Who Owns That Domain?

From Will Richardson’s blog comes this anecdote from a trip he just took to meet with 100 tech coordinators from Pinellas County Florida schools. He found that a greater number than would have been the case in the past knew what blogs, podcasts and wikis were. Only about 10 knew what RSS was.

Richardson concludes the wrap up with this:

As we were discussing the concept of readers as editors, I showed them the white supremacist created Martin Luther King site . Well, actually, I showed a picture of it since it was being blocked at the time, and after pointing out the obvious racist tenor of the site, I asked how many could go and find out who owned that domain, who created and updated it.

There was a deafening silence.

Not. One. Person.


Well, I’m guessing that some readers here could find the following info useful: Whenever you want more info about any web page, there’s one place I recommend going. Who owns the domain name? What has the page looked like in the past and throughout it’s life? How much traffic does it get? Who is linking to it? How can I know when it changes in the future? These are just a few of the questions you can find answers to at the awesome meta tool URLInfo by FaganFinder. I often use particular tools from this set individually, but there’s really no reason to know more than this one page: faganfinder.com/urlinfo. Make sure you check out the “cache” tab, item “internet archive” when you’re there.

The direct answer to Richardson’s question is that you look up the WhoIs info to learn who owns the domain. But why stop there? Thought that might come in handy.

If there is more specific info than WhoIs on who specifically updates a page, somebody let me know – it’s news to me.

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Pew Study Says the Net Will NOT Ruin Your Life

Another striking survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project has been released; this one is titled “The Strength of Internet Ties.” The summary reports that,

Rather than conflicting with people‚Äôs community ties, we find that the internet fits seamlessly with in-person and phone encounters. With the help of the internet, people are able to maintain active contact with sizable social networks, even though many of the people in those networks do not live nearby. Continue reading “Pew Study Says the Net Will NOT Ruin Your Life”

Edu Wikis Gain Cred

Tim Stahmer has a good introduction to wikis in the newest issue of Technology and Learning magazine, titled “Think Outside the Blog.” (login or ttjo54@netscape.net and bugmenot via BugMeNot.com)

A couple of particularly interesting points from the article include:

  • Wiki power is described in the positive – a wiki is something that lets authorized users contribute content. I think focusing on contribution instead of changability when opening the conversation could be a good first step.
  • On Wikipedia: “The most famous example of a wiki is Wikipedia…Although Wikipedia’s success has been tarnished a little by vandalism, some misinformation, and fights over certain controversial topics, the wiki concept – an open site maintained by its users – has been a hit.”
  • Highlighted benefits include: the ability to write and research collaboratively and concurrently without the limitation of having to always schedule face-to-face time, the presence of the content in the larger context of the web – thus enabling participation and visibility via parents, other schools and the general public.
  • The article says that wikis are currently in use for school planning and interaction with parents, offering updates more continuously than printed newsletters and in some cases serving as a school’s entire web site.

The article then presents three options for schools interested in setting up a wiki:

  • Hosting your wiki on a wiki farm, examples provided include Wikicities, Wikispaces and PBWiki – all 3 great recomendations. I’m especially excited that PBWiki, the wonderful host of BlogSafer.org (anonymous blogging guides for people living under repressive governments) got a mention here.
  • Installing wiki software on your own server space, or asking your Internet Service Provider if they have wiki software ready to run (the article says wikis are popular enough that many ISPs now offer this).
  • Setting up a wiki behind the school’s firewall for security reasons. The author points to a narrative of his own set up of MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia and Wikicties, on a Mac with OS X. Other good options to look at include PMWiki and Kwiki, though those may be less user friendly for absolute newbies.

I am really happy to see this article appear in print. It’s a whole lot better than the episode of CSI I saw last night about a blogger involved in a murder! In order for these powerful new tools to be used to their potential, they need to be taken seriously and be discussed in detail in a variety of settings.

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Interview with Blogger Trish Snyder

Over at Net Squared I just posted an interesting interview I did with Trish Snyder, whose Bloggingforacause.com is one of my favorite topic-specific, non-tech blogs. Trish is a networker amongst bloggers and blog readers fighting cancer. As I’m sure everyone knows but may not think about right away, cancer comes in many forms and there’s a large community of people relating to the issue from different vantage points. Trish’s blog is very well done and she has some interesting advice for new bloggers.

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The Mapspace Takes on Podcasts Plus Upgrade Updates All Around

Podcastdirectory.com is a new discovery for me and looks quite good. Via ProgrammableWeb/mashups I discovered that this directory has a feature that the otherwise excellent Podcast Alley and Podcast Pickle don’t appear to offer: a Google Map of podcasters’ locations! Both of these other big directories have good forums and interesting classification systems, but the combination of local connection and visualization offered by PodcastDirecotry.com is really nice.

I like the idea of knowing what podcasts are produced in my area, I don’t want to lose all connection to my bioregion for goodness sake. Other purposes I can imagine using this map for include knowing who’s podcasting in a city you’re going to visit if you want to try and meet them, finding another mulitmedia source for research on a local issue anywhere and finding good promo possibilities for geographically inclined campaigns.

Call me a web-goober, but I had no idea that there were several podcasts produced right here in my home town. I like it.

Related: The very nice google maps tool Community Walk has undergone its much awaited site redesign, performed by IdeaCodes (half of which is Emily Chang of eHub fame.) The site looks great and appears to have many new features.

Furthermore: The awesome RSS to IM service immedi.at has also upgraded its site and it looks great. I wrote about Peter Brown’s tool as the bleeding edge of RSS awhile ago and I stand by that opinion. It’s a great way to either impress or horrify your friends by consistently knowing right away when they add new content to their sites. There’s also lots of important things you could do with this system, of course. I interviewed Brown some time ago as well. I would put immedi.at on my top 5 list of tools I’d tell anybody about who really wanted to leverage the heck out of Web2.0. (ooh, there’s a blog post waiting to happen, huh?)

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Interview with John Smith on Learning and Communities of Practice

John Smith is the community liaison for CPSquare, a community of practice about communities of practice. The group brings people together from around the world through online, telephone and face to face meetings to share their knowledge and learn together about how communities of practice can best function and learn in any field.

The following is a summary with key excerpts from a recent interview we did together. Discussion included John’s thoughts on group learning and new technologies and those are what I’ve focused on here. You can click the "excerpt" link next to any of the summary points to hear John in his own words.

Click here to go to the interview or continue below for discussion of technical struggles I had with this interview, specifically using the Gizmo Project VOIP system.
Continue reading “Interview with John Smith on Learning and Communities of Practice”