While we’re on the subject of wiki, this caught my eye today: Russell Buckley’s Manifesto for Taking Wikipedia into the Physical World talks about applying the principles of wiki to meatspace via location-based technologies. Perhaps you’re travelling and want to know more about the landmark you’re visiting, or you’re in your own town and suddenly get curious about the old mansion looming next to the co-op. In Buckley’s model, you could snap a cameraphone shot of either locale and instantly get back a host of information sent to your phone, with text, audio and/or video content that’s been prepared by others. There are many ideas floating around about this sort of locative informatics, but what makes Buckley’s idea interesting is that it takes the wiki model as being central to how the information is generated: anybody can create content, contribute information, tag and annotate the space for others to later stumble upon; this would generate an open content, bottom-up information grid mapped to the physical world. Much of the technology needed to implement such an idea already exists and, moreover, wouldn’t be very expensive. It seem inevitable this this sort of location-based infomapping will be happening in the near near future, and when it does, I’ll happily cast my vote in favor of user-editability.<div style="text-align: center; margin: 0; padding: 6px; color: #000000; vertical-align: top; border: 1px solid #555555; background-color: #fffff5; font: 12px/16px Verdana;">Weblogs, Inc. RSS feeds brought to you by
[Via pasta and vinegar]
Userplane Apps: Live communication applications powering the world's leading online communities. [The Social Software Weblog]
Social network analysis (learning network analysis?) is really the key to the interaction aspect of formal and informal learning - Who Knows Whom, And Who Knows What?: "Companies that have been frustrated by traditional knowledge management efforts, such as Mars, are increasingly looking for ways to find out how knowledge flows through their organizations. Looking at the company org chart, it turns out, often doesn't tell the real story about who holds influence, who gives the best advice and how employees are sharing information critical for success. This all takes on greater urgency as millions of baby boomers prepare to retire over the coming decade. Social network analysis provides a clear picture of the ways that far-flung employees and divisions are working together, and can help companies identify key experts in the organization."[elearnspace]
When I wish for things like native RSS feeds from our Innovative catalog, I’m sometimes told that III has an XML backend so I should just be able to build what I want on my own. Of course, my first response (of many) is that I’m not a programmer so I can’t just build what I want, but Casey Bisson at Plymouth State University is, and he’s trying to build weird and wonderful things with his own Innovative catalog.
For example, check out his proof-of-concept of LOLA Suggest! Just type something in the search box and wait a second to see what appears underneath. Too freaking awesome! I did a mock-up of what this could look like for my information shifting presentation, but Casey’s given me a live example to show instead. Thanks, Casey!
He’s got lots of other great ideas for using Innovative’s XML server, too (including for lots of RSS goodness), but he’s running into problems because he says their XML schema is non-standard, is even more difficult to work with than MARC, and is prone to parsing errors. So here we have an ILS vendor that claims to have an XML backend you can do whatever you want with, except that it’s incredibly difficult to do whatever you want with it, especially if you want to do something nutty like integrate your catalog’s content into your university’s way cool portal using RSS. As Casey noted in an IM:
“Our portal has a ‘my courses’ tab which lists the student’s course schedule, and has links to WebCT, our course management system. I'm working to get a link to the library right there with it. RSS and XML allow us to target library content to what we know of the patron and deliver it wherever they are. As an academic library, we have an opportunity to link with a number of other services. But we also have to compete in the information economy. Most course content systems and portals have only limited ‘hooks’ to include library content, but if we're not quick, libraries will be out of the loop, as faculty post all their reserves online in the course system and link directly to full text sources.”
And all of that work gets harder when you’re trying to do something relatively simple like LOLA Suggest but the XML is so complex that you’re forced to cache the bib records instead of sending the query directly to the catalog’s XML server and presenting live results.
