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Mailing Number 14 - 28 March 2003

Feedback on these mailings, concerning content, design, material I ought to feature in the future, is always welcome. If you want to send me some, please email me. Remember that my subscribers are a varied group, so at least part of every Mailing may not be relevant to you!

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Email as spectroscopy: automated discovery of community structure within organizations. Article from Nature's online science update reporting on research at HP which shows how studying the flow of email in an organisation reveals where the power lies, and how the organisation's real as against stated structure works.

Performance assessment of UK Public sector web sites. Detailed assessment from Parallel Limited of the performance of a large number of public sector web sites [~750kB PDF file], with the 10 Downing Street site coming in for a particular criticism. [Whether one can trust the judgement of a company which makes a site like this is a bit of a moot point.]

Widening Participation through On-Line Learning. 8 May 2003 one-day conference in Sheffield, drawing on lessons learnt by The Sheffield College through its outstandingly successful Online GCSE English course. A snip at £50. For more details, download the event flyer [~150kB DOC file].

BS8426 Draft for Public Comment. BSI has finally published the Draft for Public Comment of BS8426, a code of practice for e-support in electronic learning systems. Download this 150 KB PDF file to find out how to order it. The closing date for comments is 31 May 2003.

The Rational Enquirer. Dack Ragus, author of the previously featured predicting the next attack against terrorism, has launched The Rational Enquirer, an uncompromising if sometimes satirical log composed almost entirely of regularly updated links to major news organisations' coverage of the war in Iraq.

Resources [back to top]

Sit Back and Relax. Bruce Ingraham and Emma Bradburn from the University of Tees-side are developing this helpful web-based Guide to Producing Readable, Accessible Onscreen Text. The site includes a selection of free-for-use stylesheets for reuse.

The Growing Technology Gap Between Schools and Students. Summary of research in the US [~500kB PDF file], by the Bell South Foundation, which compares how effectively (school) teachers think they are making use of ICT in teaching, with how effectively their students think their teachers are using it. As the title suggests, there appears to be a big gap.

A corporate view on open source software. Via George Siemens comes Your Open Source Plan, a "hard nosed" commercially focused assessment of the value of open source software. "Once a toy for geeks, open source is slowly but surely filtering into the enterprise and transforming the way software is designed, sold and supported." People in the know who've read it say it makes plenty of sense (or at least that it confirms their prejudices....).

Intranet portal design. The 31 March Alertbox from Jacob Nielsen reports on a study of companies introducing internal intranet portals. "Most importantly, at all the companies we studied, the key issues in building a good intranet portal were political and organizational -- not technical. Basically, buying software won't get you a good portal unless you also manage internal company politics. Technology accounts for roughly one-third of the work in launching a good portal; internal processes account for the rest."

GPRS Technology Overview. GPRS is a packet-based radio service that enables "always on" connections, eliminating repetitive and time-consuming dial-up connections. I recently acquired a GPRS modem for my laptop and a GPRS contract with a mobile operator. It gives better-than-servicable email and web access on the move at about the performance of a standard dial-up account, charged according the to the amount of data downloaded. This is an informative 2002 article from Dell, which explains the ins and outs of GPRS.

How Flash Unseated Fireproof Digital. Essay by mature student William French about the rise and fall of a leading New York web design company, for which French worked. Useful insight into how fads can take hold and do real harm.

Oddments[back to top]

Richard Perle in conflict of interest. Piece from the Register about Richard Perle's involvement as a paid consultant to telecomms company Global Crossing. This has led to his resignation as Chair of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board. Perle's power in Washington is finally waning, according to the BBC. Hmmmm, I wonder.

Hard to describe. Kevin Donovan sent me this surprising link to poet Anthony Cox's web site.

Feedback [back to top]

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Last updated - 1/4/2003; © Seb Schmoller, but licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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