General Interest Archives

October 30, 2002

First Week

I've been working though MOVEABLE TYPE for a week. It's still not working like I want. The whole process is becoming a little time consuming, and I fear I lack the programming skills.

I've found the support discussion helpful and fast. My real frustration traces to little things, more like gremlins than anything else. Want additional functionality. Subscribe, etc. Have to work each one out. takes time.

Despite the poor documentation for Radio, I'm going to try and load my Radio blog in here. I like the new subscription service. But have no idea how to do that in MT. Similarly Google news.

October 31, 2002

BLOGGING Lifestream

Info pours into my e-mail daily, magazines into my mailbox and there are few other forms of media I am not confronted with. Some of this is useful. Some is thoughtprovoking, and some stimulates new thinking and ideas. Sometimes weeks later, in a meeting I remember facts, require quick points of reference. Often I know roughly when and where it was. Usually I can find it. Still it could be easier. It may have been printed out, downloaded, saved to a file folder --- really who knows. There is so much it is all rather chaotic really.

So why blog? For me the blog looks like a better way of making use of my notes, refering to links and capturing my story. Here's my business lifestream. At least the public parts of it. When David Gelertner published his piece on Lifestreams (checkout Edge too) it made great sense to me. Fundamentally, he says:"A "lifestream" organizes information not as a file cabinet does but roughly as a mind does." Hmmm not sure this is really welcome to my mind. Still the blog is the first opportunity to really start linking my thoughts in a real-time lifestream to a broader "as yet unknown" community.

This is important. For it is often the links you don't know you have that pay the biggest dividends. Some of you may have read my paper on COMsumers. I put it on the back burner. AND YES!!!! I have a couple methods for how decentralized groups of consumers could be motivated to seemlessly accelerate the sharing of profile information. Still that is another story. The point here is Bloggers are sharing aspects of their profiles and information they didn't know they had. The intangibles currently hidden in blogging communities have enormous potential for growth. If you have paid any attention to Napster, Kazaa, eBay or Messaging systems, you may agree with my thoughts on how these communities are learning faster. Participating now... is part of testing my own hypothesis. Nothing like Prototyping to the future.

Back to the basics. I've often observed friends who keep a business diary, noting every meeting and what transpired. Clearly they work chronologically, but fail even when ring bound to capture all the related information, which loose usually falls out and gets lost. With a blog as I link I grow the value of what I capture. With time a story or many stories may emerge. Reflections may later take me back on new and updated journeys.

Let's face it. In the collaborative economy of today it is more important to give information and thoughts away. It cost's me nothing and I may get noticed and generate significant new and unexpected returns. I hope for "generative relationships" that help me grow with those that want to acclerate innovation and strategy development in their organization. I'll be happy to actually receive comments and suggestions. I can't know where to look if I don't know where I should be looking.

Thus my first objective is almost now complete. That was install Moveabletype, set up a basic structure and get it running. The rest can follow

November 1, 2002

Conversation Living Web

Joi, thanks for sharing your comment on the living web (below)".

My feeling is it's "real-time", yet it's not a conversation without exchange. And yet here's an exchange that I persume will be logged. If the "living web" provides "simulated annealing" then we can use "chaos" to contol "chaos". On their own, weblogs (are we reaching hypergrowth yet?) are being linked and I imagine the more the merrier. Afterall a little bedlam can a be a good thing for crowds and data flow. The noise should simply add to the creativity and enable us all to learn faster.

So we do it to live new conversations. Seek out new voices and outside perspectives.... We aim to "live in" the conversation. We can by seeking new -- perhaps slightly controlled elements, that are different and outside our usual perspectives.

Reminds me that I must check on complexity metaphors around blogging. Probably, it's already been done. Yet for my blog to be part of a swarm... I'll need to connect it in new ways.

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web [ Blogging about Blogging ]
by Joichi Ito at November 01, 2002 10:35 PM
What do you think of the slogan, "Joi Ito's conversation with the living web"? I got the conversation part from The Cluetrain Manifesto and the living web part from 10 Tips to Writing the Living Web. People kept asking me what the difference was between a blog and a web site. I said it was different because I wasn't publishing, I was having a conversation. I didn't have "readers" I was part of a "living web". I have no idea if that gets the message across, but I sure like the sound of it.

Michael Lissack on simulated annealing: "Simulated annealing, for example, translates into ascribing a creative value to "noise" and seeking to make use of that value --in one example, by bringing outside perspectives into focus groups at critical moments when making decisions."

November 12, 2002

Visual thesaurus

Plum Design provides a neat visual thesaurus. If you are brainstorming words and just need some new phases or new words check it out. Not sure this site has street or fashion smarts. Clearly it isn't linked into blogging. No results were found.

You may like the mindmap like rendiditons that this provides. However it is no subsititute for creative minds engaged and playing.

November 13, 2002

Dynamic David's Spaces

Author, programmer, tech analyst and future open source entrepreneur David Duval is worth following.

I think he is playing with more than words when today's blognovel picks up the theme below. Is this about SPACES or is the context just paraphased here?"

"You close your eyes, open them again, and nothing will ever be the same. It might not be obvious at first. It might not even be obvious later. But it's still there, that newfound feeling of uncertainty, of something lost, and something found, only you don't know what it means yet. " PlanB

Maybe I will have to read his serial. There are at least three threads here. David Duval - interesting person, PlanB- his blognovel and lastly the software application Spaces. Take some time and follow the links.

THREAD ONE: David lists his research interests as "self-organizing and wireless networks, complexity theory, dynamical systems, and molecular nanotechnology among others....... Other than that, he's clearly a good bloke who knows where to find an Irish pint!

THREAD TWO: His blognovel runs on the serial concept. StoryTelling opportunities, serial, case studies etc. There are many applications here and some new opportunities. For more proof that there is a bigger debate around blogging opportunties see Slashdot. Enjoy the FAQ
Stories usually have a strong element of time built into them, just like a weblog. A weblog, however, is a story where the beginning changes every day: what we see is the last element that was posted. Follow this link to PlanB's description.

THREAD THREE: DynamicObjects has just lauched an alpha PIM. It is naturally object oriented. I sense the objectives again to create a more collaborative space. Perhaps today we have the answer in the making to yesterday's PLAXO. David writes: "... spaces is qualitatively different. It shares many features with standard email/PIM software like Evolution or Outlook. However, its abstractions over information management are designed to simplify organization and access to information and for collaboration from the ground up. Along with the simplicity of its user interface, these elements will not only make spaces a better PIM, they will also allow it to be an ideal tool for collaboration between individuals and small groups....

......Using self-organizing P2P technologies, there will be no need for servers. Having designed the interface for collaboration from the ground up, there will be no need for five different programs that always do things differently and need a subpoena to talk to each other. The FAQ contains more information on what features are available now and the schedule for additional features.

To this layman... that sounds pretty good.

Then there is the final story of how I got this post. It goes like this. I was again searching MoveableType. Looking for answers. For the first time I noted that MT actually has a list on their home page of recently update MT sites. (I have paid my donation and no I haven't solved my automated ping yet). I clicked on an interested name... Orbitalworks and noted the link to spaces. Captured by Names and a good hour of reading. Hope I've simplified the places to look

November 21, 2002

Collective Some

"CollectiveSome is the odd-sounding name for something I'd argue is pretty important. It's the idea that applying a group's perspectives, preconceptions and blind-spots to a problem at hand yields something quite remarkably different than anything any *one* person could." Tom Portante.

Tom! Rather gratifying to see you here after coffee just two days ago. There is more to this story than will ever be posted here. not sure where the linking will take us. It is the right thing to do. I can't think of a better method today to accelerate my own "creative friction" points and thus illustrate how it streams "discovery capital".

And it works. I've filled my head with links (a selection) this morning. Looking for methods and ways that change the game. Discovery Capital leads to market changing concepts, and that's what leads to value creation. The CollectiveSome, the Unbound Spiral, what ever we call it the need is here now the capability to provide it perhaps closer than we think.

Then Tom posts on Beyond Certainty this am. I know I have to write another piece. "Radical Strategy Innovation"

December 1, 2002


Like food? Enjoy wine? Pleasant architecture? Need a day out? Head to Napa and Copia. There you can feed your mind, discover and indulge at the American Center for Wine, Food & the Art. (It worked for my kids too!)

A collection of great exhibits, nice cafe (appealing restaurant too) I left with a brochure in hand. Have a feeling for a group interested in food, packaging, dulinary arts... Copia may design into an excellent stop on a facilitated learning journey.

December 10, 2002

The Great Wireless Hope

This is the last panel for the day. The previous one... was interesting but not particularly reportable. This panel Duncan Davidson - SkyPilot, Glenn Fleishman, Dave Hagan - Boingo, Martin Rofheart - XTreme Spectrum and David Sifry Sputnik.

KW The reason this session is last is perhaps this is the most exciting thing happening in the world. Here is the potential to overturn our current model.

What's apparent from listening and the notes is the speed and simplicity that WIFI is enabling. The growth is enabling fast connections everywhere. There is also rapidly appearing unintended consequences of this model. High speed in easy to carry devices, will provide new utility for consumers. Expect new applications for messaging, voice, e-mail, photos, etc. Some of these devices will also carry different identities. Don't expect them all to be just like the phone! Then batteries may still be a problem. For the first time... I want a Pocket PC with WIFI and heaps of storage. That may help my experimentation. I better go shopping! Bye Bye phones.... hello "communicator"!

Notes and links:

GF facilitating. 802.11b weblog. Layers, one though seven. It's exciting because it has captured communities generosity of many, and is separate from the communication infrastructure. WIFI is juice and bandwidth. It may be one of the best technology stories of 2002 and perhaps 2003.

MR Extreme Specturm ultrawideband chipset... extremely disruptive technology. DD from Skypilot. uses an array of atennas that point to each other. as a way to push out more bandwidth.

DS from Sputnik Startup making 802.11 software - where firewalls are required etc. Build a way to manage a bunch of access points.

DH from Boingo a aggregator of 802.11b hotspot services to assembling hotspots around the country. Building applications so they can control the client experience from hotspot to hotspot.

KW How will a decentralised approach to deployment of technology affect consumers adoption?.... Implications of unlicensed bandwidth, few ranges open, and wildfire spread for adoption.

DD WIFI and mesh archtecture. How build an unlicensed carrier nationwide? In future may have lowest cost DS WIFI spreading like wildfire. People are using it at home, or at the office, eg someone still wants to read e-mail etc. How do I deal with it? Who else? How do I stop them? Should we ban? Corporate Intelligence, hacking into the netorks. Sputnik people are treating these devises in the system.. It then immediately get recognized and then managed. Sputnik can then use to ferret out rogue access points. So I can then make sure that people are physically available in the building using triagulation. Therefore we can solve the security problem. DH Boingo... decentralization based on fragementation tracing to low cost points even with the big carriers. No way anyone carrier can garner any one particular market. Boingo is solving by developing client software that makes it easy to connect. MR is using a different technology. EWB could replalce 802.11b.

KW Are open networks terrorism? What kind of open networks?

ANS universal acccess ubiquitious. There are issues around identity and authorisation as well. Can send a message from a public library. More concened about the backlash from non security type events. When someone drives up to a corportate parking lot an immediatley starts spamming off the t-3 line out. The SRI stuff was just crap. Rational minds will prevail. Will policy be made from these types of reports? Tone down the hype. Tech that is cute won't be adopted. At Skypilot do you need a network operator? How do you manage access in and out of the network? Security is an arms race. People need to take a differnt look at this. The theft thing is interesting. Cable companies are now making the same sharing complaints as the music industry.

KW What are the killer applications for open spectrum?? Unlicensed Spectrum?

The killer aps are clear. What you do when you are connected everywhere? When people need to have a broadband signal everywhere?

MR EWP development. See FCC february this year. The FCC process has evolved to handle big cos. doesnt' help the small start-ups. How do you get an unlicensed tech decision through the FCC.

The FCC is now in a real political box. Driving down to true monopolies --- staffers are trying to make lots of license spectrum available. They now believe that out of unlicensed spectrum can come a 3rd path... must make it the final mile. 2.4 difficult, 5 hard. Perhaps they can find a solution that creates an independent third pipe. Unlicensed space is "tragedy of the commons"

At prior shows there has been all sorts of congestion trying to get on the network. It's manageable, and then making sure it is available. Two fundamental camps. one is trad and new is the 802.11 technology that sells it. eg fixes the quality. fix crowding, fix cells, etc.

