29 October 2005

Gene Smith Interviews Peter Morville

Gene Smith in his Atomiq blog shares his interview with Peter Morville about the future when everything will be taggable. They discuss Peter's recent article "Authority" and his new book "Ambient Findability". It's a great interview because Peter talks about the upside and downside to different search algorithms.

"Google's algorithms are optimized to produce the greatest advertising revenue to Google Inc. in the short-term and the greatest shareholder value to GOOG in the long-term."

Peter prefers Yahoo! Mindset because "it uncovers the hidden bias and puts the user in charge of the algorithms. Algorithmic openness is a great strategy for Yahoo! I'm not sure Google can maintain its algorithmic secrecy indefinitely without consequence. I'm in favor of more transparent, user-configurable algorithms."

Peter believes that "What We Find Changes Who We Become." He brings to light many of the issues we face with RFID, collective intelligence and the simple reality of finding what we really want.

Read the interview and then have a read through Peter's article "Authority".

Gene Smith also blogs on You're IT - a blog on tagging.

27 October 2005

Blogging as Learning Tool

Barbara Ganley blogs about teaching with blogs. "If we want to encourage our students to use blogging as a powerful communication tool, we have to teach them the difference between blogging as daily diary, and blogging as a way to dig deep into ideas and to grow communities of discourse, of knowledge and of action."

The institution and its faculty must mentor and model this practice of reaching out in the world to discuss and share ideas, ask questions, and work collaboratively. "

Barbara quotes George Seimens' Connectivism Blog post on "Designing ecosystems versus designing learning"

"Instead of designing instruction (which we assume will lead to learning), we should be focusing on designing ecologies in which learners can forage for knowledge, information, and derive meaning.

What's the difference between a course and an ecology? A course, as mentioned is static - a frozen representation of knowledge at a certain time. An ecology is dynamic, rich, and continually evolving. The entire system reacts to changes - internal or external. An ecology gives the learner control - allowing her to acquire and explore areas based on self-selected objectives. The designer of the ecology may still include learning objectives, but they will be implicit rather than explicit."

I am going to have dinner on November 4th with my former students from the University of Amsterdam's Graduate Business School. Since I worked with them using a blog comblined with a wiki, I am going to use these two blog posts to open a new kind of dialogue with them. They are still struggling with how to take the alumni brand they developed and turn it into a business model. I notice on their blog that the postings have become more of a forum rather than a place to generate ideas. Perhaps this will once again trigger something.

I still believe that teaching blogs - or any attempts to build community - require 3 agents: moderator of the discussion, facilitator of the process, and a mediator for reaching the human side of contribution and collaboration. Without these 3 agents working closely with a group, it's difficult to help the group discover their shared common purpose for coming together and building something together.

I would really like to hear more experiences from others using blogs and wikis in the classroom.

26 October 2005

How Much Is My Blog Worth?

A very interesting tool from Dane Carlson that tells you how much your blog is worth.

How Much Is My Blog Worth?

Inspired by Tristan Louis's research into the value of each link to Weblogs Inc, I've created this little applet using Technorati's API which computes and displays your blog's worth using the same link to dollar ratio as the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal.

While you're here, be sure to check out the rest of my site, or subscribe to my RSS feed.

You get a sticker with the code to install on your blog:

My blog is worth $7,903.56.
How much is your blog worth?

24 October 2005

Barcamp Amsterdam

Last Friday, several of us headed over to Mediamatic in the CS Post building to put our heads together with some other developers and code scripters at an event called Barcamp Amsterdam.

Ton was there to find out what everyone's doing to improve knowledge management. Jonathan was filming interviews (though completely frustrated with the sound environment), James was hanging out with some of his buddies working on tools, and I was there to listen and watch and discover.

I really enjoyed meeting the guys from Mediamatic. They're developing code to construct interesting platforms for creative adventures. Check out this amazing Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands. Each of these dots represents a Jewish family that was removed from The Netherlands during World War II and shipped off to a concentration camp. You can follow a set of families along a street and begin to understand how neighborhoods completely disappeared. Since they started this project, people have begun to contribute photos and stories, so they are continuing to build new elements into this digital monument, keeping it dynamic.

