Friday, December 31, 2004
The reality and the web
It is so interesting to see how a double of the reality is emerging on the web. Let's take the example of the recent KM Europe event. We went there with our expectations and ideas, and some of us shared them with the others in their blogs (see Lilia, Judith Meskill, Ton, John Curran). Later on, few people succeeded to blog briefly from the event itself- time was too precious there, it was set aside for meeting people and having meaningful conversations (Lilia again, Lloyd before and after the Personal Knowledge Management workshop) .
As for the PKM workshop, we had that great coordination tool - the knowledgenetworker wiki - presented by Lilia here in advance. It was really great to be able to know in advance who are the people who will be there!
But afterwards (even if some of us where a bit late, procrastinating as usual ;-), a whole web of posts reflecting the event emerged, letting both the other attendees and the rest of the world acquire a richer picture of what really happen there, enabling readers to see the event from multiple perspectives. It is a bit like in Durell's novels - the famous Alexandria Quartet is a series of 4 volumes telling the same story from the perspectives of 4 different protagonists- but while Durell had to force himself to step into some character's shoes, this is a real multi-perspective approach.
Here's a list of posts describing some the whole 3 days event, others focusing only on the Personal Knowledge Management workshop:
Lloyd Davis - PKM trust, faith& fear
Lilia Efimova - KM highlights
Ton Zylstra - PKM? workshop at KM Europe, KM Europe feedback
John Curran - After KM Europe 2004
Martin Dugage- Report fromKM Europe 2004
Piers Young - PKM Workshop, Good feedback...
Andy Boyd - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Jon Seely Brown's talk at KM Europe 2004
Aldo de Moor - Less Tools, More Process
Carla Verwijs - KM Europe and PKM Workshop, KM Europe (2)
and my own posts - Day1, Day2, Day3.
The same goes for Blogwalks - they were intensively and extensively blogged events, giving a taste of how it was to people unable to attend, but interested in the topic.
And maybe the example of all examples is BlogTalk, were the density of bloggers was extreme. Not only individual notes were published, but also collaborative notes were edited in real time using SubEthaEdit.
Why do we spend time on this? It is really time consuming and hard to locate all these people and places and papers in order to add the necessary links to the posts, besides the editing of your own conference notes. And it interferes with our day-to-day work, and makes us put off some other tasks. Do we want to show off- look, we've been there!? Do we want to impose the world our perspective on things? Are we doing it for ourselves or for the sake of our readers? I'm not really sure. I've been writing this kind of reports ever since I attended my first international conference for my own use - writing down names, ideas, references. The fact that now I have the chance to blog them and to link to what other people said makes them a lot richer.
In the last week, two persons had a similar reaction to my blogging itch: OK, that's nice, I can understand your need to reflect upon an event afterwards as a chance to learn more, even to keep a diary on it, but why show it to the whole world? Why publishing it? What's the use of sharing this kind of knowledge?
Well, hoarding this knowledge wouldn't bring me any benefit. And if it's not interesting for my readers, they will be so wise to skip it. As for the ones who are not my readers and are not interested in the subject, it won't hurt them at all, because they will probably never find out it about it existence. So who's the target group?
-People who didn't get the chance to be there, but they would have loved to.
-Some others interested in the topics discussed there who did not find out about the event.
-Scholars and students studying the topic in the years to come.
To me, it sounds motivating enough.
In conclusion, I personally find conferences where there are bloggers in the audience much more enriching from the knowledge sharing point of view, and I'm looking forward to as many blogged events as possible for 2005! Maybe this won't make the world better, but definitely it will make it more open and transparent, and it will provide more subjective information to reflect upon!
A Happy New Blogging Year!
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Reflecting on my work style
Last year in December, I was printing any paper I was interested by- saving it on my hard disk on the same time. I was struggling to find a better system to organise my literature research folders, and I was posting links in a dump blog. The dump blog was a big step forward, after using browser bookmarks and Word files spread on several computers. I guess I was searching my own voice to start blogging - I was posting there not only links, but also research ideas and To-do lists connected to my research.
