Archives for September 2002

Become a Wi-Fi provider for your neighbourhood

Wi-Fi on Steriods. Proxim's product, priced from about $2,000 to $6,000, will include all the equipment necessary to become a small-scale network provider. The price differs depending on the quality of equipment and add-ons that a buyer may want. Each kit can serve about 250 customers. [Smart Mobs]

» Ultracool!

30/09/2002 21:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Bookmarklets a plenty

I'm looking for a bookmarklet that will clip text directly from a site into a Radio posting (including the title & Url of the page).  I'm sure I've seen such a thing mentioned before.

So I did a search for 'bookmarklet' and low and behold came up with The Bookmarklets Site where they have over a hundred bookmarklets to choose from.   But will they have the one I'm looking for?

Okay a search for "Bookmarklet Radio" turned it up: Radio Express  but I remember now that it works by creating a new weblog post form, so I won't be able to add topics.  Oh well.  Maybe Userland will fix Radio so that you can send the weblog post form it's initial contents.

29/09/2002 22:00 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Permalinks should be!

Like a lot of people I'd like to move my weblog off of the weblogs.com server.  In a few short months I've racked up 24mb worth of "stuff" so I imagine I'll have used up the 40mb before too long.  Also as other people have commented the URL isn't terribly attractive.

So I have my Novissio.com site and that would be fine for hosting, I can still ping weblog.com.  But what do I do about this site?

What I would like to see is for Userland/weblogs.com to offer a smart redirection service that forwards requests to another site for you.  I can implement this myself I suppose, but they could do it at the server level which would be a good thing.

Also, as I've suggested before, I think that Userland should look seriously at handling permalinks via a PURL service.  That way permalinks really would be permanent.

29/09/2002 21:41 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Where's the leak for klogs?

Klogging and cyclical employment..

Industry cycles are hard on knowledge.

  • Your workforce sucks up knowledge as it expands.
  • It bleeds experience when it contracts.

Do you want knowledge continuity?

Try klogging.

[a klog apart: klogs]

[a klog apart]

» Now this kind of argument really plays well to me.  To me it makes sense: invest in the future.

But the Geoffrey Moore's recent webcast has really crystalized my experiences of last year.  Nobody's buying a better tomorrow.  The only way to sell anything right now is to find people with toothache, tell them it's going to get worse tomorrow and then ask if they want your Novacaine.

This is leading me to try and think:  What is the immediate and pressing pain for which klogging might be the relief?

29/09/2002 21:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Don't even bother to read this

Rule 1. [Scripting News]

» I want to say stuff about this but what would be the point.

29/09/2002 21:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

activeRenderer macro reference

activeRenderer's Macros Reference. I've compiled and documented a list of the macros activeRenderer provides for improving Radio templates with outlines: check out aR's macros reference. [read more] [s l a m]

» Cool.  I envy Marc's documentation...

28/09/2002 22:06 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Pass me a wrench..

Just listened to the Geoffrey Moore talk (thanks to Rick Klau for the link) about making quota in a down market

He's an interesting guy to listen to and a good perspective on the challenge facing us over the next few years (Moore says decade but I've gotten used to things changing too quickly to believe that).

Basically what it boils down to is pain.  That's all anyone can think about right now.  That and slashing costs.  So if you want to unlock the purse strings you have to be into pain management and pay for yourself in saving.  "Fixing the leaky pipe" as Moore puts it.

But he goes further and basically says that typical mass-marketing lead generation won't work any more.  All enterprise deals will require referrals to get through the door.

Now I'm not quite at the enterprise software level, but the same principles apply to a greater-or-lesser degree wherever you are.  Looks like klogging's going to have to get vertical and start attacking those leaky pipes if it's going to succeed any time soon.

28/09/2002 21:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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What's the difference between topics and categories?

With more people interested in liveTopics the question is coming up: "What is the difference between topics and categories?"

I think Rick Klau sums it up excellently on his weblog (thanks Rick).

What categories do best is act as a channel to route content to different places.  This allows you to, for example, run multiple weblogs from one copy of Radio, or have RSS feeds for specific purposes (e.g. I have a feed dedicated to liveTopics announcements, there is no HTML just RSS).

But, as Rick points out, categories are a poor choice for organising the metadata for your posts.  They are too inflexible and too hard to setup.  They require choices (e.g. theme) that aren't relevant to metadata and impose limitations (both of interface and duplication of content) that are unwelcome.

On the other hand liveTopics are very simple to use.  You create a new topic by using it.  Just type it's name into the field provided when you edit your post.  You can remove topics just as easily.

Weblog Post Form with liveTopics

When you publish a post, liveTopics automatically creates a table of contents that contains every topic you have used, and links to each post using each topic.  You also get a number of handy macros to display topics on your weblog.  For example, here is the output from a macro that shows your "Hot Topics" (i.e. the ones you use most often).

hot topics

So that's what topics & liveTopics can do for you today.  Tomorrow?  That's another story.   If you want to see for yourself, click the button and download liveTopics today.

Download

28/09/2002 17:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

For a well baked blog, add topics

Michael DeMaria over at Network Computing wants weblogs to have topical lists of posts.  He points out that the time-based format isn't the easiest thing to use when looking for specific posts on selected topics.  There are obviously two ways find posts contain a specific topic:

1) Use a search engine.  This is the best approach to use when people are resistant to entering metadata. 

2) Use a metadata tool like LiveTopics by Matt Mower.  Matt has built a tool for Radio that makes it easy for authors to enter in metadata with each post.  This makes it easy to provide directories that list post by topic (through use of the outliner).   Basically, Livetopics can create a simple list of topical links to posts, or a complex hierarchy of topical links.  Matt has a complex hierarchy on his site.

[John Robb's Radio Weblog]

» With thanks to John for the link.

Clearly I think Mike makes a very valid point.  Weblogs make great diaries, but the by-date navigation structure sucks for locating topical information.  More information about liveTopics can be had by either clicking the liveTopics see-also reference under this post, or going to the liveTopics page on the Novissio website.

28/09/2002 12:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Getting the category converter wizard ready to go

The Category Converter Wizard at work...

Finding categories:

and ready to convert them:

28/09/2002 00:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

1.0.5 status update

This evening and tomorrow I am working on finishing the initial implementation of topics with spaces and category conversion.  Topics with spaces is ready for testing now.  The HTML based category conversion wizard will be ready to test tomorrow.

I would aim to push these to the eVectors beta server if it becomes available tomorrow, alternative I will send out a new .root file to any testers wishing to use it.

This is the last major chunk of functionality for 1.0.5.   My aim is to push 1.0.5 to the release server and announce on Wednesday of next week.

 

27/09/2002 22:02 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Go for it!

Tom the Dancing Bug. U.S. to bomb Antarctica! [Salon.com]

» Excellent!  For once U.S. foreign policy makes sense!

27/09/2002 12:35 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Hasty hasty

Addendum to my previous rant about XP & SP1.  I was hasty and I hereby apologize to all the Microsoft shitheads I may have offended with that piece.

It looks like the flickering menu's and outlook performance issues were related to a piece of software I started testing about the same time as I went to SP1.  We had a .DLL issue that caused a bit of a hiccup.

So the net result of SP1 is, instead, only a more invasive licence and not being able to undock my laptop anymore.

So, well done Microsoft.  Good job!