Boris was there from Drupal and asking some thought provoking questions to everyone presenting. It helped all us join in the conversation a bit more easily. Of course, once he decided that everyone had to drink beer every time they said the word "thing", the conversations certainly got more lively too.

As a treat, I also got to meet Rasmus Lerdorf, the man who developed PHP. PHP is the scripting language used for dynamic Web development and can be embedded into HTML. We wanted to interview him for our Preferred Futures project, but by then, Jonathan had given up trying to interview anyone because the background noise was cavernous and terrible.

1st Official Board Meeting of the Institute for Collaboration Creativity & Culture

IFCCC BoardMtg @ Barry's 5.JPG, originally uploaded by Colby.

Yesterday, the nine of us spent the day addressing a wide scope of issues for our 1st official Board Meeting of the Institute for Collaboration Creativity & Culture. Barry generously hosted us in his home in Haarlem - really yummy food in a beautiful setting. (And, yes, that's Barry in front with the pear on his head!)

We're beginning to realize that we're pretty lucky to pull our talents together in such a diverse and fun-loving group.

As we ground our path forward in a nice research model, we'll get the chance to explore all the reasons why colloration works and how to track and measure the value it creates. We're developing the people, tools and processes to enable, build and maintain an innovative culture - and we're being quite inventive as we weave them together.

We're living proof of what emerges from online collaboration and networking. This has helped us construct great ways of working with people - and the tools we require to build something together.

Afterwards, we headed down to the pub to just relax and listen to some music.

20 October 2005

100 million downloads of Firefox

Just shy of Firefox's first birthday party, the Mozilla Foundation celebrated the 100 millionth download of its Web browser Wednesday.

CNET News.com has a juicy article on Firefox's situation right now.

You can take your photo and upload it to the gallery on the celebration page at SpreadFirefox.com or use your Flickr account to post photos in the comments. The top 10 photos will win goodies from the Mozilla store. check out the photos here so far.

Opera Enables Mobile Blogging

According to an eWeek article, Opera.

"Opera Software ASA has created a new community-centered site that allows users to blog and upload photos directly from their mobile phones. Quietly launched in September to Opera browser users, the My Opera Community site is attracting an average of 1,000 new members per day, the browser developer has said."

According to Tor Odland, communications director for Opera, "The community site is great for those that do not want to design their own site or pay for hosting costs. When you combine the Opera-powered blogs with the Opera-powered photo albums, it really is an excellent product that is freely available."

Opera seems to support many of the Nokia series, some Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Smartphones. You can download the Opera Mobile Browser and try blogging from your mobile.

Would love to hear how it goes. Has anyone given this a try yet?

Dutch windmills at risk from climate change

Though I was checking on hurricane Wilma, I ran across this article on Reuter's AlertNet - Dutch windmills at risk from climate change.

"The traditional windy climate of northwestern Europe has spurred a rapid growth in windmills, mainly in the Netherlands and Germany, to provide alternative energy.

Dutch windmills, however, saw declining energy production in the past decade because of less wind, Klein Tank said.

New research shows scientists could have been wrong when they forecast years ago that global warming would cause more storms and wind in northwestern Europe, Albert Klein Tank of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) told Reuters.

New scenarios about the Dutch climate, due to be published by KNMI early next year, predict a change in atmospheric flows which means more moisture coming from the North Sea in winter and more frequent droughts in summer, Klein Tank said.

I've noticed that our weather this season seems to be much dryer, as if we're in between the rain paths. We've also enjoyed a rather warm autumn with sun right up to now. No complaints here!

What may be more revealing is investigating whether our business climate is reflective of our weather climate changes...

19 October 2005

Reputation Systems Required

Dan Gillmor targets Reputation Systems Required - an issue that seems to keep popping up. I remember having this discussion on Ecademy last year.

With the multitude of blogs and people coming into our lives through the cybersphere, we do need some kind of way to gauge reputation. We should have a feedback channel with polling for specific criteria and an icon signature that could only be earned. This would provide some way for us to define sites based on a tagging system that we can all agree to use and vote on. It should absolutely not be about popularity, but we should collectively define what conceptual issues are important and create a polling system. Safety would be a good tag - everyone is worried about tunnel sites that open you up to hacking.

What are the issues that build site reputation in a cyberworld?