At that time, Coniecto did not exist. I was blogging in Romanian trying to maintain a links-rich diary on my day-to-day life in Germany.
My contacts were kept in my Netscape Communicator addressbook.
Now things look completely different, even if I am not completely up-to-date: I became lots more tree friendly and realistic(I don't print anything unless I know I can and I need to read it in the next 24h). There are lots of interesting things out there, but we are humans and our time here is limited! Many of my work habits changed:
- I maintain several blogs with public access (I need to say this because my dump blog was "hidden");
- I use del.icio.us with nutr.itio.us for tagging everything I find interesting. I only save what I think is going to serve me in the near future, otherwise - I know myself - I don't search my harddisk when I have an Internet connection :-). I've also installed Google Desktop Search - great tool, it findes things I thought were lost for ever!
- I use Bloglines to read blogs and other RSS. On average, I subscribe to 3-4 new blogs everyday and I am reorganising and giving up some of my subscriptions once a month
- I use Hello to post pictures on my blogs, but I also have a photoblog on Phlog. I also have a Flickr account for the blog we are writing together with my old class mates, but it's merely unused;
- I still don't have a place of mine for maintaining a wiki (one of my plans for this year was to collaboratively write a textbook on KM in Romanian);
- I'm using wikidPad for drafting my papers and projects and FreeMind for drawing mind maps.
- While at Fraunhofer, we were using an intranet TikiWiki to maintain wiki pages for our joint projects, and we are continuing this collaboration now on an "external" TikiWiki, set up for hosting German-Luxemburgese joint projects, but hosting today several other Fraunhofer projects with external partners as well.
- While last year I was sticking to Microsoft Office only, this year I benefited from becoming part of an Open Source project and I'm now using Open Office in parallel.
- Still don't have a Linux installation on my laptop, but I hope to get the courage to install it myself after the Linux Days event in January.
- I'm on Ryze, orkut, LinkedIn, tribe, OpenBC, Plazes, Meetup. In the begining, I only joined Ryze, thinking that more than one will be too much. Then various friends invited me in other networks, and I couldn't resist. I am not very active, but every one of them brought me interesting contacts and news, so I visit them every now and then.
- I use Skype more and more every day. I'm on Yahoo and MSN Messenger - probably this winter most of my social life was hapening online, and there were evenings when I was overwhelmed by the number of friends and family talking to me at the same time.
- I think I'm still far behind with contacts and time management - in the office we use Lotus Notes, but I should think of my private stuff too.
I guess all this post is not very interesting for the others- I am neither an early adopter, nor a techie. But I would like to be able to re-read all this in December 2005 and see how far I got. I keep on hearing that email was here for the last 15 years and is supposed to stay, and the changes are not that impressing. Yes they are!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Well, like in this old joke from the Radio Yerevan serie:
Q: Is it true that Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov from Moscow won a car in a lottery?So, we finally succeeded to have a weblogger meetup here in Luxembourg, but:
A: In principle yes, but:
- it wasn't Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov but Aleksander Aleksandrovich Aleksandrov;
- he is not from Moscow but from Odessa;
- it was not a car but a bicycle;
- he didn't win it, but it was stolen from him.
- not at the Vis-a-Vis bar as planned, but in a lousy bar at the train station;
- not at 6pm, but at 7:25;
- not 6, but only 3 of us;(the other 3 participants-to-be vanished in the process. Martin visited one of them at home in the afternoon, because he was ill. The other 2 simply disappeared. They seem to have signed out this afternoon, because when I got home, Meetup already knew that only 3 persons were there, while in the morning I saw all 6 names.
Don't jump to the conclusion that I'm a lousy Meetup Organizer: I just had bad luck, that's all.
And I am ready to give it one more try in January!
