Knowledge management : I am collecting here various items about knowledge management
Updated: 2007-02-01; 08:44:47.


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18 mai 2004

Welcome to the ‘Plogging’ World.

Posted by Hemos (29% noise) View
Roland Piquepaille writes “No, it’s not a typo. A plog is short for ‘project log’ like a blog is short for ‘web log.’ And plogs start to be used as tools to manage projects, especially in the IT world, as discovered Michael Schrage of the MIT. He reports his findings in an article published by CIO Magazine, “The Virtues of Chitchat.” Schrage found that if plogs are not really commonplace, they’re not exactly rare. And they are even used to manage large IT projects, such as ERP rollouts. I totally agree with him that a plog is of great value to integrate people in a team or to keep track of the advancement of a project. And you, what’s your view? If you’re a project manager, do you use a plog for better control? And if not today, will you use one in the future? This overview contains selected excerpts from Schage’s article which will help you to answer the above questions.”

Tlog? - by Mwongozi (Score: 3, Insightful) Thread
Shoudn’t a project log be called a “tlog”?

Web log  
Project log.

We all knew it would come to this… - by jiffah (Score: 4, Funny) Thread
O.K. it’s time to shut off the internet. Thanks for your participation everybody.

Following this naming scheme - by pavon (Score: 5, Funny) Thread
Richard Stallman’s page would be a Freedom Log, one of many in the new flogging scene. 

Basecamp for Plogging - by gokubi (Score: 5, Informative) Thread
I recently started using Basecamp from 37Signals for tracking projects. It’s basically a “plogging” system with to-do lists, milestones, file uploading, and one of the most intuitive interfaces I’ve ever used on the web. I’ve been tracking internal projects in the way described in the article—I think it’s great. 
It also makes it really easy to make client-extranet plogs where clients can comment on your entries. Really slick. 

Plogging for defense and security - by tcd004 (Score: 5, Informative) Thread
See this interesting short piece in FP about how military contractors, the Office of Naval Research and Law enforcement agencies are testing plogs on their projects and networks. 

[AlterSlash (Extended Remix)]

The article quoted has one thing right to the point: communication should go beyond stakeholder. All the user of the product of a project should be able to look at what the project team is doing (up to a certain limit).
I can easily see how plogs can help information flow, especially when the team members are on 3 different continents.

11:58:07 AM    comment []  - See Also:  Metadata 

11 mai 2003

Editable Comments.

Now some sites have solved this problem by having you log into the site to post a comment. It works, but when most people are presented with the option of 'registering' with a site, or not leaving a comment, the usually choose the latter. I do this myself all the time. Over the past year of surfing I have not registered with a single site to leave a comment. So what I wanted was a system where you could leave a comment, and return to edit it at any later time, yet not require registration.

Here's the basic description of how it work. Once you post a comment, that comment gets a unique ID. I take that ID and concatenate it with a secret string secret that only I know, then get an MD5 hash of the string ID+secret. The cgi script that accepts your initial comment returns to you a URL that's of the form:

Where '1-3' is the ID of the comment and 'e0fd9772343dde302f7d709a45856fa8b' is the md5 hash. When you visit that URL Bulu gets an md5 hash of the ID+secret, and if that calculated md5 matches the one in the URL then you are allowed to edit the comment. Now you can bookmark this URL, and use this URL to edit the comment, and as long as you keep the URL a secret, no one else can edit your comment.

It's actually pretty simple once you give up on the idea of registration. You see, registration is really asking for more information than is necessary. All I want to know is that if you try to edit a comment, you were the person that created that comment to begin with. With registration, the server knows all the comments you have ever left.

How secure is it? Well, the URL is travelling over the web in plaintext, and all you need is the URL to edit any comment, so I wouldn't use this to secure the commenting system on anything real important. However, this is just a weblog, so I believe that the level of security provided is appropriate for the context.

Once I have this tested for a few more days I will make another release of Bulu.

Ever dropped a comment on a site and wished you could go back and fix that typo, or maybe the next morning you regret the use of the 'bollocks', either way what you want is editable comments, which Bulu, the software that runs this site, now supports.

Very good way of doing it. It reminds me of the way you access your discussion threads on Quick Topic recommended by Jon Udell, where you can create your own discussion thread. Very clever idea.