The Recipe for Competitive Intelligence (CI)

On the SCIP Newsletter, Laura Bradley posted an educational article today on the 5 key variables that constitute a recipe for building Competitive Intelligence (CI) through something she describes as actionable intelligence.
> Market environment.
> Customer’s business objectives.
> The customer’s customer.
> Competitive landscape.
> Market feedback.

Laura says that when you address these elements and use them together, you can devise "a strong competitive positioning and lead to actions capable of surmounting the strong opponents within a dynamic and evolving market."

To get past the strategic development know-how gap, she has created a process of "actionable intelligence that enables decision makers to weigh the potential options, in light of their business strategy, and allow them to move forward."

In this article, Laura details the role of each of these 5 key variables and how they contribute to this actionable intelligence process.

I am going to explore this process a bit further and apply it to what we are doing at IFCCC right now.

For those that are interested: October 22 - 24, SCIP is holding its European Conference in London.

If anyone has been working with something like this, I would be very interested in hearing your feedback.

17 October 2005

22 Megapixel Chip for Mamiya Digital Camera

Today, I took a trip to Eindhoven's High Tech Campus to visit DALSA about their project to develop the 22 megapixel chip for Mamiya Japan's new digital camera.

This is an innovative 3-way commercial collaboration between Philips (Dutch), DALSA (Canadian), and Mamiya (Japanese). Philips does not like to take risks, so they have done a deal with DALSA who wanted to access and apply Philips' patents. Mamiya was the perfect commercial client because they had an urgent need to move from analogue to digital quickly. A 22 megapixel chip is quite large, about the size of a tea biscuit.

My client is Mamiya NL. We want to make a film about the story of developing this chip, with interviews of the developers working on the technology as well as with professional photographers who will be putting this technology to work. We want to bring people together from the worlds of technology development surrounding imaging and the creative worlds of people applying these imaging systems, like professional photographers - both commercial and creative. We believe if we can bring them into new dialogues with one another, we can build on their knowledge and experiences to create new opportunities for developing new ideas, new tools and best practices for creating images.

Today was the first step in convincing them that this was not about marketing or advertising, but about building a community based on a shared interest with a common purpose. I'll keep you posted.

Check out Mamiya USA.

15 October 2005

Omniglot - A Guide to Written Language

Omniglot is a find for anyone who has to work in multiple languages. Simon Agar created and maintains this site. He assembled his knowledge about multilingual writing systems and technology into an independent and comprehensive resource for people.

"This site contains details of most alphabets and other writing systems currently in use, as well as quite a few ancient and invented ones. It also includes information about some of the languages written with those writing systems, multilingual texts, tips on learning languages, a book store, some useful phrases in many different languages, and a ever-growing collection of links to language-related resources.

Information about over 150 different writing systems. Each page contains an illustration of a writing system; details of its origin, usage, notable features and the language(s) written with it; a sample text, and useful links."

There is no charge for the riches found within this site. And...if you're working with multiple languages and technology, this is an abundant resource. Simon works with Oban Multilingual Strategy.

You can access:
* Definitions of writing
* Abjads/consonant alphabets
* Alphabets
* Syllabic alphabets/abugidas
* Syllbaries
* Complex writing systems (Chinese, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, etc.)
* Alternative writing systems (fictional and constructed alphabets and other communication systems)
* Writing systems invented by visitors to the site
* Undeciphered writing systems
* A comprehensive index of all the writing systems and languages featured

12 October 2005

Google Targets Delicious

From Michael Arington's blog Tech Crunch, Google Targets Del.icio.us.

"Google has quietly launched a nascent bookmarking and tagging product as a feature to search history.

It’s not “social” bookmarking, like del.icio.us, because bookmarks are not public and cannot be shared among users. The product also requires way too many steps to create a bookmark.

To bookmark a site, make sure your google search history is turned on. Click “search history” on the top right of the results page. Bookmark a site by clicking on the star next to a result, and fill out the metadata. "

Michael tapped the Google Blog News Channel for resource:

Read the comments from Inside Google Blog News Channel because people share their experiences. Those comments alone have urged me to spend the time this weekend and give it a try. Anyone else? I'm curious what everyone thinks about this.

