Archive for the 'blather' Category

h1

Email problems

Friday, July 19th, 2002

I just noticed that any email to beta@blogchat.com was being bounced back. It must have been like this for a few weeks since it’s because I was redirecting it to a list that rejects any mail without its name in the To or CC. Soooo… if you’ve been sending emails to get in on the beta, just give it another try.

h1

Building trust via blogging

Wednesday, July 17th, 2002

Dave and John have some thoughts on the stock market, including quotes from Allan Greenspan’s recent comments about reading the fundamentals of the market through the fog of corporate malfeasance.

I’ve watched my mutual funds drop 10% over the last 6 weeks. I pulled them out into interest-bearing investments this week, expecting there is still some drop to go as more and more of the corporate shenanigans iceberg is revealed. Call me a pessimist but I’m fairly confident we’ve only seen the tip, and the political fallout hasn’t even started to gather steam.

Now is exactly the right time for every corporate executive to get a copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Consumer and investor confidence will return quickest to those corporations who really sincerely grasp the concept of two-way communication with their market.

People are now more than ever wary of suits, bafflegab, slick salesmanship of any sort. Transparency and humility will win back investors and customers. No bullshit, no *seeming* to be trustworthy. Cards on the table time. A blogging executive has an advantage in building trust with his or her market over an executive whose human persona remains unrevealed.

h1

Summer in Scotland

Monday, July 15th, 2002

Armin’s off and running:

Armin's World Tour of Scotland

h1

Knowledge Musing

Monday, July 8th, 2002

Jon Udell recognizes Jeffrey P Shell’s thinking out loud as knowledge management. He’s right, you know.

h1

Degrees of separation

Sunday, July 7th, 2002

I finally nailed down Michael O’Connor Clarke and we had a coupla pints together on Friday. We’ve yakked a bit on BlogChat and via email, but had never met. Just like when I met Shane not too long ago, it’s as though we knew each other all along.

It was really just a matter of time before our lives collided anyhow, from the amount of contacts and near-misses Michael and I seem to have in common.

h1

Get up to speed on K-Logging

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2002

Every company can benefit from K-Logging.

Projects collect and compile hard data and soft knowledge into reports. Often the details of the lessons that are learned through the project are distilled out during the reporting process, such that subsequent projects tend only to benefit from the accrued soft knowledge if largely the same team is reassembled.

Knowledge Logging (K-Logging) is a bottom-up approach to sharing the soft knowledge that is built during the course of a project. Knowledge is both logged and shared continuously at the source, using content management tools which allow easy updating of a shared website. Style is informal, freeform and conversational and the focus is on collaboration and discussion.

The thinking-out-loud style of writing a K-log journal of project activities allows every part of the process to remain available during and after the project. This allows detailed review and enables latecomers to the project to get up to speed. The dead-end attempts that provide the best opportunity for learning are documented and kept for others to learn from.

Since knowledge is continuously shared, teams that are spread out get to share best practices without waiting for summary or review. The knowledge website can also act as a portal to centralize access to other essential project information – scheduling, maps, data storage, email, etc.

There are many tools available for this kind of distributed knowledge management. While prices can range from free to tens of thousands of dollars, cost does not necessarily imply value. There are many open-source content management tools which suit this purpose well.

A good flexible system can be built with Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP and any of a number of content management systems – all open-source software with no licensing costs. Dedicated hardware needs are modest – a used name-brand Tier-1 Pentium-II 300+MHz can be had for less than CDN$200 – a second such machine could provide standby and backup. A high-speed internet connection would be necessary although bandwidth needs would be low. SSL (https) can provide end-to-end encryption for secure access.

Some upfront analysis would be necessary to determine layout, functionality, permissions. Training needs are small – users access the site via a browser and are presented with straightforward editing screens. Ongoing care and feeding needs would depend on selected feature set.

A simple collaboration tool could be built in a day with no capital outlay using space on an inexpensive hosting provider for US$20 or less per month.

A custom knowledge portal could be built with cdn$500 hardware/software budget and consulting hours to suit the needs.

Here is a short and by no means exhaustive list of some of the tools that can be used for K-Logging (and all sorts of content management):

drupal
manila
moveable type
nucleus
pmachine
postnuke
radio userland

Resources:

KLogs group on yahoo
David Gurteen is a good resource for all things related to Knowledge Management. KM is a much bigger topic than K-logging.
Steven Vore has a good KM-based blog
John Robb is on top of the whole K-logs thing at Userland
Pat Delaney uses K-logging to coordinate educators.

Finally, Phil Wolff has a great article about how K-Logging can solve many of the problems that companies face with knowledge management.

h1

Look Ma, no wires!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2002

I finally went out ant got myself an 802.11b card and access point. I got the SMC2632W card and installed it under Windows with the drivers on the disk.

I was dreading the uphill battle of getting it running with Linux, but I fired up Mandrake, pulled the ethernet card out and slapped in the wireless card and PRESTO! Worked right away, no config, no searching for drivers, no nothing.

Fan-freakin-tastic.

h1

Hosting Woes

Saturday, June 22nd, 2002

[ NOTE: 28 Jan 2003 - I've changed my tune about PHPWebhosting. They've really turned the corner and provide value for money. This particular rant is a slice in time when things weren't going so well with them.]

I’m not particularly happy with my hosting provider this week.

Blogchat.com was completely down for 12 hours or so last week. Then it was brought back to a readable state where people could use it again, however 72 hours later, we’ve still yet to get back the ability to access the files in any meaningful way to change them, including updating the blog, shelling in for maintenance, changing any files, you name it.

PHPWebhosting.com provides support only through their control-panel interface. There is no email address, no phone number. We accept this because it is a remarkably inexpensive yet full-featured service.

However, despite repeated service requests with specific instruction to make some sort of acknowledgement to us that they are receiving our requests and doing something about it, we remain with our problem unsolved and with no attempt at contact with us.

We have transferred our beta operations to CubeSoft and I’ve temporarily moved my blog to my ashleyit.com site. Luckily I use ZoneEdit for my DNS needs and redirection was simple so archives are not broken. Had we had our DNS with them, we’d be outta luck for another 48 hours while we changed Internic info.

Tim and I have 3 accounts altogether on PHPWebhosting which we may now have to move elsewhere. Lost revenue for them, hassles for us.

All they had to do was acknowledge our existence and tell us they were working on it. I don’t expect miracles from an inexpensive hosting provider – I understand their razor-thin margins – but I do expect common courtesy.