A People, Once Liberated…

What he said. There are some things worth staying idealistic about.

A People, Once Liberated….

A People, Once Liberated…: “And in my mind, technological change often enables, and is accompanied by, social change. In my view, the provision of an accessible and affordable education to the majority of the world’s population is a form of enfranchisement, of emancipation. And though this new form of universal suffrage is not a technological revolution, but rather a social movement, it is also not possible without technology.”
Comment: This paragraph sums up much of my interest in elearning/knowledge sharing/technology, etc. The higher goal is the provision of education for people so that they have the opportunity to make better lives for themselves. Technology makes this financially possible (an ebook can be read by millions with the only additional expense being bandwidth costs…a regular textbook has additional expenses associated with each copy). Still, as Stephen indicates, the greater challenge will be social…education seen as an event, dispensed by an institution, needs to give way to education as a process, largely controlled by the learner, drawing from various sources (formal and informal), the elimination of high cost as a barrier. Previously, education was expensive due to physical limitations…the Internet has shown that it no longer needs to be.


The 'Perfect' Corporate Weblogging 'Elevator Pitch' Competition

Judith Meskill is up to her usual tricks again. She gently persuaded me to be one of the judges.

The ‘Perfect’ Corporate Weblogging ‘Elevator Pitch’ Competition….


A business executive, with whom you have been trying to arrange a meeting, is available for a condensed pitch from you on a one minute elevator ride.

It is your goal to convince this attentive business leader — who has heard about weblogs — to sponsor and resource a critical mass of weblogs in his/her organization so that their benefits can be demonstrated in a meaningful way.

It’s a long elevator ride to the top floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago — [1,354 feet at 1600 feet/minute!] — visual aids are not available and your entry will be judged on your ability to present your pitch “on the fly” — just text.

Rules, Preparation Requirements:

Submission: text entry between 50 to 160 words.
One entry per person.
Please make sure that you include, with your submission:
your full name,
your website and/or weblog url(s), and
a valid email address.
All entries must be received by midnight (EST) April 15, 2004. Entry scoring will be completed by judges by midnight April 22, 2004.

Winning entry will be announced shortly thereafter —
date to be announced in the near future.

No ‘monetary compensation’ — but excellent ‘sur-prize’ To Be Announced!

Competition Submission Format:

For now, please email completed submissions to:

pitch at weblogsinc dot com

Once an alternate form of submission is created — it will be prominently displayed on this weblog!

If you have any questions or comments please post below in the comments field.

Please DO NOT post competition submissions in the comments field!

Submissions will be kept ‘anonymous’ so as not to sway the esteemed panel of judges… (-:=

I am including a few excellent links regarding ‘corporate blogging’ in the Related Links. Feel free to recommend additional links in the comments field and I will add them to the Related Links field. Thanks and Good Luck! [The Social Software Weblog]

Axsoft is offering a free 3-user license for their bug-tracker

Something to follow up on. Interesting both from a marketing point of view and as a potential tool for knowledge work.

Axsoft is offering a free 3-user license for their bug-tracker.

Axosoft: Free 3-User Offer

Axosoft is offering bloggers a free 3-user version of their .NET & SQL based OnTime defect tracking software (bug tracking software). For more information, visit


An interesting way to market software and build buzz.

[Marc’s Outlook on Productivity]

Blogging, calendaring, and timelines

Here’s an interesting experiment that I plan to follow up on for my own timeline data. I’m one of those who think at least one important aspect of weblogging is its ability to serve as a back-up brain. As I get older, I want to have better ways of thinking about lots of data for my own purposes. Timeline and event data is one important category that I still need to crack.

Blogging and Calendaring.

Michael Sippey has an interesting experiment with his Timeline (example):

A couple of years ago I started keeping simple timelines — “major” personal events over the course of a year, to make it easier to scan a period of time without being bogged down in the dozens of weekly appointments that clog the day-to-day calendar.

I’m in the messaging business. Focused — today — on email. But lately I’ve been interested in how messages (of all stripes) could more effectively be integrated into where we best process specific types of information. Your average inbox is not great at organizing time-oriented material, especially reminders about events that will take place in the future — calendars are obviously better at that. And with iCal (the format, not the app), it becomes reasonably brainless to publish individual events and/or a stream of events out to users. Case in point: it was probably less than one day of effort for the engineers at Expedia to add a downloadable calendar event to your online travel itinerary. But the fact that I can automagically pop my flight info into Outlook is at the top of my list of reasons why I’m loyal to Expedia.

So, anyway. Sippey.com/timeline is the result of some noodling on those two issues. A single page view of a year. Which is also rendered in calendar form, and made available for layering on top of your calendar. It’s hindsight publishing, of course (this did happen on this day, instead of this is going to happen on this day). But calendars are not only planning tools, they’re rememberance agents. And layering information like major news stories, weather (a la Jerry’s story about his old DayPlanner habits), sports scores and even personal bloggish notations could be an interesting use of the iCal format.

