Archives for July 2002

liveTopics 1.0 release iminent

Okay I've said it before, but barring major incident liveTopics should be released before the end of the week.  My current target is thursday since I move house on Friday and I'm not sure what my connectivity is after that.  Or, maybe that's not a good time to release... :)

Oh well, damn the torpedo's, full steam ahead!


17/07/2002 02:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Faster damnit! Faster!

I've had complaints about how long my weblog takes to load.

Looking at it there are a lot of extraneous bits that seemed like a good idea at the time but I don't want any more.  They're gone now.  Also I've cut down how many days posts live on the home page from 7 to 3. 

It seems faster now, although most of my posting is done using a 56K modem.  Nothing seems fast with that bandwidth!


17/07/2002 00:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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What's in a name?

Current names:

  1. Knowledge Vectors
  2. Learning Vectors
  3. Knowledge Strategies
  4. Learning Tools
  5. Knowledge Pulse
  6. Knowledge Works
  7. Value Vectors
  8. Topical Knowledge


17/07/2002 00:20 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Amazon webservice

Press release: "Today launched its first version of Web Services, a platform for creating innovative Web solutions and services designed specifically for developers and web site owners." [Scripting News]

» Cool.

I wrote a "bookcase" tool for Radio showing what I was reading & linking back to Amazon via my associates ID.  But it was such a pain getting things right that I never get around to updating my current book!



16/07/2002 23:40 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Collaboration: It's all about people

Located (with thanks) through Column Two:
Technology Confined Collaboration?  increasingly, this is the story I'm told.  The folks at the big software companies would have you believe that software is always pristine and perfect, and that organizations and their staid cultures are the barriers to reaching collaborative nirvana.  Don't believe the hype.  When it comes to collaboration, technology (and more precisely, technology architecture) can doom the best laid plans around enterprise collaboration.  I've written about it here... [Michael Helfrich's Radio Weblog]

[Ron Lusk: Ron's K-Logs]

» Definitely:

"Collaboration is about people.  Collaboration needs technology frameworks that support adaptive, ad hoc interactions.  Adaptive from the sense of extending functionality on the fly and securely embracing new members on the fly.  Simply put, it's the swarming culture fused with adaptive technology."

and think that ad hoc interactions are the key.  As long as ad hoc implies that the technology works with the way you want to work now (rather than you fitting in with how the technology wants to work today!)


16/07/2002 23:36 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

How *not* to succeed at Consulting

How to Succeed at Consulting. Nice take on how consultants can really help your company. [Blunt Force Trauma]

» Tom DeMarco describes the effects of a "rank & yank" culture very well in his book Slack.  It creates a culture of fear where no-one is prepared to help anyone else for fear of falling down and being one of the "yanks."

In his book The E-Myth revisited Michael Gerber talks about a totally different hiring policy.  Based around the idea of a turn-key operation with fully documented processes he recommends hiring not A-graders but people who have the skills to do the job and are willing to play the game you have created for them.

It's certainly a different way of thinking.


16/07/2002 22:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Blogs as external brain packs

Wired: "Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, with mild to moderate memory loss, are writing weblogs to help them make sense of their daily lives. And the activity, they say, is slowing the onset of their symptoms." [Scripting News]

» This is such a fantastic idea.

It does, however, raise some serious security issues.  At the moment there is no real trust issue with what goes in a weblog.  But if someone is really going to treat a weblog as their external brain pack then their going to have to be sure that no-one can tamper with it, thereby altering their perceived reality.

It puts me in mind of the Christopher Nolan film Memento (with Guy Pierce).


16/07/2002 22:40 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Why Radio?

Hmm... Ya think?. See I think that all the cute little features that are being added to Radio are going to "in a few years time" bog it down terribly. However MT is a wad of perl code, which means it can be a point of departure for whatever anyone wants to do with it, without having to learn a proprietary "less than impeccably documented" scripting language (grumble grumble.)

However, initial ramp-up with radio can't be beat (to say nothing of the 40m of cloud space), so here I am.

I like radio alot, but I have to say the more compelling reason to use it over other blogging software is ease of setup & the year of service that comes with using radio.

As a developer, I've given up on trying to do really neat things with radio. It's just too hard to track down the documentation. [The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]

» I think there are two different issues at play here: language and platform.

Is MT a better blogging system than Radio because it is a wad of Perl code rather than a wad of Usertalk code?  I'm not sure but I guess so if only because of Perls popularity.  Neither would be my first choice for writing a complex application but both are adequate to the task.

But the important issue for me is the platform.  I would class MT as an application and Radio (along with Frontier) as a platform.  In particular an ideal platform for delivering groupware applications. 

Here's an example from my experience:  About 5 years ago att UNL we were looking for a learning mangament system for lecturers to use to construct & deliver on-line courses.  A question which stymied most vendors we spoke to was:

"How do you handle a lecturer who wants to update his module whilst on a cycling holiday in the south of france?"

For the most part they had no answer to the disconnected scenario and had to bluff or fall back to legacy software "Oh they can edit stuff in Word and then C&P when they get back."  Right...

I can imagine constructing some very novel solutions to this kind of scenario with a combination of Radio & Frontier.  I can imagine some novel applications for k-logging too.

It's the flexibility and power of the platform that I'm betting on.


16/07/2002 22:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Using RSS to track software updates

New activeRenderer.root Updates RSS Feed. Following UserLand's lead, I've created a new RSS feed where I log all modifications to activeRenderer. This way, aR users who subscribe to this feed can get an idea of which new aR parts are downloaded . [read more] [s l a m]

» This is a very good idea.


16/07/2002 21:38 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Citizen spies reporting for duty

1. US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies - (53.8 points). US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies [( blogdex : recent )]

» I think this is a fantastic idea.  Everybody living withing a mile and a half of a senator, congressman, local polician, law enforcement officer, or corporate chief should sign up today.  Then immediately start a whispering campaign against their neighbour.

Heck I wish they'd bring it in over here in the UK.

Where do I sign up!?!

16/07/2002 18:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Why Radio?

Why have I choosen Radio over MovableType?  It's a question I've asked myself recently.

I think MT looks like an excellent blogging system.  In a few years time I think that MT (or son-of-MT) is likely to be the choice for bloggers who need a little more than Blogger (or son-of-Blogger) will provide.  I don't believe, as much as I love it, that Radio will be that choice.

However I do believe that Radio could be the klogger tool of choice.  Why?

Because Radio has such potential in both a networked (social) and standalone (personal) context.  Because Radio is a general computing platform that has been specialized to handle blogging but could also be specialized for a thousand other applications.

I, along with others, are looking to take it to the next stage with k-log ready tools.  Userland are doing their part with things like Instant Outlining and RCS.

So, that's why Radio.


15/07/2002 22:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Email vs. k-logging

Email Email Everywhere.

E-Mail Storage Issues Facing North American Companies

According to a recently-released whitepaper from Osterman Research, 31% of North American companies say the average size of an e-mail mailbox in their message system is between 26 and 50 megabytes (Mb). Additionally, 46% of these companies say that e-mail users in their system send up to 50 messages per day....

