April 2004 Archives

Today I got something free from Microsoft! Because I attended an Enterprise Project Management webcast, I was the lucky winner of Connecting the Dots: Objectives in Unpredictable Times by Cathleen Benko and F. Warren McFarlan.

About the book, the web site says:

"Connecting The Dots employs a practical, "play the hand you are holding" approach, providing a balance of concepts and roll-up-your-sleeves guidance on how to:

Determine how well-aligned��or misaligned��your organization is today
Reveal opportunities for increasing portfolio economics
Apply tools to reduce portfolio risk while improving its efficiency, flexibility, and direction
Instill new mind-sets to better respond to whatever future presents itself
If you��re like most executives, you already know your portfolio is not delivering as expected. Alignment is not about spending more; it��s about getting greater return for what you are already spending. This guidebook helps you "connect the dots" between your organization��s intentions and its project activities, capturing hidden value today while better preparing for the future. And it does so in a way you can use when you get into the office tomorrow".

It is not as exciting as winning the perfect weblog elevator pitch contest, but I am on a roll!

The future of business in Europe

There is a very good set of discussions going on at the World Economic Forum. Loic Le Meur and Samantha Tonkin are blogging the conference in Warsaw. The discussion about the EU and how Europe will evolve is exciting.

Extremely interesting session this morning where I had both a speaker and a rapporteur role for the Plenary session on Friday "Building europe for Business".

Here are some first quick notes I took, I am trying to write some of what we discussed, not my personal ideas even though they are quite similar to the below ideas.

Some issues

-The EU may miss its objective of being one of the most competitive and dynamic part of the world by 2010
-The 15 current members joined by the 10 new ones in a few days are behind the US in terms of R&D and innovation, creating an information society and encouraging entrepreneurship in Europe

Some good news

-Nordic EU members are actually ahead of the USA in many different aspects of their development
-Europe at large is ahead in sustainable development, social protection and Telecom

We live an historic moment with the 10 countries joining the EU, 74 million more people will join but only contributing to the GDP by 5% and with a labor cost of only 1/5th of the 15 other members and other key advantages, the opportunities of growth for these countries (which is above other members' growth) and for EU as a whole are incredible.

Some first solutions

-gather best local european experiences in terms of entrepreneurship and best business practices in the EU and share them
-give access to people superior education, integrate much more entrepreneurship and business awareness lessons to educational programs, teach entrepreneurship to schools
-improve the image of Entrepreneurship in Europe by better explaining the key role they play (like contribution to jobs creation and growth). People, media and politicians should better understand Entrepreneurs. Compared to the USA, their image is totally different. If they fail, they are considered as losers. If they succeed, they do not get the same respect for what they have done, the jobs they created and the value they added to Society by taking risks as in the USA where many of them are even considered as heroes
-acceptance of risks. Risk should become more desirable economically and socially, Europe is too much living in comfort to a point that its growth, innovation and entrepreneurship are in danger
-the 10 countries that join the EU have a different agenda than the others. Poland has about 20% unemployment, the only option is "hunger to succeed" and entrepreneurs are becoming very active because "this is the only way to go". We should communicate and transfer some of that hunger to succeed, take risks and build businesses to "Old Europe" that is seen as "being comfortable" with high social protection and low working hours (France's 35 hours a week were mentioned many times by Participants for example)". "Being comfortable is impossible and illusive". There was a general consensus around the fact that we should take more risks and get out a bit of our current protection to innovate and create, or the EU will just lose ground against the US of course but more important against countries like China and India.
-create centers of excellence, and especially create a Silicon Valley of Europe. There must be centers of excellence fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. To get to that result, mobility of EU citizens should be improved by promoting it, making it easy for people to move from one country to another and ensuring portability of pensions.
-make businesses contribute more to society by building strong links with Universities and finance them, one of the key reason of success of Silicon Valley
-promote the role of early stage investments in young companies, the role of business angels, help young companies get initial financing
-focus on egovernance and make it a top agenda for Governments, focusing on how to implement by also gathering the best practices (there is big diversity in implementation in the EU, you can get a new passport in Poland on the Internet in three days where it may take three weeks with a lot of administrative work in other countries for example).
-make technology available to everybody should be a key objective too

The room concluded also by the fact that this challenge cannot be taken by only one group in society, it is a multi-stakeholders challenge involving Governments, Business, Research, Education and other groups.

What do you think are other solutions for building a more business friendly Europe ? There is of course much we could not cover in only a hour and a half.

Help me get more ideas and concrete actions to the Plenary session on Friday !

[The World Economic Forum Weblog]
Portals have attracted a great deal of attention in the knowledge management community, with good reason. Portals are a powerful catalyst, integrating content and applications from diverse sources, while at the same time providing focused classification and sorting of that knowledge. This paper looks at the different types of portals from an intranet perspective, how the different types of portals relate to each other, and examines one particular technology, Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server, for designing and deploying departmental and community portals.

[Last 20 SharePoint Portal Server Uploads on Only4Gurus.com]

Perfect Elevator Pitch for Blogging

Good post with links to the winning pitch.
Lee hits the nail on the head and provides a short piece that explains Blogging in language that an executive could understand.

Well, there is no such thing as perfect of course. But from the seventeen entries in the Perfect Elevator Pitch for Weblogs Contest the winner has now been selected and it's...............Lee Lefever (why don't you stick up a hand so people know who you are)

Ok, thanks, Lee. And congratulations! The runners up were:

Second Place - Randal Moss Third Place (tied) - Michael Angeles and Jack Vinson

On the judging panel were a whole range of interesting bloggers and myself:

Dave Pollard,


Don Park,


Jim McGee,

Lilia Efimova,


Phil Wolff,

Ross Mayfield,

Scott Allen

Judging was an interesting experience, and it would be fun to carry on some conversation about what we learned at the SocialText workspace we used as our judging room.

One thing which to me was interesting to see is that a lot of the pitches took up one characteristic of blogging, such as context with Lee, but also storytelling, filtering conversations, etc. whereas noone would cover them all. To me it seems a lot as if the format is too much taylored to the old industrial way of talking about things. Explain to me neat row of causally related steps that show me return in numbers, by the end of next month, or this quarter at the latest.

No wonder Lee had such a time-consuming experience crafting his pitch. Is this a case of wrong vocabulary of sorts? Not that results don't matter, mind you, but causality is, especially in knowledge intensive environments, not so predictable beforehand as our business models tend to assume. With hindsight, yes, but not up front. You know, complexity and stuff. And I didn't believe most of the ROI stories I heard about a lot of more traditional investments to be as straightforward and simple as presented. So when we are moving into intangibles and more socially oriented tools I think it will get near impossible to do this, and the format of elevator pitches will seize to be useful.

The text of the winning pitch is:

First, think about the value of the Wall Street Journal to business leaders. The value it provides is context -- the Journal allows readers to see themselves in the context of the financial world each day, which enables more informed decision making.

Weblogs serve this need. By making internal websites simple to update, weblogs allow individuals and teams to maintain online journals that chronicle projects inside the company. These professional journals make it easy to produce and access internal news, providing context to the company -- context that can profoundly affect decision making. In this way, weblogs allow employees and leaders to make more informed decisions through increasing their awareness of internal news and events."

I have already taken a look at the KM Culture document and it is quite good!

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) have just published their Good Practice in Knowledge Management guides. To quote:

This guide aims to:

(a) Provide European readers with a practical introduction to mainstream thinking in KM;

(b) Give an indication of some of the emerging new thinking in KM;

(c) Stimulate interested readers to join an ongoing public discussion about KM, which will be facilitated through the European Commission’s KM portal at http://www.knowledgeboard.com/

[Thanks to KnowledgeBoard.]

[Column Two]

Robin Good, an extremely knowledgeable analyst of collaboration tools, hosted his first Buyer's Guide on the internet yesterday using some of his recommended tools. Unfortunately, the technologies did not cooperate and Robin had to improvise. It turned out to be quite a good session and I learned a lot about the Flash Communication Server, how to build a video conferencing room, plus some good tools to connect people together. Robin made the remainder of the session useful by hosting a discussion with the tool vendors.

Here, in fact, courtesy of Robin, is a screen shot of our conference room:



This evening I attended a MIT Ashoka Foundation event that featured David Bornstein the author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. David has his MBA from McGill University in Montreal, has worked as a software developer, and is a journalist. He spent several years interviewing Ashoka Foundation fellows and tells the most compelling stories in his book.

How to Change the World tells the fascinating stories of these remarkable individuals��many in the United States, others in countries from Brazil to Hungary��providing an In Search of Excellence for the social sector. In America, one man, J.B. Schramm, has helped thousands of low-income high school students get into college. In South Africa, one woman, Veronica Khosa, developed a home-based care model for AIDS patients that changed government health policy. In Brazil, Fabio Rosa helped bring electricity to hundreds of thousands of remote rural residents. Another American, James Grant, is credited with saving 25 million lives by leading and �marketing�� a global campaign for immunization. Yet another, Bill Drayton, created a pioneering foundation, Ashoka, that has funded and supported these social entrepreneurs and over a thousand like them, leveraging the power of their ideas across the globe.

These extraordinary stories highlight a massive transformation that is going largely unreported by the media: Around the world, the fastest-growing segment of society is the nonprofit sector, as millions of ordinary people��social entrepreneurs��are increasingly stepping in to solve the problems where governments and bureaucracies have failed. How to Change the World shows, as its title suggests, that with determination and innovation, even a single person can make a surprising difference. For anyone seeking to make a positive mark on the world, this will be both an inspiring read and an invaluable handbook. It will change the way you see the world.

Pasted from http://www.howtochangetheworld.org/text/book.html>

I highly recommend the book and if you are interested in reading more, there is an interview in changemakers.net with David about what he learned.

I put a link in the book section on the lefthand side of the page if you want to buy the book at Amazon.

Providing the necessary coordinates for a search engine is required to yield precise search results. This case provides a good description of the challenge. Thanks for pointing this out!

Maxine Armitage has published a case study on the use of metadata to improve searching. To quote:

The NSW Office of Fair Trading launched its first intranet in June 2003. At the very beginning of the intranet project we recognised that unless users could find information easily the intranet would not succeed. We also understood that different people prefer to find information in different ways. To maximise the chances of searchers finding relevant information, and to provide flexibility in search options, we developed and implemented metadata driven search and browse functions. This case study describes the standards, tools and technology we used and how metadata was manipulated to retrieve information in a number of different ways.

This is a really excellent case study, and I recommend anyone looking to implement a powerful (and usable) search solution to read through it.

[Column Two]


Microsoft OneNote released Service Pack 1 this week and a new post in Chris_Pratley's Weblog describes the new features. Now you can create video notes from within the application. Since I was inspired to try Video Blogging at Bloggercon, I thought I'd record my first video entry in OneNote:

Example of a OneNote Video Clip that I created

Information Architecture Library

Great link to IA materials

AIfIA has just released a new Information Architecture Library which links to a pile of information architecture resources. To quote:

Welcome to the IA Library. The IA Library is a selection of resources related to the field of information architecture. The collection includes articles, books, blogs, and more.

[Thanks to Peter Van Dijck.]

[Column Two]

Michael Wehrs (Director at Microsoft) discusses mobility and the future

In the Seattle Times, Kim Peterson, their technology reporter has a question and answer session with Michael Wehrs. He is the director of technology and standards at the company's mobile devices division. I found several of his answers interesting, especially when he talked about the future of telephone service, cell and PSTN, first in ten years, secondly in five years.

Q. What will we see 10 years from now in this business? Will we even have cellphones anymore?

Wehrs: I think the things that you will see are significant changes in user interface. The idea that you have to pick up and dial a phone probably will be gone 10 years from now. The mode switching between doing a data thing or a voice thing, that will all be gone. You'll generally interact with your device via voice or via screen, but the idea that you're doing either/or will go away. It will just be integrated in.

