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Friday, July 12, 2002

Fighting Back Against Patent Abuse

We need more companies to stand up to patent bullies.

Palm, Handspring win patent spat. ZDNet Jul 12 2002 3:21PM ET [Moreover - IP and patents news]

Under the Radar -- When is it Safe to Declare the Klog Revolution

This is the second piece I found while mining Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog, and it is Jim McGee thinking through the implications of letting our employers know about our weblogs.

I don't know what the answer is. I don't have an employer -- at least not for long -- so I don't have to worry about it. But I can sure see the issues. If you work for any MajorCorp I think there are serious concerns (see: "Can K-Logs Improve Corporate Integrity") about how your efforts will be perceived.

Having read this (older?) piece, I'm now less interested in having my company notice that I'm k-logging/blogging/whatever, lest they spray Roundup® on me.
When do we declare the revolution?.
Where's the Beef in Web Services?

You're reading it. It's personal publishing.  Web Services are being used to reinvent the world of personal publishing. What is personal publishing good for? Knowledge management, small business, news publishing, and much more. A combination of markets worth a boatload of money (personal Web publishing can even take a bite out of the $8 b a year Microsoft makes from Word sales). In addition to the potential opportunity, personal publishing is a sexy use of Web Services that provides immediate, tangible results. [...more] [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

All true - but now we can route around the ignorance the same way that the internet can route around an outage. When the PC started being used inside organizations it was largely ignored as well. The power structure is always blind to grassroots phenomena; that's what gives them time to take root.

I would just as soon let the power structure miss the point for a while longer. What is going on now is fundamentally subversive, as Dave Weinberger has been arguing for a long time. Let's be mindful about how and when we trigger corporate immune responses. We want to reach a healthy symbiotic partnership not kill the organism or ourselves. The question is not where's the beef so much as when do we want "them" to get it. [Jim McGee: Blogging]

[Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog]

What is a K-Log -- John Robb on the Phenomenon

The originator of the k-log concept explains the technology and the revolution in this short interview. As interesting as the interview, however, are the comments attached to it. It's clear that these folks, with one exception, just didn't "get it".

Neither did I, at first. You can read "Struggling with Radio Userland", "Things to do before the Demo expires", and "A Great Future in Radio" to see that it took me almost three weeks of serious effort before the value became clear to me.

Today I wouldn't go back.

The Synchronicity of Klogging Culture

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

Below, Paul Holbrook discusses the difficulty of exposing what we think to those around us. He says (better than I could) what it's like to try and come to grips with speaking privately in a public forum. I suspect his words will ring true for many who are new to the idea of thinking in public.

I completely overlooked this post, even though I'm specifically on the lookout for pieces relevant to new kloggers. Having found it, I added it to my klogging culture package for helping future users. But I missed it. And had I waited more than a day or so to peruse Paul's site it would have fallen below the water line. I may have never seen it.

But Ron Lusk caught it. I don't know Ron Lusk. I just found his url in my Referrer log today, so I went to check it out. I liked what I saw so I subscribed to Ron's RSS feed and a little later today this tidbit from Paul showed up in my aggregator. Ron had looked where I looked, but had seen something different.

This points to the value of two things:

  • Mining one's Referrer logs for little bits of gold like Ron Lusk's weblog, and
  • How weblogs begin to form what Cory Doctorow calls the Outboard Brain -- an external web of information and insight that can make us all a little bit richer.

By knowing a little about who is reading my log I found a valuable resource -- Ron. And now that I know Ron exists, has similar interests, and is prowling the web for items similar to what I would seek, I can rely on him to catch some of the salient things I miss. Which means I don't have to catch them all on my own. As Matt Mower says in this post:

I'm not Atlas to the internet.

Even to my own small chunk of it.

In return, I should do the same for Ron, or anyone else who reads this weblog. That is the benefit and culture of k-logs. Now, go read Paul's post and feel for yourself some of the struggles of thinking out loud.

Paul Holbrook's Radio Weblog. Paul's original RSS item was shortened, with no link to his own comments on klogging. He speaks of the discomfort in revealing one's klogging to others on a grand scale.
Shortly after I arrived, I started keeping a klog of my work. So far I've clued in the few people I've worked with so far to my klog, but as best as I can tell, they haven't paid much attention. I've been struggling with the question about when and how to let the larger project team know about my klog, but so far I've been reluctant to do so. Today I was in kick-off meeting for the large project I've been working on. Towards the end of the meeting, I was almost consumed with the desire to tell people about my klog, but I just couldn't bring myself to speak up.

