Ed Taekema - Road Warrior Collaboration 2004/2

February 2004
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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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Wicked (Good) Wikis

The most interesting this with using wikis is the bubble up emergent aspect of the knowledge capital building process. Here is good quote from Stowe Boyd:

Wikis are built upon an inherently open model of social interaction and collaboration, with very little constraint placed on the participants. In a sense, this puts the onus back on the members of a project group to self-police: to build structure out of the minimalist forms of Wiki components, to correct others' grammar, syntax and wrong-headed arguments, to cajole others to your viewpoint or ideas where the project should be headed. But it's exactly this frisson between partners, affiliated around shared purpose, that builds social ties and generates social capital. Wikis directly support us in our efforts to get more from the whole than the sum of the parts.

Of course this is also the most threatening thing about them. It makes it impossible to control and difficult to plan how they are to be used. But that is a good thing and main reason why wikis succeed where other collaborative tools fail. It works because we make it work our way.

posted at 16:39:12    #

Dial N for Net Phone

Voice over IP solutions hold a lot of promise for travelling workers. Recently my cell phone bills have skyrocketed and to combat that we've adopted Yahoo Messenger's voice conferencing which has been pretty effective. It starts to break down as you add more users into the call though. All of the solutions that I have been trying don't do well behind firewalls and especially in proxied network environments. So the quest for a good VOIP solution for Road Warriors continues. This one looks promising in that it also supports regular telephone connections too:

A new service called Vonage offers a completely different approach to Internet telephony. It still uses your high-speed Internet connection, but instead of a desktop computer, you make your phone calls using a special “telephone adaptor” that’s about the size of a trade paperback. You plug this adaptor into your home network’s hub or router, and into the wall for power. Then just plug a standard telephone into the adaptor and you’re ready to go.

The Vonage adaptor is a tiny digital-telephone branch office in a box. It provides the dial tone when you pick up your phone and rings the bell when there is an incoming call. It digitizes your voice and sends it over the Internet to Vonage’s servers, where calls are transferred to the same public telephone network that traditional telephones and cell phones use. Indeed, unlike NetMeeting, Skype, and the others, Vonage lets you make real telephone calls to other phone numbers. Vonage also provides you with your own phone number that anybody can call.

Another difference between it and the others is that Vonage costs real money—but not much. The basic plan offers 500 minutes of calling anywhere in the United States and Canada for $15 a month. That plan includes caller ID, voice mail, call forwarding, and other features that phone companies typically charge extra for. Unlimited local calling with 500 minutes of long distance is $25 a month. For $35 a month, you can have unlimited calling anywhere in the country. Plus, the adaptor has two phone jacks on its back, allowing you to add a second phone number for a fax machine or your kids for a small additional fee.

Source: Technology Review Feed v2.1
posted at 11:38:24    #

USB Flash Drive Died

Today one of my favourite tools let me down. I tried to load my USB Flash Drive (128M Nexdisk) and XP said the drive wasn't formatted. No worries, I had trouble with XP and these things before so I tried on a Win2K machine ... same result. Tried it on Linux ... no filesystem found. Sigh....

I wonder if those X-RAY machines at the airport can wipe out one of these things? Reformatting it made it work again, of course, it was missing all its data.

posted at 15:56:32    #

FreeMind - Java Based Open Source Mind Mapping Tool

I am reacquiring my taste for mind mapping tools and here is a good one ... and its cheap!

FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool. We are proud that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of Mind Manager because of one-click "fold / unfold" and "follow link" operations.

So far I really like how quickly you can edit in it since it has all the keyboard shortcuts there. Also, I really like the link nodes so you can create links to external directories, files, websites ... Kind of like poor persons Personal Brain.

posted at 17:49:36    #

TWIKI Performance Battles Continue

Just to review, I've been fighting through intermittant performance problems with our internal TWiki installation on RedHat 8.0. Posted about it before here.

I found several comments on the TWiki support site that pointed to Apache 2.0.4 as the problem. See IncreasinglyPoorPerformance, UsingPerl58OnRedHat8 and SaveForever. So I have downgraded to the latest Apache 1.3X release and the issue seem to have disappeared. Hopefully for good.

If this doesn't work, I think I'll need to put in either an upgrade or down grade of perl.

posted at 16:05:04    #
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