The alternative is mesh archtecture and scale it to very a high degreee. I should be able to route around problems that create infinite spectrum. Will humans create the human dilemma. The question really starts to become what should the FCC do re the allocation and the role. Even when the best tech should win.. Polite radios should win? How do I create a radio that will interfere at a minimum level versus others, ega polite member of this spectrum. Save battery power too!

In a spectrum where the owner has control this situaltion cannot emerge. Specturm policy task force. See the May REPORT more technical on the FCC ....

Command and Control the traditional FCC model doesn't work. Looking at a new stream. includleing property. including unlicensed easements. specturm underlay... interference below.. best of property and commons under this. This starts tomorrow. What will be the effect of smart radios in the unlicensed services.

?What's happening out of the US? ieee 802.11h 5ghz enables it to work in Europe.

Rest of the world... buildout is happening everywhere. WIFI carriers happening everywhere Boingo is going workin on setting it up internationally. Setting up hotspots everywere.

December 11, 2002

Weblog Media

Nick Denton is following his hunches in his weblog media posting perhaps termed "nano-publishing". If you want a model for how to build a magazine on a budget this might be it.

However, what's more he says "The more ambitious is a news filtering system, about which more below. That project launches later in 2003." The link is broken, still at Supernova this sounded a lot like the idea behind Sense Connect.

Yesterday when asked about wishes for the future Nick said: (approximately) "Want a personal news one-page of items day - hour etc. The capability to locate myself within a social network, and then 1 -2 -3 degrees out recommending things to me.

That's interesting and perhaps can be built on. I added new blogs to my blog roll this morning. Now can someone give me the power to view additions to linked rolls at 1 degree, 2 degrees, 3 degrees.... IE LET ME KNOW WHAT IS RUNNING AROUND IN MY PERIFERAL VISION? Using RSS feeds in a real-time window. Equally who got booted? That might make them more interesting. Bet I'd learn faster. More importantly... automating the news feed would eliminate my manual need to add to it. Then perhaps I could have some reminder features too, like show me it again in a month etc. while making it more intelligent and adding reputation features.

Of course this sounds a lot like what OpenCola was doing, so I checked to see if it had died and there's an offering and free trial. A personal version just launched at a librarians conference. Not quite the same thing still worth further study.

Nick also said here "Marketers are increasingly aware of the power of weblogs to establish word-of-mouth for products such as movies, books and gadgets. But sponsorship buys across thousands of sites are too time-consuming, and traditional public relations outreach is more liable to irritate key influencers than persuade. "

Maybe optimistic, still if you are a gadget freak, perhaps Gizmodo is pretty cool.

December 13, 2002

Post Supernova Technology | Life on the edge

Scott Rosenberg provides a well balanced review of: "The geek-driven world of new "decentralized" technologies like Wi-Fi, blogging and Web services is more about cutting out the middleman than finding a business model."

See Supernova 2002 Photos

December 15, 2002

LJ/DJ Statistics

Last week at Supernova, there was some discussion on who blogs - male or female, and the demographics. Doc Searls also asked the question in his Saturaday blog. Fact is no one knows. However one set of facts can be cleared up. Live and Dead journals include 945,000 users that have updated with over 250,000 updating in the last seven days.

Are they guys or gal? Despite the names, both services are predominantly female. 65% at LJ and almost 75% at DJ. DJ skews slightly younger than LJ pulling stronger against 15-16 year olds while LJ peaks around 17-20 year olds. I'm sure addionatal data exists:

Live Journal Statistics

Dead Journal Statistics

The parallels in statistical data access reflects that both DJ and LJ use the same back end which is open sourced. These sites provide useful functionality that is not available in blogger, Radio, or Moveable type. In particular, the profiling capability and the community of friends listings. It's the profiling that provides the statistics. Possibly a profile system like blogroll could enable improved statistics access for all who participate. You could spread it virally.

Whether industry or backend, "blogging" needs better statistics for the community and for the operators that are trying to make it a business. There is an opportunity for Weblogs here. I presume feeds can be extracted off Weblogs pretty easily to match the LJ/DJ data.

Additionally, many of the blogging organizations provide useful forums - for example: LiveJournal Business Forum Similarly MT and Radio have discussion forums. These are great places to learn what the customer wants and how they differ. However I have a suspicion that few in the forums go looking cross-forums / platform. Perhaps they should.

Additional Data:

Live Journal:
Male: 213719 (36.3%)
Female: 374294 (63.7%)
Unspecified: 139876

Dead Journal
Male: 63754 (25.5%)
Female: 186091 (74.5%)
Unspecified: 53382

Live Journal
Total users: 815360
Users that have ever updated: 674785
Users updating in last 30 days: 295826
Users updating in last 7 days: 211814
Users updating in past 24 hours: 85891

Dead Journal
Total users: 364589
Users that have ever updated: 270856
Users updating in last 30 days: 63752
Users updating in last 7 days: 40677
Users updating in past 24 hours: 15689

Live Journal : Free Account: 757287 (93.2%)
Early Adopter: 14294 (1.8%)
Paid Account: 38977 (4.8%)
Permanent Account: 1228 (0.2%)

Bully Magazine - Jackass Journalism, or Friends Don't Let Friends Start Blogs, or Who Needs John Ashcroft When We've Got

December 20, 2002

Cup Runneth Over

From the NZ Herald and various sources. The America's Cup is known for innovative breaking of rules, tough competition and billionaires. What's less known round the world is where the innovation comes from. New Zealand yacht racing is a worthy study, for the NZ skippers, team leadership (Russell Coutts - Allengi, Chris Dickson - Oracle and Dean Barker TeamNZ) and the technology that bubbles out from the latest in hulls and spars to wireless heads up displays on Oracle. Here sweeping changes of logic can make huge differences. Revisiting ideas given up on earlier may find new life.

17bighullgraphic.gif Team New Zealand's new boats uses a 'false hull' to increase the effective sailing length and, therefore, the boat's potential speed.

Some suggest that being allowed to design a basic hull that looks less powerful, and then attaching a second underwater skin that restores not only full power but extra power, means the Kiwi yacht should have an unassailable advantage.

It's been hard to the keep secret and so they are not now alone. Alinghi's false hull is in trial and it looks like Oracle is ready to follow. Note: With the exception of Alinghi's mast - Alinghi, Oracle and OneWorld all used New Zealand boatbuilders and Southern Spars.

We'd probably find more innovations if we looked on board. "It is a heads-up display, it is a wireless connection to the instruments," Doyle said. "I sit in the back of the boat and I struggle to see the instruments through bodies. This has a tiny screen I can put down and call up different readouts." Michael Schumacher has one too. In the last cup match the Kiwi's constant chatter using "receiver based" communication led to smooth sailing and quick wins.

There's a lot to be learned from these small innovative teams. They are working with millions, getting results and changing the rules everyday. Then TeamNZ is working with even less.... and doing more! That's attitude - and what we all should be doing.

December 30, 2002

Spiraling Path

Two quotes recently forwarded to me, by names I don't know lead me on two interesting journeys. The first is about time. Time provided an important theme for his plays. The second is more spiritual in nature and plays to different rules for time while leading me to an interesting set of lectures.

"We do not go round a circle (of existence). That is an illusion, just as the cycling of the planets and the stars is an illusion. We move along a spiral track. It is not quite the same journey from the cradle to the grave each time. Sometimes the differences are small. Sometimes they are very important. We must set out each time on the same road but along that road we have a choice of adventures."
J. B Priestley, I Have Been Here Before

Priestley wrote three time plays around passing time, a time for slowing down of experience for contemplation, and a time for speeding up creative and imaginative. Priestley made people thing about how time passes, whether slowly or quickly. He believed there were many dimensions to time. Including our clock time, passing time. perhaps a fifth dimension, enduring time, in which anything that has happened goes on happening. These ideas of time fed into his idea of Eternity: "Eternity is not unending time. It is outside time. It involves another dimension of things. If we think of time as a line, then eternity is a plane. Life in time is existence along the one way train from the cradle to the grave. Eternal life is always a new and heightened experience of the here and now...all moments of noble living, the ecstasy of love, the compassion and understanding that enter into every genuine personal relationship. All demand the unknown dimension, this timeless being." We can be sure his perspective was not framed by internet time or real-time!

Little in his perspective was framed by the "energy of time" or by today's networks. The network of time. Thus my attraction to the second quote and the link to the lectures above by his wife Eva Perrikos.

"When streams of energy are drawn together, they superimpose in a spiral, which is the fundamental shape of creative activity: witness the structure of galaxies and cyclones, cells and crystals. The spiral form of orgone movement is visible in human auras and in a blue envelope around the earth..."
John Pierrakos.

This spiral reflect a more spiritual path to life's energy, healing and spirituality. Here there is a different sense of time. Perhaps it is also more rewarding?

January 18, 2003

Peace March

Sign of change. I joined the 10's of thousands (my estimate about 75000+) marching for peace in San Francisco today. We came from all walks of life, many like me had never protested before.

It was worthwhile! Yet no words emerged from the crowd or from the speakers that were easy to take home. The crowd values represented an outpouring of uncomfort with America's current path in the world. Time to change course and take responsibility to make the world a better place.

As we rode home in jamm packed BART cars, it was silent, all with many thoughts. We all knew we were not alone. While the factions on the podium could not speak for us, and Martin Luther King's quotes out of time, on his birthday there was a place for them.

"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means." MLK

Peace March SF 011803 005[1]

Peace March SF 011803 013.jpg

Peace March SF 011803 019.jpg

Virtual Stats

More on Live Journal stats and posted by Ross Mayfield. Seem to remember blogging these a month ago should have used fancy grapics and made it more memorable.

On the statistics front. Can anyone give me the current total on RYZE, ecademy, and Buddynetwork in beta, oh and Friendster too?

January 21, 2003


Britt Blaser introduces a nice post on forging a federation today to make a difference with:

"Now consider that we are helping in the birth of a ubiquitous global network, for it's not the "frozen" Internet Infrastructure that matters, it's the connecting of most humans who wish to be, using words and gestures that seem natural to them (not yet, but real soon). We all know this is what we're about, but it's good to pause and wonder at our good luck to be at this place at this time."

As always a few with an impossible dream can shape the future.

January 22, 2003

Photo Sharing

PHOTO-SHARING SITES PROVE POPULAR 13 million Americans visited photo-sharing Websites during November 2002.

Latest studies reveal that Yahoo Photos is the most popular photo-sharing community among home, work and university Net users with 5.2 million visitors. Three other photo-sharing website had at least a million visitors each during November 2002. MSN Photos attracted two million unique visitors while Ofoto and drew 1.3 million and 1.2 million respectively. The findings also indicate that broadband users accounted for 47 percent of visitors to photo-sharing websites during the month of November.

Online Retail

AMR Research surveyed US net users about their 2002 holiday purchases and found that 28% of their budget was spent online whereas just 4% was allotted to print catalogs

AMR finds that just 4% of net users' holiday shopping budgets went to catalogs, which means that 20% of the retail channel's share in 2001 went to the internet in 2002.

Overall 20% of retail spending was online in 2002.

Retail Channels 2002.gif

Digital ID and eGovernement

Useful read "Digital ID and eGovernement"

"Summary: Governments are vitally concerned with identity and yet, paradoxically, most governments have been largely unwilling to take a leadership role in the digital identity arena. This article explores what government's relationship to identity is, and should be..."

January 24, 2003

XML Profile?

LJ/DJ provide useful functionality that is not available in blogger, Radio, or Moveable type. In particular, the profiling capability and the community of friends listings. It's the profiling that provides the statistics. Possibly a profile system added to blogroll could enable improved statistics access for all who participate. You could spread it virally.

Saw David Galbraith also suggesting an XML profile. Broadcasting.... consumer profiles. I don't think that is what is intended, an unintended consequence?

Am I watching the Napster - (Ryze) vs Kazaa (broader blogging) aspects at play here?