26/09/2002 20:38 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Back to 1.0.5 tomorrow

I've had to concentrate on completing a contract job the last couple of days which has completely occupied my time.  Hopefully I am back to liveTopics tomorrow.  The 1.0.5 release is nearly ready for beta testers.
26/09/2002 20:34 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

What a crock of shit

So, ever since I installed Service Pack 1 for Windows XP

  • Outlook 2002 runs painfully slowly.  Where it used to be fine, now it takes 4-5 seconds after I click a message before it appears in the preview pane.  Clicking multiple messages to delete spam also takes 2-3 seconds each.
  • My start bar menus now flicker.  Even when the mouse is stationary I can see it flickering like it's constantly redrawing the menu.
  • Same thing for all my context menus.. Bah!
  • My QuickCam software crashes and I can't undock any more because "Your camera cannot be stopped.  Please try later"  Yeah, right.

So the net result of my upgrade?

  • I have a new, more invasive license
  • I have a machine that is slower and less reliable

Well thanks for fucking nothing you M$crosoft shitheads.

I declare XP1 to be spam!

26/09/2002 14:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Weaving an Intranet

I see a blog-aware Intranet as being like a moving tapestry woven out of the best threads of each blog in the organisation.
26/09/2002 09:56 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Not sure what to make of this

A picture named uncSamMedium.gifLast year on this day: "It's been not-correct for most of my life for Americans to say we love our country. That's a big bug. We're the world's greatest country and we know it. I love the USA. It gave me life, an education, role models and a philosophy. And if you think we're stupid or decadent, just try fucking with us." [Scripting News]

» Is he serious with this?

25/09/2002 17:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

One for PingBack

I agree with Ray.  I don't want pingback, trackback, or refererback.  I get enough feedback with comments, spam free e-mail, and links to IM.  If I wanted to host a discussion group, that is what I would have instead of a weblog.  [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

» Quite frankly I do more than scan my referrer lists "once in a while" as Ray puts it.  I am always scanning them, looking for the breadcrumbs of someone or something interesting that has passed by.  Always on the lookout for that connection that could have value for me or my business.   I get as much spam as anyone, but I'll put up with a future of pingbots right now if it means I make the connections that helps my business to succeed.  Just like I put up with spam to use email today.  I can't afford to pull up the draw bridge.

PingBack may not be good for John, Ray, and others on the path well trodden.  But I think there are lots of people like myself who see things differently.  I want to know when someone is talking about what I am talking about and especially when they are talking about something I've written.

I don't know all the answers to the path I'm on, it's only through shared dialogue and the connections that I am making that I have a hope of moving forward.  I see PingBack as a valuable way of making those extra connections that I need, of closing the loops, and getting the feedback.   If Ray & John don't want to come to that party that's fine, but I hope that, their not turning up, doesn't mean that there isn't a party at all.

To put it another way my blog isn't the government emergency broadcast system, it's The Frasier Crane show.

So go ahead and ping me.

I'm listening.

25/09/2002 16:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Goddamn dialogs

What is it with Microsoft?  Do they have some special internal version where everything always work?

Every time you get an error in any application is pops up in a dialog box.  What do you do with it?  Well you copy it from the dialog and then paste it into an email, or support form or some such don't you?  Don't you?  That would be the easy thing to do wouldn't it.

So why on earth don't standard dialogs always allow copy of all visible text!!!

25/09/2002 15:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics RSS Feed now available

For anyone interested in liveTopics I have added an RSS feed which will be used to announce new releases and important events.
25/09/2002 12:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Feed announced

This is a test of the liveTopics announcement feed.

25/09/2002 11:15 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

PingBack looks good

Note to self: Read the pingback spec. Form opinion. [Scripting News]

» Okay!  PingBack looks exactly like what I was implementing with an especially clever innovation, using a pointer in the website to indicate which PingBack server the ping should be sent to via XML-RPC.  When I have some time I will modify my code to follow the PingBack spec.

Still need a Frontier server to host it for testing though...

25/09/2002 07:48 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Don't think, it's not worth it...

Bush to Arab world: Drop dead. Driven by right-wing ideologues and his own zeal, President Bush has taken Ariel Sharon's side in the Middle East even while plotting a war with Iraq. Foreign policy experts say that's a dangerous combination. [Salon.com]

» Shrub: n. a small bush.  But who knew how small.  (interestingly the German derivation is schrubben meaning "coarse, uneven" How eerily accurate!)

This administration makes plankton look smart.  But you can't blame Bush.  He's just the zealous little sock puppet that his lords & masters have been dreaming of having in the White House since Reagan used to nod off in meetings.

You guys should, however, be fucking ransacking the offices of your news organizations for letting you vote for this idiot.  Oh and all the unelected, unaccountable and plain dodgy stooges he's brought with him.

By contrast my voting for Blair seems almost rational (well the first time does anyway, I'm not sure how you can excuse me the second time around).

Ah, I feel my bile duct draining.  Thank you & goodnight.

25/09/2002 00:08 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Sharing zones of control

IBM turns to social network analysis. A critical resource embedded within organizations is the knowledge that highly skilled workers bring to work on a day-to-day basis. However, aside from human resource policies targeted at the attraction, development and retention of skilled knowledge workers, there has been little effort put into systematic ways of leveraging knowledge that is embedded in people and relationships. Given the extent to which people rely on their own knowledge and the knowledge of their contacts to solve problems, this is a significant shortcoming. Social network analysis allows us to understand how a given network of people create and share knowledge, helping us to move beyond this approach. [Smart Mobs]

An important issue that would arise for me, if I were to work in an enterprise, would be to restrict my sharing to the organization. This would require a degree of corporate loyalty that I just might have some trouble with.

From a personal standpoint, it would be more useful for me to share all my knowledge publicly: it would enable me to build more relationships with outsiders, and establish a reputation that is not limited to my organization. When the time comes to move on, I'd probably be in a better position.

[Seb's Open Research]

» As in most human endeavours I think there's going to have to be a compromise.  I can imagine increasingly relaxed zones of control over blogged information.  Sharing layers if you like:

  • My personal private blog (backup brain)
  • Team / Project Group / Community blog (private sharing)
  • Intranet blog (corporate sharing)
  • Public blog (real sharing)

All of which could be done now using Radio category routing.  A simpler interface could be introduced in Radio so that people can specify how wide they want that post shared and Radio selects the right routing category itself.

I'd add that liveTopics (plug, plug) will soon support categories and less soon the idea of a corporate weblog directory.  This will group posts from different weblogs around shared topics.  Add theme support and you can cluster related topics to create a real navigable knowledge structure for each layer.

I haven't forgotten about BlogPlexes either...

[I do seem to have gone italic mad lately though]

24/09/2002 23:48 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

JIRA does RSS, so cool!

Oh man this so rocks!

I'm now have Radio subscribed to a feed coming out of my liveTopics JIRA project.  I get an RSS item for each change that happens, i.e. someone adds a new issue, someone adds a comment, it's all there.  This is *so great* for project visibility.

Unfortunately it does kinda point out the weaknesses in the Radio aggregator interface.  It was probably fine when you only had a dozen or so feeds but I'm up to 58 and some of them are really big.  I need a tabbed interface that lets me organize feeds the way I want.  I need keyword prioritzation, I need the ability to delete all items from a specific feed at once.  I'd like them outlined to save screen real-estate.  [Actually John Robb's just pointed out that I can delete all the items at once, using the magnifying glass icon - must check that out]

Damnit I want aggregator Mark 2.

 

24/09/2002 23:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

What a surprise

Israel rejects 'biased' resolution. Israel dismisses a UN Security Council vote calling for an end to the Ramallah siege¸ hours after nine Palestinians died in raids on Gaza. [BBC News | WORLD]

» Well golly, who'd have seen that coming?

