Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Microsoft Bashes Secret 'Cloud Manifesto'

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has criticized the behind-closed-doors creation of an unreleased document prescribing ways to make cloud computing services work well together, saying that other companies want to "control the evolution of cloud computing."

According to a blog post by Steven Martin, Microsoft's director of product management, another vendor (or vendors) is privately shopping a copy of a document called the Cloud Manifesto, and has asked Microsoft to sign the document "without modifications or additional input."

Read full article

The Azure Platform

Evolution by selection NOT DESIGN!!!!

Azure Cloud 2009

The Azure platform seems to me to try to map Microsoft Windows Server right on to the Cloud.

Notice the Azure model compared to the standard Windows Server Platform

Microsoft Enterprise 2007

Map Live to Office, combine BizTalk to Dynamics, and take out windows to that the map confirms to a Cloud and you can see that Azure really is little more than a re-packaging of Microsoft current enterprise solution. This is probably a good idea, why tamper with success.

Warning, Microsoft has gotten the landscape wrong before, look at their 2000 Enterprise road map:

Microsoft Enterprise 2000

SQL and Exchange are still there but key elements have gone away, or been played down as new key elements like SharePoint, Dynamics, and Web Services seem to have come from another Universe of computing thinking.

The above graph which was pretty state of the art in 2001 shows that Microsoft efforts to package offering to preserve its position and sell servers has failed before. I even remember ISS being, briefly, ISA.

Some things to notice as major changes from the 2000 to 2007 Enterprise models:

1. 2007 actually offers no OTB solutions, just platforms and tools like. Web 2.0 has forced Microsoft to move tool off the client on to the Enterprise and with Azure maybe in to the Cloud. For example in 2000 Office is not even mentioned, I assume that is what is in Client. In 2007 Office has a box of its own and a connection to the Enterprise via SharePoint, and in 2009 the idea seems to be that Live takes Office in to the Cloud.
2. The 2007 model has little in common with the 2000 model, and Microsoft is planning react right now.
3. The 2000 model simply assumes Windows are a blue mass necessary for all the other pieces to function, kind of like Oxygen. By 2007 Windows is no longer assumed but stated as an explicit underpinning, Azure then replaces Windows. So Microsoft can no longer assume Windows, but it is not fully ready to present a model without it.
4. Looking at 2000 we can see the idea is to make money selling server licenses, Windows licenses and Office licenses, the 2007 model is dependent on a mixture of Office and Windows licences and CALs from the Enterprise. How Azure will make Microsoft money is not clear to me yet.

IBM 'Open cloud' plan sparks dissent

A plan by IBM to launch an industry-wide 'open' cloud computing strategy has seemingly backfired amid accusations of closed deals.

Google pulled out after signing up and Amazon said it would not get involved.

Microsoft criticised the plan, saying it was given two days to sign up to a "secret" manifesto with no input.

"We had concerns about process and governance that led us to question IBM's intentions," Microsoft's Steve Martin told BBC News.

Cloud computing is the term given to the shift of computing power, storage and usage from the physical machine on people's desks, in homes and in offices to the web.

Companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft offer rival cloud computing solutions, including database management, storage, and running programs on remote servers.

The Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, which had also added its name to the list of more than 30 companies in the plan, withdrew its support over the weekend.

Some of those companies still backing the plan include CISCO, Sun, AT&T, Red Hat, SAP and AMD.

IBM would not comment over the Google change of heart or that of the CCIF but said it hoped Microsoft would reconsider and get involved in the Open Cloud Manifesto at some stage.

"The aim was for this (Manifesto) to serve as a rallying cry to the industry to get focused around the importance of the cloud environment being open," Karla Norsworthy IBM's vice president of Software Standards explained to BBC News.

"We are pleased about the number of vendors who have signed up. As regards Microsoft, we are still hopeful about working together on giving customers the flexibility they have come to expect from technology that is open."

Facebook campaign to catch rapist

The fiance of a young woman who was raped after a night out in Manchester has set up a group on Facebook in an attempt to catch her attacker.

The 20-year-old woman was found by police lying shaking in undergrowth after she was raped in the city on 3 August 2008.

Almost 6,000 people have joined the appeal group on the social networking site since the 27-year-old launched it.

A police spokesman said it "supports the essence" of the Facebook campaign.

Since the attack the force has issued four appeals including CCTV images of a man they want to speak to, but eight months on nobody has been arrested.

Det Insp Mick Montford said: "We looked through dozens of hours of CCTV images with the victim.

"I'm aware of the Facebook appeal, and this is something we are monitoring closely."

Google to venture into start-ups

Venture capitalism has not been recession-proof. According to the US National Venture Capital Association, investments stateside have dropped 71% since 2007.

Google admitted that the timing of the venture may raise some eyebrows.

"Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the 'next big thing' and we'll be working hard to find them," it said in its blog post.

(Comment: I think after practically inventing the Cloud Google has stalled in the past few years. Google Search, AdSense, AdWords, Map, and Earth have been followed by a weak Gmail, Google Docs, failed Virtual Reality and Social Networking.

(I have my own views on big guys vs. little guys. Big guys provide networks and really complex software, small guys produce innovation. In the past few years Google has become another Yahoo and MSN, and should concentrate on extending Search, Mapping and Ad software and trying to make peace with the Microsoft/Yahoo universe.

(I think Google decision to start a venture Capital is a wise confession that it now must sustain an ecosystem allowing most of the activity and profit, if not best profit margins, to go to partners. Microsoft has understood this for some time. This move in my opinion shows Google is maturing in to a solid competition with Microsoft, and marks that it will be even harder for MSN and Live to establish Microsoft's .NET and Desktop power in to the Cloud.)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Encarta I hardly knew you


It came as some surprise when Mary-Jo Foley blogged that Microsoft to close the book on Encarta I had to admit to my own humiliation that despite being a blogger on Microsoft Live and Cloud technology I had no idea what Encarta was. 