January 27, 2003


Hearing from a friend that Huminities was a recent discussion item in the Well.

Huminity is a free software that enables people to share, create, modify and navigate a global map of connections via highly graphical animated maps.

Sounds okay until you give it your Outlook address book. Beware! Another that seems to duplicate mistakes already made. See Plaxo....

February 1, 2003

Internet Perspective

From Smart Mobs - "The latest issue of the Economist on-line includes a series of articles on the future of the internet. Essays address privacy, always-on connectivity, intellectual property, surveillance, and cyberculture development through social norms.

On privacy the Economist:
"That may be the wrong conclusion. Instead, privacy is likely to become one of the most contentious and troublesome issues in western politics. There will be constant arguments about what trade-offs to make between privacy on the one hand and security, economic efficiency and convenience on the other. Most people are repelled by the idea of near-constant surveillance, but they either find it difficult to believe that it will really happen, or they do not know how to stop it."

Strikes me that the Economist whose home is the most "big brother" watching society of them all is missing some emerging trends. We should fear the dark side in many of these articles. Let's hope they explore new collaborative technologies in more detail in their next survey.

February 5, 2003


Another great linking post from Mitch RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing Follow the links in his blog.

I, me, mine
Jon Udell has charted the relationships between one's identity, groups and devices in a simple layout that describes many of the challenges of user experience design. Marc Canter adds his riff:
Jon's right. Whether it be by yourself, or with a group of people, conversing, intercting publishing, communicating, listening, watching, playing - EVERYTHING - all activity first and foremost starts with YOURSELF. YOUR Identity.

Not to be shrill, but it is all about individual power. Any corporate-defined system becomes confining, like being shut inside a focus group forever.

This was the post that pushed me to re-register an idea that a colleague and I registered back in 1999. We never worked out quite how to use it then. We dreamt it up one afternoon while damming Amzaon's purchase circles concept at the time. It lapsed. I just renewed it! It's powerful. Remember the childs words.... usually 2 or 3 years old..... where they say "You are not the boss of me!". Well just possibly IOWNME could work a little harder on behalf of your identity. Now maybe that's something to hang a concept or two on!

February 7, 2003

Planetwork Exploratorium

Planetwork consortium. Last night I attended their session at the Exploratorium. Was led by Jim Fournier. We had a chance for networking and then speakers made brief presentations. Enough to stimulate more networking afterwards. These are brief notes.

Tom Munnecke of Giving Space. His project is using the ontology of the uplift. used the phrase "The Missing Nothing" like it. They have a small grant and are working towards "A Global Day of Uplift" on September 12.

Sam Hunting, will awe you with his passion for topic map systems and implementations. He wakes every morning knowing that what lasts and endures are things that are beautiful. He works with beautiful data structures, "Topic Maps". "Not everything we can talk about can be loaded into a computer", "people together because they ahve things they want to exchange". Topics are proxies for subjects and GOOGLE just doesn't go there! Apparently 6 approaches in beta, 3 open source.

Next up is a lady whose name I've missed. She's using the phrase "DIGNIFIED" online communities. I think this is a wonderful word and thought. Is a lack of "Dignity" in the online work holding back participation?

Victor Grey is sharing his upcoming upgrade the FriendlyFavors permission engine. Afterwards I learn it's not his fulltime job. Here's yet another developing an identity system without real funding. Seems like something is wrong here.

The Social Capital Network is introduced by David Boyd. He's developing methodologies for accounting that address "Social Value". How do we measure the impact of a grant? Often the accounting systems are almost non-existant. As I listen I can't help wondering whether these are the measures that will enable a more innovative - creative society.

Eugene Kim Blue Oxen had a great line for thinking about what keeps him going all day. "the less dumb metric" --- Everyday... am I less dumb? He's working on research within the open source community trying to research "patterns of collaboration" and spoke about "Science of Collaboratories". One to watch!

That wasn't all, networking continued and I have further leads and correspondence to run down. Well worth going.

February 12, 2003

SPAM Polls

I just read in the SF Chronicle this morning more research on SPAM. The research is all flawed. It assumes that the government or organizations or both should take some form of action. The questions are all asked that way. Simply because no-one understands that perhaps you and me and others together can do something about it. How can you change paradigms when the research is constantly promoting a dialogue round the current impasse?

More government regulation particularly of the opt-out kind will only make the problem worse. While almost certainly (I presume) giving the government more power to track, and even tax exchanges.

February 18, 2003

Posting Overload

Brain overload. So many connections over last couple of days with many links and no time to blog them. They are out there in blogsphere somewhere. The context for much remains in the mind and between the links. These threads are thus placesetters.

Andre Durand on Intersecting Identity. "do so in such a way that only 'certified' individuals (people who have been added to your Personal Area Network or Roster) can actually send you email (thereby eliminating spam) -- now we might have something both unique, new and interesting."

Few posts around Tony Perkins new venture AlwaysOn uses as the customer database. Good to see others found the model both intriguing and scary.

There have been recent CNET postings and comments by Jonathon Patterson on ENUM a clever way to bring phone numbers to web addressess. More leads may add to the confusion. This reminds me slightly of .geo (SRI initiative) where url was a geograpic mapped location. I'm not sure what value phone numbers have in a mobile voip world. Can someone tell me how a phone number adds to my sense of identity? Yahoo IM doesn't need a phone number. We choose our own!

Then Flemming Funch on me” and networks and takes it further today with his post "Give me personalized collaborative ranking" Sounds very familiar. Perhaps blogging will really connect us all up.

Ross Mayfield discussion and Power laws continues to adds more twists.

Participating in Joi Ito’s Emergent Democracy happening has provided a number of thoughtful challenges..

Then noting Microsoft’s Three Degrees beta announcement today and Googles purchase over the weekend of Blogger. Generally well coverd.

Then there is some research going on around Ryze. More later. It's interesting. I've also added additional friends. Michael Dunham is the latest trying out Ryze.

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

March 3, 2003

Ryze Connections

Despite some cynicism out there. You can make great connectons on Ryze. My numbers are increasing rapidly. See b.cognosco: Friday, February 28, 2003

"This week I had two very interesting brainstorming sessions thanks to the Ryze community. First, Gordana Bischoff, a strategic consultant in Cape Town, South Africa spent an hour with me discussing value creation in the SMB community. Today I spent 45 minutes with Stuart Henshall, a strategic consultant in the Bay area, discussing how new collaborative technologies, DigitalID, and social networking tools are inverting."

We did indeed Terry. Thanks for your time.

March 4, 2003


The Curta Calculator circa 1947.


Major components of the machine are: the carriage that can be moved to Six different positions for multiplication and division; the number transmission mechanism; the ten's carry mechanism; and the result and counter dials.

This precision calculator that weighs eight oz performs addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squaring, cubing, and square root operations. The number set is transferred to the result dial once for each turn of the operating handle while the revolution counter records the number of these turns.

Automatic devices prevent errors from mishandling. For instance, if one turn too many is made, it can be eliminated by a turn of the handle with the axis in the other position (subtracting instead of adding).

Capacity of the machine is 8x6x11 places. Eight place digits can be set for addition or subtraction; six place multipliers can be used; and maximum results of eleven places can be obtained.

March 10, 2003

Perils of E-Mail

A recent article in Fortune provides another angle on why we all should be concerned about the "Perils of E-Mail". When electronic information takes on a life of it's own, where context can be debated and records may be incomplete, looks like the lawyers win. Should we wonder why consumers are scared about going online? The press frankly doesn't help. We have "Death by Spam", now "Perils of E-Mail", and that's not even closing in on identity fraud, and credit theft. Should we wonder why consumers adopt different identities, IM names that aren't their own etc.? Why are we looking at national do not call lists?

The Perils of E-Mail
"It was supposed to make life easier. Now e-mail has become a prosecutor's No. 1 weapon and the surest way for companies to get sued. How e-mail became e-vidence mail--and why the solution is often worse than the problem." FORTUNE Monday, February 3, 2003 By Nicholas Varchaver

Separately at AlwaysOn Network "The Social Risks of New Technologies" "I see the increased public attention and the general level of clamoring as the beginning of full-scale social debate on a truly complex set of issues."

March 24, 2003

Blog Update Required

I've just added the search function linked to yesterday by Micah. I searched my friends for Digital Identity. Pretty cool. It does take a while to crank though the list. must check the code and see if I can get it to list the last 3 posts per friend... most recent first. It's referencing my Radio subscriptions file which is similar to my current blog role. In using this search tool I have no idea what information value is collected, while it operates from Micah's site. Seems like a neat function. Why aren't these things just incorporated into MT?

I have a feeling it's time to change the look of this blog. Fix the things that don't work. Try some other templates etc. Perhaps soon. Having just checked the new Plug-ins Directory there is plenty more I could busy myself with.

While I've delayed playing with this one, I have changed my radio news clips blog and it's now ftp-ing to

April 7, 2003

MT Text Editor

I'm testing out a new WYSIWYG text editor I've just installed.  Just frustrating to have such limited functionality in the base edition.  (Note this only works with Internet Explorer 5.5+ for Windows). 

This post uses the new Wysiwyg editor Colors, bullets, indent, pictures etc.

I also managed the upgrade to 2.62.  I'm still looking for clarification from the help group on why my installation doesn't ping appropriately.  With the upgrade each failure is now noted in my Activity Log.  It's always been a manual ping so far.  I have LWP installed -- from the support groups that seems to be the problem. There isn't a one line solution.   

I've also experimented with other plug-ins etc before.  For the most part I've had little real success and I've learnt that playing around is time consuming.  

Update on the Wysiwyz, is it is not perfect.  Copying a document from word meant that I had an immediate conflict with my CSS stylesheet.  If I'd copied into the extended entry column and then to the top box I'd have been ahead.  Will use for a week.  May not be the solution I'd hoped. 


Did you know that a home without an international calling plan is like running around without medical insurance?  You could lose your life savings if you or perhaps an unwitting stranger starts dialing from your Sprint home.

What’s the admin cost of sorting out the mess that telemarketing, regulation, and administrative bureaucracy, have created?

What’s a customer to do?  BLOG it!   Then google “Sprint Rates International DeceptionPlanetfeedback FTC(FTC notes at end) 

I just got off the phone with Sprint my long distance company of the last 3.5 months.  I just received my fourth bill from them.  The bill contained a charge for one international call to France for 97 minutes for $177.51.  This is my home bill!  Total this month $263.56.  An increase from last months bill $11.55

I quickly rang Sprint 1-866-202-4458 had the usual key your number in run around… then got Mark on the phone.  He promptly asked me for my home number again.  I informed Mark of my shock / horror at the cost of this one call to France.  The rate $1.83 per minute.  Total $ 177.51!  This was the only call I’ve made using Sprint internationally during the period.  It is not the only international call.  He located the bill and informed me this charge was because I wasn’t on Sprint’s international plan.  According to Mark the mistake is mine, When transferring from MCI encouraged by United mileage plus (where I had a $4.95 per month international calling plan) and collect miles for calls the Sprint sales rep who read me the policies on the transfer said the new plan would be cheaper.  I had shared that from time to time there were many international calls some of long duration.. I was assured I’d be better off.

Mark offered me a 30% discount to settle.  I said that 30% still meant I was being charged at almost 10 times their normal international rate.  Mark confirmed that if I was on their international $7.95 call plan the rate would have been $.14 per minute and thus the call charge would have been $13.58.  I asked him if he had authority to adjust my account appropriately.  “No.”  Me:  “Please may I talk to your supervisor?”

After a “dead line hold” Peggy came on the line.  I repeated my story.  She again offered 30%.  She also caved in to agreeing with me that even at 30% the revised charge for the call $124.26 was pretty outrageous.  By this time I’d checked though all my records.  Peggy said I would have been notified of my rates.  Well yes I received something that said I was on the California plan.  I also received a terms and condition booklet.  Nowhere in any of this can I see any international rates quoted at all.  (In fact if you go to the website you won’t find these rates either.  Literally, if you fail to take an international plan you cannot check the rates there! I don’t know where they are publically!) However it is easy to check reasonable rates internationally just look up 1010629. 

Peggy again offered 30% (all we are trained to give). I asked to speak with her supervisor.  She said I would have to write to the correspondence department.  I then received the strong arm.  Unlike Mark she asked would I like to accept the 30% off and added you must remain a customer for 90 days in order for this to be granted.  I complained, saying this wasn’t the terms Mark had offered me.  I then became cautious.  I asked that if I accept the 30% now does that mean I’ve accepted the terms.  She said that yes that would then be entered as resolution to the dispute.  So I am now forced to write to Sprint correspondence department.  According to Peggy is will be two to four weeks before I will hear anything from that action. 


So crudely the way I figure it Sprint still wants $177, but will settle for $124, for a change that if not misrepresented over four months would have cost me a max of $45.38.  So it looks like I’m out of pocket at least $80 and it could be more cause they want to lock me in.  I despise SPRINT now.  There are no redeeming qualities; there are no ethics, only fine print.  How many can I tell this story to? 

I’ll send my letter to Sprint.  Simply because this has cost me an hour this evening!  May as well start running up their admin bill.  I think these are deceptive trade practices.  I’m sure there are Public Commissions and Watchdogs.  It looks like they are pretty ineffective! It’s also time time time.  There remain other twists in the picture.  My old long distance carrier MCI is still trying to charge me $4.95 per month for my old international calling plan.  That bill and charge were active when Sprint made this claim.  I’ll change my long distance and international company as soon as I can.   Till then I’m almost scared to make a call!

Some FTC notes. 

  • According to the FTC's "Policy Statement on Deception," there exists deception "if there is a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer's detriment."
  • Another relevant statement by the FTC regarding pricing is as follows: "Depending on the circumstances, accurate information in the text may not remedy a false headline because reasonable consumers may glance only at the headline. Written disclosures or fine print may be insufficient to correct misleading representations."
  • The FTC concludes: "The Commission will find an act or practice deceptive if there is a misrepresentation, omission, or other practice that misleads the consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances, to the consumer's detriment."

I thought I acted reasonably in changing my account.  I accepted Sprints advice in good faith.  Between the cable companies, the telephone company, the long distance companies, wireless providers (always dropping lines) the satellite companies, the yahoo dsl’s the financial privacy and information sharing agreements, homeland security and who knows what else, there are times… when we may wish we could turn it all off. 

April 8, 2003

Escalating Online Costs

I'm not sure how I feel about this Ruling Backs Anti-Spam Activist (

"An Internet site that provides personal information about an alleged purveyor of mass e-mail is not harassment and does not need to be removed, a Maryland district court judge ruled yesterday."

I haven't looked at the anti-spam site in detail.  .  While it is on Slashdot too. Francis Uy's (Spamhaus?) personal site is not so  obvious. He says:

"George tried to send me a message, and wanted to make an example of me," he wrote. "Instead I had a message for him: Every time you try to mess with me, I will post it on the 'Net, and more people will learn about you. I don't encourage harassment against you, and I don't need to. The facts speak quite loudly enough. Your best option is to crawl back under a rock and suck it up, or move to some state other than the one I live in."

This solution looks like the makings a larger arms race. I note that John Robb posts today on a McAfee anti-spam product.  How much will that cost?  It's $39.95.   

John says:"Hmmm. I just installed the McAfee anti-spam program.  It seems to work relatively well however, it doesn't seem to be able to force my e-mail program (Outlook Express) to gather new e-mails after it spots a valid e-mail during a check.  Here is a datapoint:  I got 950 spam messages this weekend.   Today I got 2. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]"  

Looks like the consumer costs of being online just keep escalating! It will need a consumer centric solution.  McAfee only makes money on this product as long as spam exists. Don't see them sponsoring Spamhaus! 

April 21, 2003

Upcoming Blog Changes

A whole new world just opened up! My frustration with blogging and trying to install various functions traced almost completely to a poor service provider.  For the past few weeks I've thought about conversational blogging (I've been sitting on a post never quite got it how I wanted. Will post next.)

I'm looking for conversation and my blog format doesn't encourage it.  It doesn't yet contain some of the elements I've enjoyed with Ryze, there's no guestbook etc.   So I've been busy trying to change things.  For a long time I've felt that blogging systems are not easy, friendly or particularly helpful when it comes to documentation.  The flood of people still taking up blogs I hope will apply more pressure on suppliers and hosts to come up with better solutions. While I've enjoyed the learning lesson many should be buying a good setup service.  Ah the capabilities I have to start people in blogging today!

So my experience has run the full spectrum in the last few days. From finding a new provider Insider Hosting which has cut my monthly fee in half and more than doubled space and bandwidth.  In addition I can now host my other domains have a nifty control panel and let rip with everything from guestbooks, forums, chat, publishing, to emails and lists.  I'm impressed. I'm also building out my site so it's not transferred yet. I also am just stunned. Before I heard open source.  Trying instant installations of phpwebsite, three different forums etc. The tools are revolutionary and they are hear now. 

Consequently I completed a new installation of MT, moved to MYSQL (whatever that means) and have now almost got to the point where I can move things over.  Today has brought my back to MT template and stylesheets. Something I was meaning to do for ever! In a week when on the new site I should finally get Trackbacks to work! I note pinging from there already does.  Something I've never managed with this current provider.

I put up with the flaws in my MT installation because I really didn't know much better.  There's no website garage for MT that I know of.  I put up with my host provider because I assumed I was getting great everything.  Like the telephone company, you think it is hard to change.  It's a little more than a phone call.  It's still not hard.  In their case I don't think they were interested in the little guy! So much for Hurricane Electric 

PS I'll take all ideas for further improvements.  I found I had to strip some items out of the templates today.  They won't work until I move it over.  I'm most proud that  I worked out how to create drop down boxes in my header.  Took me ages!

May 1, 2003

MT Works Again.

Finally a rebuilt MT (with trackback) on a new server. More interestingly it already pinged old trackbacks.  I'm going to enjoy the new functionality and connectivity.  Should help with the conversational thrust and enable more effective discovery with fellow bloggers that because my system failed to ping were dead to me before. 

I'll forget boring you with all the little hiccups.  I've learned a lot from it.  I've picked up decent stats and the desire to try out a number of elements in the templates.

Let's hope that next week sees it all running again. It looks like the new sql database has renumbered all my old posts.  So my guess is I've left broken links everywhere.  Not sure how to fix that.  Probably too late. 

May 13, 2003

French Connection

To arrive in France is always an experience. This time was no different, just the experience was a little unexpected. Most flights from London to Paris were cancelled. Turned out the whole country was on strike. Well almost. The whole government sector, so no public transportation, no trains, not buses, just the odd taxi. Made my trip out to Fontainebleau a little more challenging and expensive than it might otherwise have been. As always these things work out… we made it to the destination just a few hours later than expected.

A separate anecdote for the small world. When the snacks were served by BA the traveler next to me said to the Stewardess, “I’ll have a wine – must support the home country.” I thought this a little strange --- while flying to France he clearly wasn’t French. Looking at the label I saw it was a New Zealand wine and so naturally made a comment. Turns out he worked for the NZ Treasury and was attending a World Bank Conference in Paris. As we talked --- scenarios emerged --- and he asked if I knew a colleague of his who had taken a scenario course in SF and returned raving about it. Turned out it was a program Jay Ogilvy and I had run. Yep it’s a small world and just another benefit and reminder for reaching out.

May 20, 2003

Wisdom Quotes

"Wisdom begins with wonder." - Socrates It's an appropriate quote for today.  It concludes an exciting week in France where I found myself wondering and thinking of knowledge and wisdom.  I found myself looking up a few wisdom and wonder quotes as a result.

  • One learns by doing a thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. Sophocles
  • Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. Immanuel Kant
  • Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplificationMartin Fischer:
  • An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run. Sydney J. Harris:  
  • These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the futureVernon Cooper:  
  • The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery Anais Nin:

July 18, 2003


I found myself with a real dilemma this week.  My heart having made a short notice commitment to attend the 3 day IDCommons Meeting - an undertaking important to how society moves forward. If Mead's short quote about a few people changing the world was ever relevant -- then this is one of those possiblities. I'm sorry I won't be there.  It's a great group of people. 

While I wanted to be there...the head said --- you have some client obligations that must be achieved before you go on vacation.  So I rationalised and so I will take some time to be at the WFS meeting that is on this weekend in SF.  It's hardly likely to be a substitute.  I will be looking at it to see whether the "futurists" really get it. 

August 21, 2003

All Vacations End

There is a nice quote from somewhere that says... "the future can no longer be taken for granted..... it just needs to be rescued."

I saw different views on my vacation over the last 3+ weeks through England and France. Plenty of observations too around internet connectivity or the lack of it.  Generally connections were just simply too hard... from French phone plugs to cottages without land lines. At first I was frustrated.  By the time I found a free Internet connection near Alnwick in a pub courtesy of the Newcastle city council I'd put all e-mail on the back burner and just enjoyed it.  Yes it was a good time and I didn't blog at all. Next time I'm not lugging my laptop at all.

Now I must get back to work.  Despite everything the future has never been brighter.  I might just be able to rescue some reflective thoughts later.  Right now I hope this post simply fixes the fact that my index page looks blank.  Look forward to picking up the conversations again.  My newsreader is going to be busy! 

August 29, 2003

Rest in Peace

Today after 4.75 years my trusty IBM 600E retires to other pastures and users. I'm not sure how you write an eulogy for a PC, other than to blog that this one served me well.  

It's also a way to celebrate the pleasure of replacement for the new one is still black, looks the same and no-one will ever notice. For me the biggest benefit of all is starting with a clean slate! Like finding a new office... currently there is nothing loaded. 

IBM 600e

From day one I enjoyed the 600E's portability, great screen and almost perfect reliablity.  With once exception it never failed me.  (I had to replace the screen which died at 37 months one month beyond the guarantee (purchased a replacement screen on eBay for $100 and one week later it was going again).  It's gone from Win 98 to XP and Wi-Fi cards.  It memory is maxed out... and hard drive full.  It has had its day. 

From my perspective this is a great brand story.  Yes I've always felt good enough carrying it around.  Like an old Mercedes... Hard to tell which year and model you may be driving.  Even as others got faster notebooks mine keep on going.  Products like these deserve some timeless respect. 

Then I bet there is that feature it has that some hate and other love.  The little trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard.  Yep it's on a few other laptops.  Other than...general performance it was the item that was most important in choosing a replacement.

No surprise - I bought another IBM.  T40 this time, on the outside... hard to tell, on the inside... well there's a lot more inside. The only feature I wanted but couldn't get was a DVD R burner on it.  Available on a Sony.  Still not sure Sony really provides appropriate next day sales and support service.  Oh yes I looked at Dell --- but who wants to drive a Chevy. 

So I'm pleased... I know my T40 will ride better, drive, cruise and surf faster and actually run when the lights go out.  Still it is disappointing to realize that little real progress has been made in five years.  IBM, Intel, and Microsoft may disagree, yet I can think of nothing that I will be able to do with it... that will radically improve the way I work, communicate and have fun.  No wonder this market is full of commodity product.  Time manufacturers did some real innovative research. Nice if we could get some elegant design too!

September 4, 2003

Boom Earth Shakes n' Google

Wow... boom sharp quake about 8 miles away at 18:39.  Want information.  Google.  Almost in real-time by 18:44 I'm sharing a map with my daughter.  Who needs reporting when the instumentation is online.  Cool!  Actual report is here magnitude 4.  Was strong enough to throw pictures off the piano. 


Enough to mess up Bart timetables tonight!

September 16, 2003

No Bull about Cow Farts

Last night I had a great time meeting with some colleagues. I'm used to being introduced from time to time with a New Zealand story in the mix. Recently there was press about NZ and its cows. So you can imagine my smile when New Zealands efforts to control Cow Farts with the Flatulence Tax was shared. Like National I know know they are laughing round the world.


Be thankful it's not Skype! No bull.

September 17, 2003

Social Jibes Predominate

Stewart Butterfield provides the best one liners from last nights Vlab in Stanford. Many-to-Many: Social Networking for Social Networking

Forgetting the jibes: Tony reported Match would turn $200m at a 70% operating margin. Build it - go viral and VC's may invest. However, Social Networking is not a business model. Cynthia reinforced a key point. "career data must be owned by the individuals". My read is this is too easy for the majority of these entrepreneurs to forget.

