Archives for November 2002

Paolo mk.2

If you are reading this, it means that I successfuly moved my blog to a new server, with quite some more bandwidth. If you are not reading this, you're still on my on blog (well... no way for you to know since you are not reading, so why bother?). If you notice any strange behaviour, please let me know: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog. Thanks. [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

Strange behaviour?  What are the odds ;-)

Welcome to the new Paolo.

30/11/2002 14:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Metalogue

Metalogue. What's a metalogue? I don't think it is in the dictionary. But a prologue is something one says in the beginning, to introduce something. An epilogue is something one says after the main action, as a sort of conclusion. A monologue is a prolonged presentation of some kind, spoken by one person. A dialogue is an exchange of ideas between two or more people. I suppose a metalogue would be talking ABOUT things that are happening, from a somewhat elevated perspective. Actually I think most weblogs I read are metalogues. They try to connect up some dots, try to discover clues in information and events, and try to connect that up with something bigger or deeper. Where are we going? What does it mean? [Ming's Metalogue]

Talking about what is happening... I love the idea of the Metalogue, trying to join the dots and connect what we see with a wider world and understanding.

30/11/2002 10:26 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Tracking the link cosmos

Technorati. technorati.com is the best site I've seen sofar for showing who links to who's weblogs. Well, mainly I'm interested in who links to what on MY log, mostly to see which stories worked well, and to discover new friends who are exploring similar topics. The other sites that attempt to show connections between weblogs have sofar not shown me much more than I already knew, but in my technorati listing I right away get to know some new people. And it is great that in this world, plagiarism is flattery. And a way of voting. I copy somebody else's story, and somebody else copies my copy, and that shows that all of us found it important and interesting. [Ming's Metalogue]

I too have become interested in Technorati.  It's like TrackBack in reverse and let's me find where the idea flow that I am participating in has reached in a more concrete fashion than Organica & EcoSystem.

30/11/2002 08:21 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Not Grokking Grokker

Is anyone else a little disappointed with Grokker?

Maybe I was just enchanted by all those coloured spheres but every time I use it I struggle to see the relevance of the information it brings to my searches and unless its going for the ultra-serendipity vote that's not a good sign.

What puzzles me is that they say the right things and that it got good previews.  Is it just me?  Any other Grokker previewers out there want to share notes?

29/11/2002 18:11 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More than just bright stars

I am attending Supernova, the most interesting conference I have seen in years, put on by Kevin Werbach & Jeff Pulver.

[Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

I'd love to attend, pity I am in the wrong country and broke.  Oh well, at least with conferences being blogged these days you don't miss out entirely.

29/11/2002 15:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More on BlogChannels and topics

BlogChannels for loosely joining webloggers?.

There's a dual way to look at blog channels. They provide a sociality-driven incentive for bloggers to apply metadata tags to their posts. By tagging X on a post you're in effect hanging out a bit with the X crowd.  "Metadata has never been more fun!"

Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration, but I'm personally much more interested in metadata that means something for people other than me. This is what I find most interesting in this scheme: metadata is shared - that's built into the design. The meaning of the shared term takes shape through the efforts of several people. Contrast this to what currently happens with individual blog categories, where we often have a hard time making sense of each other's categories.

UNQUOTE [Seb's Open Research] [Al Macintyre: Brain to Brain]

Al groks it.  Adding metadata is a way of self-selecting the crowd you want to hang out with.

And the problem of differences in metadata can be overcome by building shared taxonomy (e.g. using an XFML map) to relate your topics to each other.  By building it out in the open you encourage other people to adopt the same terminology (this is what liveTopics topic rolls will be all about).

29/11/2002 14:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

League tables are for football, not for life

'Special needs' pupils turned away. Schools are said to be turning away children with special educational needs for fear they will harm their league table standings. [BBC News | UK | UK Edition]

As with everything else in life, be careful what you choose to optimize.

29/11/2002 13:08 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More like a gallery than a factory

I was discussing my recent posting on contributing to intranets with a friend to test the water.  She said something that made me reflect upon my our experience's and what I see around me, namely, that many intranets are a reflective tool rather than a creative one.