Since then I have gone to the Encarta sight and can say its pretty clear MSN had no idea either.  It reminds me of the safe guesses we used to make about emerging technology 20 years ago.  Encarta was not really the victim of the web's success, or MSN failure to think new ideas fast enough, or really a victim at all.  Encarta was always a celebration of organizations ability to deny the obvious reality around them even in the age of Web 2.0.  Its a bit surprising that after WIkipedia and Facebook and dozens of other collaboration tools many, like SharePoint, which were owned and sold by Microsoft that it would still be trying strategy from before the dot com bomb.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

RSS Feeds and Microsoft SharePoint Hosting Sites with WSS 3.0

RSS feeds in Microsoft SharePoint Hosting sites are automatically created for any SharePoint list. These enable all subscribers to keep themselves updated and track updates by subscribing to the RSS from the SharePoint hosting site. Any enabled RSS reader may be used in hosted SharePoint site, including Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook 2007.
RSS Feeds and Microsoft SharePoint Hosting Sites with WSS 3.0
Blogged with the Flock Browser


Is it not interesting that after all the .coms failed now its necessary to bred a entire new generation of .com start ups? Oh and all the credit vanished so we are breeding new .com start ups without enough money.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Major cyber spy network uncovered

An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say.

They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries.

They included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and those linked with the Dalai Lama - Tibet's spiritual leader.

There is no conclusive evidence China's government was behind it, researchers say. Beijing also denied involvement.

The report, Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network, comes after a 10-month investigation by the Information Warfare Monitor (IWM), which comprises researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies.

They were acting on a request from the Tibetan spiritual leader's office to check whether the computers of his Tibetan exile network had been infiltrated.

Researchers found that ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan appear to had been targeted.

Hacked systems were also discovered in the embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.

Analysts say the attacks are in effect industrial espionage, with hackers showing an interest in the activities of lawmakers and major companies.


The researchers said hackers were apparently able to take control of computers belonging to several foreign ministries and embassies across the world using malicious software, or malware.

"We uncovered real-time evidence of malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama," investigator Greg Walton was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

Twitter suddenly explodes

I guess the lesson is that things move pretty quick with new Web2.0, and what was the hottest new social media tool 2 years ago can soon be nothing more than a benchmark.

Shared Document view

I'm trying to modify the view when showing my shared files. It defaults to
showing who modified. I want the date and time. I've edited it, yet it doesn't
change. Sure when you go into shared document's it's there... but I want it on
the front page.

I got this question from a friend on Facebook. Well to fix this problem you need to have permissions to modify the Shared Documents web part on the front page.

If you can click on the downward pointing arrow on the web park like shown below.

This put the page in web edit view before, you need to select the view

Change the view to All Document. After you do this you can further edit the view by clicking on the edit current view

This changes the view of the web part on the front page.

Mister Softee in Photosynth

The English love Ice Cream trucks. Here is one render 3-D with Microsoft Live Photosynth.

I am like so past email

I am perhaps one full nerd who does not check his hotmail account everyday. We have them on our blackberries, my wife checks hers and get a lot of mail, but I sometimes go days without looking.

This is key to make for the future of KM. Email should become an unusual form of communication eclipsed by the new communication media like the fax has been eclipsed.

Email has many problems and few benefits. For providing a single comms tool for your works you end up losing a single version of the truth, that increases the amount of written documents you are liable for without letting you know it.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Photosynth of G8 demonstrations

I know I am working in SharePoint and KM, but I find Photosynth, Pipes, Facebook and Twitter way more interesting. Sorry.

Good works

Hey, IT and web consultants, bloggers, wiki authors, social network gurus, yah you behind the bag of potato chips chatting up some "girl" in Second Life.

I have learned something recently, lots of real organisations that try to do go may need your skills. I think every new media Web 2.0 guru should adopt a cause and help it.

My cause is urban food production and green spaces. Most people in cities don't know how to grow food and so there is a need to get the knowledge and the organisations to the people.

Social Media in the Enterprise Context: Key Solution Areas and Use Cases

Previously posted on http://srikantsharma.com

Reposted by Open Text

As enterprises are racing to adopt social media, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there are some areas where Web 2.0 technologies are having a more dramatic impact than others. Over the recent weeks, I have been actively engaging with friends, customers, partners and industry experts to understand and discuss where businesses appear to be seeing the greatest traction with regards to their social media initiatives - and I thought I'd share my findings.

Spheres of Influence

  1. Collaboration inside the organization: This is the use case that has the largest footprint - and is currently the most prevalent use of social media in the enterprise. The widespread deployment of this solution is likely because intranets and knowledge management systems were key IT initiatives over the past 10 years as companies started to drive internal organizational efficiencies, and as a result, expanding these wins further by employing social media technologies was certainly the least expensive and lowest risk approach for organizations starting to make forays into enterprise social media realm. While it is the low-hanging fruit, and certainly offers indisputable advantages to the enterprise, this is also the use case that is most difficult to measure in terms of value, ROI, or tracking results.
  2. Brand management, development and tracking: A quick aside - "Brand" is a highly misunderstood term even by marketers. It is not a company's logo, signage, taglines etc. Nor is it what the enterprise wants to project about itself. The brand of an enterprise is what people (customers, employees, media, etc.) believe about the company - and the values, image and attributes that they, as a collective, confer upon the enterprise. While I can't get into a more detailed discussion of "brand", I felt a clarification on brand was critical to this discussion on social media. Tracking, managing and developing one's brand is perhaps the most obvious and valuable use cases for social media for the enterprise. "Listening campaigns" that follow the "chatter" about the company in social networking forums such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo, etc. are very important in understanding what the real brand perception is. This in turn enables the enterprise to address issues, and manage, control and steer its brand. For this reason alone, this area is going to be one of the most popular and critical areas where companies will invest in social media initiatives.
  3. Demand Generation 2.0: Given the economic headwinds, and the overall recessionary climate, deploying a successful demand generation campaign via social media has enormous benefits. Besides the obvious potential for driving incremental revenue, a demand gen campaign will result in increased net market-share (at the expense of competitors), an automatic positive impact on the corporate brand, and greater traction with core constituencies such as customers, key employees, partners and the media. Also, the natural outcome of a successful demand gen campaign would be an increased propensity to fund and extend the enterprise social media initiative to other solution areas that may be less easy to measure. Companies such as Zappos.com, Dell, and Amazon, to name just a few, are shining examples of how to social media-based demand gen can be a phenomenally profitable initiative. This particular solution area is the new frontier in enterprise social media - but I expect this area will get a lot of interest and focus as businesses grapple with economic challenges, and seek more innovative ways to counter that downturn.
  4. Projecting thought leadership and domain expertise: Closely related to the earlier discussion on brand development, the use of We 2.0 tools such as blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter, Yammer etc.) and rich-media and wikis (audio and video podcasting, interactive web sessions, etc), moderated community forums etc. enables the enterprise to educate its audiences in the areas of its expertise. This ultimately serves to establish the organization as a domain- and subject-matter expert, and thought-leader in the market, resulting in downstream benefits such as driving demand.
  5. Improved Service Level: A more tactical use of Web 2.0 technologies is their use in offering a more timely, richer and more complete service level to customers, partners, suppliers, vendors, employees, etc. Examples of such initiatives include sophisticated sales agents, automated technical support, employee self-service etc.

