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Thursday, November 28, 2002

This Weblog Has Moved

This weblog has moved to its new, permanent location:

After trials, tribulations, false starts, wearing of sack cloth and much gnashing of teeth (and the blood of one dead chicken) I have successfully moved my weblog. For the past week I have been posting only at the new location. It works as expected. All is well.

Most of the archives will remain here in order to preserve as many links as possible, but I ran out of disk space and had to delete some of the early ones to keep the site under 40MB. All the archives are at the new site. Eventually I will come back here and put in re-direct meta-tags for both web browsers and RSS aggregators to automagically load the new location. In the meantime, if you have subscribed to a particular Category -- i.e. Patento.absurdium -- you can re-link to it via the Category links on the left.

Many thanks to:

(drum roll please)

Now, on with the show.......................

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Freight Management Important for Print-to-Order

The first print e-procurement service has incorporated sophisticated rate shopping software into its hosted software bundle. Logistics management has been one of the missing links in the development of demand-driven print models. With the these services becomng available to all of Printable's ASP customers the market for the market for broad-based demand-driven print gets closer.

Printable Technologies Inc. Licenses Invenix Freight Management Software

[...] The Invenix Freight Management software calculates an order's real-time shipping costs by performing order cubing, box selection, weight calculations, and shipper rate calculations using both parcel and LTL carriers. The solution licensed by Printable includes the printed products configurator, which calculates volume and weight for printed items based on quantity, product dimensions, paper weight, and other job specifications including folding, binding, and shrinkwrapping. [...]


Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Role Playing for KM

Another great list located by the venerable Al Macintyre, describing 12 key roles in the knowledge worker's life.

Knowledge Workers Zodiac.

Via Seb's Open Research.

Al has just dug up a gem by David Skyrme on the German language blog fliegenvonferne which describes twelve types (or roles) of knowledge workers. Pretty neat, concise descriptions.

The roles are (see here for the full descriptions):

  • Expert
  • Knowledge analyst
  • Knowledge leader
  • Knowledge networker
  • Knowledge custodian
  • Knowledge creator
  • Knowledge entrepreneur
  • Knowledge packager
  • Knowledge visualiser
  • Knowledge activist
  • Knowledge seeker
  • Storyteller

And a knowledge manager is all 12!  It's nice to have the distinctions around the roles and to recognise how each drives different activities.  But remember, they are roles describing action - not who we are.  I would hate to see "Company X is looking for a knowledge packager.  The successful applicant..."


Amazon Gains Bertelsmann as Services Customer

Amazon continues to sell their e-commerce expertise to the BigBoyz in the media biz. Sooner or later Amazon will be profitable, but I'm betting it won't be from sales of retail products. As I noted back in September, expect more of this as the reality continues to emerge than making a living selling products requires very different skills from running large-scale e-comm services.

Bertelsmann aligns with Amazon.

BERTELSMANN HAS TAPPED online retailer to help run Bertelsmann's music retailing Web site, CDnow, company representatives said on Tuesday.

The Gütersloh, Germany, media company has contracted Seattle-based to provide services to CDnow, according to spokespeople from both companies. Bertelsmann's BeMusic division oversees the CDnow music site and Bertelsmann's BMG Music Service record club.[...] [InfoWorld: Top News]

P2P equal Pay2Play

The Danish APG got a court order to send invoices for abirtrary amounts to 'priates' based on screen shots of filenames. Interesting tactic, but not much of a burden of proof. Remember, this is the same country that ruled linking to newspapers was illegal. Not much chance these guys are going to become an economic force in the near future.

Anti-pirates hit Danish P2P users with huge bills.

The Danish Anti Pirat Gruppen (Anti Piracy Group) has issued invoices of up to $14,000 apiece to approximately 150 users of KaZaA and eDonkey for illegally downloading copyright material. [...][The Register]

'Fair Use' Irrelvant and Improper

So says Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Frewing in preparations for the ElcomSoft trial. Frewing is one of the multitude of unelected public servants defending society against evil-doers who would thwart our God-given right to buy copy-protected digital media.

