Blogs.Oracle.com

OracleOracle has taken an interesting step, and I hope others will follow.

Blogs.Oracle.com seems to have been created as an Oracle blogroll! Why is this important? Well, for one thing it means Oracle is encouraging their employees to blog, but additionally they are also linking to non-employee blogs.

Here’s the introduction from Blogs.Oracle.com:

Welcome to the Oracle blogging community, where Oracle executives, employees, and non-employees alike exchange views about best practices for using Oracle and industry-standard technologies. This continuous feedback loop helps Oracle stay in touch with the needs of the overall community, so keep those comments coming!

This not only validates what others have been saying regarding the value of blogging in the corporate environment, but also recognizes the role that non-employees play in the big picture.

Check it out at Blogs.Oracle.com. Right now there are a couple dozen employee blogs and fourty-something non-employee blogs. Hopefully they’ll stay on top of adding new folks as they come along.

blogging, information technology, internet, technology, web, web 2.0, web office, blog, database, database administration, database programming, dba, pl/sql, plsql, sql, oracle

Why blog?

Every once in a while I revisit the question of why I blog. Not because I doubt that I should, but because I see by blog as a living, evolving part of my personal and professional self.

Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators sums it up nicely in reference to MBA students:

With 10 minutes of effort a day, they use blogs (which are web pages that are easy to edit) to reach a massive audience. They can develop a worldwide reputation as an expert in their field. These MBAs don’t blog about parties or their dog. They blog business topics like marketing or financial derivatives. Even with traffic of only 5 to 10 people a day, that quickly translates into over 1,000 people who know who they are, and respect their knowledge and opinions.

This is from Rod’s whitepaper “The Next Wave in Productivity Tools – Web Office White Paper” in which he discusses how many Web2.0 technologies and the folks who use them are entering the corporate world. It’s well worth the read.

Thanks to John for sending this on to me.

blog, blogging, web, web 2.0, internet, information technology, technology, web office

Consider the Source…

My sister Carla points out an interesting detail in a survey she was solicited to take recently…

Please note that this study uses the Behavioral Lab’s new Inquisit system, which requires you to download a special applet. We regret that at this time, Inquisit studies only work on PCs running Internet Explorer. If you have not already downloaded this applet, you will be asked to do so when you link to the survey.

Now I’m not sure what this survey was for (and Carla didn’t mention on her LiveJournal) but we’ll assume it was targeted at only internet-savvy computer users, but wait, you also have to be on a PC, running Internet Explorer, and you need to be willing, able and patient enough to download their applet?

Hold it a minute… If I wanted to solicit bored geeks with no security concerns I’d just go phishing…

Who is responsible for the scientific integrity of this survey? Would you believe Stanford University?

survey, technology, computer, internet, browser, internet explorer, firefox

How do they paint the first-down line on the TV?

First-and-TenWith the Super Bowl being this weekend lots of people like me (who can’t stand not knowing how something works) will be sitting around wondering “How do they paint the first-down line on the TV?”

Since 1998, Sportvision has provided many of the major networks with the technology called “1st & Ten” to paint the first-down line on the screen.

How does the line get there?

Well, the short answer is a computer analyzes the position of the camera on the field, takes into account zoom and the angle the camera is at, and where the first down line is, and draws the line on the image.

Why doesn’t the line cover the players?

There is a carefully calibrated color pallet of all the colors on the field, and another color pallet of all the colors of players’ uniforms, skin, the ball, and anything else which the line should not be painted on.

Before the line is drawn, very pixel on screen is then compared against these two color pallets. If the pixel matches a color in the field pallet the line is drawn on that pixel, if it matches the non-field pallet the line is not drawn.

Of course all of this has to happen 30 times a second to keep up with moving cameras and players, so as you can imagine it takes some serious computer power.

For more detail, check out Sportvision’s description of the technology or How the First-Down Line Works from HowStuffWorks.com.

sports, football, technology, television, tv, super bowl, superbowl

Technology Shaping Education?

Dwight Fischer, the CIO of Plymouth State University wrote recently about how technology is shaping learning in higher ed.

In his article Technology in Classroom: Who’s Driving? Dwight, who also teaches online, makes some interesting observations on the effect of online resources such as Wikipedia on the learning process.

We as educators need to think of ways to engage students through the use of information. Encourage students to surf on ideas and concepts, have them offer up ideas to provocative questions. Point them to audio and visual resources online, then have them discuss their impressions. Gone is the sage on the stage; we are the guides on the side. Facilitate their learning and we will do students a much greater service in the long run.

I agree very strongly with what Dwight is saying here, but I do not feel it is necessarily any different now than it ever has been. The best educators I have worked with have never been the “sage on the stage” kind.

Weather the tools are books, slide rules, calculators, computers, the internet, or whatever may come next, the best educators have always been “the guides on the sides”. Those who facilitate learning and evaluate on understanding, not retention of information, will just see these as what they are, another tool in the toolbox.

For those educators intimidated by rapidly changing information age technology, take a step back and use this as an opportunity to learn with your students. You have more to offer than facts on a webpage… I hope.

“I know nothing excpt the fact of my ignorance.”

–Socrates

education, technology, online learning, online education, higher ed, college