George W. Butt Out!
Apparantly the US elections are none of our business, who live outside the US. Of course that's true, as an European I am not allowed to vote. However I do have an interest in the outcome of this election, and consequently in where the two presidential candidates stand on different issues. For one of those candidates I can go directly to the source, the campaign site, for the other candidate I cannot:
You don't have permission to access "http://www.georgewbush.com/" on this server.
Netcraft has more on this. Non US IP addresses are actively blocked from accessing the Bush campaign website.
Too bad if you are an American currently outside the US, you will have to choose your new President without access to one of the contender's campaign sites.
(found via Webwereld, in Dutch)1 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
A few posts back I wrote about Plazes, which let you indicate where you are geographically while online. The Plazes weblog now announces that they have released two API's, one for obtaining location data from Plazes, one for sending data to Plazes.
This creates a wealth of possibilities:
Here are just some ideas of what the Plazes API can be used for:
# Integrate Plazes functionality into other webservices like social networks or blogging. How about a location annotation for all of your blog posts? Or connect pictures to Plazes. MT hackers, Flickrs, last.fms - Itīs your turn now!
# Write you own launcher. For example if you want to use Plazes on a platform that isnīt supported yet. Or extend your launcher with features the original launcher doesnīt have, including a buddy list with the current Plazes of your friends as well as a message and friend request notification.
# Seamlessly integrate the launcher functionality into your own application, think instant messenger or offline blogging tools.
I am curious to find out what different people will come up with for this.1 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Jamboree on the Air
One October weekend every year the Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) takes place. During this event amateur radio operators provide their call signs and equipment so that scouting groups all over the world can try and contact eachother via shortwave radio. Since 20 years or so I take part as a ham radio operator.
This weekend we'll be operating under the call sign PA2RGM/j (my own call sign being PE1NOR), for the weekend located at the scouting group Vaandrig Lengton in the city Zwolle which is the oldest scouting group in the Netherlands (1910). Parallel to the JOTA there is also the JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet).
To see what we are up to have a look at the webcam, or at least to have an impression of what we're up to at the bar :)
On the off-chance one of you is a ham-radio operator as well, drop me an e-mail and we'll plan a chat.
Combining Freemind and WikkaWiki
Since some time I am an enthusiastic user of Freemind, a great mindmapping software (even if it forces you to think in trees).
The wiki's I use are currently all WakkaWiki, but for my private Wiki I have switched to WikkaWiki, a branch of WakkaWiki because WakkaWiki is no longer developed.
One of the absolute plusses of both Wakka and WikkaWiki is that it is possible to dynamically include Freemind mindmaps, keeping them clickable and all. This is a feature Martin Roell was looking for for some time I think, and beats Freeminds basic HTML-export handily by offering you the real thing. You can see it in action in my wiki.1 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
One of the more interesting presenters at BlogTalk last July was Mikel Maron discussing integrating geographical information with new media technologies like blogs. An interesting experiment during that conference was an annotated map of Vienna, where we as visitors could add info to the map through a Moveable Type blog. The blogged info got integrated in a map.
Mikel painted pictures of adding geographical information to a whole range of other stuff. This would help in overlaying our cybernetworks over the geographical world around us, making them more part of eachother. One of the reasons I think that is interesting is because I think it works towards building a Cybercity.
Plazes is still in beta, but let's see what it can do.
Of course as with most of these services I have one problem with them: yet another central server to store my data on.
During a micro-content dinner with Marc Canter last month in Amsterdam we discussed these type of issues. Marc is working hard to bring developers and others together precisely so that distributed services (think FOAF like stuff) at least can understand eachothers data-formats. That is the way to get these more bottom-up oriented tools more useful. And it's important that it does, for I want to have the data that I share through these services on my own server, under my own full control. Plazes, YASNS and other can then come and have that data collected by software agents.
But apparantly for developers it's the easy road (and also probably the one with the more obvious/old fashioned industrial businessmodels) to build another centralized structure that requires me to bring data to them, instead of them coming around to collect data at my place.
