Feb 24, 2007

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose"

- Kris Kristofferson (made famous by Janis Joplin)

The current generation gap is predicated on the expectation of privacy, or rather the lack thereof, according Emily Nussbaum in her New York Magazine article: Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll

Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online.

She's got a good point, if you approach the social software world with the idea that you can't hide anything (no matter how hard you try) then you might as well hide nothing. That attitude allows a greater sense of freedom when posting blog entries and joining social networks.

So imagine today's teens becoming 30-somethings and the impact their attitude will have on business. Today's "collaboration enthusiasts" will no longer be "reminding" users to "link rather than attach". And, gasp, e-mail may eventually become passe? (One can only hope). It'll be the old-time "e-mailers" clutching to their PIM devices and personalized tools that will be the ones calling the help desk and recreating the Medieval Tech Support scenario circa 2015.

Still, I suspect that I'm going to be one of those privacy nuts holding out to the end ("compared to the scoll, it takes longer to turn the pages of a book"). I know that as much as I like to share, I also like to hoard, locally. Something I learned as a descendant of the cold war and most likely can only be explained in Jungian terms. The pack rats of the future will store their "stuff" in accessible places (public and corporate networks) and on someone else's dime. Free comes with a price, less privacy. But if you have no expectation of privacy in the first place then the price isn't so high. And if the users are OK with it, then social software and collaboration are just a matter of habit.

Source: Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll -- New York Magazine

Feb 20, 2007

Bridging the "Air Gap"

I was catching up on some reading over the holiday weekend and found this article, Open-Source Spying, from the New York Times to be very relevant to enterprises today. When you think about the nature of enterprise information today being spread across the organization and repositories, then all organizations are faced with similar challenges that the intelligence agencies in the article face.

Several years ago I had worked on a project for a government agency that was trying to solve the issue of sharing information with outside organizations. The "air gap" was real, enforced by a "sneaker net" and very strict security measures. However, the team I was working with recognized the need to share information and bridge the gap in safe and legal ways. The answer then is the same answer now, although now we have "Web  2.0" technologies and terminology to describe it.

In the project we essentially we used a back-end platform that supported sharing and distribution of content, provided security/authentication services, and delivered content to browsers. We created web-applications that were basically portals that assisted users to access information that was being created 24/7 by different departments. Departmental information was maintained in a sub-portal site that aggregated department content for searching and viewing documents. Each department had their own customized forms for creating compound documents that queried for meta-information regarding the status and purpose of the information. The general concept was that any authorized user could modify status documents, much like a wiki, since status reports were entered/updated at regular intervals throughout a 24 hour period. We also used a structured tagging (or categorization) mechanism that allowed users to classify information. These tags were used to filter information for distribution to different agencies and partners. 

The resulting system altered the way work was done. Gone were the early morning briefings that were plagued with overhead issues and stale information. E-mail traffic (internal and external) was reduced significantly freeing up valuable bandwidth. Information that previously was not available was securely being shared and status reporting was a snap.

What's so interesting about the project isn't the technology that it was built on but rather it used mechanisms that are now part and parcel of "Web 2.0", now called portals, wikis, tags, and blogs.

Feb 12, 2007

And you thought Notes URLs were Insane

I got this link to a SharePoint page the other day (deliberately obfuscated for your protection):


I suppose it all means something to someone

Feb 5, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

A well done visual representation of what I get* to think about every day!

*In my world that's "most excellent"

[va vowe.net]