There has to be a way for k-logging to help with this for at least a percentage of these people. Luckily, we don't have quotas in place at SLS or else my external email would be a real problem. Here I am with my own blog, I'm trying to move into k-logging, and I really haven't integrated email into that equation yet. How on earth am I going to get my staff to do this?

Are there any guidelines out there yet for how to integrate various information sources (web, email, chat, etc.) into a k-log, or is the format still too young?

[The Shifted Librarian]

» Too many good questions here I'm afraid.

My experience of KM leads me to expect that k-logging will not provide a turn-key answer to managing email.  What it will do is, in all practical terms, to kill email.  That's the solution.

Many of the business contexts for e-mail could be replaced by publish & subscribe RSS feeds and Wiki leaving e-mail purely for private correspondance.  If we could solve this spam thing too then you might see mailboxs drop back to pre-1996 levels again.

I'd be interesting to hear what other people think on this topic.


15/07/2002 22:23 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Trackback and topic maps

Truly Closing The Loop With Trackback.

"Blogging is currently a one-way medium. Best you can do is have 2 (ok, 'N') people subscribing to each other's monologues. But with TrackBack you close the loop and notify your conversation partner that it's now her/his turn. Now you can TRULY have interchange. Something that's only hackishly possible at the moment. (Check the userland discussions for the number of times people ask for 'comment notifications'.)" [The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]

"I agree.  I think TrackBack is a very important technology.  I'm reaching for a metaphor but can't find a good one.  But effectively it's the difference between a broadcast system and a network.  Blogs alone are too much like public broadcasting.  You send and if you're lucky you get back letters and phone calls.  With TrackBack people can be wired in, feedback loops will be established, communities will grow, it'll all come alive." [Curiouser and curiouser!]

TrackBack is a fantastic idea, because I could never manually find all of the posts that might point to mine. So it goes out and harvests them for me, but the problem becomes time to review them. Depending on how popular your posts are, it might be useful to Trackback notifications into your news aggregator. Of course, this could pretty overwhelming for folks like Dave and Doc but then again, it might save them the type of finding the cites manually.

And could you build a master database of these things and organize them by category? Kind of make a Social Sciences Citation Index for your site? Something like that would be extremely useful within the Illinois libraries blogosphere I want to implement.

[The Shifted Librarian]

» The citation index is an interesting idea.  Combining TrackBack with topic maps would enable some interesting analysis of who was citing you.  This could make Trackback both scalable and more usable.



15/07/2002 22:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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TAO of topic maps

The TAO of Topic Maps. Steve Pepper has written a succinct introduction to topic maps, titled The TAO of Topic Maps. To quote Steve: Topic [Column Two]

» I finally got a chance to read this paper on the tube going to London today.  A key paragraph that leapt out at me was:

"But knowledge is fundamentally different from information: the difference is that between knowing a thing versus simply having information about it.  And if, as one writer claims, 'knowledge management covers three main knowledge activities: generation, codification, and transfer', then topic maps can be regarded as the standard for codification that is the necessary prerequisite for the development of tools that assist in the generation and transfer of knowledge."

In general the topic maps approach seems very sound to me with very laudible goals.  It also dovetails nicely with a lot of my liveTopics efforts and lends some new and credible directions.

For example I have already implemented code in the liveTopics plugin to export the topical references in the weblog as an XTM topic map.   Additionally my idea for topic themes seems almost identical to the concept of themes in the document.

It also highlights some things I should address.  The idea of synonyms and homynyms are clearly important once people start sharing their topics (via topicRolls).  It may also be useful to allow people to define their own glossaries (maybe integrated with the existing Radio glossary).  And in order to generate occurrence data the permalinks of each posting should be used as topic references to that posting.

All in all a useful guide to the capabilities of topic maps.  What is required now is another work building upon this that details some of the applications that topic maps will enable.


15/07/2002 21:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Blogging books & Trackback

Oh stop already.. I keep reading entries discussing the idea "how silly it is that there are books coming out about blogging."

Look, there's a simple fact that seems to elude most of the Blogerati, if I may coin a term. Most people (something that has no statistically relevant deviation from EVERYONE) have NO idea that blogs exist. The books about blogging need to be there. We're in a pretty self-congradulatory medium here. Hell, I'd even go so far as to say that an inaccurate book is better than no book.

» I think this is a key point.  When I step back and think about it I've had a lot of conversations recently where the subject of blogging came up because people asked me about what I was doing.  There then followed a conversation where I try to get across what it's all about.  In desparation I usually end up with some sort of half-baked: "It's like a web diary" explanation.  This misses so much of value but there you go.  These are people who know what the Internet, use wordprocessors and email, maybe even write web pages.

So the value of the books, even the bad ones, is as Jenny points out:

"Now I find myself in the same situation with blogs. I plan to implement them for every service area at SLS and on a personal level for staff internally and yet, I'd be surprised if even 10% of our staff understand what they are. I covered blogs at our SLS Tech Summit in March, but it was still too confusing and irrelevant for most of the librarians that attended that session. Next time, I'll be able to hold up these books, and they'll take me more seriously. Sorry, but that's how most of the world still works. They'll purchase them for their libraries, too, which means the concept of blogs will officially be cataloged and indexed in our collective memory (not just the memory of those of us who live online)."

People are going to read these books.  Lots of 'em.  I hope have a good relationship with their server suppliers!

Blogging is currently a one-way medium. Best you can do is have 2 (ok, "N") people subscribing to each other's monologues. But with TrackBack you close the loop and notify your conversation partner that it's now her/his turn. Now you can TRULY have interchange. Something that's only hackishly possible at the moment. (Check the userland discussions for the number of times people ask for "comment notifications".)

» I agree.  I think TrackBack is a very important technology.  I'm reaching for a metaphor but can't find a good one.

But effectively it's the difference between a broadcast system and a network.  Blogs alone are too much like public broadcasting.  You send and if you're lucky you get back letters and phone calls.  With TrackBack people can be wired in, feedback loops will be established, communities will grow, it'll all come alive.


15/07/2002 09:58 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

The politics of k-logging

The Synchronicity of Klogging Culture. This is a good post for those new to k-logs and klogging, and is the first of two items regarding the interaction of klogging with employers/co-workers -- should we/shouldn't we, when/when not, what to say/what not to say, etc. [Blunt Force Trauma]

» There's some mighty good stuff in here and definitely food for thought for me.

Paul's brief analysis of his reluctance to let people in on the secret of his k-log seems to me very important.  He makes the point that:

"I don't know how people might react to the things I've written. A klog is by definition not politically correct; you say what you think, not what you believe others might want to hear."

[Paul Holbrook's Radio weblog]

This is a very real and sensible fear.  Many organizations are highly politicised and you score no points for honesty, energy or dedication.  Only for keeping your head down.

From my perspective, what this says is that there are a whole lot of organizations for whom k-logging is not going to be appropriate, and, when the banks break and k-logging becomes big, are going to suffer real pain when they try to force people to k-log.