I've asked myself why that is, and the answer isn't straight-forward. I've only been at Tech for six weeks; higher-ed politics are notoriously complicated, and I don't know how people might react to the things I've written. A klog is by definition not politically correct; you say what you think, not what you believe others might want to hear.[Paul Holbrook's Radio Weblog]

[Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog]

Process Logging via K-Log

Matt Mower's idea of process logging is along the same lines as Phil Windley's $40 intranet tool -- a low cost reporting and communication infrastructure that lets anyone who needs it, easily subscribe to useful data feeds in standard formats. I think there are some threads about this topic in Yahoo! Groups: K-Log but I don't know of anyone working on tools. I'd like to see them if there are.

Process logging?.

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

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

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

Are any of the open source workflow packages looking at RSS integration? [Curiouser and curiouser!]

LinkBack to Yourself

Nice usability tip -- sort of the reverse of KMping and TrackBack, and more manual. But a good idea. Also, hold your cursor over the term URL in the post below and note how Ron has used the acronym tag to improve readibilty. I saw this documented in DiveIntoMark's 30-day accessibility series on Day 17: Defining acronyms, but this is the first time I've seen it used. Nice work, Ron.

URLs in comments. I encountered a brilliant idea (someone else's -- I'll have to call him X -- naturally) while viewing comments on a post somewhere. When the comment form requested X's URL, he entered the URL of a post discussing the item he commented on. In his comment, he said, “Click on my name for more of my views on this topic,” or the like. Bravo!
[Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog]

How Do You Say MLogging

Nice summary of the mobile aspects of klogging -- I already use Mail-to-Weblog extensively. I would add that, to be effective, we need the ability to specify a category to which an incoming e-mail should be posted, and have an on/off toggle for Home Page. Personally, I think the combination of remote access and Mail-to-Weblog is very powerful. I'm still working on getting remote access, but I think I'll have it soon.

I like the idea of running the klog software and working locally, even when offline -- it's very convenient. But I refuse to use a laptop computer as my primary workstation. No laptop is going to replace my 20" monitor, 768MB RAM, 80GB RAID array, and 12-year-old Northgate Computer "real man's" OmniKey/PLUS keyboard. Until I can run Radio on two separate computers and synch the result I will have to do without this feature.

There's a final item in the article that strikes me as off-base -- using e-mail and a klog like a discussion group. Modifying a klog into a discussion group seems like a lot of trouble and inappropriate use of the tool. If you want a discussion group or mail list, just use one.

Mobile K-Logging

Rapid mobility is the sign of the times. In many organizations employees spend as much or more time on airplanes, in distant hotel rooms, and at client locations as they do at the office. So, how can they contribute to a corporate K-Log when they are on the road and/or disconnected? Here is my thinking on this.

There are three modes of remote K-Logging. They are:

  1. Remote access to a K-Log through a browser on a random PC K-Log tools that are located on a server or desktop PC (through remote access settings) can be accessed while on the road as long as the systems are located outside of the corporate firewall. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case with many companies. [...]
  2. Mobile laptop with a local K-Log tool. With a laptop K-Logging tool, employees can K-Log while on a plane, in a hotel room, and in a client meeting -- all while disconnected. When they reconnect, the publishing process is fast and efficient as K-Log updates on the desktop are published to the host. Additionally, news headlines are downstreamed to the laptop. This is very similar in concept to the efficient e-mail replication found in Lotus Notes (and what made it successful). This is also what I do personally.
  3. Remote K-Logging via e-mail. E-mail works great as a way to post updates to a K-Log tool on the desktop or server while on the road without a laptop. Many employees now use e-mail enabled devices like Blackberries and wireless Palms. These tools don't support high quality browsing, but they do a fairly good job with e-mail.[...]
[John Robb's Radio Weblog] via [Jim McGee: Blogging] via [Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog]

Anarchy and Infrastructure

And on the heels of that last bit of Congressional digi-sputum, Phil Windley points us to a very nice, understandable slide show by Doc Searls.

I've heard it said that a consultant is someone who can put any idea into a 2x2 matrix. I guess that's true to some extent. But the matrix is only as valuable as the truth it contains. Searls' little pictograms really get across some important fundamentals. I just hope he's right.

Anarchy and Infrastructure. Doc Searls has an absolutely fantastic slide show on his site from his talk at the June JabberConf.  Very compelling...
[Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog]

The Devil Made Me Do It

With elections just around the corner the campaign silly season has begun, and we're seeing the introduction of all manner of half-baked, self-serving legislation. In one of the worst cases of legislation abuse I have ever seen, a group of Congressmen (can anyone guess who?) have co-authored a copyright bill that would severly limit the right of fair use. But they each added a disclaimer saying they don't really mean it.

This is disgraceful behavior. Some days I think I've awakened in the middle of the 1985 Terry Gilliam film Brazil.

