Friday, 31 October 2008

Shaping the Future – a new adult advancement and careers service for England

“This is a golden opportunity to change the way public services work.”
John Denham

“Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”
French proverb which reflected the way I felt on reading this 20-page document which was published by the DIUS yesterday. Not the best introduction to the day but I couldn't face it at 10 o'clock last night.

The document sets out the department's plans for the new adult advancement and careers service, outlines its key features and shows how the service will be designed and implemented by and through innovators across the sector.
The new service will be starting in August 2010.

Read it for yourself but please, for the sake of the planet and your ink/toner supply, if you intend to print it (and I think all guidance practitioners should so that it's available for everyone to read) then convert from PDF to a word processing program and strip the pictures out.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Final score: virus one, Hazel two

I thought optimistically that I was winning. That was on Monday. On Tuesday I had a nasty relapse and yesterday actually managed to do some "essential docking and defects" maintenance but not much else. Still shaky today

At this point in time I have 84, as in eight-y-four, drafts from various sources sitting in a vast list.

I think, in practical terms and not optimistically this time, that I will need to group these by subject and present them to you in the same way that I do the interest items rather than overwhelm you (and me) by trying to do them all one at a time.

Some may, of course, be more than a tad old but it's sometimes useful to be able to see the genesis of a story, and some topics never grow old anyway.

I'll be back this evening to make a start!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Blame wrongly aportioned

via The Adam Smith Institute Blog on 9 October

Here's an excellent piece by Thomas J DiLorenzo on who really got us into the credit mess – American politicians and regulators.

Read in full

Hazel's comment:
If you lend money to someone who can't repay it you're in trouble, but not big trouble because it's only one someone and you sort of expected that there might be a problem so you ensured that you could afford to lose the money.

If you're a bank and you are told to lend money to lots of someones that you suspect may have difficulty in repaying the money you lend them then you're in the shit!

And so are the rest of us because the misery got spread around because of global banking.

And it is still happening in a small way. Buy now, pay later screams the advert. No credit checks made!

The evolution of a national distance guidance service: trends and challenges

an article by A G Watts (National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling) and Gareth Dent (University for Industry) in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling Volume 36 Issue 4 November 2008

Three trends in the evolution of the UK Learndirect advice service are identified:
  1. the partial migration from telephone to web-based services;
  2. the trend within the telephone service from information /advice-oriented interventions to more guidance-oriented interventions; and
  3. the move from a mainly learning-oriented service to a more career-oriented service.

The extent to which these trends are due to changing patterns of customer needs and behaviours, or the effects of policy decisions reflected in social marketing campaigns, is reviewed. Comparable information from New Zealand is presented to indicate the impact of investment in such marketing. Implications for the proposed integration of the Learndirect service in England into a new careers service for adults are discussed. A number of more general conclusions are noted.

Hazel's comment:
Hard copy not yet available in the British Library (at least it wasn't last week) so I'll have to wait to read the whole thing. $28 to purchase if you want it purely from reading the abstract.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sympathy PLEASE

After a couple of days on dry toast and water (no protein to feed the nasty bugs that have infested my gut) I've come back to the land of the living to find that not only am I days behind on my "normal blogging" from government feeds and the other interesting stuff that I read on your behalf (see how good I am to you all) but I saw 197 entries in "journal feeds". What is going on?

Nothing as easy to cope with as Inderscience gone mad again. This time it was Emerald with 18, yes, I did say eighteen, sets of journal abstracts.

Why the differentiation?

Inderscience publications, as readers of ADSET Members' Update will have heard me going on about, has one feed for all its publications. Sure, it takes a while to skim through such things as chemical processes in which neither you nor I have much interest (at least not in the context of this blog) but Emerald publishes things about information, information management, management and so on. They all need reading not skimming and that takes time which is the one commodity I have very little of.

Database right prevents more than just cut 'n' paste copying, rules ECJ

via OUT-LAW News on 10 October

A judgment by Europe's highest court has strengthened the rights of database creators to protect their work from being used by third parties without permission. The database right protects against more than just copying and pasting, it ruled.

