Thursday, November 29, 2001

The end of End-to-End?


A more non-technical argument by David Reed about why "End-to-End" matters in the design of the Internet.

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David Reed is one of the designers of the underlying protocols that make up TCP/IP. This paper contains some of the critical arguments for why the Internet should work the particular way that it does and why specific features of the design matter. It takes some time and effort to think about, but is a key example of how technology design affects economic and innovation opportunities.

8:01:52 PM •  • comment  

Financial Times: Intellectual property: The internet's undoing. Lawrence Lessig. This change alters a crucial premise of the original internet: that no one should exercise control over the platform to set "policy" about how the network would develop. By permitting such a fundamental shift, governments are allowing the enclosure of the innovation commons. That will destroy innovation.

In both architecture and content, changes to the network's original environment are being justified in the name of protecting "property". But this property-focused debate misses the equally important need to protect the innovation commons. Over-zealous protection of property rights can allow yesterday's property owners to stifle tomorrow's innovations.


Lessig is making an essential point here. The original design of the internet in terms of architecture and protocols has been essential to fostering innovation in applications and services. Efforts to exert "control" in a marketing sense will kill the goose laying the golden eggs. The challenge is that few of those trying to exploit the net or to set policy over it grasp the essential role of the underlying design. [Tomalak's Realm]

7:41:45 PM •  • comment  

Traffic Discussion.

Quote: "Here, at Middlebury, teachers are beginning to actually come around to weblogs because of the comment feature: they like the way stories can be commented on, and they like the way the threads appear, actually."

Comment: The separation of discussion fora from content is a major failing of Blackboard and similar products, as I've alluded to before.  Interesting thread.  I think there are technological solutions, e.g. linkback (list of people who are currently linking to you), but we just don't have them yet.  Hmm... what if a time-sensitive site link search was available as RSS?  Then you could syndicate and republish on your own site.

[Serious Instructional Technology]


An interesting thread on why so few people use threaded discussions, even when available, and what to do about it.

There's a behavioral change to be made in moving from email to discussion threads that probably has very little to do with technology features and functions. It's a very different kind of behavior and it's benefits are by no means evident. Further the benefits don't accrue to the individual poster as much as they do to the broader group.

9:10:07 AM •  • comment  

NY Times: From April 4, 2001; Auditing Classes at M.I.T., on the Web and Free [Tomalak's Realm]


More coverage of MIT's OpenCourseWare efforts

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: MIT Begins Effort to Create Public Web Pages for More Than 2,000 Courses. In the process, officials at MIT are finding that professors' skill levels vary dramatically when it comes to using the Web in their courses -- which could make it difficult to create a system that is flexible enough to meet everyone's needs. [Tomalak's Realm]


An update on the state of MIT's OpenCourseWare project. It helps sharpen the issues around whether that effort will be a significant element in eLearning efforts. Repurposing material that was originally designed with the assumption of face-to-face instruction as the core feature isn't likely to yield much. I suspect it will simply provide ammunition to those who want to believe that the current system can't be changed or improved on.

8:58:50 AM •  • comment  

Why Copyright Laws Hurt Culture. Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig and Electronic Frontier Foundation founder John Perry Barlow visit a digital film fest in Ireland and bemoan the iron grip of U.S. copyright laws. Karlin Lillington reports from Dublin. [Wired News]
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