After all, it was a success: I, a Romanian temporarily living in Luxembourg, brought together a French blogger who used to live in Luxembourg till last week, with a Luxembourgese blogger living in Germany and visiting his family for Christmas. The three of us are writing blogs in: English, French, German and Romanian, so we were quite a gathering!
As being a reader of both of them, I was able to act as Connector- my favorite role in any circumstance.
Martin told us about one of his readers and admirers who tries to copy him perfectly - Faré and I sent him to see The Incredibles - sounded exaaaactly like Incrediboy :-). Hopefully he will not act that way when he will grow up!
We got to anti-spam policies - and we spoke about Martin's approach - building his own black list and sending them invoices .
That reminded me of Faré putting together an end-seller licence- a sarcastic satire of one sided end user agreements.
We spoke about how much of our personalities is reflected in our weblogs and Martin gave us the example of Aaron Swartz' webpage (a fantastic young guy who co-authored RSS 1.0 specifications) - how simple and
We all faced from time to time readers who misunderstood us, and Martin mentioned his great joke with the Newspaper prize, as an answer to the Blogger prize initiative.
How could we speak so that all your readers could get the proper message? Maintain 4 blogs- one for each Brigg-Myers typology? Scary perspective!
What is the place of personal life stories in a professional blog? My personal experience was that avoiding them completely is not a good strategy. Martin had his doubts - some of his clients could find his personal life posts less relevant. Faré confessed his posts were sometimes getting more and more abstract in order to dissimulate the real events that triggered his thoughts. Like this one maybe?
Another topic we discussed was procrastination - a problem that seemed to be common to all three of us. If you're curious what we've been reading on procrastination, check my del.icio.us tag on it (I gathered links from both Faré and Martin). The funny part was that when I got this link from Martin, I tried nutr.itio.us suggestions for categorizing it, and I was surprised how many people tagged it "to be read". Real, genuine procrastinators!
Well, while the two of them think David Allen's "Getting things done" may help, and are in the process of experimenting it, I am a little bit skeptical. I used to be a Stephen Covey fan, at the time when PlanPlus -a software tool based on his Seven Habits- was delivered together with Microsoft Outlook. It didn't work for me. My current method is more like trying to find the proper time for each action (remember the Turn!Turn!Turn! song?) in order to enable flow. In his book, Csikszentmihalyi claims that in the flow state, we are not consuming, but instead producing psychic energy. But there's a major problem with this, because we seem to procrastinate even tasks that we know we will enjoy once we succeed to get ourselves started!
To sum up, it was an unpredictible, but rewarding Meetup. Hoping for more predictible developments in January ;-)!
Monday, December 27, 2004
Another meme: 40 questions about 2004
and this is how my 2004 looks like:
1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? enjoyed living.
2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember what was my last year's resolution, but I have a good one in mind for 2005.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My German colleague who's desk I was using.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Nope, thanks God!
5. What countries did you visit? Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, Romania, the Netherlands, Austria - oh, this was quite a year! I don't think I'll ever travel that much again, I was really fortunate!
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? A job that would put my skills to work.
7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory? 1 October.Paris.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Attending the ECKM, talking to people sharing the same interests.
9. What was your biggest failure? Don't think I have one. Maybe communicating better with my family.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes - got through surgery in March- made me miss BlogWalk1. But I recovered fast!
11. What was the best thing you bought? An unsofisticated digital camera.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Romanians' in the second tour of the elections.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Violence in the world.
14. Where did most of your money go? Travel.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Amsterdam.
16. What song/album will always remind you of 2004?I still got sand in my shoes - Dido
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- happier or sadder? Much happier.
- thinner or fatter? 2 kilos more :-(
- richer or poorer? about the same.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Procrastinating.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? I was in Luxembourg, staying at home and enjoying some peaceful moments.
21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? My best friend ever and former school mate living in Germany.