24/09/2002 20:51 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Autotrackback

Automating Trackback.

0xDECAFBAD: I'd also like something that scans a blog entry I post for links, then investigate those links for Pingback/TrackBack availability - all to make the system even more automatic.  I'm game.  I've implemented it in Python.  And written a Perl extracter or excerpts and pinger which uses takes advantage of this.  I'll be testing it on this blog entry.  Once debugged, I'll connect this to my publishing process (though a simple cron job would do) and forget about it.  As Ben says, There is nothing inherent in TrackBack that makes it any less transparent to either of the users involved.

The previous sentence is in there just so I can get two trackback entries out of this. smiley

[Sam Ruby]

» This is exactly how the TrackBackish server I wrote worked.  The Radio piece automatically scanned the post for links and sent pings for each of them to the server.

Why to a server?  Because that way everyone knows where to find them (and you can federate to spread the load).

The idea was that you could obtain information about pings simply by specifying patterns to match, such as

http://radio.weblogs.com/0107808/*

to see who had pinged any page on your weblog.  You could also query for just about anything.

I also had in mind a Wiki'ish syntax to add to the URL which the Radio code would strip out before publishing but would pass through to the backend server.  Something along the lines of

  • *url - approve
  • !url - disapprove

The server could track then track these "votes" but I hadn't got as far as thinking about what you might do with them.

 

24/09/2002 18:46 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Comments are cool again!

New comment on post 413. New comments on post 413 (1 comments, previously 0) found [Comments for usernum 0107808 on server http://radiocomments.userland.com/comments]

» I'm very happy to be getting an RSS feed of comments to my weblog via CommentMonitor.

24/09/2002 17:04 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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How would you search for this?

Okay a friend of mine is writing a company memo about a senior staff member leaving.  As I joke I want to suggest to her to include a Dilbert cartoon, the one where "Herb Klepford" (or some other such name) is leaving and "The Boss" thanks him for all the office supplies he's stolen over the years.

Now, assuming it was out there somewhere, how on earth would you go about searching for it?

24/09/2002 12:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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I'll take 'a 16th century monopoly grant' for $200

Readers scorn 'Lawsuits in Motion' keyboard claim [The Register]

» Some good debunking information here on the history of letters patent and why they were introduced. 

24/09/2002 10:36 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Can you say

Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Star.

Forget Mars Bars, Twinkies Now the Deep-fried Treat

His fish-and-chips restaurant was already serving up deep-fried Mars, Snickers and other chocolate bars -- treats that originated in Scotland and have since become a staple at U.S. fairgrounds -- when his general manager suggested he toss a Twinkie into the vat of oil. Just to see.

How bad are they for your health? After deep-frying, a Twinkie packs an estimated 400 calories and 28 grams of fat." [The Globe and Mail, via Boing Boing Blog]

Gloria first told us about them sometime this summer. Apparently they were a big hit at the Illinois State Fair. I've always hated Twinkies because there's no chocolate outer coating, but this I would try!

[The Shifted Librarian]

» So let's see 400 kcal and 28g fat.  Doesn't say how much of that is saturated but a good estimate is 50%.  That's comes to about 9 Weight Watchers points or about 1/3 my daily allowance, i.e. the ammount I would expect to get from a substantial daily meal.

I wouldn't eat too many of those...

24/09/2002 09:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Put the saltwater crocodiles in with the water buffaloes

The Difference Between Boys And Girls.

I'm officially addicted to SSX Tricky for Playstation 2, and I've only played it three times. We just got it this weekend. The kids have been doing so well in school, that we decided to buy them each a game and a book. So we went to Gamestop and Brent picked SSXT. Kailee, on the other hand, searched and searched but couldn't find something she really wanted. She briefly considered getting Monopoly, but it's just sad how few video games there are for 8-year old girls.

In the end, Kailee decided she wanted to go to Best Buy and get Zoo Tycoon, which is a really great game. It's difficult for me to watch her play it because I'm Type A and I get frustrated when she names an exhibit the "monkey zoo," puts elephants in it, and then puts so many trees in that you can't even see the elephants anymore. But she loves it, and whenever an animal becomes unhappy, she says, "Oh, my poor babies." She has yet to try SSX Tricky.

Six-year old Brent (soon to be known as "seven-year old Brent), on the other hand, has already mastered SSXT because one of his friends has it. He played it several times this weekend, but he also got into Zoo Tycoon, too. Except that he went for the chaos. He let the tigers out so that they could chase the people, he put the leopards in an exhibit with the chickens, and he put the saltwater crocodiles in with the water buffaloes (which upset Kailee to no end because one of the buffaloes had just given birth to a baby). He also deliberately put the bathrooms off the paths so that the "zoo patrons" couldn't get to them and would be unhappy. Kailee's bedtime request tonight was that Brent not be allowed to play ZT anymore. She also deliberately didn't save his game, even though she told him it was an "accident."

Now I can't wait until we go back to the Brookfield Zoo! Snowboarding, on the other hand, can wait a little longer, given how well I did on my three practice runs.

[The Shifted Librarian]

» The funniest post of the day for me.

Almost makes me want to have kids.  Then I snap out of it and come to my senses ;-)

23/09/2002 22:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Broadbandits

BTo gets tough with Sat bandwidth hogs. Stoppit [The Register]

» There is something I fundamentally don't understand about all these hogging charges by broadband vendors.  They sell you broadband, lets say 512Kbps, then get all uppity when you actually use it.  Is it just me or are they having their cake and eating it?

23/09/2002 22:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Has Seb gone over to the Dark Side?

Nobility My Ass!.
Googlebombing Coble. I would ask, before you do this, how you think you might react if supporters of coble were to googlebomb Tara Sue? I'm gonna bet you'd be pretty pissed at that kind of lowbrow, fundamentally dishonest tactic.

So you would have us subvert access to Coble's website to reduce the exposure of people to a candidate you don't like? I'm guessing it's because you think the Coble-Berman bill restricts fundamental freedoms right? Ok, uhm... someone needs a smack with a clue-by-four.

Memetics experiment of the nobelest kind? You sure? Really? Seems like a pretty shitty thing to do. Not to mention ever so slightly hypocritical.

[The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]

» I'm not sure I agree, but It took me a while to figure it out (I started out not agreeing, then thought about it a bit and began to agree, then came right back around again).

As I read him, Seb is really only talking about making Tara sue a top 10 hit on Coble.  Not eradicating Coble from the list.   In fact I think the idea of having Tara Sue appear in a search for Coble is about right, in fact everyone running against him should appear as a service to the public looking for information about whose running.  I notice that Tara actually links to Coble from her page.

So, I don't really think Seb is heading for the Dark Side just yet.  But we'd better keep an eye on him, he could turn at any time!

The sad thing is that what really drew me to comment on this post is not the high brow moral philosophy but the phrase "smack with a clue-by-four" for which you are to be congratulated!

23/09/2002 14:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Testing multi-word topics

This is a post to test multi-word topics.
21/09/2002 23:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Working towards 1.0.5

I'm concentrating on fixing bugs now for liveTopics 1.0.5 which I hope to make available early next week.

A great thing about having issue management is that it actually makes fixing bugs so much easier.  I can see the bugs I am intending to fix for this release all in one convenient display, but still get at the details quickly.

21/09/2002 12:11 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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JIRA roadmaps see into the future!

One of the really cool features in JIRA is the RoadMap.