While the use cases above are the most widespread and popular deployments of social media in the enterprise context, there are numerous variations and specialized instances of how they are used by business. I always find it of great value to start with the basic understanding that social media is ultimately nothing more than a highly sophisticated and effective manner for people to exchange ideas, information and content - and given that foundation, one can conceive of addressing and improving almost any challenge that involves interaction among people.

MOSS alone for Record Management? Uhhhhhh

Okay let me say what is on my mind by talking about something else.

Facebook is a great tool for social networking, for keeping in touch with people, for sharing bookmarks and for expanding networks. Facebook is only starting to develop and combined with Twitter organisations and businesses will find the fool a free aid to knowledge collection, knowledge capture, and people management. In time Facebook could provide expanded security services, being able to assure that a person is who they claim to be via secure background checks.

So Facebook is a great KM tool. So if the good young billionaires at Facebook suddenly decided to promote Facebook Records Management would I use it? Would you use it? Would anyone take seriously Facebook EDRMS?

Tools have use and that use produces value for organisations.

SharePoint can reduce time for information search, reduce time to develop intranet sites, provide RAPID and Agyle information management solutions for teams and to a lesser extent to departments.

But MOSS has some key flaws that make the RM tool not really an RM tool, I am sorry to say this but it sadly is the truth:

1. Metadata: SharePoint content types and metadata provides a flat hieracrchy for taggigng information.
2. SharePoint libraries can not include other libraries. Folder seem to give you sub-folders but they are just metadata tags.
3. Therefore it is not possible to implement file plans, or to prevent a "folder" from containing both folders and documents without massive dev. Therefore as much as you would like to say otherwise IT IS NOT RM.
4. RM systems will mean a large part of a companies documents are stored in a single location. In WSS this means a single Web Server, as single Web Application with its own single web application pool and a single database which will likely grow in to TBs. You can set up MOSS to partition content across several databases but I have only meet a few people who know how to do this and its not any easy administration task as compared to creating a new site. And even if you do managed to break it down to 4 databases you have no real control over where files are located, so if you have a failure you will need to restore all 4 to get your data back!!! And you will have to train your entire staff in doing it.

This is one of those features an IT person smiles, shows you, and then gets back to whatever they are doing. You end up sitting there dumbfounded with how you are going to communicate this to IT support in India, how you are going to get DB backup teams to understand this, and how you are possibly going to spread this across different LUNS. I have to say I don't know, but I assume you will be stuck in the worse case with one single DB that contains about 25% of your current information churn IF not more, all stored as BLOBS taking up 2 to 3 times their normal size. And if you do break it between 4 databases you have 4 massive databases that are entirely black boxes to you, you need to rebuild all of them to restore anything. It would reduce backup time but add massive administration complexity.

I could even go on, but why?

If you want to use MOSS as an RM follow this task:

Are you really required to do RM, do you have legal requirements to retain data in such a controlled way as Records?

If the answer is no end here.

If yes, do you have a massive good dev team that understands SharePoint inside and out and a massive good RM team?

If the answer is yes then get great, give it a try. Take a look at this case study.

If the answer is no you need to find a product that works with SharePoint. Meridio is the classic and now that they are own by Autonomy concern that they would not survive is silly.

My own personal experience is Open Text as the solution to look at if you got the money. I state them because I have some experience with the company and have been expressed.

So it comes out to if you are going to use real RM and MOSS you need to spend so much for dev it might be better just to buy Meridio. Again sorry. But a tool is not what it is not. Maybe future release of MOSS will take on RM by itself, but right now Microsoft does not own a solution and buying one would be massive even for MS.

Review of AKS 2.0

HiSoftware and Microsoft release AKS 2.0 for SharePoint Mark Peters' Blog

The latest release of the Accessibility kit for SharePoint has been released today. AKS v2.0 introduces updates that allow MOSS users to create and implement sites that conform to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA candidate recommendation in the United States. This is done through a series of updated and or different Master Pages, CSS and Control Adapters provided in AKS v2.0.

One of the many benefits to this kit is the web part zone smart control adapter that modifies the output of SharePoint so that it does not use tables for layout of the Web parts, it uses divs instead! This will greatly help all MOSS developers to get away from those nasty nested tables within the Master pages and start to use a nice layout using divs. (my comment, I think all MOSS projects should think about using this!)

The Accessibility Kit for SharePoint can be downloaded from the HiSoftware website.


We have an internal MOSS project here at EMC Consulting/EMC Conchango and will be testing the new kit out soon, so expect some updates on its performance in the future.

AKS 2.0 and Accessibility

This comes up again and again: make SharePoit accessible.

Okay the issues are many and its critical to get the entire team on board with what are the issues and what is to be done, and get user understanding and sign off on the issues, otherwise accessibility CAN become a weapon customer who decide to try and get reductions of software projects will pull.

The first issue is that SharePoint MOSS out of the book is not very accessible

This is simply due to the fact that the code produce by SharePoint, that is the HTML Source that makes the web pages, is so unorganised and poorly structured that it is very hard to read it with something other than eyes, and to navigate it with something other than a mouse and keyboard.

On top of this accessibility is not the same for each client. WC3 has established standards for accessibility on the Internet that can be graded like US Meat standards: A, AA, AAA. Frankly I think this is no service at all. It hides THINKING about accessibility behind labels, it gives near impossible standards for PM or customers to simply demand, and frankly almost no one understands what is implied in these and different computer tests of level will sometimes give different answer es.

And finally we have to admit that we don't live in an accessibility culture, in fact IT is intentionally exclusive and thinking about accessibility is a problem. CORPORATE CULTURE IS NOT INCLUSIVE OR ACCESSIBLE. In trying to make accessibility you are swimming against the stream.

