on the university of phoenix lms patent

So the University of Phoenix was awarded a patent recently, and on first glance it looks to be another round of “patent the LMS and destroy the competition”. But it’s not.

Here’s the press release.

Here’s the patent.

It’s about automatically sequencing a series of learning objects based on the activity of students. Someone does something, and the order of presentation of some items is shuffled in response.

This is not a patent on learning management systems. This is not a salvo in an ed tech war to end all ed tech wars. It’s learning objects. Remember those? Yeah. Just barely. But now there’s a patent for one aspect of automatically sequencing them.

on bookmarks

Season 3, Episode #19 of “Who gives a crap?” – the one where the guy moves bookmarks around

I’d installed a copy of Scuttle a couple of years ago, and have been happily saving bookmarks on my own server since then. But I got frustrated when stuff didn’t play as nicely with my stuff, when compared to delicious.com or diigo.com or the like. IFTTT scripts. Importers. Evernote import-bookmarks-into-a-note stuff. etc…

and, I guess, I realized that bookmarks just aren’t the kind of thing that I should care enough about having full control over their hosting and storage. they’re just bookmarks. dude. unclench.

so I tried going back to delicious.com. Brian and Alan are still using it, so it felt like home. But the importer utility is currently unavailable because spammers use it to crap their stuff into delicious.com. awesome. The support folks said they could manually import my bookmarks (which had been exported from my Scuttle install, thanks to a script found by the always awesome and helpful Scott Leslie). My bookmarks magically appeared a few days later. Awesome! Except the import treated all tags on a bookmark as a single tag, ignoring the spaces that were included in the bookmarks.html file. So “mooc whitepaper toread” was stored as a single tag, rather than as 3 separate tags. Doh. And as a result, I think, the delicious.com tagging tool became dog slow when tagging new bookmarks – loading 3000 unique-and-long tags to match for keystroke autocompletion…

then I tried diigo.com. I mean, George Siemens is using it, and a bunch of other folks. I created an account, fed it my bookmarks.html file, and BOOM. all of my bookmarks are there, going back to September 2004. And they’re properly tagged.

So, after a few days, I think I’ll stay there. For now, at least. I just decommissioned my Scuttle install.

Diigo isn’t perfect either, though. I get plenty of errors in the web interface (why they don’t trap server errors rather than barfing a generic 500 SERVER ERROR page is beyond me… reloading those pages 2 or 5 times seems to make the error go away). And the javascript-powered interface seems to timeout or fail silently – I still can’t add Chris Lott to my network for some reason. Strange.

So, for now, bookmarks are at diigo.com. Is this a failure or backtrack of Project Reclaim? I don’t think so. Bookmarks aren’t something I make, they’re just pointers to stuff. Who cares where they live, as long as the host isn’t doing evil things with the data (and what evil things could they really do? dunno. low risk.)