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Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Categorizing Blogs

A number of great people in the Ryze/Blog tribe have suggested breaking down the blogroll into categories of blogs.  Because the list is growing, categorization is necessary to continue to be a useful resource.  However, because membership is dynamic so must be the categories and I don't want the categories to be arbitrary. 

So I created a little survey.  And its here before I spam all the tribe members.

Here are the initial categories:

  1. Business blogs
  2. KM blogs (Klogs)
  3. Marketing Blogs
  4. Information Technology Blogs
  5. Web Design Blogs
  6. Biotechnology Blogs
  7. International Blogs
  8. Writing Blogs
  9. Political Blogs
  10. Personal Blogs
  11. Collaborative Blogs
  12. Other

3:16:53 PM    comment []

The Autonomic Udell

If there was ever a set of metaphors subject to potential marketing its the biological:

Being and nothingness. Jon Udell: "'[A]utonomic' for IBM has become what '.Net' is for Microsoft: an umbrella marketing term that encompasses everything and nothing in particular." Good analysis by Jon as usual. I think both MS and IBM are onto the Next Big Thing, but they can't figure out how to explain it. The marketing efforts make the confusion worse. One can only hope that the companies listen to the technology and the markets as they go forward, rather than letting the slogans define what they build. [Werblog]

IBM has provided an 8-point definition of autonomic computing and if it sticks to it and journalists like Jon Udell remain vigilant, the value of these functional concepts are less like to dilute.

As grid computing takes hold, autonomic computing plays a vital role in enabling scalable service.  Without complex adaptive systems, patterned after biological theory, managing the sheer number and interplay of elements, applications and policies becomes untenable.  As processing, storage and applications move towards the domain utility service they would experience the same complexity constraints as utility bandwidth service. 

Telecom carriers have been in the business of transforming utility elements into services for some time now.  And in absence of adaptive systems they have experienced systemic failure.  At the network element level, the vast majority of inventory records are inaccurate, despite advances in auto-discovery, leading over 85% of customer orders failing to achieve straight through processing to the point of provision.  As a result, network and service management is largely a manual process.  People don't scale well.  And failure to automate results in high SG&A costs and an unsustainable business model.  Autonomic computing uses decentralized agents to adaptively manage a system, and in contrast to centralized management, scales.

Back to marketing abuse.  Last week I recieved a press release from Cloudmark claiming they cracked the Genetic Code of Spam.   Essentially, Cloudmark uses collaborative identification of spam, the spam message is inspected for common semantics (a "spamGene"), which are aggregated as "spamDNA" and fed to a Bayesian classifier which determines when a message is blacklisted. 

I was about to slam them, but called my friend and life science expert Zack Lynch for some fact checking.  It is a stretch to call Cloudmark a complex adaptive system, let alone "evolutionary."  And its a little rediculous to say they have cracked the genetic code.  However, if you assume that the people enlisted for spam identification, those on SpamNet, are acting as autonomous agents and you buy into Bayesian statistical qualification as evolving, the metaphor holds to some degree.  

From a business model persective, decentralized user feedback also enable the model to scale. These individual users experience vendetta-like satisfaction for pressing the "Spam" button, gain spam protection and enhance the enterprise solution. As the spam wars escalate, competitors with centralized management like Brightmail may experience diseconomies of scale.

11:18:02 AM    comment []

Dimensions of Communication

Jerry Michalski posts some basic dimensions of communication to his Wiki:

All the communication technologies we use -- telephones, newspapers, radio, IM, e-mail, mailing lists, TV, books -- are mired in historical cruft that keeps us from seeing clearly what to build next.  It is useful to go to first principles, then reexamine whatever communication task you have at hand.  So let me suggest the following basic dimensions of communication:

  1. Timing: instantaneous (IM, phone, TV), delayed (e-mail, TV) or slow (books, movies)
  2. Audience: one person (phone call), two (conference call, chat), a dozen, two hundred (mailing list) or everyone in the world (Website, Weblog)?
  3. Mode: text, voice, video, audio, 3D -- some mix of the above?
  4. Length: short (IM) or long (movie, book)?
  5. Persistence: evanescent (IM), temporary but retrievable (e-mail), published (Website, book) or pretty permanent (stone stele)?
  6. Production Level: casual (ASCII e-mail), formal (proposal) or polished (movie, book)?
  7. Identity: how much of your identity do you want to reveal? which identity (work, private)?
  8. Permission: who can see or use the material? 

If the purpose of this theoretical framework is to help differentiate existing modes of communication and identify what to build next, other dimensions would help understand when to shift modes:

9. Centralization: Decentralized (IP-based modes)/Centralized (broadcast & publishing)

10. Whole Costs: cost of the service and user time costs.  Borne by the sender (broadcast & publishing; weblogs), the reciever (email) or both (IM, POTS)

11. Signal to Noise: the level of advertising or spam saturation in a medium.  Broadcast and publishing models reach a natural equilibrium.  Others, particularly when costs are borne by the reciever, are saturated with spam.

9:02:51 AM    comment []

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