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 18 March 2003
2:59:00 PM    Bush feels Serene? How nice for him

High stakes for President Bush. BBC Washington correspondent Rob Watson considers what is at stake for President Bush's standing at home and abroad. [BBC News | World | UK Edition]

Okay I find the following (quoted from this article) chilling:

As war approaches, President Bush himself is said to be serene - a serenity aides say comes from his conviction that what he is doing is right, despite the worldwide chorus of doubt and disapproval.

I may be wrong, but my understanding of the state of mind of previous US presidents (including Nixon) when contemplating war is that they were not serene.  They were battling to find another solution, to avoid war.  Serenity when contemplating war strikes me as the pose of the religious zealot or ideologue. 

2:48:55 PM    Damn the torpedos?

Six Reasons why InfoPath is DOA.

Six Reasons why InfoPath is DOA:

Although he hasn't yet used it, Richard Tallnet has posted an article, "Six Reasons why InfoPath is DOA". They are all very valid reasons. I have a post to make later on the subject, but Richard is dead on with his take, this is not a tool for developers (but that does not mean its not a good tool in general).

Source: .NET Weblogs *


An interesting rebuttal of the pro-InfoPath view.  All the reasons given are valid but I think the best are:

1. No security.  This is likely to be a killer in any real deployment scenario.

2. No infrastructure.

But they forgot one thing: what company in their right mind already has all of these key XML data formats defined, business logic developed, web services deployed, and lacks only a useful interface?.

If there are no good answers to these questions then I think InfoPath is going to struggle to be anything more than a hype success a la XBox.

2:36:39 PM    Will we catch this wave?

Participants Share.

Sharing knowledge with yourself. Jim McGee nails the role of weblogs in KM, counter to Stephen Downes misguided claim that "Weblogs get data into the system, but that's never been the problem with knowledge management: no, the problem is in using the data in any meaningful way."[OLDaily]

In the organizations where I've struggled to make knowledge management work, one of the fatal flaws has been the notion that knowledge management is somebody else's problem. ...a huge amount of the knowledge important to me remains explicit and never ends up making the cut to tacit. ... Weblogs put the emphasis where I believe it belongs; on the individual knowledge worker. It encourages them to begin thinking about their own knowledge work more explicitly and systematically. It helps them realize that they are the problem and the solution. You have to learn how to share knowledge with yourself over time before you can begin to share it effectively with others. [McGee's Musings]

What weblogs do, contrary to traditional enterprise software, is enage people as participants. 

[Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

More good thinking out loud from Jim & Ross.  I'm not convinced by the use of do in the last sentence though.

I don't think that weblogs do anything and I'm increasingly of the opinion that the benefits that we are seeing at the moment are simply those of tapping into a particular type of personality, i.e. the enthusiastic early adopters who will do something with anything you throw at them.

So far I'm not seeing the kind of evidence that weblogging (in whatever form you name it) offers a particularly unique solution to the KM problem generally.  Those solutions are going to have to come from us, in how we apply what is, after all, just another technology.  Otherwise I predict in 12-18 months time, articles about "how weblogging has failed us."

In my opinion, we do have an opportunity to use the current wave of popularity for weblogging to get people to experiment with this new medium, try to change some working assumptions and the practices that go with them and move things on a little.

Ready for the next wave.

12:46:52 PM    Voices from Baghdad

A voice from Iraq. Seems reasonable today to hear what Salam, the lone local blogger in Baghdad, has to say. He seems like a normal, intelligent guy, who says what he thinks, but he has been very courageous in sticking his neck out so publically. He supports a regime change, but he doesn't support war, and he thinks the human shields should go home.

"No one inside Iraq is for war (note I said war not a change of regime), no human being in his right mind will ask you to give him the beating of his life, unless you are a member of fight club that is, and if you do hear Iraqi (in Iraq, not expat) saying 'come on bomb us' it is the exasperation and 10 years of sanctions and hardship talking. There is no person inside Iraq (and this is a bold, blinking and underlined inside) who will be jumping up and down asking for the bombs to drop. We are not suicidal you know, not all of us in any case.I think that the coming war is not justified (and it is very near now, we hear the war drums loud and clear if you dont then take those earplugs off!). The excuses for it have been stretched to their limits they will almost snap. A decision has been made sometime ago that 'regime change' in Baghdad is needed and excuses for the forceful change have to be made. I do think war could have been avoided, not by running back and forth the last two months, thats silly. But the whole issue of Iraq should have been dealt with differently since the first day after GW I.The entities that call themselves 'the international community' should have assumed their responsibilities a long time ago, should have thought about what the sanctions they have imposed really meant, should have looked at reports about weapons and human rights abuses a long time before having them thrown in their faces as excuses for war five minutes before midnight.What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could 'support democracy in Iraq' become to mean 'bomb the hell out of Iraq'? why did it end up that democracy wont happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful."

[Ming the Mechanic]

It'll be interesting to see if & what this guy is publishing over the next few weeks & months.  Assuming he lives.

11:41:30 AM    Robin Cook resigns


Robin Cook's 11-minute resignation speech in the British Parliament says it all - highly recommended. []

I wish the US had the same tradition of resignation as other nations.  When its acceptable for someone to give up their job in the name of principles or shame it makes the institution stronger.  Without such traditions we all put on a facade of solidarity, forget how we got here (misbegotten chads) and feed a tyranny of majority.  Its expected that Tony Blair will loose several others in the coming days. 