Despite this little rant, I went over to Plazes and registered of course...... you'll find me there as ton_zylstra0 Comments and 2 Trackbacks | Permalink
Announcing BlogWalk Five: Umea, Sweden
With pleasure we announce the fifth BlogWalk meeting!
Date: November 11th (afternoon) and November 12th (whole day).
On Thursday November 11th, all BlogWalk participants are invited to join a seminar by Howard Rheingold, which starts at 15:00 at Umea University. Friday, November 12th will be spent with a BlogWalk meeting.
Place: Umea University, Sweden. Stephanie Hendrick kindly invited us to her hometown and university. She presented at the BlogTalk conference and took part in July's BlogWalk in Vienna. Umea lies on the Botnian Gulf, 8hrs by car north of Stockholm. Flights from Stockholm fly regularly and will bring you to Umea in an hour. Also there is a night train. Umea is the site where in the 19th century Swedish troops last fought on Swedish soil (against Russian troops).
Theme: Blogging on the Move.
In spirit with the interests and publications of Howard Rheingold this BlogWalk will focus on mobility, and it's meaning for far flung communities and networks.
As always both the Howard Rheingold seminar and the BlogWalk meeting are free of charge. A small contribution for coffee and refreshments probably will be asked.
BlogWalk meetings are by invitation only, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to be invited. (E-mail)
[Addendum]: Also if you know someone who you think might enjoy joining us, please let us know. Our aim is to bring a diverse and interesting group together, mixing familiar and new faces.0 Comments and 2 Trackbacks | Permalink
Defining the Knowledge Worker II
On my earlier post on the definition of a knowledge worker, Michael Domsalla of IT Frontal commented. As I was writing my response it turned out longer than anticipated, so I turned into a new blogpost (in stead of trying keep my writing in check.
Michael says: first: one of the major problems in KM is that many people try to define "Knowledge" _and_ "Management" in the meaning of the word what makes absolutely no sense. You can not manage knowledge.
I agree the term knowledge management isn't very useful (although it contains a vital clue as to how people tend to think of knowledge: as objects)
Michael says: second: there are some common understandings in companies what a knowledge worker is. I found this understanding in many companies and it is a stupid but easy way to handle things, so third: a knowledge manager is someone who works in the KM dept. and he is doing knowledge work. (but what we really talk about is an information worker)
I think that is an extremely narrow view of knowledge work, as it presupposes a km department (which are rare outside large corporations) and thus implicitly assumes knowledge work only takes place in organisations, and also implies that (un)learning etc. are not knowledge work. By defining it this narrow the term becomes useless in much the same way when we deem all work knowledge work. Also it seems to be a circular definition defining a knowledge worker as someone in the km dept doing knowledge work. Begs the question what knowledge work is, which is the original question in a slightly different form.
Michael says: So thats a practical way to see it, but before you try to define a _knowledge_ worker in an academic way you should start to define knowledge. good luck ;-)
Well, I think it is not a very practical way to see it, as it is of the type "the world stands on the back of an elephant, who stands on a turtoise, who stands on another turtoise......." to explain how the world is kept upright in space. It only moves the problem one step along and makes KM into a religion of sorts. :) I think the vital problem with this approach is the same problem which is contained in the term knowledge management: treating knowledge as an object. When treated as object, indeed it serves us more to speak of information and information management. That is what to me is wrong with thinking in chains like data, information, knowledge and wisdom.
It amounts to ignoring creativity, innovation, and ingenuity and assumes knowledge can be objectively approached without considering context. That to me is what is wrong about "best practices" for instance. It is like treating a human being as a body only, and ignoring that there is a "ghost in the machine" so to speak, that a human is an active agent and not an innate object only.
