Ed Taekema - Road Warrior Collaboration 2003/11

November 2003
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A blog looking at business communication, knowledge management, scripting tools, OS technology news and other things of interest to mobile tech workers. As I find interesting news this will also contain pointers to thoughts related to configuration managment, change management and general software development.

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Did a Stuipid Thing ... to my laptop

Road warriors like me live in eternal fear that their the great container of their life's work and effort will suddently come to a dramatic end ... far from home. I refer of course to the fear of the dead laptop.

This week I was almost the cause my own demise. I am adding some software and need more space and decided that I didn't need one of my linux partitions anymore ... so I usurped it into my Win2K installation ... I heard little voice in the back of my head that kept yammering on about how this is not a good idea ... something about the bootloader being rendered useless... I forged ahead eager for more space.

After making the new partition available to Win2K, I needed to reboot and did so ... and to my horror discovered that my machine was no longer bootable. I had deleted the partition that had my bootloader's config files ... my laptop was now a brick.

I took me about an hour of poking around, booting with another disk and searching the internet before I finally found the magic series of commands to get the disabled grub bootloader to boot into Win2K... I reproduce them here in the event I ever in the future ignore that nagging voice and kill my laptop again ...

  • rootnoverify (hd0,0)

  • chainloader +1

  • makeactive

  • boot

When I get back home tonight, I'll have to dig up my Win2K install CD and fdisk /MBR it and go back to a single OS bootloader config. Maybe this won't happen to me again for a while. Don't think my blood pressure can take it ...

posted at 21:58:08    #

From status report to discovery tool

I want to go back and add to an earlier post on status reports. McGee picks up on a Roland Tanglao comment on the whole Status Reports Blogging thing.

Roland notes that transparency is the sticking point. As I mentioned in an earlier post this has been my experience as well. It is a little scary being the first one in an organizatoin trying to open the windows on my work patterns and daily accomplishments. But, there is tremendous value to working this transparently. The peer review, input, mentoring opportunities ... do make it worthwhile.

This is all in addition to the getting closer to finding the Holy Grail of replacing status reports altogether with something that actually works.

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 23:51:12    #

Status reports in the knowledge based enterprise

Here is a fantastic catch by McGees Musings. Rand has put some thinking into how to fix status reports ... using social software. He does a quick look at whether a wiki would help, but settles on the conclusion that blogs are a better match. I agree. Infact, I have been modelling this in my organization for the last few months. Here are some thoughts I have on how it has worked so far.

  1. Very Public Status Reports - Using a blog for status information means that the readership is pretty wide open. Your status report just doesn't go to your manager, but to your peers and perhaps others. This is a good thing and has resulted in more people making use of the status report.

  2. Its like people watching you work - Public status blogs means that others can watch over your shoulder. In my case as a field consultant it means that R&D people can get a feeling for a day in the life of a field consultant by just keeping tabs on what I am doing. Also there is lots of opportunity to help new people get up to speed faster. Reading my status blog they can see how I approach problems, ask questions, get clarifications, learn new techniques, challenge my approach, etc.

  3. Having my status information in a blog makes it more available to me... its been much more useful to me in a blog than if it were buried in a word/excel pile.

  4. Writing my status in a blog is easier for me. Perhaps its just the blog format or that I am beginning to feel comfortable doing things this way ... but status reporting gets lots easier.

  5. Resistance to blogging status from management seems to be that they can't filter it. I think this might be because it tends to be daily focused vs. weekly and summarized.

So, has it worked for me? Well, I still need to produce actual weekly status reports outside of my blog. This is because I need to deliver them to clients who can't access the internal blog. Also, not all of management has really 'got' blogging status reports. So for now I am duplicating somewhat and producing a status report using the blog as the source for the material. Not as bad as it sounds. Copy and paste is my friend :-) I have noticed that the quality of these weekly reports has gotten much better since switching to a blogged daily status pattern.