Major test of copyright law set to start. CNET Nov 25 2002 5:39PM ET

The first big courtroom test of a U.S. law that makes it criminal to offer software for cracking digital copyright protections should finally begin next week, after visa delays for two of the case's main players. [Moreover - IP and patents news]

Opportunities in Russia

Tomorrow I'm meeting with Andrey Dulub, a Russian intern here seeking out business partnerships with US companies. Andrey contacted me through my relationship with CRMA and wants to discuss possible opportunities for sharing information. I thought this AMR piece on the Russian market was timely.

Market Opportunities in Russia

Russia is probably not on your map in the search for new growth opportunities. I rarely hear software providers talk about their expansion plans east of Poland. But Mirantis, a technology outsourcer that features what it calls "instant-on" services for the Russian market, believes that many North American and Western European countries are missing an opportunity to participate in one of the great growth economies. Of course this assessment is a little self-serving since the company targets Russia, but a quick check of top performing mutual funds on Yahoo! Finance shows that six of the top seven mutual funds for the last year are Russian or Eastern European-focused with growth rates of 22% to 40%. No, I didn't forget the negative sign--that is positive growth. [...] [AMR Research]

iTown and Edu Blogging Communities

This looks like something that would appeal the the National Writing Project crowd that just met in Atlanta at Georgia State. Gotta figure out how to tie this all together...

Ooh... Ooh! Neat..

The itown global network of weblogs is up and open for business.  Very nice implementation. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

This implementation of Radio addresses a lot of wishes/wants on my list.  If we are to get folks in the University community engaged with blogs, then the implementation, which includes community building (and the road signs posted by an entity such as itown are certainly needed), back office support and some old fashioned cheer leading.

And, the Mayor of iTown leaves in Athens.  Go Dawgs! [Jim Flowers]

[Seblogging News]

The Immediate Feedback of Web Publishing

A nice quote I want to keep for my marcom packet on intranets, blogs, and web-centric publishing. Also another take on getting new users over the 'hurdle' of web publishing.

This is what makes the job worth the effort:  From Gavin Brown, the webmaster at Villa Julie College:

"We are using it (Manila) to publish our academic departments as non-blogged, traditional websites. To that end, we have built a Manila site for each academic department, with a department faculty member as direct editor.

The revolutionary aspect of it is that we are getting our own faculty to do the publishing, directly in Manila. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you know much about colleges, then you may know that getting the faculty to use anything technology-ish is tremendously difficult. Many college websites have poor quality academic department areas due, at least in part, to lack of participation by the faculty.

Manila has enabled us to overcome this hurdle, and has gotten even our most technology-shy faculty to start getting on their websites and build real content. And because they see their own handiwork immediately, they have much more pride and investment in it."

This brings up an interesting point.  It may be that in order to get people used to the idea of weblogging, they should start with a small traditional site that they can easily edit in a browser.  Manila provides that with an Edit this Page button on every page the assigned editor has control over.  As they get used to the experience, they would likely see the benefit to adding a weblog to their site.
[John Robb's Radio Weblog]

Peter Chernin's Skewed Vision

Peter Chernin, the Fox exec who proclaimed the Internet a 'moral-free zone', prettied-up his plea for the tech crowd and made a keynote at Comdex. Chernin and his cohorts in the media industry have a seriously skewed view of the world and the people who live in it. Chernin rewrites a little history, to boot. Read Jonathan Peterson's extensive notes for more...

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...

[Curiouser and curiouser!]

activeRoll for Blog-Tribe @ Ryze

I just used the activeRoll feature in activeRenderer to render an OPML file stored at and display the complete list of Ryze bloggers. It's an experiment to see how it works.

It's easy enough. Works just like the blogroll macro in Radio. I need to get a grip on aR's CSS to make it look right. But it works. See it at the bottom of the left-hand column, but catch it while you can -- it'll be gone soon until I learn to control the appearance.

Russian CRM

I got an interesting e-mail tonight from a Russian visitor to Atlanta who represents a Russian consulting company. He describes the company as 'one of the leaders in the Russian CRM market' and wants to meet before he heads home on Friday. I would have been suspicious but he's arranging the meeting through the Training and Development Director fo the Georgia Council for International Visitors, so I figure his business here is legit. I'm going to meet with him and see what happens.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Cleaning Up the Archives

I've just spent a couple of hours cleaning up old posts so my archive pages would work. I decided to go back through the old posts and have Radio generate weekly archive pages. So I started going back to each eweek and editing one post. But I found a lot my my old stuff was poorly formatted. I must have found a dozen or so open blockquote tags, which causes the indent to run on down the page to all the subsequent posts. I spent about an hour going through and checking all the archive pages, editing old posts, and republishing the page. Finally go it all cleaned up.

