I am no longer, as of October 2008 working as a class teacher at Sandaig, so have moved this blog to another server. If you want to comment on this post, pleas search for it there.

27 12 06 how free is free

1212

Listening to the latest Booruch, which was a chat between David and geeky pete and watching Robert in action over at ScotEduBlogs news has brought open-source very much to the forefront of my mind.
I've also noticed a couple of good posts on why using free services that are not open-source might not be a good ideas: the developers might pull the rug from under you at any time. Unfortunately I've lost those references but found this example: O'Reilly Radar > Google Deprecates Their SOAP Search API.
In a practical rather than ideal way these problems might be solved by some sort of national edu storage space. This would also solve the problem of flickr, bubbleshare and youtube being blocked by some authorities. I know the social aspect of these sites are very important, but as far as I can see most pupil/student blogs are mainly using these sites for file storage and to simplify displaying multimedia on their blogs.
as I see it, it would be simple enough to provide a basic server service that would allow the upload and linkage to files. a wee bit more effort could provide a video player (in the google/youtube style), flash mp3 player and slide show tools. The only problem in doing this would be the cost of the bandwidth, I guess that would be nothing to a nation, anyone know?


I know what you mean about the fear of having things pulled from under our feet. When Flickr got bought over this was the overwhelming reaction from all of the current “free” subscribers yet Yahoo kept free truly free.

Most of the free services we use are most likely to stop operating for free not because of some decision made by the operating company but simply because the services makes no money. If a page doesn’t have adds then serious questions have to be asked as to how they are going to maintain liquidity and guarantee service.

This is what I’ve been discussing with a few providers this past wee while to see whether it is worthwhile us (as a nation, as LTS, as a connected group of educators, or a combination thereof) spending time and considerable cash replicating excellent existing services for this ‘security of service’. I’m coming to the conclusion: no.

Most of these companies have more to make from educational uses than from barring our access.

You’ve now made me think a blog post might be in order to explain things from their and our perspectives and how the two might meet in the middle. Give me a mo’... ;-)
Ewan McIntosh (Email) (URL) - 28 12 06 - 10:43

Hi Ewan,
Thanks, it is nice to get your/lts’s perspective on this.
Some of my concerns are personal, I like my school site hosted, rather than use a blog service, and mirrored/backed up on my hard drive.
us (as a nation, as LTS, as a connected group of educators, or a combination thereof) spending time and considerable cash replicating excellent existing services for this ‘security of service’. I’m coming to the conclusion: no.
How does this square with the proposed (or at least blogged) idea of LTS hosting blogs? Blogs to my mind are the easiest thing to get going either on a hosted site or using edblogs.org etc.
The problem we have (imo) is not so much security (that was a Trojan horse) but bandwidth and filtering, those are the ones I’d like to see tackled. If they were tackled by LTS or another national body, they could afford the bandwidth and provide the security that authorities require. I can work around this for our own site, with the odd bandwidth hiccup but I can’t let my children see valuable stuff that other schools publish via flickr, youtube, google video etc. I’d like to and I’d like it now;-)
I’d also be happy helping out with some sort of community effort on this front, with time rather than money, I am short of both but can probably skip some sleep;-)
I’ll look forward to your post.
John Johnston (Email) (URL) - 28 12 06 - 12:29



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I am no longer, as of October 2008 working as a class teacher at Sandaig, so have moved this blog to another server. If you want to comment on this post, pleas search for it at: http://www.johnjohnston.info/blog.