Archive for the ‘Open(ing)’ Category

Two laptops per me

September 7, 2007

Developing on from this, I’ve been playing working with a couple of Oxford Archaeolgy‘s XO units. One was DOA:


The fault being identified as a disconnected keyboard. Taking it apart revealed that the screen had been over rotated, pulling the keyboard cable out of the socket on the mainboard:

After it got more taken apart, then put back together, it worked:

Trowel for  scale. Cool stuff in the pipes.

OpenXML vs ODF: Users may suffer, but probably won’t

April 20, 2007

A rather disappointing article by Martin Banks over on The Register: On the Office format wars:

It’s all about users, we’re told; they (we) use Ms Word widely and aren’t going to want to use something different or incompatible. That’s no trouble, however, as Novell (as well as a number of companies in the future, so the prediction goes) has just released a tool to convert one open standard to the other. All of this neatly explains away the need for the article in the first place.

Neil Lewis, in the first of the comments:

Reminds us that open standards aren’t about vendor dominance and software lock-ins, but about creating material that can be widely disseminated now and still accessible in the future.

The point of this post? A reminder that some people (Banks) see issues of openness simply as a matter of a vendor’s software sales and are happy to treat the user as some sort of keyboard-drone, the office cubicle equivalent of the mechanically milked cow. Open formats shouldn’t be viewed simply as a sales vector or marketing push, quite the opposite in fact, they should be seen as a means of getting beyond these stifling considerations.

Common land on the internet

March 28, 2007

An interesting  article on the BBC website by Bill Thompson about the advantages of public spaces on the internet as opposed to commercially-founded social spaces.

We have lost the online equivalent of parks and roads and shopping streets, where the limits on what we can reasonably say and do are set by society as a whole and not by the commercial interests of one company.

But the real problem with MySpace, YouTube and Flickr and the many other social spaces, sharing tools and online collaborative mechanisms is not that they are privately owned, it is that there is no public service ethos behind them.

There never can be as long as they are owned by companies that must pursue shareholder value above everything.

Push for open access to (scientific) research

March 2, 2007

From the BBC’s technology news site: reviews Wicken Wiki

February 26, 2007

“It makes fascinating, albeit often critical, reading.” has been kind enough to list the Wicken Wiki on their website as further reading for the recently (yesterday) aired Time Team show. It was a good show and it’s nice to get mentioned on their site.

UK Open Source think tank opens doors

February 26, 2007

Lifted straight from The Register:

The UK now has its own national think tank for open source and open standard policy.

The National Open Centre, which its backers hope will make for better working relationships between the open source community and government, business, and education, launched today (Monday) at the Houses of Parliament.

The centre will carry out research and analysis and host conferences and workshops to facilitate the debate around open source and open standards. The results will ultimately be developed into policy recommendations.

Barbara Held, responsible for open source and open standards within the EU Commission’s IDABC programme, commented: “The work of the NOC will also contribute to coordinate and further the use of open source and open standards at the European level.”

She said such national focal points would be important in a pan-European push for “openness and interoperability”.

IBM and SCC also wheeled out spokespeople to pat the new venture on the back. IBM’s Dr Chris Francis said: “It is vital that current UK public and corporate OS&S policies deliver flexibility and efficiency for public and private organisations alike.”

Basing work on open standards, would be a major part of this, as would open source “wherever appropriate”.

SCC’s Brian Prangle, meanwhile, said he regarded open source and open standards as “second only to the development of the internet and web in terms of accelerating the evolution of information technology”.

He went on: “They are great drivers in disintegrating the bastions of proprietary technology which have kept IT expensive and slow to respond to change.” ®

The Machine is Us/ing Us

February 20, 2007

Tom Goskar posted this on his blog last week and mentioned it again today on the Antiquist mailing list. It’s well worth watching for the four and a half minutes it lasts for:

Remixing online content – Pipes

February 20, 2007

This BBC article points to mash-ups and Pipes (and similar) being the new direction of the web. The idea being that users can generate online content and control it as well, and not need to be programmers to make it happen.

The real transformation comes from having the ability to take other people’s content and then filter, refine, recombine and reuse it in interesting and innovative ways.

This remix model brings us closer to the original vision of a hypertext, put forward by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s and realised by Tim Berners-Lee at Cern in the 1980’s.

So Memex is no longer a pipe dream.

Jerusalem excavations webcast

February 16, 2007

Three webcams are broadcasting live footage on the internet of the excavations near the Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Follow this link to view the footage on the Israel Antiquities Authority web site.

More information about the excavations and the politics surrounding the project can be found in this BBC article.

Open access to research is in the public interest

February 13, 2007


For those of us who have dedicated our lives to science, public access is a two-way street. We can more easily read other scientists’ works (which helps our research), and they can read ours (making it far more likely to be cited). Younger researchers, educated and raised in the networked digital environment, are used to moving seamlessly from info source to info source. The scientific research environment should respond to and favor this effective work style.

Original article here.