Denham Grey hammers on the notion that knowledge is socially constructed and that therefore relationships, networks and discourse are the thing to focus on. That is treating knowledge as a flow only in my eyes. It does take into account the subjectivity of knowledge and it's context interdependency, but it leaves out that to us knowledge does have object properties. I think of specific bodies of knowledge as residing in me, as blocks that are stored in me. Even though these blocks are woven into a net of information, experiences, skills and attititudes (all connected to the outside), from which it is impossible to extract it intact. (as it would destroy the internal context, and as a result the external context from which it stems)
It also leaves out that within the social network where knowledge is formed and reformed not all parts of the network are equal in an individual's eyes. There is a marked difference in me and the rest: I am me. So while I no longer subscribe to Descartes distinction between body and spirit as two different things (and hence put my mention of the ghost in the machine in quotes just now), I do think his basic premise Cogito ergo sum is important. I am the center of my world, and I know myself in another way than I know the others in my social network. This inequality disappears if you aggregate over a social network, as everybody is in the same situation, but it is distinctively important if you're in the network. While the network keeps me functional, I do not cease to exist nor become a blank slate when I am not part of that network. I will be much the poorer for it, but not broke. To say otherwise I think is treating me as an object as the way to stop treating knowledge as an object. It is replacing one subject-object relationship for another, where we probably should be talking about subject-subject relationships. That is why I think talking about personal knowledge management is a viable way to better understanding knowledge work. To me that does not preclude nor deny knowledge as a social construct.
So both approaches leave stuff out is my feeling. That's why I like Mick Cope 's approach of knowledge as a stock and flow system (which also ties it in nicely with system dynamics and complexity)
I agree with you that knowledge cannot be managed, managers should manage organisations (although they could do a lot better with rethinking their 150 yr old industrial approach to what organisations are.) But to conclude that therefore all KM is really IM, to me is solving the question by saying it isn't there and not accepting indications that there might be more to it. (Killing the monster) It leaves the assumption that knowledge is an object only intact and unchallenged. We need to take knowledge as a social construct into account. That is what makes knowledge distinguishable from information, that it is a belief and value-system entangled in a web of context (persons, information, relationships etc.) "True knowledge" exists only temporarily as it is consensus-built, and context-dependant (as the map is not the terrain). Thus it limits the shelf life of knowledge-stock and introduces the dynamics of knowledge-flow.
The stock and flow combination approach of knowledge is reflected nicely in what Karl Sveiby uses as a definition of knowledge: "Knowledge is the ability to act". In both the words ability and act, I can see both the individual and her surroundings, both stock and flow incorporated. To me that looks like a useful definition to start with, although refining our understanding of knowledge work and dito workers will alter the definition probably. (defining something is building knowledge, and knowledge creation is a social and iterative process) Your statement before you try to define a _knowledge_ worker in an academic way you should start to define knowledge implies a hierarchical chain of concepts, where I see a interdependency, as you might have guessed from previous paragraphs and lines.
(fourth: if you.re able to understand german, why dont you write your comment in german ;-)? (as IT Frontal is a german blog [and i was not sure too if i should cite your blog in german or english...? ;-)])
Well that is a funny and peculiar thing. I tend to assign languages to conversations I have. The topic of knowledge work has come up this time in English and so all the terminology and associations I have are in English. It would have broken my stream of thought to comment in German. This has strange effects. For instance when I e-mail with Martin Roell, our business conversations are in English, interspersed with personal talk in German.1 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
WiFi Turning Neighbourhoods into Telecommunications Coops
Robert Cringely in his column on PBS describes how Canadian Andrew Greig put up an open WiFi accesspoint for his neighbours to share. But he takes it a step further. He also shares telephone services and TV-signals over his WiFi. In a sense he turned his WiFi into a telco backbone, which the neighbourhood uses much like a cooperative organisation. Interesting thought. I share a second accesspoint in my home, for passers by to use. How might one build on that....Andrew Greig opens up some interesting vistas.0 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
You might have come across it already, but I think this is a neat idea, even if it is still imperfect or in Jeremy Ruston's own words there is a skeleton in the closet: you cannot easily save changes to the wiki. (save the source of the page to a new textfile every time you close the wiki, and throw away the previous one)
I am currently testing Qumana a tool that hopes to offer a way of integrating all my browsing, both off and online and publishing (to multiple channels) into my workflow. TiddlyWiki appears to be taking a shot a this too, though in a different extremely leightweight way. Qumana, while pretty straightforward looks like it wants to be a more complete tool. TiddlyWiki at the moment is mostly a proof of concept than a useful tool, but it will be interesting to watch next steps.3 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink