Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Financial fitness for entrepreneurs

By Bradley Feld, Mobius Venture Capital

While creating a growth business can be exhilarating, many entrepreneurs — especially those starting a company for the first time — don't pay enough attention to some core issues surrounding the financial management of their businesses.

Check it out. Whether or not you think you are building the next Microsoft there is a lot of good material.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Proposal to create an Ethical Guide to blogging

I propose that The New PR participants invite first amendment lawyers to join with them to create a amateur's guide to ethical blogging.

What is the semantic web?

Free Definition explains:

The Semantic Web is a current project under the direction of Tim Berners-Lee of the World Wide Web Consortium to extend the ability of the World Wide Web by developing standards and tools that allow meaning to be added to the content of webpages. The goal of the semantic web is to create a universal medium for the exchange of data by allowing meaning to be given, using tools and tags, to the content within webpages.

Currently the world wide web contains html, which is a language that is useful for displaying graphics and text but does not lend any meaning to the content it describes. The semantic web will address this issue by allowing content to be described in XML documents using tools like RDF and OWL which are types of tags. These description tags that lend meaning to the content facilitates automated information gathering and research by computers.

Now you know.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Global PR Blog Week 1.0, the buzz continues

PRWeek interviews some of the participants. Here is the key question from a communicator’s point of view:

PRWeek: Here's a question as it pertains to corporate blogs. Whether or not there is a real voice to it, why are consumers going to care more than any of the other messages? At the end of the day, isn't it just the corporation talking? How do you envision corporate blogs reaching consumers?

Ochman: I see companies reaching consumers with blogs along the lines of those done by Jones Soda, Nike and all the others I gave examples of today on the Global PR Blog.

Rubel: Consumers will care because every company has customer evangelists who want to learn more about the companies they buy from. What would the reaction be like if Krispy Kreme or Jet Blue were to blog?

Basturea: 'Consumers' will be care only if 1) they can enter a relationship with the blog's author, and 2) if it responds to his informational needs.

Rubel: It's all about transparency.

Cook: I think Scoble pinned this in the interview I did with him. Its about interacting with the person in that corporation that's has responsibility for your concern - not a hotline or a group e-mail address.

Ochman: The same way that many corporations use websites as online brochures that don't have an authentic voice, companies will use blogs for corporate speak. Nobody will read them, and, eventually, they will get it. Outing said that the best blogs will rise to the top because they will be brilliantly written and well researched.

Cook: Yes we need to avoid making blogs come across like press releases or annual reports.

Ochman: I adamantly believe that blogs are NOT for everyone.

Rubel: Keith, your question should be reverse - how do you envision consumers reaching corporations? The answer is blogs. It's about listening, not talking.

I think the last line says it all, corporate blogs offer an unprecedented opportunity to listen.

Even fleas have fleas

Police seize Russian trio in cyber extortion ring

Police said the gang had unleashed digital attacks over the Internet on dozens of occasions.

"These were the main people behind the organisation. They were coordinating it and laundering the money," said a source at the British Embassy in Moscow.

They are accused of threatening to shut businesses down with a massive barrage of data -- known as a denial-of-service attack -- if they did not pay up. The gang often demanded sums of $10,000 or $20,000 (5,400 to 10,800 pounds) from owners of betting Web sites and struck on the eve of big sporting events like the UK's Grand National horse race.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Microsoft to return over $75 bn to shareholders

From NewRatings:

NEW YORK, July 21 (New Ratings) – Microsoft Corporation (MSFT.NAS) has announced its plans to return more than $75 billion in cash to its shareholders over the next four years. The company's cash return plan is being considered the biggest ever corporate payout in the US.

That is going to put smiles on a lot of faces.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Scott Cannon, American Hero

From Slate:

Wolfowitz's public affairs officer, Bill Turenne, began by asking that Wolfowitz's comments be attributed to a "senior Defense Department official." The Kansas City Star's Canon took immediate issue with these ground rules. "I was less heroic than you might imagine," he says in a telephone interview.