Though AKS 1 and AKS 2 have some strong features and can help an accessibility project it is not a matter of install and suddenly MOSS 2007 is AA. I have encountered this repeatedly and had to deal with it again and again.

Hopefully more and more accessibility experts will blog and produces wikis about the issues of accessibility so that we can waste less time fighting against the culture.

I think the key issues on accessibility is you have to separate if you have an intranet or the web. On the web MSS WCM is going to be a hard piece of work to make accessible. Sorry, but you might just have to rewrite everything.

For an intranet you have it better, but you have to establish at the start what accessibility means for you. If your company uses a specific tool to help people with sight limitations accessibility will mean testing MOSS and your work against the tool, not against a WC3 based AA tool. You might even produce a AA site at great cost which does not work with the established tool you use!!!!!

For example imagine you have a large infoPath forms system. You might spend a vast sum of money trying to work out solutions to make the forms more accessible, or maybe you company already has an established support system for you disabled workers. Perhaps the forms will only pertain to one or two disabled users a few times a month or year, and you have an established practice to support them through email and a designated user who can fill the forms out. Why use up budget to make something accessible that has already been resolved by Culture!!!!

The lesson of Web 2.0 should be its about users and usages, not owners and orders.

Americans spend eight hours a day on screens

Adult Americans spend an average of more than eight hours a day in front of screens -- televisions, computer monitors, cellphones or other devices, according to a new study.

The study also found that live television in the home continues to attract the greatest amount of viewing time with the average American spending slightly more than five hours a day in front of the tube.

The figure drops to 210 minutes a day of average TV viewing time among 18-24 year olds but rises to 420 minutes a day among those aged 65 and older.

The "Video Consumer Mapping" study was conducted by Ball State University's Center for Media Design (CMD) and Sequent Partners for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE).

Friday, 27 March 2009

Stonehedge in Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth

Social sites dent privacy efforts

Greater use of social network sites is making it harder to maintain true anonymity, suggests research.

By analysing links between users of social sites, researchers were able to identify many people in supposedly anonymous data sets.

The anonymised data is produced by social sites who sell it to marketing firms to generate cash.

The results suggest web firms should do more to protect users' privacy, said the researchers.

Circle of friends

Computer scientists Arvind Narayanan and Dr Vitaly Shmatikov, from the University of Texas at Austin, developed the algorithm which turned the anonymous data back into names and addresses.

The data sets are usually stripped of personally identifiable information, such as names, before it is sold to marketing companies or researchers keen to plumb it for useful information.

Before now, it was thought sufficient to remove this data to make sure that the true identities of subjects could not be reconstructed.

The algorithm developed by the pair looks at relationships between all the members of a social network - not just the immediate friends that members of these sites connect to.

Social graphs from Twitter, Flickr and Live Journal were used in the research.

The pair found that one third of those who are on both Flickr and Twitter can be identified from the completely anonymous Twitter graph. This is despite the fact that the overlap of members between the two services is thought to be about 15%.

The researchers suggest that as social network sites become more heavily used, then people will find it increasingly difficult to maintain a veil of anonymity.

The results also had implications for the social sites themselves, wrote the researchers.

"Social-network operators should stop relying on anonymisation as the 'get out of jail' card, insofar as user privacy is concerned," they said.

"They should inform users when their information is disclosed to third parties, even if this information has been anonymised, and give them the opportunity to opt out," they added.

Writing about their work, the two researchers said many different organisations might be interested in reconstructing the true identities.

They suggest that the information might be useful to governments interested in large scale monitoring or unscrupulous marketing firms keen to reach certain individuals. Even phishing gangs might be interested, they speculate, to make their messages look more convincing.

The pair will present a paper about their work to the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy taking place in California from 17-20 May.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Cloud Test, hotmail passes

Here we see a LinkedIn email viewed on my hotmail account on a small Chinese made Linux laptop (without a hard drive), a Windows Mobile PDA and a blackberry.

This proves that when it has too Microsoft can get cloud in its purest form. I am one of those people who uses everything, 2 Windows Mobile PDAs, a Blackberry, a symbian, Linux, Windows XP, 2000 and 2003 Server, Mac OS. I have been very happy with Hotmail as a Cloud product and it proves that Microsoft can do Cloud, when it has to. Sadly Office Live, which I think is vastly better than Google Docs, does not pass this test and therefore I still am using Google Docs. I am also still using Google for blogging, search, mapping and ad clicks.
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Questions pour in for Obama's online town hall meeting

(CNN) -- During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt reassured anxious Americans through his famous fireside chats over the radio.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Item level restore for SPS 2003 and MOSS 2007 from Symantec

Symantec Corporation is now offering Backup Exec Agent for Microsoft SharePoint Portal for both SPS 2003 and MOSS 2007.

This product using Backup Exec 12.5 media server allows item level backup and restore. This is not as major an issue in 2007 as it was in 2003 but the price looks good and SharePoints own story on backup and recovery remains rather weak. This product is work evaluating. Problem inpart is is low price, under $2,000 dollars, that is a great price but you want get a lot of Symantic time on it.

Students should learn to Twit, blog and wiki.

Source BBC

Primary school pupils should learn how to blog and use internet sites like Twitter and Wikipedia and spend less time studying history, it is claimed.

A review of the primary school curriculum in England will be published in a final report next month.

But the Guardian newspaper says draft copies it has seen shows pupils will no longer have to study the Victorian period or the Second World War.

Ministers said British history would always be a core part of education.

The review of the primary school curriculum was commissioned by Schools Secretary Ed Balls last year and is being drawn up by Sir Jim Rose, former chief of England's schools watchdog, Ofsted.

The Guardian said the draft review requires primary school children to be familiar with blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of communication.

They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spell checker alongside how to spell, the article said.

Comment: why not have UK students improve Wikipedia's entries on WWII and Victoria as class projects?

Performance Point , ProClarity, KPI and the Microsoft BI story

I have been asked a few times about what the fate of BI in Microsoft. Well without giving away any details its rather simple to say clearly:

All BI tools beyond SQL Server, SharePoint and Excel are on the block.

Its that simple. Functionality in the PerformancePoint and ProClarity will move to SharePoint and Excel.

End transmission.

