Thursday, January 27, 2005

What's with the ankles?

When my parents visited me after Christmas, my mother stepped in a pothole in the street and broke her ankle. She got an air cast and crutches. She's now down to just the air cast, and soon that will be gone as she is healing well. Today, my daughter fell while doing gymnastics in gym class and broke her ankle. She has a half cast, crutches, and an appointment to see the orthopedist next week. What next?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Winfotainment: a loathesome prospect

But I reckon it will be coming at us sooner than feared. WiSPAM. Egads ...

Fans of PKD have been worrying for decades about when this would actually arrive. Of course, Dick was a seer's seer.

Add it to the list of near-future prognostications, along with the ability to block unsolicited (or unauthorized) RF. Give me some granularity with that tool, too, please. I will want to block (or route around) specific services, not all.

Lastly, what's up with the FCC? Is that the most hidebound federal agency, or just irrelevant now? Get in step fellas. Business wants it, consumers want it. We have the technology.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Screencasting: an evolution

Well, an evolution in my thought at least. Jon has been experimenting with these (and other uses of streaming)for a while, I didn't find many of his earlier screencast attempts to be particularly illuminating. However, his heavy metal umlaut screencast really gives you a sense of how a Wikipedia article evolves over time, including rude defacements and the incredibly rapid repair of those defacements. You see that the defacement repair is like swatting at a gnat: a minor distraction while you continue to focus on the matter at hand.

The brief desktop search screencast I referenced previously is another example of effective use. I can see using this technique to demonstrate hard to grok concepts such as blogging and feeds. I can see others using it for training. I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of now, too.

Competition is good

Here is further evidence that competition is a good thing. It turns out that Windows 2000 and Windows XP actually had a viable search all along.

Jon Udell of Infoworld explains:
For performance reasons, the indexing service is disabled by default in Windows. Burns, however, made a remarkable discovery. Even when the index is active, Windows almost never uses it. Searches are still dog-slow unless you prefix your query with an exclamation point; then the index kicks in, and searches become lightning fast.

This seemed so improbable that I had to verify it for myself. But it's true. According to Greg Sullivan, lead product manager of the Windows client at Microsoft, the search function starts bypassing the index as soon as even one unindexed file lands on your disk. Better to be slow than to be incomplete, in other words -- a strategy that Sullivan admits looks lame in hindsight.

Jon delves deeper and includes a short screencast that dramatically shows the difference. Sometimes, there's nothing like seeing.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Earth: voted best planet, 3rd year in a row

That's some graffiti I spied the other night.

I really laughed hard when reading it, but as it sank in a little deeper, found that it (a) was both totally unexpected, yet obvious and universally true, and (b) slyly points out how little choice we have over some of the largest influences on our daily lives. The illusion of choice. The inanity of this generation’s obsession with polls, and intra-organizational awards ceremonies.

In that spirit then, here are my predictions for the near future – as near as here now, or perhaps as far off as next month or year. But as I see ‘em, foregone conclusions already. {Though my feelings won’t be hurt if you value these on a par with that which one might find scrawled on a public restroom wall.}

• The key reason underlying the emphasis placed on diversity today is: it’s vanishing. People are aware at some level of its rapid decline (or revelation at certain distinctions that had been false all along) and this generates in us senses of nostalgia, fear and ennui. Diversity, with a capital “D” – I mean things, both animate and inanimate, as well as ideas. Innova-philes are queuing up now to contest this assertion, no doubt. The same applies to Culture and Law, and has consequently fueled extremist terror globally. More is on the way, sad to say.

• So-called “fat apps” are dinosaurs munching on their last ferns. Operating Systems don’t matter anymore, not really. Get ready for waves of meta-browsers, the OS’ successor: they will be specialized to suit various classifications of thin apps, highly customizable to user preferences, platform independent … oh, and secure. Programmers will truck in a profusion of new markup languages, and a much greater fluency with RegEx will be required.

