing good sites, please list them in the comments below.
A massive list of educational videos. 

If you run a space/astronomy related blog, and would like to get more awareness, participate in the Carnival of Space. Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space.
There are currently 125 posts related to space/astronomy.  Most of them are quite thorough and it gives the impression that the day when science magazines are mostly replaced by individual/collective science blogs may not be so far. 

A place for mathematicians to ask and answer questions.
A good number of mathematical questions asked, viewed and answered.  A specific way to harness crowd sourced wisdom.

 Galaxy Zoo's very active forum. 

Abstract: The Hales-Jewett theorem asserts that for every r and every k there exists n such that every r-colouring of the n-dimensional grid {1,...,k}^n contains a combinatorial line. This result is a generalization of van der Waerden's theorem, and it is one of the fundamental results of Ramsey theory. The theorem of van der Waerden has a famous density version, conjectured by Erdos and Turan in 1936, proved by Szemeredi in 1975, and given a different proof by Furstenberg in 1977. The Hales-Jewett theorem has a density version as well, proved by Furstenberg and Katznelson in 1991 by means of a significant extension of the ergodic techniques that had been pioneered by Furstenberg in his proof of Szemeredi's theorem. In this paper, we give the first elementary proof of the theorem of Furstenberg and Katznelson, and the first to provide a quantitative bound on how large n needs to be. In particular, we show that a subset of {1,2,3}^n of density delta contains a combinatorial line if n is at least a tower of 2's of height O(1/delta^3). Our proof is reasonably simple: indeed, it gives what is arguably the simplest known proof of Szemeredi's theorem.
 The first formaly published paper born through the polymath project


  • The market for mobile applications, or apps, will become "as big as the internet", peaking at 10 million apps in 2020 according to Symbian.
  • CGAP produced a recent survey on Financial Access and found that there are 6.2 billion bank accounts worldwide - more than one for every person on the planet - except that 70% of adults in developing countries do not use formal financial services, or are unbanked, compared to 20% of those in developed countries.
  • Of the 139 countries that CGAP surveyed, only 40 reported that they encourage or mandate government transfers through the banking system; 14 of these are high-income countries and 10 countries in Latin America. Few countries in other regions are promoting such transfers.
  • The survey predicts that the mobile payments market could be worth as much as £365 billion by 2013, with 110 million users in Europe alone by 2014.
  • By the year 2012 CGAP and GSMA estimate there will be 1.7 billion people with a mobile phone but not a bank account and as many as 364 million unbanked people could be reached by agent-networked banking through mobile phones.
  • CGAP estimate that mobile financial services to poor people in emerging economies will increase from nothing to $5 billion in 2012.
  • 40% of Kenyan households have used M-PESA as of late 2008, a figure announced by Caroline Pulver of FSD Kenya as she unveiled the findings of their survey (see pdf)
  • Electronic payments deliver cost savings of at least 1% of a country’s GDP when compared to paper, according to Visa.
  • Monitise, the mobile money network, has just signed up their millionth customer and are processing 25 million transactions per annum.
Some useful stats on mobile money in the future.  More information available here

[Open Access]
Information on open access week (19 Oct-23 Oct, 2009) celebrated worldwide. 

The Committee on Economic Development, which is dedicated to policy research on major economic and social issues and represents senior corporate executives and university leaders, will soon release a new report entitled, “Harnessing openness to improve research, teaching and learning in higher education.” The report analyzes how the institutions and processes of higher education can benefit from the application of greater openness through digital technologies.

 The report can be obtained here.

Open access in developing countries, where the dissemination of cheaply available educational resources is crucial for healthy social development.

Google never says how many servers are running in its data centers. But a recent presentation by a Google engineer shows that the company is preparing to manage as many as 10 million servers in the future.
In his presentation (link via James Hamilton), Dean also discussed a new storage and computation system called Spanner, which will seek to automate management of Google services across multiple data centers. That includes automated allocation of resources across “entire fleets of machines.”

Dean says Spanner will be designed for a future scale of “106 to 107 machines,” meaning 1 million to 10 million machines. The goal will be “automatic, dynamic world-wide placement of data & computation to minimize latency or cost.”

Google's mobile operating system Android has won plenty of adherents among cellphone makers and gadget manufacturers since its 2007 debut. Now defense contractor Raytheon is preparing it for a more urgent mission: saving lives in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Using Android software tools, Raytheon ( RTN - news - people ) engineers built a basic application for military personnel that combines maps with a buddy list. Raytheon calls the entire framework the Raytheon Android Tactical System, or RATS for short. Mark Bigham, a vice president of business development in Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems unit, says the company selected Android because its open-source nature made developing applications easy.
Raytheon's support adds a new dimension to the recent Android hype. In early October, researcher Gartner said Android could be the second-largest smartphone platform--overtaking Apple ( AAPL - news - people ) and its iPhone--by 2012.