JIRA allows you to create versions in your project, both released and unreleased, and to attach issues to them.  In effect, specifying which release the bug will be fixed in.  This is pretty neat.  Then you can look at the project roadmap which will show you upcoming releases, which issues are attached to them and, by looking at how many of those issues are resolved, how close the release is to being ready.

It's a great project visualisation tool and I already have the next 4 releases of liveTopics mapped out.  I'll flesh out the issues for those as we go forwards.  If you're interested then sign up and vote!

21/09/2002 11:46 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics issue management by JIRA

liveTopics now has an issue management database.  This is hosted by Atlassian software on their excellent JIRA application.
20/09/2002 10:31 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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It was due

It's Too Much For A Single Week!. First Jenny Levine at TSL returns, then liveTopics actually gets released. [blog cognosco v 0.1]

» After the endless delays I guess I was due a healthy dose of sarcasm :-)

20/09/2002 09:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics finally released

Kind of a double celebration:

  • Today, and with great relief, I formally announce the release of liveTopics (v1.0.3) which is now available for download.
  • You can read more about it at my company's website which I am also launching today.

It's been hard work putting together even the little currently on the website, but I hope to improve it significantly in the days and weeks ahead.  Any feedback would be very welcome.

20/09/2002 00:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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How ActiveWords should have been done

Just musing on ActiveWords.  It's a good idea, a sort of meta-application.  But it's expressed in the wrong way.  I found it both intrusive (it would popup as I was doing something, but I was trying to do something and it wasn't talking to ActiveWords) and the wrong expression of the idea.

Here's how I think it should work:

  • It should have a calendar where you specify when you want to talk to AW.  All the bits of training data it accumulates should be saved and processed then.  At that point AW should make it's recommendations about things it things it could help you with.
  • It should be based upon video recognition and should be triggered by gesture.  I hated having to type the keywords.  It was a bore, if I could have just made a sign to my (well I don't have one but you get the idea) webcam and have my browser popup and load Google.  That would actually be cool!

Maybe I didn't give it a fair chance, but I just felt ActiveWords was a nice idea, implemented without much imagination.  Have I been unfair?

19/09/2002 17:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Choose your vendor carefully

What a Great Essay: Do Da Scoble!.

What a Great Essay: Do Da Scoble!

But, as someone who was a Borland developer for 9+ years, I'm not at all certain I'd go back.  Don't get me wrong -- Delphi is awesome but Borland burned a lot of people.  I'd say their key marketing challenge is restablishing trust.  Before I buy a tool these days -- for anything -- I know that the cost of the tool is the smallest part of the equation.  The real cost is in using the tool; learning it and then being orphaned by the vendor and having to move on.  So as much as I agree with Scoble that Borland does a good job, choosing tools is something that we do more wisely now than in the old days.  Thinking ahead to the future is much more common now than it once was.  So before Borland could lure me back, they have to make me trust them and that's awfully hard. 

[The FuzzyBlog!]

» Hard won wisdom on selecting your vendor carefully.

17/09/2002 23:02 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Learning for yourself or the company (or in my case both)

Learning for yourself, or for the company?. In her introduction, Janice Reid raises an interesting point about what happens if you focus too much on learning about the company you work for. I'll let Janet's words explain.

One thing that I've learnt recently is that there's a limit to what one's learning when working with a corporate.  After a couple of years you start to capture more about the company, rather than building your own functional knowledge.  You create a personal database of information which is very valuable to your work colleagues, but worthless to you once you move on.  In hindsight I would recommend 'job hopping' in order to develop your personal knowledge of different environments, ways of doing things, attitudes etc, rather than a prolonged period at any one firm, even if you are frequently changing roles.

[thought?horizon] [Seb's Open Research]

One more characteristic of knowledge workers - they go to find more learning. Would be interesting to study how knowledge workers work and what motivates them next to how one becomes a knowledge worker.

[Mathemagenic]

» A strong motivator in wanting out of my last job was that I'd reached the point where I wasn't learning anything new.  A strong motivator for starting my own company was that it put me on a path of constant learning (and how!) Now I have the best of both worlds I am learning for myself and for my company at the same time.

When my company grows to the point that I take on staff one of the things that will be most important to me is to ensure that we create, together, a learning culture.  I've experienced it before so hopefully I'll know it when we hit on the right formula.

Example: In a previous company my manager used to like to ensure, when we weren't in fire-fighting mode, that we always had some time to persue our own interests and follow things that weren't strictly on the critical path.  Quite often we would later discover that these topics came up, centre stage (Windows NT, Java and LDAP are cases that spring to mind) but I don't think that was really the point.  He was interested in us, and letting us grow.

Apart from the obvious potential benefits of learning, and of potentially discovering new things before they become important, I believe this to be a great way to motivate without acting.  I also think that, as an employer, it pays you back fourfold in psychic dividends.  But it does require flexibility, a long term view and courage (to take the flak from those above who still believe in 100% efficiency).

17/09/2002 19:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The PageRank lottery

Relevance Ranking Discriminates Against the Irrelevant!.

Has pagerank run it's course?.

Ok, no. Pagerank is not "democratic" by the "every webpage is equally valuable" definition. But then, every web page is not equally valuable.

The link real-estate on my webpage actually is worth a whole lot less than, say, the link real-estate on about.com or yahoo.com. The algorithm seems to me to be pretty accurate. Consider also that any webpage can become slashdotted. Anyone's site can become more relevant, interesting, well-linked, widely-read, in short, more "important".

For instance, I've ego-surfed google (that is, searching on one's own name) for the last 6 months as I've been working on this blog, and have noticed that yes I have risen in the ranks of "Michael Wilson"s. And not because I'm "the rich", just because I post content that people read.

Not only that, but any page can fall out of favor and drift back into obscurity.

Perhaps an explanation on why it "should" be democratic is in order, 'cause I just don't get it. Seems to me like someone's just pissy that their pagerank isn't very high.

[The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]

» Okay ya got me.  I can't get above 5 no matter how hard I try (I wonder if Bryan Bell has a strippers theme?)

I agree that not every page should have equal rank and the whole "democratic vs." argument was probably a blind alley.  But I do think there are three valid points here:

  • Unless your page rank is high for a query, you won't get listed.  Regardless of how relevant your on-page content is.
  • It's very hard to get a high page rank, unless you already have a high page rank.
  • New players don't have a high page rank.

This, I think, unfairly discriminates against new content providers over the established players.

Perhaps a solution could be something like the US Green Card lottery.  For those not familiar this is a lottery for non-US (and non-UK) citizens where the prize is a much sought after green card for around 100,000 people a year.

Perhaps Google should randomly bump the pagerank of 100,000 new pages each time it crawls and let nature takes its course...

otherwise, but at the same time I think the article highlights the point that it can (if their data is good) be very hard to "break into" the relevant search criteria regardless of how

17/09/2002 18:39 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Radio RCS needs better referrer tracking

Radio wishlist: automated referers harvesting. Does anyone know of a simple way of automatically storing (or e-mailing) my list of referers every day just before they are reset, so I can look at them when I have the time? [Seb's Open Research]

» So many people want this I would hope that Userland would add it when the dust settles on Frontier 9.0.  I added a free site meter to my blog just to get better referrer tracking.

17/09/2002 18:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Why haven't Microsoft bought Google?

Why haven't Microsoft bought Google?

I want to know.

 

17/09/2002 18:00 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Job back online (but for how long?)

On Being the Digital Job. Or, why I haven't emailed you back or blogged in weeks.... [The Shifted Librarian]

This story is simply unbelievable. I almost cried halfway through.