The devices will become combined and in general much smaller. The idea of personal area networks where devices share their capabilities and leverage each other, 10 years from now that will all work so that you may have a watch that you talk to. You may have just a headset that that becomes your earpiece and microphone. The actual phone will be something in your pocket or in your PC that you have with you, so it'll find a radio network to use and let you connect.

You will still have fashion statements in a phone. People will still have a cool device because it's cool to have one.

Q. What about five years from now?

Wehrs: You're still going to see predominantly handsets. You'll see the Moore's Law effect will have had a dramatic impact on the capability of these devices.

So whether they look like an appliance to you that just has a bunch of cool features, or whether they look like a device that you add new capabilities to, you'll see both in significant numbers, even though the hardware will probably be identical.

Half a gigabyte of storage, gigahertz processors, this will all be the norm five years out. Screen technologies and battery technologies that get you at that level of performance through an entire day of use will be the norm. You'll see multiple radios five years from now where today that's somewhat of a novelty.

You're going to see devices that simply work on whatever area network is out there, and they're smart enough to switch between them.

What they said

Tara is providing a real service to all of us by aggregating lists of postings.
What they said: On the weblog Liloia.com, Tara has a great list of bloggers who blogged Bloggercon II. I still have the best intentions to post some wrap-up thoughts on the day, but am too busy today dodging the whips of a demanding editor on deadline.

[Feedster.com Results For: bloggercon]

Here is the way an Iron Chef program is described:

"The concept of the show is that a flamboyant, eccentric gourmet, portrayed by Kaga Takeshi, lives in his castle with his "Iron Chefs." These Iron Chefs are the top chefs in the culinary fields of Japanese, Chinese, French and Italian cooking. Each week, Kaga will choose a challenger chef (from anywhere on the planet) to "do battle" against his Iron Chefs. Kaga will present a theme ingredient and each chef will then be charged with preparing a multi-course meal that utilizes the theme ingredient in each course. The chefs have one hour to cook. Then, Kaga and four judges taste the food and pronounce winner. Sometimes there are ties and a 30 minute cook-off battle, with its own theme ingredient, will need to be held. Every now and again, there will be shows with no theme ingredient or tag team chefs cooking.

The great appeal of the show is its meld of sports commentary with a cooking show. There is a sidelines announcer, Ota Shinichiro, who provides a play by play commentary on the dishes as they are prepared. There are also two announcers, Fukui Kenji, who provides most of the announcements and Hattori Yukio, who is the "color" man and fills in the viewers with tidbits of culinary knowledge."

This idea came up in Jeff Jarvis' session on the Business of Blogs. I think it has some merit.

Who do you think would be the best matchups? What do think the topics should be?

Channel 9: The two Microsoft guys who came to Bloggercon

On Saturday, at Bloggercon, I had the good fortune to meet and have lunch with two of the guys responsible for Channel 9. Lenn Pryor (C 9), Jeff Sandquist, (C 9) Scott Johnson (Feedster), Betsy Devine (Feedster), Seth Finkelstein, and Gregory Narain, and I all had lunch together at the Cambridge Common. I told them that I was one of the thousands of registered user of Channel 9 and that I had been reading their posts and following the conversations. It was great to get a bit of the inside story about starting Channel 9 at Microsoft and how their efforts, despite being controversial, have been such a success. Both Lenn and Jeff commented that they really liked to engage customers rather than only listening to other developers within Microsoft. So, this is a bold experiment. A small group of people can really make a difference in a large company, it takes courage, but, who can argue with understanding your customers better.

After sitting with these guys for a bit I was reminded of John Kotter and some of his books and lectures about leadership and change management. Here is a quote from an interview he did with the Leader to Leader Institute:

L2L: In your new book with Dan Cohen, The Heart of Change, you say that the single biggest challenge in the change process is not strategy, structure, culture, or anything like that, but just getting people to change their behavior. Why is that so difficult?

John Kotter: All through our lives we have been taught to over-rely on what you might call the memo approach -- the 19 logical reasons to change -- and we've under-relied on what Dan Cohen and I found is much more effective, which is presenting something that is emotionally compelling. People change their behavior when they are motivated to do so, and that happens when you speak to their feelings. Nineteen logical reasons don't necessarily do it. You need something, often visual, that helps produce the emotions that motivate people to move more than one inch to the left or one inch to the right. Great leaders are brilliant at this. They tell the kind of stories that create pictures in your mind and have emotional impact. Imagine, someone once told me, if Martin Luther King Jr. had stood up there in front of the Lincoln Memorial and said, "I have a business strategy." King didn't do that. He said, "I have a dream," and he showed us what his dream was, his picture of the future. You get people to change less by giving them an analysis that changes their thinking than by showing them something that affects their feelings.

L2L: Intellectually, then, people may realize the need for change, but still not do anything differently.

John Kotter: Yes, because they don't have the passion to break out of their habits. It's tough to break habits. Ask smokers. The momentum from history -- from how we've always done things -- can end up making our future look like our history.

Overcoming complacency is crucial at the start of any change process, and it often requires a little bit of surprise, something that grabs attention at more than an intellectual level. You need to surprise people with something that disturbs their view that everything is perfect. Take one story we have in the book, the "Videotape of the Angry Customer." People who saw that video were caught off guard. Their mouths dropped open in surprise. Successful change leaders show people what the problems are and how to resolve the problems. They use things that people can see, hear, or touch. This may mean showing a video of an angry customer rather than a report of a customer survey. Change leaders make their points in ways that are as emotionally engaging and compelling as possible. They rely on vivid stories that are told and retold. You don't have to spend a million dollars and six months to prepare for a change effort. You do have to make sure that you touch people emotionally.�� Copyright © 2003 by John P. Kotter

I hope people in Microsoft are listening and watching what the Channel 9 guys are doing.