Only companies that give their people the slack to k-log honestly and without fear are going to benefit from this technology.

Anyone got a directory of those companies?


14/07/2002 22:10 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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My company will be like this

Be Creative Or Die.  I particularly like the explanation of the three T's that drive the growth of 'creative communities' such as those found in San Francisco and Boston. See:
My theory uses the three T's: technology, talent and tolerance. You need to have a strong technology base, such as a research university and investment in technology. That alone is a necessary but not in itself sufficient condition. Second, you need to be a place that attracts and retains talent, that has the lifestyle options, the excitement, the energy, the stimulation, that talented, creative people need. And thirdly, you need to be tolerant of diversity so you can attract all sorts of people -- foreign-born people, immigrants, woman as well as men, gays as well as straights, people who look different and have different appearances.

I think I am going to have to buy this book ... [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

» As someone thinking about growing a business (okay actually I'm thinking about how to pay rent but at some point it's gotta grow yes?) this is interesting.

It describes some key factors in creating an ideal workplace:

    • strong technology base
    • excitement, energy, stimulation
    • tolerance & diversity

Of course it's a monumentally wierd idea to me now to be considering the kind of workplace I want to create for my future staff...


14/07/2002 22:03 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Whose asleep at the wheel?

7. Bush Took Oil Firm's Loans as Director ( (13.0 points). Bush Took Oil Firm's Loans as Director ... Washington Post [( blogdex : recent )]

» How long is a presidential campaign?

This guy is so dirty and only now do you find out?  I wonder if, in 3 years time, this will even make it to first reel of best of shrub?

Yep somebody was asleep at the wheel and for once it doesn't look like da'Man himself.

Perhaps all the journalists who wrote anything before, during or after the presidential race would like to check their own personal accounts and figure out whether they declared all their losses.



14/07/2002 21:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Is KM a technology problem?

What if knowledge management actually is a technology problem?. I just came across a posting by Jim McGee in McGee's Musings that I found thought provoking. Here is how it starts :
What if knowledge management actually is a technology problem?

Current thinking holds that knowledge management's problems come from too much focus on technology when the key problems are about organizational processes and practices. I've said as much myself on many occasions. But this formulation risks perpetuating the myth that problems are either organizational or technological. We know the real world isn't that simple, of course. We shouldn't contribute to the confusion by oversimplifying our discussion.

Like Jim, I have always thought that KM is about people - "psychology - not technology" but I always love it when so called 'truths' that we hold dear are questioned - including my own. We've only got to look back through history to see the many times when we thought we were right and had all the answers - only to see those views totally overturned a few years later.

So what if KM is really all about technology and not people? I don't think so! Like Jim, I agree the real world is not that simple. We tend to like either-or arguments - [right-or-wrong] solutions - but reality is not like that - the answer is usually fuzzy and some where in between the extremes. So should KM be more about technology than people? Maybe its just that our current technology is poor or we are not using it appropriately. What role will technology play in the future?

Take a look at what Jim has to say - some interesting thoughts ... What do you think? [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

» I guess that my view is that where traditional KM fails it is not especially because the technology wasn't sophisticated enough (and sometimes the reverse) but because it failed to address the social, emotional needs of the individuals it was supposed to be serving.

I think this is part of the reason why I suspect klogging will be such a huge success - it's a social thing.  People can create social capital by klogging.  They can network, foster communities, add evident value.  It creates new opportunities for them.  It's a win-win deal.

Is klogging a technological victory?  Only in the sense of the technology getting the hell outta the way.


14/07/2002 21:16 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Capatilists without a clue

Capitalists without a clue. Once all-seeing captains of industry, America's CEOs are now playing the Sgt. Schultz dumbo card, braying "I know no-thing, no-thing!" []

» Hmm... sounds a lot like the Big tobacco defence to me...



14/07/2002 20:28 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Tracking packages: an opportunity

My Nikon 5700 is coming Monday. My Coolpix has arrived in San Jose, the UPS Web site tells me. So close, yet so far. I wanna go and pick it up!. [Scobleizer Radio Weblog]

» I wonder, as we go forwards, how many times people are going to look at these tracking systems and think "I wanno go pick it up!".  Why can't they?

Surely there is an opportunity here for these courier companies to get happier customers and cut costs?


14/07/2002 20:17 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

How to access the text in the weblog post editor form

This is a little tricker than it first seems because there are really two editors.  The HTML textarea based editor and the WYSIWYG editor.  What is even more confusing is that, if you are using the WYSIWYG editor, Radio defines a hidden input field with the same name as the textarea when it is used.  This makes detecting which editor you are using a little more confusing!

Here is the code I ended up using

bundle { // Get the text of the blog posting

htmlText = htmlText + "if( thisForm.itemtext.tagName == \"INPUT\" ) {" + cr;
htmlText = htmlText + "text = getEditorContents();" + cr;
htmlText = htmlText + "} else {" + cr;
htmlText = htmlText + "text = thisForm.itemtext.value;" + cr;
htmlText = htmlText + "}" + cr



12/07/2002 23:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

k-log vs. email

Reuters:  Managers drowning in e-mail.

>>>A huge volume of business e-mails is generated from workers reporting progress to project managers, Nickerson said. <<<  There is an answer to this:  post it to your K-Log.  K-Logs are more passive and user friendly than e-mail.  [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

[Jim McGee: Blogging] [Ron Lusk: Ron's K-Logs]

» I shall be leveraging this argument quite heavily I think.

Savvy people already realise that email is the rope they've tied around their neck.  I think they are just afraid to do anything different in case they pull the handle for the trapdoor.

Hopefully the k-log message will resonate with these people in a good way.


12/07/2002 21:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Markets hitting bottom?

Business Week.  Accelerating mutual fund redemptions shows that we have finally reached the classic bear market capitulation phase.  Another couple months of this and we could finally see a bottom in the market.  Excellent time to start getting funds together to begin investing again. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

» One of the things that is hitting me, as I read up about starting a business, is that although I have exactly 1 employee and no customers right now, I need to be thinking about what my business is will be like in the future and then plan how I get there.

That means that, as inconceivable as it is to me now, at some point I am going to need funding to grow.

Guess I better start understanding this stuff then...


12/07/2002 21:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Web Design Pattern for a Wizard

Note: Web Design pattern for a wizard and other good stuff from Croc o' Lyle
12/07/2002 19:30 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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John Robb defining k-logs

John Robb interview defining k-logs.

What is a k-log?. Some people are taking the concept of weblogs and applying it to the wider concept of knowledge management. The result is k-logging ("knowledge-logging"). But will it catch on - will your employer dump Lotus Notes databases in favour of browsers and blog-style brain-dumps? [WriteTheWeb]

I've posted this interview with John Robb before, but it remains an excellent introduction to the notion of a k-log.

[McGee's Musings]

» Definitely worth a re-printing.   And it's worth reading the comments to Johns interview as well for some interesting commentary.


