Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Is the ICT profession ready for the 18th Century?


Catching Up
This post is by way of a pit stop for regular visitors to PeoplePoints - of which - to my blushing astonishment there seems to be more and more. In any event, this last fortnight has been a bit of a whistle stop tour of New Zealand, and I have been conscious that my visits here have been a little episodic.  So call this the catch up.

NZ Computer Society - lecture/presentation series.
First up, I have been on on one of NZCS  national series when they invite people to come and share their thoughts with NZCS regional branches.  I chose to offer some thoughts on Open Data - and its potential, especially from an ICT perspective.

And so, this last 10 days I have been in Dunedin, Christchurch, Hamilton, Auckland, closing off in Wellington last night.

Is the ICT profession ready for the 18th Century?
The presentation opened with a speculative challenge as to whether we - that's anyone involved in boot-strapping the next phase of the Internet as an open digital public space - are in touch with the historical parallels of the 18th Enlightenment and of how the subsequent gold seams of science and technology came about in part by, in addition to the long march to democracy, embedding public education and literacy as a key public good?

Developing 21st century digital public literacy
Turning to current challenges, my thesis was/is that the current definition/policy frameworks around open data - especially around government  owned or managed data sets - needs to radically expand to include all the cultural/heritage  data  assets contained in the myriad of cultural institutions - libraries - galleries - archives - museums, which in turn are one of the great products of, and containers for, the inheritance of the 18th century Enlightenment.  

And that, not only were these rich cornucopias of assets and opportunities key ingredients to the development of a 19th and 20th century public literacy, in turn they are key contributors to the development of  21st century digital public space,  and its mystic twin - public digital literacy.

Tool Boxes

Moreover, I was/am strongly of the belief  that - if we are serious about picking up the challenges to 21st century digital literacy - then tucked inside the  search /find/share/transform/co-create mantras of various national and international digital content strategies -  we need a whole bunch of additional tools than are currently showcased in storehouses/archives coming into view from the likes of Open Data USA  or UK Open Data.

Should this interest, be advised there is an audio file of the presentation - and of course the obligatory slide deck. When I put the two things together, I will post them here.

Social Media Junction.
I also presented at the Social Media Junction event in Sky City here in Auckland on Monday. My brief was to offer 10 public/nor for profit examples of people using social media/ social networking tools/behavior as part of their core activities.

BBC - History of the World
And yes, as the image above suggests, I used the seminal British Museum History of the World Project as an example. And for the record, be advised that the second parallel BBC series just launched.

The audience, though primarily from the private sector corporate world seemed receptive.  There was a very active Twitter tag #smj If this subject interests, then check it out. 

Playing at House

Somewhere along the way I have re-grown a beard. Now I have sciatica in my left leg, and am limping along. So somewhere along the way, and if I give into the temptation to buy a cane tomorrow, my transformation into House is complete

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Tamati Kruger says return of Te Urewera pivotal to Tuhoe settlement with NZ Crown



The issue
For those who need context, you need to be aware that here in New Zealand  Ngāi Tūhoe, have been in active negotiations with the New Zealand Crown for the last 18 months over their claim under the Treaty of Waitangi for a fair and lasting settlement of the raupatu , or confiscation, of their lands by the NZ crown. This is a long and vexed issue, which the NZ Herald Maori correspondent Yvonne Tahana   neatly summarises this morning, here. 

Te Urewera
Suffice to say, after 18 months of negotiation. both Tuhoe and the other parties, including many crown agencies, believed a draft heads of an agreement was in place  with signature and ratification due this week.  A key  part of the settlement would be the return of the Tuhoe lands in Te Urewera, their tribal homeland in the Urewera Mountains on the East Coast of New Zealand. Currently, much of this area is included in the Te Urewera National Park.

At the 11th hour - last Monday Prime Minister John Key unilaterally declared the return of the Te Urewera to Tuhoe had been taken out of the draft settlement. This move, which also took John Keys co-alition partner, the Maori Party by surprise, continues to provoke fierce debate here in New Zealand. And as the video above shows, events are still very much in play.

Other voices.
Earlier this week, Tariana Turia , the co-leader of the NZ Maori party wrote a moving piece in the NZ Herald on the deep connection Tuhoe have with their ancestral land - here.

Minister Chris Finlayson at Auckland Writers Festival
The New Zealand minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, [OTS] is Chris Finlayson. He is also Attorney General and Minster for the Arts. On Thursday night, in the latter portfolio, he opened the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

It was a slightly awkward affair. First, he took a clumsy swipe at the political affiliations of elder statesman to the NZ literary scene,  Karl Stead. Secondly, and to my surprise, he made reference to the pleasure he once had  listening to the NZ historian Dame Judith Binney give the Michael King Memorial Lecture in 2008.

