Showing posts from July, 2008

Recommended links infoarch 07/31/2008

The End of Theory?!

Wired has a thought-provoking and interesting article by Chris Anderson, titled "The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete". This article has spurred a lot of discussion on the internet. I'm still thinking it over. But I'll put my two cents in: I wonder if Anderson's take is true for all of science. If so, everything is data and can be described by data. I know that lots of people think this is true (e.g. singularity theory). However I think reality can not only be described by data. For instance, can someones soul be described by data? And, doesn't Anderson's article itself show we always (or often?) need theory (hypothesis, believe, convictions) to say something about practice? Anyway, large parts of reality can be described by data. And for this Anderson's theory is very interesting indeed, just ponder on the examples that he gives.
Some highlights from the article:
About the Petabyte Age: "It forces us to view data …

Recommended links infoarch 07/30/2008

Recommended links infoarch 07/29/2008

Social Media ROI

Jon Mell has been writing some really interesting posts on the ROI of Social Media tools, like blogs and wiki's. I'd like to point to the latest two here and here. The posts help social media evangelists come up with a business case/ROI calculation, although they'd rather say: "It just the right thing to do!" Richard Dennisson of BT has another take on this topic and protests again the 'reductionists' that won't start a (social media) project without hard numbers.

The difficulty with IT projects in general is defining a hard business case (- or maybe the 'hard' stuff is easy and we forget about the 'soft' part, like productivity improvement). My boss says - and I like this approach: "With IT projects it’s about the good idea first, numbers will come later."

I'm curious what you think about this topic. Please drop a comment!

Facebook Intranet at Serena

Do you want to know more about how Serena started and uses Facebook as their Intranet? I do!
Well, Andrew McAfee is keeping us posted. He (and Bill Ives) have written about it before (and I've pointed to those posts before here and here). Now McAfee serves us with an interesting long post with an interview with 2 Serena people on this topic. Go ahead and read it all. Here are some excerpts.

Reasons to use Facebook as their Intranet:
A third, and what we believe is a radical thought, is that most Intranets are built on a wrong assumption. They’re fundamentally built to make content available to employees and trickle only a tiny bit to customers. We believe that the vast majority of content an organization produces is customer facing, with only a trickle back behind the firewall for truly proprietary materials. This belief achieves two major goals: customers are better served and receive better and more frequent
communication in their language, and rather than companies pushing it throu…

Recommended links infoarch 07/27/2008

Inbox Sand: Five Tips to Beat Procrastination

Idea Sandbox is an interesting site/blog on creativity and fresh thinking. They also have a newsletter I subscribed to. Not to long ago I received one titled: "Five tips to beat Procrastination". One of them struck me:
Keep Yourself Fresh: 48/12 Rule - For each hour, work for 48 minutes followed by a 12 minute break. This really works. The 12-minutes gives you a nice break. The 48-minute push helps you crank through your work. Even if you're on a roll, still take a refresher break. (Especially if your work requires using a computer screen... the 12-minutes is a nice break for your eyes... and in the end reduces overall fatigue).This is basically the 80-20 rule! My experience is that most people find breaks signs of laziness, working all day long without breaks is cool and shows your tough.
But how many people actually apply this rule? For instance, if you have a two-hour meeting, you might stop for a short coffee break, but nobody I know …

Recommended links infoarch 07/26/2008

Beyond Blogs

Just the other day I went into our company library. One of the magazines I always take a look at (- even though I also am subscribed to their feeds -) is Business Week. For some reason I decided not only to look at the most current issue, but to look through some older ones to. And then... all of a sudden... I saw the front page of the June 2 issue: "Beyond Blogs"! What?! How could I have missed that? Was it due to my vacation...? Anyway, I'm happy I ran into it.

The article is an update from an article written in 2005, "Blogs Will Change Your Business". This article was corrected and commented on here. Finally the article that was published in the June 2 issue is titled "Beyond Blogs". It's a very nice article giving an overview on what has happened in 2 years with blogs and social media in general. It's a great read for people that don't understand this world or are taking their first steps in this energetic space. It is loaded with inter…

Update 'Google Query as RSS Feed'

A couple of days ago I mentioned 'Feedmysearch' with which you can RSS-ify a Google query. Very neat, but the 'automatic subscribe button' on their site didn't work for me.
However it does work in this way:
- type in the Google query you want to RSS-ify,
- click 'Feed my search!',
- copy the URL (instead of hitting the 'subscribe' button),
- paste it into your feedreader (in my case Google Reader)
... and you're all set!