I also decided to start using Marc Barrot's activeRenderer to keep a collection of link pages. I used aR to create the Archive, MapInfo, and Presentations pages on the site since they're link-driven and keeping an OPML file seems the easiest way to manage them.

I'm really starting to like the Outliner. I've been using Radio for about six months and I'm only now getting the hang of it. This points out one of the problems with the outline paradigm -- it takes a while to get your arms around it. And I'm a reasonably thoughtful and computer savvy person, though I'm not a programmer. But working your way through all the idiosyncrasies of Radio, then learning about renderers, then learning about the Outliner is a daunting task. There is definitely room for some sort of training and support with these products. But they sure are nice when you begin to understand them and they work like their supposed to.

Christmas Wishlist: Cantenna

This is definitely going on my holiday wishlist!

Readymade Pringles antenna for Don't-DIYers.. I'm going to get one of these readymade Pringle can antennas for $20. They look cool, too! What a great idea. Link Discuss (Thanks, May!) [Boing Boing Blog]

KM is 'The Game'

Something to play besides mini-putt when I have spare computing time...

KM Quest. Someone recently made reference to a new knowledge management game called KM Quest. This looks very interesting, and a lot of work has been spent on it, although I still don't know how it works. To quote: KM Quest has... [Column Two]

Ashcroft Reverses View on Privacy Now That He's the Watcher

It's enlightening to go back and read the statements made by Atty Gen Ashcroft in 1997 regarding the Clinton Administration's desire to increase electronic surveillance. My, how one's view changes when one is no longer the watched, but rather the watcher.

If you've never read the Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2002, you should. How do you know when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving...

Watching Big Brother

Drudge links to articles and documents showing Ashcroft's changing view of Internet privacy. (He also links to this article about the RIAA vs. the US Navy.) Meanwhile, Newsweek follows up on Safire's great column exposing the Pentagon's Information Awareness Office. []

Humans Are the Weakest Link

Once again, the human factor proves to be the weakest link in protecting our privacy. All the computer security in the world doesn't help when the people who are supposed to be protecting us are selling out to their own avarice and greed.

Cops Bust Massive ID Theft Ring. Federal prosecutors have arrested and charged a credit bureau helpdesk worker and two accomplices who allegedly stole more than 15,000 credit reports and sold them to other crooks for $60 a pop. Michelle Delio reports from New York.

[...] Posing as employees of those companies, the criminals would then obtain and download customer credit records, which contained sensitive information such as bank account, credit card and social security numbers.

These records were then sold to a network of criminals who would use them to drain bank accounts, open new lines of credit, order new checks and other activities.

"With a few keystrokes, these people were able to pick the pockets of millions of Americans," Comey said.[...]

[Wired News]

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Relationship Between Content Management and Learning

James Robertson finds a helpful paper that describes learning objects and their structure in a very understandable way.

What is a learning object?. Glenn Millar has written a very good primer on learning objects, that walks through what they are, how they are constructed, and what they are used for. To quote: First, many educators see learning objects as a viable alternative to... [Column Two]

The paper, from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, classifies learning objects as having the following characteristics:

  • Smaller units of learning: Learning objects usually comprise a smaller unit of learning than a course, typically ranging from two to 15 minutes.
  • Self contained: Each learning object is self-contained and can be used independently of other learning objects.
  • Reusable: Learning objects are reusable. The same learning object can be used in multiple contexts for multiple purposes.
  • Can be aggregated: Learning objects can be grouped into larger collections of content to create more substantial units of learning.
  • Tagged with metadata: All learning objects are tagged with metadata that describes the learning object and allows it to be easily retrieved in a search.

All of these are characteristics typical of what one looks for in setting up a CMS. Another important point the author makes is:

The second thing that needs to happen before learning objects can become the norm in educational practice is that educators need to learn more about them. They need to feel comfortable about using them and they need to become adept at searching for them and creating them.