If you have any ongoing PerformancePoint of ProClarity projects I would end them. Though you should talk to you Microsoft reps about how they may help you. It makes no real sense to go forward with any PerformancePoint projects, really it makes no sense to go forward with any BI Microsoft projects outside of SharePoint, Excel and SQL Server. Excel and SQL are long established and clearly not going anywhere, SharePoint is hot and it would be a very bad sign if it went anywhere. GoldPartners with SharePoint and BI teams will need to merge them, if you GoldPartner sense one set of BI people and one set of SharePoint people ask why?

The only acceptable answer is that datawarehousing, data Cubes and data marts are complex SQL Server functions beyond the experience of most MOSS people.

Does this make sense? Well having tried to install PerformancePoint I won't cry over seeing it gone. Strategically it does make sense to have one platform to surface information from different sources. That was the entire idea behind portals and in the end SharePoint is a PORTAL remember.

I think for those not stuck with massive PerformancePoint of ProClarity installations the end result of this will make lots of sense.

So today's BI story from Microsoft is:

SharePoint is the surface Portal for KPI and reporting.

Excel 2007 with Excel Server allows you to start using Excel as a real BI tool on an Enterprise like level.

SQL Reporting remains, as all smart BI people have told me for years, the best BI bet until Microsoft offering settles down a bit.

Stay tuned for future updates.

And then there were 2, Bebo is dead

My Bebo email is actually kind of funny. Notice all the repeated pictures with different names, and it won't stop. This is actually sad for me because in 2005 I did a review of Bebo, MySpace, Friendster, ClassMates, LinkedIn and Facebook and on the features Bebo was the best. It had Facebooks and Friendsters ability to connect people my MySpaces graphic feel and lots of cool tool OTB for easily making you site look and feel better.

Well we see how correct I was eh? Probably good advice to anyone reading this to take my opinions with a grain of salt.
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Streaming games service launched

After seven years in stealth mode, a Silicon Valley start-up has launched a "revolutionary" video game service that offers new competition to consoles.

OnLive, which launched at the Game Developer Conference, promises to deliver on demand video games via the cloud to the PC, Mac or TV.

The company said it can provide high quality gaming on low end machines.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Mexico in Second Life

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I'm addicted to facebook song

Facebook addiction

The Geek Moms

“I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same.”

— Suw Charman-Anderson (contact)

My hero is the Geek Mom

A growing number of mothers are forming social communities online. What is behind their drive to the internet?

At the recent SXSW Festival in the American city of Austin, Texas, one of the discussions centred on the surge in growth in "geek moms" - mothers who spend a large amount of time online.

Monday, 23 March 2009


This story confuses me. Since moving to the UK I have been shocked by the number of CCTV devices which mean everyone over here is being filmed, sometimes hundreds of times, every day.

But when images are placed on the Internet so that we know just a small fraction of the degree to which privacy has been destroyed people complain.

It is my take that people might like to know just how much of thier lives are being spied on by governments, companies, and criminals. But it looks to me that people would rather just ignore the true issue by killing the messanger.

PC rules supreme in gaming world

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, San Francisco


The personal computer is king in the world of games, according to a new report by the PC Gaming Alliance.

On the opening day of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the Alliance said the industry made about $11 billion world wide last year.

PCGA president Randy Stude said these figures underline the PC as the "No 1 platform for gaming world wide".

"Despite Xbox LIVE and PlayStation, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust is the PC."

According to research company IDC, there are over 1 billion personal computers world wide. The PCGA maintains that 250 million are being used for gaming.

The report also revealed that three of the biggest trends for last year were the growth of digital distribution, the rise of free games with a micro transaction model, and the increased presence of game cards at major retailers such as 7-Eleven

"The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail," said Mr Stude.

"PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing."

In 2008, Americans spent more than $21 billion on video game hardware, software and accessories, up from $18 billion in 2007, according to market researcher NPD Group. And sales continued to rise in January and February of this year.

Makers meet up in Newcastle

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Vernor Vinge on threats to long term development of Software

Vernor Vinge is the father of the concept Singularity, of when software reaches a point that it vastly expands humanity. This is now called the T2 situation but Vinge embraces it. His group of Singularity lovers is getting older and starting to sound a bit desperate, but I found his thinking about why Software development might stop interesting. Especially the starting premise, that software creation remains in the hands of software developers, already IMHO not the case with the Cloud.

Or listen at http://media.longnow.org/seminars/salt-020070215-vinge/salt-020070215-vinge-web.mp3

A plausible explanation for "Singularity failure" is that we never figure out how to "do the software" (or "find the soul in the hardware", if you're more mystically inclined). Here are some possible symptoms:
  • Software creation continues as the province of software engineering.
  • Software projects that endeavor to exploit increasing hardware power fail in more and more spectacular ways.
    • Project failures so deep that no amount of money can disguise the failure; walking away from the project is the only option.
    • Spectacular failures in large, total automation projects. (Human flight controllers occasionally run aircraft into each other; a bug in a fully automatic system could bring a dozen aircraft to the same point in space and time.)
  • Such failures lead to reduced demand for more advanced hardware, which no one can properly exploit—causing manufacturers to back off in their improvement schedules. In effect, Moore's Law fails —even though physical barriers to further improvement may not be evident.
  • Eventually, basic research in related materials science issues stagnates, in part for lack of new generations of computing systems to support that research.
  • Hardware improvements in simple and highly regular structures (such as data storage) are the last to fall victim to stagnation. In the long term, we have some extraordinarily good audio-visual entertainment products (but nothing transcendental) and some very large data bases (but without software to properly exploit them).
  • So most people are not surprised when the promise of strong AI is not fulfilled, and other advances that would depend on something like AI for their greatest success—things like nanotech general assemblers— also elude development.

All together, the early years of this time come to be called the "Age of Failed Dreams."

The brain needs Chaos

The human brain is on the edge of chaos

PhysOrg.com, Mar. 20, 2009

Human brain dynamics exist at a critical point on the edge of chaos or self-organized criticality, allowing us to switch quickly between mental states to respond to changing environmental conditions, Cambridge researchers have found.

The researchers used state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to measure dynamic changes in the synchronization of activity between different regions of the functional network in the human brain.

Computational networks showing these characteristics have also been shown to have optimal memory (data storage) and information-processing capacity.

