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.

Job Cuts in U.S. Tech Sector Soar, Report Finds

The U.S. technology sector suffered another round of widespread layoffs during the third quarter, with computer firms slashing jobs most aggressively, a report said on Monday.


Netpreneur Exchange, venture capital series

Living with Venture Capitalists Post-Investment

DATE: Tuesday, October 19, 2004

TIME: 7:00 am - 8:00 am Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking

8:00 am - 9:30 am Program

9:30 am - 10:00 am Networking

LOCATION: Ritz Carlton -Tysons Corner - 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, Virginia

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Entrepreneurs (first time and repeat), their Advisors, etc.

COST: Free


Come learn what life is like after a venture capital deal closes and how it impacts you and your business. You will hear leading experts in the Mid-Atlantic venture community, including four partners from the area's leading venture firms, candidly discuss the investor-entrepreneur relationship that follows the closing of a venture deal. Important lessons will include the following:

· What value-add can you expect from VC's (and how to maximize it)?

· What are the VC's expectations after the deal has closed?

· How to keep the investor - entrepreneur relationship from going sour?

· What to expect when visions for the company begin to diverge?

· When should you seek additional venture capital?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Government XML Community of Practice

COLAB Community Wiki

This is the COLAB Community Wiki, an integral part of its Collaborative Work Environment ("CWE"). The wiki is intended for use by trusted team and members of the community for collaborative documentation. What we have here is a read-and-write web, as opposed to the traditional read-only web sites. It is a collaborative authoring tool. You can also treat it like the restaurant napkin that you sketch on, to share ideas with people sitting around the table. Except, this time, the wiki is your napkin, and the people you are sharing your ideas with can be all around the world, sitting in front of their computing device connected to the Internet; and they don't even necessarily have to be there at the same time you are sketching.

Watch this wiki, the decisions made here will affect the whole industry.

Another Best Blog contest

First Annual TechWeb Network Best Independent Tech Blog Readers Choice Awards

Do you read tech blogs? We're looking for you to tell us which are the best of the best. Right now, it's your chance to nominate your favorite independent tech blogs.

What kinds of tech blogs are eligible?
All blogs that cover technology and are published independently of a major publishing company are eligible.

Here are some examples of the types of weblogs you can nominate.
1. Personal weblogs, discussing technology from one individual's perspective
2. Personal weblogs, digesting and disseminating technology news
3. Group weblogs, digesting and disseminating technology news

This is a cost effective way for publications to research which blogs their audience reads. It is also a great way to persuade bloggers to link to your publication and get a nice traffic bump. Well done CMP.

Friday, October 15, 2004

FTC Spyware consumer alert

The good news is that consumers can prevent spyware installation.

* Update your operating system and Web browser software. Your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software “patches” to close holes in the system that spyware could exploit.

* Download free software only from sites you know and trust. It can be appealing to download free software like games, peer-to-peer file-sharing programs, customized toolbars, or other programs that may change or customize the functioning of your computer. Be aware, however, that some of these free software applications bundle other software, including spyware.

* Don’t install any software without knowing exactly what it is. Take the time to read the end-user license agreement (EULA) before downloading any software. If the EULA is hard to find — or difficult to understand — think twice about installing the software.

* Minimize “drive-by” downloads. Make sure your browser security setting is high enough to detect unauthorized downloads, for example, at least the “Medium” setting for Internet Explorer. Keep your browser updated.

* Don’t click on any links within pop-up windows. If you do, you may install spyware on your computer. Instead, close pop-up windows by clicking on the “X” icon in the title bar.

* Don’t click on links in spam that claim to offer anti-spyware software. Some software offered in spam actually installs spyware.

* Install a personal firewall to stop uninvited users from accessing your computer. A firewall blocks unauthorized access to your computer and will alert you if spyware already on your computer is sending information out.

More information about protecting your computer and your personal information online

And yet, while the Internet helps make our lives richer and more convenient, it also provides a gateway to our personal information; our homes, families and worksites; our security and safety. Viruses, hackers and worms have become the stuff of headlines, with results that can range from mere headaches to complete havoc.

Use this form to submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection about a particular company or organization.