[Seb's Open Research]

» It's also exceptionally well written with a wry sense of humour.  If it was somebody I didn't know I would have chuckled a lot.  But I didn't.  No sir...

17/09/2002 15:53 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Domains By Proxy: I can't see the patent

Go Daddy offers anonymous domain registration. No spam, No slam [The Register]

» Good idea albeit one I wouldn't normally comment on.  But in this case what I want to know is:

"Parsons said the company has patents pending on the technology behind the service"

What on earth can they be patenting?  What super new technology is required so that a company can put someone elses details in a DNS server?  Maybe they're patenting the whole proxy thing so that the government have to pay every time someone uses a postal ballot?

17/09/2002 09:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Has pagerank run it's course?

Daniel Brandt: Google's Original Sin. [Scripting News]

» A good piece.  The main thrust is that Google's reliance on pagerank, far from being democratic, is uniquely autocratic.  Because sites with a high pagerank matter most, they have more power and it is harder for site with a low pagerank to get noticed regardless of the relevance of their onpage content.

"In a democracy, every person has one vote. In PageRank, rich people get more votes than poor people, or, in web terms, pages with higher PageRank have their votes weighted more than the votes from lower pages. As Google explains, "Votes cast by pages that are themselves 'important' weigh more heavily and help to make other pages 'important.'" In other words, the rich get richer, and the poor hardly count at all. This is not "uniquely democratic," but rather it's uniquely tyrannical. It's corporate America's dream machine, a search engine where big business can crush the little guy."

The remedy?

"We feel that PageRank has run its course. Google doesn't have to abandon it entirely, but they should de-emphasize it. The first step is to stop reporting PageRank on the toolbar. This would mute the awareness of PageRank among optimizers and webmasters, and remove some of the bizarre effects that such awareness has engendered. The next step would be to replace all mention of PageRank in their own public relations documentation, in favor of general phrases about how link popularity is one factor among many in their ranking algorithms. And Google should adjust the balance between their various algorithms so that excellent on-page characteristics are not completely cancelled by low link popularity. "

Even if I agree, and I not certain that I do, it's hard to see Google give up what they see as a key differentiator.  It's quite possible that they see an advantage for themselves in the tyranny of pageranks and the power of corporate America to wield them!

17/09/2002 07:23 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The dark

I'm not afraid of the dark.  I'm afraid of the horrors that lurk in the dark.
16/09/2002 12:26 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

EasyArt not SleazyJet

Stelios faces challenger in easy domain name crusade. Sue me...or else! [The Register]

» Nice to see someone can & will stand up to this bullying.  They deserve to win too, www.easyart.co.uk is a great site.  I'm hoping they can find the Kandinksy print I want...

16/09/2002 10:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Have you disclosed today?

My friend Joe Rotello put me onto ip.com today.  They have a system called Innovation Q which they hope will help with the patent problems we are facing at the moment by creating a secure database for handling disclosures and recording prior art.  If this kind of system were widely used I think it would help lift the burden on overworked patent officers.

A nice touch is that you can get guest access and browse the list of recent disclosures.  It makes for fascinating reading!

14/09/2002 10:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Are you in possession of an unlicensed chicken?

Blograts, my patience for these Hollywood folks is wearing thin.  When chicken sex is regulated, can rodents and humans be far behind?  Think carefully.  Are you presently in possession of an unlicensed chicken? Have you had eggs for breakfast? Better head for Mexico—the DMCA will be coming for you.  [Pesky the Rat]

» More rodentary commentary.

13/09/2002 11:34 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Shrub declares war on suitcases

Now, Snuffy (by way of Dick), seems to think that Saddam the Weasel has some kind of weapon that can get to the United States. We know he doesn't have ICBMs, so Snuffy tells us he has something far worse: suitcases. [Pesky the Rat]

» rotflmao

13/09/2002 11:04 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics pre-release update

The license is, unless a last minute incident crops up, done and I'm packaging the liveTopics release to go out either tonight or tomorrow depending upon how quickly I can tidy the loose ends.  I think I'm going to have to abandon my hope of producing a proper installation since I can't seem to find an installer that runs on Windows and can build installation packages for both Windows & Mac.  I'm also struggling to get the website into reasonable shape for launch.

This time it's for real...

12/09/2002 20:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Updated find tool for Radio

I've updated the find tool for Radio to fix a subtle bug that would cause it to skip some tables.  I've also added menubars as a search type and an option to use an exact name match rather than a substring match (the tool is still case insensitive, but then Radio table names are case insensitive anyway).

To install just drop the .root file into your Tools directory.  The Find menu will appear until Utils on your menubar.

12/09/2002 20:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Concrete KM

Had a session with my life coach David this morning.  We were chatting about some of the problems I am facing trying to market a product in the knowledge management marketplace. It seems particuarly challenging when so many of the argued for benefits seem very abstract.  I had just brought up the old adage that only 20% of the knowledge in a company is usually stored in knowledge-bases whilst the other 80% walks home every night and how, whilst this might be true, it doesn't seem to be effective in convincing people to invest in knowledge management.

David then suggested a metaphor that I thought was wonderfully concrete:

"Imagine you are running a factory and every night 80% of the machinery walked home and maybe wouldn't come back the next morning.  How quickly do you think you would invest in ways of keeping it?"

12/09/2002 13:11 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Beginning to market your software

TidBITS: Marketing Software, Part 1.

A great article on Marketing Software in todays TidBITS

"You may have an application, and it might be truly useful (rather than a candidate for MacHack), but you don't necessarily have a product or, more importantly, a solution. What's the difference? A pencil is a product, but it's not a solution."

A good read for anyone in the software business. Also the first time I've ever read an article and actually contacted the author to query about their services. We'll see what comes of it.

[rebelutionary]

» Thanks Mike, A great article.  Timely to as I was just thinking about productising liveTopics now that the non-commercial license is finallly worked out.

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

It's sure as hell not a blogging system

e-mail and virtual learning environments (why its a bad idea). (SOURCE:Curiouser and curiouser)-We used LiveLink at my last job. Based on my experience I would not recommend it! Why? It's not web friendly (it encourages the proliferation of documents in proprietary Microsoft formats, the URLs are horrendous), you can't script it, it's controlled by a centralized team, it's hard to use and it's slow. Much better to use blogging system like Radio with a Google search appliance IMHO. YMMV.

[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]

» I think Roland makes good points.   Livelink certainly wasn't a panacea for us.   Although 5 years ago when we took it up it was in a class of it's own really.

As to whether I would recommend it or not?  I guess that would depend upon whether you really needed a central document repository or not.  That's really what products like Livelink are at heart.

11/09/2002 00:10 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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3rd draft of the license

I've posted the 3rd draft of the liveTopics license here for review.  It's nearly done I just need to know that people are comfortable with section 3 and what, if anything, I need to go in section 5.  The end is in sight (which is good because I've done a fair bit of work that I want to release).

10/09/2002 21:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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It's your weblog

On the difference between blogs and discsussion forums. Some people do not seem to be able to get their heads around the difference between blogs and discussion forums. To my mind, although at a surface level they have some similarities - at a deeper level they are fundamentally different.

There are two dimensions to their differences - the first the psychological dimension and the second the technology dimension. One of the major psychological differences is that you own your weblog - it is YOURS - and it represents a history of YOUR thinking - so you take pride in its ownership - something that does not make a lot of sense in a discussion forum. On the hand on the technology front - [Ray Ozzie] sums up one of the major differences:

From [Architecture Matters: The Rebirth of Public Discussion by] by [Ray Ozzie] [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

» Excellent point.