Copyright bill may severely limit your rights. ZDNet Jul 12 2002 8:02AM ET

[...] In an unusual twist, Coble and Berman stressed in their letter to colleagues that their authorship of the draft bill does not necessarily "constitute an endorsement of its contents." Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the full Judiciary committee, also helped in the creation and included the same unusual disclaimer.

Spokeswoman Gene Smith said Thursday that Berman opposes the bill and drafted it only at the request of House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.[...] [Moreover - IP and patents news]

Wishing for a Way to Show Appreciation

Jim McGee sees a positive use for an idea with questionable origins -- teenage girls soliciting gifts over the Internet (No, Jim's idea has nothing to do with teenage girls.) I have been told, from time to time and with ample justification, that I am blunt, abrupt, and tactless (hence one of the reasons for this blog's name.) But I do like to show appreciation for extraordinary actions and events. I like this idea. I don't know that I would put one up (I already have more books than I'll ever read) but it would be nice to have a quick method of seeing what sort of useful appreciation gift you could send. From Jim McGee via Ron Lusk.

I like the the article “About Wish Lists” cited below, too. (By the way, I've reformatted this to make it a little less overwhelming....)

That Wish List Thing..... That Wish List Thing....

Someone gave me some great help the other day. It was one of those cases where a bit of knowledge he had saved me about 3 or 4 hours of just general Linux geeking out and experimenting. So I just hit his blog, happened to see his wish list and I saw a book on it that I really loved and he wanted.  So I got it for him.  That's really cool to me.  Here's why -- in a lot of computer things, a little bit of knowledge can just save N hours (where N is an integer and usually > than 2) -- and, while I know that people generally don't mind helping, you sometimes just hate to ask. Either it makes you feel stupid or you just don't want to bother someone. Knowing that someone has a wish list means that if I feel this way, at least I can do something to compensate someone for their time. Time is valuable as is knowledge.

Was the book I got for this person the value of the time?  Of course not -- but I don't think that's the point -- it's not about value as much as it is about appreciation.  At least that's the case for me.  For example, my security article continues to get serious traffic despite my writing it about 3 months ago -- and I'm still getting emails asking for more help!  And you know something, I actually try to answer them.  I wish I did a better job -- and I'm working on it -- but the reason I try is that these people show appreciation.  And, like anyone who writes, you get addicted to the positive (or even negative) feedback.

About Wish Lists

Have You Made a Wish List for Your Blog Yet? [The FuzzyBlog!] via [Jim McGee: Blogging]

via [Ron Lusk's Radio Weblog]

We Just Don't Need This

I want a place where there aren't any stupid people, where my kids don't have to go to school with the kids of a stupid person, a workplace with no stupidity, a world where Chester has no place in it.

Hate Group To March In Gainesville. 11 Alive Jul 11 2002 11:13PM ET

National Alliance leader Chester Doles said, "Our goal is to have White living area, White schools, White workplaces, White homeland where non-whites have no place in it." [Moreover - Atlanta news]

Efficient Entrepreneurs Survive in Tough Times

From The Wall Street Journal Online

The next time you're grousing with a fellow entrepreneur about ungrateful employees, chiseling customers and high tax rates, take a moment to share a happier bit of news: how you recently made your business more efficient.

In this nasty economy, with price increases so difficult to pass along, lifting productivity is often the only path to higher profits -- or just plain survival if you're in an industry in which the competition is getting more efficient.

But smaller companies are at a disadvantage. They typically lack the scale to operate in the most efficient manner. And measuring productivity -- collecting detailed data on labor and other elements of production -- is a complex and time-consuming task for entrepreneurs. Getting the next shipment out comes first. [...]

Klogging the Project Initiation Kick Off Report

Klogging the Project Initiation Kick Off Report.

The Project Initiation Stage defines scope, schedule, resources, and risks, and gets buy-in from stakeholders to go forward. The Project Initiation Kick Off Report is your roadmap for this stage. This template has four parts:

  • Interview schedule, with dates, goals, and subjects
  • Description of your "Objective and Scoping Workshop"
  • Schedule of planned follow-up workshops and their deliverables
  • Schedule for writing and presenting your Project Initiation Report

This your "plan for the project plan."


Feedback is your lifeblood in drafting the PI Kick Off Report and throughout the PI stage. If you are getting started, now is a good time to:

  1. Subscribe to the klogs of your project stakeholders.
  2. Start new project channels.
    • for yourself
    • for external stakeholders (management, investors), and
    • for the combined efforts of this stage's contributors. Perhaps a multiauthor synthetic feed.
  3. Read about technography to make your interviews and workshops better. This includes having someone blog observations, findings, and other notes during the meeting, for immediate review afterward.
  4. Publish your progress and revisions to the PI Kick Off Report on your klog.
[a klog apart]

Got Them Airport Traveling Blues

If this was me, I wouldn't be laughing...

