Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Interesting Places on the Internet

In support of lots of conversations I have with people about interesting places on the "the Net", here is a starter list as discussed at lunch today ...

Wikipedia, ... online collaborative encyclopedia
MediaWiki, ... a way for you to make your own Wiki site, e.g. collaborative development of documentation for any type of project.
Newsgator, ... RSS Aggregator for Outlook and web access. My hunch this company will be bought by Microsoft within a year or so.
Technorati, ... to find blogs. Other way to find blogs is via search engine (Google) or by looking at blogger's lists (see mine below right ... although out of date, I see).
iTunes, ... to subscribe and listen to Podcasts (iPod not needed)
Blogger, ... Blog software provided by Google to individuals to publish blogs.
Writely, ... online word processor and collaboration tool.
Six Apart, ... publishers of Movable Type, a publishing platform which would probably be the one to implement for use by large organsations and institutions.
Sharepoint, ... Microsoft's collaboration software platform which per recent discussion by Microsoft will only get more ubquitious. Can't help but think this will be a bigger part of Office 12.
phpCollab, ... Project management and collaboration over the internet. Features team/client sites, task assignment, document repository/workflow, gantt charts, discussions, calendar, notifications, support requests, weblog newsdesk, invoicing, and many other tools. Open source licensed under GPL.
OpenOffice, ... the "free" replacement of Microsoft Office.
SpamAssassin, ... because it works.

Friday, November 18, 2005

NY Times Paid to Reduce their Global Influence

I read a blog somewhere (I can't remember where) the comment that the NY Times Select programme has signed up enough paying customers to generate about $6 million in revenue. The writer went on to ask the question that if a year ago someone came along and offered the $6 million to the NY Times in return for guaranteed reduced numbers of readers and a smaller global influence "footprint" by the NY Times.

Good question. Would that have been worth $6 million? Is that a good offer?

Like or not, they accepted the offer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Microsoft: ID Cards will Lead to Massive Fraud

My hometown newspaper reports that Microsoft's view about identity cards will lead to massive fraud and that when fraud occurs, it will be nearly impossible to correct the situation for the affected individual. See

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita is Speaking to Us

Is there some sort of link between the evacuees from Houston, all fleeing town in their truck or SUV, and the imminent arrival of Rita? See NY Times photo.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My NY Times Reading will Slow Down Now

The New York Times has launched "TimesSelect" which is a $50/year service to get parts of what they use to publish on the web for free. If you are a daily subscriber to the paper, you get "TimesSelect" for free.

When I lived in the USA, I was a daily subscriber to The New York Times. I read it every day. When I moved overseas for the first time in the 1980's I missed the paper – especially the Sunday edition – very much. I would pay extortionate costs from London newsagents, or at one point even had the Sunday paper flown over from the USA. I learned to wean myself by reading the International Herald Tribune. The IHT was jointly owned by The Washington Post and would tend to have the best of both papers plus its own original content which would reach the New York Times days or weeks later. During the late 1990's the web version of The New York Times arrived, again being in London, I became a regular reader. In recent years I even started reading (and paying for) a web subscription to The Wall Street Journal.

I'm still in the UK, but there is now so much to read elsewhere on the Internet. Blogs are often more intersting and informative. My recent discovery of the joy of listening to Podcasts while commuting to my centre-city job has caused me to have less time available for the New York Times on the Web. "TimesSelect" will push me away further.

I'm not angry they are charging for what as previously free. Some may be angry. However, I understand that it's inevitable and I support the idea of a free economy. It's just that I won't be buying.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans Disaster Forseen by Many

Nicholas von Hoffman summarises the article in the Oct 2004 issue of "National Geographic Magazine" which outlines in great detail a "story" of what would happen for real in 2005.

His final comment is:
Never has an unpredictable event been so widely predicted; never has an unforeseen catastrophe been so clearly seen; never has an unanticipatable disaster been so often anticipated.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blogging via PDA and Blogger's Word Add-in

Blogger recently released a Microsoft Word add-in which connects Word to Blogger's publishing engine. In essense, you can write/edit in Word, then press the "publish" toolbar button and the item is published.

Nice. But I'm not always in Word when the moment strikes to write a blog entry. Often I will have my Palm PDA. The best I could, when the mood struck, was to make a "todo" list entry for the idea. If I rememberd to look at my "todo" list, then something would happen. What I'm trying now is to write the entry on the Palm with DataViz Word to Go product, and then publish to Blogger later when I am sitting own on the Word/Internet equipped computer.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Podcasting is terrific, despite first impressions.

At one time, I felt Podcasting was not for me. No longer.

I "procured" a mini iPod from my son (who, for reasons I still don't understand felt he needed a bigger one). Coinciding with that, Apple released iTunes 4.9 which provided an inventory of podcasts to subscribe to via the iTunes Music Store.

Since then, the little thing has been my main media delivery device. I’ve stopped listening to the radio during my daily bus commutes to my city centre job. I listen to my growing collection of podcast subscriptions. I listen it while walking the streets. I listen to it while on my daily bike ride. It’s become part of my life.

I've even bought Bob Dole’s autobiography as something to listen to since I've not found time yet to read the book.

I now see the value of podcasting.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Speeding up XP Roaming Profile with Samba

Boy. This will solve one of our family debates. My son keeps complaining about how long it takes to log in and out of his XP account on the home machine, which is connected to a home domain server running Samba.

Nathan Ehresman ( ) at Taylor University in Indiana has posted a terrific article about how they solved the problem.

Interesting, I also tried the fixes he called "temporary" and didn't get very far. Now to find time to apply the other fixes he recommends.

Thanks Nathan.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mankind Liberates CO2 Which Allows Organisms to Thrive

Interesting reading from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (which until now I never heard of but I don't know the significance of that). They report the results of research literature to conclude that increases of CO2 in the 20th Century have
... "produced no deleterious effects upon global weather, climate, or temperature. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth rates. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in minor greenhouse gases like CO2 are in error and do not conform to current experimental knowledge."
They also go on to say
"Greenhouse gases cause plant life, and the animal life that depends upon it, to thrive. What mankind is doing is liberating carbon from beneath the Earth's surface and putting it into the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living organisms."
I find that an interesting perspective that I haven't given too much thought about, e.g. we are actually helping living organisms. So what happens when living organisms thrive in ways different than now?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Project Management Article in The Economist

The Economist is a global publication with a blue-chip, global, business leader readership. In this week's issue (June 2005), they publish an article on Project Management which is also available on their web page.

Interesting to me was:
  • that they published this,
  • that they are able to focus attention on a key cause of project "failure" on overly optimistic assumptions about costs and revenues,
  • that the Project Management Institute (PMI) gets some attention in the magazine (due to their PR department no doubt but no reason to be cynical about this)
  • that they end on a positive note to give specific examples of where project-based companies have great success.

I do have a nit to pick about their implied criticism of the

"Although oil has entered the pipeline at Baku, it will be another six months
before the high-grade steel pipe is full and ready to disgorge on to tankers in
the Mediterranean."

I'm quite sure the project managers were fully aware of the time it takes to fill a long pipe with fluid before stuff comes out the other side. I can only imagine that The Economist write is guilty of "over optimistic assumptions" about how pipelines work.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Why I Don't Think Podcasting is That Important ... to Me, at Least

Seth describes, very eloquently, why I also don't expect to get into being a receiver or creator of "podcasts". Just takes too long. (Thanks Jack).

Update. I changed my mind.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Keyboard Cleaning

Here's how to clean your keyboard in a dishwasher (apparently). How about cleaning laptop keyboards?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ground Rules for the Windows-Macintosh World

David Pogue writes eloquently in the New York Times about all issues related to personal technology. He's one of my favourite authors. In the above link to his NY Time article of 26 May 2005 he writes about some ground rules in the war between proponents of different operating sytems. He writes about Windows and Macintosh, but this also applies to Linux, Unix, and anything else that people use.

I like No. 2 the best. It resonates with me.

2. No condemning something until you've tried it.

I happen to use Windows and Linux. I like both. I won't trash either. But I notice a few things:

: Windows users typically don't know, or sometimes have not heard of, Linux
: Linux users know that Windows is junk, crashes all the time, or they tell me how they hate Bill Gates.

Neither of these positions are worthly of continued discussion and I won't take the bait--although if the listener is willing, I will tell Windows-using people about Linux and tell Linux-using people that they can't count on winning the war based on expectations that Windows crashes all the time.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Honeynet publishes fascinating paper on Phishing

Extremely well written paper on phishing practices. They review the actual techniques, examples, etc. Worth the read.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why Projects Don't Fail

This fascinating article talks about the features of failed projects ... not to pick on them but to enhance an understanding in the interest of continuous development.

Interesting points in the article about the projects that don't fail:
  • Alignment with the overall vision of the organisation.
  • Scope is well defined at the beginning. Scope should not be allowed to expand.
  • Clear sustained vision.
  • Qualified team to execute the project

Sunday, May 15, 2005


This impresses me.

"Buzztracker is software that visualizes frequencies and relationships between locations in the Google world news directory. Buzztracker tries to show you how interconnected the world is: big events in one area ripple to other areas across the globe. Connections between cities thousands of miles apart become apparent at a glance."

So simple, elegant, and informative. Why didn't I think of that?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

You Get What You Don't Expect

I use Mozilla's Firefox browser for most web browsing. It's 21st century software and does a terrific job. I think the main reason I use it is due to it's tabbed browser windows.

There are many who use and advocate it because it's "not-Microsoft". I never understood that. Some use it because it's "secure, unlike Microsoft's browser which is a disaster". I never understood that either as a) Internet Explorer is not a diaster and b) Firefox was built by humans and humans never do everything perfect; especially when attacked by other humans. If this were true, then technology would have stopped warfare centuries ago.

Well, Firefix has a very significant security-related flaw. One that was not supposed to be there, according to the vocal proponents. See the link.

I'm not bothered about the flaw. It's being dealt with. I'm bothered about the advocacy.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Sir David King on Global Warming at The Scottish Oil Club

In December 2004, Sir David King, Chief Scientific Officer to HM Government, was the guest speaker at The Scottish Oil Club. Sir David focused on the science of climate change and the need for action. Kindly, he made the presentation available and it's published on the web site of the Scottish Oil Club at