Read the full article

A study of e-government system effectiveness: applying structuration theory ...

an article by Paul T Y Tseng in International Journal of Electronic Business Volume 6 Number 4 (2008)

This paper is based on Giddens' structuration theory to discover what constitutes the effective use of Electronic Government Information System (EGIS) through empirical method. It investigates how to enable EGIS effectiveness among people, technology, and organisation within a public organisational context. Usable 152 respondents data are chosen from the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) and the Department of Commerce (DoC) within the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan. Causal analysis was conducted to explore the relationships among the research variables. The results indicate that the impact of ICT environment, institutional properties, and human factors on the effectiveness of EGIS is fully mediated by how the public employees use EGIS.

Hazel's comment:
In other words it's the people using the system that make the difference in how it's perceived.
I'm not entirely sure that I agree since a number of government information systems in the UK do not work as efficiently as they should (and even, in some cases, don't work at all) and there is nothing that the staff of the government department can do to make the system more efficient or to get it to work in the way in which it was envisaged that it would!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Tips for graduates

via - United Kingdom headlines on 13 October

In the current economic climate, new graduates are struggling to find employment.

Read the full article with some good tips about getting a job.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Why Google might be killing your job search

Abridged from for The Career News Volume 8 Issue 41 (October 2008)

Columnist Anita Bruzzese solicits advice on managing your online reputation.

"I had a client who had a reputation as a hard-nosed manager. After losing his position after an acquisition, he found himself in a job search for the first time in a number of years. Because he was highly respected, he thought the search would go quickly. On several occasions, he would get to the final stages prior to hiring with a company showing great enthusiasm, only to suddenly be dropped from consideration. At this point he came to see me. We did a Google search and found that when we searched his name, No. 5 in the Google search results was a link to an industry forum page where he was being trashed anonymously by some people that had worked for him, calling him an unfit manager. Here's what we did. We changed everything (resumé, cover letters, online profiles, etc.) to his full name. People will typically Google what is on the resumé. When his full name was Googled, nothing negative showed up. We took advantage of a few key online profiles like LinkedIn. Google loves it and for most people, if they have a LinkedIn profile, it will show up first if you Google them. I also had my client write a book review on his favorite management book and post it on Amazon. This gave the opportunity to show a little thought leadership and demonstrate his management knowledge. This helped counter the negatives. The result was that within weeks Joshua was hired."

Monday, 20 October 2008

Need job security? Be a database administrator

via TechRepublic Blogs by Toni Bowers on 7 October

Experts predict that the DBA will be one of the fastest growing occupations in America. How do you get on the DBA path?

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
As always Toni provides good advice. Written for the American market but there is no reason why it should not work in the UK.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Consultation: the Social Security (flexible New Deal) Regulations 2008

via NDS RSS on 8 October

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to consider proposals for the above named regulations.

The main changes these proposals would introduce are detailed in the full press release.

(DWP) New support and responsibilities for lone parents

via NDS RSS on 6 October

New benefit rules to help lone parents into work by helping them find additional training, prepare for the workplace and find suitable childcare, have been laid in Parliament today.

If the regulations are approved by Parliament they will come into force from 24th November 2008.

Full press release

10 items of trivia and so on – especially "and so on"

and, according to my self-imposed schedule this post should have been published on 7 October and I owe you another one as on 14 October! Actually if you look at the dates of most of the items in here you'll realise that I hadn't a hope of publishing on 7 October! Good I may be but clairvoyant I am not.

How the financial crisis affects the oldest profession
via 3quarksdaily by Abbas Raza on 30 September
There are some people who might just benefit from the current turmoil in the financial markets. One probably won't surprise: lawyers. The other might: sex workers.
More here.

Beetles Get By With a Little Help from Their Friends
via HappyNews - Top Stories on 3 October

Arts & Letters Daily 9 October
In the UK alcohol is a relaxant, an emollient, a crutch, a relief, an excuse. Sarah Lyall has many British friends who in the U.S. would be viewed as functioning alcoholics... more

Site of the Day: Oddee
via Librarian of the Internet by findingDulcinea Staff on 9 October
A little bored with the normal? Paying a visit to Oddee might just fulfill your need for abnormality. From "wackiest coffins" and "geekiest weddings" to the "most awesome tree houses" and "most bizarre restaurants," this blog has scoured the Internet to bring readers stories and images of the world's weirdest stuff.
I could, of course, cheat and just go and pick a load of interesting, weird or simply odd items from Oddee but I won't!

Kids need to agree to 120+ pages of EULAs in order to watch BluRay Sleeping Beauty
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 9 October
Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John notes that watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.
Disney has a sickness when it comes to abusive EULAs and contracts. I once had to cancel a speech at Imagineering because the legal department wanted me to sign something saying that I'd never use the word "Disney" in print again without permission. The Laugh Factory attraction at Disney World's Tomorrowland had a ridiculous EULA on a sign (you agreed to the terms by passing under the sign) (!) in which you promised that any jokes you suggested were your own and that you would indemnify Disney from any copyright suits arising from the telling of the jokes (the sign was not a joke). As though eight-year-olds can form contracts (they can't), by standing under signs (they can't), and as though most jokes people tell are original (they aren't).
Thanks for this Cory, I'm indebted to you, yet again, for pointing out the totally ridiculous rules that make a mockery of the real need for security and copyright protection.

USB Mice Wheel – a reflection of the position of our souls?
via The Red Ferret Journal by Nigel on 9 October
Consider this USB Mice Wheel to be not so much a silly gadget and more a reflection of life in general. Plug it in and the faster you type, the faster the little fake critter runs around the wheel. Going nowhere. Remind you of anyone? Yep, same here.
Me too!

Friday fun
via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne on 10 October
Find out about the history of mathematical games and puzzles in this article by J.J. O'Connor and E.F. Robertson from the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.

Paper and pencil better for the brain than software?
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz on 6 October
Dutch psychologist Christof van Nimwegen posits that paper and pens/pencils boost learning and creative problem solving much more than computers do. Van Nimwegen wrote a PhD dissertation, titled "The paradox of the guided user: assistance can be counter-effective", about how software affects brain processes. English professor Michael Leddy summed up the research beautifully in his blog entry about it.

A Helping Hand for the Left-Handed
via Librarian of the Internet by findingDulcinea Staff on 2 October
I love being left-handed. But as nice as it is to feel unique, being left-handed also creates a few logistical hurdles. Here are some sites that can make left-handedness a little more convenient.

material innovations
via SHUSH! by Fiona on 3 October
An article on the BBC technology pages caught my eye a while back discussing the potential for a real life invisibility cloak. A material has been developed that bends light around 3D objects, and therefore makes them seem invisible.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Train to Gain – rubbish?

People Bulletin says that Train to Gain recently celebrated its second anniversary, but despite the funding pushed into it, its detractors find it a cumbersome mess.


Hazel's comment:
I haven't been at the sharp end of anything like this for a number of years now so anything I say will be based on the mess, sometimes cumbersome and sometimes just a mess, of similar “we must train people to get the skills that UK plc needs” schemes in the past. Thinking about it the first such thing I was actively involved in was the Job Creation Scheme which was more a get them off benefit initiative rather than get them trained one. JCP was replaced by ??? which was replaced by ??? etc etc. Do we have the skills that UK plc needs to survive let alone flourish? We will when Train to Gain has had a while longer, and a lot more money (at least that's what the government tells us).

Encouragement for apprentices is sure to pay skills dividends

via institute for public policy research on 3 October

As the government strives to improve the harmony between the supply and demand in the market for skills, successful work-based schemes like apprenticeships offer a great way of integrating employers into the process of shaping skills priorities.

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
I don't believe it – she's gone and done it again! What has she done this time? Left drafts lying around doing nothing for twelve whole days. Sorry.

And, you know, I really don't have an excuse let alone a reason.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Balls ends national education tests at 14

via Financial Times 14 October

National tests for 14-year-olds were scrapped on Tuesday in a wide-ranging shake-up of assessment in primary and secondary education that will win almost universal support from academics, unions and teachers.

Read more »

And why not ALL the tests being scrapped?

UK inflation soars to highest rate in 16 years

via Financial Times 15 October

The consumer prices index rose more than expected to 5.2% with the rise in utility bills having a greater impact than economists had predicted and was buttressed by some surprise price increases.