10/09/2002 09:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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KM must be about achieving strategic business objectives

CKO mistakes. Udai Shekawat writes about Five Mistakes CKOs Must Avoid, which explores why many KM initiatives fail, from a Chief Knowledge... [Column Two]

» Really good thoughtful article.  Some highlights:

  • Solution: CKOs must execute their strategies in the context of the business problem, define the criteria for an ideal solution and then identify the closest technological match.
  • After all, what good is a KM solution if employees do not use it?
  • While the 20% of the organizational know-how that is represented in documents is indeed important, the remaining 80% of know-how walks out the door every evening.
  • There is a natural tendency in large organizations to assess what knowledge resources already exist in the company and then select a KM solution that can best enable the employees to utilize those resources.
  • It is the responsibility of every person in the organization to create, share, refine knowledge.
  • So, coaching is a key -- you cannot take people out of the equation, and capturing the "context" or the story or the situation around the answer is just as important as capturing the answer or solution itself.

Especially interesting was the view that a CKO must take a strategic, demand-driven approach rooted in solving business problems.  Not KM for KM's sake.  This gels with the comments at Knowledge Cafe that it was hard to justify KM.  I'm not suggesting that the person who said that was not taking a strategic approach, simply that it is not necessarily widely understood.

10/09/2002 08:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Sing me a blog

Radio Wishlist - Hearing blogspace..

From NewScientist: Musical approach helps programmers catch bugs. Professors developed a system that automatically converts Pascal source code into simple "music". 

Can we mine RCS community servers, blogs and posts for metadata to compose a live music track?

Help me tell posts/sources apart. Help wade through hundreds of feeds and thousands of posts in a newsreader.

  • Use popularity, link density, post length, freshness, Flesch and other readability statistics, comment thread length

Help me find gems.

  • Connections with my blog, the relevance of this source's last 50 posts to my last 50 posts.

This is not audio blogging so much as blog visualization. Cool. Something to do after DayPop and blog SNA become blasé.

I sing the blogspace electric.

[a klog apart]

» It's a lovely idea.

How do you turn ideas into music?

10/09/2002 08:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Here's hoping that there isn't an RSS3.0

Questions for Dave. In the comments to Entry below, Dave Winer says: "To everyone, I believe the new spec is leaps and bounds... [Content Syndication with XML and RSS]

» Depressing, depressing, depressing.

One of the 7 habits (of Stephen Covey fame) is "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."  The tension in this discussion is rising fast and empathic listening seems to be out of the window.  It's all sounding more and more like a debate in the house.

I think Joe Gregorio makes an interesting point.  If the RSS1.0 folks could stand to walk away from the name RSS then much of the tension disappears.  You can't stop Dave issuing his own 2.0 and trumping him with an RDF 3.0 is just going to escalate things.   Sounds a bit like the middle east doesn't it?

Bill Kearney has already proved that any new standard, even one that Userland doesn't support, can introduced into Radio.

I vote for taking the creative energy in this discussion into a new TLA and a new forum.   The worst that suggests itself to me about this route is having to support two specifications.  But isn't that the case already with RSS1.0?

10/09/2002 08:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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When he knows where he put his hat he'll be twice as clever

This Modern World. What the president has learned since 9/11. [Salon.com]

» And I was going to say "nothing at all."  Shame on me!

09/09/2002 22:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Fight expansion of copyright law

University to challenge copyright laws - Tech News - CNET.com. Quote: "Duke University's law school has received an anonymous $1 million gift to fund advocacy and research aimed at curtailing the recent expansion of copyright law." [Serious Instructional Technology]

» Way to go anonymous donor!!!

09/09/2002 21:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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2nd draft of liveTopics license posted

I've posted a 2nd draft of the proposed "free for personal use" liveTopics license agreement.  It's modelled philosophically after the BitKeeper license.  Hopefully the text is now clearer.  I'm really looking for comments/criticisms to surface now so that I can get this knocked out soon.
09/09/2002 21:15 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Teach metaknowledge instead of knowledge?

The concept of formative assessment. Boston, Carol.

Quote: "In addition to these classroom techniques, tests and homework can be used formatively if teachers analyze where students are in their learning and provide specific, focused feedback regarding performance and ways to improve it. Black and Wiliam (1998b) make the following recommendations:

  • Frequent short tests are better than infrequent long ones.
  • New learning should be tested within about a week of first exposure.
  • Be mindful of the quality of test items and work with other teachers and outside sources to collect good ones."

[Serious Instructional Technology]

» These all sound like good ideas.  I guess the 2nd one should be "New learning should be tested within about 24hrs of first exposure" if you really want people to score well.

And that in a roundabout way made me question: What is the value of my education.

I have a degree in Computing & Mathematics and yet I can remember practically nothing about the math I learned and I don't remember learning any computing.  I guess I was tested reasonably regularly (at least once a year) and passed them.  But what was the value of all of that?

If I had been heading for a career as a research scientist I could probably answer that question.  For almost any other job my degree syllabus was no more useful than a decent reference book and the ability to learn.

What would be the effect if, instead of teaching knowledge, we tought metaknowledge for 3 years:

  • How to learn 101
  • Introductory social networking
  • Advanced collaboration
  • Social capital for beginnings
  • Communities 200

and then handed you a copy of Google on your way out the door?

09/09/2002 21:10 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Find tool for Radio developers

Although Radio includes a Find & Replace facility which lets you search the database I often find it more annoying than useful.  This is because it too much power with too few controls.  Most of the time I want to search for a specific table or script.  But with Radio's built-in find any occurrence of my search term in any object, I also get to iterate through these interactively in little windows that popup in random spots on the desktop, and I'm never quite sure whether that beeps means my search is finished or not.

Tonight I snapped and and wrote a findObject() routine to search the database for object names, and then added a mechanism to allow specifying the object type: table, text, outline and so on. Drop utils.root into your Radio tools folder & restart Radio.  You will have a new menu Utils in which will be a find sub-menu.  It takes the current target as the start point for the search, or the root if you have no start point.  Take a look at utilsSuite.findObject() if you want to see the guts.

Happy searching.

 

 

09/09/2002 20:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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You got it right with 0.94

DanBri. Dan Brickley has written, imho, an excellent posting on the value of RDF with RSS. All those bothered by this,... [Content Syndication with XML and RSS]

» Dan Brickley's arguments for RDF (something else I'm not an expert in) sound very cogent but, more than that, they evoke some of the same sensations as I got from reading an earlier piece from McGee's musings about innovation:

"When Hollywood asks us to enumerate the uses we'll lose if it gets its way, we can't. That's innovation for you. If we could predict the future uses of new technology, they wouldn't be innovative. That's innovation. It's the force that drives our civilization. It's the force that drives our culture. It's the force that makes us human ("the tool-using animal"). I'm not willing to give it up, even if I don't know what it is."

Dan writes:

"Just use namespaces" doesn't address the problem of one task, multiplenamespaces: people, events, music, documents, concerts, prices,locations... If we're interested in applying a variety of descriptivevocabularies to a single task, we'll need to use vocabularies developedoutside of RSS-DEV. RDF apps focus on just this, whereas many XML appsfocus on a single monolithic DTD or Schema that captures a specific task.

Dave's rush to cast RSS 2.0 seems more and more premature.  I think it would be much better if he went back to calling it 0.94 and published it.  Then we can get to using it straight away without the hieghtened tension of all the RDF people grinding their teeth (and surely that's a good thing right Dave?)

In the meantime we can all take the necessary time to thrash out the issues about RDF and RSS2.0, maybe even what RSS stands for.  It's obvious that there are a lot of issues and just unilaterally declaring it so isn't going to put them to rest.

09/09/2002 19:21 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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e-mail and virtual learning environments (why its a bad idea)

DM Review: The Intelligence in E-Mail: Are You Ready to Listen?. Quote: "It is becoming more clear that when one tries to make a CRM system do everything (ERP, data warehousing, e-mail management, billing, telephony, chat, etc.), one gets something that does nothing well. This realization is leading to unification of data, but specialization of channel."

Comment: We're about to embark on a fairly significant e-mail project - giving all classes a listserv - and managing the knowledge generated will be a trick.  I know the impulse will be not to keep archives and to lock them away if created.  Also to make the lists instructor-distribution only. [Serious Instructional Technology]

» A few years ago I was involved in a virtual school project.  Although I would not call it a success per se, it had many successes and we learned a lot.

My reason for dredging this up is that one of our bedrock principles was that email was part of the problem.  At the time there were growing voices suggesting email as the solution to all our woes.  A good example was student submission of coursework.  This struck us as particularly crazy given the problems people were already having managing their email (especially lecturers) and the lack of any solution for managing email.

Here is an example of where this can easily go wrong:

"You failed because you didn't do the coursework"

"But I submitted my coursework in the e-mail"

"No you didn't"

"I did it was attached to the e-mail I sent you"

"There was an attachment but it was empty."

"But the file was in there"

Who is in the right here?  Is this an honest student, victim of a mistake, or someone trying to pull a fast one.

The solution we ended up recommending was based upon Livelink a web-based knowledge (content) management system.  In particular we were interested in whether we could implement workflow to manage a number of the complex problems in this space (the answer was no we could not for reasons more complicated than I want to go into here).

However the approach was right.  It gave us:

  • Web based
  • Secure
  • Workspace based metaphor [in particular the personal workspace which we hoped would address the need to build a student profile]
  • Discussion forums with e-mail integration
  • News channels
  • Full-text searching of everything
  • Document management
  • Integrated workflow
  • Scalable to tens of thousands of users
  • Scriptable at the back end (if you were a very patient person)

These kinds of features were what we were looking for to address the concerns of building a virtual learning environment for real. 

Okay long pointless ramble over...

09/09/2002 18:35 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Paypal a problem

Judge rules PayPal unfair. One for consumer power [The Register]

» Hmmm... just as I was setting up my PayPal account I go and read a lot of stuff that makes me not want these people to have my credit card details.  I don't know how reliable PayPal Sucks and PayPalWarning are but it's enough to put me off.

09/09/2002 18:08 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Privacy's end?

Karlin Lillington: "What society keeps its citizens under greater, round the clock surveillance than any other? Russia? Indonesia? North Korea? Why no -- it's Great Britain." [Scripting News]

» It's true.  It's also a fact, although not well understood, that the recent RIP act was not a snoopers charter at least not the way people seem to think.  As one Home Office minister admitted the snoopers are already at it and sharing their information with anyone who cared to ask.  RIP was an attempt to legitimize this activity.  As such we should still oppose it (because it is too broad), but we shouldn't forget that the violation of our privacy continues unabated.

Karlin also points to a piece by Simon Davies in the Guardian which is very worrying indeed.

09/09/2002 12:40 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Less blunt, more pointy

Blunt Force Trauma is Now blog cognosco. Name change: "Blunt Force Trauma" is now "blog cognosco". [blog cognosco v 0.1]

» Awww, I liked Blunt Force Trauma.

Oh well, the king is dead.  Long live the king!

09/09/2002 06:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Analysing new topics

I'm reading a paper [Joachims, 1996] about text analysis.  The idea is to produce a facility within liveTopics for suggesting topics based upon the text entered in a post.  At the moment there is a simple facility based upon a word search for existing topics, I'm keen to improve upon that in the future.

Does anyone know of any good papers on this subject?

08/09/2002 22:58 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Republished everything

266 files and 24 minutes later my entire weblog is republished.  Now to do a random sampling and see if everything is okay.  I guess one side benefit is that my archives will all have the spiffy new(ish) Bryan Bell theme instead of the rather gnarled older Bryan Bell theme!
08/09/2002 22:26 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics rename done

If anything appears to be messed up about my weblog it's probably to do with testing the rename topic functionality of liveTopics.  I've done quite a lot of testing today and the feature seems to be stable now.  Unfortunately I need to republish the entire weblog to clear up the mess!
08/09/2002 20:07 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Dynamic DNS

John Robb and Terry Frazier have both mentioned dynamic dns recently.  This is handy for people of dialup/cable modems as it allows them to keep a DNS entry even though their IP address changes from time to time.  I had a go with a company called TZO who offer the same service at a fairly low rate.  My Dad just mentioned DtDns to me & they offer this service free.

The only reason I didn't register was that I'm not sure Dynamic DNS will be of use when I buy a cable router.  It won't be able to run the dynamic DNS client and my own machine will be using NAT so the IP address won't be valid.

Anyone know of a way around that?

08/09/2002 13:54 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics Software License Agreement posted for review

Hopefully today I've taken a positive step.  I posted in the license discussion at QuickTopic a draft of a license for liveTopics that covers personal use.  It won't be perfect, it may be too restrictive but it's there for you to comment on and I hope that you will.

08/09/2002 07:35 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Knowledge as the most reliable foundation for generous behaviour

Groundhog Day..

I keep seeing the movie Groundhog Day.

In reruns.

Murray running through the snow

Over and over.

I can't help it.

Every time I see it I learn something new.

And I am changed by it.

I hope to grow up enough to get out of this cycle.

And figure out what that means.

imdb.

Plumbing the Depths of Groundhog Day.

[aka life]

[a klog apart]

» I've always loved this movie and when I saw the IMDB link I wanted to go see what other people said about it.  I'm glad I did because I read this:

"The other thing I noticed, while reflecting on this movie, is how uncertainty can keep us from charitable acts. We use our ignorance like a crutch: we don't give to charity because it may be a scam, we don't offer to help someone because they may not need help anyway, and so on. But Phil doesn't have the luxury of ignorance. He knows...he knows with absolute certainty that if he doesn't buy the old man a bowl of soup, that man will die in the streets within a few hours. He knows that if he isn't on hand at the right time, a boy will fall from a tree and break his neck. Faced with such knowledge, even Phil, self-absorbed as he is, cannot stand by idly. Nor could we, in his position. This is a powerful argument for knowledge as the most reliable foundation for generous behavior. What other movie can offer an insight half so profound?"

08/09/2002 07:28 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The quest for the holy RSS

Babble out in simile....

Dave Winer opines:

I've been posting this question on various weblogs and in private emails. The question is this. Why not add language to the spec that says it's okay for an RSS feed to include elements not defined in the spec, and leave it at that.

Please. God. No.

  • Pretty much every element of RSS0.94 is optional, and can be left out. If you also allow arbitrary elements to be added, do you have a specification any more?
  • In the RSS 0.9x series, a valid version 0.9x document is also a valid 0.9x+1 document. If you allow arbitrary elements you break this contract, or at least make it impossible to add new elements to the specification. Each added element becomes a redefining of a previously permitted but undefined element.
  • It would discourage the adoption of RSS modules (for which there are already a good set of defined standards, and which can be mixed and matched) in favour of a hundred splintered dialects of the core RSS, which may be mutually incompatible.

Oh, and ten points for someone who can tell me where this post's title (Babble out in simile, since the titles are only visible in my RSS feed) comes from, without using Google.