Not being a programmer myself, I’m sure I’m misrepresenting some of this, so I hope Casey will write up his own thoughts about all of this on his blog and correct my inaccuracies. Or even more optimistically, maybe Innovative will fix the problems with their XML server (even if that just means adopting MARC XML) so that Casey can do what they claim he should be able to do, because I want me some of his ideas in my catalog.[The Shifted Librarian]
Mapping your Mindmaps - learning from the masters. It's really encouraging to see the folks at MindManager joining the ranks of bloggers. Although I would have labeled myself a power user of MindManager, I'm learning new things with every post. This happens to be specific to how to make better use of MindManager, but others relate to broader issues of how to use your technology as a partner in doing your knowledge work.Mapping Your Maps. I don't know. Maybe most of you MindManager power users (or even not so power users) out ther have been doing this for years. I just figured it out...I don't like the file folder metaphor. And yet, that is how, form day one, I have been saving all my maps. When I try to conjure up [...] [The Mindjet Blog][McGee's Musings]
Contracting, clarity, and requirements. I've certainly been guilty of this kind of approach at multiple points throughout my career. The best techniques I've encountered for dealing with these challenges are the "contracting" conversations that Peter Block advocates so strongly in his excellent Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used. Regardless of which side of the table you are on, you had better become more adept at Block's contracting or you will be building or paying for entirely too many custom-made drywall saws.
There's an amazing essay at The Spurious Pundit on "Picture Hanging." It's an allegory that explores how simple requirements in software aren't that obvious to folks who may not have context. The writing is wonderful, do check it out, it's worth your time. Subscribed.
A highlight:McGee's Musings]
You tell him to hang the photo of your pet dog, and he comes back a week later, asking if you could "just double-check" his design for a drywall saw.
"Why are you designing a drywall saw?"
"Well, the wood saw in the office toolbox isn't good for cutting drywall."
"What, you think you're the first person on earth to try and cut drywall? You can buy a saw for that at Home Depot."
"Okay, cool, I'll go get one."
"Wait, why are you cutting drywall in the first place?"
"Well, I wasn't sure what the best practices for hanging pictures were, so I went online and found a newsgroup for gallery designers. And they said that the right way to do it was to cut through the wall, and build the frame into it. That way, you put the picture in from the back, and you can make the glass much more secure since you don't have to move it. It's a much more elegant solution than that whole nail thing."
This metaphor may be starting to sound particularly fuzzy, but trust me - there are very real parallels to draw here. If you haven't seen them yet in your professional life, you will. [Spurious Pundit]
It's a beast and a beauty. Wait for the third version (traditionally the best of MS offerings on any product...)
SharePoint?. SharePoint? -- At my 9-to-5 (or 7:30-to-whatever), we're dabbling with the use of Microsoft's SharePoint Services to replace our shared server directories as a central access point for project information. I'm personally having a tough time warming up to it, compared to the simplicity of other web-based services like the new Basecamp. I'd be interested in pointers to info, tips, hints on efficient and effective use of SharePoint. (Most Google responses on the subject are about tips and hints for the technical underpinnings; what I'm looking for is info on using the portal.) Comment below, please. Thanks.
File under project management, SharePoint [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
A Twelve Step Program For Identifying and Eliminating Organizational Change. No matter what side of the management / engineering fence one is on, there comes a time when one may need to stay right where one is, or to engage in the fine art of stalling. Before the reader passes moral judgment on a word with such pejorative connotation as "stalling," let him stop and reflect on reasons that he might want to stall. [kuro5hin.org]
How To Get A Callback. From Craigslist: The office manager comes to me with a bill from a phone company that's slammed us. You know, they call, talk to someone, and then pretend that we've green lighted a meaningless charge. Bastards!
So I get the bill. I call the customer service number. The recording says to leave a number; they'll call back in 2 days. Right.
Stupidly though, they left a fax number. It's just like they had dropped their pants and exposed their flaccid genitals for my abuse. Time for a humiliating kick in the corporate crotch.
I prepare a document on my computer. It has my name and phone number in large letters. Beneath that, I insert a large, toner-sucking graphic. I then copy the page and re-insert it into the document. 60 times.
Next I print this document....to my faxmodem. From there, the 60 pages are directed towards their unsuspecting fax machine. I hit the resubmit button 5 or 6 times for good measure, thus queuing about 300 pages. I wait.
About 20 minutes later, an anxious voice on my phone asks for my account number. From his pain reflected in his tone, I know that my well placed kick to their firms groin has met the exposed meat. Pain and embarrassment is being felt and spread around. He quickly tells me that my account has been cleared and canceled, and we don't have to pay the bill. I smirk as I hear him squirm, his humiliation complete.
Fax machines are the testicles of just about any company. If a company gives you grief, attack the fax, and no matter how big they are, they'll drop to the ground, curl up in a fetal position, and beg for mercy.