8:09:26 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Metadata Programming 

28 mars 2003

Publishing a project weblog.
Configuring Movable Type
A couple of years ago I predicted that Weblogs would emerge within the enterprise as a great way to manage project communication. I'm even more bullish on the concept today. If you're managing an IT project, you are by definition a communication hub. Running a project Weblog is a great way to collect, organize, and publish the documents and discussions that are the lifeblood of the project and to shape these raw materials into a coherent narrative. [Full story at] ... [Jon's Radio]
Another very thoughtful piece by Jon Udell. I should really try to push the idea of using weblog at work. It could stop the "cc craze" we are suffering from. Too many people cc other people about thing that might be useful but isn't always... It could also help us centralize knowledge that is scattered all over the place...

9:12:51 AM    comment []  - See Also:  Radio 

23 février 2003

Anybody knows where I can find an RSS reader for PalmOS? I would love to read my subscriptions while on the road...
10:23:17 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Radio RSS 

13 février 2003

Outlook2RSS - Outlook Folders to RSS Feeds.

So, I took Peter Drayton's slick Google2RSS and made my own Outlook2RSS.  I'm running it as part of the Task Scheduler and creating RSS feeds for Outlook Folders and Exchange Public Folders (cuz nobody looks in Public Folders, right?) ala:

Outlook2RSS.exe -folder "Public Folders\All Public Folders\For Sale" -title "Corillian - For Sale" -desc "Corillian Employee Stuff for Sale" -link "http://computername/RSSFeeds/CorillianForSale.xml" -outfile "path/CorillianForSale.xml"

The format for the -folder parameter is just a backslash delimited string with like folder1/folder2/folder3, just as Outlook displays it.  For Exchange users, you'd do something like: -folder "Mailbox - Scott Hanselman\Inbox\Spam" or "Public Folders\All Public Folders\For Sale."

I'm using it as a Very Poor Man's Outblog [regrets to Ingo :) ] to publish specific project folders and my Status Updates to my boss from my personal Outlook stash to RSS Feeds.  Any MailItems or Posts in an Outlook Folder will show up in the RSS Feed. Maybe I'll add to what little I did with support for graphics, etc...a client side "pull" model of OutBlog, or make it an Outlook Add-In.

Note #1: Make sure you have the Office XP Primary Interop Assemblies (PIAs) and Outlook running on any box you use this on.  

Note #2:  The feeds it creates MAY look odd on NewsGator v0.9, but Greg has fixed this for v1.0.

[Scott Hanselman's Weblog]

This is extremely interesting. Another thing to try when I'll be back from India. I can see a lot of applications for this kind of technology at work and at home.

9:54:33 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Micro$oft Programming Radio 

12 février 2003

Are doctorates worthwhile?.

asks Brian Martin in his review of Canadian literary scholar Wilfred Cude's The Ph.D. Trap Revisited.

The PhD is the accepted apprenticeship into research and has become a prerequisite for academic jobs in most fields. But is it a good idea? The negative view is that studying for doctorates wastes vast amounts of time and effort, produces narrow-minded scholars and discourages recognition of good teaching. Far from promoting research, according to this critical view the doctorate is a serious brake on intellectual creativity.

I believe that the Ph.D. may globally be an institution that selects against originality, but there might be pockets of oxygen here and there with open minds where one could come up with a fresh approach and survive. However, things can get difficult afterwards, as Ph.D. hiring practices can also be conservative in most places. It's hard to be taken seriously when you stand out too much.

Martin also reviewed Jeff Schmidt's Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes Their Lives. Jeff Schmidt was an editor at Physics Today magazine for 19 years, until he was fired for writing this provocative book. From the review:

Jeff Schmidt argues that training professionals is a process of fostering political and intellectual subordination. On the surface, this is a startling claim, since the often-stated aim of educators is to promote independent thinking. [...]

There are two key ideological processes in professional education, according to Schmidt. One is favoring students who pick up the point of view of their superiors, behavior Schmidt calls "ideological discipline." The other is favoring students who direct their curiosity as requested by others, a trait Schmidt delightfully dubs "assignable curiosity."

Hm. If there's one thing I've been sorely lacking all my life, it is indeed assignable curiosity. Guess I'm an amateur professional.

Schmidt also draws an interesting parallel between indoctrination as practiced in cults and professional training. But I think there are cult-like aspects in almost all social structures, not just the professional ones. Perhaps they are more important where there is a lot of power to be gained by working one's way up, though.

Brian Martin's writings on higher education systems are among the most thought-provoking ones that I've come across, by the way.

