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100 - Special Report from Washington, DC

1. Snip Goes the Laptop Cable: We have just returned from a WONDERFUL week of vacation in the remote paradise of Petit St. Vincent. Here we were on this deserted island with only 21 other couples and no internet connectivity, televisions or other digital activity. Mucho needed reflection and relaxation in the Digital Age.

Since I had flown from a series of meetings, my trusty laptop was in my briefcase and we thought it might be an added measure of security to activate my trusty Kensington lock (the steel cable that bolts the computer to furniture.) Several days later, when we realized how remote we were, the locking didn't seem so important. The laptop took a weeks rest, tied down to a large wicker chair on our porch.

A few days before our return, the resort asked that we send one of our suitcases ahead, since you need to take a small plane to get from the island and there might not be enough room. No problem. Until we realized that we had packed the KEY to the Kensington into the bag.

So, hours before our departure we had the laptop tied to the wicker chair with a steel cable. Bummer and very embarrasing. Told the resort management and they sent one of their workmen to solve the decision. He arrived at our cottage with saws, hammers and other tools to destroy the chair and free Elliott's laptop. On a whim, I asked if they had a pair of large lockcutters, on the outside chance we might be able to cut the cable instead of the wood chair. All he had was a small pair of wire cutters....which seemed way too small to do the deed.

Yet, squeeze and the cable cut like a knife through butter. Yeah! But wait, we just cut this steel cable with a small, common set of wire cutters. What about the high security locking process? Lesson learned: The lock and cable make the laptop look secure and would slow down a thief for a few minutes, but buyer beware.

2. Learning Quotation: Here is a quote from TechLearn Reader Bob Dean, from E&Y:

"The virtue of a computer in the classroom is that it requires a user, not a watcher."
- Diane Ravitch

3. Pricing Issues for On-Line Learning: One of the hot issues facing the world of on-line learning is Pricing! As an increasing quantity of on-line content and programs come to the marketplace, pricing is struggling to find an equilibrium. Here are some of the Pricing Questions on the table:

* Will we see Micro-Transaction Pricing? This would be the ability to buy very small units of learning. An organization would pay per module or learning objective, choosing from a huge universal collection of learning activities. In order for micro-transacations to work the learning marketplace would require a sophisticated infrastructure for revenue tracking and collection.

* How does the delivery transport (CD, Web or Mixed Media) alter the perception of pricing valuation in the eyes of the customer?

* What will be the differences in learning pricing for at-home development vs. business based learning?

* Can Performance or Assessment Based Pricing work?

* How are Training Management Systems evolving in pricing? Will there be a commodity level system in the future?

These issues are critical to both buyers and suppliers in the marketplace. We will be raising these at the Busine$$ of On-Line Learing Conference in Seattle, WA on March 3 and 4th. Kevin Kelly, author of "New Rules for the New Economy : 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World" and Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, will lead a dialogue on these issues. We will summarize the findings in a future Trends. (Conference has 70 seats available at ). Would also love to hear your ideas on these issues at

4. MASIE Center Seminar Comes to Florida: We are presenting our popular ROAD to ON-LINE LEARNING LAB & SEMINAR in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area on February 8th and 9th. We brought the LAB to Florida in response to requests from our Trends readers and also to allow us to attend a family reunion in Miami previous weekend. There are a dozen spaces left in the LAB. Complete details at


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