Weblogs, and their associated CMS systems would make great introductions to the modular, reusable, and bite-sized concepts expressed in learning objects. Can we find a way to formalize this connection and build a stronger, long-term value proposition for the educational sector?

NFL: Atlanta Crushes Carolina

Atlanta makes it 7-in-a-row, and soundly whips the rabble from Carolina. The Falcons certainly aren't as dominant as they appeared in today's 41-0 drubbing, but there were a number of high spots. The defense appears to be coming together, no longer looking like a Class 5A high school squad, and Vick is learning to use the rest of the offense instead of carrying the whole game on his own. Five different players scored TDs, including a defensive TD on an interception return.

Next week it's off to Minnesota to face the 3-9 Vikings, fresh from another loss to New England. We should win that one, too. Then we face Warren Sapp in Tampa Bay for the toughest game on the rest of the schedule.

Asian Patent Unity

Asian powers seek to unify their patent offices and cooperate on patent protections. This note on Asian Piracy from back in July picks up on a Salon article on the rampant piracy in the Asia-Pacific region. We'll have to see if this patent move is symbolic or literal, and if it ammounts to more than lip service for intellectual property protection.

Korea, China, Japan to link patent networks. Korea Herald Nov 24 2002 12:48PM ET

Korea, China and Japan are to agree today to set up a computer network linking the three countries' patent offices in a bid to conduct joint screening of patents and share results of their patent screenings, the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) said yesterday. [...] [Moreover - IP and patents news]

Radio vs FTP

I have a suggestion for working around the serious problems with Radio's FTP function. Like others, I've been struggling with Radio's dysfunctional FTP upstream drivers while trying to move this weblog to my own domain. Radio's whole FTP driver structure is broken and needs to be fixed, but that probably won't happen

The main symptom seems to be Radio locking up during the upstream function, failing to send any data but churning away at 100% CPU usage for hours at a time. The only fix seems to be shutting down Radio and restarting, at which time Radio will pickup where it left off on the upstream process. I'm wondering if one of the Radio scripting gurus could write some sort of FTP monitor/restart script similar to Andy Fragen's Keep Web Server Up tool.

Keep Web Server Up monitors and restarts Radio's web server function under Mac OS X, which seems to have a habit of killing the Web Server service in Radio for no good reason. The FTP problem is probably more complicated since FTP isn't a separate Radio service that can be easily stopped and started. Maybe the solution has to run as some sort of external service. I don't know. But it's bound to be doable.

The other real problem is Radio sucking CPU cycles just querying for new files. When Radio uses the XML Storage System method it's CPU load for background upstreaming functions are trivial. But switch to FTP and the CPU pegs at 100% every five seconds. Radio basically takes a full 20% of CPU capacity to do nothing but monitor folders for FTP upstream. This can be stopped by turning the background upstream function off, or setting it to upstream only after publishing. But that's less convenient than leaving Radio's publish service on all the time.

Copyright for Beginners

A very basic, but useful, primer on copyright issues for those just getting into web publishing, or learning the basics of citing and quoting for weblogging.

Beginner Tip: Understand Copyright Basics. Net Mechanic Nov 23 2002 11:13PM ET [Moreover - IP and patents news]

Funding for Blog Research

I'd like to put together a package of weblogging products and support services for public schools and municipalities. Taking inspiration from the Bay Area Writing Project and the mlk Digital Daily Agenda, I think weblogs and their associated publishing technologies can be a boon to the communication and learning challenges these groups face.

But given how tight budgets are for the public sector it seems likely that grants would be one of the few ways school districts and municipal governments could make this happen. I hope Liz will blog the grant proposal process. Judging from the comments on her post she's already generated some interest.

Research on weblogs: getting funding?.

Liz is thinking of applying for funding at the U.S. National Science Foundation to study blogs. Ideas on her mind include "designing new curricula, creating new professional publication models, sponsoring a conference, developing a new online resource center for microcontent publishing, etc, etc." Alex might be interested in such a thing...

This might be the first time that plans for a research grant application are unraveled in such an overt manner. I must say Ilike the approach.

[Seb's Open Research]

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