Given this new type of information and its value to search, we are very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results. We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.
 Google's new social search feature was also annouced at Web2.0 Summit.  

Some examples of newly emerging financial tools harnessing the power of the web.

NEW YORK Yahoo, CNN and MSNBC still topped the chart, but in one surprising shift The Huffington Post surpassed Washingtonpost.com in unique users in the month of September, new data from Nielsen Online reveals. 
Traditional media being replaced by new generation media. 

  1. the future role of Times Topics and other “living articles”
  2. openness of Times content, integration of non-Times content, and social media
  3. integration of print and digital operations, particularly for department heads
  4. improved collaboration between technologists and the newsroom
  5. thinking “web first”
  6. a stronger strategy for cell phones and other mobile devices
  7. redesigning Times article pages to create “an engine of engagement”
One of the largest newspaper companies has readmitted that going against the web would be a bad move.


Our mission is to transform the culture of medicine to be more participatory. This special introductory issue is a collection of essays that will serve as the 'launch pad' from which the journal will grow. We invite you to participate as we create a robust journal to empower and connect patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

[Micro Payment]
PayPal imagines a future in which cash is obsolete, as are wallets. We will buy movie tickets by touching a movie poster on the street and order drinks from a touchscreen embedded in the bar.

In PayPal’s futuristic world, software developers outside the company will create these alternate ways to pay using PayPal’s technology. That future could come as soon as Nov. 3, when PayPal will open its platform to developers who want to build payment applications.
PayPal has been working with software developers at start-ups, mobile-device manufacturers and huge business software and hardware companies, Mr. Thompson said. “Payment innovation needs to move from the hands of a few big entities to the hands of many,” he said. 
During the pilot period, Research in Motion has been using PayPal technology to collect payments from BlackBerry users when they make purchases from the app store, and Twitpay has been using it to to run its service, which lets people transfer money using Twitter. 
Mobile payment/money is not only important for people in developed nations in that it facilitates payment and make their lives more convenient, but also for people in economically less developed countries by possibly enabling them to skip the physical money phase and jump straight onto the same ground as the West. It might further advance globalization.


Reflections upon the Obama campaign's design work? A crowdsourced fundraising effort? Total techPres bait, but Obama campaign design director Scott Thomas is involved in an intriguing quest. Wanting to chronicle the art and design that both was created by the Obama for America campaign and developed organically by supporters, but to put out a book with considerable production values, Thomas decided to avoid traditional publisher, go DIY, and fundraise himself for the production of Designing Obama -- using Kickstarter, what Thomas calls an "Obama-like fundraising model."

Think few people would prepay $10 for a digital version, or $50 or more for a print version of a book they haven't seen yet? With 13 days to go, 883 backers have contributed $57,000 of the $65,000 target Thomas set for the first run of the book.
This is so Obama-way to collect money. 93% has already been funded at the moment.

The Open Planning Project (TOPP), one of the organizations mentioned in Ms. Chen’s article, has been a major driver of the open data movement. They have produced useful one-off applications, such as FixCity.org, which crowdsources potential locations for new bike racks thus speeding their installation. They have also acted as stewards of open standards in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) community and, more recently, the Open 311 community. Mayor Bloomberg pioneered the 311 non-emergency telephone-based citizen information service, but has been slow to open up the data for mashups by eager civic hackers. Washington D.C. was the first to move on this, and TOPP is now stewarding the effort at Open311.org to create a standard for all Open311 APIs in any city.
On how the NewYorkCity, one of the largest mega cities in the world, is now trying to incorporate the power of the web into their city management.

Some stats on blog by Technorati.

Sharek961 empowers Lebanese citizens to promote transparency by sending in eyewitness reports on all election-related incidents or issues. People across Lebanon can send in reports through SMS, email, and the web.
Sharek961 is intended to improve transparency and accountability through civic participation. Information you send in is made available to all citizens, media outlets, and organizations to view publicly online.
An example of social media being used to bring transformation into politics in the middle east.

Web2.0 Summit News and Coverage.

This may be obvious to many of you, but I was also struck by how isolated the teens seemed from all the cool new tech that Silicon Valley nerds are excited about. None of them owned an iPhone, or any of the newer smartphones. They still used Google for all their web searches and only seemed vaguely aware of Microsoft’s search engine Bing. And while almost everyone I know uses Gmail for their personal email, one teen (a boy) declared, “Hot girls use Hotmail.”
So how seriously should we take all these comments? Do they represent the future of the web? Well, maybe not — beyond the obvious caveat that these are just five teens, The New York Times has noted that many of the most popular sites on the web have become hits through an adult audience, so the importance of teens may be overstated.
 This cannot be more true. Few non-geeky young people are excited about what many adults are so enthusiastic about.

No comments:

Post a Comment