I was, and remain totally bemused by this reference. I also was at this lecture. In it Dame Judith Binney gave an account of her current research among the Ngai Tuhoe, and couldn't have made it clearer where her sympathies lay.

Moreover, her recent work  Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 - also speaks forcefully and at length as to the many and often betrayals of trust between the New Zealand Crown and Tuhoe. For more on this see this excellent review by Catherine Masters, here

Dog Whistle?
I'm still trying to work this out - was the Minster giving a long coded dog whistle that he disagreed with his Prime Minister - or was it just crass insensitivity on a stick?  Hopefully the former - but could we please maybe have a bit more clarity to his intention and his position?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Web 3.0 - a 15 minute documentary by Kate Ray


Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

source
This came via OpenCalais,  who call it a ' dynamic and thought-provoking video that breaks down core concepts of the so-called 'Web 3.0' and Semantic Web movements, featuring interviews with Tim Berners-Lee, David Weinberger, Clay Shirky and more.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

On cabbages and kings with Jim Mora today


Afternoons with Jim Mora - Radio NZ National 
This afternoon Jim Mora and discussed the news around the items below, including the late insertion of a the web site for the Tuhoe people whose negotiations with the NZ Crown for the return of their ancestral lands is a current hot news topic.  See here for a sample from the NZ Herald, as well as the recommended web site above.

The audio
The notes are below, and the audio  is here  Ogg Vorbis   MP3 - or click the wee player:





1. The iPad and the competition The Slate from HP .
Last week I touched and used, however briefly,  an iPad and I am underwhelmed.
I was so looking forward to this - BUT - not in love - maybe not even bothered about asking for a date. It just doesn't feel ready for the revolution it is claimed to kick start

That said New Zealand has a launch date -July  as does Australia - and yes they get it before us. - May 28th. Good coverage on the options coming up with the SMH, Sydney Morning Herald, here

Competition from HP

More seriously we went on to compare the iPad strategy with the apparent rethink of HP's device The Slate which used Windows 7. HP just bought Palm and the rumo mill is alive with speculation that they will go head to head with Apple with a new device
See this story from CNET News for context

2. XT - Report on the XT failure released by Telecom
UK-based Analysys Mason Report shows  XT network not ready for the amount of traffic it was asked to handle and that immature management practices failed to catch the problems in time.

Useful Summary on Kiwi Blog
  1. The network failed because the network and supporting operations were not ready to manage the levels of traffic it experienced
  2. Software issues contributed to network instability
  3. Although the XT network was designed to initially provide planned coverage that matched the CDMA network the initial configuration of the XT network and, some network build issues, led to coverage variability
  4. Some aspects of the network architecture are overly complex meaning that any faults are difficult to find and rectify
  5. Immature operational management systems and process failures contributed to the impact of network issues.
3. Australian Gov 2.0 TaskForce.
The Australian Government have come out in favour of the key recommendations of the Australian Gov 2.0 TaskForce. Details here.


Creative Commons 
The endorsement include the recommendation that all Australian government data /information should be open for reuse - with minimal copyright restrictions and should, by default , unless there is a proper reason not to - use the Creative Commons License.

This is a very big deal - opens up shed loads of Australian knowledge assets into the market - mapping data - and puts to rest the notion that Governments should make money out of their information .

This issue of open data goes to  NZ Cabinet in July.

New Zealand Creative Commons
http://www.creativecommons.org.nz/

4. TED 

Some brilliant new sessions/talks on TED from the 2010 conference February, including this one from Stephen Wolfram and his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. - See TED, here

5.  NGAI TUHOE
Last but not least, as per the opening comment to the post, the Tuhoe Establishment Trust  have a very good web site which explains their plans for the development of the Tuhoe people. See especially the section on their vision - which, among other things, explores the centrality of regaining control of their lost lands. 

Monday, 10 May 2010

National Digital Forum 2010 Conference Linking data, linking people


New Zealand National Digital Forum
The NDF in New Zealand, Aotearoa is a collection of 150 organisations, including museums, libraries, galleries, archives, and their partner organisations  It's probably one of the best conference spots in the the local cultural/heritage web - mostly because the people involved are both active learners and participants. In short, most of the people in the room  - usually around 300 - have either got something to learn - and something to say - often both. See the web site here, and the Ning site for more, here

The next conference is in October, 2010. The organisers have just released the following - and have asked that it get circulated as widely as possible. So here we go!

National Digital Forum 2010 Conference
Linking data, linking people
Monday 18 – Tuesday 19 October 2010
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
The 9th annual National Digital Forum conference will be held in Wellington Monday 18 – Tuesday 19 October 2010 at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The National Digital Forum (NDF) is a coalition of museums, archives, art galleries, libraries and government departments with more than 150 member organisations committed to collectively building New Zealand’s culture and heritage online.