Read Original Article>>

Harrod's with Microsoft Live Photosynth

Photosynth of Harrod's in London

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Talking about the future: strange ideas for a changing world

Warning: Rant following not about SharePoint but about MY opinions on fundemental issues of change.

Firstly I think art leads Culture and Culture leads business.

Marx got it backwards IMHO: culture does not emerge out of the means of production but rather Culture itself opens up new spaces for business to advance in to and exploit. Culture is the terrain in which tribes of business move.

The compromise between person, culture, and business is called work. Work is always established by Culture. Efforts to make people in India, Japan, the EU and the US work the same because they have the same technology platform are stupid, just as trying to define work by the needs of business will never work.

Ignore culture and its changes and you end up in court, or having a special 90% tax.

Already in late 20th Century are like Rothko we see a questing of "work", of what is a work of art and how is it valued or creates value. The work itself has a power but often confusing effect upon people who view it. The post-modernist arts examine art as a place of work, as pure place of process rather than icon or image.

And for the old school nine to fivers with the same desk for 20 years, your time is sadly over.

Well maybe not so sadly.

Smaller and smaller devices like me new mobile laptop means that people can now be connected longer and more remotely. The laptop in the picture above is a costs less than 200 dollars and can keep you connected. It has no moving parts and is designed mostly as a connection to the cloud. It uses Linux OS to reduce power and runs on a charger slightly more powerful that a PDA.

These new devices open up new spaces of Culture and some day work. Spaces like Second Life, space so strange radical books and thinking are essential.

The above picture shows people meeting in Second Life. The potential for new kinds of spaces being made in the "Internet" for work is massive, beyond what any of us can imagine. Second Life and Twitter are two sides of this possibility. On one side inventive new universes are created, on the other light weight constant flow of possible messages keep us connected to a massive network in both real time and not real time.

But these new worlds are going to require new thinking, radically new thinking. We have already seen the old thinking like Hayek and ideas about social theory coming out the University of Chicago are not only useless in understanding our world but dangerous. Sherry Turkle and Howard Reingold are just the start of must reading for future business. Marxist, Feminist, Anarchist, and Post-Colonial thinking can no long be rejected by business leaders for its political content.

The old world is DEAD. Open up the Internet and look at the news, everyone is trying to figure who to blame for the fact that the world of Reagan and Thacher could not even keep the banks running, never mind produce justice and universal prosperity. Its not only that systems of neo-liberal and free market don't work to produce just economies, they don't work to produce functional economies.

99.99%, IMHO business men will fail to see the sea change and will go down in their boats of old fashion ideas formed during the rule of Queen Victoria and outdated when the before the end of World War 2. A great effort to push thinking backwards and to impose the most conservative social thinking not only on business but on society it OVER.

Putting new technology in your business won't save it!!!!! I see so many SharePoint installations that no one in the business uses, Lotus Notes implementations which are hated rather then even tried. Dynamics systems full of BI data which is all fiction. This is no lie, every single MOSS implementation I have seen soon is not best practice at all.

IT won't save you. And our economy is not stuck in the paradox of thrift, if you cut costs and cut people along with all the other business you are just speeding up the end. You need to put your economic textbooks and business talk popular books from the 1980s and 1990s aside and ask:

1. What do our workers expect?
2. How do our workers undermine our collective interests every day?
3. How do our workers view us as the business?
4. How will global networks impact us?
5. If we outsource certain key features, is it possible we will lose control of our culture?

Its not just a matter of web 2.0 thinking or going Cloud or Grid or SharePoint. Its about trying to understand how a Network Economy of constant innovation, multi-cultural ism, and global warming will open new spaces for your business to grow.

Or at best not die.

Rant over.

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Photosynth of my former pet rabbit

Here we can see, that when the subject sits still, Photosynth can give us a better feel of reality than photos.

Introducing Microsoft Labs Photosynth: 3-D made easy

Photosynth is perhaps the coolest tool from Microsoft Labs that nobody I meet seems to talk about. I have been making Photosynths of Second Life like this one since it is an easy environment to photograph.

A new start for me

After this weekend I will be starting a new role. I hope that my continued blogging will not only not be endangered but I hope to share some of my new insights from a much better job, without giving away any essential IP.

The problems with Wikis

I have often heard people claiming that wikis provide a set of collaborative solutions out of the box.

Well actually no. I have worked with wikis for about 10 years now and have become less and less impressed each year. Certainly wikis are easy to set up and you can grant access to several people to work on them to produce collaborative information.

The problem is that they are too unformed, no one can really be sure what the final product will be. To say "we will produce a wiki" is frankly to say nothing. You don't know when to stop, you don't know which terms to link and which to not. And as your team works on it the information becomes more and more distributed. Pieces of information because very hard to find and you end up having to use search to find things that should be in a document.

Documents are 5,000 year old inventions. Documents have served to make laws, declare nations, record history, report knowledge and entertain. Document management is brilliant because it uses common controls on documents which are well understood.

Rating IE8

IT pro rates IE 8 5 our of 6 stars (computers like 6 stars because it makes for easy haves and quarters)

Overall, Internet Explorer 8 is an impressive package, and while it lacks the raw speed of Chrome, the flashiness of Safari 4, and the extendibility of Firefox, it does offer reliability and some good features, which could be enough to win it some fans. It’s certainly the best version of IE8 in a long time, and Firefox fanboys are going to have to face up to the fact that IE is no longer a dog on which to pour unremitting scorn.
No mention I could find of the URL deletion pain, which indicates to me they didn't use it for a very long period. I don't mean to seem petty but if you click on a pulldown URL in the wrong place you delete the URL, and it is my experience you need fewer clicks to delete than not.

What I notice is the IT PRO is admiting that all the others ones are better, and how much do products like Chrome, Firefox and Flock cost again?

IE 8 launched from Beta

I have been using it myself for a year. What do I think? Not much. It gives no features over other browsers and is a major bloat ware, and the most annoying feature for me is that it is easy to accidentally deleted URLs from the drop down place. Its better than the truly terrible IE7 but Microsoft really lost it at IE 6 when they decided things that didn't make direct profit were not worth following up on.

Let me be pretty brutal on this, IE8 is still worse than Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Flock. Most users will find it no improvement over IE6 and will complain to IT if they have to use it.