Canon politely explained to Wolfowitz and Turenne that the conversation would be of no professional value to him if he couldn't name Wolfowitz as the source of the remarks. There just wouldn't be much use at his paper for such blind quotery. "My complaint was less about the practice in general than that it would be a waste of [Wolfowitz's] time."

More like this please. We cannot have an honest discussion in this country unless we learn to speak openly.

Johanna Rothman explains feminism

From Managing Product Development:

I'm of the opinion that feminism is really for everyone. The more one sex placates the other (at home, in the workplace, wherever), the less society as a whole can use the talents of that sex.

A trap that too many execs (women and men) seem to fall into is: work more hours and get more done. People don't work more hours and get more done. They work stupider and make more work for other people. I blogged a bit about this a while ago: here. My hope is that feminism (peoplelism??) will help everyone make choices that fit for them, depending on their circumstances.

Precisely so.

Can online networking offer a leg up to the disadvantaged?

Get up, stand up, social network

As any successful professional knows, in most cases it is people and not the classifieds that will help you get your next job and the one after that. In fact, jobs are 10 times more likely to be found via a professional's network than on a job board. Thirty-five to 50 percent of hires made by hiring managers come through direct referrals.

It is for these reasons that I have chosen to conduct an experiment in social networking. My thinking is that since people networking is the best way to get a job, perhaps the latest in online social networking tools can be used to help the "unconnected" to connect in ways not previously possible. In other words, can the latest networking technology be leveraged to allow marginalized and disadvantaged folks to build a personal network that allows them to leap over the old boys/girls networks that have traditionally shut them out? If my hypothesis is correct (that social networking can indeed be used as an effective tool for social justice) then we may have stumbled upon something really important and useful here.

Technoflak will watch this with considerable interest.

(Salon, subscription or day pass required.)

Monday, July 19, 2004

We created something truly splendid

A participant's final thoughts on Global PR Blog Week 1.0

Our single most important contribution may have been to shift our industry from the idea of controlling the message and manipulating public opinion to that of presenting the message and cultivating public opinion. This change of metaphor is crucial to successful public relations in a world of increasing transparency. Those who fail to make transparency their friend will find it a formidable enemy. We offer readers many ideas on how to make transparency their friend.

Corporate Social Responsibility

PR News Corporate Social Responsibility Awards

Corporate Social Responsibility has become one of the benchmarks of an organization's overall success. PR NEWS' CSR Awards honor the corporations and their partners that have implemented and executed highly successful CSR campaigns in the past 12 months.

The winning campaigns will serve as the best practices in CSR -- and this is no easy feat. In a time when the spotlight is on corporate accountability, an effective CSR program can make a long-lasting impression on the fabric of an organization and a company's reputation among its various constituencies.

The PR NEWS CSR Awards are the gold standard in corporate citizenship and communications worldwide.

Entry Deadline, November 1, 2004

Losers will report to Elliot Spitzer.

Siebel and the SEC

Siebel is looking for a new PR firm

Siebel itself just became the first company ever charged twice by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Regulation Fair Disclosure.

Technoflak is not sure whether Siebel has a PR problem, a content management problem or a different problem all together.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Ross Mayfield doesn't think much of PR agencies

Ross Mayfield thinks businesses should handle their own public relations work. From his blog:

As a CEO, I have grown to distrust outsourcing PR beyond coordination, especially when we can extend our reach by ourselves authentically and the strategy is core.