[Seb's Open Research]
I am glad to know I am not the only one asking myself this question. The knowledge I aquired through my doctorate is now completely useless as I work as a system manager and I did my doctorate in atomic physics. However the skills I acquired (how to teach, work independently, organise my own schedule, manage an always tight budget, etc...) are absolutely vital as I telecommute to work, my clients are scattered across 7 time zones and my boss is 13 time zone away. It may be true that in certain fields the Ph.D. serves to professionalize the students but this was true in my case. I had the joy to do my Ph.D. under the supervision of an independant thinker who never shied away from a controversy. It taught to be independant and to have the courage of my opinion. Never go with the flow for the flow's sake. I put the two books quoted above on my reading list. Hopefully I'll have a time to take a look at them soon.

8:44:09 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Science Politics 

15 décembre 2002

Scientists Don't Read the Papers They Cite. WatertonMan writes "Very interesting and sure to be controversial study that suggests most scientists don't read the papers they cite. This means that if one ... [Slashdot]
The New Scientist article refered in this Slashdot piece confirmed what I though for a long time: Scientist are bad at quoting. A lot of them know they have to quote the "right" papers even if they haven't read it. "Quote you're enemy twice, your friend once" is common wisdom in the community...

3:01:56 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Science 

26 novembre 2002

DistributedMetadata. Instead of having a centrally defined set of metadata, distributed metadata tries to let everyone organise the world as they see fit. The challenge is: how to tie these different ways of organising the world together again?  [IAwiki]

Not much else over there yet, but the question is a fundamental one. An important problem is how to make people want to tie these ways together. For this I think we have to tap into people's innate propensity for sociality and curiosity towards new people with a common interest. The idea is to consider categories as rallying points. See ridiculously easy group-forming and BlogChannels for loosely joining webloggers. And if you're a diehard, join the fun at our group-forming community. (Will I ever stop those shameless plugs?)

[Seb's Open Research]

This is very cool. Imagine a workgroup using Taxomita on their local server. As they browse the web, they can assign metadata to pages linked to their work and compare/aggregate the metadata they assign to the pages.
Given a finite vocabulary of words, one can imagine a "democratic" metadata model: If everybody independently assign words from this vocabulary as metadata to pages, one could look at the words assigned to each page and decide that the word that come the more often is the group official metadata word for this given page.

4:20:08 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Metadata 

26 octobre 2002

The trouble with categories.

on links and chunks.

[...] I believe that this approach is not sustainable over time. As the number of categories I’m using increases, it becomes more difficult to scan the possible array of possibilities when I’m making a post. I also find myself reluctant to create new categories and often attempt to “squish” the post into an existing category. The result of this activity is a huge array of topical HTML and RSS repositories that (so far) nobody looks at. [...]

[Stand Up Eight]

I agree: categories don't scale well, yet fine-grained indexing would be useful. There's a tension there that needs to be resolved. Many good additional points in that post.

[Seb's Open Research]
This describe exactly how I feel about topic. Topics help order my thoughts but they are not "fine-grained" enough to accurately categorise my posts. They cannot be used easily to create hierarchy of topics, going from coarse-grained to fine-grained. However what I like with topics is you can use more than one per posting.
It reminds me of the problem I have to sort my bookmarks: If I put them under a hierarchical category, I am limited to only one unless I want to accepts duplicates.

3:31:08 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Metadata 

24 octobre 2002

Looks like Charles is having difficulty getting Outlook to do SMTP forwarding to Zoe. I am still stuck; unable to my copy of Outlook to add the Internet email service. Can anyone else help him?
Charles Nadeau @ 10/20/2002 10:52 AM. I have a quick question on Zoe I dare to ask since I think you played with it quite extensively: Zoe can be used to "intercept" e-mails on their way to the SMTP server if Outlook is configured to reach its SMTP server through Zoe. I tried to configure Outlook to do so but Outlook can't accept a port number with 5 digits, only four digits or less. It means I couldn't enter 10025 as the SMTP port in my Outlook client. And i can't go in Zoe and change it...
[On The Mark]

I am still stuck with this problem, if you have a clue, let me know.

