Thursday, December 30, 2004

Microsoft gets a clue

Microsoft ends Passport push

Microsoft is abandoning one of its most contentious attempts to dominate the internet after rival technology companies banded together in opposition and consumers failed to embrace it.

The world's biggest software company said it would stop trying to persuade websites to use its Passport service, which stores consumers' credit card and other information as they surf from place to place.

Did Bush miss an opportunity?

If Bush were a statesman, he would have flown to Jakarta and announced his solidarity with the Muslims of Indonesia (which has suffered at least 40,000 dead and rising).

unimaginable devastation

Something has got to be done

Western militaries confront child soldiers threat

There are now as many as 300,000 children under 18 years old presently serving as combatants in 40 per cent of the world's armed organisations (both non-state and state linked) and they fight in almost 75 per cent of the world's conflicts. An additional set of as many as 500,000 children serve in armed forces not presently at war.

While questions of differing cultural standards of maturity are sometimes raised, the youth in question cover a range considered underage both according to international law and by almost every state in its own legislation. Some 80 per cent of those conflicts where children are present include fighters under the age of 15 and 18 per cent of the world's armed organisations have used children of 12 years and under. The average age of child soldiers found by separate studies in Southeast Asia and Central Africa was just under 13.

The practice also differs from the past by including girls as well as boys.

How can I be sure the money will be used wisely?

The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) is a nationally prominent charity watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions.

GuideStar, the national database of nonprofit organizations

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

U.S. leads the dirty dozen spammers

The United States is in a league of its own when it comes to sending junk mail to e-mail users.

Researchers at security software company Sophos found that 42 percent of all spam sent this year came from the United States, based on a scan by its researchers of a global network of honey pots--computers designed to attract spam e-mails and viruses.

Sophos said this is evidence that America's antispam legislation simply isn't working.

Apparently not.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Blogging the recovery

Via Micro Persuasion

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami

News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

News media tsunami warning?

Mark A.R. Kleiman

The tsunami struck Sri Lanka without warning, three hours after the earthquake that generated the tsunami. Within fifteen minutes, seismologists knew the tsunami was coming, and started making phone calls to their friends in the countries at risk, but in the Indian Ocean region's lack of the sort of pre-arranged tsunami-warming system that covers the Pacific made it impossible to get word to the people at risk, even though a few minutes' head start would have been the difference between life and death for thousands of them.

No doubt the lack of a warning system reflects culpable nonfeasance on the part of the governments involved. (Yes, my libertarian friends, in the presence of tsunamis we're all statists.)

But if you're an American seismologist and your problem is to get a tsunami warning to folks in Sri Lanka, India, and Burma within a couple of hours, surely calling people in those countries and hoping that the governments will be able to improvise a warning system must be the wrong way to go.

Why not call CNN, the Associated Press, and Reuters? They're in the business of putting out information, and they put it out in a way that gets directly to senior public officials as well as to lots of ordinary folks who might live on, or have friends or relatives on, the relevant coastlines.

I promise you, a phone call from the International Tsunami Information Center saying "There's just been a Richter 9.0 quake in Sumatra and a big tsunami will hit the following places at the following times" will receive the undivided attention of any newsdesk in the world.

I would be worried that if there was a news media report there would be panic, but would that be worse than what did happen?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Earthquake and Tsunamis

11,500 dead as tidal waves strike across Asia

JAKARTA (AFP) - Some 11,460 people were killed and thousands more were missing after a powerful earthquake triggered giant tidal waves that slammed into coasts across southern Asia, swallowing villages and wreaking death and devastation on beach resorts.

The quake, the fifth largest ever recorded measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, unleashing tsunamis that hit Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar and Malaysia.

Terrifying walls of water up to 10 metres (33 feet) high were reported across the Indian Ocean, roaring ashore with bewildering speed, sweeping people off beaches, flattening hotels and homes, uprooting trees and overturning cars.

No words, only tears.

Tech companies face another difficult year

Financial Times:

A mere handful of big technology companies around the world stands to shrug off the industry's sluggish growth next year to record the sort of rapid expansion that once made the sector a magnet for growth-hungry investors.


Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Messaging/collaboration to shift?

Leadership by Numbers

But, there is another aspect to Firefox’s ascendancy—it is succeeding because of the commodization of information technology. If all we ask for is a simple mail client (calendaring is coming for Thunderbird), then Exchange, Groupwise, and even Domino have little allure. The difference for Domino is it’s extensibility as an application development platform. In the future, I expect the distribution of messaging/collaboration to shift into an hour-glass look. The commodity of general-purpose messaging will take the bottom-half, and the customizable, IM/email/integrated calendaring/VOIP platform will take the top half.

Interesting take.

Dollar hits new record low against euro

The US dollar plummeted to a fresh lifetime low against the euro on Thursday, with the market dismissive of the latest European efforts to drum up support for co-ordinated intervention to stem the greenback's decline.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Christmas vs. Cynicism

Happy Holidays, does that sound like fighting words to you? Believe it or not to some people it does. Such is the quality of our times.

When I first heard about O’Reilly ranting against Macy’s for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, I assumed that Macy’s had declined to purchase advertising in any NewsCorp property and this was Murdoch’s crude revenge. When the meme spread to other outlets, I decided it must be an orchestrated effort to manufacture conflict by those who profit from manufactured conflicts. I am surprised that the usually discerning Jim Horton did not recognize the tell-tale signs of our profession at work.

It is all just part of the age old conflict between those, irrespective of faith, who regard God as a club to be used on other poeple, and those who regard God as a light to show us the way.

Certification and Accreditation in the Federal System Lifecycle market

David A. Noack, NCC Communications Chairman

1.0 The Purpose of C&A
C&A applies to the General Support Systems (GSS) and Major Applications (MA) that are designed and implemented within an agency. As these systems are built or updated, C&A gives the agency assurances that the security features and components of their GSS or MA are going to be implemented and operated properly. Another reason to conduct C&A is that it provides a standard process for validating the security measures being designed into a system. Finally, C&A gives the organization’s senior management a formal way to evaluate and accept the risks of operating the system with the specific security measures proposed.

For many of my readers, detailed discussions of federal standards and compliance must seem arcane and difficult to follow. The federal market has a huge influence in IT, not simply because of its purchasing power, which is considerable, but because it has traditionally driven the rest of the industry. Once the Federal government adopts a practice or procedure it will filter out to all of its contractors and to the industry as a whole. That is why it is critical to follow these discussions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New Java Software project blog

A Fair and Balanced Blog, On Software Development and related program activities ...

Writes about technology in the Potomac area, so now you don’t have to rely on Technoflak.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The lasting impact of the Y2K crisis

Remembering Y2K: Radio Series Examines Whether It Has Lasting Impact

The Y2K phenomenon still lingers today, according to a series scheduled for airing on National Public Radio in early January. Among other things, the reporters who researched the Y2K story found that much of today's offshore outsourcing rage was jump-started by Y2K.

"The Surprising Legacy of Y2K," will broadcast on NPR's Marketplace segments on Jan 3, 4, and 5. The series features interviews with John Koskinen, President Clinton's Y2K czar, who said he was in a no-win position. If nothing happened when at the moment of truth he would be attacked for preparing for a hoax. But if the computers stopped, he would be blamed for the crisis.