Before Bloggercon started this morning, Dave Winer asked what songs we should sing to open Bloggercon. I remember the names of three of the losing candidate songs. I was at a loss for the words of the songs, but I was lucky to have my computer. Here are the songs, with links to the lyrics:

Brandy (You're A Fine Girl), the Looking Glass.
Words and Music by Elliot Lurie

We also thought of some more geographically relevant songs:

Charlie on the MTA

Yankees Suck
it is a little raunchy but describes perfectly how Bostonian's feel about the Yankees.
BTW, the band is called BenderX and you can listen to the song here: http://www.benderband.com/mp3.html

We ended up singing "Take me out to the Ball Game" and the National Anthem. (everyone knew the words)

So next time, we'll be ready with the words of other songs; I am sure that Joey knows the music!

"Hyper-Commenting" at Bloggercon

Dave Winer and the organizers of Bloggercon created a discussion format in which participants in the sessions engaged in �hyper-commenting��. Although the moderators facilitated the discussions, comments from everyone accreted into an understanding of subjects like �What is Journalism?�� and �Presidential Blogging��. The overall effect was that focused answers emerged out of each group session. The audience was energetic, fun and obviously responded well to this format, which was, oddly similar to blogging. I took lots of notes and will continue to describe who I met and what I learned in subsequent posts.

I had a long animated conversation about video blogging with Steve Garfield tonight. He was recently recognized in Time Magazine as "no ordinary blogger" in an article entitled "See Me, Blog Me". I especially liked his most recent video posted on the site: Making Toast.

Here is a photo of the animated discussion Steve and I had. (photo via Sooz) I am in blue, Steve is in black.


Tomorrow, at Bloggercon, there will be a number of conversations about video blogging in sessions on Infrastucture and also Personal Television Networks.

BTW, I also wanted to mention that in Steve Garfield's portfolio of weblogs he also is the author of the "School of Rock Super Fan Site Weblog". For Jack Black fans it is awesome!

I guess that it is synchronicity, but Oliver Rist��s article in Infoworld comes to the same conclusion as I have about Microsoft and VoIP. Read this clip from his article:
Oh frabjous day! A new hot button. I hardly expected the reader feedback I’d get writing about VoIP, but considering I was writing about it in a column devoted to Windows management in the enterprise, I suppose I should have expected it.

[Feedster.com Results For: microsoft voip]

Jan Tielens has developed RSS generation for Sharepoint sites. This is a big omission from the application so I am glad to see it addressed. He also supplies a good bit of technical detail so that you can understand what is going on in the app.

In an Infoworld article by Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service writes about the VoIP capabilities of Windows CE. Microsoft is including VoIP in all of its platforms, most visibly, though, in this Windows CE release.

This is a quote form the Microsoft website:

"VoIP Devices: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a rapidly emerging technology for voice communication that uses the ubiquity of IP-based networks to deploy VoIP-enabled devices in enterprise and home environments. VoIP-enabled devices, such as desktop and mobile IP phones and gateways, decrease the cost of voice and data communication, enhance existing features, and add compelling new telephony services. Windows CE .NET 4.2 is a robust, real-time operating system that delivers a flexible, integrated platform for developing, marketing, and using a variety of VoIP-enabled client devices."

In fact, on the Microsoft site, they explain the value proposition for driving the substitution of traditional public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) and cellular networks.

"VoIP Industry Trends The overall United States telecommunications industry, including equipment and services, generated more than $600 billion in revenue in 2000.1 While VoIP is currently a small fraction of this, it is growing quickly. In North America, wholesale VoIP sales were estimated to approach well over $400 million in 2002.2 Total equipment purchases of VoIP gateways, soft switches such as IP Private Branch Exchange (IP PBX), and VoIP application servers are expected to reach almost $12 billion by 2006, a six-fold increase over 2001.3 Similarly, the revenue from selling wired enterprise IP phones may be in excess of $2.7 billion by 2006; this figure does not include mobile IP phones or phones used in private homes."

IMHO, Microsoft is poised to take over this market and actively drive substitution. You can bet that all the new versions of the OS will have VoIP as an integral component. It makes good business sense and they have all the infrastructure components in place to provide a compelling argument for a massive shift to VoIP.

As I have mentioned in this blog before, I am a Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services user and developer. Lately I have been trying to configure a completely open site that would display no challenges to users. Sharepoint is a very secure application and works well in large or small teams that need to collaborate privately. However, my team shares nothing that is confidential and I did not want anyone to be frustrated by a challenge. I discovered that an anonymous user cannot upload documents, but can contribute to lists, discussions, surveys etc. This is not exactly the functionality that I wanted, but it makes good sense. I do not want people spamming my team, loading large or infected files. I can live with the answer now that I now.

The microsoft.public.sharepoint.windowsservices newsgroup help me fix this quite fast and, of course, I learned lot in the process. The answer is posted in the WSS FAQ which is an invaluable resource for people using Windows Sharepoint Services. Here is the dialog if anyone is interested (it is in reverse chronological order):

I've added it to the WSS FAQ as III.70. "How can I enable anonymous users to
add, delete or edit files in document libraries?"
Thanks to both of you!
Mike Walsh, Helsinki, Finland

"Ralph Poole" wrote in message
Great, finally. I have been trying to fix it forever. I am glad someone
knew the answer. Is it documented anywhere?

"Iyaz" wrote in message
You cannot upload, edit documents in Document libraries, forms or
Picture libraries anonymously. Only list items can be added and edited

"Mike Walsh [MVP]" wrote in message
It all depends on what rights you give anonymous users *in WSS* - the
default is that anonymous have reader access only but you can change
this to a higher right (Contributor?) if you as admin want.
Mike Walsh, Helsinki, Finland

"Ralph Poole" wrote in message:
So now I can have anonymous users edit and update lists, but I can't
Enable them to add, delete or edit files in document libraries. Is that
Another IIS setting in permissions, for example? Hope you can help.

"Mike Walsh [MVP] wrote in message:
WSS FAQ item III.43 http://wss.collutions.com/Lists/FAQ/DispForm.aspx?ID=175

Q: "Why can't I specify anonymous access to my WSS web site? (It's
greyed/grayed out)
A:You need to first enable Anonymous on the Virtual Server using
The IIS MMC. Only when this is done is setting anonymous access a selectable

Mike Walsh, Helsinki, Finland
WSS FAQ at wss.collutions.comwss.collutions.com

"Ralph Poole" wrote in message
Thank you for your answer, however under the heading "change
Anonymous access" in "modify settings and columns", the anonymous access
Settings are grayed out except for a check box under "view items". I must
have another box checked somewhere that does not allow anonymous users to
"Edit items" I want the users to view and edit the content
Any other thoughts?