Linking data, linking people will raise discussion and explore opportunities for the creative and cultural sectors to link and make available digital content to the benefit of New Zealanders and the rest of the world.

The interactive format of the programme will encourage delegates to take part in open knowledge sharing, discussion and debate. 

The 2010 conference programme will include stimulating keynote speakers, discussion sessions, practical workshops and demonstrations.
Key Dates
Mark these dates in your diary now!
7 May 2010              Call for contributors opens
24 May 2010             Early Bird registration opens
24 May 2010             Sponsorship opens
14 June 2010            Call for contributors closes
12 July 2010            Conference programme available
3 September 2010        Early bird registration closes
18 October 2010 NDF 2010 conference opens

Call for Contributors / Presenters
Interested in presenting at NDF 2010?
We are looking for speakers to participate in expert forums on key topics around linking data and linking people.  There is also an opportunity for you to share stories of your project with other attendees, describing what you have been up to, what you have achieved and share the lessons you have learned from successes as well as failures in demonstration sessions.

Proposals must be submitted by completing the online Submission Form 

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Save Middlesex Philosophy


Save Middlesex University Philosophy School
Staff and students, both current and former are occupying Mansion House on Trent Park campus,  part  of Middlesex University, in protest at the planned closure of the philosophy department. More on this , here.

Today there 9,902 on the Facebook campaign, here- and a parallel 12554 signatures on the online petition, here


This gets personal
I should say this gets very personal for me.  I did a BA in The History of Ideas at Middlesex  in 1984-87 when it was still good old Middlesex Polytechnic. I loved every day there.  To do post graduate work you had to head on down to the likes of Brighton to the University of Sussex, and freeze in the tiny bedsits on East Slope to take the much more prosaic MA in Social and Political Thought. Even now, the sounds of a group of Chinese voices chattering next door can take me straight to that narrow little study,  the little built in desk and the tiny sixties minimalist single bed.

Since since, after the change to Middlesex University, the North London  Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy is now one of the main focal points to the study of the European or continental philosophy. Despite this, management at Middlesex University have decided to cut all philosophy programs, including their MA and PhD degrees.

This essentially means the end of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, a hub for internationally scholarship and the best RAE rated research department in the University. Current supporters include some of the most prestigious names in international philosophic scholarship. Thirty of the same recently wrote to the THE to say:

"We the undersigned deplore the recent decision of Middlesex University to close its Philosophy programmes, including its prestigious and successful MAs. The abrupt closure of these programmes is a matter of national and indeed international concern. Not only does it contradict the stated commitment of Middlesex University to promote ‘research excellence’, it represents a startling stage in the impoverishment of Philosophy provision in the UK.


We have participated in events organised by the Philosophy group at Middlesex and we can testify to its unique combination of strengths, and to the significant and distinctive contribution it makes to philosophy in the UK. Its set of MA programmes is currently the largest in the UK. Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University. In RAE 2008 Middlesex was rated first in philosophy among post-1992 universities, with 65% of its research activity judged “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”.

It is widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.  It is one of only a handful of Philosophy departments left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching and supervision aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist.


We call on Middlesex University to reverse this damaging and ill-judged decision to close its Philosophy programmes, and to renew its commitment to widening participation in education and to excellence in research.



  • Keith Ansell-Pearson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
  • Alain Badiou, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure,
    Paris
  • Etienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris-Nanterre & Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of California Irvine
  • Miguel Beistegui, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
  • Andrew Benjamin, Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics, Monash  University
  • Andrew Bowie, Professor of Philosophy and German, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley
  • Susan Buck-Morss, Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of Government Cornell University,
    New York
  • Barbara Cassin, Directeur de Recherches, Centre National de la Recherche
    Scientifique, Paris
  • Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department, New School for Social Research, New York
  • Christopher Fynsk, Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Thought and Director of the Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen
  • Simon Glendinning, Reader in European Philosophy, London School of Economics & Director of the Forum for European Philosophy
  • Boris Groys, Professor of Slavic and Russian Studies, New York University
  • Michael Hardt, Professor of Literature, Duke University, NC
  • Harry Harootunian Emeritus Professor of History, Chicago and New York Universities
  • Joanna Hodge, Professor of Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Claude Imbert, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
  • Mandy Merck, Professor of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dermot Moran, Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin
  • Michael Moriarty FBA, Centenary Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Antonio Negri, philosopher and political scientist
  • Jacques Rancière, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris VIII
  • Kristin Ross, Professor of Comparative Literature, New York University
  • Lynne Segal, Anniversary Professor, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Peter Sloterdijk, Rektor der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe
  • Gayatri Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, New York
  • Isabelle Stengers, Professor of Philosophy, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Peter Weibel, Chairman and CEO, ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
  • James Williams, Professor of European Philosophy, University of Dundee
  • Slavoj Zizek, Co-Director of the International Centre for Humanities, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.

People to email
As well as joining the FaceBook page, signing the petition et al, you might also care to write to:

Michael Driscoll, vice-chancellor of the university – m.driscoll@mdx.ac.uk
Waqar Ahmad, deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise – w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk
Margaret House, deputy vice-chancellor, academic – m.house@mdx.ac.uk
Ed Esche, dean of the School of Arts & Education – e.esche@mdx.ac.uk

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

France adopts law allowing return of Toi Moko

From The New Zealanders Illustrated - George Angas - 1847- this image sourced form Te Ara, here.
Auckland City Library digitsiation of The New Zealanders Illustrated - here

Tukuna mai he kapunga oneone ki a au hei tangi
Send me a handful of soil so I may weep over it
reference
Toi moko
The vexed issue of when, or under what conditions, a national or universal museum can or should  return artifacts to their origin, comes into fore this morning with the news that the French Parliament has approved the return of more than a dozen toi moko, or preserved Maori heads, to New Zealand.

The story goes back to 2007 when the Rouen Natural History Museum decided to repatriate a head in its collection. It was blocked by the French Ministry of Culture, and it has taken until now to get the legislative framework and the cross party support to create a national policy which will allow all toi moko in French collections to be repatriated.

Note - repatriated does not necessarily mean reunited with the subjects whanau [family]. Given the complex histories of war, conquest, and subsequent trading practices, there are huge issues within Maoridom here in New Zealand around identifying the point of origin of a toi moko, and who in turn has the responsibility of looking after the head, and accepting it for burial.

In recent times, Museums are the last candidates for any long term care and custodianship of toi moko.  Indeed in many instances local Maori groups - especially hapu [sub-tribe] consider any storage of human remains not just an insensitivity; it creates a condition whereby people won't go to the Museum because it is seen as a cemetery, and the human remains, and by extension the whole building, tapu. 

That said, many New Zealand museums have very sensitive protocols around handling human remains, including policies which actively seek repatriation and de-accession.  See for example, Auckland Museum, here.

Moreover, in regard to toi moko in particular, Te Papa, the NZ National Museum, act as negotiators and conduits to the eventual homecoming and burial of toi moko. See here for more on this from Te Papa.

So, one more step in the long chain of discourse and practicalities around a topic which can only be approached with respect.

Source 
As a measure of the importance of this issue here in New Zealand this morning, Te Papa, [Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa] acting chief executive Michelle Hippolite spoke on Radio NZ National Morning Report
Download: Ogg Vorbis   MP3

Monday, 3 May 2010

OLPC Oceania - Team One Beep and the Microsoft Imagine Cup

Mitiaro High School Mitiaro, Cook Islands
 Imagine Cup NZ  winners hooks into OLPC
Monday morning just got a whole lot more interesting courtesy of this three leg story which connects a remote island school in the Cook Islands and their One Laptop Per Child, OLPC,  project with Auckland University engineering students and Microsoft New Zealand.

First up the Auckland University engineering students. Known as Team One Beep, they are  the winning team at last Fridays Microsoft NZ Imagine Cup, who now go onto the worldwide final in Poland in June - with more on that, here

Team One Beep
The Team One Beep,project,  in a lovely twist, deliberately focuses on the One Laptop Per Child programme and its 1.4 million deployed laptops,

Their software solution packages a file of educational data as audio to be sent via radio waves. This can be received on any cheap AM/FM radio which passes it on to the laptop. The file is then converted back to its original form once it has been received on the childrens' laptops, ready to be viewed.

AM/FM Radio? For sure, sounds a little esoteric in the age of digital. But that's the point - by stripping it down to transport over radio frequencies, it allows text, and hopefully soon, audio/video and eventually code to be picked up by any old radio and then onto a OLPC mesh.


Mitiaro, Cook Islands
And so to the photo above and the Cook Islands. The kids in the photo are from Mitiaro High School. Mitiaro is a small remote island in the Cook Islands, which in turn sits bang in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. The OLPC Oceania project is working with 17 island countries, including the Cook Islands and these guys are one of the latest schools to get with the programme.

And yes its more than interesting to see Microsoft NZ getting behind an open source programme like OLPC, although it should be noted that according to the OLPC Road map, the OX 1.5. will run both Linux and Windows. Haven t seen this in action yet - but hopefully soon.

Sources
In any event - not a bad Monday morning story - more  on the Imagine Cup end from Computerworld, here . OLPC Oceania blog is here.  And for balance, a  bit of a step back and re-think on the OLPC roadmap  is here.

Funny old world
Lastly, I just asked myself, would I rather go and visit Poland for the final, or Mitiaro? Answer, Mitiaro any time. You have no idea how blessed the welcome is in Pasifika.