12/07/2002 18:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Process logging?

Brett Morgan is talking about KM and blogging integration (k-logging) being the next wave of tools.   You bet.  Or rather I bet.  I'm betting the farm on it.

Here's a thing...  How about process-logging.

Every workflow process produces an RSS output stream commenting on the state of the process and events that occur.  If you're interested in how the process is going you subscribe.

Are any of the open source workflow packages looking at RSS integration?


12/07/2002 18:38 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Budgeting is good for the soul

Budgeting is good for the soul..

Budgeting is good for the soul.

Bad VC market a good time to start a company:. "...while capital is scarce and returns on venture investments have never been poorer, the track record from previous downturns suggests that conditions for building a solid start-up may be the best they have been in years." [evhead]

Hey Mike, maybe doing the company thing isn't so stupid after all. You learn how to run a company on a tight budget! :) [Brett Morgan's Insanity Weblog]

True enough mate, true enough.


» Well this is better news!


12/07/2002 13:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Atlas says "Goodbye world, hello Tequila!"

Today I'm accepting something important.

I cannot cope.

I am now subscribed to 37 news sources.  I add about one new source a week.  Each of these is easily capable of delivering at least one or two items each day that are really interesting to me.  That I want to talk about.  But I cannot absorb this quanitity of new information even on a good day.  There is no time to reflect, to mull, to doze on it.

So I have resolved that I don't care.

I won't cope.

I'll let good stuff go by the wayside.

Other people will find it.

Google will keep track of it.

It's all their when the time comes.

I'm not Atlas to the internet.

Even to my own small chunk of it.


I feel better now.


12/07/2002 11:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

NTL to merge with Telewest

Liberty move on Telewest faces legal challenge. Bondholders baulking... [The Register]

» NTL merging with Telewest.  Sure, that'll be good for competition.


11/07/2002 18:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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k-log culture

Can K-Logs Improve Corporate Integrity. Jim McGee on whether or not the process of klogging could expose fundamental problems in business before thay become Enron-like disasters, and whether this quality makes it more or less likely they will take root. [Blunt Force Trauma]

» Is an excellent piece.

I particularly like the idea of the k-log as a barometer of corporate culture.  The absence of k-logging could mean many things, however I would take the presence of a healthy k-logging culture to be an excellent sign.


11/07/2002 17:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Spell checker for IE

A spell checker for IE, but not if you use OS X..

A spell checker for IE, but not if you use OS X. Dave Winer's note about ieSpell being a "free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage" intrigued me enough to check the Web site for the program. Alas, it is a Windows-only add-on for IE...

Still - it sounds like a cool add-on! [Mac Net Journal]


» Rather disappointingly it also doesn't work in the WYSIWYG editor under Win/IE either.   Oh well, at least my titles should never be mis-sperld.


11/07/2002 17:24 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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k-logging is all about...

Damnit!  k-logging is all about e-learning.

» A Gurteenism


11/07/2002 12:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The Tao of Topic Maps

The TAO of Topic Maps. The TAO of Topic Maps introduces topic maps, “a new ISO standard for describing knowledge structures and associating them with information resources.” [Ron Lusk: Ron's K-Logs]

» Wow cool.  More reading for tomorrow!


10/07/2002 22:30 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Why TrackBack?

More on TrackBack for KM. If Gammel and Mower both think there is something useful in TrackBack who am I to argue? I don't undersand it, but I'm open minded about it. [Blunt Force Trauma]

» I didn't get it at first either, and nor has everyone I've mentioned it to.

What makes TrackBack so important is, I think, the following:

Imagine that I read someone like Jon Udell (which I do) and I find an item of his particularly noteworthy or relevant to me.  I post it from my news page and add some editorial content of my own.

But if, like me, you are a relatively new blogger then maybe very few people read my item and nobody bothers to click through to Jon's original.   My item never appears in his list of referrers.

This means Jon, likely, will not know that it exists.  We could imagine further that Jon would have liked to know what comments I made but he  never gets the opportunity.

TrackBack addresses this problem.  It allows me as the author of an item to "ping" the original during the act of publishing.  This ping does not require someone to read my item and then click through to his.  Simply by publishing he is notified that someone has referenced him.

I think this is a very powerful idea and will help to get new bloggers into the space.  For those with interesting things to say the time to migrate from the fringe to the centre will be drastically reduced.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!


10/07/2002 22:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Trackback for Radio inches closer

Radio TB Ping Development.

Ron Lusk is working on a script for setting up TB pings in Radio:

I've posted a message to the Radio Userland discussion group asking where to hook into the system so I can ping KMPings once for each entry.

[High Context]

» Fantastic news.

10/07/2002 22:08 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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I'm not free-falling

I'm not free-falling.  I'm learning to parachute in mid-air...


10/07/2002 22:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More on liveTopics

I gave an initial pitch of some of my ideas today.  Not a pitch that I would like to give to an objective audience but, then, this is only my second day off the job!!

I was trying to show how liveTopics and blogPlex fit together.

liveTopics really started life as a bootstrap technology for the blogPlex.  blogPlexing depends upon being able to extract meaningful information from what people say on their weblogs.  Until such time as technologies like Cyc or Summarizer (see Share in the sidebar) can deliver the goods I needed something else.  Hence liveTopics was born to allow you to annotate your posts with descriptive concepts.  From a very simple original concept it has taken on a life of its own which is kind of cool.

There are two steps on the way to blogPlex that I think are worth sharing.  The first is topicRolling which I have discussed in another recent post.  Briefly topicRolling allows you to publish your topics & subscribe to the topics used by others.  This allows a group of people to develop a shared conceptual vocabulary or BlogSpeak.

The second is the super-blog.  This was really Jack Foster Mancilla's idea.  This is an extension of the Blog Topic Table of Contents (TTOC) idea which will be familiar if you click through any of the topic links on my page (or click here).   At the moment the TTOC is an individual affair, however pretty soon I am to provide the ability for a group of people to create a super-blog together.

In the same way that the TTOC now lists each of an individuals posts under a topic, the super-blog will list the posts of every member creating a way to see what each member of the group has posted regarding specific concepts.  This makes topicRolling very important.  We will also need tools to support the merging and grouping of topics into topicThemes.

My view at the moment is rather than embarking on a massive project to create some kind of control language or standardized vocabulary that we allow Darwinian pressures to select topics.  As has been written elsewhere people will gravitate towards "good" topics and abandon the bad (and there will be tools to help the losers graciously migrate).   The pressure will come from the other users of the plex, in order to be listed you have to use the right topics.

I can imagine situations where two similar topics will grow equal in size.  Thats okay.  Clever software can work out that they are synonymous by examing their associations with other topics.  And the use of topicThemes will help to prevent unnecessary isolation.

And then we reach the blogPlex itself.  At the moment I envisage this as a service subscribed to many blogs or klogs.  Using the data in each along with the topical metadata to create profiles of bloggers and kloggers.

The value of the profiles is that they will allow the blogPlex service to match up bloggers who are writing about similar concepts - who are not already linking to each other.  This is a key point because it is this that enables new communities to form.