"Boris Gomiunik"wrote in message
You also have to set access for authenticated users. Maybe
your friends are authenticated in some other sites and that��s why they can't
access the content. You can check the status of authenticated users in
the same page as you set the anonymous access.
Otherwise please check also because anonymous users can only read.
I think it has to do also something with the rights of each list of
Modify Settings and columns -- Change Permissions -- Change
Anonymous access -- (check the "Add items" and "Edit items")
Hope that'll do.

"Ralph Poole" wrote in message
I want to create a completely open anonymous web site that any of my colleagues can contribute to without having to login. I have set up the site for anonymous use, but people are still being challenged when they want to add content. What am I doing wrong, how do I set it so there are no challenges at all?

VoIP and WiFi [Tony Fish]

More good indictors of how the industry will evolve and how the players will position themselves.
VoIP and WiFi

Conference attendees at VON in Santa Clara heard last week that "the two the most interesting technologies in the marketplace today - VoIP and WiFi - are together presenting the most disruptive threat to the telecommunications industry"

WiFi was the talk of the show. Many speakers identified voice to be the 'killer app' of broadband - with Broadband IP Telephony services and enterprise voice being clear drivers for increased broadband adoption. And at the same time, speakers naturally identified that the increasing penetration of WiFi, and the emergence of new SIP capable WiFi devices, brought the necessary mobility to enable VoIP usage.

The other major news from the show focused around the mainstream adoption of both consumer, and enterprise VoIP services. Many start-ups - from Vonage in the US, through to Telio in Sweden - shared their success stories in grabbing substantial market share over the past few months. And most significant of all is the move of many incumbent telcos into VoIP.

AT&T, Level 3 and Microsoft all chose Spring VON as the forum or major announcements. The talk of the show was AT&T, who launched their brand new IP Telephony service at the show - CallVantage - a mass market broadband telephony offering supported by a major national advertising campaign

When the fixed telcos move in with services that compete with their traditional voice offerings you know the technology has moved into mainstream. In Europe, competition is intensifying too as players from many different segments target the same consumers for voice services.

US based Vonage is set to launch in the UK soon, and Skype, the peer to peer VoIP service from the founders of Kazaa is already gaining strong ground. Against that, PTTs like British Telecom and Telia Sonera are responding with their own Voice over Broadband offerings.

It looks like VoIP is finally delivering on the promise of reduced (even free??) cost telephony, and a range of value added benefits that make it a real marketable alternative to fixed telephony.

Perhaps the most interesting learning from VON of all, was the size of the show - it completely sold out, and ran to 2 overflow rooms. The VON events (originally Voice On the Net) explore the convergence of telephony and data communications over IP, and have been running for 7 years now. There were over 3500 participants at Spring VON – making it the second largest show EVER in the history of VON. A pretty clear indicator of the recovery of this segment of the industry.

VON is coming to Europe - in London, 7-10 June http://www.pulver.com/europe2004/ Over 120 speakers are already secured - including Orange, Skype, The Cloud, Vonage, BT, Telefonica, Telia Sonera, Voz Telecom and Telio - and the 50 stand expo is already sold out. Wireless Ecademy members are entitled to a $100 discount off the ticket price - just quote WiFiE1 when you register. Also, if you register before 30 April you can save up to $500 more off the ticket price.

Tony Fish
Chairman WiFi Group
CEO and Founder AMF Ventures

[Feedster.com Results For: microsoft voip]

Technorati support in Typepad?

I have been follow the new features at Technorati for a while and I want to add them to my blog. I'm having a bit of trouble however figuring out how to add these new features to Typepad. If anyone has any suggestions let me know.

You can now track who is linking to particular posts on my blog by clicking the Technorati link next to link next to trackbacks at the bottom of the post. The result is similar to trackbacks, but these links are links that have been discovered by Technorati, whereas trackbacks are links that are sent to me directly by other bloggers. Boing Boing recently started Technorati support and Dave Sifry explains how to add this to your blog. Since I don't get as many links as Boing Boing, clicking the Technorati link will often yield no results. I think we need to figure out a way to easily show how many links from Technorati, just like comments and trackbacks so people will know whether they should click or not. Adriaan's got it running on his blog using the Technorati API, but it's a bit dodgy still so I'm going to wait for a better solution. ;-)

In order to make these results more accurate, it would be great if people made a point to link as much as possible to the permalinks rather than the top level URL when referring to entries in blogs.

[Joi Ito's Web]
Robin Good provides a superb post on converting Powerpoint presentations to a Flash SWF file for presentation on the web. The fine list of resources deserves exploration. This is a frequent problem that I have been seeking a solution to, so I welcome Robin's aggregation of all these resources.
PPT2Flash Top20 Why Would You Ever Want To Convert A Powerpoint Presentation Into A Flash File? Here is a detailed list of the key advantages you would have in converting a PowerPoint presentation into a Flash file. No matter what your final goal is, a Flash-based presentation goes a long way in making your content become easily accessible, ubiquitous and easily distributable. 1) Greater Accessibility Once converted to Flash a PowerPoint presentation can be easily viewed in any Internet browser. Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Netscape, Safari, Opera, and more. As more than 98% of all browsers have already installed the Flash...

[Robin Good's Sharewood Tidings]

This is a set of links that I copied from Alidade Inc. on the think tanks that investigate the future. For me, the most relevant links have to do with how business will be conducted in 5 to 10 years.

The Brain

This software will change forever the way you file your electrons. Or not. Consider it a litmus test of your ability to innovate.

Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group

A think tank that takes tasking only from and reports directly to the �CEO�� of the U.S. Navy, the SSG, headed by retired four-star admiral James R. Hogg, is charged with developing revolutionary naval warfare innovations with a horizon of 30-50 years in the future.

Complexity Digest

If you don't already subscibe to this weekly e-newsletter, you can get it here. Subscribe, and then peruse the archives. The Who's Who and What's What of the complexity community, ComDig is reporting from the front lines at every conference and from every journal.

Cosma Shalizi

A one-man innovation center, Cosma's homepage is a treasure trove of ideas, research, links and musings. Visit it often: it keeps going, and going, and going ��

Entropy and Information

MIT has decided that entropy is too important to be left to thermodynamics. Every freshman may one day be required to take this course. And just when you thought you had the thermo type figured out.

Good Experience

Mark Hurst is a leader in the science of developing online experiences that work. He is also the sponsor of the GEL conferences. Take a look.

The Highlands Group

A policy consulting network that investigates and reports on the pragmatic use of innovative concepts well before they appear as business press trends.

Ilachinski, Dr. Andrew

Andy's website is the Mother Lode of complexity links. His free, downloadable agent-based combat model is one of the most insightful complexity tools available to the military OR community.

The Institute for Operations Research and Management Science

The civilian counterpart of MORS, INFORMS likewise contains contains links to other OR sites, publications and OR events.

Military Operations Research Society
The epicenter of military OR. Contains links to other OR sites, publications and OR events.


Where, Chris Meyer, the spiritual leader of the late great Center for Business Innovation is starting a new.

The New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI)

NECSI is the host of the annual International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS) and an important node in the New Science network. NECSI's listserv also hosts interchanges by A-list researchers.

Nutech Solutions

A world leader in making complex business problems simple.

Office of Force Transformation
http:// www.oft.osd.mil/

The front lines of the Transformation revolution.

Reiter's Scientific and Professional Books

You've heard of Amazon, et alia. Reiter's consistently ships books overnight that the others need six weeks to locate (they probably order from Reiter's). You've got to visit their DC store.

The Santa Fe Institute

Legendary in the short history of the New Sciences. The SFI website contains a wealth of information, including a list of events and links to every working paper they sponsored.

The SWARM Corporation

Although the model is not for beginners, the SWARM site is work a surf, if for nothing else than to keep track of the state of the art and the practitioners of agent-based modeling activity.

I saw this post in Ross Mayfield's SocialText Weblog. I think that it is great that CGEY is still involved in thought leadership. SocialText in particular is a firm to watch, having nicely packaged blogs and wikis in a very elegant application.

I am also pleased that Chris Meyer is still involved in the Trends Consortium. Chris Meyer is the author of "Blur" and several other books that provide insight into new modes of work and how technology is impacting business.

Here are Ross' comments:

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Key Trend

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young highlights ad hoc collaboration with Social Software as one of six key 24-month technology trends.

Ad Hoc Collaboration

A new generation of tools and approaches toward software-based collaboration creates an environment in which people, no longer limited to the confines of a single department, company, or location, can now join forces and pool resources with people they have never met, and without any pre-existing arrangements. Simply put, the "join point" is no longer based on an organization chart. Rather, it flows from people's common interests.

This trend is made possible by two technological factors.

First, a new design philosophy of "social" software, which embraces lightweight process control, supports many small, quick interactions, and is based on a series of open standards for communication. For example, the "Wiki-Wiki" collaborative system allows any user to modify the contents of a Web page with no editorial control or synchronization.
Second, the increasing capability of portable devices such as PDAs and phones, plus the growing availability of cheap mobile data networks (such as 802.11/Wi-Fi), mean that users can interact with others and with systems in a far wider range of times and locations...
The article points out how these two factors will change the nature of events and discusses the other five trends.

A full report discusses social factors, the wiki and highlights Socialtext as evidence for the rise of this trend.

Thanks to Dan Gillmor for pointing out this article on electronic collaboration, which I would have surely missed. The essay is a manifesto about software for collaboration. I agree with the premise that software must be more people centric, in which he complains that current software is nowhere near acheiving its full potential. Eugene Eric Kim, the author, also provides a short bibliography at the end of the essay with links to Doug Englebart's writings on collaboration and augmentation. I always like going back to Englebart's work!
  • Eugene Eric Kim: A Manifesto for Collaborative Tools. This essay is a manifesto about software for collaboration -- why the world's future depends on it, why the current crop of tools isn't good enough, and what programmers can and must do about it.

[Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

Latest from Baghdad

This is a great weblog, and the comments are very current and insightful. I find myself reading it daily to understand the situation in Iraq.
A menacing silence has descended on the capital for the last two days and nights, well not exactly silence because you can still hear faint and distant explosions, but not much as frequently as last week. We can now notice more people on the street going about their daily business, and stores are gradually opening but traffic in the streets is still not as 'normal' as the last few weeks, and governmental and educational institutions are still empty. Baghdadis are trying their best to survive and go on with their lives.

Clashes have ceased in Sadr city and Adhamiya for the time being but that is chiefly due to the absence of any American forces there. My neighbourhood has also been quiet since I last posted, which is a bit relieving. Some youngsters in the area were distributing printed handbills (in awfully spelled Arabic) addressed to "Our brother Mujahideen in the Iraqi Police", praising them for their "efforts and services for the people and the nation", and calling on them to "stay far from the infidel occupation forces, and to overlook the Mujahideen during day or night". "This is an ultimatum. Allahu Akbar. Long live Islamic unity, long live Iraq, and long live the Mujahideen". The handbills were signed by (yet another new group) the Freedom Martyrs Brigades.

Arab satellite channels reported today that Al-Mustansiriyah university was under siege by US troops. We have a neighbour who is a professor there, so as expected we raced to his house when we had heard about it. We congratulated him for his safety, but he looked significantly surprised and asked us what was up? We told him about the siege. He chuckled at us and said "Oh, you mean that". It turned out there was no siege at all, there was an American patrol in the vicinity of the university, and they had witnessed someone climbing on the clock tower trying to paste a large poster of Muqtada Al-Sadr. The patrol called for backup, entered the campus and hollered for the fellow to come down. They teared the poster and removed a few others close to the university's main entry gates. According to our friend, the whole process didn't take any more than 20 minutes. Just to show how the Arab media conveniently distort events.

Meanwhile regarding the hostages crisis, 11 Russian engineers working for a Russian electricity company that maintains several power stations south of Baghdad were reported kidnapped just a few hours ago after an assault on their headquarters in the Zayuna district. 2 Iraqi security guards were killed during the assault. But why Russians? Perhaps the kidnappers were pissed because of power outages? (We're getting less than 12 hours of power a day). Anyway, a Jordanian taxi company in Baghdad also reported 2 missing Czechs who were supposed to travel to Jordan. The CPA also stated lately that several American contractors working for Haliburton were missing along with a couple of Iraqi translators. Al-Jazeera displayed an exclusive video yesterday of several kidnapped trailer drivers, some of them Turks and one of them from Phillipines. A masked fellow reading from a paper he was holding said that they have decided to release the hostages as a response to the fatwa issued by the Sunni Haiy'at Al-Ulemma yesterday against holding foreigners as hostages, but on the condition that they promise to stop assisting American forces. The Chinese News Agency reported that 7 Chinese hostages were released earlier yesterday. A British hostage in Nassiriya was also released. The group that held the Japanese hostages announced that they have 'postponed' killing the three Japanese according to an intermediary, but someone denied it later on Al-Jazeera.

In Najaf and Kufa, Iraqi police and ICDC have returned to the streets following an agreement with Al-Mahdi army after a whole week's absence. There is talk of negotiations between the Hawza and Muqtada Al-Sadr, with Mohammed Ridha Al-Sistani (the Grand Ayatollah's eldest son) and a son of Ayatollah Mohammed Ishaq Al-Fayadh together with other representatives of Shi'ite clerics as intermediaries. A spokesman for the delegation said that they would later name a renowned Iraqi figure (from outside the GC) to act as an intermediary between them and the CPA. He also announced that an important statement is to be issued tomorrow by Sistani on behalf of the Hawza alilmiyyah that would be to the effect of a warning to coalition forces if they ever tried to attack Najaf or arrest Al-Sadr. This in response to Gen. Sanchez' remarks that Al-Sadr would be arrested or killed and that American troops are moving to Najaf. If that is true, it would mean a full scale Jihad against Americans by Shia followers of Sistani in the event of any movement against Sadr. A telling sign that Sistani and his colleagues are losing patience.

In Fallujah, the situation is still precarious. A unilateral ceasefire is still in effect but there are reports of continued fighting. Negotiations are still going on with tribal elders and clerics of Fallujah on one hand, the Islamic party and Haiy'at Al-Ulemma on the other hand. Fallujans have made it clear that they will not accept any negotiations with anyone from the GC. Several GC members have mentioned earlier that they were negotiating for an agreeable settlement, but it looks like Fallujans want to distance themselves from the GC as far as possible, so that the GC would not be credited for resolving the crisis. When asked who would control the city after reaching a settlement, the negotiators on part of Fallujah expressed that they would only trust and agree to Iraqi Police and ICDC who were from Fallujah itself.

The body count in Fallujah till now is 518 Iraqis dead (160 of them women, and about 50 children) and 1250 badly injured. Doctors from Fallujah mentioned that a large number of the dead women and children were shot in the head and that they were saving the extracted bullets to prove that they were being targetted by Marines snipers in the city.


Abu Hadi has updated and it looks like he is stuck in Baghdad. Poor Abu Hadi, but the good part is that he at least gets to enjoy the privilege of experiencing war. He has missed all the fun during the last 30 or so years. Enjoy!

[Healing Iraq]

Gmail Roundup

eProductivity.NET is coming!

I've not been making too many posts to this blog lately, as my attention has been focused on an upcoming client presentation and populating my new eProductivity.NET web site. This new site will become the place where I plan to make regular posts about gear, tips, tools, and software that can be used to improve personal and group productivity. For those of you waiting for the launch of my eProductivity with Lotus Notes discussion forum, this is probably where it will start. In due time, I hope to bring my Notes on Productivity newsletter into this site. The plan all along has been that this site, Eric Mack On-line will remain my personal blog site and the new eProductivity site will maintain more of a business focus. Of course, things always take longer than they do. Stay tuned. ...

[Eric Mack's Weblog]

Microsoft Sharepoint

Readers of my weblog know that I am a Microsoft Sharepoint fan. I use it in my own business, Coherence Group, and I develop collaborative sites using the technology for my clients. I find it easy to use and an extremely flexible platform on which to quickly develop collaborative sites. CNET, in an article referred to in the clip below, has written a good explanation of the product and its attributes. While I agree with some of George Siemens' points about the lack of metadata support, one should really inspect a number of creative solutions people have deployed using the product. For example,Sig Weber has created a weblog template using Sharepoint and included RSS feeds. The Sharepoint architecture, which allows a user to plug in functionality via WebParts, is very flexible and quite easy to manage, even for those of use who cannot write code, so the characterization of it as just a container for threaded discussions is far from true. Collaborative writing with Sharepoint is a breeze because it is well integrated into the Office 2003 suite. Documents can be saved to Sharepoint from within the Office application, and Sharepoint can track versions. Since so much collaboration involves creating documents, Sharepoint gracefully supports this kind of writing, plus it eliminates the need constant email exchanges to coordinate document production. Sharepoint also supports presence, if used in conjunction with Messenger, a feature which encourages real time collaboration. I recommend testing Sharepoint.

In elearnspace, George Seimens talks about a recent CNET article on Sharepoint. While the CNET article is balanced, George's view of Sharepoint is somewhat negitive. I disagree with his characterization of the limited functionality of Sharepoint. Here is the post I am referring to:

Sharepoint in Microsoft's response to the collaboration/shared spaces need. This article provides a good overview of the product. The real selling feature of Sharepoint is tight integration with other Microsoft products. If you know Windows and Office, the learning curve is very low. In my experience, I've been disappointed with the product (sign in isn't direct and obvious, very little metadata support, very "boxy", no support for RSS, collaboration is basically just a threaded discussion, etc.) Given the opportunity, I would move toward a product like Plone, Groove, Drupal, or Convea. Over the next several versions, Sharepoint will certainly improve...but it's currently a product that looks like a poor duplication of the more effective collaboration tools now available (both open source and proprietary).
And even after the right product has been selected, the final quote in the article says it best: "That's the whole problem with collaboration: It sounds great, but getting people to use the tools is a real challenge".


The Secret of Google's Power

The post referred to here describes Googles massive distributed platform for running it's search application and all the add on services. It provides an in depth look at their infrastructure and the extraordinary cost advantage that they are building into their systems. Google's computing platform is a huge barrier to entry for any other competitor. The data in this post suggests that they may be untouchable. --Ralph

A really interesting article on what Google is actually trying to achieve: The Secret of Google's Power "Google has taken the last 10 years of systems software research out of university labs, and built their own proprietary, production quality system. What is this platform that Google is building? It's a distributed computing platform that can manage web-scale datasets on 100,000 node server clusters."

Skype continues to extend its disruptive technology
  • AP: Skype Going Mobile. The peer-to-peer phone program Skype, which lets computer users make free calls to each other anywhere in the world, is going mobile, with a version being released Tuesday for Wi-Fi-equipped digital assistants.
I've been in a two-day gathering about the future of mobile communications, and one of the issues has been whether Wi-Fi and its successors will open up a bypass opportunity that causes big trouble for the mobile carriers. The answer was obviously yes, and the announcement by Skype makes that even clearer. Now the question arises which maker of mobile handsets will sell a model that switches back and forth from Wi-Fi voice over IP to the mobile network. This is what users will want, but the carriers have huge clout over the handset manufacturers. The market is moving, fast. I wonder if the carriers are smart enough to move with it.

[Dan Gillmor's eJournal]
Now this is really helpful!
Recently I needed a quick way to display all available SharePoint lists and libraries with last modification date and item count.
In my case I needed it for the discussion board lists to give a visitor a quick peek what's going on in all the discussion boards of a SharePoint site like many Web based forum packages do today (for example the www.asp.net Web Forum).
Played a moment with the SharePoint lists.asmx XML Web Service and voila! here's the result. I'm sure it could have been done prettier (I didn't waste time to add graphics) but it does the job just fine for me ;-)
Note that this *simple* Web Part sample does not "roll-up" lists and libraries from subsites. I haven't had the time and need for such an animal especially since you can get such things already from other places.

[Sig Webers Playground]

Active Listening (and Reading)

I have been thinking a lot about active listening (and reading) and how it relates toLinda Stone's discussion of continuous partial attention. Jon Porcaro's recent post on the subject explains how he systematically reads blogs and follows up on conversations that emerge; noting his epithanies. Clearly, one of the most important things for me is to do the same, but to also time box the discovery process; it can be an incredible time waster. You must also need time to stop to think about the ideas that you have assimilated or ignored, reflecting on what patterns have emerged and how your interests have changed.

Some good advice about how to be more intentional and mindful in your information gathering and analysis. Apropos of that, let me point, once again, to Ellen Langer's excellent work on Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning. You might also want to take a look at the late Don Schon's The Reflective Practitioner.

Active Listening (and Reading). Piers Young wrote a post called Listening and Anecdotes. Something he said made me realize that getting great advice is one thing, actively thinking about it and doing something with it is something else! He quotes one of the pieces... [John Porcaro: mktg@msft]

[McGee's Musings]
I am increasingly distraught about discussions of continuous partial attention and using the back channel to converse during conferences. Does anyone listen? Does anyone think critically about what is being said, or are we too busy chatting? --Ralph
Kaye Tramell writes "I'm going to try my best, but the SXSW Interactive program actually suggests that attendees STOP blogging & start interacting". Apparantley SXSW organizers feel much the way Marysia Milonas felt during last years BlogTalk. (Also see Lilia's...

[Ton's Interdependent Thoughts]
I think, in fact, that it is knowledge workers who have been most effected by the current downturn in hiring. College Grads, who would become flegling knowledge workers, are competeing for jobs that could easily be outsourced. Service workers, including the recent high school grads, occupy an entirely different segment of the workforce and therefore could be hired easily at lower wages. Recent college grads need to find nitches in the knowledge economy that can not be easily outsourced and that may require more education. These grads should be playing for the higher level of intellectual value added.

Scott links to this study: Unemployment level of college grads surpasses that of high-school dropouts...and notes: "The first graph is sheer number of unemployed, and shows that in the U.S. there are now more of them with college degrees than are high school drop outs. This in itself is not that shocking - as the report says, "There are, however, far more college graduates than high-school dropouts in our current labour force." The graph shown in figure two should be more alarming, though its trends be not so steep - it depicts unemployed as a percentage of those two populations, and actually shows a decrease in unemployment for high school drop outs, but a steady increase for college graduates."
What, if anything, do these statistics tell us about the needs of learners today?


Guide To All Interface GUIs

Robin Good, who is always on top of things, has directed his readers to a great web site called the Graphical User Interface Guidebook. At first I thought it was a published book, but the site is a well organized review of the history of GUIs. It has a great bibliography of articles on the subject too, with links to the full text. --Ralph
Guidebook is a fast-growing online resource dedicated to preservation and showcase of all the major Graphical User Interfaces utilized to this day on personal computers. At Guidebook you can find all of the interface elements of Windows 386, System 6 for the Mac or any other major system version you want to review. An absolute panacea of useful references for the serious visual interface designer.

[Robin Good's Latest News]

Howard Stern: Funny joke

This morning Howard Stern played a serious and very funny April Fools joke on his listners. He made believe his show was pulled off the air and any people fell for it. Do a search on Feedster to see the laments. I was stuck in traffic in Boston this morning and listened as the whole thing unfolded. Two moronic jocks took Howard's place playing silly pop music. Later Howard went on a tear about free speech, George Bush and this Republican administration. It was all very funny and he made his point!

BTW, from Howard's website you can register your complaints to the FCC.

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