Recommended links infoarch 07/25/2008

Dare to be Wrong! Do School Kills Creativity?

Awesome TEDTalk by Sir Ken Robinson on how kids 'work' ('they'll take a chance'), get educated and how the capacity to 'be wrong' and 'make mistakes' is lost as we get older. 'If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.' Enjoy!

Recommended links infoarch 07/24/2008

Recommended links infoarch 07/23/2008

What's with RSS? Harnessing the Power of the Oh-So-Social Web

Just read the interesting article by Josh Bernhoff and Charlene Li, titled "Harnessing the Power of the Oh-So-Social Web" (published in MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2008). Lots of the article is a nice summary of the stuff that has been going on in the social media world for some time now and how it's being used.
What I really like are the tables on page 38 en 41. The table on page 38 is about "Participation in Online Social Activities Around the World". I was shocked to see the low percentage of people using RSS (8% in US, 3% in UK, 0%!! in Japan, 4% in Germany and 1% in South Korea). We RSS users have a lot of explaning to do!
The table on page 41 is about "Using Social Applications in Different Departments". It gives a nice overview of what social applications you can use in different departments and how.

UPDATE: Just found out this article was also translated into Dutch. It was published in Management Executive, juli/augustus 2008, "De kr…

Get HR on the Intranet team and then what?

Ran into two interesting posts on Intranet. One is about the seemingly essential role of HR in the Intranet team. Jane McConnell of 'Globally local... Locally Global' just wrote about two companies that have HR in their team and gives insight in their Intranet approach. It looks like Intranets that are "the way of working" have HR on board.
So, now we have HR on board, what are we going to do? James Robertson of Column Two has an interesting post on how the Intranet team should spend their time.
The rule of thumb for intranet resources is: 30% effort for day-to-day maintenance 40% effort for projects and new initiatives 30% effort managing relationships with staff and stakeholders

Recommended links infoarch 07/22/2008

Balancing Email and Social Tool use?

Luis Suarez of IBM has been treating us with some very interesting post on using less (corporate) email and more social tools. I've pointed to several of those posts before and commented on several of his post.
Basically he wants to stop using corporate email (except for confidential matters) and move all communication to social tools. This is a neat experiment.
However I was one of the questioners that wondered how the time he spends/spent on email is compared to social tools. I understand his experiment is not about that, but I'm not asking it to be skeptic. I think it's a relevant question.
Of course shifting communication from email to social tools is cool, better and more productive/efficient (in the long run). But it does have to be in balance (or doesn't it?).
For instance, I can send back an email in a couple of seconds to someone with whom I share a certain context. I can leave out all the details when I reply to him/her. But when I want to answer him/her via my b…

I finished!

Well, now that I'm back at work I dare write about this. Some time ago I said to myself I want to walk the Nijmegen'Walk of the World' (Dutch: 'Vierdaagse' - Nijmegen is my hometown.). This is the largest walking event in the world. It's four days of walking and you can choose between 30, 40 or 50 kilometers (per day). I walked the 50 (you don't get a medal for less in my age category). And... I finished! It was pretty heavy stuff. But here's the proof that I finished. Now back to work and blogging.

Google Query as RSS Feed

I've been waiting for this for some time: to be able to turn Google searches into an RSS feed. I've been using Google Alerts, but I don't like getting the results in my Inbox. Feedmysearch solves the problem nicely! It turns your Google query nicely into an RSS feeds.
Thanks Lifehacker for the pointer.

Recommended links infoarch 07/12/2008

Productivity Prophets

Insightful and nice overview of the history of personal productivity in theory and practice in Strategy+Business. It was written by Tom EhrenFeld. It addresses questions like: What is at the core of the visions of productivity prophets? What makes a good productivity 'system' anyway? And what productivity advice is timeless?

(For Dutch speaking/reading people: this article was also translated and published in Holland Management Review, nummer 117 - 2007. There's no online version, by the way...)