In this I mean that, quite often an intranet lags behind what an organisation does.  Documents will be put up, after the fact.  A department or project will create a view that must be updated and infrequently is.  Basically the intranet is an afterthought and not a living breathing part of the work of the organisation.  More like a gallery than a factory.

This seems to me to be dead wrong, but possibly a fact of life.

If it is true then I think it is because there is so little room for peoples lives and work to become part of an intranet.  If the intranet is just a repository of corporate documents, policy's and procudures and dry applications then where do the people actually fit in?

I would be interested in knowing whether simply adding workflow changes this somehow?

29/11/2002 11:40 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Contributing to an intranet

I'm trying to come up with more models for thinking about communication.  I came up with a question: What affects my contributions?  And some attributes of an answer:

  • inertia - how hard is it for me to make a contribution
  • reward - what do I get in return for contributing
  • value - how much use can be made of my contribution

A powerful intranet system makes it easy for people to contribute, gives them a direct return on investment and allows what they have added to be re-used in as many ways as possible.

Typically an employee can contribute via:

  • e-mail
  • bulletin board / discussion list / group mailbox
  • document management system
  • database

A cursory examination of these options follows:

e-mail

It is very easy to write e-mails but often harder to know who to send them to for maximum value.  They often go unacknowledged, its very hard to tell if they've had the desired impact and it's increasingly hard to know if and how to re-use the content of an e-mail.  Also with the quantity of e-mail people receive these days I think the law of diminishing returns is at work.  More e-mail (even better e-mail) isn't going to make things any better.

bulletin board

On the face of it bulletin boards and other discussion groups work very well.  However as long time users will attest they have many significant drawbacks.  The first is that it is very hard to keep on track as an initial discussion widens out in collaboration.  Inevitably people look to take the traffic "elsewhere".  Popular discussion groups can get croweded very quickly which is a curse and a curse.  A crowded group can intimidate new comers and makes it harder for members to find what they are interested in.  A corrolary of this is that it soon becomes impossible to find anything for re-use.

document management system

These days web-based document management systems (which all call themselves knowledge management systems in the hope you won't know the difference) tend to be pretty easy to use.  As ways of storing and indexing large collections of documents they work very well, but they often fail to solve the underlying problems of managing an organisations knowledge.   This is because, often, the knowledge isn't in the formal documentation.

Example:  I'm an engineer working for a company who make handheld wireless workstations.  I acquire through on-site testing some valuable knowledge about a problem with making our equipment work in their situation.  I could write this up in a document and post it in the DMS but more likely I will put it in a notebook or on a post-It or just tell my colleagues about it.

This kind of micro-knowledge (micro-content) is often where the useful knowledge lies and it can be very hard to get at if your systems all work at the macro level.

database

What company doesn't have at least a CRM system today?  Supposedly the channel for storing all information.  But if you take my previous example where does that knowledge go?  It's not information about the customer (at least not really).  And that assumes that your CRM system is flexible enough to handle unexpected data.  Most either aren't or are never properly implemented.

Databases are often cumbersome, unfriendly and inflexible.  Also where information goes in, it is often much harder to get it out again in any sensible form (another Access report anybody?).

 

As I have written before I do believe that all of these systems have a valuable role to play in building a successful intranet, however they address only the macro level and much of the knowledge an organisation needs to gain an understanding of itself and a competitve advantage over it's peers is micro-content.

What is required is a communication medium that has low inertia, rewards the constributor and builds shared value.  Answer: weblogs, or more accurately knowledge-logs.

More later.

29/11/2002 10:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

BlogBrowsers

Okay I admit it, I'm hearing lots of people hopping up and down about BlogBrowsers and I can't help but ask; What is all the fuss about?  Indeed more than that I can't help but ask the questions; Why?  Where does this get us?

So a blog-browser reads & renders RSS, big deal.  Wheres the value?

I hear Dave and others talking about "routing around Microsoft" but I don't see it.  I'm a fan of blogs but I fail to see how a niche blogging application is going to route around MS.  There's a whole lot of HTML web out there, are you planning to just leave it behind?  And haven't we bought something pretty valuable in having a single platform (the browser) for delivering web applications?  Isn't this what DHTML is working towards?  If you want to innovate around MS then it makes more sense to me to start contributing to Mozilla's success.