New version Skype

The latest update to Skype was released Monday with lots of fixes for Windows.

* change: voicemail check box was made to wrap text in order to fit longer texts
* bugfix: Some Japanese text did not display correctly on Windows 2000
* bugfix: improved communication when detecting contacts voicemail and call forwarding privileges
* bugfix: Yen mark was not displayed correctly on Skype client
* bugifx: receiving calls from users starting with a dot produced an error
* bugfix: entering an invalid character to voicemail check box produced an error
* bugfix: importing contacts from Visit Card produced an error
* bugfix: ring sound never quit when answering a call by joining it to conference
* bugfix: starting a chat to yourself using Skype link produced an error
* bugfix: 'promote add to contacts' dialog was missing
* bugifx: Swedish EULA was missing in new user creation form
* bugfix: API access control list was unusable with high DPI settings
* new language files: German (Claudius Henrichs & Dick Schiferli) French (Fabrice Imperial) Portuguese Brazilian(Anna Nystr�m ) Hebrew (Ronen Ben-Naftali) Russian (Viktoria Randalainen/Tatjana Kruti) Turkish (Emin Dede) Hungarian (Mark Bender) Bulgarian (Nikolina Filipova, Nikolay Filipov)">Skype for Windows Change Log: "10.10.2005 version

I took the opportunity to update my Skype for MacOS 10.4, release date 5 October 05. There's a nice bonus Skype Widget you can also download from the same page for your Dashboard.

Conference Pop!Tech 2005 begins 19 October

The popular Pop!Tech - The Impact of Technology on People Conference runs from 19 - 23 October in Camden, Maine. The podcasts from last year's conference took podcasting into the mainstream because they were "connected conversations about the future" and gave us access to the thought leaders like Malcom Gladwell and Richard Florida.

Pop!Tech 2005 will address the grand challenges surrounding the impact of technology on people.

"...a few of the world-changing issues we'll explore:

} Global Inventories: Using giga-pixel cameras and DNA barcodes, scientists and artists are pairing up to take stock of the world's biosphere and build new maps of the world's genetic diversity -- before it disappears.

} Bottoms-Up: From economics to healthcare, a new generation of leaders is beginning to turn their attention toward solving the problems at the bottom of the global social pyramid. There's more than just philanthropy at stake -- these innovators are betting there's money to be made by doing good.

} Up and Away: Space is "20 minutes from everywhere," and a new breed of innovators is working to bring space to the masses. We'll hear from the protagonists themselves just when you'll be able to buy a ticket marked "up".

} The Whole New You: We'll get a direct report - and a demo or two - from people rethinking and rewiring the body and the brain.

} It's Alive!: We'll look at the scientific race quietly underway to develop life, molecule by molecule, from scratch in a test-tube.

} Social Software, Social Change: Across the world, social software is playing a starring role in political and social reform. We'll meet some of the young people from across the globe who are using this tool to transform entire societies.

} Faith and Fundamentalism(s): Are we beginning civilization's most religious century? How will systems of faith embrace, shape or be shaped by new, God-like technologies?

} The Future is Female: Are men genetically doomed? Find out.

} Hypercities: We're only a few years from the point - permanently - when more people on Earth will live in cities than not. What does this mean - and what will it look and feel like?"

Doug Kaye's IT Conversations will record the sessions and make them available for download, just as he did last year for Pop!Tech 2004, providing us with the best talk for our iPods at that time.

9 October 2005

Ning Playground Beta

I'm playing with Ning.com a new online social application "playground" that's in Beta from Mark Andreessen's (the man who brought us Netscape back in the mid-90's).

It's a very easy to use online platform for building and using social apps.
"Social apps are web applications that enable anyone to match, transact, and communicate with other people."

I'm always game for playing around with apps like this because you can find other developers doing the same and potentially tweak your own stuff or discover other ways to do what you've been trying to do.

They've got a nice blog that's tracking how people engage with the "playground" and the different apps that they create.

I headed straight for their App Ideas to check out the possibilities.

They've also got a great tagging system where you can see everything created on Ning

Join Fundraising Campaign for The Creative Commons

In his blog and in an email to supporters,
Larry Lessig has written a nice review of The Creative Commons and why we should support it. They are holding their first fund-raising campaign because they want to maintain their not-for-profit status in the US. The tax agency there - the IRS - says The Creative Commons has to pass a "public support test". This means they have to prove that their financial support comes from more than a couple of generous foundations.