22. Did you fall in love in 2004? Isn't this wonderful;-)?!
23. How many one night stands in this last year? N/A
24. What was your favourite TV programme? N/A - don't have a TV, Internet is quite enough.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't hate anyone anymore. I think I grew... wiser. Hate is the last thing we need.
26. What was the best book(s) you read? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Billie Holiday
28. What did you want and get? interesting research work to do.
29. What did you want and not get? a new job for next year.
30. What were your favourite films of this year? The Passion of the Christ,The Incredibles
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I took a train till the German border and then biked till Trier by the Moselle. It was a wonderful day. I read Patrick Süskind's "Die Geschichte von Herrn Sommer" sitting on the grass. 46.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? a future job somehow connected to social computing. But it should be here somewhere- I almost can smell it!
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? businesswoman - black with pink.
34. What kept you sane? meditation, faith, hope, love, friends
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Fellows bloggers. Several.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? A convicted criminal's release from prison
37. Who did you miss? My family and friends back in Romania.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Karl R. Wiig.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004. Never say never. Never close the door to any possibility. No matter how incredible it may look.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
Non, rien de rien,
non, je ne regrette rien!
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait,
ni le mal;
tout ça m'est bien egal!
Non, rien de rien,
non, je ne regrette rien!
Je me fous du passé!
Avec mes souvenirs
j'ai allumé le feu!
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs,
je n'ai plus besoin d'eux!
Balayés les amours
avec leurs trémolos,
balayer pour toujours!
Je repars à zéro.
Your personality summarized in 26 links
KC Lemson points to this meme. Clear the address bar in your browser, type in every letter of the alphabet, and list out what is the first URL on the history list.
I've changed this a little to grab the first item that auto-completes when I type the
letter. This isn't always the first entry in the list. I'll guess it was the one
I visited last.
And here are my 26 letters:
http://www.academic-conferences.org/index.htm - my favorite conference site
http://www.bahn.de/- my travel information source - train schedules for all Europe
http://www.cordis.lu/ist/- Information Society Technologies at the EU - calls, funding, partners
http://del.icio.us/gabriela.avram/- my growing list of bookmarks
http://fare.tunes.org - the home page of a friend - blogger, libertarian and initiator of an Open Source project
http://gmail.google.com/gmail - my favorite mail account
http://hararo.blogspot.com - the blog of a friend of mine (just started, in Romanian)
http://indig.blogspot.com - the blog of a Swedish lady living in Luxembourg
http://jackvinson.com- Jack Vinson's blog, Knowledge Jolt with Jack
http://www.knowledgeboard.com - the KnowledgeBoard
http://lird.blogspot.com - a new and original Romanian group blog on law and politics(in Romanian)
http://mail.yahoo.com - another one of my e-mail accounts
http://www.newciv.org/ - New Civilization Network - lots of people who's mindsets match mine
http://www.onlinebusinessnetworks.com - an excellent source of information on social networking
http://www.pellea.org- a EU project I'm working on
http://www.quotationspage.com/ - the Quotationspage- a source of inspiration...
http://www.roell.net/weblog/- Martin Roell's blog
http://scholar.google.com - Schoogle
http://www.technorati.com - Technorati
http://www.uniklinikum-saarland.de/- a good hospital in Germany
http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KmWiki - KM wiki started by Denham Grey
http://wiki.knowledgenetworker.net/index.php?title=Main_Page . Knowledgenetworker wiki
http://www.xanga.com/ - xanga - the weblog community
http://www.ysearchblog.com - the Yahoo search blog
http://www.zylstra.org/blog/ - a blog -Ton's Interdependent Thoughts
Well - this is me! lots of weblogs, wikis, bookmarking and searching tools! What about you?
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Free to blog
|I'm finally done with the old post on ECITE that was suffocating me! I feel liberated, now I will be able to publish all the drafts that were kept on standby, to blog about today, about now...
I kept asking myself why I was doing it? Why did I feel this obligation to blog about the conference, after more than one month? Because I was the only blogger there? I don't think so.