The thing I have wondered about is that my status blogging tends to be daily focused. It makes it easier to go back and track my work on a given client site if I do this. At the end of week, I produce a rolled up weekly status report that draws on what I've put on my blog all week. If this kind of aggregation could be automated it might make this work better. I can see my management having something like an internal feedster portal page that automatically aggregated things into a team/mobblog aggregated blog.

Anyway, I think that blogging is where this kind of thing needs to go. I'll keep doing this for a while. I am curious to see if others start reading who would not normally read status reports. It is the horizontal communication that I really want to spark.

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 01:46:24    #

New Wiki Implelementation Struggles - To structure or not?

I am working on an implementation of several wikis. One is my personal wiki which runs on my laptop. I've often written about it here. Things are by and large going very well. I am also involved in my team's implementation of a wiki.

So far, the biggest struggle has been related to how much structure to put in place. We are using TWiki which is incredibly powerful. The trouble is that is has this neat capability to associate 'forms' with topics in a wiki that allow you to categorize and add formal data fields.

These are incredibly handy in building formal pages that group like topics, summarizing group thoughts, voting, etc... But i can't help feeling that it does break the wikiness of the wiki.

What I think we need is somesort of best practices regarding categorization. I don't want to go so far that we lose the benefits of easy editing, dynamic categories based on the text of topics, etc. At the same time, I do need to create places in the wiki where things are summarized / grouped automatically ...

Perhaps these questions are unique to Intranet deployments and the discussion belongs in Bill Seitz's Intranet Wiki forum. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

posted at 22:42:56    #


For those who are interested in wikiland .. here is an example of what a Wiki can become. This is great collaborative effort ... to product an online encylopaedia. Gets my imagination going ...

Source: rc3.org Daily
posted at 18:58:56    #

A new Personal Wiki Discovery - Portable Wiki!

Perhaps this isn't so revolutionary, but it was definitely an Aha moment for me. I use my wiki primarily as a 'closed door' office. As I travel to different consulting engagements, it is the home for most of my work products.

It recently occured to me that I can open the door... So, I have been able to turn my personal wiki into a full fledged wiki when the occasion seems right. I plug into a client's network and make my wiki available to the group I am working with. Everything is recorded in my Wiki ... this will make requirement meetings, status reports reviews, planning sessions quite different. Then I unplug it.

My personal Wiki can be transformed into a Portable Wiki! (Portable in the sense that it can move with me but still be a collaborative document environment where ever I am working ...)

This likely means that I need to think about security a bit and I hadn't planned on it... But I think it is worth it.

posted at 18:58:56    #

Pollard on Personal Productivity Improvement

There is a ton of material here that I need to dig into ... but for now this link will have to do. Thanks to McGees Musings for the pointer to Pollard's blog. Great Stuff.

My adventures with a Personal Wiki are really trying to capture some of the same benefits but in a single user mode.

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 18:53:36    #

Crucial thinking about intranets

Jack points to this article about developments on the intranet front by Gerry McGovern. Emphasis so far is on Management buyin and support being supercritical to the success of any serious intranet effort. I think this applies regardless of how big or small the organization is.

I think this is even more critical if you are going to add social networking tools like blogs and wikis that are different into the intranet space.

I am interested in experiences that people have had introducing Wiki and Blogs into the intranet space. If anyone has a secret hoard of experience /reports from the front lines, please post them in the comments. I'll summarize them here.

Source: Knowledge Jolt with Jack
posted at 17:29:20    #

Wonderful Quote

Quote of the day courtesy of wirearchy News:

I met a person who had a dollar

We exchanged dollars

I still had a dollar

I met a person who had an idea

We exchanged ideas

Now we both had two ideas

Source: wirearchy News
posted at 10:38:40    #

Quote of the Day

Charles M. Schulz. " Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"/ Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night." ..."

Source: Sebs Open Research
posted at 17:14:24    #

Is Email Broken And What are the Alternatives?

Why Blogging is better than email ...