10/07/2002 21:51 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Onward redundant soldiers!

Terry Frazier is another of the recently redundant.  Like me he's not headed straight back into the job market, but I'll let Terry put it in his own eloquent words:

"It is time for a revolution. Time for the capable to rise up and put the smack down on the BS artists. I refuse to believe that business success is predicated solely on being a bellicose snake-oil salesman. I do believe the competent, intelligent, and honest have a place in the world.

I'm just not sure where it is. But I still believe in the free market and I guess I'm going to find out."

Couldn't have put it better myself (and, indeed, I didn't!)

10/07/2002 21:22 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Edublogging with Moodle (cool name) - LCMS. Quote: "Moodle is a software package for producing internet-based courses and web sites (including this one). Moodle is an ongoing research and development project designed to support a social constructionist pedagogy"

Comment:PHP - open source - weblog style.  Parents with kids may hear: "Moodle, do the moodle dance" [Serious Instructional Technology]

» Looks like interesting technology.

I'm struggling a little with the social constructionist pedagogy, but the idea seems to be:

"More specifically, what web structures and interfaces encourage or hinder participants to engage in reflective dialogue within a community of learners - by reading openly, reflecting critically and writing constructively?"

Sentence like the following don't help:

"Thus, our pedagogical intention to enable teachers to develop the skills of transformative professionals capable of appreciating the need to complexify the culture of learning in their own educational institutions so that the interests and aspirations of all students are met."

Is complexify even a word?  [Oh, yes it is...]

I wonder how this stacks up against the encumbents like WebCT and BlackBoard.


10/07/2002 20:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A good metaphor for the blogPlex

My friend Mike O'Reilly came up with a great metaphor for my blogPlex idea:

"it's a dating service for Blogs"

(but not Bloggers!)

Thanks Mike, I think this captures it neatly.  blogPlex, like a dating service, is all about matching up profiles of people who are (or have been) writing about similar concepts.

More later as I digest this.


10/07/2002 19:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Good quotations (among other things)

JR Mooneyham.  Lots of counter-intuitive long-view thinking here. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

» Lots of stuff here, I especially enjoyed the quotations which I reproduce here because the lessons of these quotes are just as valid & urgent for us in the UK & Europe.

"...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

-- Hermann Goering, Hitler's chosen successor for ruling Nazi Germany during World War II; quote from the Nuremberg Trials 1945-1946

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, US Republican president, 1918

"Preventative war ... I don't believe in such a thing, and frankly I wouldn't even listen seriously to anyone that came in and talked about such a thing."

-- Dwight Eisenhower, US Republican president and Allied military chief in World War II , 1954

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin, one of America's most important founding fathers, 1,759 AD


10/07/2002 19:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Chalks away

Google! DayPop! This is my blogchalk: English, United Kingdom, London, Tooting, Matt, Male, 26-30!


10/07/2002 19:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Spelling checker for IE (and Radio!)

To Answer Kate Z's Question!. ieSpell - F**kin A Man.

"I urge any serious bloggers out there who haven't tried ieSpell yet to go over to and do so.  Immediately!  The newest version now provides support for rich edit tools (like Radio's for instance) as well as AOL and other IE based browsers.  Worthy of a micro-donation for sure.

I'm going to suggest the possibility of user-defined short-cuts (or smart tags) to the author.  It seems like the perfect tool to provide all those cross-system, bloggers like myself a way to maintain a central list of shortcuts." [...useless miscellany]

[The Shifted Librarian]

» Well spotted Jenny, downloading now....

10/07/2002 19:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More from the shrub

Lou Dobbs downgrades President Bush. And so do I. []

» President George. W. Shrub makes me feel better every day about our own lousy stinking government (which I voted for - won't make that mistake again!)


10/07/2002 19:09 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Only a fool start a company in today's environment..

My quote for today:

Only a fool start a company in today's environment.
Only a genius succeeds.


» I hope Mike wasn't reading what I wrote yesterday when he thought of this. :)


10/07/2002 12:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Meeting with old friends from UNL

Meeting with Mike & the Gang from the University of North London.


10/07/2002 12:34 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Something to despair of

kuro5hin: The Detention of Jaoudat Abouazza. "24-year-old Palestinian activist and Canadian citizen Jaoudat Abouazza is being held by the INS... Since his May 30 arrest, Abouazza has been held on suspicions of terrorism, interrogated without a lawyer, beaten, and had four of his teeth forcibly extracted without consent..."

Ok, now this kind of thing scares the fuck out of me. Please remind me again what century it is?...
03:41'04    comment [ 0]

From [Jakes Radio Blog]

» Reading this I'm really not sure what to say.  Despair is a word that springs to mind...

09/07/2002 22:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Splitting topics

The topics being used in liveTopics now are likely, if you're like me, to be quite simple.  Usually one word, or two words joined with a hyphen.  This is fine when you're blogging alone.

However in preparation for adding topicRolls where you can share your topics with others it becomes a little more complicated.  Where I might be talking about aids in the sense of AIDS you might be talking about hearing aids.

It seems sensible to have some kind of scheme for allowing topics to crop up in different contexts: "aids with respect to deafness" versus "AIDS as a disease" and so on.   I've written them in this rather stilted way to avoid introducing a syntax too early.

This will inevitably complicate the interface a little.  However it may also make it simpler to use.  At the moment the drop-down for selecting pre-existing topics fills up pretty quickly.  Selecting a "topic theme" might drastically reduce the choices to be waded through looking for the right topic.

I'd welcome feedback...


09/07/2002 22:28 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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TopicRolling 101

A feature that I have planned for the next release of liveTopics (the finishing touches go on the 1.0 release this week, for definite) is the topicRoll.

In the same way as a blogroll represents your subscription to other what other people are writing, the topicRoll represents your subscription to what other people are writing about -- their topics.

Whenever you add a topic to a post it is added to your topicRoll and (optionally) published automatically to your weblog.   In turn you can subscribe to as many other topicRolls as you like.  This means that as soon as someone uses a new topic, it is automatically added to the topics that your copy of liveTopics has ready for you to use.  In the same way other users can see & re-use the topics you are using.

When combined with the idea of topicMiner (also due in version 1.5) this will allow you to thread together existing archived discussions in a completely new way.  Mining topics allows you to find existing topics in archived posts.  You will be able to mine other peoples topics from your own posts and vice verca.

I'm hoping this will enable some interesting cross-blog exchanges.



09/07/2002 20:56 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A bucket-o-Google

Okay re-installation time and what is the first thing that goes on after Radio?  The google search bar.

What caught me out was that I automatically found myself clicking the "Always trust content from" button.  This is the first time I have ever done this.  I just don't, on principle.

But really I do trust Google.  I have no idea what kind of a company they are really, but they seem very warm and fuzzy to me.  I trust them.

That must be a helluva brand.


09/07/2002 20:51 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Okay so what's next?

Strangely enough being made redundant on Monday was not the most unnerving that has happened to me this week.