NHS idea, my opinion

I keep hearing about NHS PCT here in the UK putting there own medium MOSS farms in, which means each one is designed by their own teams and differ. So the NHS is getting a mass of not only AD implementations but a mixture of 64 and 32 bit, of virtual and hardware, and each PCT is evolving its own governance.

After the utter failure of the Records system and SPINE I can imagine the NHS does not want to have a fully central IT roll-out of SharePoint, but that is not a good excuse for going the other way.

I think Whitehall should really think of promoting clubs of PCTs. These should be located near each other with common local issues and flows of staff, and be just large enough so that all the PCT can invest on a state of the art full DRed Data Centre taking advantage of Virtual, 64 bit and SAN while still preserving local control and giving cost savings.

The current PCT after PCT roll out is insuring that corners are being cut by the installers to insure profit and that no project ever has the resources to really be properly vetted and tested. PCT are both small and important so they need to find ways to reduce cost while becoming more agile and quality controlled.

SharePoint is an excellent start but having a PCT by PCT installation with different Gold Partner just insures that the PCT boxes won't match up and the partners will try to cut corners to insure profit.

Probably best if 4 or 5 PCT form together to create a Club to provide the MOSS infrastructure as SaaS than allow each PCT to run its own AD and governance.

Change and over coming FUD: The new facbook

Frankly I find the new facebook design a major clean up and improvement, but facebook is run by kid who seem to have to learn the change lesson: slow change down over time to the UI.

This story from the BBC:

Just under a million people have now voted against changes to the social networking site Facebook.

I have tested these changes a lot and they are an improvement, but like Office 2007 they are not enough of an improvement to overcome established user bias. Also companies like facebook and Microsoft's UIs are in binds. Its their UI which underpin their their profitability and thus need to be protected, but the longer they go without changing the UI the more they open themselves to competition and the harder it is to sell new product.

Facebook 2009 should certainly not take a page out of Microsoft 2006's playbook on this one. Maybe just wait it out, after all in the cloud people have to upgrade. But this may be the last tiem facebook can change its UI in a significant fashion again.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Whats coming in tech?

I see a pattern of emerging technologies in the Internet. You can always tell an emerging Internet technology because it is battered by a mass of bad press. But if you look at the details you see solid growth. Anything the media loves is in trouble.

Right now certainly SharePoint, collaboration and BI are hot, but what is coming in 6 months:

I see Second Life taking off
Twitter is suddenly hot
and all VR is taking off
Facebook is pretty established and replacing LinkedIn

Just my own humble opinion

Robert Hooker
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Brining the Linux micro into Mesh

I have GPE miniLap Top. I hope windows 7 can get this small but if it does I will then be pushing to develop lap tops with DSL or Puppy Linux that go even smaller.

The software industry is going in two directions right now: massive servers and small clients. Microsoft may have assumed it was going to have ever growing clients forever and was in a bad position for the start of the nanoworld But it is starting

Again by following a rational plan to improve mobility and go more green I am again on Google docs and not Office Live. This puts me in the strange position of wanting to use Microsoft Live but not being able.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Yahoo releases friend-finding service

Yahoo releases friend-finding service

(CNET) -- Taking a different approach to Google's Latitude software, Yahoo has released a Facebook application called Friends on Fire that lets people share their location with each other.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Description of the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 cumulative update package: February 24, 2009

Cumulative update packages for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 contain hotfixes for the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 issues that have been fixed since the release of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
Description of the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 cumulative update package: February 24, 2009

Note This build of the cumulative update package is also known as build 12.0.6341.5000.

We recommend that you test hotfixes before you deploy them in a production environment. Because the builds are cumulative, each new update contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included with the previous Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 update package.

Important notes about the cumulative update package

  • The 2007 Microsoft Office hotfixes are now multilingual. Therefore, there is only one cumulative hotfix package for all languages.

  • One cumulative hotfix package includes all the server component packages. The cumulative update package updates only those components that are installed on the system.

Web 3.0 Product for BI

This guy does one thing and we have to hear from his from the rest of his life

Sir Tim Berners-Lee keeps milking one technological implementation rather than say doing something new.

The founder of the World Wide Web says the pace of innovation on the web is increasing all the time.

Social Networks / Email

Technology editor, BBC News website, Texas

Status updates on sites such as Facebook, Yammer, Twitter and Friendfeed are a new form of communication, the South by SouthWest Festival has heard.

"We are all in the process of creating e-mail 2.0," David Sacks, founder of business social network Yammer said.

Tens of millions of people are using social networks to stay in touch.

The growth in such services is being heralded as the start of the real-time, pervasive web.

'New communication'

Mr Sacks said: "What people want to do on social network these days is post status updates. We think it's all people want to do."

Yammer is an enterprise social network, designed to facilitate communication within companies and organisations.

It is one of a growing number of services that lets users share micro-updates. Other services have a richer mix of content, including sharing photos and video, and allowing comments from people within your social network, building a so-called activity stream.

"I think it's a new form of communication; not quite e-mail, more lightweight and more real time, often with little bit of a publishing flavour to it," said Paul Buchheit, founder of FriendFeed, and the creator and lead developer of GMail, while at Google.

FriendFeed lets users share content from other services, such as Twitter and Flickr, and comment directly on the postings in real-time.

Simplicity and ubiquity

With more than 175 million users Facebook is the dominant platform for status updates.

Ari Steinberg, an engineering manager at the firm, told BBC News: "It's been interesting to see the way people change the way they communicate.

"You used to e-mail content to people and you had to choose who you wanted to e-mail it to and you didn't know if your friends even wanted to see it.

"Now you can passively put something out there and let people engage with it."

The simplicity and ubiquity of some of these services is beginning to see activity feeds and status updates replace many of the uses to which e-mail was once put.

Mr Sacks said: "It's no coincidence that these products are all looking like e-mail.

"These products are all standardising around a message form at the top, and the inbox which is a feed then folders around the side."

'Open system'

The problem with the current crop of status update services is that they are to varying degrees interoperable.

For example, while Twitter can be used to power a status update on Facebook the same is not true in reverse.

"We want to see a more open system where everything links together, the same as it does with e-mail," he said.

While e-mail has common protocols which allow people to send and receive messages even if they are with different services, such as Hotmail or GMail, the same is not completely true with status updates and activity feeds.