Read more »

Not much to comment on there – except that I have not yet experienced the slowdown in the food price inflation that the article talks about. I bought a bag of bread-flour yesterday and it had gone up by a whopping 20% since last week!

Working conditions

If you thought that there were some organisations in the UK, or in the Western (i.e. more developed) world, where working conditions were not very good then please go and read this post from The World Bank Group's "Doing Business" blog.

Not only is overtime compulsory in the Cambodian garment trade but it goes on into the early hours of the morning when a woman walking home alone is vulnerable. Some of these women are experiencing one rape a year!

My immediate reaction was that I shouldn't buy any clothes which said "Made in Cambodia" but is that the answer? It's a difficult issue when people seem to be demanding ever cheaper clothes. These can only come from suppressing the wages of the people who are making them since the quality at the bottom end of the market can hardly go any lower without making these items completely unwearable.

My drop in the ocean from not making a purchase will be un-noticed – it will need a lot of drops. But, if a campaign led to a drastic reduction in Cambodian exports would that better the lot of the women working in the garment trade?

I'm not an economist nor a development expert and I simply puzzle.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

On the other side: supporting sexual minority students

an article by Lindsay Cooper (Centre for the Study of Human Relations, School of Education, University of Nottingham) in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling Volume 36 Issue 4 (November 2008)

This paper examines aspects of coming out as a gay or lesbian person through the models of identity development presented in the literature as well as presenting some findings from face-to-face in-depth interviews conducted with young people telling us what it is like to grow up and identify oneself as gay. The coming out process is set in the context of theory, recent legislative changes and media representations and it is argued to be a key point at which counsellors and other helpers can intervene. An argument is made for moving away from the linear models presented in the academic literature and a new framework, the RAC model (realisation, activation and consolidation), is offered for understanding this process. The article identifies how counsellors and others involved more widely in the welfare of young people can best intervene in both an individual and holistic manner.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Government to secure better access to libraries for adult learning groups

via NDS RSS on 9 October

Public buildings could be opened up for free or at subsidised prices for use by adult learning groups, Skills Secretary John Denham announced today, as he pledged to work with Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to secure better access to libraries, museums and colleges.

Read the full press release

Hazel's comment:
I'm not sure I understand why this move is necessary. Can anyone explain, please?

Jobcentre Plus: giving people the help and support they need

via NDS RSS on 9 October

Jobcentre Plus (JCP) is ready to support anyone who needs help in the current economic climate, with a tailored programme to get people back into work, said James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Read the full press release

Hazel's comment:

He really needed to issue a press release to tell us that JCP is doing its job? You're sure about that, are you?

I'll tell you something – there is nothing, absolutely nothing, so demoralising for staff in an employment agency whether government-run or private as being told that you will provide a tailored programme to help people back into work.

What work, pray tell me, are people to be helped back into in the present climate?

Friday, 10 October 2008

You will be …: a study of job advertisements to determine employers' requirements for LIS professionals in the UK in 2007

an article by Verity Orme in Library Review Volume 57 Issue 8 (2008)

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what employers seek when recruiting library and information professionals in the UK and whether professional skills, generic skills or personal qualities are most in demand.
A content analysis of a sample of 180 advertisements requiring a professional library or information qualification from Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional's Library + Information Gazette over the period May 2006-2007.
The findings reveal that a multitude of skills and qualities are required in the profession. When the results were compared with Information National Training Organisation and Library and Information Management Employability Skills research, customer service, interpersonal and communication skills, and general computing skills emerged as the requirements most frequently sought by employers. Overall, requirements from the generic skills area were most important to employers, but the research also demonstrates that professional skills are still valued. An unanticipated demand for profession-related experience was found: this was the single most frequently sought requirement in the advertisements analysed.
Research limitations/implications
Although the Gazette is the largest source of library and information jobs, it does not provide a complete picture of the employment market.
The paper contributes to debates about the skillsbase of the profession, and raises awareness of the abilities professionals need to cultivate in order to progress through their careers.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Flattery may get computers somewhere, sometimes: The moderating role of output modality, computer gender, and user gender

An article by Eun-Ju Lee (Department of Communication, Seoul National University) in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies Volume 6 Issue 11 (November 2008)