The Y2K crisis was real, but it was also exploited by many tech companies to persuade customers to buy upgrades they didn’t really need. It increased sales at the expense of future business and contributed to the subsequent bust.

It also went a long way to ending the mystique of technology. All across the world the cries of corporate management could be heard, “What do you mean you didn’t know the century was going to change?”

Monday, December 20, 2004

Q & A

Q: Does asking your own questions and answering them make you look like you have anticipated your critics, or is it just annoying?

A: Just annoying

Q: Has this practice long since ceased to be effective?

A: It was never effective.

Q: Does asking your own questions make you look silly?

A: Yes.

Q: In the current environment, will this rhetorical device make you look like a bad parody of Sec. Donald Rumsfeld?

A: Yes.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

PR Humor

Realiticomm – Episode Two

"Stir." Has a deep radio voice. Drives a 1988 Cadillac Allante. Say's "I'm your 'idea' guy. Often wears shell necklaces and chokers with Aloha shirts buttoned halfway. His undergraduate degree is from SUNY New Paltz. Masters in organizational management of systematic models from Mercyhurst University in Erie. Doctorate in Education from University of Maine at Fort Kent. Has "authored" six books: "Interpreting Cloud Formations for Organizational Effectiveness;" "Revisionist Corporate Culture Germination;" "Coming of Age in the New Age Business Environment." His doctoral thesis was “Employment of Bio-Social Theory and Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques to impact emotions, relationships, behavior, and cognition of targeted consumer markets.” Best known for his analysis that showed that the Snail Darter population in the Tennessee Valley Watershed was contributing to birth defects, bad teeth and inbreeding.

Check it out, very funny, on the level of Dilbert.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What is IPv6?

IPv6 Information Page

IPv6 is short for "Internet Protocol Version 6". IPv6 is the "next generation" protocol designed by the IETF to replace the current version Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 ("IPv4").

Most of today's internet uses IPv4, which is now nearly twenty years old. IPv4 has been remarkably resilient in spite of its age, but it is beginning to have problems. Most importantly, there is a growing shortage of IPv4 addresses, which are needed by all new machines added to the Internet.

IPv6 fixes a number of problems in IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses. It also adds many improvements to IPv4 in areas such as routing and network autoconfiguration. IPv6 is expected to gradually replace IPv4, with the two coexisting for a number of years during a transition period.

Now you know.

What is a shim?

A software component inserted at a well known interface between two other software components. "Shim" versions of IPSEC are often implemented at the device driver interface, below the host's TCP/IP network protocol stack.

Now you know.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Joab Jackson interviews Dan Bricklin

Making software that’s immortal

How long should an agency use a piece of software? Dan Bricklin, co-inventor of the first electronic spreadsheet program, thinks applications should last for centuries. Last summer, Bricklin wrote an essay about this idea called “Software That Lasts 200 Years,” which was widely discussed within the IT industry.

In IT circles, the notion of extending software longevity borders on heresy, given how companies thrive on rapid obsolesce and regular upgrade cycles. Still, Bricklin has argued, as electronic data becomes more central to our daily lives, the tools to manipulate that data are much like the roads, bridges and buildings we use every day. As such, he maintains, software should be commissioned and maintained in much the same way.

Bricklin knows a thing or two about software. In 1979 he co-developed VisiCalc while he was a student at Harvard Business School. Although Lotus 1-2-3 eventually eclipsed VisiCalc in the marketplace, Bricklin has continued to work in the field, both as a consultant and a software developer. In 1985 he formed his own company, Software Garden Inc. of Newton Highlands, Mass., which he still runs today.

Bricklin holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business from Harvard University. Staff writer Joab Jackson interviewed Bricklin by phone.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A more prosperous 2005?

Increased 2005 Advertising

Newsday's Monty Phan and James T. Madore report that two advertising forecasters predict notable gains for the industry in 2005, despite the absence of the presidential election and Olympics ad spending that helped drive this year's growth.

Let it be so.

The Center for Open Source & Government

New Conference March 16-17

On May 28th last year, The Department of Defense issued its memo entitled "Open Source Software (OSS) in the Department of Defense (DoD)", which leveled the playing field for Open Source Software. As a result, to be used in the Federal government's market-based, heterogeneous IT environment, Open Source Software must provide best value for money, just like any other software product.

It is within this framework that The General Services Administration (GSA) and The Center of Open Source & Government are co-sponsoring a conference entitled Unlocking Innovation for the Business of Government to discuss the question, "How does Open Source provide an Innovative Solution for E-Government"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why standards and Service Oriented Architecture matter

One Nomad points toward Enterprise Portals Suites Review

Standards-based portals are a must. If the product complies with portal standards, such as WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portlets) and JSR (Java Specification Request)-168, and Web services standards (SOAP, WSDL), you're assured that third-party products will work with it and the applications you develop will work with your existing infrastructure.

Custom applications are the most difficult to include in a portal, but the most sought-after. In the past, developers had to learn platform-specific portal APIs. The massive push toward an SOA (service-oriented architecture) has let portal vendors embrace both Web services standards and portal-specific ones. With these standards, the vendors can offer technology that lets even nontechnical users build custom applications.

Indeed, the goal for many companies is to create complex portals that include composite applications without writing a line of code. Application developers can concentrate on business logic and functionality rather than learning platform-specific APIs or even coding new interfaces to existing applications.

Soon the entire Federal government will be required to conform to open standards, follow developments at the XML community of practice.

Saudis, expats stunned at US consulate assault

Saudis and expatriates said on Tuesday they were still reeling from a brazen al Qaeda attack on the U.S. consulate, the first strike on a Western mission in the kingdom.

There are many lessons here, one of which is that trading liberty for security does not work.

The disappearing dollar

How long can it remain the world's most important reserve currency?

THE dollar has been the leading international currency for as long as most people can remember. But its dominant role can no longer be taken for granted. If America keeps on spending and borrowing at its present pace, the dollar will eventually lose its mighty status in international finance. And that would hurt: the privilege of being able to print the world's reserve currency, a privilege which is now at risk, allows America to borrow cheaply, and thus to spend much more than it earns, on far better terms than are available to others. Imagine you could write cheques that were accepted as payment but never cashed. That is what it amounts to. If you had been granted that ability, you might take care to hang on to it. America is taking no such care, and may come to regret it.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Lexis/Nexis subscription too expensive?

Lexis/Nexis AlaCarte™

Need the latest news on your topic? Search more than 6,000 of the world's leading news sources from the past 2 years. $3/each.

Friday, December 03, 2004

New user group

The Zope/Python Users Group of DC

Congratulations Haberman and Associates

Local Minnesota PR Firm Fights 'The Man'

Since the late 90s, when Microsoft crushed Netscape, the IT world has been waiting for someone to step up to the plate and take on Microsoft--Mozilla Firefox 1.0 browser has answered the call. And while Firefox holds but a fraction of the browser market it underdog status appeals to many.