September 18, 2003

Sun VoIP demo doesn't shine

The Silicon Valley Guest Blogger slips again on stage.

<Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Sun's software group, tried to tout Lucent's VoIP equipment and Sun servers, noting that his regular office phone cost $300 to buy and $300 a year to operate. VoIP would be much cheaper, and Sun, now on a low-cost kick, hopes to sell servers that will support VoIP services. But during the demo, two VoIP calls placed from one side of the stage to Roger Heinz, vice president of convergence solutions at Lucent, standing at the other side, never went through. Cnet (links added)

Somebody recommend his customers try Skype. It already works globally and isn't a stage trick.

September 19, 2003

Einstein on Reading

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

What does too much blogging do? Would Einstein have been a blogger?

September 21, 2003

Skype Dinner: Wednesday 6:00-9:00pm 20 Sept, Oakland

Like the idea of P2P telephony? See opportunities for Skype and blogging. Want to explore SkypeWorld? Got some programming ideas? Come join us for some brainstorming and fun....

Stuart Henshall and I need to talk. We talked on Skype. Now we're going to talk in person. Join us for dinner in Oakland this Wednesday. On the agenda:

  • What are the traditional business opportunities for Internet telephony?
  • What are the non-traditional, blog and social software -based business opportunities?
  • What would we ask Skype to open to independent developers?


Wednesday, 24 September 2003
we're still looking for a venue: quiet, WiFi, BART-friendly.
I'll broadcast the location here, and by email if you write or Skype me.

[a klog apart]

September 25, 2003

Dartmouth Slashdot P2P

When I posted on Dartmouth I had no idea it would be Slashdotted. The coments are interesting.

FREE VoIP for Dartmouth Students - Slashdot
From the prespective of the IT/IS department, they need to worry about
how much bandwidth consumption there's going to be, and that's it. Not quite right.

September 26, 2003

Planetwork WiFi, FOAF, XRI

I went to the monthly Planetwork forum on Tuesday night and made a few notes to share on SFLan, The Green Museum and a LivingDirectories update. Helped with insights on WiFi developments, more opportunities for blogging and some further insights into FOAF and XNI.

SFLan was presented by Ralf Muehlen and is an experiment in providing a community wirelss network in San Francisco. They are making good progress. By their calculations 20 stations at a cost of $1000 each are required to cover San Francisco. This is what Brewster talked about at Planetwork. I can't understand why they don't just say we need 500 of these things to cover the whole Bay Area. Collecting $20 donations wouldn't be that hard.

Some characteristics of SFLan:

  • Symmetrical networking: everyone can be a server with a real, routable IP address and full uplink bandwidth.
  • Uninhibited networking: no commercial policies limiting streaming or particular formats.
  • Through-the-air backbone: touching the wired Internet at only a couple of high-bandwidth places.
  • DVD video speed: 1 - 5 Mbits/sec now, getting faster every year.
  • Distributed ownership of the network nodes: this could change networking in the same way PCs changed computing.
  • Cooperative development and support.
  • Riding Moore's Law: spend the same amount next year and get twice the speed

  • The Green Muesuem

    The Green Museum is all about environmental Art. Designed to help inspire people in art and culture. It's open 24 hours per day. Online exhibition of soundscape art. Art as information. I found myself inspired by Sam's comments while lookint at the site and wishing my RSS feed could be nurtured artistically every day. Post the session we had a detailed discussion on weblogs, newreaders, and potential ideas for engaging the broader community in this effort. This mueseum is receiving grant money and may receive more. Just like the physical ones this one may have a different cost structure, it too must chase visitors. We are going to see more Museum Blogs.

    LivingDirectory (Formerly Friendly Favors)
    Victor Gray began introducing his subject referring to Marc Canter who has been suggesting to everyone that provide part of the profile as FOAF data. So here's Victors FOAF profile. This illustrates how many directories could execute a vaild FOAF file So while this is a valid FOAF document Victor said that some of the FOAF files sort of horrified him. Apparently all the FOAF tags are agreed upon upon as a certain sort of data. However there are no FOAF tags for city, state, country and apparently no concept for an error document. Think that means tha bad FOAF leads to 404 screens.

    ( foaf:Person> foaf:name>Victor Grey foaf:firstName>Victor foaf:surname>Grey foaf:mbox_sha1sum>759c9f8d6317f0be5727bd85aaccf7ebc70ffcb7 foaf:depiction rdf:resource="" /> foaf:homepage rdf:resource=""/> /foaf:Person> /rdf:RDF> /blockquote> See the crypto hash of Victor's e-mail address. It is unique to his e-mail address. There was a comment that if you had a completely crawlable network .... could send spam from my set of friends... It is not clear to me what contracts and permissions are incorporated in this.

    Took it that Victor wasn't that impressed with FOAF and has moved on. He then showed his XRI profile with a unique identifer on the bottom line that cannot be spoofed. XRI is running on the foundation that makes the internet run.

    ( ?xml version="1.0" ?>
    - element xmlns="">
    - element>
    data>Victor Grey
    - element>
    - element>
    data>Programmer - LivingDirectory
    - element>
    data>San Francisco Bay Area
    - element>
    - element>
    data>United States
    - element>
    - element>
    data>P.O. Box 6722, Concord, California 94524 United States
    - element>
    - element>
    - element>

    See this CNet article for further explanations. "Standards body tries to improve on URLs"

    The next Planetwork meetup date is October 30th at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

    September 30, 2003

    VoIP Regulation Talk

    From government to the RIAA we need new perspectives if we are going to make the transition to a network economy.

    California to Regulate VoIP? According to this article over at Voxilla, VoicePulse CEO Ravi Sakaria has been put on notice by the state PUC that his company must begin adhering to telco rules, and has been ordered to "file an application with the Commission for authority to conduct business as a telecommunications utility no later than October 22, 2003.

    October 2, 2003

    Skype Beta Update O.93

    915,447 downloads and counting.

    Skype announces the release of a beta 0.93, with several bugfixes and enhancements. New features include improved sound quality, improved support for USB and multiple sound cards, system tray notification for calls and the ability to send contacts to other Skype users.

    October 8, 2003

    Instant Communicator

    Don't ask Skype to add "stuart is typing" in the text window anytime soon. While all major IM's have this it isn't clear for how long. Seeing it is a big boys game Has Skype already filed their patents on IC (Instant Communicator)? Yet how enforceable will they be?

    Microsoft has won a patent for an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.

    The patent encompasses a feature that's not only on Microsoft's IM products but also on those of its rivals America Online and Yahoo. The patent was granted on Tuesday.

    Patent No. 6,631,412 could serve as a weapon in Microsoft's battle for IM market share. Microsoft is investing heavily in IM as a springboard for selling communication software to businesses. News: Microsoft pockets an IM patent

    Can the text box change color when the other person is typing? Could we enable a light key stroke sound in voice mode? What about just using the Glance type program earlier today to simply show what they are typing - erasing - typing and then commiting to the record. Could be time for a better solution.

    October 12, 2003

    MT Comment Spam Solution

    James Seng creates a brilliant MT hack that I hope STOPS COMMENT SPAM dead! I've just installed it and it works. Take a test drive with a comment to this post. I particularly want a few fellow sufferers to know....Cal, John Cole, Teresa, Sassy Lawyer, Liz Lawley, Ton Zijlstra, Joseph, Abe, Glen, Dean, and Jay Allen Can someone please compare what Jay is doing vs James Sengs solution?

    James Seng's blog: Solution for comments spams

    "Apparently, there are some automated bots which has been spamming comments on movabletype blogs. While it is easy to ban the IP and remove the posts, it takes a lot of time and effort to play the cat and mouse game.

    To cut the story short, I wrote a plugin to MT that will verify if it is a human before it allows comments to be posted. The idea is pretty simple: Display an image with a Security Code and demand the user to enter a Security Code manually before allowing posting to go through.

    To see how it works, try posting some comments on this site.

    If you like it, you can download it here. (It is pretty rough since it skip my sleep to do this. But it should work. I hope I have covered most of edge cases...)"

    Go now and get the code and instructions from James here. Then let him know with a trackback of thanks.

    I'd note these additions to James' ReadMe instructions. You must CHMOD the cgi file and the new temp security directory to 755. If you need a text editor to open your MT/App? then go and get Boxer Otherwise it is a fairly simple install. If you installed MT you can do this. I'd also note it works with the Simple Comments plug-in working.

    Gee now I can think about Skype and other things again! Not the preferred way to spend a Sunday I'd add! Good luck with your installs!

    October 24, 2003

    Meetup Tuesday 28th

    Dina Mehta is visiting family in the Bay Area. Many of us know her from networking via Ryze entries on research, her blog “Conversations with Dina” and more recently Skyping with her.

    Join the group getting together for a Bay Area Welcome on Tuesday Evening 28th of October

    Details: Tuesday 28th October
    Meetup: 6:00 Dinner: 7:00

    Buca di Becco
    855 Howard Street
    San Francisco CA 94103

    Let's make Dina feel right at home with huge American plates, large family servings and a big round table. Add to that plenty of Italian fare, good food, funky and fun atmosphere, etc.

    Know someone else who would like to come along. Please ask them or message Dina at her blog.

    October 25, 2003

    Lunching at Kokkari

    I left the Canter's yesterday after an interesting lunch with Marc, Lisa, and Dina. I'm not sure who told the bigger Indian stories, just know that visiting India remains on my travel agenda wish list. Interesting to hear why Dina's view on Ryze and why Indians won't pay. She has a great story round Avi Das via Ryze. Hope she will blog it one day. The stories element is missing from too many of these sites, whether Linked-In, Ryze, Tribe. The more testimonials the better. People learn how to use them through stories.

    As the Marc Canter show returned to home base, we meet Mimi and were blogged. It wouldn't have been such a big thing except Marc is using K-Collector, something not available "YET" to us mere mortal MT users. Lilia has also been posting on it. K-Collector is Matt Mower and Paolo Valdemarin. This time it made sense. I want to try it out! I'm going to Skype Matt!

    Also asked Marc if he'd been Skyping with them? He's not yet bought my suggestion re trying out Skype - not open source. Still, the headset arrived for him while we were there. Concurrently I think Dina thought she was in India as Marc's ADSL connection became sporadic during our visit.

    As for all this networking. Face to face still beats all the virtual stuff.

    November 11, 2003

    What Kind of Social Software Are You?

    If I woke up and unfortunately found myself as Social Software I'd be scattered to the winds in the Blogosphere. "You comment, you trackback, you Google, you technorati. You wish you blogdexed." So to prove a point I pass this on!.

    what kind of social software are you?

    Someone just worked out how to get a lot of hits! Or was this really the lazyweb in action. Thanks to Chris Heathcoteinspired by Tom Smith " invoke the LazyWeb to make me a "Am I Social Software or Not" site... ." When I read Peter Merholtz comments on Epinions last week this was not the result I expected. Now someone just needs to post the Epinions review to close the loop.

    November 12, 2003

    Dinner at LuLu's

    I walked in to a crowd at LuLu's last night and had a real good time. Wasn't hard ---See the list of wonderful people. Was great to catch up with Joi, Phil Wolff, Scott Mace, Florian Brody, Doc Searls, Howard and Judy Rhinegold, Marc Canter, Mark Pincus, Danah Boyd, Dave Sifry, Brit Blaser, Kevin Marks, Daniel James (PuzzleParrots), Timothy Childs (chocolates!), Brad and many many more.

    Many thanks to Jacob and Joi for putting it together. Left with many new thoughts and insights. Plus some nice things to follow-up on. Blogging the detail... ---- here's some links! Thanks guys!