This experiment extended the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm by examining how output modality (text plus cartoon character vs. synthetic speech), computer gender (male vs. female), and user gender (male vs. female) moderate the ways in which people respond to computers that flatter. Specifically, participants played a trivia game with a computer, which they knew might provide incorrect answers. Participants in the generic-comment condition received strictly factual feedback, whereas those in the flattery condition were given additional remarks praising their performance. Consistent with Fogg and Nass [1997. Silicon sycophants: the effects of computers that flatter. International Journal of Human–Computer Studies 46, 551–561] study, flattery led to more positive overall impressions and performance evaluations of the computer, but such effects were found only in the text plus character condition and among women. In addition, flattery increased participants’ suspicion about the validity of the computer's feedback and lowered conformity to the computer's suggestions. Participants conformed more to the male than female computers when computer gender was manifested in gendered cartoon characters in the text condition, with no corresponding effects in the speech condition. Results suggest that synthetic speech output might suppress social responses to computers, such as flattery effects and gender stereotyping.

Hazel's comment:
You learn something new every day so "they" say. Certainly the idea of a computer being able to flatter me is completely new to me!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Social Sciences Research Tools and Methods gateway on 29 September

Connexions is a online repository maintained by Rice University. It is a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.

Anyone may view or contribute:
  • authors create and collaborate
  • instructors rapidly build and share custom collections
  • learners find and explore content
Learn more

Hazel's comment:
No mention of careers education and guidance!

The injustice of in-work poverty

via institute for public policy research by Kayte Lawton on 2 October

The belief that work – for those who can – is the best route out of poverty has been central to Britain's welfare state since Beveridge first set out his vision for an end to want, ignorance, disease, squalor and idleness.

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
Unlike the Chris Dillow item which I linked to yesterday I found this a reasoned argument which had all the more impact on me for being understated.

Gender: Working Lives

via National Statistics Online on 26 September

Employment rates higher for men.

Read the full article and look at the graphs where red and blue not pink and blue is used to differentiate between male and female.

Drop in demand for staff sharpest in 11 years

via Financial Times 8 October

Results of a survey of recruitment agencies suggest the rate of credit crunch-related job losses is accelerating, marking the end of a “wait and see mode” among employers.

Read more »

No comment.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Negative wages

via Stumbling and Mumbling by Chris Dillow on 25 September

What's the lowest wage you can legally get in the UK? This is a no-brainer. It's the National Minimum Wage.

Read the full article and discover that Chris uses data to show how someone moving off benefits into a low-paid job can actually lose money. He then goes on to imply that this is a negative wage.

Hazel's comment:
Chris, you're wrong to even imply this. It has always (at least since 1948) been possible to get a lower income from working than from staying on benefit – been there, done that, lost that t-shirt from both sides of the benefit counter.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Job hunter: Rethink that social networking site

via TechRepublic Blogs by Toni Bowers on 22 September

A survey by CareerBuilder shows that 22% of hiring managers screen potential staff via social networking profiles.

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
This survey was done in the USA but there is no reason to suppose that social networking-literate HR managers are not going to be doing the same thing in the UK. The advice that Toni gives is not about using social networks to help you get a job it's about ensuring that the entries on your networks don't take you out of the running almost before you were in it.

Education or social justice?

via The Adam Smith Institute Blog on 23 September

With a target of 50 per cent of school leavers going to university by 2010, the government is encouraging more students than ever before to enter higher education.

Read in full

Hazel's comment:
You will, I hope, be aware of a political bias in the items from ASI. I do try to keep my own political leanings out of this blog which is reporting the views of others but I have to say that, on this issue at least, I agree. When the 50% target was first announced I remember saying that upping the quantity would have a detrimental effect on the quality and I personally believe that to be true.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Creative Commons launches study of “Noncommercial Use”

via Creative Commons » CC News by Eric Steuer on 18 September

Creative Commons has announced the launch of a research study that will explore differences between commercial and noncommercial uses of content. The study will explore how the definitions of "commercial use" and "noncommercial use" are understood among various communities and in connection with a wide variety of content.

You can read more about this news in the CC press release.

Thanks The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its generous support of this study.