Source: Microdoc News
posted at 16:58:24    #

Why do Personal Websites Matter

Read here...

posted at 16:46:40    #

A Peek Behind the Wallop Firewall

See its not just us nuts who are doing this ... Microsoft has noticed the social software scene. Brace yourselves, here comes wallop.

Source: elearnspace blog
posted at 09:45:20    #

Cool Tool for Road Warriors

In keeping with the road warrior theme, here is a really cool toy, a wifi finder. Picked it up tonight at Best Buy. A must have for us always on the road types.

posted at 02:03:28    #

Just got my Blogwise listing notice

Cool! I'm listed on Blogwise now. Pretty neat to see my web site showing up elsewhere... Find out about Blogwise over at their FAQ.

posted at 01:30:24    #

Tech Addicts Need Textual Healing

My team has recently started using Instant Messenger as a supplemental way to communicate. We're fairly distributed around North America at any given time so it sounds like a good idea. I have noticed that it isn't as efficient as a phone call. Although a phone call and IM together seems to work well for quickly sending files, urls, etc during the call.

I've also been to several different organizations lately that have this chronic multitasking syndrome the article mentions. And, the groups that I've worked with used some sort of instant messenger like technology internally.

So I am wondering if this is a good thing for mobile workers? Or does it rob us of our focus?

posted at 01:20:48    #

Personal Wiki trips over wiki syntax ...

I've been blogging off and on about using a personal wiki to manage my principal activities on my laptop. As I travel, this has made keeping organized and finding information incredibly easy. That said, I have run into a snag. I am implementing a Wiki at the office based on TWiki. Trouble is I am running something much more simple on my laptop .. MoinMoin. One is based on Perl (Twiki) and the other is written in Python (MoinMoin) and the syntax between the two is different ... which makes publishing data from the personal up to the corporate painful ...

Perhaps I can write a script to convert the syntax ... but that is so painful. Why don't we have a single standard syntax??

posted at 01:49:36    #

Listfest of interesting things

Here is a list of things I've wanted to investigate for a while ... a list list will have to do.

posted at 01:18:40    #

Tools for the Webbed World

As I travel around the real world and the blogosphere (which is really real ...?) I often see others using cool tools. So here are some recent finds.

posted at 12:31:44    #

Wingnut Debate Dictionary

OK, I usually don't do political / social blogging but I can no longer hold back. The Wingnut Debate Dictionary is hilarious. And yes by linking to this I do in fact agree with it!

Also checkout Wingnut Debating School.

Source: Eschaton
posted at 21:11:12    #

PyCS Search and PyDS

I've discovered that Python Community Server has a search feature! Cool, but I need to get my PyDS instances to send the content up to the indexer. Anyone have any idea how to do this?

posted at 02:28:00    #

Gold Mine of Web Searching Techniques

Brad digs up this reference to a librarians favourite web search tools. I need to use google search operators more.

Source: Semi-Daily Journal
posted at 02:16:16    #

Diego is at it again ... part two: syndication

Quick run over and read Diego's continued Intro To Weblogs - Part Deux, Syndication. Really, go read it now, its good!

Source: d2r
posted at 10:18:24    #

Fantastic Weblogging Intro

Dave Winer's catch of the day is Diego Doval's comprehensive introduction to weblogging. The post does a great job of bringing together a his own thoughts ( checkout 'Is blogging dangerous?' answer 'Yes. Most definitely. And addictive, too. :-)') as well as a huge list of links to other people's work explaining the concepts and utilities of trackback, comments, etc.

I did notice that he doesn't include a reference to the Python Communinity Server and Python Desktop Server / bzero combination. They are not nearly as popular as blogger.com, but should perhaps be included as an option when discussions Radio Userland.

Check back as he has indicated he might add some comments on syndication to round it out. This is going to be the my standard answer to 'what is this weblogging all about?' ... go read Diego ...

Source: Scripting News
posted at 23:41:36    #
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