Sunshine from Meta Group

Group Advises CIOs to Plan for IT Staff Retention and 15 percent Salary Hikes

META Group advises CIOs to focus on innovative IT staff retention programs. The analysts are predicting that an improving economy will fuel IT staff salary increases by 10 to 15 percent over the next three years. The salary inflation will drive up labor costs through 2007, when they will represent upwards of 55 percent of a typical IT budget

Let it be so.

Technoflak, the RSS edition

The Buttonwood Tree!

Thank you Tom Murphy for finding The Buttonwood Tree! an investor relations blog. From the first post:

Welcome to The Buttonwood Tree! This blog named in honor of the Buttonwood Agreement where, in 1792, 24 New York City stockbrokers and merchants, who routinely met under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street to engage in the trading of stocks, came together to form the New York Stock Exchange. In that same spirit The Buttonwood Tree web log is created to bring together like-minded investor relations pros, financial communicators, public relations practitioners, students, and anyone else interested in the subject into a responsible forum for the exchange of informative and provocative ideas.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Why journalism matters, Zeina Mahmoud

Zeina Mahmoud, an Iraqi television journalist for Al-Hurriya TV, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen who were "driving by in an Opel car around 8:00 am" local time on Thursday.

Blogging is what’s next for public relations

Time for PRSA to add a blogging tract to its conference.


Once again Steve Rubel shows his genius for publicity. No wonder his clients like him.

Edit ii -

While I admire Rubel's genius for publicity, someone needs to explain to him the difference between whining and organizing. Rubel doesn't work in Washington, can you tell?

B.L. Ochman is correct on the merits, PR Pros deserve the opportunity to learn more about a phenomenon that is transforming our profession.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The 2nd Wireless Conference and Exhibition

February 28 – March 2, 2005
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC


Deadline for Abstract Submission is Monday, November 1, 2004.

The FCW Media Group, producers of E-Gov Institute events and Federal Computer Week, are pleased to announce a Call for Papers for the 2nd Wireless Conference, to be held February 28 - March 2, 2005 in Washington, D.C. This is your opportunity to participate in the Wireless Conference as a presenter.

Acronyms do our industry a disservice

Jennifer deJong says, Move over, SOA. The new buzzword is COA.

Like SOA, COA conceptualizes software as assets, or services, that can be reused in multiple applications.

Do you know what this means? Neither does Technoflak. It is enough to give one vertigo. Acronyms confuse prospects, lose sales and are the leading cause of PowerPoint poisoning. Technoflak founded Presto Vivace to liberate our industry from the grip of acronyms.

Protection & Security of Your Digital Content With DRM

My friend Arvind Krishna has written a fascinating article about Digital Rights Management that raises issues I had not previously considered-

DRM Technology-A New Approach

Digital rights management (DRM) is a relatively young technology that can help an organization in securing its digital content. DRM provides protection to content even in the case of a network intrusion. DRM technologies allow an organization to control what a recipient can do after receiving the information through the network. DRM products can include encryption/decryption, identity management, watermarks, and metadata content control and auditing features. DRM fills a technology gap that no product serves, both in the email space and with documents, in allowing users to dictate who can open their content and how it can be used or shared.

Before you consider DRM, understand the technologies behind DRM and several contentious issues associated with it. DRM technologies are relatively new and not yet foolproof. Also, current products may be overkill relative to the content to be protected.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Spectacled Bear goes to the DC XML Forum

Michael posted his impressions of the DC XML Forum.

We saw a whole bunch of XML authoring environments, among other things. The part that struck me the most was that the authoring environments, basically, were the same. Basically you had your:

* Styled tagless view (word processor)

* little tags that you hover over to see the attributes view

* plain text view

Technoflak had a similar impression and is working on her own account of the event.

Blogs and comments

Mike Manuel left a very slightly edgy comment on Rick Edelman’s Rick Edelman’s blog. Mike “respectfully asked if Edelman would be using his blog as a listening mechanism or if it was simply a marketing mouthpiece -- I never got an answer and more important, my comment never made the light of day.”

I agree with Mike, deleting a comment like that is pretty lame. The PR answer would have been something like I am surprised and disappointed a fellow PR pro would not have given the writer the benefit of the doubt. I encourage you to read this blog and judge for yourself.

