Mindfulness Jon Kabat-zinn

March 5, 2008

I am not good at coming up with topics to write because my mind works with triggers. Some question or some incidence will trigger a set of disconnected thoughts that are really connected if some one looks at brain as a network of interconnected neurons. After all our brain is nothing but full of fat and a set of sparsely interconnected billions of neurons and knowledge is just a pattern that excites some of them at the time of application of that knowledge.

This morning I had a trigger and it triggered Mindfulness because some body talked about “Attention”. I am trying to improve my knowledge about “Attention” so I created a facebook group at the url http://ysu.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8420304101

And Mindfulness is connected to Attention in a very intimate way. I have read up on Jon Kabat-Zin big time. Him and Richard Davidson using FMRI scanning techniques from Cognitive Neuroscience to investigate meditative practices.

Here is his bio on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn

and an article in Washington Post

http://tinyurl.com/burgo

and his talk at Google http://tinyurl.com/2uo7ae Very interesting and highly informative

Also a set of his videos of his talks

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=jon+kabat-zinn&sitesearch=

Open Free Education Resources

March 5, 2008

The UNESCO position paper on Open Education resources from Stepen Downes web site

http://www.downes.ca/files/OERfinalversion.pdf

The Open Course ware consortium

http://www.ocwconsortium.org/

Here are 1042 video lectures from IIT Professors at Youtube

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=nptelhrd&p=r

Open courseware initiative at MIT

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm

Open Courseware initiative at Utah State University

http://ocw.usu.edu/

Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University

https://oli.web.cmu.edu/jcourse/webui/free.do

Also at Open University www.open.ac.uk/openlearn

And 200 free courses at

http://oedb.org/library/beginning-online-learning/200-free-online-classes-to-learn-anything

And http://www.free-ed.net/free-ed/

Microsoft online software

March 2, 2008

Here is a Forbes article

http://tinyurl.com/2q4dyp

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer put online services at the center of the software giant’s strategy in a meeting with financial analysts Monday, making a forceful case for the $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo! that the software giant unveiled Friday.


Underscoring the importance of the deal, Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said that in addition to dipping into its deep pile of cash, Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT – news – people ) will borrow money for the first time to make the deal happen.

Ballmer said the shift to online software and services will mean changes for all of Microsoft’s businesses, which range from desktop productivity tools to database and e-mail server software. “Each and every one of our businesses transition to have additional revenue and profit opportunities based on this transition,” Ballmer said, speaking at a regularly scheduled strategic update for analysts following the company. “If someone is going to cannibalize us, better that we cannibalize ourselves.”

Microsoft wants to offer its software as an online service, a growing trend and they want in on it. This is a bad move on their part in the long run. MS software was accepted by the people because it liberated them from the reliance on their tech support. They wanted access to computing that was free from any interference from the tech support bosses. People were willing to put up with all kind of aggravation that buggy MS software caused but the users stayed loyal to MS because they had full control of their PC there was no enterprise management of PCs because the enterprise thought PC’s were not interesting enough to warrant their attention. They pretty much left the PC’s alone till the Internet came and PC had to get connected through the enterprise network.

The big computer companies always loved selling thin clients and bid servers while IT staff could not get enough of it. PCs created a totally different paradigm where it was the end user who had the control of his computing environment and needs. That is what made MS powerful with a dedicated user base who will not give up their PCs and who abandoned mainframe computing in favor of PC based computing environment. Microsoft supporting thin client fat server computing will be the endorsement of what Sun,HP and IBM wanted for such a long time. Microsoft basically abandoning their own turf and trying to move into the computing territory they are not strong.

As far as I could tell Google doc is really no match for MS office suite. The Firefox 2.0 is slow. It leaks memory. After using it for some times it has to be killed and restarted if web pages are loaded with Javascript. Like this blog entry has to be written up in MS office and then pasted in the text area for posting because text area editor is slow and its response on my PC is jerky.

I think it is time that Microsoft should lead again by supporting peer-to peer networking. It fits well into empowering the PC computing and taking the wind out of thin client and fat server computing. They have all the major pieces already in place. They bought Groove a p2p based program that supports small group collaboration and they made it part of Office suite. They hired the chief architect of Groove Ray Ozzie who has extensive lifelong experience in designing collaborative software since the days of Lotus notes. Now all they have to do is create web 3.0 application that enables people to create their own collaborative environments using their PCs. No need to run a web server or application servers. No extra infrastructure investment. The PC becomes the client for some services and provider of some services to others empowering the PC owners with network centric computing.