And why do I feel the need to write down things in such a detail? Well, I guess because I am an analytic person (Virgo, Mercury, stuff like this, you know :-)
And now when I'm finally done, I think I do it for me and for my own sake. I would be happy if my post could be of any use to anyone else, but my main reason of doing it was to construct a picture of the event from my own perspective. I used to do it before - for every interesting event I was attending, I was transcribing my notes in a Word file afterwards. But blogging made it much more interesting, I'm googling people and organisations' names in order to add links, but I learn myself in the process, I discover new things about those people, organisations and places, I read other papers of the same authors, I discover interesting people that have been there and I didn't get the chance to meet them or to listen to their papers... This after-event work takes lots of time, but it is really rewarding, it helps me value more what I heard and saw, it helps me build new connections to people and ideas...
Well, I think I could invent myself a job out of this. Would anyone need me as a "conference historian"? or reporter? or whatever... I could go further than this - I could organise events, facilitate them, and afterwards blog them. Of course, it would be my own perspective on things. An analytical one.
I am still envying Martin and Lilia for their more objective and synthetic way of doing it!
But the important thing is that I am finally done with that self-imposed time consuming task! and free to blog!
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Weblogger Meetup in Luxembourg
One month ago, Jorun Bokloev, a Swedish lady living in Luxembourg wrote to me, astonished there was anyone else writing a blog in Luxembourg. She's writing two blogs: Life de Luxe (in Swedish) and a knitting blog(in English). Ever since we wanted to meet in person, but we were both too busy travelling. In the end, we succeeded to meet last week and had lunch together. We had a very interesting discussion on how blogging affects our lives and our relationships. I mentioned to her the statement of Scott Allen, that the best relationships start online, and I backed it with some of my own experiences, but Jorun had her doubts on it.
She also told me the story of a Swedish TV journalist, Per Gudmundson, who was recently forced to give up blogging in order to keep his job. Finding out more details on the case made me think the reasons were actually valid.
While on Plazes, I discovered another blogger in the surroundings, this time a Dane in Luxembourg - Jess Have. I wrote to him about the planned meeting and he already joined Meetup. Thanks, Jess!
There was another young lady blogging at Live from Luxembourg, but her last post is from May.
Did you give it up, LuxGirl?
I'm trying to get more people to join the event, with the secret hope that I can find a successor for this organizer job (as I'll leave Luxembourg pretty soon). Preferably Luxembourgese people. I discovered a sort of meeting point at mega.lu, but I didn't dare to join, my Luxembourgese language skills being really poor. Anyone to give me a hand?
Any other idea where to check? Maybe the French or German blogosphere?
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Scott Allen on Social Networking
I knew it was a promotion event, both for the MS Office Live Meeting service and for the books and events of Online Business Networks, but this didn't stop me from running like a fool through the city to get home on time. I joined about 5 min later, and there were already about 130 attendees.
A few interesting things from Scott's presentation:
- it's a false impression that all people on LinkedIn are there for searching a job - actually only about 25% are; the rest is formed of hiring managers (about 25%), marketing people & business developpers (about 50%).
- there's an enormous lack of experience and training regarding participation in online communities, compared to what people accumulated over time for improving face to face interactions; and no, online relationships are not inferior, they are just different.
- some of the special features of online relationships are:
- more accountability - everything is documented;
- people seem to like each other better when they first meet online;
- they are self-imposed;
- the online environment serves as a sort of social/power equalizer.
- reasons for joining social networking systems:
- they provide us with a passive presence 24/7/365 with less effort
- ease of group forming
- no boundaries of time and space.
Scott emphasized the importance of having a clear purpose in order to identify and join the most appropriate networks. A tip: build a template document with your biography, interests and so on. Instead of spending time to fill in information in different forms, you can then use this template document to Copy&Paste info - very simple, isn't it? It seems all you need is to be tidy!
He claimed that we should maintain a listing everywhere, that means in every networking system that could be of interest - this gives you at least the capacity to browse these networks. ( I was already worried that I'm in too many places!)