According to, Minnesota's own Haberman & Associates "recently joined a grassroots effort aimed at making the upstart Firefox browser a plausible alternative to Microsoft's market-dominant but problem-plagued Internet Explorer."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

In praise of mainstream media

As one of the few blogs that does original reporting Technoflak appreciates the work involved in providing a simple account of a meeting, never mind getting it done on deadline.

Everyday broadcasts, newspapers, magazines and web sites offer us a cornucopia of news stories gathered by an army of reporters. This is very expensive. If I were an editor I would not embed links in my online edition except in rare cases. That is what advertising is for; if a newsmaker wants a link, let them pay for it.


One of the best email discussion lists is Ed Lundquist’s Job of the Week. From Fast 50:

The proposition is very simple. Members of the cooperative network share jobs, opportunities, questions and observations with JOTW founder Ned Lundquist. He posts them on his e-mail newsletter and people respond. Boy do they respond. There are more than 7,600 subscribers, and more than 9,800 jobs have been posted since JOTW started in 2001.

To subscribe to Job of the Week send a blank email to: JOTW-subscribe[@]topica[.]com

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The first ever Australian blogging conference

2005.Australian.Blogging.Conference. Feb 2005 - Melbourne, Australia

Technoflak has always wanted to go to Australia.

NBC, CBS and the United Church of Christ

United Church of Christ ad highlighting Jesus' extravagant welcome called 'too controversial'

CLEVELAND -- The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed "too controversial."

The ad, part of the denomination's new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that -- like Jesus -- the United Church of Christ seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies -- and is, therefore, too "controversial."

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations,"
reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot "too controversial."

"It's ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,"
says the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president. "What's going on here?"

It is profoundly disturbing to Technoflak that those who traffic in hate and persecution under color of religion are given hours of free airtime; but her church is unable to buy time to offer a message of love and universal Christian fellowship during the season of peace.

Watch our advertisement and judge for yourself.

Join us for worship this Sunday. All are welcome. Really.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Tech on the Potomac

When people think of technology they think of Silicon Valley, Massachusetts Route 128, or North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Few think of Greater Washington, yet the original Univac was developed for the Census Bureau. The miniaturization necessary for the modern laptop came out of NASA. The Internet came out of the Department of Defense APRA net.

Part of the purpose of this blog is to chronicle the technology scene of greater Washington and give readers a chance to learn about the important work that is done here. Here is a review of Technoflak’s reporting on local technology events:

Federal XML Work Group:

Government XML Community of Practice (not Technoflak’s reporting)

Federal XML Work Group, July 21st meeting

Federal XML work group (from the minutes)

XML Work Group, May 18 Meeting


Tony Byrne of CMS Watch at NCC AIIM

Timothy Sprehe explains Technical Report 48

Mark Mandel’s take of AIIM 2004

AIIM 2004 Show Wrap

DC XML Users Group:

July Meeting of DC XML Users Group

March Meeting of the DC XML Users Group

Northern Virginia Java Users Group:



Everybody is a Public Figure

Independent PR Alliance:

Useful Communication Technologies


Process Improvement Basics

Model Driven Architecture: From Theory to Practice, From Promise to Profit

Security changes everything

Developing Secure Software

Six Sigma & Process Improvement

Yorktown High School Libre Users Group:

Richard Stallman

MIT Enterprise Forum:

Where Will the Money be Spent?

MIT Enterprise Forum

Mid Atlantic TAWPI:

In memory of Herbert Schantz

How to Design a Form for Effective Automatic Character Recognition (from the minutes)

Northern Virginia IEEE:

Dr. Gary McGraw on exploiting software (not technoflak’s reporting)


The Spectacled Bear goes to the DC XML Forum (not Technoflak’s reporting)

Civil service IT humor (not Technoflak’s reporting)

Tech Tuesday: Computer Guys Live at FOSE

Colonial Williamsburg

I spent Thanksgiving weekend touring Colonial Williamsburg. It is an enchantingly beautiful and fascinating place. If there had been time I would have gone to Yorktown battlefield park and Jamestown, which are both nearby.

Their presentation has changed since I was a child; they now acknowledge the presence of slavery and its role in our history.

George Wythe lived just two houses away from the Governor’s Palace. You can only wonder what it must have been like for poor Governor Dunmore to look out his window, only to see Jefferson’s horse outside of Wythe’s house and imagine what sort of plotting was taking place there.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Bigger is not better

Benefits system hit by IT chaos

Pension and benefit payments face disruption after what is being described as the biggest computer crash in government history left as many as 80,000 civil servants staring at blank screens and reverting to writing out giro cheques by hand in the latest blow to a hi-tech Whitehall revolution.

A week-long crisis in the giant Department for Work and Pensions created a backlog of unprocessed claims with up to 80% of the ministry's 100,000 desk machines disrupted or knocked out by a blunder during maintenance.

Engineers battling to fix the problem last night claimed 95% were functioning fully again as they prepared to reboot the entire network after offices closed to the public.

Alan Johnson, the work and pensions secretary, has ordered an internal inquiry into the role of Microsoft and the American contractors EDS, who run the ministry's network as part of a £2bn information technology deal.

The disruption is the latest in a line of government technology failures and follows last week's resignation of the head of the Child Support Agency, part of Mr Johnson's empire, after the disastrous introduction of an EDS system contributed to only one in eight parents receiving the correct amount.

How many of these disasters are we going to read about before we learn that you don’t need a big company to handle a big job? Small companies can often do a better job at a lower price.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving

We gather together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Can you make money on free software?

Linux server sales top $1 billion in Q3
Year-over-year revenue from Linux server sales is up 42.6%

Apparently so.

The Media Drop’s stuggle with comment spam

Hello, those who have been redirected. In case you're wondering, I've been unable to publish since about noon Eastern time on Tuesday, November 23 due to a *ahem* problem with my webhost, who has "removed" my Movable Type installation due to the problems with my site being a target for comment spamming.

The web host can thank their lucky stars The Media Drop hasn’t named them.

In praise of dial-up

Jim Horton can’t believe that most of us are still on dial up. Technoflak prefers the superior security of dial-up. The dynamic IP address combined with the ability to turn off access makes dial-up inherently more secure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Call for Award Nominees: Peripheral Concepts' 2005 Network Storage Product Awards

The Industry Analyst Reporter

Peripheral Concepts' Network Storage Conference is accepting nominations for its 2005 awards program. The awards program recognizes outstanding achievements made by pioneering companies within the network storage industry. Any company, whether exhibiting at the NSC 2005 or not, meeting basic entry criteria may submit products for consideration. The submission deadline is December 15, 2004.

Best wishes to Dan, I rather liked him

(CBS) Dan Rather announced Tuesday that he will step down as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News in March, 24 years after his first broadcast in that position.


They should replace him with Mika Brzezinski, that would give us a cheery face to look at each evening.

Singing the spywaye uninstall blues

From Slashdot:

Anti-Spyware Test (Guide)

If any lessons or conclusions can be drawn from these tests at all, they are quite general:

* Spyware and adware can prove quite difficult to remove, even for dedicated anti-spyware scanners.