The next wave of computing is about designing safe user friendly virtual collaborative environments in which a group of people can accomplish some useful work. That is why the social computing web sites such as MySpace and facebook are all rage because they allow people to interact. Microsoft has all the pieces of puzzle all they need is to put it together.

The Microsoft became powerful by adding value to PC platform. By endorsing client/server computing I think they are getting away from their roots. They will loose big time because they can not compete with the free software such as Docs from Google on the Google’s turf.

Random Collections from net

March 1, 2008

Sense-Making of Technology and Media: a George Siemens Weekly Digest

by George Siemens

50 Ways to Tell a Story

 I’ve linked to Alan Levine’s site 50 web 2.0 ways to tell a story before. I just listened to a presentation that he delivered on ustream (it takes a minute or so until the audio starts). The first time I came across his wiki, I was focused on the tools themselves. But, listening to Alan’s presentation, it dawned on me that this model could be a great approach to curriculum development for faculty (or trainers) who might not have access to instructional designers… but are wanting to incorporate different technologies into their teaching.

Between Friends

An interesting look at various networks, particularly revealing of the strong presence of a small minority in acquiring the majority of links – Between Friends:

The idea of a social graph–a representation of a person’s network of friends, family, and acquaintances–gained currency last year as the popularity of online social networks grew…The push to understand the nature and potential value of links between people online has led to imaginative ways to represent such networks.

The article focuses on social networks and ways they can be visualized. Obviously, those are two separate issues. How and why social networks form online has not been extensively researched (social networking sites (SNS) is still only about four years into its popularity cycle). Sociologists such as Watts, Castells, and Wellman have extensively researched social networks, but the online component has not been fully considered in light of SNS tools. The other aspect – visualization – is of far greater value than just exploring how people are connected through links. The visualization of data has the potential to significantly improve how capacity to handle information abundance, gain new insight and meaning, etc. Plus, I have yet to see a significant focus on how network analysis can be utilized in education (Gruzd and Haythornthwaite offer a consideration (.pdf) of interaction patterns in online communities)

Future of Reputation

 I haven’t had time to read this book in its entirety, but from the sections I’ve skimmed, it’s worth taking a look at: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. The entire book is available for download.

Free Will?

 Rough day. Apparently new research suggests we don’t have free will and the resulting deterministic messages have the potential to lead to general moral decay. I’d do something about it. But it wouldn’t make a difference.

Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

 Photo credit: Wired Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business:

Over the past decade, however, a different sort of free has emerged. The new model is based not on cross-subsidies — the shifting of costs from one product to another — but on the fact that the cost of products themselves is falling fast. It’s as if the price of steel had dropped so close to zero that King Gillette could give away both razor and blade, and make his money on something else entirely. (Shaving cream?) You know this freaky land of free as the Web.

I wanted to like this article – it deals with concepts that many of us experience in our daily lives such as the reduced of cost for computing and online participation. But several aspects of the article don’t resonate with me. Software and content are free on the surface. What has happened, however, is not a full scale revolution as Anderson suggests (he is, after all, ramping up for publication of another book, so attendant hype and jargon are to be expected). Instead, the value point of content has shifted. Google is definitely not a company built on freedom, openness, running through meadows holding hands, etc. Google is very much concerned with selling and revenue. To compete, however, it has been forced to adopt a different model than what Microsoft was built on. It has managed, however, to adopt the television model – free for users but sponsors/advertisers pay. Facebook is now in a similar position – they need a revenue stream as there current valuation is based on potential, not reality. When generic content is free, then we pay for other things – such as high quality content or first access (such as movies). While certain examples of free-simply-because-it’s-right exist (wikipedia and emerging discussion of P2P and gift-based economies), it is certainly not the norm. Just because something is free on one end of the value continuum does not mean it is no longer to be found on the continuum at all.

The Downside of a Good Idea

The Downside of a Good Idea – a short critique of the challenges of too much openness and sharing (to the point where innovation is negatively impacted as good ideas are overlooked while everyone is busy trying to manage and share). Beinhocker makes a similar point in emphasizing that “densely connected networks become less adaptable as they grow” (p.152). But the study itself doesn’t make much sense to me. Is it comparing connections? Or effective group size for solving certain problems? And what about trust? I don’t just randomly consume and share information. I do so in a context – or more accurately, a network of people I trust or have some familiarity with.

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February 22, 2008

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