Actions speak louder than words - he adviced the audience to think about making contacts by offering them low-risk, low-cost opportunities (business) opportunities. (That makes a lot of sense, it's so difficult to contact an unknown person without a clear idea in mind, without a clear offer: Hi, I'd like to network with you!). He gave here the example of offering their book The Five Keys to Building Business Relationships Online for free to about 200 persons carefully selected as experts in the field, and asking for feedback, which proved to be a win-win action.
He made a clear difference between Online Communities & Social Networking Systems (Ryze, Ecademy, Tribe, SoFlow), which are meeting places, and Relationship Capital Mangement Databases (LinkedIn, Spoke, ZeroDegrees) as plain directories. Different tactics are to be applied for each category.
Some of the questions asked during the presentation:
Q: How to start on LinkedIn?
A: In order to get responses, give people a low risk proposition that has value for them.
Q: Are there any networking systems for specific industries and/or cities?
A: Yes there are. See, for example, eConozco - the Spanish-language version of LinkedIn, OpenBC, having a multi-lingual interface, Square , or the local networks on Ryze, Ecademy, Tribe, Orkut.
Q: Which networking system should we invite our friends in?
A: It depends on the purpose. Don't invite them everywhere, try to pick up what would be best for them- for example LinkedIn for contacts, Ryze and Ecademy for talking to other people.
I found the one hour event and the interaction worth it. Live Meeting worked fine, no hicups. The only "dislike" was using my fixed phone - VoIP would have been far better!
I'm looking forward to getting the slides Scott promissed to send us!
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Why did it take so long? Because in the mean time I visited several other blogs, looking for names, links and enjoying my time.
Well, at about 1 am I decided I was done. I was ready to hit the Publish button, when some bad memories visited me, and I decided to make a copy of the post before hitting the button. OK! Selecting... and ... everything vanished! I tried several tricks, nothing worked! Gone, gone for ever! I tried to repeat the steps, in order to understand what caused the problem. It didn't happen again! And then my eyes fell on the calender: starting with November 30, Mercury is retrograde! I calmed down and went to bed - I can't fight Mercury, anything but this, I am a Virgo and Mercury rules the Virgo sign. I'll have to make peace with him!
Astrology is one of my hobbies - and because I thought you could learn a bit from my mistake too, let's see what happens in such times, when, seen from the Earth, Mercury seems to move backwards:
Astrologically, retrogrades signal a change in pattern. The matters in life
associated with that planet tend to take a more inward focus. As the planet
doubles back over territory it just covered, we also must do things over, go
back and reinforce that which we already started. Mercury governs ideas,
communications, commerce, and travel.
What does all this mean? Plan for delays. Mercury retrograde signals
complications in holiday travel plans. It’s a tricky time when unexpected delays
and detours crop up all around, many times connected with traffic, weather,
machinery or communication snafus. The goodies are out there, but they may not
come in the package you expect. Opportunity may knock on the back door. Keep in
mind that help is available if you reach out. Despite, or maybe even because of,
this month's glitches and snafus, you could make some very good
Mercury retrograde comes every 4 months—it’s not the end of the world—but
it is wise to understand that you may encounter misinformation, misdiagnoses,
and realities which do not fit your expectations. Be flexible during this time,
allowing room for misunderstandings and miscommunication. Where precision
matters, double check the details. When Mercury is in Saggitarius, our focus
tends to be on the forest rather than the trees. (from Molly's Astrology
for December 2004)
More on this here. But don't panic! Just recognise it was Mercury when odd things like this happen to you and slow it down a little! What's interesting is that all modern horoscopes advise people to back-up their harddisks before these periods. And Blogger had some problems today, did anyone else notice?
I would be happy to hear your stories on this. 30 November till 20 December - what went crazy during these days. If you don't believe a word, just ignore me and go to the next blog on your list! But don't tell me I didn't warn you ;-)