Could someone give me the obviously missing pieces that will make this fit together for me...?

 

29/11/2002 09:24 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics RSS, RDF and the Dublin Core

liveTopics RSS2.0 feeds now use a vendor neutral XML namespace:

xmlns:rsstopics=http://purl.oclc.org/NET/rss-topics/

which is currently pointed at http://www.novissio.com/resources/rsstopics/

So each now comes with an definition for every topic it is associated with.  These tags will soon be pointing back to their ToC entries and optionally to their definition within the XFML version of the weblog.

I have taken a quick look at the work done on the RSS1.0 taxonomy module with defines an RDF syntax for specifying topics and advises the use of Dublin Core metadata for adding information.  I'll certainly be persuing the use of DC tags but does anyone think I should be trying to re-use the RDF module & syntax?

29/11/2002 08:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

A different view

A different view. Mikela Tarlow talks in "Digital Aboriginal" about a traveler who had spent many years in the Australian outback with an aboriginal tribe. He explained that the aboriginal elders counseled their people to avoid the seduction of agriculture.

"Suddenly, instead of following the weather, you want the weather to be different. And it is now easier to put things in straight lines. And because you have planted, you need fences. And since you have planted, you can accumulate possessions. And once your tribe is bound to a fixed address, forms of hierarchy emerge that were not possible when it had to stay on the move. Because you have put down roots, for the first time you must consider defending your territory. Thus, convenient as it is, planting is the beginning of control. Merely because you put a small seed in the ground, you are now invested in a whole system of maintenance that requires you to stay put. You are no longer free to follow what calls. So, the aboriginal elders wisely teach their people to avoid agriculture. The aboriginal spirit requires the freedom to follow the wind."
Hm, that is certainly different from the way westeners normally think. For us it is often a powerful metaphor that we're putting seeds in the ground and staying around to nuture and defend them. But this makes sense on several levels. Maybe a hint of another way of being, where we don't trap ourselves in our own net of obligations and expectations.
"His profound sensitivity is possible only because he does not have to wait for seeds he has planted. His perceptions can be long and deep, since he has no territory that he must defend. His mind is quiet, since he is not attached to outcomes. Because he does not have to plan, his spirit is free."
[Ming's Meta Mechanics]
29/11/2002 08:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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In case you'd forgotten...

about domestic issues what with your upcoming war and it being thanksgiving 'an all...

(posted with the kind permission of Tom Tomorrow)

If you like Tom's work browse the archives or support the Salon.

29/11/2002 07:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

liveTopics in RSS2.0 #3

My RSS2.0 feed is now live using a liveTopics namespace to add topic information to each post.  If your aggregator gets smart you could filter out all the stuff I say that you're not interested in....  err... hello?  Where did everyone go?
28/11/2002 20:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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BlogChannels with liveTopics + RSS

BlogChannels for loosely joining webloggers?.

Sebastien reports on a very cool project. BlogChannels could be a powerful tool... and it might save me a lot of manual work that I need to do for Seblogging. If people simply "pinged" a common channel I would not need to sift through all the stuff that is getting published on the individual Weblogs. This is especially the case with less focused Weblogs where only now and then a posts refers to educational applications of personal Webpublishing and Weblogging...

[Seblogging News]

The BlogChannels idea presented here merges very neatly with the work I am doing with liveTopics + RSS2.0 and one of the suggested applications of that work, i.e. consolidating multiple RSS feeds based upon topic information.  The nice thing is that this work can be easily duplicated for any blogging system.

28/11/2002 20:06 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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BlogStreet

Pretty Damn Cool: BlogStreet

I just checked out BlogStreet and I have to say that it's pretty damn cool.  I know Veer one of the authors via IM from India and periodically he pops onto my radar with a new BlogStreet feature and says "Is it ready yet?".  Using my mighty "bermuda triangle of software bugs" power I give it a whirl and he very nicely takes the feedback.  He and I just spoke again and there are several new Blogstreet features, BlogStreet icons and more.  More on this next week when people are reading again.  Until then it's worth a definite look.