10:34:46 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Metadata 

22 octobre 2002

You're Making a What?. The product, which is central to the whole undertaking, is a new take on the Personal Information Manager. It will... [Mitch Kapor's Weblog]
Here is my wish list: ;-)
  1. Outstanding spam protection
  2. RSS support. I have a cool idea with this:
    Imagine I am subscribing to a mailing list that also interest my colleagues. I could set a rule that would move all the e-mails from the mailing list to a given folder and then let my colleagues subscribe to the content of this folder. It could reduce the amount of bandwidth involved in subscribing to mailing list with heavy traffic (like the Linux kernel list)
    It would be nice to have folders subscribing to RSS feed
  3. A rich scripting language: I want to be able to trigger actions when event happen. And not only with e-mail:
    • When a task is completed, an e-mail may be sent and the task moved to an archive folder.
    • When I put my "Out of Office" message on, subscription to my mailing list could be suspended.
  4. I want support for regular expression. It goes with the rich scripting language.
  5. I want a section where I can jot down notes while on the phone. I want to be able to attach to these notes a date/time, contact name, keywords. And I want them to be fully indexed and searchable.
  6. I want to be able to subscribe/post to Usenet newsgroup. The scripting language should be able to deal with this.
  7. I want to interact with a "map server": If I have an appointment, i want the appointment item to include a map showing me how to go there if I don't know already.
  8. Finer grain archiving. In Outlook, you can only set your criteria based on time: Archive items older than 3 weeks.
    I want to be able to say: Archive items older than 3 weeks and those bigger than 200K except those from my boss with an attachment or those from Joe and Bob including the word "Urgent" in the subject line.
  9. I want to be able to assign metadata to any entries/items.
  10. Of course everything will be stored in XML.

11:58:24 AM    comment []  - See Also:  Programming Metadata 

10 octobre 2002

Making group-forming ridiculously easy.

Weblogs have a potential for group-forming like no other medium. However I'm convinced that much of it to this day remains untapped. I'd like to explain an idea that I have been bouncing around for a while. It might well be a reformulation of what others have said previously. I believe that implementing this properly would give a nice boost to the blogosphere's social aggregation capability.

Basically the goal is to push the threshold for group creation to an unprecedented low. I think Reed's Law should be refined to state:

The value of a group-forming network increases exponentially with the number of people in the network, and in inverse proportion to the effort required to start a group.

Here's a sample motivating scenario. Not long ago I wrote an item on professions in the blogosphere. The post caught the interest of other bloggers. A few replies came here and there. If you search diligently enough you'll find them, but it's not easy. Presumably, those who have taken part in the discussion would like to hear about it if the topic comes up again, but currently this will only happen by chance. This kind of situation is very common.

The topic is pretty narrow. It wouldn't make much sense to start a Yahoo! group on this. Still, it would be nice to somehow be able to make it into some kind of "focal point" for interested people. If this were very easy, this would allow for quite fine-grained knowledge classification, which would be a boon to those who care for and closely follow particular topics.

Now, the idea is this. When I come across a post on an interesting theme that seems like it might have lasting value, I want to be able to

  1. Create a topic, with a title of its own and a definition or description in plain English (which may contain arbitrary hyperlinks). Just "where" the topic is stored is unimportant. The important thing is that it is a public entity.
  2. Subscribe to that topic. Subscribing has two effects: it adds the topic to a personal topic list of mine, and it means I'll get posts by other people on that topic in my RSS aggregator because each topic is associated to a shared RSS feed.
  3. Post to that topic whenever I talk about it in my weblog. This has to be *easy*, like checking a box or selecting from a drop-down menu displayed under the box where I write my posts.
  4. Access an archive of posts on that topic somewhere on the Web.
  5. Let anyone edit the description of the topic when important things are added to the "state of the art" on the topic, or when other related topics spring out of the discussion, to let people know where the conversation has branched off.

Basically, from where I stand, this sounds a little like a witch's brew of liveTopics, standalone TrackBack, and this peculiar brand of editable web sites known as wikis.

I haven't worked it out in detail, but wouldn't it be possible to hack a beta of this together as follows?

  1. Create a public topic database server.
  2. Let each topic "know":
    1. Its name.
    2. The address of the web page defining the topic - this is an easy way for people to associate the topic with a Wiki page.
    3. The address of a particular RSS feed associated to the topic.
    4. The address of the web page that archives posts to that feed. That page could look just like the KMPings page.
  3. Make it easy to create a new topic and register it with the server, by asking minimally for element (a), keeping element (b) optional. Upon registration, the server generates (c) and (d).
  4. Modify weblog software to make it easy to post to a public topic. This is the hardest part.
[Seb's Open Research]

Interesting, I passed it to Philippe and Kevin.

12:15:20 PM    comment []  - See Also:  Personal 

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