Actually there is no reason, save that of time, that a firm couldn't handle their own public relations effort. That is why I wrote a guide to do it yourself public relations. Read it, buy my press contacts data base and you are all set.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Nobody ever won a war with the news media

A writer for The Guardian has the last word:

Somewhere in central Los Angeles, about 20 miles from LAX airport, there is a nondescript building housing a detention facility for foreigners who have violated US immigration and customs laws. I was driven there around 11pm on May 3, my hands painfully handcuffed behind my back as I sat crammed in one of several small, locked cages inside a security van. I saw glimpses of night-time urban LA through the metal bars as we drove, and shadowy figures of armed security officers when we arrived, two of whom took me inside. The handcuffs came off just before I was locked in a cell behind a thick glass wall and a heavy door. No bed, no chair, only two steel benches about a foot wide. There was a toilet in full view of anyone passing by, and of the video camera watching my every move. No pillow or blanket. A permanent fluorescent light and a television in one corner of the ceiling. It stayed on all night, tuned into a shopping channel.

This is just one of many reports of the detention and even strip searches of foreign journalists under color of security. If we do not put a stop to it, this is what the rest of the world will think of us.


Did you know there is a content management program that cleans the jargon out of your copy? Bullfighter from Deloitte.

Thank you B.L. Ochman for mentioning this in your post on clueless pitching.

Working without a net

Sometime last night Blogger's preview feature disappeared.

Browser on fire

Love those Firefox Extensions!

Occams' Razor writes:

Some time ago I wrote about my preferred browser: Mozilla Firefox. It was obvious to me months ago that those who tried it would probably feel the same way about giving up Firefox as the gun nuts would about giving up their firearms: when you pry our cold, dead hands off our keyboards. In a word Firefox rocks! It is now up to version 0.9 and only keeps improving.

This is the sort of spontaneous customer rave that was once limited to the telephone, office break room and other personal exchanges. Now blogosphere offers ordinary customers a microphone, and they are using it.

Why Ukrainian journalism matters

If murder won't work, try crying libel

July 15, 2004 | The beheading of Georgi Gongadze, a crusading journalist who uncovered corruption and cronyism in the Ukrainian government, couldn't silence Ukrayinska Pravda, the muckraking Web site he founded. ...

Still, Ukrayinska Pravda's breed of outspoken opposition journalism is unusual in the post-Soviet Ukraine, which suffers from state censorship of its broadcast and print media.

"Internet was and still is the only place without censorship," explains Prytula, sipping coffee in a Starbucks in San Francisco.

The Internet has drastically lowered barriers to entry and guarantees a free press as long as there is someone left alive to do the work.

(Salon, subscription or day pass required)

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Last Tuesday ILOG spoke to the NOVA JUG Enterprise Group about JRules, their business rules management system.

Current rule engines require software programmers to make even the most minor changes, such as price. ILOG's product allows non-technical workers, such as business analysts, to make changes to business rules. What impressed Technoflak was the economic use of memory, unsubstantited, JRules requires only 300KB of memory.

Why ILOG? Founded in Paris in 1987, the name "Ilog" is an abbreviated version of intelligence logicielle — the French phrase for "intelligent software." The full name tells a great deal about Ilog's vision and what it contributes to enterprise applications.

NOVA JUG is looking for speakers. Java programmers reading this might want to consider presenting.

DoD Seeks To Redirect ’04 MUOS Funds to Terrorism War

The U.S.-led war on terrorism, which has dramatically underscored the shortage of satellite capacity faced by U.S. forces, is a major factor behind a delay to a U.S. Navy system that is expected to go a long way toward addressing the problem.


Global PR Blog Week 1.0, prototype?

When Trevor Cook asked me, along with other PR bloggers, if I wanted to participate in an online conference I accepted without much thought. After all, it was a chance for publicity, and that is my work. But as time drew closer it became clear that it would be a very big deal indeed, and once Global PR Blog Week 1.0 opened I was blown away by the quality of the posts.

If this works for flacks, and clearly it does, it will work for other groups: software developers, teachers, dog trainers, any group with a common interest and internet access. In fact, you could even make a living organizing this sort of event. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Constantin Basturea, are you listening? You may do very well out of this. You certainly deserve it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Bradley Peniston talks about blogs and their impact on Defense News

Bradley Peniston, managing editor of Defense News, graciously granted Technoflak an interview for Global PR Blog Week.

