Monday, August 29, 2005

Child’s Play

Time was, not so long ago, my kids would walk the dogs down to the park. Daily, all eight of ‘em. Grabbing four or five energy beads along the way. Tra-la-la ..

But they grow up fast and Mornin' Walk is now all but forgotten: “bo-ring.” We never go back to something after that word has been uttered. Children have the ability to spot tedium a mile away.

Our eldest is absorbed with Su Doku in idle moments lately. (I readily admit to becoming enthralled with these myself.) When I ask her, what makes working on them so enjoyable, the response comes straight back, “it’s relaxing.”

Good answer. In a way, it actually clears your head, maybe by stretching logic muscles that don’t otherwise get used often enough. When will the electronic gaming industry start releasing similarly mature products?

Virtual facilitator

What a great idea! This could be really helpful, although the skeptic in me wants to see it to believe it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Delete them all

I've been tempted to follow this strategy when I head out on vacation, but I fear the repercussions in my particular corporate environment wouldn't be pretty. Even if I modified it to keep line of command and official communications, I don't think it would fly. It's still tempting, though.

Security by obscurity isn't all bad

InfoWorld's new security columnist Roger Grimes defends obscurity as a security technique. Here's his key point:
I didn’t say security by obscurity was the only defense technique someone should use. I didn’t even say it was real security, but I am saying that it should be an important part of most computer defense strategies.
In other words, it's a valid part of the security mix, not a complete solution. So obscure away while you follow other best practices.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blogger for Word


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More feed foolishness

I've ranted about InfoWorld's feeds before, but now it is time to rant again. Then I said:
I do appreciate getting full text on the columnists feed, since I don't have to click open a jillion tabs to read them. There, I'll put up with the ads because it provides an overall better experience.
Well, not anymore. I end up seeing the same columns over and over again in my aggregator because InfoWorld marks them as updated. Has anything of substance changed? No. These are the columns published in the print edition, after all. The only things that may have changed are the ads and the "see also" links. Newsflash: no one who's read the columns cares if the "see also" links change. I won't even address the ridiculous possibility of these updates being caused by ad changes.

I'm amazed that InfoWorld can't get this right.

Monday, August 15, 2005


For a while now, my co-workers and I have been talking about booting from USB flash drives containing your customized desktop configuration and leaving no footprints behind. IBM has gone one better with the Soulpad, which allows you to suspend and resume, leveraging a virtual machine. I'm not wild about the name, but I love the concept. (via Roland)

Eleven hours in a tin can

I spent my day Friday driving to Atlanta, attending a product demo and follow-up discussion, and driving home. That's eleven hours of joy, five of which were spent on the always scary I-20. I filled up midway on the way over for $2.35 a gallon. When I stopped on the way back, that very same station had raised the price to $2.49. I keep waiting for affordable collaboration tools that make more of these sort of trips unnecessary. There's got to be a better way.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Contributory Web

Tim Bray is absolutely right. Web 2.0 is nothing other than "vacuous marketing hype." Tim O'Reilly naturally disagrees, since he foisted this term on the world, but his arguments aren't very convincing. Trying to break a continuously evolving web into discreet chunks is just silly.

If it really is an attitude, not a technology, then it really needs a clear definition and a descriptive name. I like the Contributory Web: everybody contributes and builds off each others' contributions while expecting and encouraging others to do the same. Those contributions may be facts, opinions, code or whatever. It's a web designed for reuse and remix.

Mapping the blogosphere

To me, the most interesting conversations to come out of BlogHer concern linking patterns and the biases of ranking systems. danah boyd's analysis is well worth reading. Mary Hodder discusses what metrics ought to matter in a new ranking system. Be sure to read the comments there too, as one commenter provides some insight about what people are trying to measure. Adina Levin proposes a cloud structure, which certainly could help the discovery process.

There are many implications for the corporate blogosphere. How do you measure the worth of contributions? How do you help people find "blogmates" who have affinity for and knowledge of similar topics? Do you encourage a particular pattern of linking? What norms do you establish?

Identity Rights Agreements

Phil Windley has a good point:
even though most people hate digital rights management (DRM) schemes on digital goods like software and music, that’s exactly what we’d all like for our identity information. For example, I’d love to be able to control how my bank uses, stores, shares, etc. my SSN when I’m forced to give it to them.
He then proceeds to discuss Identity Rights Agreements, which he concocted with some others on the train to airport after OSCON.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Blogging women

There's a lot of good discussion about BlogHer out there. I used Liz's post as my jumping off point. This discussion is important to anyone pondering corporate blogging, because your efforts aren't likely to be very successful if half your workforce feels marginalized out of the box.

I find the discussion of weak links v. strong links to be very interesting. danah's summary is good:
The gender difference concerns the style of networking. Men are more likely to gather many weak ties; women tend to work hard to maintain strong ties. Each have their value. But when it comes to technology like Technorati, there is a validation of weak ties over strong ties. Or more actually, there's an assumption that all ties are created equal, which inadvertently validates the weak ties over the strong ties.
My question is, how much more valuable are strong ties than weak ties, given the strength of weak ties?

How do style differences matter, especially within a particular corporate culture? What's the "right mix" of professional and personal info in your corporate environment, and how does that affect men and women in your organization?

One negative from my exploration was the odd bit of man bashing here and there. C'mon now, we aren't all preening peacocks, and "unconferences" aren't the sole domain of women.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

SOA Summit

As I sat in the "SOA Reality Check" at Catalyst, I noted several things that seemed especially relevant to my organization. Post conference pondering and subsequent conversations with co-workers have led to a us scheduling an internal SOA Summit focused on identifying and removing impediments to adopting a service oriented architecture. We will have a small group of attendees representing developers, security, architecture, and infrastructure.

Speaking of SOA, Phil Wainewright at Loosely Coupled has posted five excellent items in a row on SOA, rebel platforms, governance and other application development topics.


Steve Gillmor has been ranting about attention for a long time. I'm not much on his blogging style, but if you can wade through the incessant name dropping and other annoyances, you can find some good information. But I'd recommend reading Nick Bradbury's take, which is clear and concise, and linked from Gillmor's

I'll be curious to see actual implementations and if they really operate automagically without making you change how you read. I'm even more eager to see true user ownership of attention data. Put me in the "I'll believe it when I see it" camp for now.