    Had a fun dinner and drinks list night. Thanks for organizing everything Jacob. Jay has some pictures posted. [Joi Ito's Web]

    I believe Im the first to blog the party - as I live closest to the resturant where we just redefined the art of blog parties. Youll be hearing about this party - as just about everyone was there. Joi, Doc, Howard, Kim Polese, danah boyd, Dave Sifry,.. [Marc]

    Jay Feinberg reports..... Joi Ito dinner bash. I hope to say more tomorrow, but I went to the Joi Ito dinner in San Francsico tonight, and it was quite a bash. I have some pictures here! [the iCite net development blog] Heres Doc with Eric Sigler -... [Marc Again]

    Amazing chocolates served last night at the Joi party in SF. [Get Caberet Chocolates]

    Doug Kaye: Tonight was my first Dinner with Joi, and what fun it was. I understand that when Jois in town (wherever that may be) its often an event. I had the pleasure of sitting opposite Robert Berger and David Dolnick, and next to Britt Blaser. Doc [Jeff]

    November 21, 2003

    Looking For an Honest ISP

    Great post from Terry and picked up by Matt on "The ISP Nanny State". Interesting insights on the implications of P2P, music sharing and unscrupulous operators. We should get what we pay for. IE Bandwidth. Since trialing all these VoIP services I've also become a lot more interested in whether poor quality is my PC ( is the latest), the cable modem at my end, or the connection with the other person and their equipement. Voice really does make it very apparent. If programs like Skype continue growing will the outcrys become louder? Concurrently, I feel somewhat powerless as Comcast continues escalating prices. However, I've started trying out those speed sites. Perhaps what I need is a full time monitor on my desktop?

    The ISP Nanny State.
    I've become interested in the wireless ISP business, partly because I'm
    tired of the "half-fast" Internet served up by the telcos and cablecos,
    and partly because the cost/quality ratio of radios has improved to the
    point that it's plausible to consider establishing a wireless ISP
    business in some of the growing, but under connected, areas where I
    live. So I started prowling several industry web sites and mail lists
    to get a feel for the landscape.


    Read the rest. Matt adds more including:

    I also agree that ISP's should have no business messing about with what
    I can or cannot do with the bandwidth I have.  I totally agree
    that this no servers business is a load of old crap
    If it's because they are afraid of bandwidth use - deal with that
    problem!  If it's because they think it will undercut their over
    priced business packages - get a clue!  But don't try and tell me
    what I can do with bandwidth I've paid for.  It's none of your

    [Curiouser and curiouser!]

    November 26, 2003

    What Do You Do During Conference Calls?

    I too wonder about conference calls. Why is it that those back chat experiments work so well. What's really happening?

    CHICAGO (Wireless Flash) -- What are workers really doing during conference calls? A new survey shows most of the time, they're not paying attention to their colleagues.

    The RoperASW/Tandberg poll looked at workers in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Norway and Hong Kong, and found in all countries except America and Norway, less than half of workers pay full attention during audio conferences.
    So what are they doing instead? Twenty-nine percent of British workers say they doodle, while 22 percent of Germans surf the web. Twenty percent of Americans say they have side conversations with someone else during conference calls.

    It gets weirder: 22 percent of Hong Kong workers admit they weren't fully dressed during their last teleconference, while 14 percent of them were doing their makeup or hair.

    Finally, seven percent of Americans admit they've left a call early -- the highest percentage out of all the countries surveyed.

    NCBuy Weird News: Survey Reveals What Workers Are Really Doing During Conference Calls - 2003-11-21

    December 16, 2003

    Radio Userland --- New Management

    I'm sure there was a sigh of relief from Radio Users today with the announcement of a new team at Userland. Still I can't help being surprised. The announcement is the usual PR Blurb profiling the new team. This is very disappointing for a company that helped to define blogging and blogging with a human voice.

    I don't know the fellows involved, but they certainly had an opportunity to think about how and when they wanted the changes portrayed. To become CEO and not make the statement that we will lead "blogging" into the next paradigm is almost unthinkable. To not start of with a "blog" even if completely new to it does not bode well for the company or the future.

    Can you imagine taking over a coffee company and not offering an expresso as an act of hospitality? Taking over a blog centric company and not blogging as your first act bothers me. It little signals that change real perspectives and build market momentum. I'm not worried if the new CEO has never blogged, I'm concerned that his first act was not blogging. Why not make your first post one that gets some input and suggests you are listening and learning? It's not hard to get into the heads of radio users and find out what they want improved. However you only have to listen for a moment to TypePad switcher to understand what some of Radio's problems are. Most of them are basic, the equivalent of keeping a dirty rundown store, poorly signed and with out of date stock. Radio still has one real advantage -- the integrated news aggregator. It's also cheaper than TypePad.

    I started my first blog with Radio. After one month I moved to MT and ran them both in parallel for four months. I liked the aggregator. My marketing perspective then was they didn't listen to their customers, the instructions were difficult and confusing. The templates difficult to fiddle with. My perspective now is they still haven't recognized the need for a Marketing function. Maybe that too is on the CEO's agenda! I hope so for I believe that Radio remains a strong little brand.

    Meet the new team at UserLand. Scott Young is CEO. [Scripting News]

    March 6, 2004

    Mobile Phone Retailing Sucks

    I recently made a purchase decision for a new phone without any detailed help from the retailer, limited insight from the web and with limited infomation from the manufacturer although I've visited all the key websites before. Perhaps this rant is similar to Robert's last year when out looking for a new Laptop. I did list some fix it points at the very end.

    Frankly this is a post about the state of mobile retailing and why it sucks. I've been in the market for a new phone or contract potentially for three years. My current phone was over four years old and I haven't had a fixed contract with Verizon for over two years. As part of the purchase process I've visited Cingular, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile - "DISPLAY" retail stores. These are the stores that only exist to sell you a plan and a phone. I've also visited Radio Shack and keep a watching eye out when I am in Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA even Target etc. For the most part I'd bet all of you have been in or past some mobile phone display at least once in the last year.

    Typically when entering a Mobile retailer you find phones lost on tables and on flimsy shelves where there is a small feature list and price card with them. The phone is not operating. It may well be tied down with some form of harness. Because of the limited assortment a typical store may actually spread the same phone in a couple of locations. So when you are there you know there is not much to look at. The phones are all small and the space is all big.

    So what's this post about..... The fundamentals of Mobile Retailing in the US are sick and ready for a new format. This UK data probably applies here too.

    two thirds have to see and touch a mobile phone before buying it,
    over 60% resort to a retail store to buy their mobile phone.

    So most of us go to the store to buy a phone or are given one. The likely exceptions are buying one for a busy partner (eg on the family plan) or when a friend has simply sold you on their model. Only then would an online only shopping approach make sense. So retailing is important to the cellphone purchase.

    It made sense to retail phones in the high street when no one had them and making them visible was part of securing adoption. For months I've been told by Verizon that they will give rebates for trading up to a new phone and locking in to a new contract (two years). That means handsets are being marketed as commodities rather than branded products that fit with different lifestyles. The new phone merely an incentive to lock me up.

    On reflection I found there there is a lot wrong with the experience. After visiting many online sites I found they were plan-centric rather than communication centric. Thus you may as well make your basic choices on the web first. Mobile providers are like car dealers Each one only has a few models. Having then made your choice you visit the retailers store.

    These are my reflections:

    Continue reading "Mobile Phone Retailing Sucks" »

    April 4, 2004

    Now Where Was I

    Didn't use the computer, and never touched the cellphone.

    March 2004 Ixtapa 057.jpg March 2004 Ixtapa 086.jpg March 2004 Ixtapa 097.jpg

    Outsourcing Joke

    Wading though the vacation mail I came across this gem.


    June 8, 2004

    Passionate Bloggers Corporate Asset or Liability

    I'm getting inquires and questions. Stuart have you stopped blogging? Why no posts recently? The answer is complicated. This is a story about a blogger who found a new niche in an emerging industry with a new job through blogging. It also contain my thoughts and recommendations for companies that find themselves with a passionate blogger on the outside. For those that are blogging and looking for the "next thing" it may provide some lessons.

    Almost nine months ago I started blogging Skype. In the first few weeks after it was launched I blogged it incessantly. At the time this blog was focused on emerging social networking sites, digital identity, collaboration. For the most part within the context of knowledge innovation. When Skype launched a few things clicked for me. Skype was an early indicator of things to come. As a strategist with scenarios as part of my tool kit, Skype confirmed for me that Stupid Networks were going to go beyond music sharing. Concurrrently my blog learnings just proved that these tools are operating as early warning radar, an accelerated learning environment, and a place to find new friends with similar interests. To explore the future we need models and examples that work as great test beds. I decided to pick up on Skype and just blog about it. I've never been affiliated with Skype in anyway, and I've tried to keep a balanced point of view. Still I managed to pick up the Stuart "SkypeMe" Henshall tag somewhere.

    My Skype blogging experience leads me to recommend to other bloggers who find something new that it may be worth helping to put it on the map. It may not get you a job or even an approach from that company. I'd actually trace all the work that I've generated in the last six months to my blog. Plus my blog has played a key role in brokering new introductions. So there is little chance that this blog is going to fade away.

    What I do find curious is companies don't have clear strategies for approaching bloggers. I'm not the only one to get a new job via my blog, for exampe Ton Zijlstra did. However, I'm not sure I know of any bloggers that have attached themselves to an emerging company and still found 9 months later that they really don't have a dialogue with it. Let it be known. I blogged Skype for I wanted a broader conversation around it. I may not have done it very well, I may have made myself unapproachable. However that is not what I believe. I do credit myself with at least some of the direction that Skype has taken. Although I will never know.

    If you are a company with a blogger outside:

    Understand the Asset: I'd recommend you actually contact them. If they are making real visibilty for you and adding value to what you are building you should contact them with a representative at the highest level. You need to know, what drives them, why they are doing it, and where they are hoping their actions may lead. Some may want independence, others may be looking for something new. Depending on the blogger this might be a single post, or a multiplicity of posts. Cautious about writing, then call them up. Start-ups are in a particularly difficult place. One bad review may kill them.
    Intellectual Capital: Blogging is research as well as connections. Even those that may not have originated in an industry may well take new strategic postions and bring new insights. These blogger potentially represent the largest risk. If you can identify the bloggers in and around your industry with these types of capabilities then you should consider how they may look if working for a potential competitor.
    Open a channel; Whether official or unofficial You better have a feedster link for your company and be prepared to follow-up with them. Similarly even some low cost options may enable you to connect more effectively. Don't think that the blogger may be too expensive. Even if there are very limited resources there are ways to generate face to face meetings. You may be surprised at what the blogger is willing to do. Moral is... If you don't ask them don't be surprised later.
    VC's and Investments: If you are a VC and making an investment then you would be well-advised to search blogs. If that Passionate Blogger turns up in your search then you may learn something by talking to them. I had a call just yesterday from a Skype VC (my first one, I think wondering why I hadn't blogged much on SkyeOut or SkypePlus yet) Perhaps they miss me? The problem is it has all changed for me and that happened a few weeks ago.

    Blogger Goes to Potential Competitor.
    Yep it has happened. I'm now the VP of Marketing for DiamondWare and we have the technology, engineering and vision to launch enterprise mobility solutions that combines VoIP, Presence, and Collaboration. I'm going to talk more about DiamondWare in a separate post. This is more a post about me, this blog and what happens when a passionate blogger makes a new commitment. If you know me well you will know I haven't sold myself short and I'm simply delighted to be working on "our" products and solutions. The single biggest issue I have had in the last 12-15 months was knowing that I wanted to either start my own firm or be part of creating a world-class company. While I've been encouraged to extend my consulting practice I've known for a long time that that is not my preferred space. My chosen interests have been technology and Internet related. I didn't have the money to fund a team. However as my passion and focus emerged I've let it guide me in terms of who to meet, what to do, and where to commit. So a new journey has begun.

    Ethics Personal Blog and Corporate Blog:
    I've pretty much blogged whatever I wanted for a long time. Now I shall have to post one of those disclaimers; that this blog is not necessarily the view of my employer etc. What you as a reader should know is I've seldom shared details on consulting projects and I am well aware of the new balance I need to find between blogging at DiamondWare and blogging here. This is the place I'm planning to stay playing with ideas, watching my blogging buddies and following my interests. Don't be surprised if you find me blogging about VoIP or even Skype here too. How can I do that? I believe I can only do it if I'm always blogging in the context of the industry.