ALICE MARSHALL: You said you kept a blog in 1998, what was it about and is it still online?

I was on assignment for Navy Times, traveling around the world with the U.S. fleet. I published a daily entry to Navy Times for about two months, trying to keep things a little lighter than my weekly dispatches to the paper. Alas, the posts were lost in the sands of a redesign a few years ago.

Read the rest here.

Pitching small business stories

From my post on Global PR Blog Week 1.0:

Those of us who have the privilege of representing small business always struggle with the issue of newsworthiness. If Megakluge announces the future release of Vaporware 1.0, due to ship three years from now, it will be treated as news for no reason save that it came from Megakluge. But if you call from TheLittleEngineThatCould Technology Corp., you have to deal with the “Who are they?” issue. Presumably, your client hired you to solve that problem.

Read the rest here.

Vive la France!

In honor of Bastille Day, La Marseillaise:


Arise you children of our motherland,
Oh now is here our glorious day !
Over us the bloodstained banner
Of tyranny holds sway !
Of tyranny holds sway !
Oh, do you hear there in our fields
The roar of those fierce fighting men ?
Who came right here into our midst
To slaughter sons, wives and kin.
To arms, oh citizens !
Form up in serried ranks !
March on, march on !
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood !


Supreme devotion to our Motherland,
Guides and sustains avenging hands.
Liberty, oh dearest Liberty,
Come fight with your shielding bands,
Come fight with your shielding bands !
Beneath our banner come, oh Victory,
Run at your soul-stirring cry.
Oh come, come see your foes now die,
Witness your pride and our glory.
To arms, etc..


Into the fight we too shall enter,
When our fathers are dead and gone,
We shall find their bones laid down to rest,
With the fame of their glories won,
With the fame of their glories won !
Oh, to survive them care we not,
Glad are we to share their grave,
Great honor is to be our lot
To follow or to venge our brave.
To arms, etc..

A special merci beaucoup to all the gallant French soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Monday, July 12, 2004

About Techoflak

As a participant in Global PR Week 1.0, I thought I would give some background information.

Technoflak is published by Alice Marshall of Presto Vivace, Inc., a public relations firm specializing in generating publicity for small and medium size technology companies. From the website:

We tell the big stories of small technology companies. Presto Vivace was founded in the belief that the most innovative work in technology is being done by small companies. Readers want to read about these stories. Reporters want to cover them. Presto Vivace makes this possible by bringing your story to the appropriate reporter and the appropriate news organizations.

What Public Relations Can Do for Your Business

Increased name recognition will give your company a competitive edge that will help close sales and retain customers. Prospects will visit your web site. Advertising is more productive. Direct mail generates more responses. Telephone calls are returned. You will experience the pleasure of having prospects call you.

Public relations is not a single press release but a comprehensive and continuous effort. Tell us about your product or service and we will place your story in the appropriate journals: financial, manufacturing, government - wherever it will produce results.

Small Business Trends

New to blog roll, Small Business Trends, a great resource for all sorts of useful information for small business and those of us serving small business.

List of suspects in Klebnikov's murder include past and present secret police

From the Baltimore Sun:

Hit men often strike Russian corporate and political figures, and Russian journalists are frequently attacked. But some Western professionals living here feel immune to the orchestrated violence. Klebnikov's slaying late Friday shattered that illusion.

How long until journalists working outside or Russia are murdered by disgruntled Russian, er, newsmakers?

Efforts to reach Berezovsky in London yesterday were unsuccessful. But the Ria-Novosti wire service reported that the tycoon said Klebnikov was a victim of his "lack of accuracy" in reporting.

"Unfortunately, his way of reporting the facts was very arbitrary," Berezovsky said. "He invented much. It seems that he seriously upset someone."