Edelman lists crisis communications as one of their practice areas. If Edelman cannot cope with a slightly edgy comment like that, how are they going to cope with a mob of angry demonstrators and shouting reporters?

Technoflak is waiting for her first flame.

Somebody give Ketchum the memo

The Media Drop points to Ben Feller’s story about the Department of Education’s use of a video news release to hype their No Child Left Behind law. Ketchum, a public affairs PR firm, was paid $700,000 to create the video and monitor coverage.

Unbelievably, Ketchum decided to use the same notorius Karen Ryan who was caught in a similar fake news story. What was Ketchum thinking? The use of Karen Ryan guaranteed they would be caught manufacturing news. Part of our job is to explain to clients what is and is not credible. Fake news releases, with or without Karen Ryan, are not credible.

Dan Gillmor makes a telling point, "But the people who deserve even more condemnation are any TV stations that run these press releases in news programs without making clear what they're doing."

Statement of the Public Relations Society of America on Video News Releases

Monday, October 11, 2004

Process Improvement Basics

Instead of the traditional lecture and slide presentation, Jonathan Addelston took the workshop approach at the last DC SPIN meeting. He said he did not ”want to do a death march kind of presentation.”

Addelston indicated he wanted to address the concerns of those “who show up for meetings.” Turning to an easel, marker in hand, he asked attendees what aspects of software process improvement they wanted to discuss. Attendees asked:

Is there a Capability Maturity Model(CMM) for ”the small guy?” Small companies are told by their government sponsor that they must be CMM compliant in order to continue to bid on work.

If a company has a few projects, how much effort is required and how do you organize process improvement?

How do you develop and manage sponsorship for process improvement? How do you develop and manage participation?

How do you determine how much process improvement your organization can handle?

What about templates?

Should process improvement be organized top-down or bottom-up? Also, where are you likely to encounter resistance (general laughter). Addelston interjected, “Where will you not encounter resistance?”

What are the business drivers that work? that don’t work? How do you maintain and sustain motivation?

How does measurement and analysis in CMM compare to measurement and analysis in Capability Maturity Model Integrated(CMMI)?

Would you be better off with six sigma black belt project managers? Addelston said that leadership of software process improvement was the most controversial area and one he has seen ”carefully done wrong.”

A longer discussion followed on which questions were of the greatest interest to participants. Addelston promised to address them in the course of his presentation. He started his presentation with quotes from Watts Humphrey:

If you don’t know where you are going, any map will do.
If you don’t know where you are, a map won’t help.
If the map disagrees with the terrain, trust the terrain.

Addelston said that process improvement teams should ”stick to real projects, not small, backwater projects of little significance to the business goals of the organization.” Many companies have only one division certified instead of the entire company. Addelston reminded attendees that the Software Engineering Institute now publishes SCAMPI ratings. If you only have one division within your company rated, your SCAMPI rating will indicate that only that division is compliant.

Particapants asked a series of questions about what was necessary for certification, or rating for CMMI compliance. One attendee wanted to know what is the least you can do and still qualify for CMM compliance. Addelston replied that the glib answer is “more than your nearest competitor.” Another participant asked what was the minimum project size for certification. Addelston said you should look where your business revenue comes from, small projects or large projects. The lead assessor decides what is the minimum project size. Here, a participant interjected that “in the real world corporate management chooses the best projects.” Another said, “Everyone is in bed with everyone else.” Addelston was clearly distressed by these questions - saying that he did not consider himself naive, but he had never seen situations such as were described. He stressed the benefit of process improvement: the capability to develop quality software on time and on budget.

Addelston said companies can and should choose recently completed projects for evaluation. This is the only way a company can show that it can complete a project and ship product. He said process improvement should involve two to three percent of your organization. He emphasized your organization cannot get the benefits of the higher levels of CMM without the infrastructure of the lower levels.

He stressed the importance of process definition, including definition of standards, and the development of forms, templates and notations; he said, “You can’t get started without this.” Process improvement should be treated as a project and conducted by the principles of process improvement. The process improvement team should set an example.

Addelston concluded with a discussion of the risks of process improvement. Sponsors give too much attention or too little. He described the case of a large company that spent 3.2 million a year for three years without result. The assessors discovered that seven of the scheduled quarterly meetings with management had been canceled.