• A major scandal involving compromise of public key data encryption may break soon, but it’s likely already happening (see next bullet). The confluence of many factors (all of commerce’s move online, near-free storage of vast sample sizes, sophisticated data mining tools, commercial availability of quantum computing, dawn of the age of information warfare etc …) leads me to conclude that no sum is too much to pay for being first at having this capability. Because only the most extraordinarily wealthy interests might have it, there will be great effort expended in keeping the exposure of such a secret secret. Ah well, everything man-made will be un-man-made one day.

• The redefinition of news. First of all, most of what passes as news today isn’t factual, it’s interpretive. That misapprehension is being blown to bits by the blogosphere. The distinction is in the clear now, the choices many and concentration gone way down market. Control, in the hands of the man in the street. Second, what’s sought today is less of “what’s new” (fact), and more of “what’s next” and “what really happened back then” (analysis from experts, not General Mills.)

• Attempts to solve The Trust Problem by means of technology alone will never work. TRUST: the 21st Century’s thorniest rose. Any viable shot at a solution must allow for renegotiation per each transaction, must be bi-directional, must involve behavioral recursion, sometimes requires both disinterested adjudication and privacy (mutually exclusive?) …

• Entertainment is becoming much more about the audience, much less about the stage. Gaming meccas. Mashups. What might become of the many movie houses and lesser arena? Man is still fundamentally a social animal, so don’t expect all that brick & mortar to be replaced by home theater. Instead, I anticipate seeing them available for rent (with high subject matter turnover) to various freelance societies and affinity groups. Think, “I want to open my own club, but just for that one week in May” kind of thing … Vast wealth might come to virtual unknowns more often, with lottery-like affect, while multi-hundred-million dollar contracts to athletes and actors increasingly come to be seen as nuts!!

• Perfect digital copies and instantaneous distribution are already causing major psychic disruptions everywhere. Most of the hubbub today seems to fall under the rubric of Intellectual Property. But there are some coming developments which may have more profound effects: a renaissance in private banking, the end of “cash”, reputation currencies, corporate HQs replacing government embassies as real agents of change, the value of things transitory (say, performance, experience) superseding that which can be amassed by wealthy collectors and culture mavens. What’s more valuable than your time?

Black markets will continue to boom, crack downs upon them are all doomed to failure. Capital (count people foremost in that category) goes where it can be most free. Paradoxically, this leads to more wealth, not less. Even Third World economies are savvy to this now. DHS is paralyzed by its implications, so far.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pay it forward

I found this nice piece on why folks should share knowledge via Jack. In short, knowledge sharing is a way of paying back the people who shared their knowledge with you by sharing your knowledge with others.

So the question of knowledge sharing shouldn't be approached solely in market terms (what's in it for me), because it is a market externality. People do it because it makes them feel good. And if people are helped to understand that a good chunk of what they know is due to the efforts of others, then maybe they will be more willing to think in these terms.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Project updates

It's been awhile since I wrote about what's going on with the various collaboration projects that spun out of our collaboration strategy.

Team workspaces has been beset by numerous problems. We were planning a bakeoff between Windows Sharepoint Services and eRoom. Unfortunately, our sales rep is neither very responsive nor helpful when he does respond. Also, we found Vorsite, which provides a nice connector between WSS and Documentum, which eliminates one of eRoom's big plusses. In theory at least, this functionality will also be a part of Documentum itself in the next release. We are also increasing our usage of Sharepoint Portal Server, which brings WSS along for the ride. Finally, and most importantly, the biggest issues for us aren't technological, they are cultural and environmental -- problems we'd have to deal with regardless of tool. So we came to the point where eRoom worked themselves out of consideration with their delays and lack of responsiveness.

The primary focus for WSS at the start of the year is to get the basics in place in time for our rollout of Office 2003. (Yes, we are a bit behind the times.) Initially, we aren't planning a big push, but we'll have to have servers in place and FAQ's answered for those who discover the integration between Office and WSS. For instance: when do I use WSS v. the shared drive v. Documentum? Also, there are also infrastructure questions to be answered, such as how distributed to our WSS servers need to be? Currently, the shared drive is distributed through DFS, and it is a pain to manage. We have to figure out how to balance server costs, network costs, usability, and other issues. There's a lot to do in a relatively short time. Fun, fun, fun.

