March 2004 Archives

VoIP Wiki

I corrected the link to this very useful resource. I found it was the result of many searches on Google. Hope it helps!


This is an interesting site which displays the importance or volume of interest in a news story by the area of the box that it occupies. I used to use this type of display to map markets; in that case the area of the box indicated the size of the market. One could then subdivide the boxe further indicating the market share of individual players in that market. Needless-to-say I like this visual representation of the news.

This is too interesting to ignore: Newsmap "Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator."
The complexity (and availability) of information is leading to some interesting innovations in helping people "get a handle" on things. Newsmap is a good example.


I am always exited when I find a new voice writing and thinking about KM. Jack Vinson, from Knowledge Jolt with Jack, pointed out that Ton Zijlstra writes about information overload in a long post in his blog. He talks about the volume of information and how to distinguish between a signal and noise. Blogs provide a good filter and allow sense making individuals to make sense of the noise and tell us when it is a signal. I, have a very tight seive, but I read lots of RSS feeds. I find I only comment when the signal resonates with me.

Joi Ito blogs about Microsoft's Linda Stone's concept of continuous partial attention and, I think, misses the point. The constant din of information requires that we disconnect sometimes and actually think about a topic; not continuously shot from the hip. I don't think we can process any more quickly than we do. Continuous partial attention is not an answer. In fact Linda Stone goes on to say in the article in INC., that: "It's crucial for CEOs to be intentional about breaking free from continuous partial attention in order to get their bearings. Some of today's business books suggest that speed is the answer to today's business challenges. Pausing to reflect, focus, think a problem through; and then taking steady steps forward in an intentional direction is really the key."

Wet talked last night with Linda Stone about her idea of continuous partial attention. She says it is different from multi-tasking.

Linda Stone

It's not the same as multitasking; that's about trying to accomplish several things at once. With continuous partial attention, we're scanning incoming alerts for the one best thing to seize upon: "How can I tune in in a way that helps me sync up with the most interesting, or important, opportunity?

This is really relevant to some of the thoughts I've been having about the UI of mobile devices and how they fade in and out of your attention rather than being on or off like computer screens. Yes, you do this a bit with computers, but not nearly as seamlessly as mobile phones are integrated in the real world by advanced users.

Also, the IRC back channel at conferences or the multi-modal distance learning projects where you have a video of the speaker, the power point presentation, the chat, the wiki and the back channel going at the same time. It CAN be very overwhelming, but I think it's because we are conditioned to think that we need to understand all of the information that is being transmitted.

I think an interesting metaphor might be the difference between loss-less and lossy compression technology. There is so much information being transmitted and it doesn't matter if you everything exactly (or if you are getting exactly the same bits as someone else). You can glean from the fire-hose in the mode that makes the most sense for you. The trick is to get a picture of what is going on from a perspective that makes sense for you in a format that compresses well for you. I think that if we stop trying to "catch it all" which we are conditioned to do, and think more in terms of lossy compression and surfing parallel streams and multi-modes, maybe it is easier.

Also, we discussed last night now human brains are adapting to these changes and how probably younger generations will continue to grow up differently and interfaces and modes will adapt again to this new generation. This has a lot to do with the discussion on ADD.

Good entry in Smartmobs with more links.

[Joi Ito's Web]

e e learning

Another elearning resource!

Michelle links to a new blog focused more on corporate elearning: e e learning. Looks like a valuable resource...other than Internet Time, I haven't really found a regularly updated blog dedicated to the corporate elearning market. If you know of any, please leave them in the comments section...


The Future of Work

For the most part, the new world of work has already happened.

In his new book The Future of Work, MIT professor Thomas Malone argues that in the future, high tech and knowledge-based businesses will likely be run as loose hierarchies or self-managed democracies. Skilled workers will organize, disband, and regroup around different assembly projects, much as film and construction workers do today. Even cars will be designed by competing teams of freelancers, giving automakers a choice of, say, fuel cells or solar cells.

Malone writes, "We are on the verge of a new world of work, in which many organizations will no longer have a center at all -- or, more precisely, in which they'll have almost as many 'centers' as they have people." In response, he suggests, managers will need to shift from a command-and-control style to a coordinate-and-cultivate mode.

[Source: Boston Globe]

[Collaboration Cafe]

Using SharePoint for Blogging

I have been interested in this for some time, since I use Sharepoint for collaboration purposes in my business. The template that has been created looks great, although it took quite a bit of time and effort to get it right.