Actually, it sounds like Klebnikov was a little too accurate.

Natasha Gevorkyan, a Russian investigative journalist, said yesterday in an interview that the list of suspects behind Klebnikov's slaying should include some of the former KGB agents and current members of the security services he used as sources in his work.

In related news, water is wet.

When good people give bad advice

PR Machine points an article from the League of American Communications Professionals, offering helpful PR tips. Technoflak enjoyed it until she reached this part:

#2) COMMENT OFF THE RECORD. Perhaps the fastest way to a reporter's heart is to give them the sorts of information that would never be published in a press release. Speaking off the record is an extraordinary art, so we advise caution on this final recommendation. First, be sure to always define with a reporter that you're speaking off the record and that you both agree on what that means, namely that you never told him what you told him and that it can't be considered anything more than self-developed speculation with no foundation in demonstrable fact. Each reporter has a different level of trustworthiness, so be sure to give each press contact just a little bit of info at the beginning of the relationship in order to see what they do with it. As you grow in trust, you can begin to speak about competitors and their strategies; the impact of any given worldly event on your organization; and even the real reasons why your company takes the steps it does.

Friends, there can be no honest discussion in our country unless we learn to speak openly. The pernicious practice of anonymous sources has done our country incalculable damage. Let us be done with it.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Starting tomorrow!

Global PR Blog Week 1.0

The Global PR Blog Week 1.0 is an online event that will engage PR, marketing and business bloggers from around the globe in a discussion about blogging and communications. The event is scheduled for July 12 - 16, 2004.


Wednesday, July 14 -- Making PR Work: Creativity and Strategy

* Elizabeth Albrycht (CorporatePR) -- Corporate PR - Pragmatic PR strategies for community building
* Angelo Fernando (Hoi Polloi) - Impact of blogs on PR and Marcomms
* Bernard Goldbach (Irish Eyes) - Promoting client messages through blogs
* Alice Marshall (TechnoFlak)
o Interview with Bradley Peniston, editor of Defense News
o Media relations issues - including pitching small businesses to editors
* Mike Manuel (Media Guerrilla) - Micro media measurement
* B.L. Ochman (What's Next Blog) - Examples of smart blog use in PR and marketing campaigns and sites that cry out for blogs
* Anthony V Parcero, (eKetchum Digital Media Group) - Developing interactive PR strategies
* Octavio Rojas: Las posibilidades de la blogósfera para las RRPP en los países hispanoparlantes - Possibilities of the blogosphere for the PR industry in the Spanish-speaking countries (English - Spanish)

Technoflak is very excited, and a little nervous.

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

Robert Lario and Rob Mitchell of Inherit LLC spoke to DC SPIN last Wednesday about Model Driven Architecture.

Mitchell began by talking about the evolution of software development. The first computers were programmed with a soldering iron and had to be rewired for every new task. Next came machine code, where each individual bit was loaded with switches; which was followed by assembly code, where each statement corresponded to a single machine instruction.

Third generation languages were developed that could generate multiple instructions to carry out one program statement. (Currently most applications are written in third generation languages.) Fourth generation languages were introduced that could generate an entire application with the specification of a few parameters, but these languages lack flexibility and are not widely used.

Mitchell suggested that software development can learn much from industrial manufacturing. (Technoflak heard Watts Humphrey suggest the same thing.)

Model Driven Architecture is a framework for software development defined by the Object Management Group. The key aspect is the evolution of an abstract business model that is defined in Unified Modeling Language and is driven through a series of transformations into a set of desired work products. Model Driven Architecture advocates the separation of business requirements from the details of the way they are implemented in a specific platform. Mitchell observed that, since business requirements change, separating them from the implementation would make systems more flexible.

Model Driven Archictecture’s major components are:

Platform Independent Model, which specifies a system independently of a supporting platform and does not change from one platform to another. As Mitchell said, the Platform Independent Model has ”nothing to do with the platform and every thing to do with your business.”

