Archive for February, 2008

Open Social and Non Profits

Others (besides me) have seen a connection between Open Social and its potential impact in the non-profit world. On Beth Kanter’s blog, How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media, I found her post on Explaining Open Social to Your Executive Director. It’s mostly a rehash of what others have said about open social.

The most informative take on this comes from a October 2007 post by Allan Benamer on his Non-Profit Tech Blog. He points out that the typical nonprofit will not be able to take advantage of Open Social because it lacks the development resources and expertise. This might provide a terrific opportunity for our project, with computing students providing the missing expertise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Microsoft gets bright spark to give away their development tools to students

According to a AP release “Microsoft giving away developer software” Microsoft is letting students download their development studio and server applications for free. Is it a strategic move attempting to position themselves against the trend of web developers going with the free open source LAMP stack or an additional choice for web developers, as Bill Gates explains in the article.

“Gates said students will want to try Microsoft’s tools because they’re more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language used to make complex Web sites.”

Will this have an impact on the open source movement? Would this simply expand the options available for development. Once the application is developed could it be distributed under an open source license, or would the embedded Microsoft technologies pose a stumbling block. According to a Computer article: Analysis: Popularity of open-source, Adobe tools on campus prods Microsoft’s giveaway to students. the free software is intended for educational purposes, and not for commercial software development or software-for-hire basis. The article goes on to quote Joe Wilson, Microsoft’s senior director of academic initiatives for developer and platform evangelism.” But Microsoft has no plans to enforce those terms, Wilson said.” Would this pose a threat to open source development platforms such as JavaBean from Sun or IBM supported Eclipse. Time will tell.

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Google HFOSS Gadget

In order to learn OpenSocial, it helps to learn about Google Gadgets. My first attempt at a Google Gadget will link you to our home page:

To add the gadget to a web page, copy and paste the following script (with line feeds removed) to the web page:

<script src=”

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Why OpenSocial is Important for Computer Science

I was blown away last evening by the November 2007 OpenSocial video. As it describes itself, OpenSocial “provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps that access a social network’s friends and update feeds.” If simple enough, the OpenSocial API could be a universal platform for the web applications of the future.

If this Google-instigated initiative succeeds it will provide a simple, easy-to-learn programming interface (API) to users of the Web. Social networking sites such as Friendster and MySpace and Ning will be able to adopt and distribute applications to their members. Applications designed for MySpace will run on Friendster and any other social networking site. If the API can be made simple enough social network members themselves will be able to become developers. If that happens the OpenSocial platform could become the Linux-model writ large–a true democratization of web application programming. This will place enormous creative power and potential in people’s hands. Read the rest of this entry »


google gadget sample

Ram and I were playing around with iGoogle and the gadget interface. Using a rss feed example code, I modified it and came up with this in little over half hour of playing around with the code.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Commercialized- Blog entry about H-FOSS

While browsing on google, beyond the first page I came across the following blog posting about our project. “The Revolution Will Not Be Commercialized“. It’s great to see the growing interest in the project. The author of the posting, Martin Jensten goes on to make the following comment:

How does this win me? Let me count the ways:
  • Undergraduate students with youthful passion and optimism get to work with real people to help solve real problems
  • The FOSS bottoms-up development process becomes the initial template against which they will measure all other methodologies
  • They’ll network with people outside their institutions and emerge from college with people in positions of influence who actually know what they can do.
  • People with big problems and little money will be the customers.

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Employers want new way to judge graduates beyond tests, grades -USA TODAY story

Found interesting USA Today story Employers want new way to judge graduates beyond tests, grades” cites a survey from a sampling of employees released by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a non-profit national organization that promotes a liberal arts education, which identifies a need for greater real world engagement opportunities for undergraduate students.

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