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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Micro-scale Blogmap

John McDowell  keeps tinkering with social network mapping...

After my last exploration with mapping blog relationships I moved over to using a Java based library Touchgraph that allowed a more dynamic look at the relationships between the blogs I link to and those that link to them. If anyone has read the book "The Tipping Point" there is a discussion about the various types of people that cause the formation of social groups. I think mapping how blogs relate to one another can illustrate some of the points the author (Malcolm Gladwell) makes. I need to re-read the blog and probably re-read linked to before I can draw any conclusions. I will admit to being fascinated with the entire investigation. Here is my most recent map of the links around my blog.

It is a static image generated from a Java Application. If I get sometime in the next few weeks I will turn it into an applet that will allow users to browse and manipulate the map. Each node expands into the next level down. I have not gone beyond that - need to do some more work on my crawler to increase speed and reduce memory consumption.

4:05:59 PM    comment []

Open Spectrum FAQ
Tuesday: Free The Spectrum. Open Spectrum -- spread the meme. This is an amazing, eye-popping idea that I've been hearing David Reed and Dewayne Hendricks talk about for a while. David Weinberger has done a great job distilling the gist of the idea and its importance into the Open Spectrum FAQ. Please read it.

Interference which we've treated as as law of nature is an artifact of the way radio were designed 100 years ago. If interference isn't an issue, then the reasons we started to license spectrum become irrelevant.

In fact, the core premise that has undergirded our spectrum policy has dissolved: There is no scarcity of spectrum. It does not need to be doled out. On the contrary, there is an abundance of spectrum.

Our current policies prevent us from benefiting from this abundance.


3rd law of thermodynamics analogy: Bandwidth is energy and spectrum is a conduit

11:53:09 AM    comment []

Anthropology and System Design

Jim McGee builds a thread on anthropological analyisis from Ernie the Attorney:

...Ernie is on to a nice meme here. Another term to throw into the mix is "ethnography." While usually associated with doing anthropology in the field, it's also become a legitimate research tool in organizational settings. I find an anthropological approach particularly useful in the realm of technology for a couple of reasons. First, technology is too dynamic for a lot of other research approaches. Along a similar line, organizational research is not a place where you get to do controlled experiments. It's either impractical or unethical (sometimes both). That leaves you with observational techniques of one sort or another. One advantage of ethnographic/anthropological approaches is that they explicitly recognize that the anthropologist/observer is part of the system.

Another reason that I prefer anthorpological approaches is that technology and knowledge management issues lie in a space that Gerry Weinberg describes as "organized complexity." The following diagram comes from his excellent Introduction to General Systems Thinking:

In that environment you need tools that are robust more than you need tools that are precise. You tolerate fuzziness in the answers in exchange for getting answers that are directionally correct in a manageable amount of time.

One consequence of doing anthropology is that you have to develop some sense for who the observer is. You're not doing experimental work that can be replicated. You're doing a certain kind of storytelling that depends on observational skills and narrative skills. Unlike a fiction writer, you aren't using stories for the abiilty to make stuff up out of whole cloth (I suppose fiction writers don't really do that either). You are using narrative as a tool to reveal gaps in the logic, to discover what's missing in the logic of the story that will point you toward new things to look for.  [McGee's Musings]

11:42:22 AM    comment []

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