Adobe Solutions Panel for Authorware

Short notice, I know, but there is an Adobe online eseminar today (November 14) at 11:00am Pacific time that will essentially repeats the DevLearn discussion panel on Authorware End-of-Development issues that occurred last week at the Adobe Summit. Also worth noting is the availability of preliminary results from the AICC Survey on Authorware End-of-Life Issues and Impacts.

As I understand it, the panel discussion will be recorded. I will post a link to the recording area when or if it becomes available to me. The PDF with the AICC survey information has data from about 40 responses. Since last Thursday there have been about a dozen additional responses. The AICC post indicates that the survey will be open for data collection until November 16, 2007 and provides a link to access the survey.

Learning from Navisite Failures

Because of Navisite, what was supposed to be a 14 hour over-night change for 5dollarhosting.com became a 34 day tragic comedy of errors, with 200,000+ sites besides mine down about 3x longer than expected. Not a big deal for me; I have my own email elsewhere and you all surviced fine without this web site available. But perhaps this was a good lesson from a bad example of communication and collaboration.

After repeated postponements Navisite still messed up royally on the relocation that was supposed to happen from 10pm Friday night to noon Saturday (Eastern time), instead starting late, encountering challenges, messing up on communication and taking from 10pm Friday until 2:30pm Sunday mid-morning Monday.

What was scheduled as 14 hours expanded to 41.5 60+ hours including the shift-off of Daylight Savings. Adding insult to injury Navsite was ill-prepared with IT security systems with a claimed DDoS attack happened early Sunday too. Oops. [In hindsight, reading the playback, I wonder if this ‘attack’ was actually just lots of traffic their own servers generated due to configuration issues]. Recurring missed deadlines, calls after-the-fact, and weak assurances after trust was lost didn’t help anyone. Read the saga at 5dollarbackup.com/blog if you like.

It’s an old lesson, and a good reminder for me- Trust is important. Be prepared. Make commitments you can keep. Communication is critical; stay in contact with your customers.

I am going to give 5dollarhosting a chance to treat customers like me better than the poor way that Navisite has treated them. That said, I do have calls in to AN Hosting, BlueHost, DreamHost and Host Gator. Maybe this will be an opportunity to switch off of Blogger to another blogging system, and maybe even try out Joomla or Ruby on Rails.

Let me know if you have feedback on hosting services, blogging systems (not clients though, I use ecto 3 and LOVE it), or Joomla and lightweight content-management systems. I think Mobilemind is due for an upgrade in late 2007 or early 2008.

UPDATE: Monday, 8am Pacific time– Internet technology resilience proved itself again yesterday. My blog was only online briefly Sunday, but feed readers picked up the RSS. Servers were online and offline sporadically for hours at a time. Even with the server down I was contacted via LinkedIN and twitter messages from friends and colleagues. Thanks to Aaron and others for their empathy and advice. I just got an email from a reporter in Boston who wants to talk to me. It is a very connected world.

UPDATE 3: Thursday, November 9– (Yes, that is update #3, update #2 got lost due to Blogger being unable to reach downed Navisite servers on Monday.) It is 6 days later and 16,000+ web sites are still down. Go Navisite. I’m just not saying where they can go. :-)

Elearning, Machinima and the Law

One of the great take-aways of Learning 2006 for me was Machinima. Now there’s some IP follow-up that is due for anyone considering using Machinima content for training. I think machinima is a powerful, effective and low cost alternative technique to “from scratch” 2D/3D animation, graphics and video production for e-learning. However, as always, one needs to be respectful of intellectual property (IP). A blog posting that I recently found is a good reminder of that.

But first, a little background. In February of 2007 I posted some information on machinima when I was fortunate enough to snag Tom Crawford as a guest speaker for an Adobe eLuminary web seminar titled Machinima: When Video isn’t Video [description at bottom of page here, direct link to recording here (free registration req’d)]. By the way, Tom did the best job I have ever seen of formatting/encoding machinima clips for use inside Adobe Connect, but that may be a whole other seminar topic.

Since then I have been openly wondering about using imagery and recorded screen captures of Flight Simulator X and other tools for training. Hopefully, Microsoft and other vendors will make their IP policies clearer regarding this use case. It seems the use case for the elearning developer is not to use game storyline, but to co-opt it as a graphics or animation generator. I’m really not sure how this plays into their IP policies.

In August of 2007, Mark Methenitis of The Vernon Law Group posted some informative discussion and commentary on Microsoft and machinima on his blog Law of the Game. from the original post, Microsoft’s New Content Usage Rules: A Small Step for Machinima

Microsoft has set forth an interesting new content policy, found here, that seems to be giving the non-profit machinimist a break. In fact, I would go as far as to say this is really what needed to be done, but only addresses half of the issue.

The rules boil down to this: You can use the following games:

  • Age of Empires (all versions)
  • Flight Simulator (all versions)
  • Forza Motorsport (all versions)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, and Halo 3 (when released)
  • Kameo
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Project Gotham Racing (all versions)
  • Rise of Nations (all versions)
  • Shadowrun
  • Viva Piñata

to make machinima, provided you put the following disclaimer on it:

[The title of your Item] was created under Microsoft’s “Game Content Usage Rules” using assets from GAMENAME, © Microsoft Corporation.

The blog entry goes on to list the rules Microsoft requires (which you really should read from the Microsoft Xbox.com page), but I prefer Mark’s witty Carlin-esque summary.

Consider these the 7 Deadly Sins of Microsoft Machinima. In short, they are:

  1. Hacking
  2. Obscenity
  3. Profit
  4. Audio
  5. Other IP
  6. Fanfiction
  7. Piggybacking

When using machinima techniques, I doubt that corporate trainers will ever intend to hack, cuss, directly profit, pirate audio, abuse IP, craft fan fiction or support derivative works (piggybacking), BUT even the best of intents doesn’t mean that use for corporate training is legally acceptable to the IP owners. I hope that Microsoft will clarify the IP issues regarding use of game-generated images or image sequences for non-game corporate training purposes at the upcoming Microsoft DevCon 2007 or the related/co-located AvSim 2007 conference & exhibition.

In an interesting and relevant turn, the AvSim 2007 conference features guest speakers including both Capt. Mark Feuerstein, the Project Pilot for Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ 747-8 program and commercial pilot and flight instructor, Erik Lindbergh– grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I wonder what their thoughts on training “fair use” might be.

Live from Learning 2007 (twitter and wiki)

I’m already at Coronado Springs for Learning 2007. I doubt that I’ll really do much blogging at all while I’m here. However, as a Masie Fellow, I try to dabble in what may be avant-garde for learning, so I’ll try to update my own twitter more often. I also created a L07 (L-zero-7) twitter at http://twitter.com/L07 so folks can follow or @reply.

If you’re not familiar with twitter yet, I have some links to share to help you understand twitter or even activate twitter for your phone. You can also find people/events to follow without signing-up.

It is far less avant-garde now, but still quite useful to use a wiki. I’ll also try to update the Learning 2007 wiki for session that I am facilitating (or even those I attend) That’s all the best of intent though. We’ll see what really happens as I head into the blizzard of ideas and activities that seems to define a Masie Learning event.

Here are the wiki pages for the sessions that I am directly involved with:

I think Larry Israelite has made me a (dis)honorary member of the Liars Club (Learning Edition), so I may be a drop-in at his More Lies About Learning session too. (btw, check out his Lies About Learning book now in paperback).

Whew. It’s late here (1:20am Satuday) and I have lots to do tomorrow.

Please consider contributing to any of the wiki pages, or sending a tweet. I’m interested to learn what ideas you might have for the L07 twitter and how we could use it. You might even comment here on the blog.

A Friend Passes

Artist, inventor, innovator, collaborator and colleague Philip V.W. Dodds passed away on Saturday morning. Please help me recognize and celebrate his accomplishments and the lives he continues to touch.

I tried to write this yesterday and just couldn’t. I truly believe the elearning community would not have SCORM as it is today without Philip’s contributions as a visionary thinker, organizer, architect and evangelist. He was a man of art and a man of science. He loved technology, yet took great pride and active participation in true and faithful restorations to his historic home. He was drawing electronic circuits on blackboards at an early age, did R&D at ARP Instruments and Kurzweil Music, and led the charge to make CD-ROMs and sound cards a standard part of personal computers through his efforts with IMA and the MPC “Multimedia PC” standards efforts in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I’d encourage you to learn more about him real soon now, courtesy of a page available through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Meantime, here is what Elliott Masie had to share about Philip in a message to the Learning Consortium:

“What are we saying to each other?”

That was a single line, spoken by the sound engineer at the end of Close Encounters of a Third Kind, as he played chords and a friendly alien spaceship played music back.

The role was played by a young sound engineer who was spotted by Steven Spielberg and given the on-screen role to be the interface between these two worlds. That man, Philip Dodds, was still young and inventing, as he passed this Saturday morning.

Philip Dodds was the Chief Architect of SCORM and the force behind sharable and reusable content. He was deeply involved in the evolution of interactive multimedia and expanding the possibilities for learning via technology.

If you use a Learning Management System, author an interactive learning module or talk about the future of Web 2.0, take a moment to thank a man who you probably never met. Philip’s work was KEY and CRITICAL to the exciting world of learning, knowledge management and collaboration that we take for granted.

Philip’s dreams were to create a global set of standards and specifications that would allow content to be searchable, reusable and expandable.

Philip, we thank you for all that you have done and we’ll keep asking that question: “What are we saying to each other?”

With respect and sadness,

Elliott Masie

P.S. wikipedia reference at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Dodds

UPDATE: I cross-posted this to the AICC News Blog, and received a comment that suggests we share our memories of Philip there. If you’d like to post a comment on this topic, please do so at the corresponding post on the AICC News Blog- The Passing of Philip V.W. Dodds.

Authorware Impact Survey

The AICC (Aviation Industry CBT Committee) is hosting a discussion forum on Authorware End-of-Development and developing an Authorware Impact & Issues Survey to help assess the impact and move towards solutions for heavily-invested corporate customers. A presentation used for live discussion is available from the AICC site, as are the AICC Meeting Minutes with additional notes on the matter.

If the Adobe end-of-development of Authorware will have significant impact for you or your organization and you might have helpful feedback or are looking for information, then please visit the Authorware End-of-Development Discussion Forums.

The AICC deadline for feedback on survey questions is October 9, 2007. See this AICC News Blog entry for information on participation.

Elearning Events Updates

I added a few more items to the Elearning Events Calendar (to subscribe via iCal or view HTML see this entry). Recent additions include:

  • Adobe eSeminar: Gaining Efficiency with SME Captivate Use, Friday Oct. 19, 2007 (register here)
  • Workforce ADL Co-Laboratory, Elearning Summit, Oct 29-30, 2007 in Memphis, TN
  • AICC Meetings January 28, 2008 – February 1, 2008, hosted by Adobe Systems in San Jose, CA