[The Desktop Fishbowl]

» I think Charles is spot on with all three of his arguments.

  • It weakens the specification.
  • It breaks an implied contract.
  • It fails to set a standard.

The background to this appears to be a quest to "nail RSS once and for all."  I don't understand that.  What's wrong with it evolving over time and as requirements change?

(Oh and zero points for me!)

06/09/2002 10:30 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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KM implies culture change

Fostering Change Without Getting Fired.

You may want to check out Tempered Radicals by Debra Meyerson. She writes about the experiences of people who have decided to create change within a work place that doesn't match their values rather than leave the company. She focuses mostly on creating change on issues such as diversity, fair-trade products, family-friendly work hours, etc. However, I think the strategies that she discusses are just as valid and useful for trying to move an organization towards a more knowledge-based organizational culture.

Her key themes are: leading by example, small early wins, turning threats into change opportunities, and taking a long view. No quick fixes, I'm afraid.

[High Context]

» Effective take up of knowledge management practices is going to have to go hand-in-hand with organisational development.  Interestingly at yesterdays Knowledge Cafe meeting one of the topics that came up was strategies for persuading decision makers that Knowledge Management was even worth investing in.  This was a slightlly disappointing revelation as I had hoped the battle lines were drawn a little further forward than that.

 

06/09/2002 09:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

liveTopics license

Radio Tools Licensing. Matt is looking for the perfect license model for his Radio tool. If you want to get your hands on liveTopics 1.0 before Hell freezes, you'd better join the discussion at http://www.quicktopic.com/16/H/tVkeJYmT2Wr/p-1.-1 and help Matt make up his mind fast. [read more] [s l a m]

» Oh how I wish Marc was being unkind with that "Hell freezes over" remark :-)

05/09/2002 22:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Lessons of 9-11

Lessons of 9-11.

So what was the lesson of 9-11 that the US has failed to learn? I think it's that God doesn't think we're as important as we do. The concept of national security is obsolete. We can't close our borders. We live on this planet with everyone else. Global warming, AIDs, terrorism, all penetrate all borders. New York is a world city. The last gasps of isolationism will be snuffed out by more humiliation, until we get the truth, we aren't above the rest of the world, but we are part of it.

[Scripting News]

» I guess I don't see eye to eye with Dave on some issues but this piece struck me as well thought out and incisive.

Something I have despaired of since last year is that there are so few signs that America at large is wondering about why this is happening to them all of a sudden.  I'm sure it's very comforting to buy into the "Axis of Evil" idea but it's not going to help.

05/09/2002 22:46 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Knowledge Cafe

Back from the first meeting of the Knowledge Cafe hosted by David Gurteen.  Among other things to thank David for was arranging the venue, hosting the event and paying for the coffee!

For me it was an interesting evenining.  Most of it was spent with us introducing ourselves, this in itself turned out to be a moment of inspiration because you really got a feel for the variety of different people there ranging from the seasoned KM veterans right down to the "hangers on" like myself.  It's going to be fun seeing where this goes.

05/09/2002 22:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Keep your tinder dry

When I came across it again today I remembered that Tinderbox is the application that got me into weblogging.

Although I couldn't use it (it's Mac only) I consumed the website with great interest and a certain amount of jealousy.  It was also the first reference I had seen to weblogging and from there I got to Radio Userland.

I'm really hoping they port Tinderbox to Windows soon.

05/09/2002 12:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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My guilty secret

Just been talking to Scott Johnson and I've realised I have a guilty secret.

I admit it.

I am a 30-something and I enjoy watching Buffy.

There, I feel better now.

Actually the thing that really irks me is that I didn't get into it sooner.  I missed the humour the first time round and ignored the show.  But thanks to Sky's policy of endlessly re-running everything I don't have to miss out.

04/09/2002 18:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Shared context valuable? It's a good story.

  • Context sensitiveness was my group. We went for a bit philosophical discussion about the importance of context and tacit, but then turned to more practical things: ways to share context and tacit knowledge. We didn’t have many answers, but more questions:
    • What is context?
    • What kind of value shared context adds?
    • How to support sharing context? What technology can do and what not? What motivation and skills people need? What kind of environment?

[Mathemagenic]

» Good questions. 

I'm reading some interesting articles (one is here) about story telling as a way of supporting shared context for knowledge transfer.  My gut feeling is that this is a powerful approach but one with a lot of pitfalls (as in: "the softer the approach, the harder the sell").   Mike (I really will write a blog entry one day) O'Reilly also tells me that Narratology is a very hot research field right now.

04/09/2002 18:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Elements CMS

Elements - a website CMS. (SOURCE:have browser, will travel)-Nice migration path for those using the static site features of Radio and Frontier.

The nthWave Elements web site building application enables web developers to build and maintain sites efficiently and intelligently by separating a site into distinct components or "atomic elements". The Elements application applies a template to each content file, incorporates specified elements, processes any scripts, and writes the results to a new file in a corresponding destination directory. Simple. The Elements application is easy to use. It uses the file system to maintain its data; you use your choice of html and image editors to develop the content. Existing web sites can begin using Elements immediately.
[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]

» I'm building a website at the moment.  Ideally I would host it on Frontier but alas that cannot be.   So I'm evaluationg NetObject Fusion as a way of building the site.

Give it it's due, NoF is pretty easy to use and creates pretty good results.  But to be honest I think Elements, a good stylesheet and a favourite editor might be almost as easy and a bunch much more flexible.

04/09/2002 12:54 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Networking is the key

As so many people have told me: networking is the key to starting a successful business.  To this end I have joined both Ryze and E-cademy which are online networking sites where you can build a profile and hopefully connect up with people who have similar or complementary interests.
04/09/2002 12:07 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A step towards the license

Okay I want to get the liveTopics license issue resolved once and for all.  To this end I have setup a QuickTopic to discuss it and hopefully reach a consensus.  If you are at all interested (even in the process of a license being worked out in the open) please join in the topic and share your views.

My intention is that once an approach is decided I will use QuickTopic again to review the license text (if any one is interested to participate in that process) before issuing the final agreed license.

All are welcome.

04/09/2002 10:56 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Clearing logjams

I'm a bit stuck at the moment.

So many things to blog about, so many interesting discussions.  Also so much work to do: build a website, write business plan, create presentations and other collateral, finish product, find target visionaries, write documentation, nurse post-op kitty kat, decide licensing, network like crazy, buy a router, do I buy WiFi?, respond to email, blog, life.

It's only when I get seriously logjammed on all fronts like this that I take the time to step back and think in a 7-habits kind of way.  So first things first:

1) Website.   It's due.

2) liveTopics license.   Mail registered users and get their feedback.

3) Finish first presentation & publish.

04/09/2002 10:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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I feel your pain

to get rid of hundreds if not thousands of books. That really hurts.

The winnowing started yesterday. I now have two 6 foot shelving units of friends I have to let go.

Consolations appreciated :-(

[The Universal Church Of Cosmic Uncertainty]

» I feel your pain...

I went through this exercise about 3 years ago.  Before moving house I gave away about a half of everything I owned: books, video's, games, everything.  It was terrifically hard to do, and yet it also felt quite good to do it.

I then did the same thing all over again about a year ago.  It was much easier the second time around.

03/09/2002 08:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Something else to get angry about

CBS News: "Support for the First Amendment has eroded significantly since Sept 11 and nearly half of Americans now think the constitutional amendment on free speech goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new poll." [Scripting News]

» There is only one word that seems out of place in that quote:  think about it.

02/09/2002 15:20 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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