In the second and third group of tests, for example, one of the installed programs prevented the anti-spyware scanners from running on reboot, a common method used by anti-spyware scanners to remove stubborn spyware and adware that is currently in memory on a PC. As a result, some spyware and adware was not removed by the anti-spyware scanners during reboot that otherwise might have.

* No single anti-spyware scanner removes everything. (1) Even the best-performing anti-spyware scanner in these tests missed fully one quarter of the "critical" files and Registry entries.

* It is better to use two or more anti-spyware scanners in combination, as one will often detect and remove things that others do not.

* Where possible, users should become familiar with the use of HijackThis! in order to remove stubborn spyware and adware that standard anti-spyware scanners fail to remove. Less experienced users should know how to get help from the expert volunteers who provide free HijackThis! log advice and analysis at major anti-spyware forums.

* Prevention is always preferable to scanning and removal, and users should securely configure their PCs and install anti-malware protection to prevent the installation of spyware and adware in the first place.

* Moreover, users should learn to practice safe computing habits, which include avoiding web sites and programs of unknown or dubious provenance and carefully reading End User License Agreements and Privacy Policies.

Why isn’t spyware illegal?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ask and ye shall receive

Spoken search engine results

The struggle for the National Science Foundation

NSF FY 2005 Appropriations Update

Conflicting rumors abound regarding the outlook for NSF in the FY 05 appropriations process. As House and Senate negotiators attempt to put the finishing touches on an omnibus appropriations bill by Friday or Saturday, word comes that NSF will likely not fare well in the bill. reports that a bit of rule-bending employed by the Senate to "find" an additional $1.2 billion in funding in their version of the VA-HUD-Independent agencies appropriation bill, which includes funding for NSF, isn't acceptable to the House leadership or the White House budget office. So in order to stay within the budget cap, appropriators will have offset any increase in spending with funding from elsewhere in the bill.

In order to fund the President's lunar/Mars initiative at NASA, it appears other agencies in the bill will bear the brunt. reports that NSF is slated for a $60 million cut overall compared to the agency's FY 2004 funding level, but that "research funding" -- presumably the agency's Research and Related Activities account, which contains funding for NSF CISE -- will "remain frozen" at FY 2004 levels.

So much of our future, economic and otherwise, is dependent on good science that failure to invest now is a great loss to the nation.

Great presentation titles

Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue: Technology, Politics, and the Fight to Control Digital Media

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Email, text vs. HTML

Recently, a volunteer organization that Technoflak participates in sent out an HTML mass-email via the organization’s email client. Only the email would not go through, and after much discussion it transpired that there was something in the HTML that kept getting caught in the organization’s spam filter. After much tweaking it finally went through. Apparently it never occurred to anyone to put the email into text and send it through. Advanced registrations for the annual seminar were jeopardized by the delay.

The Ad-Marketing list is currently debating the merits of sending out email in text vs. HTML. Someone suggested doing a test, sending out half in plain text and half in HTML and comparing the response. This strikes Technoflak as an excellent suggestion. If, as she suspects, the HTML is not producing better response rates it can be abandoned.

Technoflak only sends plain text email and rarely sends attachments. With so many people retrieving email on mobile devices, it is critical to respect bandwidth. Moreover, HTML is bait for spam filters. A well crafted text message will lure the reader to your web site where you can show off all your fancy HTML.

What is wrong with sending HTML or MIME messages?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Kevin Sites, a hero for our time

Posts on conservative website advocate violence against journalist

The discussion board at, a prominent right-wing online forum, contains numerous posts from members advocating violence against NBC News correspondent Kevin Sites, who recorded and reported the close-range shooting by a U.S. Marine of an unarmed and wounded Iraqi insurgent.

Comments about Sites on Free Republic include:

* "Turn Sites over to the terrorist."
* "Fragamundo."
* "No need for anything overt. Unfortunate things happen in combat zones, and if the reporter fails to hear someone yell 'Sniper!!', well, c'est la guerre" [French for "that is war"].
* [In response to a post suggesting Sites's "life is in danger being around the Marines"]: "I would certainly hope so."
* "I hope the Marines advance and leave Sites behind...alone in Fallujah with his terrorist buddies."
* "I don't want the punk killed, I'd just like to see his hair mussed. Jaws wired shut for a few months, food through a straw, that kind of thing."
* "It's Kevin Sites who deserves to be held in contempt and who deserves the losing end of a bar fight."
* "I don't give a flying you-know-what about his safety."

Nobody ever hurt America with the truth, nobody ever helped America with a lie.

Why journalism matters, the International Federation of Journalists

More Than 100 Journalists Killed This Year

BRUSSELS, Belgium - More than 100 journalists have been killed since January, making 2004 the most deadly year for journalists in a decade, an international media rights group said.

The slayings of three journalists in recent days in Ivory Coast, Nicaragua and the Philippines pushed this year's total to 101, the International Federation of Journalists said Friday.

"2004 is turning out to be one of the most bloody years on record," said Aidan White, the federation's general secretary. "The crisis of news safety has reached an intolerable level and must be addressed urgently."

The organization recorded 83 killings of media staff in 2003 and 70 in 2002. The most deadly year for journalists since the organization began compiling annual reports in 1988 was 1994, when 115 were killed, including 48 during the genocide in Rwanda.

This year's latest victim was Gene Boyd R. Lumawag, photo editor for the independent Filipino news agency MindaNews, shot in the head Friday by an unknown gunman while on his way to take a picture of the sunset in the southern town of Jolo.

Fellow flacks, without an independent and credible press our work is meaningless. We have a vested interest in protecting journalists. Let us support the work of organizations that protect journalists.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why Dan Gillmor is a great journalist

Remembering Comdex

But I want to recall the better part of Comdex. For years it was the place where companies showed off new technology, or at least bragged about what they were planning to sell. It was a place where industry luminaries showed up not just to flog products but also to roam the cavernous convention floors, looking at all the cool new stuff people were inventing.

I will miss a ritual I later adopted at the Consumer Electronics Show, which for many of us replaced Comdex as the most important show of the year. I'd walk the most distant parts of the show floor in the most remote pavilion, far away from where gigantic companies like Microsoft, Intel and others held forth, looking for interesting technology that the small fry -- unable to afford prime show-floor real estate -- had wanted us to see. I'd see genuine entrepreneurship in action, and always learned something.

Attention editors and reporters, the exciting work in technology is almost always done by the little guys. If you are not telling their stories your readers will not be able to follow the industry.

(emphasis Technoflak)

What is a rubber ducky type antenna?


The most popular type of portable antenna, is assembled by radiation elements, usually coaxial cable or copper coil, with injection-molded sleeve, typical material for the sleeve is polyurethane. The overall construction provides flexibility, durability, and style. Our portable rubber ducky antennas models operate from VHF/UHF Land Mobil frequency band up to 6 GHz.

Now you know.

Monday, November 15, 2004

DARPA wants info about war ideas

Federal Computer Week:

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency officials want ideas on using computational techniques to disrupt enemy leaders' decision-making processes.

DARPA officials want papers on the topic by Dec. 10. They will choose the best ones and ask the authors attend a meeting in late January 2005, according to a Nov. 10 notice on the Government Business Opportunities Web site.