    Years ago in when in the grocery business we used to talk about growing the category. We (eg the coffee manufacturer) may have wanted more shelf space and a better position. We were after share. I always wanted to beat the competition. However the retailers controlled the shelf-space and the only way to improve your position was to grow their overall share of business. The brands/products that contributed to growth were rewarded with better shelf position etc. Well.... I may not be retailing softphones or even distributing my solutions in a grocery store in the near future although one never knows. What I will try to insure whenever I write about potential competitive products here is that I state the facts clearly, that I maintain the highest standards of "growing the category". I'm also well aware of "claims" and comparisons on performace. Should I make any comparisons they will be either "personal experience" or link to some independentt lab or research. Softphones are a growth category. So not talking about softphones would be foolish when one is in the VoIP business. Similarly, IM clients, social networking services etc. These are all converging. Plus it would be foolish for anyone to think that I am not trying out "other" products. Like the retailer I once was. Try them out. Take them home. Use them. Record your impressions. Learn.

    July 22, 2004


    I'll be at BlogOn tomorrow. Looking forward to a great discussion on Social Media.

    October 21, 2004

    PopTech Bloggers Dinner TONIGHT

    Blogging PopTech? Networking at Poptech. Come and join the unnofficial POPTECH Networking Community.

    Bloggers Dinner: 6:45 - 8:30 TONIGHT THURSDAY 21 October

    Join up at Zaddick's Pizza & Mexican, on 20 Washington Street, right around the corner from the Opera House, Camden Maine.

    If you need an invite to the PopTech networking group and can't access it directly let me know. Assuming you can please join up and RSVP for dinner.

    See you there

    October 25, 2004

    VON Fizzles Pop!Tech Flys

    I attended two conferences last week. Starting in Boston checking out VON and then moving on to Pop!Tech. Which conference was better? Can or shoiuld one make a comparison? Is it fair to compare an industry conference with something looking at the "New Renassance? At a moment in time when VoIP is flashing on our TV screens, and general awareness is blossuming where is VoIP's renaisance? Where was the direction at VON? Why was Pop!Tech so much better. Where would your money be better spent?

    Here's my take on VON with a contrast for Pop!Tech. There are many posts on VON see Andy Abramson, and Martin Geddes two buddies at a bloggers dinner held on the Tuesday evening. It's fair to note that my visit to VON was limited to exhibitors ( I couldn't afford the steep fee). However, I didn't leave thinking I'd missed much or anything new on the presentation front. While I've seen posts from Andy Oram I left with Martin's view., The key news gets out and the corporate speak was available everywhere. For the most part sponsors speak, end of story. My best chats where the one's forbidden at the entry. A sign saying roughly no hawking or case presentations. I had three really good one's while there (separate posts to come) with three CEO's that where thinking beyond the booths. Guess that proves networking works.

    So why a "negative" on VON. The exhibits had no imagination. If you wanted to learn where the industry was going you would have to ask yourself why emerging VoIP players weren't even there. Then the price cards were out. Broadvoice announced a $19.95 package with unlimited calling to 21 countries. (they couldn't clarify whether that applied to cellphones or not! Don't know the fine print!). I knowVON isn't a show for "Consumer" products and yet nowhere did I see either the home or the office of the future really promoted. As for mobility and presence I'd have expected them to be more visible. IM systems? Well there was the FWD Communicator which IMHO doesn't come even close to matching Skype. It's key claim to fame is the integration with other IM systems so when you want to call someone it sends you an IM enabling a communicator link. I found a buddy on the system.... just dialled him from the demo PC.

    Contrast with Pop!Tech. Here's the overall. Pop!Tech is not blasted with sponsors and sponsor presentations. It also was designed to make you think. Pop!Tech was seeking a new a broader understanding and with a definition of a new renaissance naturally much broader than VON's. However that is just what you need when new perspectives are required. Many PopTech presenters had a book or two to their names. The presentations were of the highest standard I've seen grouped together for years. As I fly home I'm convinced that managers may still have to attend industry conferences. I'm also convinced that they are not the venues for enhancing your competitiveness, or finding new avenues for success.

    I know one buddy at VON said to me.... "Stuart you are finding this a little boring...." I had to agree. He set me straight.. He had made many connections with suppliers that could potentially help him with channels, manufacture etc. in the future. Fair enough, I'm not planning to create a hardware co for VoIP applications tomorrow. Still I think his final summary on VON was a title I almost applied to this post. "Whistling in the Graveyard!".

    So what I'd like to know is where should aspiring VoIP investigators go? I'd have to recommend the next SuperNova run by Kevin Werbach. He's got a much better perspective on where the industry is going convergence and sponsors and company presenters are not quite as dominant. The lesson for Kevin from PopTech would be to bring in some more independents with a track record of good thinking. Examples would include Russell Beattie and Martin Geddes. I know not everyone would agree with them. However their blogs are as good as books. I'd also recommend taking the time out and considering spending your money on PopTech instead.

    October 26, 2004

    Bloggers Dinner and Event Capture.

    Bloggers dinner at PopTech. I think 28 bloggers turned up at the PopTech bloggers dinner at PopTech. Master blogger David Weinberger has the most copious notes on events and interpretations. See his blog for posts. Halley's Comment and Buzz Bruggerman were also very active in the backchannel along with the constant stream of extra links from Jerry Michalski. Buzz has the full list. Hope he posts them soon.

    I'm also beginning to draw some conclusions about blogging, it's role and conferences. I purposely decided not to blog PopTech verbatim or even keep detailed notes just flowing to the PC. Instead for the most part I wrote notes on old fashioned paper. It was a question of space. The Opera house is beautiful and a tight fit for typing on one's knees. I also think my expectations are changing. Now I believe that someone will blog almost the whole thing verbatim. You can certainly get a brilliant graphic record from Peter Durand. So why blog it? Wiki's are even more helpful for providing a group record where they are executed. Maybe I'm just getting lazy.

    poptech bloggers.jpg

    November 29, 2004

    Great Barrier

    For anyone wondering where my blogging went I headed down under for Thanksgiving. So I've been offline and staying at one of my favorite places. It's changed a little since the last time our family was there six years ago. There is more solar power on every bach (New Zealand for Vacation Home), and there are a few more baches on the beach. Great Barrier Island lies just off the cost of Auckland a quick flight or a four hour car ferry ride. It's a gorgeous place with wonderful bays, beautiful beaches, and some great hikes. There is no mains electricity on Great Barrier. While the phones made it over, I put the PC aside and read books instead. Seasonally it's a little early for "full summer" at this time of year, we had great weather although the sea remained a little cool.

    2004 Family 148.jpg 2004 Family 207.jpg

    2004 Family B 014.jpg 2004 Family 172.jpg

    As the pictures show. We had the beach and various walks to ourselves.

    November 30, 2004

    Blogging on Vacation

    I'm always a little unsure when and how to blog vacations. Broadcasting to the world that I'm on vacation seems to send all the wrong message. Those who I'm in daily contact for the most part know. However, there are many more that I'd like to share with and yet just like extending "presence" information too broadly it makes me feel a little uneasy. So while down in New Zealand I had to do a little experimenting using both my US T-Mobile account and a locally purchased prepaid card from Vodaphone. Generally travelling and using cell phones remains expensive.

    Prepaid Vodaphone SIM:
    On day one I picked up a prepaid Vodaphone account for NZ$35. (I had to unlock my T-MobileNokia 3650 to make it work. I called T-Mobile using SkypeOut and got the unlock code) Instant local number. It's still expensive to run at NZ$.49 per minute (US$.35). Inbound calls are all free. For convenience it made travelling around a whole lot easier. Where I found the prepaid card system interesting was no one ever asked my name. I simply bought a number and then added a top-up card purchased from a local dairy. To top-up the account you simply scratch off the back of the card and punch it into your phone. Topping up calls are free. It amazed me that no name or registration is required. I guess every terrorist or crook must use prepaid cellphone cards. To my knowledge I've never been asked if I will only accept cellphone calls from people with legitimate numbers and identities. Yet it is a behavior I already apply when using Skype and will want even more developed with future presence services.

    I used my US T-Mobile SIM card and Agilemessenger on a couple of occassions to identify availablity and whether it was an appropriate time to connect. I'll be interested to know whether running AgileMessenger added to my connection costs. I know that using my US number down here costs $1.99 / minute. Not exactly cheap and I pay this surcharge for inbound calls. As I have the full US data package ($20/mth T-Mobile) I used it to connect a couple of times for about 15 minutes and was swamped with e-mails flooding in at the slow GPRS rate. It worked fine. Eact time some 3mb of e-mail downloaded. I hope to get an understanding for the cost. I think the Internet rate was US$.015 (1.5 cents) per KB. I think this means that using AgileMessenger is cheaper than using text messaging. I'm also tired of switching SIM cards. It would be useful to have an easier method to swap SIM cards or use multiple SIM cards in a phone. Do any phones provide this feature?

    I've no idea what the real state of play on broadband connectivity is in New Zealand. Few homes appear to have broadband. Those that have are ones that had second lines for heavy use of dial-up connections. I've not really hung out in areas where fast connections and Wi-Fi is very likely. I'd need to dig deeper into the local telecom regulations however it appears that Telecom NZ is only being forced to resell a lower quality ADSL. Thus, you can read into that a potential "latency" factor to protect Telecom NZ from competitive VoIP deployments. From an outside perspective it seems to be working. This approach will shackle the populace in high cost communications. Communications with the rest of the world is key to "Kiwi" competitive advantage. New Zealand is not alone with the problem.

    Still one friend introduced me to a NZ business prepared for the global Xmas shopping season. Apparently it's turning out fancy pants and making a 25% margin on a multi-million turnover. Sometimes just doing something with a niche business pays out. Was a great example to me of "opportunities" that still exist out there on the net. Tomorrow before leaving I'll check out how "wired" central Auckland is.

    December 1, 2004

    Sky Jumping

    skyjumplogo.gif New Zealand is the adrenaline capital of the world. If I had time I would be heading down to Queenstown, however this time it's been in and around Auckland. Before leaving my son and I headed to Auckland'sSkyTower ( the tallest buiding in the southern hemisphere) where one can literally jump off the edge. It's some 172 meters to the ground and all over in twenty seconds. Reaching a decent speed of over 40 miles per hour I wondered if it was really a plunge to certain death or just another thrill ride. I convinced myself when signing up that it is really a personal elevator without a floor. Unlike a bungy jump one doesn't have to dive off and then bounce around. Instead I told myself that one merely steps off. I wonder about my glasses.. For the ride itself I'm in for a modified jock strap and a couple of guywires. A momentary sense of trepdation and three, two one.... !

    skyjumpstuart4.jpg skyjumpstuart3.jpg

    Pronouncement. It's all over too quick. There is skydiving in my future!

    September 19, 2006

    Getting to India - Plane Trips From Hell

    I've become an exceptionally well seasoned traveller this year. Having logged more than 200K miles already I've had my share of exciting flights. One plane dropped out of the Sky landing in less than 15 minutes when someone had a heart attack at the back of the cabin. We were on the ground 30 minutes and I still made my connecting flight; although my bags didn't. I've watched bags go missing and then turn up. I've run between gates so many times I can't count them anymore. Still for the most part they have gone smoothly.

    Today, I just can't seem to get out of Detroit. I left SFO yesterday morning bound for Minneapolis, Amsterdam and Delhi. I made Minneapolis and then somewhere over Labrador the plane turned back to Detroit. Oil pressure loss on the DC-10 tail engine. After holding us on board for two hours they deplaned us and sent us to hotels at 2:00am. This morning I found myself booked via Amsterdam, Mumbai and then on to Delhi. Was supposed to get there about lunchtime on Thursday. That was crazy.. so I worked on routing and hope still be be on my way to arrive in Delhi by Wednesday evening. All seemed well and good.

    Just boarded and deplaned from my Northwest flight that was supposed to put me into Newark. They claim weather delays... Now 2:45pm. That should still make my connection. However it is getting tighter! Nothing one can do.

    Continue reading "Getting to India - Plane Trips From Hell" »

    September 25, 2006

    Crossing the Road - India

    I have been relearning how to cross the road. Not quite up to this standard yet. Rule number one. Cross with certainty. Rule number two. Don't try this. Life is good!