So...to help support
The Creative Commons, please make a contribution. Through this link, you can choose your contribution level, track what others have contributed, and even get listed as a donor. I love the name tags for the different donation levels.
Donations of $75 and above will receive this new shirt design.
$25 Student

If for any reason you do not understand the value of this organization, or the strides it has made for intellectual property, please read and learn more about it.

Larry Lessig:
"We launched Creative Commons in December, 2002. Within a year, we counted over 1,000,000 link-backs to our licenses. At a year and a half, that number was over 1,800,000. At two, the number was just about 5,000,000. At two and a half years (last June), the number was just over 12,000,000. And today -- three months later -- Yahoo! reports over 50,000,000 link-backs to our licenses. "Link-backs" are not really a count of how many objects are licensed under Creative Commons licenses - a single license could cover 100,000 songs in a music database for example, or a single blog might have multiple instances of the license. But the growth does measure something: The uptake of Creative Commons licenses is growing fast, and indeed, far faster than I ever dreamed."

5 October 2005

IFCCC is now a legal foundation!

Well, the Dutch Connection has given birth. We've finally landed this wonderful idea of pulling all of our energies together into something we believe will serve a higher purpose - bringing communities of people together into dialogue and eventually into concerted practice with one another.

Yesterday afternoon, 4 October 2005, at 4:20 pm in the offices of Peggy Dukkers, our notaris, the nine of us signed the papers establishing The Institute of Collaboration, Creativity & Culture (IFCCC) as a legal foundation.

I thought it was important that everyone had a role and an area of responsibility that suited them, so I handed out these flourescent orange strips of paper to everyone.

Barry - Business - Landing the ideas in the reality of how people do value exchange
Gil - Culture & Entertainment - Spinning the ideas around to pollinate them
James - Creative - Playing with the ideas to generate concepts
Jonathan - Media - Creating ways for people to see and feel the ideas
Rob - Systems - Building vehicles to support and carry the ideas
Michael - Operations - Grounding those ideas to get them working and into motion
Ton - Knowledge Management - Weaving ways for people to share, collaborate and build culture
Elmine Wijnia - Research - Discovering how and why we share, collaborate and build culture
Colby - Development - Networking everybody and everything into value concepts

Front row: Ton Zijlstra, James Burke, Michael Graham, Barry Flaherty, Elmine Wijnia
Back row: Colby Stuart, Rob van Andel, Jonathan Marks, Gil Agnew

More IFCCC photos.

IFCCC Workshop Enschede

This past Sunday, the nine of us from IFCCC Pow-Wowed at Ton Zijlstra's & Elmine Wijnia's place in Enschede. Ton and Elmine had put together a workshop on how we could better communicate and collorate with one another using the various tools and platforms Ton had been weaving together for us. Elmine had invested some serious time into writing a manual for us that outlined the tools and the rationales for using them this way.

Ton used this opportunity to announce his Patchwork Portal. Of course, we all volunteered to help him refine it and make it extra user-friendly so that we could package it as a support product to underpin the communities we are building for ourselves and clients.

3 October 2005

Annular Eclipse in Portugal & Spain

It seems like the whole population of the Iberian peninsula was outside this morning wearing goggles and watching the eclipse. The path of the eclipse then swept across Africa.

An annular eclipse differs from a total eclipse in that the Moon appears too small to completely cover the Sun. As a result, the Moon is surrounded by an intensely brilliant ring or annulus formed by the uneclipsed outer perimeter of the Sun's disk. The solar corona is not visible during annular eclipses.

According to Yahoo News:
"The event began with the moon taking a bite off the top of the sun.

During an annular eclipse, the moon masks the sun like a black plate, leaving a bright, fiery rim. The moon was too small to blot out the sun completely, as in a total eclipse, because its elliptical orbit has taken it too far from the earth.

However, the moon dims the daylight and drops temperatures slightly.

The rim of fire that appears around the moon glows brighter than the corona that is seen during a total eclipse."

Wow - it's moments like this when I really miss Portugal.