This is a small part of an idea Ramesh Jain has talked about – the EventWeb.

[E M E R G I C . o r g]

Making Your Blog Posts Spiffy

Some good ideas for making your posts more useful to readers. Something I should pay more attention to. I focus so much on the RSS side of the equation, that I sometimes forget that there are those who prefer getting their weblog content in their browsers.

Making Your Blog Posts Spiffy. Kaye offers up some tips on making the most of blog posts:

  • Use a pull quote
  • Adam Polselli’s unique blockquote style for showing code labels it as such (scroll down to see)
  • Adrian Holovaty’s blockquote style for showing code highlights it & changes the font
  • Put quote marks around your blockquote content
  • Use a different font in your blockquote
  • Jay McCarthy puts a dotted line around his blockquotes
  • According to these suggestions, I’m doing a fairly good job. But the pull quote thing is very cool, something I’m going to have to experiment with.

    UPDATE: Well, that was pretty easy… [Weblogg-ed News]

    Spyware Blaster 3.0 – great protection

    I’ll be adding this to my machines, especially the ones that my two boys use.

    Spyware Blaster 3.0 – great protection.

    This is an essential piece of your tool kit for keeping malware off of your PC. Download it, install it, and know you have another layer of defense in place. Spyware Blaster is free for individual use.

    SpywareBlaster: “Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today. By simply browsing to a web page, you could find your computer to be the brand-new host of one of these unwanted fiends!

    The most important step you can take is to secure your system. And SpywareBlaster is the most powerful protection program available.

    – Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted pests.
    – Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.
    – Restrict the actions of potentially dangerous sites in Internet Explorer.

    SpywareBlaster can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the ‘good side’ of the web.

    And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background.

    [Marc’s Outlook on Productivity]

    Techno-fetishist meet Fluffy-bunny

    I certainly agree with David that this is a default categorization of approaches to knowledge management and to information technology use in the organization. At the same time that binary categorization is at the root of most problems with effective use of technology.

    We need bridges between these two cultures. The question is what can we do to build them? Time and maturity may be an element of the answer.

    I started my career as a techno-fetishist. After a decade of building information and reporting systems that all too often created little in the way of change, I went back to school to try to understand why. In the process I developed into a fluffy-bunny who kept up his membership in the ACM.

    As a techno-fetishist, I operated with some pretty na ve notions of human behavior (rational economic man) and of organization. That was reflected in the systems I designed. What struck me most as I developed my fluffy-bunny dimension was the proactive ignorance of most organizational theorists about what was and was not possible with technology. Although they had the advantage of thinking in terms of designed solutions to organizational problems, their design toolkits reflected little sense of the state of the possible with technology making their designs equally suspect, albeit in different ways.

    The starting point has to be convincing key players on both sides of the divide to decide they need and wish to work together. Then, each has to begin investing in learning about the opportunities and contraints of the other and in teaching their counterparts across the divide about what are the key dimensions of tradeoff and opportunity.

    Techno-fetishist or Fluffy-bunny?.

    Attended David Gurteen’s Knowledge Caf last night. The theme for the night was: Techno-fetishist or fluffy bunny which are you?

    If that sounds a little weird it may help to know that these are Dave Snowdens archetypes for those who, on the one hand, believe that knowledge management is a purely technical problem and, on the other, believe it’s all about the people.

    What made tonights event a little different from normal was the number of new people there. I think for the first time over half of the people were attending their first caf . David decided to start with 15 minutes of speed networking (Find someone you don’t know, then you each have 60 seconds to tell the other person about yourself). I have to say I groaned inwardly (It had been a long day and this sounded like hard work) at the thought. Nevertheless it turned out to be quite good fun although my voice didn’t hold up too well.

    There followed 40 minutes of good discussion about the role of technology in KM. Some good observations from around the room, I can’t remember most of them but a few that struck me:

    • You can have an organisation without technology, but you can’t have an organisation without people. People are the key and technology is an enabler.
    • How you see yourself (techie vs. fluffy) is only one aspect of, as it is also important how others see you. Someone made the observation that a number of his team of KM workers were seen around the organisation as techies even though (mostly being from a journalistic background) they were the fluffiest people you could wish to meet.
    • Design is important in building knowledge systems. Consider how good a job companies like Amazon and Ebay have been.
    • Technology is a good way of holding information and allowing it to be sifted and, in due course, preserved when it meets the criteria of being Hallmark Knowledge.
    • You can make people use a new finance system. You can’t make people use a KM system. Incentive systems often provoke the wrong behaviour (what happens when the incentive stops). You need to involve people from early stages and get buy in. I would ask the question: What’s in it for me?
    • Do people see what they have as knowledge? They won’t share what they feel is not valuable. This has to be addressed.

    I think there was definitely a fluffy bunny conscensus in the room at the end of the day. So there is hope for us yet!

    We all excused ourselves to the pub to finish the evening.

    Thanks to Alison Leahy of Universities UK for providing a great venue, coffee and directions to the pub!

    [Curiouser and curiouser!]