Toys and Web 2.0

Some time ago my Dutch newspaper, the NRC, ran an interesting article about "The evolution of place of play" (written in Dutch). This article was largely an interview with Maaike Lauwaert, a PhD student from the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands), that finalized her study on this topic.
The title of her book is: The Place of Play. On Toys, Technological Innovation and Geographies of Play. Just recently I had time to read a large part of her (lengthy) thesis. I must say this is very interesting! In my simple words it's about how toys (physical and digital) and the place where kids play with them change based on technological and social developments (and vice versa). And what "the increasing technologization and digitalization of both toys and play" has to do with "the vagueness of borders between [toy/game] producers, consumers and players" ("participatory culture"). She uses Lego a.o. as an example of this change.
I browsed around to s…

Changing IT

Interesting post about the (need for a) changing IT department/employee on ReadWriteWeb. Some highlights:
A good I.T. person, though, knows how to interpret "user-speak" and present them with the tools they need even if they didn't know how to ask for them in our language. (...)

The I.T. 2.0 guy will need to know not just what software is best for the company, but whether or not it should run behind the firewall, in the cloud, or a combination of both. (...)

The I.T. department, though, will have to adapt their current solutions to fit this new workforce - one that's not always connected to the company network, but surfing unprotected Wi-Fi from their local coffee shop or their own home wireless network. I.T. will need to find ways to push through the security updates and patches their users need, even if they're never remoting in to the company network. I.T. also needs to be more wary of lost and stolen company laptops filled with company data.

I.T. will be dealing…

Recommended links infoarch 07/10/2008

Future of Media Lifecycle Framework

Ross Dawson just released "the Future of Media Lifecycle Framework". Really interesting to take a look at. It really stresses the change in the lifecycle of media, being circular and not one-directional. And it also clearly shows the increase in types of media and how they relate.

Of course you can't fit everything in a/this framework. But I was wondering: shouldn't 'business' also be added (besides 'home' and 'mobile')? Or should it be 'home/business', assuming that these are blurring?

Recommended links infoarch 07/09/2008

Social Networking at BT

In the past many companies tried Yellow Pages to help employees find other relevant employees to be more productive and effective. Of course, on the Internet, we now have social network tools that help us connect to relevant people from all over the world. Some companies are starting to apply this inside the organization. BT is one of them. They just released their social networking tooling. Very interesting! They "easily" built in on BEA AquaLogic. I've heard of other large companies working with PeopleAggregator, but I haven't heard what their experiences are.
What I was wondering is this: employees can mention their skills; do other employees also get to rate their skills? And what is the incentive to keep your profile up-to-date (- which was a big problem with Yellow Pages)?

Recommended links infoarch 07/08/2008

Recommended links infoarch 07/05/2008


Started using GetFingerTips today and am excited about it. I'll let you know what my experience are soon. But for now, being able jot down tasks without going to Outlook is already a big improvement.

100 Lifehacking Tips (book)

A colleague of mine pointed me to a new (Dutch) book "100 Lifehacking tips". I always love to skim through these kind of books (and websites/blogs) to see if they have new tips I can apply. This book contains the best 100 tips from the Dutch Lifehacking site. After reading the book I decided to:
- turn off my 'new mail' notifier
- use a different color-code for emails that are cc-ed to me

I'm considering the tips:
- don't open your inbox until 11:00
- do the task you find most difficult and have to do that day first

Recommended links infoarch 07/04/2008

Is Google Making us Stupid?

Nicolas Carr has written another fascinating article you can chew on. It's titled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?". It relates well to posts about changes in reading behavior that I've been pointing to recently.The central thought of the article is: "Media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought."This is an interesting statement. However after reading this article I don't understand how this works, although I see it in practice. Does anyone no where I can find more info on this topic? The conclusion of the article seems to be: get used to less-deep-reading and more skimming. But is this really inevitable trend or we will people revolt every now and then? Just like with philosophical trends move between subjectivism and objectivism.---Here are some key citations from the article:"It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are sig…

Download World-Record for Firefox!

Thanks for the certificate. But first of all: thank you Mozilla for building a wonderful browser! Keep up the good work.

Recommended links infoarch 07/03/2008

Recommended links infoarch 07/02/2008