Search Me, Part One.

I'm a business traveler. A frumpy middle-aged female business traveler. Not for me the obsequious service of First Class. No, I nod, drooling, to the lulling roar of the engine, wedged in the middle seat in the last row of the plane. I don't expect luxury. By God, I expect delay, inconvenience and discomfort, and I'm rarely disappointed. I endure skreeching babies and brainless wimmenfolk yammering on their miniscule cell phones about some imagined slight at the office. My guess is that *these* are the people who read -- and relate to -- the execrable comic strip "Cathy."

But I digress (actually, that's my primary form of motion). Sunday, my number finally comes up in Atlanta: I draw the short straw in the Security Lottery. I willingly trudge to the bag-search arena, only to be escorted back to the counter to have my bag tagged. "No, Mr. Williams says we ain't sposed to tag the bags." Okey-dokey. I trudge back to the searching zone and stand in line. I find myself in front of a hulking, overweight man who looks like he has slept in his soiled clothes after a long day digging graves. His latex gloves are stained, and the thumb and 2 fingers of his right glove are torn out. I insist that he put on fresh gloves before he starts plowing through my underwear. When he's finished, he makes what might have been a stab at decorum: he shoves one hand down his pants and enthusiastically anchors one errant shirttail. I shudder to think of the next victim. I resolve to launder my clothes when I get to New Orleans. Later I rethink that, and burn them instead. And stand upwind.

I get to the gate, where I again endure search: as I am being wanded by the female guard, the "blOOoOOO" shriek of the device prompts her to loudly query "Are you wearin' an underwire bra?" No, Luann, I have steel tits. Thanks for asking.

On the return trip, I am again singled out. At least the guards there are polite and kempt (that *is* the antonym for unkempt, isn't it?), but if they were wired in series, they couldn't light an appliance bulb. While I appreciated the small man's seeming respect for my underthings, his search was so perfunctory it would have failed to uncover a live armadillo in my bag. Which gives me an idea for next week's trip... [Claudia McCue's Radio Weblog]

Understanding Web Classification

Understanding web classification. Fantastic white-paper about the problems and potential of web-classification systems.

The hot new term in information organization is "ontology." Everybody's inventing, and writing about, ontologies, which are classifications, lists of indexing terms, or concept term clusters (Communications of the ACM, 2002). But here's the problem: "Ontology" is a term taken from philosophy; it refers to the philosophical issues surrounding the nature of being. If you name a classification or vocabulary an "ontology" then that says to the world that you believe that you are describing the world as it truly is, in its essence, that you have found the universe's one true nature and organization. But, in fact, we do not actually know how things "really" are. Put ten classificationists (people who devise classifications) in a room together and you will have ten views on how the world is organized.

Librarians had to abandon this "one true way" approach to classification in the early twentieth century. As many are (re-)discovering today, information indexing and description need to be adjusted and adapted to a myriad of different circumstances. Why, then, use the misleading term "ontology"?

Apart from philosophical issues, there is another, more important reason to abandon use of the term. Recorded information does not work the same way the natural world does. Information is a representation of something else. A book, or a Web site, can mix and match informational topics any way its developer feels like doing. There's no such thing as a creature that is half squirrel and half cat, but there are many mixes of half-squirrel/half-cat topics in information resources and Web sites. Methods of information indexing have to recognize what's distinctive to information, as opposed to classifications of nature, and design the systems accordingly.



(Thanks, Chris!! [Boing Boing Blog]

Innovation Comes From Weak Ties

One of the values of community is in being pushed into contact with dissimilar entities.

Innovation Comes from Weak Ties.. Macdara MacColl's Conference Impressions: Outtakes from Communities 2000 EAST: A Strategic Thinkers Forumhas a few good notes from that Basex conference. I especially liked the one about
as complex adaptive systems
that enable innovation
through encouraging dissimilar people
to bump into each other.

She says it better.

This was two years' ago. Lots of those community vendors died or shifted markets. I liked her healthy skepticism of blogging as described by Dan Bricklin of Trellix :

"Most communication is of the mundane kind, and even if home pages are a good medium for mundane expressions of self, that doesn't make them a good strategic programming option for most companies. Trellix has created an excellent web-page authoring tool, chosen by community leaders like Tripod. But Trellix is struggling with figuring out where the future of their business lies. ISPs? Enterprises? KM? Trellix has a longer road to go than most companies to transform its offering into something obviously valuable to businesses."

I wonder if Macdara has picked up a copy of the Cluetrain Manifesto or Gonzo Marketing since then? [a klog apart]

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