[The FuzzyBlog!]

I am always as fascinated by these things as I am disappointed by not being in the top #10.  Oh well, now you know I'm an egomaniac so the cats out of the bag :P

28/11/2002 16:46 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Shameful

Weekly world news quiz. Test your knowledge of the stories making the headlines around the world this week. [BBC News | World | UK Edition]

Want to know how much you are tapped into the pulse of the world?  I am ashamed to say I got only 2/10, they were guesses, and I subscribe to the BBC World news feed damnit!

28/11/2002 16:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

liveTopics in RSS2.0 #2

Matt Mower's Knowledge Log - ( liveTopics, k-log, radio, blogging, RSS ): "This will enable a smart aggregator to use the topic's for filtering & combining feeds together." + filtering is in the pipeline for myRadio, on dates, keywords, and now topics. will be tricky to devise a UI.
+ filter a single feed, or multiple feeds. multiple feeds would require agreement on a common pool of topics, i think.
+ Syndication, with meta-data, gathered by smart aggregators, has a lot of possibilities. It would be cool to hear more about usage scenarios. [Brain Off]

Mikel picks up on my post yesterday regarding adding topics to Radio RSS.  I've got a few things in mind for this, but I'm sure others will really lead the way.  Let's just address one point first.

When trying to handle feeds from multiple blogs, inevitably, as Mikel points out, we will reach the situation where people using different words to mean the same topic.  This will be a problem, but hopefully not as a big of a problem as it could be.  It is for this reason that I have been tracking XFML so carefully.  With XFML we have the ability to say "A's topic X is the same as B's topic Y".  liveTopics already does XFML.

So I think the first and simplest usage scenario will be within the type of aggregators that we have now as a way of filtering a feed to get rid of posts we deem irrelevant.  This will allow us to subscribe to many, many more feeds since we don't have to weed out so much chaff.  Although I think we'll need to be careful as it may make it more difficult to experience serendipitous moments.

The next scenario I can imagine is as a way of producing a consolidated "on-topic" feed from a number of other feeds.  Combined with technology to scrape RSS from sites and databases and with a little automagic to add topics where they don't exist this could be very powerful.

My imagination runs out here, maybe someone else..?

28/11/2002 15:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

An interface to the structure of the web

Google Is Not A Search Engine. Google is an interface to the structure of the web. Google orders its results based on the structure of the ... [istori/log]

28/11/2002 14:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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How do you mice feel?

Kiss it goodbye. With industry henchmen in complete control of Washington, the Clean Air Act, wilderness preserves and environmental enforcement are all endangered species. [Salon.com]

America is turning into a gigantic socio-economic laboratory.  Has there ever before been a country so close to rule by corporation?  If Bush manages to get another term it will really give him and his buddies a chance to insinuate themselves, it will also give them a mandate to disassemble more and more of the American state.  Who knows where this will lead?  Fascinating.

[Note: It required a real effort of will to unindent my comment and format it like this, without the little chevron]

28/11/2002 10:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Some good bits from the x-log

From x-log I found some useful stuff for advanced Radio users and Radio developers:

 

27/11/2002 18:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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activePaolo

Outlined weblogs? Just a little experiment with Marc Barrot's activeRenderer and iframe: check it out (it might take a while to load...)";->" [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

» Sweet ;-)

Okay also on Paolo's advice I am experimenting with changing my quoting style and indenting the material being quoted.  To me, right now, it looks totally weird and unnatural.  I hope it will grow on me.  I guess it renders my little red chevron meaningless as well.  Such a shame, I liked that little chevron...

27/11/2002 13:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Seeds & notes

Improved Weblogging: Seeds and Notes.

Summary: In this entry I argue that a different position in a process of research/inquiry (thought development?) probably requires a different treatment in the weblogging, klogging process. I discuss a simple model of the thinking process and how each piece of the model might be treated differently by the weblogger. Bottom line is that Radio can be used to support such differentiation. See below for details. [Connectivity: Spike Hall's RU Weblog]

» An enjoyable piece from Spike about the development and communication of ideas and how it relates to weblogs.  I like the concept of seeds & notes and how they relate to socialized and unsocialized thoughts.