Sounds like some really cool stuff.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Goliath vs. Goliath

IBM set to back open-source proposals

IBM is expected to add its weight to the debate on open computing standards on Monday, backing European Commission proposals that all word processing and other office software used by governments across Europe be standardised and interoperable.

The move will put additional pressure on Microsoft to open up its proprietary Office software suite, or risk being excluded from orders by government departments across Europe.

The Commission has been pushing to ensure that all EU citizens can access public sector documents without being tied to a particular company or software system.

Making transparency your enemy

Never be arbitrary in your dealings with the public. A case study in the importance of maintaining transparency is now unfolding across lefty blogosphere.

Alabama Medicaid has notified the mother of a disabled child that her child’s case no longer meets the criteria for the program. According to WPMI News, no elaboration was made on why this child’s situation failed to meet the criteria.

By refusing to explain the decision to the child’s mother or WPMI, Dr. Mary McIntyre has focused attention on herself rather than the Medicaid program. One of the many reasons for transparency is that it focuses attention on the issue at hand rather than the personalities. So now Dr. McIntrye has been cast in the role of the heartless beauracrat by the local TV news.

But that is just the beginning of her problems. In a post dated 9:22 PM last night Atrios, the blogger who played such an important role in bringing down Trent Lott, promised his readers that they would take action the following morning. This morning he posted Dr. McIntyre’s office telephone number and email address, encouraging his readers to make inquiries. Bloggers Oliver Willis and Steve Gilliard have both taken up the cause. By now Dr. McIntyre’s phone is jumping off the hook with unpleasant inquiries and her in box is jammed with similar messages.

How could this have been avoided? Had she explained the basis of her decision, Dr. McIntyre would still be unpopular, but Medicaid would be focus of attention, rather than those who administer it.

Railing at irresponsible bloggers will do no good. Blogosphere, for better or worse, is not going anywhere. As I have written before, those who fail to make transparency their friend will find it a formidable enemy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

2005 Federal 100 award

The Federal 100 recognizes individuals from government, industry and academia who significantly influenced how the federal government buys, uses or manages information technology. Federal 100 winners are recognized for their risk-taking, vision and pioneering spirit in the federal IT community.

The best PR advice Technoflak can possibly offer is to nominate your customer. If your customer looks good, you look good.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 17, 2004.

International Association of Online Communicators


Very interesting material, check it out.

Why journalism matters, Dilip Mohapatra has the story about the murder of Dilip Mohapatra, editor of India's Aji Kagaj newspaper.

In memory of Herbert Schantz

Herbert Schantz died of cancer this past Sunday. He was president of the local TAWPI chapter.

Schantz was one of a select group of consultants who shape the local technology industry. He was a member of NCC AIIM and wrote regular articles for our newsletter.

Much of how we process banking transactions and how we process forms was influenced by Schantz’s work, both as a consultant and his work for TAWPI.

His wake is tonight at Adams Green in Herndon and the funeral is at St. Catharine’s off of Georgetown Pike on Thursday morning.

This is one of his many articles:

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

New to sidebar

Capital Area .Net Users Group

Quick view of corporate blogging

Elizabeth Albrycht points to this very concise guide to corporate blogging.

NewComm Forum Americas West 2005

NewComm Forum Americas West, Napa, CA, January 26-27, 2005
NewComm Forum Europe 2005 will be held in early February in Paris, France

New Communications Forum: Blog University is not a traditional conference. Rather, it is an interactive, international forum, comprising an extended, meaningful conversation and the sharing of ideas and theories about the future of marketing communications. The forum will also include an online component, beginning two months prior to the events, and continuing afterwards, giving attendees the ability to start learning immediately via the website, blog and wiki.

Technoflak is very excited to be participating. Also nervous.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Security watch

We do need passports with more data," says computer security expert Bruce Schneier. "But they chose a chip that can be queried remotely and surreptitiously. I can't think of any reason why the government would do that, other than that they want surreptitious access."

For those foolish enough to imagine we should just trust our government, devices that can be remotely accessed by our government can be remotely accessed by any government, or any organiation with the budget and motivation to do so. Does that make you feel more secure?

Libel legal jurisdiction blues

Jim Horton points to this most important article on the international libel lawsuit trend.

We are going to have to reconcile the issues of free speech, the individual’s right of redress when they have been libeled and national soverignty.

Partnering with IT: the Key to RIM Success

ARMA NOVA Seminar 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Northern Virginia Chapter of ARMA, Intl. welcomes you to a one-day seminar designed to help you Partner with Information Technology Professionals in your organization to ensure your success and the success of your RIM Program.

Join Charles Dollar, Ph.D. as he helps us understand the implications of the Forrester Report recently released by ARMA, International and what we need to know about Information Technology to forge partnerships with the IT Professionals to manage electronic records and information.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Cease fire in the OS wars?

Microsoft .Net and J2EE coexist nicely

In the so-called “platform wars,” Microsoft .Net and Java 2 Enterprise Edition have roughly equal market share and will continue to coexist, said Brian Lyons, chief technology officer of Number Six Software Inc. of Arlington, Va. “I was really surprised by how split the marketplace is,” he said.

Lyons contrasted the two Web services platforms yesterday at a conference sponsored by the National Capital Chapter of the Association for Information and Image Management.

The Office of Management and Budget has recommended that agencies choose one of the two for their e-government business initiatives and technology reference models.

Friday, November 05, 2004

e-Gov goes to war

Navy puts warfighting first

The war in the Middle east is squeezing the Navy’s electronic government efforts, deputy Navy Department CIO Robert J. Carey said today at an Arlington, Va., conference sponsored by the National Capital Chapter of the Association for Information and Image Management.

Carey said the Navy’s seed-funding of e-business initiatives through an office in the Naval Supply Systems Command is “morphing under the huge bill for the fleet in the Persian Gulf. We recognize the need to seed things, nevertheless—to carve out money to advance corporate change.” He said the e-business office has returned $7 in savings for every dollar invested.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

A republic, if you can keept it.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

New to blog roll


Small is accountable

Dominic of Epicycle explains:

The overall problem, as I see it (and this is where, when talking to my friend, I started waving my arms a lot) is that the government is using the wrong sort of IT company to design and build these systems: they are fixated on the idea that when you need a large scale IT project, only a large scale IT company can possibly do the job. This leads them inexorably to the UK's big name consultancies - the likes of Anderson (or whatever they are calling themselves since the Enron embarrassment), Ernst & Young, Siemens Business Services, KPMG, Cap Gemini, or indeed my old nemesis Sema.

I'm convinced that this isn't necessarily the case, though. There are some extremely keen and talented analysts and programmers working for small IT companies in the UK, and these little firms are sleek, nimble and hungry... Unlike the big boys they don't expect £100,000 just to turn up to the first consultancy meeting, and with a complete lack of giant glass-walled office buildings and squadrons of overpaid managers in Mercedes, their idea of an outrageous fee is many orders of magnitude less than anything their more bloated cousins would ever contemplate. Furthermore, their staff usually take a far greater pride in their work than the faceless contract clones who end up employed by the big consultancies, and really care about delivering what they have promised, on time and in budget. Contract staff can leave behind their mistakes when they move to other projects or other companies - but if a small company is going to survive at all, it simply can't afford to make those sorts of mistakes in the first place, and this almost always shows in the overall quality of the systems that they produce.