John Brady Kiesling's resignation from the state department was more than admirable for a person of conscious.  He acted against the grain of tradition.  A protest unaccepted by his institutions, a voice needed and one that will cost him personally.  We yield to the Hobbsian Leviathan so quickly.

"Let them hate so long as they fear."

Lucius Accius (170 BC - 86 BC), believed to be a favorite saying of the notorious Emperor Caligula.

[Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

I've just read the text of the Cook speech and it is a good one.  A lot of people do not like Robin Cook but I would hope that they would see past that and read his words, summarized here:

  • I have chosen to address the House first on why I cannot support a war without international agreement or domestic support.
  • I applaud the heroic efforts that the prime minister has made in trying to secure a second resolution.
  • Now that those attempts have failed, we cannot pretend that getting a second resolution was of no importance.
  • France has been at the receiving end of bucket loads of commentary in recent days.
  • Germany wants more time for inspections; Russia wants more time for inspections; indeed, at no time have we signed up even the minimum necessary to carry a second resolution.
  • The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council.
  • The US can afford to go it alone, but Britain is not a superpower.
  • The legal basis for our action in Kosovo was the need to respond to an urgent and compelling humanitarian crisis.
  • Our difficulty in getting support this time is that neither the international community nor the British public is persuaded that there is an urgent and compelling reason for this military action in Iraq.
  • The threshold for war should always be high.
  • I hope that Saddam, even now, will quit Baghdad and avert war, but it is false to argue that only those who support war support our troops.
  • Over the past decade that strategy destroyed more weapons than in the Gulf war, dismantled Iraq's nuclear weapons programme and halted Saddam's medium and long-range missiles programmes.
  • We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.
  • Only a couple of weeks ago, Hans Blix told the Security Council that the key remaining disarmament tasks could be completed within months.
  • Yet it is more than 30 years since resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.
  • We do not express the same impatience with the persistent refusal of Israel to comply.
  • Nor is our credibility helped by the appearance that our partners in Washington are less interested in disarmament than they are in regime change in Iraq.
  • That explains why any evidence that inspections may be showing progress is greeted in Washington not with satisfaction but with consternation: it reduces the case for war.
  • I welcome the strong personal commitment that the prime minister has given to middle east peace, but Britain's positive role in the middle east does not redress the strong sense of injustice throughout the Muslim world at what it sees as one rule for the allies of the US and another rule for the rest.


11:18:09 AM    InfoPath: Golden path or mantrap

OneNote and InfoPath.

I just saw the demos for OneNote and InfoPath.  OneNote is just a glorified Notepad, no where as good as NoteTaker is.  InfoPath, on the other hand, is going to be a catalyst, an monster underwater earquake that will start a tsunami of changes across industries.  Its going to generate Office suite upgrade momentum as well as Microsoft server and middleware software sales.  Buy Microsoft stock.  Their revenue will rise sharply in the near future because of InfoPath.  I am not exaggerating, folks.

[Don Park's Blog]

Reading Don's blog these past few months I've come to trust his judgement on this kind of thing.  The InfoPath demo certainly offers some attractive possibilities.  Looks like M$ may have a winner.

Of course the usual M$ questions remain:

  • Not browser based, back to the proprietary client
  • XML forms but not XForms
  • How easy will it be to work with non-M$ platforms

I guess that the last question is, ultimately, key.  If InfoPath is just another Web Services Architecture client (and something that propels that future) then it's a good thing.  Otherwise...

10:54:08 AM    Arthur Kent: Journalist for our times

Scud Stud lobs a missile at Bush. During the Gulf War, NBC reporter Arthur Kent was famed for his boyish good looks. Today, liberated from the network, he's free to say that Bush is out of control. []

I don't remember Arthur Kent from the first Gulf War.  Perhaps because I quickly grew sick of being spoon fed the "ra ra" news coverage and turned it off.  However I wish I had caught his pieces.

His is a very thoughtful point of view that we should be hearing more of.  The following is just a sample that resonated with me.  I'd encourage anyone to read the whole article.

I'm still trying to shake from my mind the disbelief that a modern American administration can be as clumsy, as brusque and as crude as this one. Think back to Sept. 12, 2001: Kids in Paris were wearing American flags out of solidarity with the American people. Countries were lining up, tripping over one another, to come and touch the hem of the cloak of power in Washington D.C. The Bush administration had allies and support and emotional empathy from people around the world. It's gone. Where has it gone? It hasn't disappeared by Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein pouring a potion over people. It's gone because the administration has so offended the sensibilities of peace-loving, democracy-loving people that they simply have to take to the streets, or demand of their leaders to tell the Bush administration to stop and to think.

I don't want to see a "coalition of the willing." We need a coalition of the thinking. We need countries and leaders to get together and think. The campaign against terror is a battle of ideas. We have better ideas; we have better societies. You outthink terrorists and you outmaneuver them, economically, socially, politically, diplomatically, as well as militarily. We have got to get into the Muslim world and the Third World in a nonviolent fashion and outperform the al-Qaidas and Saddam Husseins of the world with the promise of a better tomorrow for those people, as well as our own. Otherwise, we lose.

Americans should ask themselves: Whose agenda, besides the Bush administration's, is served by a rush to war? The answer is Osama bin Laden's and those of the people like him. They don't care about the Iraqi people, or Saddam Hussein, but they are confident a deployment of raw, American military power in the Middle East will create more anti-American sentiment, which will help them. If you're falling into your enemy's trap, what's the hurry? Why aren't there smarter solutions? As journalists, these are the questions that we should be prompting the public to ask. Instead, I see coverage about the inevitability of war and the deployment.