Hazel's comment:
I'll be interested to see the results of this study as the law in this regard is somewhat unclear.

Copyright's Paradox: brilliantly argued scholarly book tackles free speech vs. copyright

via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 17 September

Among copyfighters, Neil Netanel is rightly hailed as one of the most important writers and thinkers in the field and his latest book, Copyright's Paradox, cements that reputation.

Netanel is a scholar, and he brings a scholar's comprehensive, wide-ranging perspective to copyright, but his writing lacks all the worst characteristics of scholarship – that is to say, it's not boring, confusing or abstruse.
Well worth reading Cory's post

Hazel's comment:

I've not read Netanel's book but I trust Cory and you trust me so there you go! Down to the local public library (or check the online catalogue – as one does) and hopefully you'll be able to reserve it.

I've checked the British Library catalogue and it's "on order" so maybe by the time I go to London in a couple of weeks it will be in.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Oxford English Dictionary Adds New Words

via ResourceShelf by resourceshelf on 19September

You can review the complete list here. Btw, some revisions were also made. Info about these words can be found here.

Source: OED

Learning Resource Services assessment

via Tom Roper's Weblog by Tom Roper on 22 September

I expected more fanfares, but here it is, the Self-Assessment Toolkit for Learning Resource Services in Further Education Colleges in England.

Hazel's comment:
Not only was there no fanfare but, unless I missed something which I don't think I did, no-one else picked this up and yet it is, as Tom says, a very important document. Too often the learning resource service (LRS) within an FE college is a one-man-band with line management unknowledgable about the modus operandi.

Thanks Tom.

Cyberabstracts: a portal on the subject of abstracting designed to improve information literacy skills

an article by Maria Pinto (Universidad de Granada, Spain) in Journal of Information Science Volume 34 Number 5 (2008)

With the overall purpose of improving the information literacy skills of librarianship and information science students, an academic portal specifically centred on abstracts and abstracting resources is proposed. The author takes the existing literature, together with knowledge and experience of abstract/abstracting topics and web-based technologies to conceive the research design. The research mainly consists of the selection, assessment and web-display of the most relevant abstracts on knowledge management, information representation, natural language processing, abstract/abstracting, modelling the scientific document, information retrieval and information evaluation. The resulting Cyberabstracts portal presents its products consistently and includes reference, abstract, keywords, assessment and access to the full document. Improvement opportunities for this unique subject-based gateway, representing much more than a mere subject catalogue, are uncovered as the starting point on a planned route towards excellence.

Friday, 3 October 2008

9 From the sublime to the "gorblimey" via the disturbing

Corrupted Science: the history, cause, effect and state of bad science
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 22 September
John Grant's handsome little hardcover book Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology, and Politics in Science, is an eye-popping tour through the history of bad (very, very bad) science, from eugenics to geocentrism to Lysenkoism.

Done with your wedding dress? Why not donate it to The Liberian Wedding Dress Project
via Hippyshopper by AbiSilvester on 23 September
In Liberia, where women typically work for a dollar a day, it can take up to a year to save for a white wedding dress. So when Reverend Louise Collins married Liberian Ambassador Alpha Bird Collins, they set up a charity to help the women of the West African nation.
[via Bridalwave]

via infodoodads by Sam on 21 September
Hearkening back to the Periodic Table of Videos post, and thinking about the ever expanding world of video on the Internet, I was overjoyed to come across Wordia today in my travels. Wordia is a video dictionary!

Psychologists vote against role in interrogation
via Blogzilla by Ian Brown on 20 September
The complicity of the American Psychological Association in torture at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere has been deeply disturbing. Particularly repellent has been the CIA's perversion of Martin Seligman's work on learned helplessness. Finally, the APA has rejected this disgusting conduct, with a (small) majority of members voting in favour a petition to bring this to an end.

All About Cupcakes
via Librarians' Internet Index: New This Week on 25 September
This presentation about cupcakes covers the history of cupcakes, cupcakes today (including cupcake culture and the cupcake "internet craze"), and cupcake designs and recipes. Includes links to related sources. Part of a project for the Interactive Media Lab at the University of Florida.