There are some standard protocols but the rapid development in the complexity and breadth of activity feeds, to include comments and ratings, has led to a series of walled gardens.

Dare Obasanjo, a program manager at Microsoft, said the firm was working on a set of standards.

"You need to give sites permission to get your data," he said.

'Hard to compete'

The complex nuances of relationships on social networks, with users having different degrees of openness with different friends or followers, further complicates the introduction of standards.

Facebook has also been accused of being unwilling to open up its system and work with other status update firms, and there is a belief among some that the social network is enacting a "land grab" in an effort to become the de-facto platform.

Mr Sacks said: "On the consumer side Facebook could become the one site for all social messaging. That becomes very hard to compete with."

But Mr Buccheit said he believed the different firms were moving towards a more federated system.

"There will be no separation between Facebook and Friendfeed and Twitter."

Mr Steinberg said: "We are totally happy to interoperate with other sites."

He told BBC News that interoperability wasn't necessary for activity streams to become a global messaging service.

"It's definitely something and a pretty cool thing we would like to enable. Conceptually it makes a lot of sense.

"It's in our interests to let people share. Twitter has had a lot of success in letting people taking their data and sharing it externally.

"We'd love to be able to let people tap into that."

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Okay this is BI

Okay maybe you BI was someone sent you an Excel spreadsheet in Outlook. Its not your fault that you were drawn in to the dark side of knowledge construction, waisting resources and working in isolation on documents that evolve away from central visions and purposes.

Loading that spreadsheet in to a document libraruy is something of an improvement, but not much.

BI need to follow a set of polices:

1. Single version of the truth
2. Clear representation
3. Controlled access
4. Real time exploration.

InSource gave a great NHS presentation on BI and Microsoft and it was great to see a Gold Partner who sees the light. BI is not installing SharePoint with some KPIs and going off to a Star Trek convention.

The graph above shows very clearly a vision of BI. You need some basic technologies no matter what:

SQL, (pretty cheap)
Reporting and Analysis Server, (free with SQL)
SharePoint, (If you wnat to do BI is costs, sorry)

but the BI answer is still open. One thing I hate in IT is having to think about the product. You go with Microsoft because you want to buy stacks that you can service and support.

But the BI story in Microsoft is still in focus. It will be interesting to see how the next SharePont resolves things. But the sad reality is BI is something you have to spend lots of time with.

By lots of time I would say 100 man days on the initial analys and building the framework and deciding how you are gong to present BI. I also will be frank, though analys and reporting servies come with SQL you are facing added license cost either buying a BI product or using more expensive CALS from Microsoft.
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Get off my facebook?

How common is social network partner swaps. Well for my part I know use my wife's Second Life avatar sometimes, and she surfs facebook with my account. My primary email gobully@hotmail.co.uk is in fact her account.


Today I relieved something when I was looking for a shop me and my wife found last weekend.  As I was finding it I saw clearly that I am good at remember not because I have some attribute called "memory" but rather because I am kind of a arrogant gutsy person who is willing to push his vision and in time find his way.

If you asked me the best attribute you need in getting a SharePoint take-on I would say guts, you need the guts first to ask people to change the way they work, to get people to work together in a culture run by the ideology of utter independence.  We are trained to think we work alone and SharePoint reminds people that value is collaboration.

You also need the guts to do it right.  SharePoint has some great ways to do things, like BI in Excel Services and wikis, but you need the guts to use the right tool for the right end.

If the requirements are meet by Excel services you need to stick to your guns and use Excel Services.  

BI is BI

Just had a facebook chat with a friend who is using SharePont for a massive US company.  One thing that came up was that many firms use content management to store massive Excel docs with links to SQL databases.

Just to rant a bit, this SHOULD be done using a BI feature: ProClarity, Reporting Services, or Excel Services.  Companies fail too provide proper support with SharePoint rollouts.

To a company using MOSS please get a Gold Partner and Strategic Partner.  Try to find someone who can do more than just listen and say yes.  These days IT consultants are told to listen and collect requirements.  Is this what you need?  If you are like 90% of firms I have seen you need someone to tell you how you should do it.  Get a partner or, if you can find them, staff who have the guts and knowledge to guide a true MOSS takeup.

The Social Network

Social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace are now more popular than personal e-mail, finds a report.

Business is not generally busienss because it is advanced or well trained. Lets be honest about how firms consume IT. When generally Gold Partners and other firms decide to use an IT technology it means its already long established in the consumer market. If you want to see the future don't look to business, look to the consumer market, look to how poorer, younger and most women use technology over the older, more educated and wealthier males who frankly have only vested interest in preventing change.

I have been deeply disturbed as my career in IT has progressed in how the top IT experts in the UK are almost blind to technologies that are emerging, and how they push technologies that don't work to the point of utter disaster.

For example consumers have turned away from online email sites to social networks. Why? Because email is terrible, social networks sites are far better ways to communicate and share information.

For example, my hotmail account is so flooded with with unread messages its long since stopped being of any use. Also think about how poor the UI of any email service, even Outlook is. They are just list of messages. And with these lists of message generally employees are able to cause massive amounts of damage to the IP of a firm, distributing different copies of key documents that float around, siloing contacts and data in massive inboxes that soon fill up, ccing and responding to all until everyone has too many emails to do anything. If you have a job today and never want to do any real work the easiest way is to just read all your email every day.

Social Networks are the way to go and every IT department should be looking at either making use of LinkedIn of Facebook or using SharePoint MySites as an internal social network. Social Networks are better at sharing information, and developing communities of expertise and skill, and insuring reuse of information.

Sadly in its current version MySites with SharePoint is pretty primitive. Microsoft knows that Social Networks are the future, but its moved forward in starts and fits. The good thing for Microsoft is that no company is really moving a Social Network tool beyond just document collaboration and blogging.

If you want to see the key new technologies they are MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Ning and other social clustering and "group think" tools. But when will businesses get the point? Just like the Internet and blogging before them companies have the story of social networks backwards. Right now as Facebook finally is you employees best site for finding advice from past contacts and experts many firms are finally BANNING Facebook.

I imagine it will take a few years before some firm like Microsoft takes the lead and shows how social networking can enhance IP. For IT firms that really care about business, maybe 1% of IT firms, I would suggest trying to make a point to your business stake holders that community is what makes your company have value.
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