The secondary focus is on access by non-employees. We thought we had a quick and dirty workaround for our pilot using Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM), but unfortunately, ADAM is not a Windows security principal, so no dice. Further research indicates that our best bet is setting up a separate AD forest for external users which trusts our user domain, but not the other way around. This requires a lot more infrastructure, but for the pilot at least, we are hoping to virtualize as many of the servers as we can.

Our web conferencing RFP should be out this week. This is lower priority, but it is low hanging fruit that shouldn't require that much effort to get in place.

Unfortunately, our internal blogging pilot has been put on the back burner. We just don't have enough resources to adequately focus on all the things we'd like to be doing. We will take another look at our priorities at the end of the quarter. We may be able to jump start it then if we make enough progress on the other things in the meantime.

As always, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, suggestions, or advice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mapping the culture of an online community

Jack points to this list of online archetypes drawn from a KM mailing list. While the author is careful to point out that these types reflect only this mailing list at a particular point in time, it's not to difficult to map these archetypes to participants in other online communities. And Jack's right -- the cartoons are wonderful.

Off topic melange

This is a random mix of stuff with tenuous ties to collaboration.

Are you a lark or an owl? I'm definitely more of an owl. Mornings are not my best time. Learn more about sleep patterns. It's interesting the impact that electricity has had. From a collaboration perspective, it's wise to consider when your various team members are at their best when you plan meetings and the like. Different sleep patterns and time zones also point to the importance of asynchronous tools.

I got an XM radio for Christmas, and it is totally cool. I was able to install it myself no problem. I'm sure a professional installation would look better, but mine works for me. I had rebelled against the idea of paying for radio service, but it is somehow different when Santa brings it, even if it ultimately comes out of the same pot of funds. I have 30 presets, and I filled them all easily. Commercial terrestial radio has gotten so crappy in this country. The difference is astounding. The exception that proves the rule: WZEW in Mobile. Their current tag line is "true rock variety." I much prefer their old one: gumbo rock and creole soul. In this age of sameness, it remains unique. Tenuous collaboration tie: even with cool tools, you still have to drive to meet face-to-face in this world. XM makes the ride more pleasant.

There's more, but now that I'm really awake, it's time to get cranking on the on-topic stuff that gets me my paycheck.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Heckle and Jeckle

Remember those two? I grew up watching cartoons, and sometimes seriously wonder if exposure at a tender age didn't permanently affect my personality.

To wit: Eric and I regularly give and take like magpies, ranging over ALL subjects. Oftimes the fervor of our conversation takes on comic proportions. Lest our most recent mock battle (over Marqui) get lost in commentsville, I am posting anew in response to its immediate predecessor.


Check out Marqui's terms and conditions:

"We wish to receive feedback based on the traffic we see from your site and to accomplish that we may use special tags that better identify the sources of traffic."

How many weeks (days?) before we start seeing spoofulated Mar-Key images everywhere, with satiric text accompaniment, to send up the disingenuity of these sorts of relationships?

Hilarity abounds!

Old School Marketing does not work on the net. But extortion does, and so I'll be paying Eric $725 per month to NOT post my word-bubbled visage on Collabutech.

Cue the musical outro...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Liz sells out?

Liz is now one of the Marqui bloggers. Potentially misleading title of this post notwithstanding, I don't have any problem with this. She is clearly identifying her affiliation and the posts that are sponsored. When she writes about Marqui,you can take it with as many grains of salt as you wish.

I don't see why some folks are getting in an uproar about this whole Marqui thing. It's like those who believe you aren't pure if you aren't all open source. I wonder if these folks realize that they are helping to drive Marqui's awareness by their whining about the paying bloggers plan? Everyone is biased. All you can do is disclose your interests and motivations.

Of course, now I am blogging about Marqui and not getting paid for it. Where's the love?