What is more unnerving is my decision not to look immediately for another job.  Instead I have made the decision to see if I can make an adhoc mixture (as I see it now) of blogging, k-logging, knowledge management, intranets, collaboration and communities into a compelling business proposition and make a living from it.

For some time now I have wanted to strike out in my own direction.  To lead rather than be led.  It seems fate just handed me my chance. This is not a risk-free strategy, and I'm just beginning to admit to myself what I'm letting myself in for.

So from here onwards I will happily entertain any offers of work, suggestions about what works (and what doesn't).  Ideas, novel solutions, novel problems.  It's all good.   I've also got an acre of understanding to do, here goes!

Suddenly I feel like I am growing into my weblog title.



09/07/2002 20:38 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

KMpings & Trackback

The KMpings Experiment.

I created a little blog called KMpings that allows any blogger writing about knowledge management to ping their post to a tracking page (if their software supports it). Think of it as a themed for the knowledge management community.

I wanted to try out this experiment since I think the TrackBack function created by Movable Type has a lot of potential for aggregating blog posts within communities of practice on the web or an intranet. Please post any feed back you have to this message or shoot me an e-mail.

[High Context]

» I really want TrackBack for Radio.

And KMpings sounds like a great idea.


09/07/2002 20:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Serious bugs

MEDLINEplus: Nightmare scenario of antibiotic resistance has arrived, experts say.

Quote: "Medical experts have long described it as the nightmare scenario of antibiotic resistance: the day when staphylococcus aureus, cause of some of the most common and troublesome infections to afflict man, becomes resistant to the antibiotic arsenal's weapon of last resort, vancomycin.

The nightmare scenario has arrived."

Comment: Off-topic, but important.

[Serious Instructional Technology]

» Being pretty uninformed in these matters it is not clear to me why new antibiotic agents can't be found.  Is there an arbitrary limit to the number of antibiotic drugs?  Or is the just no money in the research.

I guess there may be money if people start dying in large numbers.


09/07/2002 19:23 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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All the President's Enrons

13. "great column" (4.2 points). All the President's Enrons ... lambastes [( blogdex : recent )]

» But Bush will keep smiling and somehow it's all alright...


07/07/2002 21:58 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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I give you a nice planet and look what you did with it!

1. Guardian Unlimited Observer | International | Earth 'will expire by 2050' (11.0 points). outer space will have to be colonized [( blogdex : recent )]

» Yikes.


07/07/2002 21:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Radio Randomizer

I've joined Joe Jennet's Radio Randomizer network.

Just click the - click to visit a random Radio weblog - for
information, contact to go to a Radio site somewhere!


07/07/2002 17:36 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Weight loss for the tech male

Does fat make you fat?. Being fat sucks. I've always been a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be, and I've always been on a lose-weight-then-gain-back-more scallop curve. I'm not alone. Doc blogged that he was the heaviest he'd ever been; Dave just had a heart-attack. Go to a tech or science fiction conference, and at every turn you meet people who are rounder than they'd like to be; as Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes, "You can't miss me at any gathering of science fiction people. I'm the middle-aged pudgy guy with a beard." Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

» I thought, having just turned 30, that weight gain was now inevitable.  I'd been "dieting" for about a year and still my weight and my waist kept on expanding.

However since I started using Weight Watchers MP5, just under 2 months ago, I have lost over 12lbs.  It's slow and gradual, a little over a pound a week.  But it's also predictable and very easy to stick to.

The next goal is regular exercise!



07/07/2002 17:17 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Q: Identify this piece of music

Anyone know what the music is for the T-Mobile advert for their new phone/digicam?  [English TV]


07/07/2002 13:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Rich seams of text

Tools for mining text from the OpenDirectory.
07/07/2002 12:58 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The importance of unstructured content

Unstructured content. Martin Butler has written a brief and to-the-point article highlighting that 80% of the content in an organisation is "unstructured", [Column Two] [McGee's Musings]


07/07/2002 12:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Software for Information Professionals

I'm on the look out for software that improves my lot as an information producer/consumer.  I came across this article by Peter Morville which talks about software for Information Architects.

He identifies the following categories of tool:

  • Automated Classification
  • Automated Category Generation
  • Search Engines
  • Thesaurus Management
  • Collaborative Filtering
  • Portal Solutions
  • Content Management
  • Analytics
  • Database Management
  • Information Architecture Productivity

(Note some of the tool urls are now dead.  This article was written in 2001)

As an individual I'm more interested in personal solutions than enterprise solutions.  This means that I like tools like Copernic Summarizer and Personal Brain which put me in the driving seat.  But I hope to have my own servers soon so I'll be interested in bigger solutions too.

Do you have a tool that you swear by?


07/07/2002 12:39 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Kickstarting k-logging

Get up to speed on K-Logging.. brent ashley:

The thinking-out-loud style of writing a K-log journal of project activities allows every part of the process to remain available during and after the project. This allows detailed review and enables latecomers to the project to get up to speed. The dead-end attempts that provide the best opportunity for learning are documented and kept for others to learn from.

more great language for your team briefing...

[a klog apart] [McGee's Musings]

» Good posting, good points.

07/07/2002 12:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Comparing content management systems

CMSs in summary. I've just come across another site provding a tabular listing of content management systems and their features. This brings the [Column Two]

» For my own reference.

07/07/2002 12:09 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Complexity Theory & Business

James Robertson of [Column Two] has been musing about how complexity theory relates to business and knowledge management.

He's been drawing some interesting parallels between the complexity of human behaviour in organizations, the complexity of information in evolving systems and the behaviour of such complex systems as cellular automata, genetic algorithms and neural networks.

Read more at:




07/07/2002 11:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:


Russell Beattie has a new IM-based blog notifier called BlogAgent, written in Java and open source. [Scripting News]

» Just started using BlogAgent.  The ability to see who else is watching pages you are watching is pretty cool.


07/07/2002 11:15 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

More sharp notes on Palladium. Seth has posted further, in-depth notes about our meeting with Microsoft's Palladium team, going into great detail about the technical workings and intentions of the system -- and there's no Latin in sight this time! The closer you look at Palladium, the more civil liberties implications begin to surface. Again, Seth is the likely most technical person to have received a briefing like this without signing an NDA; his notes are lucid, accurate and well-informed.
When you want to start a Palladium PC in trusted mode (note that it doesn't have to start in trusted mode, and, from what Microsoft said, it sounds like you could even imagine booting the same OS in either trusted or untrusted mode, based on a user's choice at boot time), the system hardware performs what's called an "authenticated boot", in which the system is placed in a known state and a nub is loaded. A hash (I think it's SHA-1) is taken of the nub which was just loaded, and the 160-bit hash is stored unalterably in the PCR, and remains there for as long as the system continues to operate in trusted mode. Then the operating system kernel can boot, but the key to the trust in the system is the authentication of the nub. As long as the system is up, the SCP knows exactly which nub is currently running; because of the way the CPU works, it is not possible for any other software to modify the nub or its memory or subvert the nub's policies. The nub is in some sense in charge of the system at a low level, but it doesn't usually do things which other software would notice unless it's asked to.
Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
07/07/2002 10:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Boycott These Sites.