Addelston described the clever office politics that can often ruin process improvement, such as malicious obedience. “You want a project plan? I give you a 1,500 page project plan that no one will ever read.” Workers will often engage in delaying tactics waiting for the process improvement team leader to get fired. Then there is the case of the Hobson’s choice, the worker who sets you up for the anti-process answer, such as “Do you want me to complete the customer’s order, or do you want me to work on process improvement?” Process improvement can be ruined by dilution of effort: too many projects, too many deliverables. Failure to hold the project manager accountable spoils many process improvement efforts.

Technoflak hopes Addelston’s workshop approach will be used by other presenters. The meeting was lively, and many issues were flushed from cover.

Michael Kinsley on anonymous sources

Sources Worth Protecting?

It is certainly true that anonymous sources are a valid and important tool of journalism. It is also true that undercover agents are a valid and important tool of espionage. Journalism and espionage both serve the public interest, most of the time. Does the journalism profession really want to get into an argument about whose secrets are more important?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Ladybird Johnson

Driving out to Skyline Drive this weekend we passed columns of wildflowers planted along the interstate highway. This is the work of Ladybird Johnson, who persuaded Texas to plant native wildflowers along their highways. In addition to their exquisite beauty, they save taxpayers millions of dollars in mowing fees and all the states have copied Texas.

They used to joke that Jackie Kennedy redecorated the White House, but that Ladybird Johnson’s beautification program redecorated the country. It is no joke, she has redecorated the country.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Special Technoflak online poll

Online polls are:

_ a wonderful way to use technology to communicate with readers

_ a gimmick to boost hit counts and extract more money from advertisers

_ a way to manufacture content for news organizations too cheap to hire reporters

Friday, October 08, 2004

A venture capitalist on open source software

Open Source

Using Firefox has cracked open my mind to this open source ecosystem. You don't like something about the product, you create an extension that fixes it. And publish it for the rest of the world to use.

As Kim Polese said at Web 2.0 today, "The rules of open source: nobody owns it, everybody can use it, and anybody can improve it."

An entrepreneur recently told Technoflak that using open source was a big plus for a his company. If prospects express doubts about his company’s future, he can say that his product is open source and once they buy it they own the source code. This is a tremendous confidence builder for small companies.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

No one is above the law

Judge Orders Judith Miller Jailed, Sulzberger Promises 'Fight'

NEW YORK A federal judge today held New York Times reporter Judith Miller in contempt for refusing to divulge confidential sources to prosecutors investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered Miller jailed until she agrees to testify about her sources before a grand jury, but said she could remain free while pursuing an appeal. Miller could be jailed up to 18 months.

The first amendment is not a suicide pact. Someone at the highest level of our government betrayed a CIA case officer. Judith Miller knows who it is, but won’t tell us. Not only has she defeated the purpose of her profession, to keep us informed about the actions of our government; she is a witness to a crime and an accessory after the fact.

Federal contracting marketing shuffle

Small Firms Vie for Slice Of Security Pie

Under mammoth gold chandeliers, Vinod Srikanth, senior director of Synergii, worked a wood-paneled room at the Army Navy Club in downtown Washington. His quarry: government officials and major-league contractors who could award homeland security business to the five-year-old Springfield company that creates complex computer systems.

"We don't know people in the agencies," Srikanth said after a seminar Tuesday on the homeland security market. "They're inundated with phone calls and e-mails." And when you finally make a crucial contact, he added, "you've got one shot" to make your case. ...

Small technology businesses in the Washington area have learned that breaking into the homeland security business is a lot harder than they'd expected after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, created a large and urgent new market for everything from biometric security systems to massive databases. Just getting a call returned or a proposal considered is a victory. ...

Its first step was becoming certified by the government as a "disadvantaged business" through the 8(a) business development program, which offers such status to minority-owned and other firms that qualify. Contracting policies encourage big companies to set aside work for businesses with the 8(a) designation, which Srikanth lists on his business card. The second step was joining the Small Business Administration's Mentor-Protégé Program. It matched Synergii with McLean consultancy BearingPoint, which helped teach the company how to compete for federal contracts.

If you want to know the players in the federal market, it is far more effective to become active in organizations such as NCC AIIM, ARMA of Northern Virginia, DC SPIN or participate in the work of the Federal XML Work Group rather than participate in a federally sponsored cattle call. As a member of an organization you can get to know federal decision makers personally, and get a feel for their priorities before you make a bid for their business.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Serve as an election officer

This year we have seen unprecedented levels of voter registration. Americans believe in their system and intend to make their voice heard. That also means long lines at the polls unless more citizens are willing to serve as election officers.

Given the very serious doubts about voting machines, it is critical that the technology community step forward and volunteer.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam

NCC-AIIM Educational Seminar

Thursday, November 4, 2004

As an information technology and records management professional, you need to know about current issues in building the structure of e-government.

Keynote Addresses:

Dave Wennergren, CIO Navy

Jim Williams, Director, US-VISIT Program, DHS

Learn from key Federal and industry leaders about;

- Web Services

- The Platform Wars: .Net vs. J2EE

- XML Metadata

- Security Vulnerabilities

- Privacy on the Web

- Identity Theft

Good news for small businesses bidding on military contractors

Army to put acquisition info online

Small businesses hoping to get military work may soon have a tool to aid their long-range planning.

Officials at the Army Contracting Agency are developing an Advance Acquisition Planning Database that will offer information on contracting opportunities as early as 18 months before the contracts are to be awarded.

Technoflak has always believed that small companies do the best, most advanced work in technology. That’s why she founded Presto Vivace, Inc.

Mitch Wagner’s favorite technology web logs

Mitch Wagner has written about his favorite technology web logs. One Technoflak will be checking out - The Spam Weblog.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

How CEOs are different from politicians

The Peoplesoft-Oracle snafu delivered many entertaining media battles including:

First, Craig Conway, CEO at Peoplesoft came out with this gem about the proposed takeover:

"It's like me asking if I could buy your dog so I can go out back and shoot it." [Bloomberg]

To which the ever-quotable Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison responded in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News:

"I think at one point, `Craigey' thought I was going to shoot his dog," Ellison said. "If Craigey and Bear were standing next to each other and I had one bullet, trust me, it wouldn't be for the dog."

Friday, October 01, 2004

DHS Cyber Security Chief Abruptly Resigns

Computing Research Policy Blog points to this AP story:

U.S. cybersecurity chief abruptly resigns, cites frustration

The government's cybersecurity chief has abruptly resigned after one year with the Department of Homeland Security, confiding to industry colleagues his frustration over what he considers a lack of attention paid to computer security issues within the agency.

Amit Yoran, a former software executive from Symantec Corp., informed the White House about his plans to quit as director of the National Cyber Security Division and made his resignation effective at the end of Thursday, effectively giving a single's day notice of his intentions to leave.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Network centric relationships

Jim Hortan has graciously posted another one of his always informative articles. He argues, persuasively I think, that future commerce will be dominated by network centric relationships. He uses grocery stores as the example.

This is clearly the wave of the future, but we have to figure out how to protect privacy. I understand why my grocer needs to know whether he sell bananas with ice cream or cereal, but I don’t see why he needs to know whether I put bananas on my cereal.

Capital PC User Group Flea Market

Barbara Conn just sent the following email-




Sunday, October 3, 10 am - 4 pm


CONTACT: Ann Dorsey, adorsey[@]cavtel[.]net, 240-888-8295

The fourth amendment lives

From the Baltimore Sun (reg. req.)

Judge Victor Marrero struck down the piece of the USA Patriot Act that allowed the FBI - without judicial oversight or finding of probable cause - to order Internet-access and telephone firms to hand over customer records and never tell anyone that they had done it. Not their lawyers, not their customers, not their great-great-grandchildren 50 years from now. One such provider finally did tell a lawyer, which is how the lawsuit got filed, but hundreds of others have held their tongues, according to Judge Marrero.

If this decision stands, it could also negate the "national security letters" that also are served on banks, financial firms and credit reporting centers, as well as eternal gag orders.

These letters, a form of administrative subpoena, have been used to investigate the doings of suspected terrorists or spies, but under the 2001 Patriot Act, their use was extended to those whom the FBI believes are "relevant" to a terrorism investigation. Worded that way, in a "six degrees of separation" society knit closer by its growing electronic ties, nearly everyone could be found relevant.

This is very good news.

Text of the fourth amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.