Why do buyers think that bigger companies are better? Because they have heard of them, simply a matter of publicity. That is why I founded Presto Vivace, Inc. Simply getting a good feature story will give a small company the high profile they need to compete. Better copy for readers, better stories for reporters, better value for taxpayers, everybody wins.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Steve Chapman on the Valerie Plame case

Chicago Tribune (registration required)

If you witness a crime and are called to testify about it, you have two choices: do it or go to jail. When people in my profession receive that sort of invitation, though, they prefer a third option: telling the prosecutor to go pound sand. ...

The prosecutor has already met a stringent test designed to prevent the abuse of journalists. There are two other reasons that Miller and Cooper should testify: The crime is a serious one, and the public gained nothing from the revelation. If Miller and Cooper know the source of this illegal leak and refuse to tell, they are protecting a criminal who betrayed his country.

Precisely so.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Someone is spoofing Presto Vivace, Inc

Someone is spoofing the Presto Vivace, Inc. corporate email. I just received the following notice-

From Fri Oct 29 13:13:03 2004
Received: from ([])
by (mtiwmxc11) with ESMTP
id <2004102917102801100ah5rce>; Fri, 29 Oct 2004 17:10:28 +0000
X-Originating-IP: []
Received: from ( [])
by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with ESMTP id i9THARQ06270
for ; Fri, 29 Oct 2004 12:10:27 -0500
Received: from localhost (iscan@localhost)
by (8.11.6+Sun/8.11.6) with SMTP id i9TH97h29175
for ; Fri, 29 Oct 2004 19:09:07 +0200 (MET DST)
Message-Id: <>
X-Authentication-Warning: iscan owned process doing -bs
Subject: Spam mail warning notification! (Attachment Removal)
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 19:09:01 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

**************** eManager Notification *****************

The following mail was blocked since it contains sensitive content.

Source mailbox:
Destination mailbox(es):
Policy: Attachment Removal
Attachment file name: message.scr - audio/x-wav
Action: Replaced with text

eManager has removed a sensitive attachment file in the email.

******************* End of message *********************

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Subject: Mail Delivery (failure
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:10:22 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal



What, if anything, can be done?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Boston Panel Discussion on Blogging

November 11th ¨The Changing Face of the Web II ¨Blogging: How companies are using blogs to engage their audiences and build brand”

Knowledge Management 2005 Conference and Exhibition


Deadline for Abstract Submission is Tuesday, November 30, 2004.

The FCW Media Group, producers of E-Gov Institute events and Federal Computer Week, is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the 6th Annual Knowledge Management Conference, to be held April 20-22, 2005 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. This is your opportunity to participate in the Knowledge Management 2005 Conference as a member of the faculty.

All you need is love

The Love Approach

But there was a third set of communicators who employed a breathtakingly simple and successful procedure that Harvard terms the relationship-raising approach. Before making a request for change from their partner, they merely made mention of their existing relationship. They might say, "You know, we've been together for a while now" or "We're a couple; we share the same goals." Then, they'd deliver their appeal: "So, I'd appreciate it if you could find a way to change your stand on this one." Or, in the most streamlined version of the relationship-raising approach, these individuals simply incorporated the pronouns "we," "our," and "us" into their request.

The outcome? The relationship partners exposed to this technique shifted significantly in the requested direction (Oriña, Wood, and Simpson, 2002).

Tom Biro on marketing to youth

Not long ago Technoflak sent Tom Biro a link to Edelman’s post on marketing to youth, expecting a suitably snarky comment. Instead Biro has written a thoughtful response that is well worth reading.

No comment

Russian region bans foul language

A Colorful View of Titan

This false-color image shows Saturn's moon Titan in ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. It was taken during Cassini's successful flyby on Oct. 26, 2004

all cassini images

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tony Byrne of CMS Watch at NCC AIIM

By way of introducing the evening’s speaker, Mark Mandel promised, “If you’ve ever wondered what chunking means, you will learn tonight.” A lady from Computer Associates sitting at my table said, “Oh good, that’s what I came for.”

Tony Byrne began by saying he had joined AIIM five to six years ago and that it had opened his eyes to content management. He announced that CMS Watch’s second report on enterprise search would be coming out soon.

His presentation surveyed the enterprise content management and web content management market place, and product trends and concluded with thoughts and advice on procurement.

“Instead of a layer cake slide, I have a ‘cheese board’,” Byrne said, showing an illustration of content management technologies. He described imaging as the “granddaddy” of content management. He proceeded through a series of technologies concluding with digital rights management. Gesturing at the slide, Byrnes said, “Any of these vendors will call themselves a provider of enterprise content management systems.” All have certain capabilities including versioning, click chart, process management, and business rules. But Byrne said that no one had a truly complete enterprise content management system.

He liked AIIM’s view of enterprise content management as a discipline. Reviewing the industry’s recent history, he described how major enterprise suite vendors had added capabilities by acquiring smaller companies. He said it was very unlikely that you could buy a big suite that will solve your problems.

Content management originated with single source repositories with multichannel publishing (part of what SGML was designed to do). Problems arise when content is pushed out, under goes changes and is sent back to the repository.

Your choice of content management system will be governed by the application at the center of your system. Different kinds of companies will have different kinds of applications at the center of their business. For example, HBO decided that digital asset management would be the center of their system; while professional services firms want collaborative applications at the center of their systems.

Byrne explained that web content management systems take data from data bases, structured documents, unstructured documents, and media and push it out to PDF, publishing out to the web site, wireless, and xml.

Chunking content is breaking it up into components and reassembling it. There is a cost to managing content at a very granular level, when models are too fine grain. IT architecture firms now have consultants who specialize in up-chunking. Byrne apologized for explaining this at dinner.

Content management systems come in three categories, production-oriented (imaging), delivery-oriented (portals and application servers), and full cycle. In some content management systems you must use the same system to manage and deliver content (Microsoft, to no one’s surprise).

Byrne described the range of content management vendors. Enterprise level, that is, large-scale platforms are typically marketed in multidimensional "suites" that span many function points but may be less well-suited for straightforward web content management projects.

Upper tier providers target large departments and corporations, and their products tend to focus more narrowly on web content management.

Mid-Market packages target mid-market firms or enterprise departments and usually trade customizability for ease-of-implementation.

Lower-priced products target relatively straightforward web content management requirements.

Open source (which Byrne described as “free as in speech, free as in beer”) has the functionality of upper tier systems and can be expensive to integrate. CMS Watch uses Mid Gard.

Byrne described all content management systems as underperforming. “The vendors I’m talking about are in the room” (cheerful laughter).

He said there were few big deals for web content management anymore and that it is usually sold as an add-on. Interwoven and Vignette began as web content management companies and bought complementary systems during the boom. Byrne thought the companies they acquired have stronger products.