"COPENHAGEN, Denmark, July 5 — Challenging the World Wide Web’s fundamental premise of linking, a Danish court ordered an Internet news service to stop linking to Web sites of Danish newspapers. Copenhagen’s lower bailiff’s court ruled Friday that was in direct competition with the newspapers and that the links it provided to specific news articles damaged the value of the newspapers’ advertisements.". Danish court bars Web site’s links.

From [DotBlog]

» At the moment it seems to be the choice of these sites if they do not want to allow deep-linking.  Equally as DotBlog points out it is our choice to opt out of these sites and hope that they whither on the vine.  Interesting idea to centrally manage a boycott but too prone to misuse I think.

Maybe this should be like a Usenet Death Penalty.  It wouldn't be too hard to have some kind of RSS feed where people can propose sites which prevent deep-linking so that those who want to can simply not use them.  Maybe using enclosures to send some kind of script to make it easier to observe...


06/07/2002 22:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics progress

Only a week after I had hoped to release version 1.0 of liveTopics and I'm nearly there.

I've had a lot of good feedback from uber-testers Marc Barrot and Jack Mancilla.  This thing should be pretty well shaken out when it arrives.

The basic functionality is now all in place.  You can successfully add topics to posts, have them displayed with the post and traverse the weblog using the Topic Table of Contents (TTOC).

The TTOC, for example Curiouser and curiouser! shows every topic defined in the weblog.  For each topic it lists the weblog posts associated with that topic, in chronological order.  Each of these postings in turn lists the other topics associated with that particular posting.  The end result is a very easy way to traverse the weblog following threads of thought.

Things that are in the pipeline just past v1.0:

  • Exporting topic information in your RSS stream.
    • Clever aggregators will be able to use this topic information to rank & prioritize postings in your news view.
  • Topic Mining
    • Quickly and easily add topic information to archive postings
  • Sharing topics
    • Your topics will be published as XTM topic maps.
    • Subscript to other users topic rolls and be able to use their topics as well

Please let me know of any other ideas you would like to see implemented.


06/07/2002 22:41 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Trust Microsoft?

Shawn Dodd: "Microsoft wants to know what they can do to regain our trust. The answer: give up DRM altogether. Microsoft can't push DRM and regain our trust at the same time; we can't and shouldn't trust someone who is planning to hurt us." [Scripting News]
06/07/2002 18:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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TouchGraph GoogleBrowser

3. TouchGraph GoogleBrowser V1.00 (12.1 points). touchgraph googlebrowser ... TouchGraph ... The TouchGraph GoogleBrowser [( blogdex : recent )]

» Interesting to look at but I'm not sure of the practical applications for this yet.

What does a visualization of these backlinks tell you?

Why is it useful to be able to visualize these particular networks?

Are there useful metrics that can be applied to give conrete information?


06/07/2002 14:35 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

TrackBack for Radio

David Watson has Radio talking to Movable Type's TrackBack feature. [Scripting News]

» Cool.  I'll be looking to play with this ASAP.


06/07/2002 00:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Tool review: Summarizer

I've added Copernic Summarizer output to some of my recent posts.  It's a fabulous tool recommended to me by Joe Rotello that I am using more and more. Here's how I use it.

Often when I am browsing I come across a long article that I'm not sure I want to read.  If I have it in front of me I can click the summarizer button on the IE toolbar and let it go to work.  If it's a link on a page I'm on I choose "Summarize target" from the context menu.   Summarizer also has a live in-browser summary option.

Summarizer opens and downloads the page.  It does a statistical analysis of the text to determine the key concepts.  Then it works backwards to identify the sentences that are most important in the document based on those key concepts.  It presents this as a summary list.   At this point I can read the summary, email it or print it.  I can also save it as an XML document (using Copernic's summary XSD scheme).

I get to control how large or small the summary generated is using a simple controls like 10% of the text or 200 words and Summarizer will adjust the summary as I do so.  I can also remove concepts and have Summarizer re-jig things to reflect the new order of things.

I was a little skeptical at first but that quickly changed when I saw the quality of summaries it was generating.  I usually use the 10% summary as a quick precis, then 25% for a little better understanding.  If it seems worth it I then go on to read the whole article.

Summarizer also plugs into Adobe acrobat, Office and a number of other tools.  For those not directly supported you can summarize text copied to the clipboard or dragged onto it's system tray icon.

There are things I would like to see developed for this product.  For example there is no easy way to jump from a summary line to that line in the original document (to obtain context) and the in-browse live summarizer seems a little buggy to me.  But all-in-all I think this is a great tool for the information professional and well worth $60.

[Note I am not affiliated with Copernic in any way, I'm just a satisfied customer]

» As a taster here is a 100 word summary of this posting:

  • If I have it in front of me I can click the summarizer button on the IE toolbar and let it go to work.
  • It does a statistical analysis of the text to determine the key concepts.
  • Then it works backwards to identify the sentences that are most important in the document based on those key concepts.
  • For example there is no easy way to jump from a summary line to that line in the original document (to obtain context) and the in-browse live summarizer seems a little buggy to me.
  • But all-in-all I think this is a great tool for the information professional and well worth $60.



04/07/2002 11:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

I'd rather throw a pot

A roundabout story re the Reuters story above. I got a call from Microsoft PR earlier this week about my blanket dismissal of their "DRM" operating system, aka Palladium. They may have a monopoly on OSes, but nothing says I have to use computers. I still have choice, even if they figure out how to impregnate my W2K machine with their viruses, theoretically I can still turn the fucker off and go make pottery or something that doesn't involve any of their mischief. Now, I can do the same with the music industry's product. As long as they keep treating their users with the same kind of disrespect that Microsoft does, they're going to end up just as reviled. The MS person asked what they can do to regain my trust. I said it's possible. Start by restoring competition to the browser market. Then we can talk about next steps. It comes down to this, how can they be a leader if they destroy everything they would hope to lead? [Scripting News]

» With Palladium Microsoft might singlehandedly kick start the pottery revolution.

03/07/2002 23:14 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Make beauty not war

Make beauty, not war. Horst's photo of a woman in a corset, taken in 1939, is a vision of human sensuality that rebukes the inhumanity about to darken the world. []
03/07/2002 23:09 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The Road to Wellville

"Right!  Health... the open sesame to the suckers purse!"

From a silly film I am watching "The Road to Wellville."


03/07/2002 23:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Klogging 101: What, Why, and How

klogging 101 slides.

Phil Wolff's klogging 101 slides.

[High Context]


03/07/2002 22:36 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Sharing the research we all paid for

The Chronicle of Higher Education: 'Superarchives' Could Hold All Scholarly Output. Several colleges are now looking to share more of that work by building "institutional repositories" online and inviting their professors to upload copies of their research papers, data sets, and other work. The idea is to gather as much of the intellectual output of an institution as possible in an easy-to-search online collection. [Tomalak's Realm]

» Interesting article.  Here's a taster:

Several colleges are now looking to share more of that work by building "institutional repositories" online and inviting their professors to upload copies of their research papers, data sets, and other work.

