Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Spoken Word

Swapping music on the internet is so-o-o 2002. There are abundant reasons which bring me to this conclusion, for starters: these activities often hose your PC with backdoor warez, have the potential to land your fanny in the hoosegow, and require frittering away hours and hours for tiny fractions of that time in entertainment value return.

Much more rewarding on the internet (heck, anywhere) is a good conversation. Sometimes that means intently listening to someone more informed, traveled, diverse or perspicacious than ourselves. Other times, it's "enough about you, I really called to talk about me."

For the record, I am a big fan of music, all kinds. And there certainly are a jillion GB of that out there, some of it difficult to acquire through traditional channels and some even (ahem) free. But I suggest, if time is your scarcest resource - and you're anything like the idea vampire that I confess to being - scour the internet for human voices, and populate it with some of your own!

I find those are the gems, the real desert isle material I cannot do without.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Bloglines enhances conversations through references

Much like BoingBoing's use of Technorati, Bloglines now includes a reference link to items that refer back to an item in your feed. From the announcement:
If another feed has linked to an item that you're reading, there will be a 'References' link under the item. Clicking on that will bring up a list of all the items from other feeds that have linked to the item you're reading. It's a great way to follow conversations and see different viewpoints.

This is so cool! Even if a site (like this one currently) doesn't provide a means for you to see directly who's commenting on a post, Bloglines does. This automatic, "hands off" feature is clearly a boon to collaboration.

To see references in action, click here to bring up a list of items referencing the Bloglines announcement of references. You should find this item on that list.

It also seems likely that you could use the Bloglines feature in your own site, if you could figure out their itemid numbering scheme.

Of course, this technology doesn't help you much if no one links to your site.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Blogs as active résumés

Jon Udell has summarized many of the discussions I've had around reputation systems and the role blogs might play in them in one pithy phrase: "The blog is an active résumé."

This theme is hinted at in Guy's post here on public discussion of concepts: "Expose your deep thinking to peer review, win valuable prizes!"

When you consider all of this in light of my post on focus and passion, you may begin to see where blogs might play a bigger role in corporate computing.

People will discuss and write about what they are passionate about. The more they discuss via blog, the more that they can contribute to whatever they are passionate about. The more that they contribute, the better their active résumé looks, and the more value the corporation receives for their efforts. And if folks are rewarded for doing what they like to do anyway, they'll do even more of it, completing the virtuous circle.


In any collaborative endeavor, one of the biggest problems is scheduling. While better asynchronous tools can help, some things need to be synchronous. Why? Focus. If you have everyone in the room (especially physically, but virtual can work), you have their attention and commitment. You can actually make progress.

I've always been fascinated by successful highly distributed teams that rarely if ever have meetings and rely mainly on asynchronous tools. I think that the most successful of these teams do it because of their focus and their passion. They've often volunteered for the assignment rather than being told to do it.

There are ways to get focus in the corporate world, but it is hard to engender passion.

And yes, I am trying to schedule out the rest of the strategy project, which is why these thoughts came to mind.

Posting drought and the pyschology of blogging

Things have been pretty hectic around here as we work to put together our collaboration strategy, which has ironically made it difficult to find the time to post here. Even if you are committed to making collaboration happen, it takes effort to change patterns of behavior. To start, you have to think to post -- the "I've got to blog this" syndrome.

Secondly, you have to be willing to put it out there. I tend to spend a lot of time assembling my ideas "just so" as I write. Blogging, though, isn't necessarily about complete thoughts and well-constructed arguments. Sometimes, it's simply about throwing a half-formed idea out there. Will it stick? How will the others react? The ensuing discussion shapes and improves that nascent idea. You don't have to do all the work yourself. Ideally, it's a part of a conversation, a discussion of the idea.

So, we have two challenges. First, the many authors of this blog need to post our own ideas, impressions, etc. around collaborative technology, and we need to read and respond to the posts of others. In other words, generate our own conversation.

We also have to work to get feedback from others via various mechanisms. Ideally, folks read and then react on their own blogs, we see who's been referencing us, and then we respond back, and the conversation takes off in a distributed fashion. But not everyone has a blog (shocking, I know), so alternatives need to be made available. Which means there's more work to do on this site.

But the most important work that needs to be done to this site is for us to post frequently and generate conversations.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Auburn Plainsman now has an RSS feed

Too cool. More signs of the rise of RSS. I think that this will be truly pervasive technology.

The Plainsman on its RSS feed and how to use it

via Library Stuff indirectly via Free Range Librarian via LiB

(Isn't hypertext grand?)

Monday, April 12, 2004

Making a blogosphere

This how-to on creating a successful blogosphere from a Persian bloggers experience provides some interesting insights that could readily be adapted from developing countries to large corporations .

Thursday, April 08, 2004

A new Moore's Law for battteries?

Actually, that's only a part of what this piece from Wired proposes. Batteries just aren't keeping up. So, either batteries get a whole lot better or electronic systems get a whole lot more efficient. So, can we double the net efficiency of electronic systems every 24 months? If not, it will put some limits on our efforts to get people to work together more efficiently regardless of location.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

So where's the XML Link?

On the Collabutech page to load it into RSS feeders? Or what am I doing wrong?