    October 11, 2006

    POTUS - George - No Strategy for WMD

    I'm listening to CNN in to a live broadcast of George Bush in a Press Conference at the White House. I don't normally blog politics. I had something completely different in mind to blog tonight. However, I'm sitting in India, it's 9:20pm and this man is completely incoherent. He repeats himself and doesn't answer the questions. There is 1) a complete idiot in control of the asylum in Washington, and 2) why his handlers let him loose is beyond my comprehension. The language used can't possibly be understood by non-english speakers. He's got a FOG index that ranks with lost. It's all over the place. Sad this POTUS.

    I think I missed the first 20 or thirty minutes; maybe the good soundbites were in that. Still, I was simply horrified a minute ago with his comments on North Korea, and the poor way he put the case for a diplomatic solution. Seeing I can't understand him, how can any foreign nation. No wonder America is so alone in the world. The conversation rambles and then turns back with another reporter asking Korea questions again. POTUS says he is not willing to live with a nuclear North Korea. Then says we must try diplomatic solutions first. "The goal is no nuclear weapons." "Diplomacy is a difficult process... because not eveyones interests are the same..." My read. There's no US teeth on or for North Korea. The US will do nothing unless North Korea mobilizes towards South Korea. It's the same thing for Iran. Iran will now accelerate their test program. Bush has made the world more unsettled and destabilized another quarter. If Iran sets it off before the election then lets hope American's know where to place the blame.

    Now we are talking about fencing. Actually border control and the new fence with Mexico. Finally a topic he understands... and is relaxed about. Must be the rancher in him. Too bad it is also stupid. Somehow he ties it back to security. It's a whole different issue all together. Still the shame is this is the first topic he seems to be comfortable with. Just reinforces that he doesn't have a clue about the world or the problems overseas. Seems they are all handled by General Casey. Now I get to hear what CNN says. I may as well forget that. I'll wait and see what the BBC reports. CNN will somehow cut his soundbites so for those that missed it he may sound more normal.

    I was going to hold off making statement about how I will vote come November, although I made my mind up months ago. Just so my readers know I'm a registered independent. I've tried to vote for individuals and policies that I thought would do the job best. No one party represents me well (or at all?). Well, my absentee ballot will be processed this year. I guarantee I will vote every single bill with a "democratic" tick. Anything that so much as hints as a Republican POV I will vote against, even if against my principles or what I'd really like to have happen. It's simply a vote to change the balance of power. In a corrupt two party system do I have any other choice?

    November 2, 2006

    FireFox & ClearType

    I downloaded IE7 loaded a page and had an immediate "whoa" moment. I compared IE7 to Firefox and in IE7 the text all rendered in a far superior fashion. I couldn't believe it. The visual impact was as obvious to me as the first call made on Skype with it's added clarity. For about 30 minutes they had me.

    Then I asked a couple of questions. There's plenty of comparison pictures on the web already. The difference was "ClearType" and it turns out that I've not had it enabled on my laptop. It's easy to turn on via your desktop property setting for appearance / advanced. So "whew" I don't have to abondon my Firefox which is better than ever with 2.0. Gizmodo provides the review below. It's balanced and Firefox with all the new bookmark extentions, permancing etc. will keep my loyalty.

    Frankenfight: IE7 Vs. Firefox 2 - Gizmodo

    In one corner we have Internet Explorer 7. After 18 months of development and a shiny new set of tabs, he's in top shape and looking better than his predecessor ever did. That is, before he entered the ring with Firefox 2.0. Now he's just a cripple with fancy RSS reading.

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    May 9, 2007

    Microsoft Vista & Office 2007 - It's a Lemon!

    I was going to just title this post Vista Sucks. After I wrote it I Googled the term. YouTube videos exist with the same tag too. and Douglas Rushkoff who I've heard rant at Poptech says much what I say below. Plus the BBC reports that Dell now will ship PC's again with Windows XP! Not sure for how long.

    When I bought my Lenovo T60p a few months ago I was excited it was all optioned up on the hardware had Vista Business and while it shipped with Office 2003 they promised me an upgrade. My first new laptop in four years. The last was a very trusty Thinkpad T40. Now I've had no end of problems with Vista. It won't connect or print to my home network for example. In fact the printer drivers (few years old Lexmark aren't even available). It took until April for Nokia to launch a more compatible PCSuite. I'm not sure how many other programs I had to give up on. Quite a few. I ask myself for what? Vista is more complex and even less intuitive than XP. I still can't believe that Ctrl Alt Del doesn't work in Vista. I have no idea how to stop a program once it is locked. Net Net there is not one thing I can say positively about having a Vista operating system at this point. Recommend it to my mother? No way. Buy it for my kids? No way. Send it to the dumpster or Install XP over it... I'm considering it.

    Did I mention that there are about 3 levels of do you want to do this for every new program? Would you like to continue, etc.? So yesterday I had two problems. On my Microsoft NX 6000 Lifecam (about $100) doesn't work and keeps going blank or black. It often freezes etc. Basically it doesn't work with Skype or any other IM client on Vista. Works perfectly on XP. To get it to restart I must reboot. So... I tried to uninstall it yesterday. That took a couple of reboots and so much PC thinking time you would think Microsoft was procrastinating. I finally got it off. I then stupidly thought I'd upgrade my Office 2003 to 2007 as the disks had arrived.

    You would think Office 2007 should install first time on a Vista PC. Well It failed and I had to do two repairs so Outlook or Word would even open. I can report today that it is still crashing. Word won't open files when I click on My Documents. When I open Word I can open a document from it but I cannot edit the document. This is a document that was created on the same machine on 2003 just a day ago with no special privileges. Anyways I don't get it. Right now it feels broken. Plus there is no fun in all the new menus. I can see what they have tried to do. However, it is just complexity. For the most part they are features and options I will never use and don't want to. It really does seem to be the ultimate form of bloatware.

    Oh the Lifecam. I reinstalled it. Same problem. These products are Microsoft's. There simply is no excuse. They were supposed to be designed to work together. I know I am basically a super expert user. These programs are making me look and feel stupid. Exactly the opposite of what a good design and company should do and provide.

    If I had one wish today it would be for a MAC. After years of putting up with Windows and knowing I'd have lots to learn to use a Mac and extra software costs I always put it off. Now I know Vista doesn't make my life better and Office --- I really would rather use a wiki or blog. The days for office are numbered. When I couldn't copy today from PPT to Word I sent the document to Google and opened it there. Then it would copy fine. Maybe I should just do all my work that way. So PC makers beware. You are relying on a company who's latest releases are dogs and I really doubt they can be fixed.

    Sometimes a blog is a good place to say something really sucks or just vent. I wrote this because I'm just really disappointed. If my new PC was a car I'd apply the "lemon" law. Maybe the lawyers will get that out for PC's and suckers that got sold Vista.

    Because the world has been Windows it was a sensible choice. Now it no longer matters. If you have MS stock I'd suggest you sell it. There is not one more PC in my household (four) I will upgrade to Vista or Office 2007. I too will start setting up ubuntu and playing with other options.

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    May 28, 2007

    DUMPED! Vista & Office 2007 - Back to the Future

    I just dumped Vista and Office2007 and I couldn't be happier. I have abandoned a new Thinkpad in favor of my previous now 3.75 year old Thinkpad. As I stated a few weeks ago my next laptop will be a MAC. This was the last straw for me.

    I was excited when I first got Vista and still curious when I installed the Office 2003 upgrade to 2007 just over a month ago. However, Office 2007 just made things worse. I cannot copy from an old word document into a new one. The mouse doesn't scroll correctly and I can't place it in the document. I can only use the arrow keys to move up and down etc. Basically something didn't work on the install. Repair didn't fix it.I figured a system restore would be dangerous... although I may try it now that I am off that PC. (Some thing like my Outlook.pst file doesn't work in the earlier version. You are not supposed to want to go back.) Thus 3 months old, the Vista PC needs a complete disk format to make it work correctly. It simply isn't worth the effort.

    What I've learned.
    Vista Sucks. I commented on complexity before. Similarly lack of drivers etc. I never got it to network etc. My judgement. Vista is as far as "Windows" can go. So I'm getting out and will learn a new operating system OSX before drowning under the overly controlling Vista.

    Office2007 Sucks:
    My view of Office2007 is just more complexity. Simply too much to learn. It may be more efficient after weeks and I'll probably have to learn it on the MAC in a different format in time. What I know was I ended up hunting for everything. From the first moment I installed it I asked myself why. There is not one compelling piece of information that I got with it or the initial install that suggested it would help me write better or present better. I think I'll wait and see if Microsoft brings out a Office2007Classic.

    It really bothers me that for a generally early adopter and reasonable (although not super power) user who can merge documents and mailing lists and more, it's appeared to buy me nothing. That I want a "classic" version bothers me even more. Microsoft has blundered not just once - but twice in a year with me. If I was Steve Jobs I'd up the dollars on the current marketing campaign.

    I generally like going forward with software. I'm ready to test out almost anything. I figure I'm losing nothing; and certainly not my edge in the competitive business environment by passing right now on 2007. Better my time is spent on Wikis, blogs, social media and other collaboration tools etc.

    I am not alone. Channel Web reports that Vista Performance Sucks.. I particularly liked this comment with the article.
    I've got to agree that the performance is a huge disappointment.
    Upgraded several of our laptops and a desktop to Vista Ultimate, and
    between Office 2007 learning curve and incompatibilites with Vista, it
    is enough to want to go backwards.

    How does Office2007 fare?
    Well Chris Pirillo said it would suck and gave 65 reasons just one year ago. Although he is not alone. This comment by HansonJB could have been my own.

    Word 2007 does NOT allow my own customizable toolbars--that is a
    devestating deal ender. It requires a NEW format for documents that is
    MUCH slower. What in Word 2007 is going to make things more productive
    or easier? Without the menu bar, I have repeatedly had to go hunting. No thanks.

    I offer up just two tags...Technorati Tags: Vista, Vistasucks, Office2007, Office2007sucks,

    May 29, 2007

    My Grandmother's Vista Office – GOOGLE

    I wrote about Vista here and here. I'm still flabbergasted at how wrong a big company can get their product roll out after years and years. So let's come to the "Grandmother" - even your "Mother" test.

    We forget that there remain people out there just learning computers that haven't had 20+ years on word processing, years and years on email etc. Finally a relative thinks we must get them hooked up.

    I'd wager that helping that person today get onto email and get operating is way different from a few years ago. I also wonder how you would do it. This would be my solution.

    Unlike a few years ago where I had to load Word or Office I would skip all that. I'd also skip the latest Explorer as I still think Firefox is better. I'd also skip Microsoft's Outlook Express which used to be the old standby in cases like these.

    My solution today for Grandma is simply Google. You give them a gmail account, you show them how to log in. You set it as the default in the browser or you can set up a personalized home with the email link. You then put one shortcut on the desktop. Done. All word files etc that matter can be opened there. They can compose what they need and if they need more then they will start asking. That's it.

    This stealth strategy in time will also give them "chat" and even lead to GTalk when it is more developed. The Google universe of programs is simply more interesting. Whether picture sharing or social networking it is not trapped in work. Grandma's PC shouldn't be trapped in hard work. That increasingly is where Microsoft will be trapped - "work" and "hard" may become the reason for abandoning it in favor of something new.

    Some days I even wonder if this strategy would work on my mother?

    October 8, 2007

    Dina is on Wordpress

    My blog buddy Dina has used a Radio Blog from the very beginning. Sometime after setting her up I went on to MT and we've run projects there over the years. Still, it is hard to change a blog platform once you are wedded to it. In that way it is a little like a bank account... it seems like a lot of hassle to change and then finally you have to bite the bullet. I personally think this is even worse with hosted services which will continue to take your money so you can keep your blog and history there.

    So Dina has a new blog and I will shortly move mine too; again to Wordpress; using many of the plug-ins that we have been experimenting with on Mosoci.

    I will blog separately on the plug-ins, what we've learned works, what new things we can do. I know we are taking our use of these tools to a new level.  Separately, when you have blogged for four years at the same URL; have feeds etc. you have some trepidation about moving to a new location. Despite all the "you can import and export" your content often it isn't easy to retain your URL's and thus a change breaks links. One way we have dealt with this is to create Google custom search engines which merge the search for new and old content.

    Conversations with Dina (old) Conversations with Dina (new)

    New Blog URL - Subscribe via RSS 2.0 - Subscribe via Atom - Comments feed -
    So update your reader.

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