This is of particular interest to me now because I am trying to think of places where weblogging fits naturally into a business.  It's been suggested that research (companies or departments) is a natural fit since people are already conditioned to write (seemingly a barrier to adoption so far).  It also helps that people working with ideas are likely to abound with undeveloped micro-content.  Weblogs are a great way to record, develop and ultimately communicate that.

Anyone working in research want to try help design and run a pilot knowledge-logging program?

27/11/2002 11:38 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Emo Phillips

For fans of comedian Emo Phillips here are some of his short pieces.  A couple of my favourites:

I love to go down to the schoolyard and watch all the little children jump up and down and run around yelling and screaming...They don't know I'm only using blanks. -- Emo Phillips

I was walking down fifth avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, rather than return it, but I thought: well, if I lost a hundred and fifty dollars, how would I feel? And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson. -- Emo Phillips

27/11/2002 11:24 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Creation Companies: Business in the Fast Lane

Wednesday: Burning Platform or Compelling Opportunity?. From Whoosh: Business in the Fast Lane ,Tom McGehee on what makes a company suck or rock : Compliance Companies ... [istori/log]

» An interesting comparison of the attributes of various types of company labelled broadly as "compliance companies" and "creation companies".   What might be more interesting still would be to try and take some of the attributes that imply a spectrum and start plotting well known (and maybe less well known) companies and see what patterns emerge.

I'd also like a list of creation companies if anyone has one to hand!

27/11/2002 10:32 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Check your fruit carefully

Tesco denies using deadly spiders. A supermarket says it is not using black widow spiders to protect fruit¸ after three people find the spiders on grapes. [BBC News | UK]

» Check your fruit carefully.  Who knows how many more are waiting to be discovered.

27/11/2002 10:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Civil justice in decay

Civil justice system 'close to collapse'. The UK's civil justice system is "creaking at the seams" because of under funding¸ one of the country's most senior judges tells the BBC. [BBC News | UK]

» You know it's got to be bad when judges start complaining on behalf of litigants.

Of course the government could cut costs by taking justice to the streets, Dredd style!

27/11/2002 10:14 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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javablogs.com

javablogs.com.

OK - javablogs.com is ready to beta test, and we brought it in an hour under the time frame, it must be some sort of miracle.

What is it?
Basically a replacement for the Java and J2EE Weblogs list - that grew out of hand as feature-itis took over. Each blogger can add their own blog, and decide if they want it aggregated (ie the content will show up), searchable (ie the content is indexed and can be searched), both or neither. We tried to leave all the power in the bloggers hands (blogging is after all a decentralised medium!).

The search function is especially useful, and will be more so over time I think! (Forgot where you heard about AOP? Try searching for it) You can also get an OPML feed of all the blogs now (which lots of people have asked for), and the RSS feed of new blogs is updated in real time.

There's a million other features we want to add (personalisation, group moderation, some sort of statistical / intelligent filtering, keyword categorisation, SOAP API, hot entries, popular searches etc), but I think we've got a good start so far. Feedback? Either email me or just comment on this post!

[rebelutionary]

» Looks great.  Makes me wish I was a Java blogger!

27/11/2002 10:04 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics in RSS2.0

Is this the first valid RSS feed with topic metadata?

Today I've finished the experimental RSS generator for Radio that exports the associated liveTopics with each post in the RSS feed.  At the moment topics are contained in a "liveTopics" XML namespace.

This will enable a smart aggregator to use the topic's for filtering & combining feeds together.

 

 

27/11/2002 09:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

"War on Terror Fun Game!"

(Reprinted with the kind permission of Tom Tomorrow)

 

26/11/2002 22:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A solution to big media

What happens when you blog a Fox executive? Blox

Jonathan Peterson deconstructs the comments of Fox CEO Peter Chernin in a Comdex keynote. Great stuff. Thanks for the link to David Weinberger, who adds his own astute comments.

It all comes down to the notion that programming is scarce or, at least, needs to retain the appearance of scarcity to sustain its value. In fact, if you make connections and let value flow, the investment in programming made today can be much more profitable than it is in the broadcast model.

[RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing]

» Folks the solution is simple:

  • Stop watching TV.
  • Stop going to the Movies.
  • Don't buy Music, Videos, Games, Books or Magazines.
  • Don't by a Tivo, DVD player, stereo, WEGA tv, PlayStation

In a couple of years all the media-related companies (and their dependents) will be bankrupt.  It might teach these guys that they need to treat us with a little respect if they want to survive.

We won't do it of course...

26/11/2002 11:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

You are whose ID you steal

Information Awareness.

Here is a good joke.  This Thanksgiving, be thankful that the government is cracking down on identity fraud.  At least, that is what the Washington Post would have you believe.  If you read into the details, you'll find that:

This article should have been an indictment of how the government has failed to protect the voters from identity fraud, and instead protects only the banks and government bureaucrats.  In fact, the government is completely impotent to prevent similar and ongoing fraud -- the problems with identity security across the entire economic infrastructure are so systemic and deep that it will take work on many fronts to patch them all.  The paper should just say, "Government surrenders in war on identity fraud.  Three poor people jailed; 30,000 screwed.  You're next and there's nothing you can do about it.  Government war against people who copy lame Courtney Love music progressing nicely."

[Better Living Through Software]

» Time to start lobbying your MP/Senator/what-have-you.

Which reminds me, I owe my MP a list of sites where they can form their own opinion about the RIPA.  Mine is a little too dependent upon Home Office rhetoric for my liking.  Does anyone have any they would recommend?

26/11/2002 11:07 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Test "^test2"

26/11/2002 10:03 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Pax Americana: clearer still

Covert Iraq oil business. Excellent article with many references, by Larry Chin, Online Journal. The U.S. imported 290 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq in 2001, at below market rates, because of U.N. sanctions. The US was "the main market for Iraqi crude" according to the Middle East Economic Survey. It seems a lot like the threatened war is simply an attempt to eliminate Russia, France and China from the competition from the oil there, and to put the U.S. oil companies in complete control of the resources. more > [Ming's Meta Mechanics]

» And Pax Americana becomes clearer still.  I couldn't find it in the article but I'd like to know how much Iraqi oil the UK has imported...

25/11/2002 18:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Michaelski's first principles of communication

First Principles of Communication. Jerry Michaelski looks at how to get less crufty communications technologies. [b.cognosco]

» Good find by Terry.  This post was right on for me and reminds me to go back and finish what I started.

23/11/2002 14:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Inbox Buddy released

Inbox Buddy 1.0 Now Available !!!!!.

Inbox Buddy 1.0 Now Available !!!!!

[The FuzzyBlog!]

» Congrats to Scott & Brian.  I hope the hard work pays off for you guys.

For anyone cursed with having to use Outlook (I'm keeping a watchful eye on Spaces) Inbox Buddy is definitely worth checking out.

21/11/2002 12:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Topic Maps: CMS is only the beginning

Topic maps in content management. Lars Marius Garshol recently e-mailed me, and pointed me his very interesting article on topic maps and content management. This talks about using an Integrated Topic Management System (ITMS) to provide a much more powerful management interface to the normal... [Column Two]

» I'm fundamentally a believer in topic maps even though I haven't really seen them in concrete action yet.  I just believe that they are too simple and elegant an idea to not work.  The nice thing is that with XTM and XFML beginning to take off we are sure to see more and more applications that do support topic maps.

One thing in particular that interests me is that Alex Shapiro (of TouchGraph fame) has created a Personal Brain viewer.  This uses the new brain exporter to create a map that is browsable in a TouchGraph viewer.  It's very cool to be able to take the plex-style view of Personal Brain and switch to a TG style view.  If only they could be integrated somehow...

For my own part liveTopics adds to the capability of Radio as a CMS by overlaying a topic based structure onto the content.  This will become more powerful when topics can themselves be structured, and when the postings from multiple weblogs can be related by content.

Something that worries me though is a recent comment (I cannot remember the source) that weblogs+topics are just recreating threaded discussions.  I can't quite articulate yet what it is I don't like about this comment, but there is something here that bothers me.  (Note: I see nothing wrong with threaded discussion per-se, I think I am more bothered by the possible perception that blogs = another usenet somehow)

21/11/2002 09:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Giving ActiveWords another go

Okay I'm hearing a lot of positive things about ActiveWords again and being something of a tool freak this makes me want to take another look.  I've tried it twice and both times I've been fairly irritated with it and not found it terribly useful.  However Jim's comments suggest that maybe I haven't given it a fair shake.  Maybe this time it will click...
21/11/2002 08:03 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Buono Italiano

Just got back from Italy.  Had a good time.  Paolo & Monica are great hosts and treated me far better than I deserve!  We had a lovely meal in Gorizia.  I don't think I ever saw the name of the place but it's wine and fish were both excellent.

We did get some work done and I think we're on to something interesting.  Expect more soon.

20/11/2002 21:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Sounds like $40bn well spent

Congress approves US security body. The US Senate votes decisively in favour of creating a huge new Department of Homeland Security - long advocated by President Bush. [BBC News | WORLD]

» "The new department will merge 22 agencies with a combined budget of about $40bn to deal with the threat of international terrorism on American soil."

Of course merging them all together is bound to create one super-efficient, focused body acting in unison to defeat the threat of anti-American terrorism (it's Homeland security after all).

Sounds like $40bn well spent if you ask me.  Wouldn't want to go wasting that money on health care, feeding people or (god forbid) teaching them how many beans make five would you?

20/11/2002 11:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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More bureaucracy? Yeah that'll work.

Tories push for UK security chief. A new cabinet post of head of homeland security should be created to provide a clear focus against terrorism in the UK¸ say the Tories. [BBC News | UK]

» Why is this necessary?  Why is terrorism not adequately represented by either the home office (MI5) or the department of defence (MI6)?  What does having one extra bureaucrat achieve?

20/11/2002 10:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Off to Italy

I'm off to Trieste today for a flying visit with Paolo.  It's at times like these that I really wish English schools made an attempt at teaching foreign languages (or was I just not paying attention?).  Anyway, looking forward to it!

19/11/2002 07:48 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Knowledge for success

I hold the view that for an organisation to be successful (i.e. to achieve it's goals) then it's people must be aligned to it's goals.  Real achievement comes from real alignment.  So how do you get alignment?

  • Goodwill - people who actually want to get aligned
  • Visibility - clear understanding of goals
  • Knowledge - what's required to achieve the right outcomes

But what are you giving your people?  Putting aside the subject of goodwill for a second do people have a clear idea of the goals of the organisation and how they relate to their day-to-day existence?  Do they have the knowledge that is needed to act to produce the right outcomes?

Just musing...

15/11/2002 16:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

activeRenderer 1.3.1

activeFix for liveTopics. [img] Or is it liveFix for activeTopics ? :-) Matt and I quickly found out that the new 1.3 version of activeRenderer, with its new 'page' wedges for HTML link attributes to outline nodes, was thoroughly breaking liveTopics' indexes. The updated 1.3.1 version of activeRenderer fixes a couple of minor bugs, and handles HTML link attributes in a more liveTopics friendly way. [read more] [s l a m]

» My thanks to Marc for quickly & elegantly fixing this problem.  The new activeRenderer features are very cool so you can be sure that liveTopics will soon be exploiting them!

15/11/2002 15:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

JIRA 2 Early Access

JIRA 2 EAP opens.

For those interested, the JIRA 2 Early Access Program opened today. As with all software projects, it was launched at 7pm on a Friday night

But now it's time for everyone here to go grab a beer (or 4).

[rebelutionary]

» Great news.  An already impressive package just got better.  Well done Mike & team.

15/11/2002 15:31 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics 1.1 close to release

It looks like I might finally have squashed the remaining bugs in liveTopics 1.1, what started as your run of the mill complex update spiralled into an endless cycle of fiddly little bugs.  But it's starting to look good now.  I'm hoping to roll out to testers very soon.

Between this and trying to come up with a decent pitch for business blogging I haven't been posting much.  I've been reading a lot though and making lots of new friends via Ryze.

15/11/2002 00:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Test post

Continuing the testing.  Do all the links work again now?
12/11/2002 12:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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liveTopics 1.1 in progress

I'm hard at work on liveTopics 1.1 this weekend.  This will be the first version to support a table of contents per category meaning that you will finally be able to mix categories and topics the way nature intended.
08/11/2002 20:33 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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To be free of Outlook?

W a r m b r a i n: Mail from Aggregator. The spaces buzz is building. Can't wait to try spaces out.

But what if you could take it a step further though? Wouldn't it be easier to just have the news aggregator incorporated into your email client? Merge the notions of 'get new mail' and 'get new news' into a single application that already has the read-offline paradigm build in. This would avoid the hassle of having to configure the news aggregator to retrieve the RSS feed once, parse it, repackage it and then send it back onto the network to be retrieved by email. Wouldn't it rock if there was an imminent release of just such a product? But there is! Diego Doval's spaces is exactly that product and it can do all I mentioned above and a whole lot more.
[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]

» Finally, a chance to be free of Outlook?  Beyond my wildest dreams!

07/11/2002 15:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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You know a good idea when you see one

IdeaTools Weblog day 2: Quick tour. [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

» Paolo's showing off IdeaTools:

  • Stories and news
  • Product catalog and shopping basket
  • Events management
  • Discussion group
  • Rss News Aggregator
  • Customer/Contents profiling
  • Search engine

and that's just for starters.  Definitely worth taking a look.

05/11/2002 21:37 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

e-mail response management

I've just had a chat with the guys from Neotonic who make the Trakken e-mail response and FAQ management software.  A lot of the intelligence that makes Yahoo groups work is at work behind Trakken.  If you need e-mail management I suggest you check 'em out.
05/11/2002 18:51 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Ego trippin

For what is worth, google indexes have been updated again, now instead of the 5th I'm the 3rd Paolo and "Dave" is back on the first page ";->". Check your ranking. [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

» And I'm now the 65th Matt!  This is so cool.  Last time I wasn't even listed...

05/11/2002 17:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Season 5. One can only hope.


What Farscape Character are you?

Here's hoping that whoever picks up Farscape will make series 5.

04/11/2002 13:19 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Keeping it open and creative

Open Conversation. One little insight/technique from Malcolm Allan from last week's knowledge-cafe. In a conversation when someone says something with which you disagree - to keep the conversation open and creative - reply with the words:
"And my map of the world is a little different - can I share it with you?"

or a similar phrase. [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

» It was a good point and I've tried it many times since then.  At least I've thought about trying it.  Most of the time I'm in conversation and slap my head just after saying "but, ..."

With luck I get better at it over time...

01/11/2002 15:30 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Microsoft Blogger

Anil Dash: Microsoft's Weblog Software. [Scripting News]

» The only thing wrong with this is that Microsoft won't use the words 'weblog', 'blog', 'weblogger', etc...  They wouldn't use such old tired terminology when they could invent new and improved (and trademarked) terminology of their own!

01/11/2002 15:26 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Seeing the real Google

News.Com: The Google Gods. [Scripting News]

» Interesting.

"But Google is examining its system, well aware that growing criticism could damage its credibility with the public at large."

Too late in my case.

I wrote a little while ago I wrote about how I felt warm and fuzzy about Google.  Well this article and a another recent article about Google delisting sites without explanation has brought me to my senses.  Google is a business, not a public servant.

01/11/2002 14:59 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The darker side of blacklists

Amy Wohl on the agony of blacklists. [Scripting News]

» Yep.  I am afflicted by the same problem.  My hosting company are also brutally uninterested in helping out.

01/11/2002 14:40 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Who are they kidding?

Monday: "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes". This official London Transport "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes" poster handily beats the USPTO's Homeland Security eye/keyhole graphic for spine-tingling ... [istori/log]

» My first thought when I saw the poster was that it would not have looked out of place outside Dr. Goebbels ministry.

I'd like to be amazed at how quickly we've adapted/succumbed to the surveillance state.  I'm persuing my MP about these issues, I'd like to think that others are too but I wonder.  I also wonder if it will do any good.  I took a look at the issues page on my MP's site, hardly inspirational...

01/11/2002 12:54 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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