Friday fun
via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne on 19 September
A collection of chemcial games and puzzles from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hull includes chemistry-themed Sudoku, Space Invaders, crossword puzzles, and many more.

Arts & Letters Daily 25 September
A scorched-earth policy toward museums and monuments of historic and artistic value is the Russian way in the attack on Georgia... more

The 10 Most Absurd Social Networks
via Phil Bradley's weblog by philipbradley on 30 September
Social networking for geeks, amazingly attractive people, karaoke, heaven and... dogs. Keep this link on one side for Friday afternoon and boggle.
I'm sure that my dog would love to be part of a social network but given that I'd have to do the typing for him, and translate his sounds into something like human language, I think not. Too much like work!

Contractors paint sock tied to railing instead of removing it
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 18 September
You have to see it to believe it!

Arts & Letters Daily 2 October
Yes, men are hopeless on dates, and tend to say the most idiotic things. On the other hand, women can be stupid too. Why not try a little humor?... more

Can your favorite color determine your perfect job?

via bizSugar / Hot Topics by suzyQ on 19 September

Do you ever wish finding the perfect job could be as easy as one, two, three? According to new research, it might be as easy as red, yellow or blue.

Hazel's comment:

“Impossible” do I hear you say? Think again!

Read the full article and then link through to take the test for yourself. You will need to provide a name and a valid email address and a bit of information about yourself (which could be completely false!)

It's free to get some ideas but the full report (if you want it) will set you back $19.95

I went for the freebie (of course) and was told that firstly I'm a CREATOR
  • Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional
and secondly that I'm a PERSUADER
  • Witty, Competitive, Sociable, Talkative, Ambitious, Argumentative, and Aggressive

Laws in force from 1st October 2008

via OUT-LAW News on 1 October

A staggering 59 laws came into force across the UK today, changing company laws, employment laws and more. We have summarised the ones that we think are most likely to affect OUT-LAW readers.

Read in full

Edmodo – a Twitter for education

via Phil Bradley's weblog by philipbradley on 19 September

One of the things that I often hear is that people really can't figure out a use for Twitter, and it leaves them completely cold. I can understand this, because until you really get into Twitter it IS a very odd thing, with apparently little value. However, if you choose your friends wisely it's an excellent way of keeping up to date with what's happening in the world, as well as strengthening bonds, promoting weblogs and so on.

However, the varied uses of Twitter isn't what concerns me in this post – it's a resource called Edmodo, which has been described as Twitter for education. You can use it if you're a teacher or a student – the registration asks you which you are, though it doesn't check at all. Once you're logged in you can use it very much like any other microblogging system. However, it does more than you might expect – it provides teachers and students the ability to share notes, links, and files to foster communication inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers also have the ability to post alerts, assignments, and events to share with their students. You can also embed video presentations for example quickly and easily. I've included a basic screenshot below which isn't very exciting because I don't have any students, but it should give you an idea of what it looks like.
To be honest, if I was a teacher in a school I'd be leaping headfirst into this because it does look really useful.

And if I was a guidance practitioner or school careers adviser I would be looking to see whether I could use this to maintain contact with my clients.

Grateful thanks to Phil for highlighting this.

PS. And I'm still running 13 days behind my drafts! I can see what Sunday will be spent doing, can't I?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Collaborative pricing model for bundling information goods

an article by Wei-Lun Chang (Department of BA, Tamkang University, Taiwan) and Soe-Tsyr Yuan (Department of MIS, National ChengChi University, Taiwan) in Journal of Information Science Volume 34 Number 5 (October 2008)

The information economy engenders consideration of certain issues such as information goods cost/pricing, technology infrastructure, and information policy in the era of knowledge economy. Due to the unique cost structure and product characteristics of information goods, conventional pricing strategies are unfeasible, and a differential pricing strategy is crucial. Nevertheless, few models exist for pricing information goods in the e-service industry. This study proposes a novel collaborative pricing model in which customers are active participants in determining product prices and adopt prices and services that meet their changing needs. This study also shows that the collaborative pricing model generates an optimal bundle price at equilibrium with optimal profit and utility. Theoretical proofs and practical implications justify this pricing model, which is essential for future information goods pricing in the information economy.