Some imagine a day when every research university gives its research away through the Web, allowing scholars and nonacademics to mine it for ideas and information.

Institutional repositories could create an alternative to journals, fans of the archives say.

Journal publishers, meanwhile, say that such repositories are unlikely to supplant their publications.

Journals, they argue, are still the best means of distributing and preserving research.

And even some of those supporting the new archives recognize the difficulty of getting professors to change their habits.

"We've had pretty serious interest in the system from about 30 major institutions," Ms.

What: Massachusetts Institute of Technology's project to develop a superarchive, as well as software tools for creating and maintaining the repository.

The tools will be offered to other colleges that want to use them.

When: DSpace has been under development for two years.

The university is testing it this summer, and plans to make the software available free to anyone in the fall, when the university will invite all professors at MIT to contribute to its archive.

What: Free software developed at the University of Southampton, in Britain, to help individual scholars, departments, or universities create archives of research papers online.

An updated version was released this year.

What: A series of "metadata" codes that librarians or others can attach to research papers to help search engines pull out desired information.

Universities are funded out of taxation.  The fruits of their research should be made available to all, for the benefit of all.


03/07/2002 22:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Know thine enemy

Palladium: Disturbing. Highly Disturbing..

Palladium: Disturbing.  Highly Disturbing.

If you don't understand Palladium, you should.  Excellent FAQ here:

Dave, thanks for the link!

[The FuzzyBlog!]
03/07/2002 22:15 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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ID cards? Orwell would be proud...

British ID cards to revolutionise crime. But not in the way the gov wants... [The Register]

» Once again the government I voted for is doing the Orwellian thing.

Some highlights (courtesy of Copernic Summarizer)

  • Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the start of a six month consultation in Parliament today on plans by the government to introduce "entitlement cards" (that's ID cards to you and me).
  • Lobby group Privacy International reckons the proposal for a national identity card has little to do with the government's stated objectives of reducing the threat of crime, terrorism and illegal immigration.
  • Its real purpose is part of a broader objective outlined in the Cabinet Office report "Privacy & Data Sharing" to create a new administrative basis for the linkage of government databases and information systems.
  • But worse, the government's ID card plan could backfire and become a tool for criminal syndicates, according to Privacy International which argues that a national ID card- whether voluntary or mandatory - will compound problems of illegal immigration, fraud and identity theft.
  • According to Simon Davies, Privacy International's Director, criminals now have access to technology almost as sophisticated at that used by governments so that "even the most highly secure cards are available as blanks weeks after their introduction.

Some more of our freedoms to be sold in the name of fighting crime.  Are they just tilting at windmills or is this really sinister?

We can fight this!


03/07/2002 21:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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This post is part of the liveTopics demo.

Radio is a really cool application.  You can do lots of interesting things with it.  Like publishing information in RSS format.

02/07/2002 19:30 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Blogging is the first killer app of Personal Publishing

Blogs as Disruptive Tech - How weblogs are flying under the radar of the Content Management Giants.

Quote: "That was really my eureka moment: my first realization that content management was screwed.

In more technical terms, I realized that Content Management was starting to wrestle with what Clayton Christensen calls The Innovator's Dilemma: the inability of successful companies to adapt to a new, disruptive technology."

Comment: Very much in the vein that the previous post refers to.

[Serious Instructional Technology]

» Some interesting points here especially with regard to Christensen.

  • Clayton Christensen is all too familiar with that issue as well: "Markets that do not exist cannot be analyzed: Suppliers and customers must discover them together."
  • Every website has different needs - especially big, complicated websites.
  • As a result, most CMS software vendors fall into the same business models as the Mainframe vendors selling to corporations: long sales cycles and extensive consulting requirements.
  • Blogging is the first and truest killer app of Personal Publishing


02/07/2002 16:04 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Gurteen knowledge-log

Gurteen Knowledge-Log. David Gurteen has just setup his own weblog on knowledge management. Beyond this, he is aiming to establish a KM [Column Two]

» Although i'm probably on peripherally a k-logger at the moment I'm very interested in k-logging and how it develops. 

It just seems so right.

I love the idea that I and project mates can blog our own ideas and viewpoints and that these can be aggregated into some whole greater than each of us constituent parts.

I also love the idea that we can aggregate from these ourselves and build upon them.

I'll be watching the GKL with interest.


02/07/2002 15:28 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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e-learning on the bleak frontier

eLearn Magazine: In-Depth Tutorials: Learning Objects. Quote: "It's hard not to fall in love with the notion of reusable learning objects. The idea of a world filled with little self-contained lessons that you can assemble into any course you can think of seems so…well…cool. How could you not want something like that? Unfortunately, after five years of struggling with the challenge of finding that world, I have come to the conclusion that I am simply not smart enough to lead the way to the Promised Land of e-learning, where milk and honey flow from the earth and learning objects can be plucked like ripe fruit from fig trees." [Serious Instructional Technology]

» What people are learning is that designing re-usable learning objects (RLO's) is no simpler than designing re-usable anything else!

So much extra thought and effort has to be expended to understand the context something was designed in and then re-engineer & re-package it for arbitrary other contexts.  It's very hard.   And the tools provided to educators are no more, and often far less, sophisticated than those provided to engineers or software developers doing the same kind of tasks.

Other major problems I perceive:

  • models of excellence - do you have a catalogue of really excellent RLO's to learn from yourself?
  • time for excellence - are you being paid to take time to really think hard, design and package RLO's?

The storyline metaphor presented in the article is interesting and possibly helpful.  But as the authors point out:

Because there's nothing quite like a good concrete example to make a lesson stick, a repeating storyline across the entire arc of a course tends to tie all the lessons together very effectively.

We thought about picking a story that would work across all courses, but since we didn't have a clear idea of what all courses (both planned by the client and created by the learner) would be, we couldn't be sure that our storyline would always work.

To the contrary, we worried that if some of the stories were different then most or all of them might have to be different, even within a single course.

It's a pretty bleak looking frontier alright.


02/07/2002 14:23 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Intranet usage in the UK

Intranet stats. Martin White has just posted some interesting stats on intranet and extranet usage in the UK. A summary of organisations [Column Two]
02/07/2002 13:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The narks are abroad again

How much do you know about Dick?. The Guardian is running a multiple choice quiz to test your knowledge of Philip K. Dick. I only scored 6 out of 10. Link Discuss (Thanks, Tom!) [Boing Boing Blog]

» You scored 8 out of a possible 10

Impostor! Oh sure, you look the part of a PKD expert and, like the androids in Blade Runner, can fool just about anyone that you are who you say you are. But we know better. Those few tell-tale chinks in your disguise expose you as a renegade robot, or a KGB spy. We just havent decided which one yet


01/07/2002 18:53 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments: