31 July 02005

iTunes an unreliable gatekeeper for podcasts?

When the latest version of iTunes, with new functionality to hear podcasts, was launched at the end of June, an Apple spokesman was quoted saying "We've tried to include as many [podcasts] as possible" in the iTunes directory, and, "We're not trying to be the gatekeeper of podcasting". But by having and policing a directory of podcasts on one of the most popular locations for hard-disk-based MP3 players, Apple is de facto a significant gatekeeper, if not the gatekeeper.

As iTunes v4.9 was launched the day after the US Supreme Court's ruling about companies that 'promote infringement' of copyright — presumably this timing was a coincidence — you can understand why Apple would want to avoid any shadow of a doubt by ensuring that their software does not list podcasts that might infringe rights.

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26 July 02005

Jotspot wiki for e-learning guidance

Wikis are great for supporting long-term or large-scale collaborative projects, enabling multiple team members to edit the same document, with the scope to view or 'roll back to' older versions. But for smaller projects the 'entry cost' of configuring them correctly and getting your material into wiki format, which is not standard HTML, can be a barrier to using them (I touched on this tangentially in last year's posting on building a wiki). Jotspot offers an alternative way in to building wikis, using MS Word-style WYSIWYG editing, and a straightforward way of importing content from standard file formats like Word and Excel. It also has a valuable set of applications that you can plug into your wiki to add functions, from project management and tracking to forums and polls.

As part of my work for the TUC, I used Jotspot to create an online version of guidance about managing TUC e-learning. This was initially produced and edited in Word, but, once we reached 'version 1.0', we wanted to have a means for the document to be shared by all potential users — meaning that they could update it in the light of experience, and everyone would always be able to find the latest version.

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23 July 02005

BBC 6 Music podcasts and learning

It's almost exactly a year since I posted my review of BBC 6 Music as a learning resource on this site, and nearly eight months since I commented on the disappearance of some of the web resources from the 6 Music web site. Now 6 Music has begun a weekly podcast of speech highlights from its programmes as part of the BBC's download trial, so it seems a good time to review what's changed.

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19 July 02005

Last word (for now) on playlist sharing

Having initially reviewed four playlist sharing services, three providers of further services have let me know of what they're doing in this area. I've already posted addenda on FIQL and Mixmatcher. Here are some comments on the GoFish playlist service, and a consolidated comparison table.

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2 July 02005

Furl shared bookmarks (and hiatus)

Due to other commitments, it's unlikely that I'll be posting new entries here until the second half of July.

In the meantime, a quick reminder about my collection of Furl bookmarks, to mark the fact that I recently passed the 1,000 figure since I started organising them.

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1 July 02005

Mixmatcher playlist sharing service

After my original review of playlist sharing services, and FIQL addendum, I've been contacted again, this time from Ben of Mixmatcher. So here's a quick canter through a review, based on my experience of setting up the same-old, same-old playlist using Mixmatcher.

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