It always works. [What Do YOU Think? Comment on this Post!] [Testify!] [Father Dan]
Enabling Productive Teamwork with Technology: "Working virtually with a team that you rarely, if ever see, is becoming much more common in knowledge-based businesses. Even co-located teams find that shared document libraries, threaded discussions, shared calendars, task lists and archived company communications makes working together on a team more productive."[elearnspace]
Pollard's Creative Problem-Solving. Pollard's Creative Problem-Solving -- It's been a while since I've visited a number of my formerly regularly read blogs, so I've recently been making a conscious effort to revisit some of my old haunts. Two have come together when I noticed that Terry Frazier lauded the graphics that support the prolific Dave Pollard's usually insightful postings. This one...
...pointed out by Terry, has reminded me that I've had a few of Dave's pieces in my "to-blog" list for a while. I'll have dig them out, dust them off, and do something with them. [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
OpenOffice 2.0 Preview Available. UPDATED The OpenOffice folks are giving the world peek-plus at version 2.0, which looks pretty snazzy. Of course, the Mac OS X version is still basically missing in action. At the rate things are going, it'll never be close to ready for prime time, much less at parity with the other versions. UPDATE: More from The Inquirer. [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]
On Laziness. On Laziness --"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."[From Quotes of the Day - The Quotations Page.] [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
-- Mary Wilson Little
This image of blogging speaks well of its application to the learning process: The Network is the Blog: "Just as telephones are meaningful only when connected to the telephone network, so blogs are meaningful only when connected to the blog network...The blog network is made of people. We are the nodes, actively filtering and retransmitting knowledge. Clearly this architecture can help manage the glut of information. More subtly, it can also help ensure that no vital inputs are suppressed because nobody has to rely on a single source."[elearnspace]
Most people in education recognize the value of facilitation as an augment/replacement to lecturing. Facilitation: The Anti-Lecture provides a simple overview of the values of facilitation.[elearnspace]
Corporate blogging. This PowerPoint on LLRX gives some basics about blogs and goes on to talk about applications in business. Pacific, S. I. (2004) Corporate blogging LLRX.com. http://www.llrx.com/features/corporateblogging.ppt Photo by S. Webber: Ground frost, Dec. 2004.... [Information Literacy Weblog]
Hear, hear...have you seen Microsoft's offering? Have you vomited yet?...
Adaptive Path: Making A Better CMS. Jeffrey Veen. The experience cemented a theory of mine: Most open source content management software is useless. The only thing worse is every commercial CMS I've used. But it doesn't have to be that way. This whole category of software desperately needs to be redesigned with writers, editors, designers, and site owners in mind. [Tomalak's Realm]
Just finished a business class today in which a very smart professor lamented that in 18 months, Google will have been over-run by Microsoft. Can we prevent this?...
This should be useful - Google Scholar: " Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web."[elearnspace]
Okay, here's what we did right...
- Mom bought nursing home insurance. No telling how good it will be, but at least it's there.
- Mom picked out the assisted living facility she wanted to go to before she needed it.
- Both Mom and Dad saved for many years.
- Both Mom and Dad worked at paying jobs for many years, so they both have a pension and social security income now. It's higher than most. The good elder care facilities talk to us. If Mom had stayed home, they'd only have half as much. (They actually need about 4 times as much, but this is better than it might have been.) All five of us (kids) are fine, by the way...nobody lost out because Mom got paid.
Here's what we did wrong:
- We didn't get the nursing home insurance earlier. Dad had a stroke in his late 50's. No one will insure him now.
- We didn't pick an assisted living facility with gradually increasing care levels. They're about to be thrown out of "assisted living" at $3400/month to a full-blown nursing home at a cost of $15,000/month. Neither of them need that yet, but we may have to pay it, and then watch the government run their lives after their savings run out. Intermediate care facilities and full service end of life facilities exist. Find them. Get on their waiting lists. (The best one I found has a 2-year wait.)
- We didn't protect their money by putting it in a trust. You want an elder care lawyer for this, not a run of the mill lawyer, and go to one who doesn't take a percentage of their total assets.
One of the few good outcomes from dealing with the heartache of aging parents is that others have them, too. I have found enormous comfort and goodwill and camraderie from colleagues, friends, slight acquaintances - just about anyone. Not all people have children. Not all people have a significant other. But everyone has parents, or grandparents. Everyone has to do this eventually, to a greater or lesser extent.
Start the conversation. "Are your parents still living?" Hold on to your chair for the rush of information, the offers to help, the coping tips, the stories. A rather dark team building exercise, perhaps, but a very effective one.