Recently I've had a couple of questions from readers asking about the possibility of using SharePoint for blogging.  These questions have been sitting in my “Research as a possible blog topic someday when I have the time” folder, waiting for a spare moment.  Then today I received an email/comment from Sig Weber pointing me to his SharePoint Blog.  To be clear, Sig's created a blog that's done in SharePoint, which contains lots of good content including posts about his progress, trials and tribulations in using SharePoint as a blogging tool.  (Note: If you get a permissions error, you should be able to go past it -- as Sig points out in his blog, it's a work in progress :)  So check out Sig Weber's Playground (aka. "Extreme SharePoint'ing" or: doing more with less) blog, especially if you're interested in evaluating SharePoint as a blogging tool.

[LauraJ's Weblog]

terror alert banana

This is the terror alert banana.

'LOW' => 'green',
'GUARDED' => 'blue
'ELEVATED' => 'yellow',
'HIGH' => 'orange',
'SEVERE' => 'red');


Shinkuro is a research and development company with a strong interest in information sharing across organizational boundaries. The company has a beta app that is available for testing. Some say it may be a bit like groove. Use the Shinkuro software to securely share files across enterprise boundaries - securely. Just install the software on each machine, create a group and designate a folder you would like to share with the group. Any files you put in that folder will be shared with the other members automatically.

The InfoPath team has a blog!

I am a user of Infopath and I welcome this addition.
KC just pointed out to me that the InfoPath team has a blog.  I was embarrassed to find that they've been blogging for a week (12 posts already) and I didn't notice!  They are interested in getting feedback on topics you'd like to see them cover in this post -- I'm sure you'll have some suggestions :)  I've added them to the right nav, as well.

[LauraJ's Weblog]

Rethinking ROI in KM initiatives

I am posting this so I will remember to read the article. Measurement is always difficult, so any help I can get is appreciated.

Anu Gupta at scale|free turned up an interesting article on ROI. I hear a little theory of constraints in it. scale|free: Rethinking ROI in KM initiatives

Rethinking ROI: Managing Risk and Rewards in KM Initiatives - a very interesting article about measuring ROI. Unlike many other articles I've seen on the subject, this paper gives some measures that might prove useful within a consulting / professional services environment.

The paper talks about what's important and using that as a metric in determining value to the organization. This is a theme that makes a lot of sense to me -- Where is the pain? And how is Project X going to reduce that pain?

The measures that Alber cites are Leverage (ability to get more talent working with a client - flexibility, speed), Effective rate (average hours billed), and Profit component (earnings per client). In my mind the Effective Rate measure sounds close to a measure of throughput - how many clients can you hand before and after the change represented by the KM system? Leverage gets at the idea of elevating the constraint. In a law firm, if the only people who can work on a specific issue are the partners, then they become the constraint. Creating systems where more junior partners can take on the responsibilities of the senior partners opens the firm to more work by building a larger pool of talent and off-loading work from the constraint.

I like the example presented in the article:

A group of lawyers within the firm specializes in doing work on behalf of regional banks in connection with loans made by those banks. The bulk of the work involves documenting loans. The agreements involved are complex and important to these clients. However, across all of the loan transactions handled by the group there is a good deal of repetition.

The group proposes to develop a knowledge management system jointly with a group of clients that would automate large parts of the documentation process. As transactions come together, the client would enter information into the system, answer questions posed by the system, and, occasionally, consult by phone on the particulars of the transaction.

The hope in using this new system is that far fewer partner hours will be required to complete the transactions. As a consequence, fees to the client can be held down. Indeed, it is hoped that a flat fee billing arrangement will become possible.

The article is on (Legal and Technology Articles and Resources for Librarians, Lawyers and Law Firms), written by John I. Alber, published February 23, 2004.

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[Knowledge Jolt with Jack]

People, a good investment

Laurie Bassi is a rare individual. Research convinced her that companies that invest in their people just had to do better than penny-pinchers that cut training and payroll the moment the economy sours. She invested in a portfolio of stocks of companies that invest heavily...

[Internet Time Blog]

I had the good fortune to listen to Robin Good's interview with Ray Ozzie today about Groove v3.0 and the development of the application's new functionality. Robin asked insightful questions and pressed Ray on issues involving integration with Microsoft Office and inclusion of VoIP capabilities. Ray discribed how closely Groove listens to and respects the requirements of their users. This sets their development agenda, as it should. I liked the format of the interview, and the conversational approach, it was relaxed and very informative. Thank you, Robin, for exploring this format.

VoIP Wiki

I found a VoIP Wiki that is an excellent source of information about Voice communications. Since I think that this is such an integral part of collaboration I wanted to bring it to the attention of my readers.

This Wiki covers everything related to VOIP, software, hardware, service providers, reviews, configurations, standards, tips & tricks and everything else related to voice over IP networks, IP telephony and Internet Telephony.

(BTW I corrected the link, it works now)

A List of eLearning Vendors

As I have been conducting my research on eLearning I have discovered a list of eLearning platform vendors which may be helpful to others.

Top Class 5
Sitos Learning Management System
Saba Learning Enterprise
Learning Space
IBT Server
eLearning Suite (Hyperwave)
Docent Enterprise
Distance Learning System (DLS)
Campus 2000
Blackboard 5

In my first unsuccessful attempt to get a VoIP phone and service to work on my computer, I tried Voiceglo. Voiceglo was in the news lately because they received a huge infusion of venture capital funding. The Voiceglo application, called Phoneglo, got memory errors on my machine, so I quickly gave up. Xten and Addaline worked better for me and Xten operates in a Mac environment too.

I was inspired by SKYPE, a service that allows you to talk with other SKYPE users for free, to seek out an internet softphone and service offering that would allow me to use my computer to dial to any phone. I discovered it is possible! First, I wanted a softphone application that would allow me to talk to friends on a Macintosh platform for free via VoIP. The soft phone I found is called Xten which can be downloaded for free. On the Xten site, it lists several service providers that sell access to the public telephone network. I choose Addaline. It took me a while to configure it properly, but when I did it works better than I expected! The sound is very clear and the connection is as fast as a public telephone connection. I can already feel my phone bills falling! I still will use SKYPE, but when I want to call regular phone numbers, I will definitely use Addaline and my new Xten softphone.

BTW, the President of Xten has a blog called This blog provides a running commentary on VoIP, SIP, and IP communications.


Windows Sharepoint Services needs better documentation. Encountering problems frequently requires posting to a newsgroup or surfing to find an answer. The WSS FAQ by Mike Walsh is a great resource for answers on all dimensions of the application. He really knows his stuff!

SocialText Demo

I had a demo of the SocialText application today. I was impressed by the functionality and the difference between this and many other collaborative applications.

The presentation layer is an elegantly simple text based presentation of functions that combine the best of weblogs and wikis. More like a wiki, the application encourages collaboration and iterative thinking by allowing users to edit and build on pages written by others. Posts are presented in reverse chronological order, like a blog, but participants in a collaborative project can augment and edit anything they want. An idea can easily be extended in an ad-hoc way by creating a new page with content that enriches the idea or discussion.

Implementation of the application would consist of some easy adaptation of the interface to personalize it a bit with logos and colors. User adoption would require some training, but not a lot, and a commitment among a distributed team that they would contribute to this collaborative environment rather than continue to send point to point or broadcast emails. The application is flexible enough, however, to fit the way busy people work, and users can select to post to the SocialText application by email, and can receive updates sent from the application in an RSS feed or via summary emails, like a listserv.

All in all, a very impressive app. I look forward to find a use for it with a client.

I am doing research on elearning, open courseware, course management, learning object repositories and learning management platform. I have searched Feedster, read blogs, and I am finding a very rich community of bloggers and businesses that document elearning. I thought I would try to list the sites here:

D'Arcy Norman
eLearning Entrepreneur
Kathleen's Blog
The Learned Man
Online Learning

eLearn Magazine
Learning Circuits
Peter on eLearning
e-Learning Centre

...More to come!

I want to try SocialText!

I have been trying to get someone at SocialText to pay attention to my request to try their wiki application, but customer service in this growing company appears to be poor. After a lot of research I find myself enthusiastic about the simplicity of wikis and I want to try it out with a current team. SocialText has built a platform that makes wiki creation quite easy, I understand.

Stowe Boyd has written an interesting article: Wicked (Good) Wiki which examines collaborative work and introduces how wiki's work.

My life as a Comedian

Several months ago, I auditioned for a comedy show on ABC called "My Life is a Sitcom". I did not get selected to act on the show, but the show started to air last Sunday at 7:30 PM. Joe Mozian, the creator of the show, sent me an email today complaining that ABC has not done much to promote his show. He included a link to a special promotional video for the show.

I am writing this post because my daughter saw me on TV in the advertisement for the show. I have gotten no recognition from Joe Mozian nor ABC despite the fact that they are using my image. Well, I want to complain that Joe Mozian has not done enough to promote me. This is my life as a comedian! I thought I had a future in this business.

Anyway, here is the email I got from Joe Mozian:

I know I shouldn't bite the hand that feeds me, but...chomp, chomp, chomp...

Dear Friends,

I'm a bit PO'd that ABC Family has done squat to promote My life is a Sitcom, so I made a funny tongue-in-cheek video in protest.

In spite of a severe lack in marketing, the numbers for the 1st show far exceeded their expectations. I know this is all thanks to you guys and gals for spreading the word.

Hope you all get a kick out of the video. (The windows version is a much better quality.)

Watch for NEW Episodes of My Life is a Sitcom every Sunday at 7:30 PM on ABC Family


PS - I think they repeat each episode the following Sunday at 12:30 AM (that's Saturday night, really)

Nicholas Carr: Digital Renderings

Nicholas Carr, one of my favorite writers on business and technology published the first issue of Digital Renderings. In this issue he comments on "Productivity and the Profit Myth", explaining how productivity related cost savings do not automatically fall to the bottom line. Competition tends to erode profit as innovations are rapidly diffused through an industry.

This is an insightful article and definitely worth reading.

Basecamp for Project Management

While I have not tried it yet, Robin Good pointed out a compelling new tool for project management and collaboration that combines webloging with a dashboard to keep track of project progress and milestones. I will look for an opportunity to use it.

Basecamp Makes Distributed Project Work An Online Pleasure To ManageThis is an ideal asynchronous collaboration tool for distributed project teams working on keeping their tasks, files, calendar and notes in great synch. The classical idea of a "project site" originally brought about by David Siegel has greatly evolved over time adjusting and flexing to accomodate the different needs of various professions and working groups. YahooGroups have been a great free resource for many needing to have a reference site in which to centralize messages, files, calendars and other information connected to a group or project. Basecamp leaps a few orders of magnitude ahead while offering a truly well designed interface, an extremely well designed organization of the different functions and all of the quite enjoyment of being a truly private, ad-free, secure working space. Basecamp is a hosted service so there's no hardware or software installation required. Basecamp is RSS-enabled out of the box. For $ 19/month, this is definitely a service to look at.
Robin Good -- February 28

Information Architecture Bloug

Lou Rosenfeld comments on Information Architecture in his weblog. It provides a good source of information and commentary on the field and I found that his presentations on taxonomy and metadata particularly useful.

I use NewsGator and find it useful. I will examine these new features.
  • New NewsGator Extensions
    "NewsGator users: check out Greg Reinacker's blog.... Extensions include a cool calendar extension that takes feeds and ads them to Outlooks calendar. Also one that looks at feeds that don't push down all the content (lame lame lame, if you're one of the feeds that does that) and lets you slurp up all the content. I love THAT!" [Scobleizer]

  • AmphetaRate
    "AmphetaRate RSS Recommendation is the first RSS recommendation server. It calculates your likes / dislikes to create a personalized RSS recommendation feed. We also currently provide an aggregator based on AmphetaDesk to communicate to AmphetaRate." [Lockergnome's RSS Resource]

  • "You might want to check out FeedDemon by Nick Bradbury. While it comes with default style sheets, users are able to create their own XSL for efficiently processing the information. So, if you wanted to view just the first paragraph, you could create your own style or ask someone in the community to create one.

    Radek, an active community member, has created styles that hint at what can be achieved with this combination, from rating your feeds in a database, to creating powerful MindMaps." [Note to Self, via Jon's Radio]

I think all of these indicate that we're seeing a new phase for news aggregators. The first months of 2004 are going to be a major marker on a future timeline showing progress on the march towards maturation.

[The Shifted Librarian]

Groove 3.0 information

I am a big fan of groove. I am looking forward to the update.

The Groove Website offers more information on the upcoming release of Groove 3.0. Existing customers can also sign up for the Groove 3.0 Beta.

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[Jeroen Bekkers' Groove Weblog]

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