He said many analysts think the web content management area is in the dumps, but he pointed out that the smaller firms are doing well. The upper tier companies are feasting on the enterprise companies’ accounts and the middle tier is winning on simplicity and rapid implementation. He quoted Warren Buffet, “When the tide goes out we will find out who is wearing a swim suit.” He observed that while doom and gloom have been predicted for years, it never comes.

Buyers think that their content management system should be delivering their web site, but Byrne said the systems are not doing that and probably should not. He said all content should be on the server and behind the firewall; that way if one goes away you still have the data.

He divided systems into bake and fry. In a bake system, pages are created within the content management system and then delivered to the web page. In a fry system, content is served from sources and delivered to the user. Byrne said, “I am a fan of bake.” However, when you need user input to assemble a page and need to dynamically serve content from a data base, a fry system works best.

He described the Microsoft system as moving from development to authoring to staging before being deployed through security to the web. It is expensive because it is licensed per CPU.

Byrne said the “devil is still in the development.” It is crucial to have strong software architecture in the beginning, which he described as really boring and technical. He knew of at least two federal installations that were delayed twelve to sixteen months because of security issues.

There are some good automatic deployment tools. “That is the good side of the story. But usability is still not great.” Content contributors and site visitors are looking for good search tools.

Records management systems are using Outlook. Technoflak asked, “Does that have a security problem?” Byrne asked, “In what respect?”, Technoflak elaborated, “Just that Outlook has an unhappy history.” Byrne answered, “To the extent that Outlook has security problems, anything you do in Outlook will have problems.”

Byrne had nice things to say about Interwoven, observing that it is configurable in XML and is appealing to both power users and passive users.

At one time the industry thought that thick clients were gone, that you can can use a browser for everything. Some web content management providers (OpenText) have brought back thickish clients.

Byrne began to talk about the importance of metadata and taxonomy. Byrne explained how metadata can be taken from a central store of attributes. Multifaceted taxonomy can create multiple hierarchies such as industry, service, geography.

Licensing is all over the map: per CPU, server, domain or contributor and sometimes, combinations of these. Technoflak would observe that pricing that is confusing is poor customer relations. Nowhere is the need for transparency greater than in pricing.

Byrne highlighted the rise of hosted vendors. Many thought that this business model would not succeed, but some are doing well. They can put their money into developing features and functionality rather than supporting a variety of operating systems.

Byrne offered guidance on deciding whether you need a content management system. Does your information need cleaning? Do you have consistent metadata standards? well defined business processes? If you cannot answer yes to these questions, maybe a content management system is not a good idea. You might be better off with a simple workflow system, which would give you templates and versioning. However, there is considerable cost when you have to move from workflow to a full content management system.

XML works better in a baking environment. Byrne explained the difference between reuse (breaking documents down to a very granular level) and repurposing (taking an entire document into a different format for a different purpose). He seemed to think repurposing was more practical.

Byrne advised attendees that they should expect to pay more for services than systems, something like a 7/3 ratio. He advised buyers to ask for narrative cases rather than check boxes. Don’t ask if a system has WYSIWYG or multitasking; ask how a product supports those capabilities. Buyers should form interdisciplinary teams; federal agencies should include a contracting officer early on. (Technoflak is reminded of a presentation at DC SPIN where the presenter said he was going to write a story in which the heroic contracting officer slew the Feature Creep.) Byrne also stressed the importance of testing before buying. “Don’t go to the vendor’s solutions center, test on site.” He concluded by saying, “Don’t postpone deploying a web content management system waiting for enterprise content management nirvana.”

The floor was thrown open for questions, led off by a gentleman from the production side of Federal Computer Week. He pointed out that some objects in print have no business on the web or need to have a different structure. For example, their top 100 vendors feature has a picture of the CEO of each company, but on the web the companies should simply be hyper linked. Byrne agreed that different renditions should handle content differently. In the ideal world you would have an authoritative XML repository, but you would still need both a print management and web content management system.

Byrne said the tricky thing in the federal space is the requirement that web and print content be identical, at least in respect to text. Change must be synchronized so that changes in one are immediately made in the other.

Managing Enterprise Content Glossary

From the The Rockley Group

MediaSyndicate - Free News Release Posting Service

Submit your press releases on this site for free.

Technoflak uses the Presto Vivace data base for press releases. Please comment if you have any experience with MediaSyndicate, positive or negative.

Gateway to local newspapers

News Voyager

Thank you Lois Carter Fay.

Guy Kawasaki on being a panelist

Mike Manual has some great quotes from Guy Kawasaki on being a panelist.

1. Control your introduction. Bring a copy of your bio and hand it to the moderator to introduce you. Don’t depend on what the moderator came up with. And, like in speeches, cut the sales pitch about your organization. To make your organization look good, be an informative panelist not a loudmouth braggart. ...

Technoflak would add cut the company background down to the name of your company and a one sentence description of your business. The audience came to hear about the subject at hand, not your company.

3. Tell the truth—especially when the truth is obvious. Most people expect panelists to lie when they encounter a tough question, so if you don’t lie, you establish credibility for your other answers. ...

Give your audience credit for being both intelligent and fair. They know that you and your company have feet of clay. Admitting this enhances credibility rather than otherwise. Keep in mind the large number of eastern European refugees in our industry. Anything along the lines of “we have exceeded our quota by %500” will seem comically discreditable.

7. Make casual conversation. You’re on stage, but act like you’re not. Simply make conversation with the moderator and other panelists. Don’t pontificate and don’t “make a speech.” Interact with the everyone (even the audience) in a casual way. ...

Technoflak knows from experience that this is easier to do if you look directly at the audience and make eye contact with individuals within the audience.

10. Provide a way to get in touch with you. Most panelists think this is masochistic: Why would I want to provide my contact info to an audience of hundreds of people? The answer is twofold: first, don’t flatter yourself—very few people will actually make contact with you; second, a small number of those who do will be valuable.

You would hardly think this advice necessary, but apparently it is. How can your audience do business with you if they do not know how to get in contact with you? Technoflak saw Kawasaki speak and can attest he practices what he preaches.

Technoflak would advise to have someone specific in mind when you prepare, it could be a prospective customer, a current customer, or anyone specific in your industry. It is easier to write copy or prepare a presentation if you have someone specific in mind. Try to think of what you could say that would put money in that person’s pocket, it might be a way to use technology more securely or more efficiently. It might be a way they could choose a better system, or how to migrate to a better system with as little grief as possible. But you should concentrate on giving your audience something of specific value, that way they will think of your company first when they are looking to solve a problem, or recommend you to a friend.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The virtual trade show arrives

It was just a question of time before virtual trades shows supplemented live conferences. Public relations was first, now Ziff Davis is launching the first IT virtual conference.

Ziff Davis Media Security Virtual Tradeshow; The Ultimate IT Security Experience

Ziff Davis Media eSeminars division is launching the Security Virtual Tradeshow bringing together the top security experts in the technology industry for a two-day online event focused exclusively on the most pressing IT security issues. Through a series of keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions featuring government officials, IT corporate executives and leading industry analysts, this event promises to educate you on the growing threats facing your IT systems and then supply you with action items to help you safeguard against any future attacks.

