Friday, 30 January 2009

Barack Obama on libraries

In June 2005 Barack Obama keynoted the opening general session at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, while he was still a U.S. senator from Illinois.

This article, published in the August 2005 issue of American Libraries, is an adaptation of that speech, which drew record crowds and garnered a standing ovation. Not surprising as it is inspiring stuff:

Bound to the Word

Guardians of truth and knowledge, librarians must be thanked for their role as champions of privacy, literacy, independent thinking, and most of all reading ...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

What is Cloud Computing?

The latest Horizon Report for 2009 lists Cloud Computing as one of the key teaching and learning technologies to watch, with its time to adoption one year or less.

So what is Cloud Computing? My understanding is that we are all using this without necessarily being aware of the term "cloud computing". For example keeping this blog on a server out there "on the cloud" rather than on a desktop would qualify as using cloud computing. Nothing new really.

This YouTube video interviewed Tim O'Reilly and other gurus at the Web 2.0 Expo last year. They don't all agree on what the term means, but it's worth watching what some of them say.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Press Freedom in Sir Lanka?

I am shocked by the murder of Sri Lankan Sunday Leader journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga, who was was assassinated in Colombo on 9 January 2009.

Lasantha Wickrematunge was the editor of Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader and an outspoken critic of the government. Before his death, knowing that he was a target, he wrote an editorial entitled ‘And then they came for me’. The Leader published this 3 days after his death.

It begins:

"No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces - and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the last few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print institutions have been burned, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last...."

Read the full text of this amazing piece here on the Guardian website. It has now been republished in a number of sites.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Mobile Sri Lanka

While the ASAA Conference in Sri Lanka was not a rich experience in terms of emerging technologies, there were some interesting observations I made on the use of technology in the country generally and at the conference.

Sri Lanka, like many developing countries, has leapfrogged the wired era to some extent and are well into using mobile technologies. So you are more likely to get mobile coverage rather than wired. The major company providing mobile phone coverage is Mobitel

Of course mobile phones are everywhere. Monks even use them! I’m not sure why I should be surprised by that, but I was. Those ASAA conference delegates who used their global roaming had the joy of constant welcome messages from Sri Lanka’s mobile providers.

As far as internet connection goes there were some internet cafes in Kandy. At the Hotel Suisse in Kandy where the conference was held, the one wired internet computer for guest use, was pretty slow. The hotel rooms did not have internet access. However good wireless coverage was available in the hotel lobby for those who brought their laptops.