This virtual tradeshow will offer registrants an online platform to visit vendor booths and learn more about the latest security technology products and services, as well as provide an interactive forum to personally communicate with vendor representatives as well as the security experts that are participating in the panel discussions.

Registering for the Ziff Davis Media Security Virtual Tradeshow will allow you free and unlimited access to two days worth of programming. Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation email with updates and reminders as we approach the date of the tradeshow.

Friday, October 22, 2004

14th Annual Press Freedom Awards Dinner

The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor four journalists—from Belarus, Burma, Burundi, and the United States—with 2004 International Press Freedom Awards in November.

Svetlana Kalinkina is the former editor-in-chief of the popular Minsk business daily Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta (BDG), which endured years of legal and bureaucratic harassment from Belarusian authorities because of its critical reporting on various government abuses. Officials filed several civil and criminal lawsuits against the paper, seized print runs, threatened and detained journalists, and conducted politically motivated tax inspections. In early 2004, the post office and national state-run press distributor broke their contracts with the newspaper and refused to distribute it. A journalist from the newspaper also received several death threats via telephone. In addition, the Information Ministry aggressively harassed any printer that worked with BDG, forcing the newspaper to print in neighboring Russia. In January, the Information Ministry issued its third official warning to BDG, leaving the newspaper vulnerable to court-ordered closure. By September, government restrictions had drastically cut the newspaper's circulation, with only a handful of private vendors distributing the daily amid police harassment.

Alexis Sinduhije is the founder and director of Burundi's Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), which has defied government bans and intimidation to become one of war-torn Burundi's most popular radio stations. RPA was launched in early 2001 at a time when Burundi was seeking to end a devastating eight-year conflict between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis. The station has sought to promote peace by hiring both Hutus and Tutsis, including ex-combatants, to work on the editorial team. "I wanted to humanize relations between the ethnic groups in Burundi and set an example of former enemies working together to build peace," says Sinduhije. The station's courageous investigative reporting and grassroots approach to issues affecting ordinary Burundians has earned it the nickname "the People's Radio." RPA has achieved this in a region where many view private radio with suspicion because of the incendiary role that neighboring Rwanda's RTLM radio played in the 1994 genocide there.

In September 2003, authorities closed RPA, along with another private station, for airing an interview with a rebel spokesman. However, private stations announced that they would not broadcast any government news or statements for the duration of the ban, and this solidarity helped get the sanction lifted three days later. RPA's investigative reporting on sensitive issues such as human rights abuses and corruption has endangered Sinduhije and his staff. In February 2003, armed men broke into Sinduhije's house and murdered his security guard, but the journalist believes that the attackers meant to kill him. Despite the difficulties, RPA continues to delve into sensitive issues as it attempts to foster peace and reconciliation in a country racked by ethnic violence.

Aung Pwint, a documentary filmmaker, editor, and poet, and Thaung Tun, an editor, filmmaker, and poet better known by his pen name, Nyein Thit, were arrested separately in Burma in early October 1999 and have been imprisoned ever since. CPJ sources said they were arrested for filming independent video documentaries that portrayed the grim reality of everyday life in Burma, including footage of forced labor and hardship in rural areas. Aung Pwint worked at a private media company that produced videos for tourism and educational purposes, but he also worked with Thaung Tun on documentary-style projects. Their videotapes circulated through underground networks.

The ruling military junta had prohibited Aung Pwint from making videos in 1996 "because they were considered to show too negative a picture of Burmese society and living standards," according to Human Rights Watch. A notable poet, he has also written under the name Maung Aung Pwint.

The same year they were arrested, the two men were tried together, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison. Pwint was convicted of "illegal possession of a fax machine" and of "sending news" to banned Burmese newspapers. CPJ sources say that Pwint still plays an active role in defending press freedom from prison. Pwint's family has been severely impoverished as a result of his imprisonment, and Tun is reportedly suffering from a brain ailment as a result of his confinement.

Paul Klebnikov, an American journalist of Russian descent, was shot eight times by at least one assassin in a passing car when he stepped outside his office on July 9, 2004, in Moscow. He died shortly after arriving at a hospital, becoming the 11th journalist in Russia to be murdered in a contract-style killing since President Vladimir Putin took power in 2000. To date, no one has been brought to justice in any of the cases.

Klebnikov joined Forbes magazine in 1989 and rose to the position of senior editor specializing in Russian and Eastern European politics and economics before leaving the U.S.-based magazine to assume the editorship of Forbes Russia in 2004. Klebnikov launched the magazine in April 2004, believing that reforms were propelling the country toward greater transparency in business and politics. With his fluency in Russian and doctorate from the London School of Economics, Klebnikov was uniquely qualified to investigate Russia's business world. In his first editorial, Klebnikov wrote that Russian business had arrived at a "new, more civilized stage of development" and cited the launch of Forbes' Russian edition as evidence.

Forbes Russia attracted significant attention in May when it published a list of Russia's wealthiest people and reported that Moscow had 33 billionaires, more than any other city in the world. Publication of the list focused attention on Russia's richest people, many of whom are trying to keep a low profile. Klebnikov's book, Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia, was published in August 2001 and outlined the rise of one of the country's most powerful oligarchs.

Why journalism matters, Veronika Cherkesova and Interfax both have details on the murder of Belarussian "opposition" journalist Veronika Cherkesova, whose body was found on Wednesday in her apartment.

Committee for the Protection of Journalism, Belarus Report

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

How to get watched

The CMS Watch “Top 40”

The CMS Watch Product List is a service to prospective CMS buyers. According to Web directory DMOZ, more than 1000 software products call themselves CMS packages. We deliberately limit our tally to 40 packages listed across 7 categories, to help you quickly identify a reasonable "long list" of possible solutions to investigate. ...

Message to vendor applicants: We revise this list 2- to 3-times per year; our next review will occur in late November, 2004. Should you wish to have your package considered, please write to info[@]CMSWatch[.]com, addressing in detail the attributeds bulleted above. Please note that we receive several such submissions a week, and therefore can only reply for more information should your package become a finalist for further consideration. To apply, you should respond in detail to the criteria above and be sure include median product license fees as well as total annual software revenues for your firm. The list will remain limited to 40 packages in any case, so note that any new entrants must "bump" incumbents.

This sort of application should not be made in a hurry. Technoflak would advise interested vendors to wait fot the next edition.

Geoffrey R. Stone on the Plame case

Miller, Novak, Plame, Wilson

Finally, it is essential to note that this incident does not involve the intrusion into a confidential source relationship. A confidential source provides information to the press that is useful to the public. Such communications merit First Amendment protection because the information disclosed serves a legitimate public interest. The members of the administration who "outed" Valerie Plame (if indeed they did this) were not confidential sources. They were criminals whose very disclosure of the information was itself the criminal act. There is no First Amendment reason to protect or promote such communications. Even under the most expansive version of the confidential source privilege, such individuals are not entitled to protection because they are not blowing a whistle but directly and intentionally violating the law. If any member of the Bush administration told Judith Miller that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA operative, she should drop the claim that this unlawful act is protected by the First Amendment and, like any other citizen, report their criminal conduct.

One small quibble. Closet homosexuals are outed. CIA case officers are betrayed.