Platform Specific Model, the system specification with the platform applied.

Transformations (two major types) -

1. Transforms the independent system specification into one for a particular platform.

2. Transforms the platform specific specifications into resultant work products or artifacts.


Collections of mappings and business rules that specify a component’s set of design patterns or work products for a specific implementation. They are generally written in the language of the resultant work product. Here Lario broke in, describing templates as ”blueprints for components”.


Collections of templates that together define an end-to-end solution for a specific implementation, a set of business rules that govern how the templates are integrated and implemented. Mitchell observed that the business rules were the ”the glue that holds it all together”. Examples of Archetypes are: Struts/EJBs, Web Services, C# 3-tiered web implementation, etc.

Work products include: descriptors, documents, schemas, and code, in other words, any artifact you can describe within, and create from, a template.

Mitchell went on to say Model Driven Architecture could ”handle a lot of the plumbing, the infrastructure”. He went on to observe that developers often ”spend all their time on infrastructure, not satisfying requirements of customers”. He likened modeling to compilers.

Next Robert Lario walked attendees through a series of examples of the modeling process. He began with an illustration of the development of classes using transportation vehicles as the example. In his example vehicles were first divided into military and commercial, and then classifed as plane, train or car, he then went on to illustrate a Platform Independent Model, using a billing application. He then moved on to a Platform Specific Model, showing how the billing example would be applied in a J2EE environment. The Platform Specific Model is a design model that targets a specific technology. The Platform Independent Model is used for the transformation and is based on a selected archetype. Many Platform Specific Models can be created from the same Platform Independent Model. This is because the business rules are separated from the technology. The Model Driven Architecture work product, the actual code, comes from the Platform Specific Model. Lario pointed out that the work product could be automatically compiled and deployed.

Lario compared archetypes and templates to building architecture. If someone talks about a two-story colonial, you have an immediate mental picture of the house. In the same way developers have an immediate mental picture of a Struts/EJB template.

He gave specific examples of the transformation of models into templates into code. Lario concluded by saying that Model Driven Architecture is the next logical step in software development.

New to side bar


American Council for Technology, from their website:

Established in December 1979, the ACT is a not-for-profit corporation, chartered in the State of Delaware. A fundamental purpose of the ACT is to facilitate and encourage professional communication between organizations of the government information technology (IT) community located across the country, between those organizations and industry, and between those organizations and central management (regulatory and oversight) agencies in Washington, DC.

Industry Advisory Council, from their website:

The mission of the IAC is to bring industry and government executives together to exchange information, support professional development, improve communications and understanding, solve issues and build partnership and trust, thereby enhancing government's ability to serve the nation's citizenry.


Association For Federal Information Resource Management, from their website:

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) is Washington, D.C. based council of the American Council for Technology (ACT), and is a non-profit, volunteer, educational organization whose overall purpose is to improve the management of information, and related systems and resources, within the Federal government. Founded in 1979, AFFIRM's members include information resource management professionals from the Federal, academic, and industry sectors.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Call for Participants: Radicati Email Security Survey

From our good friend Tekrati:

The Radicati Group invites qualified professionals to participate in a short online survey on email security. Participants receive a free electronic copy of the report, "Anti-Spam Market Trends, 2003-2007," valued at $2,500.

Paul Klebnikov

Steve Forbes, President and Editor-In-Chief, sent this statement to all who work at Forbes:

It is with the deepest sadness that I inform you that Paul Klebnikov, 41, editor of Forbes Russia, was murdered in Moscow this evening. He was reportedly shot four times as he left work and died shortly thereafter.

A great loss.

And an ominous sign for Russia.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Political conventions are news

One of the gratifying aspects of blogosphere is the possibility to instantly comment on someone's post, as I did on Ed Cone's post on covering the Democratic National Convention, even more gratifying to have Ed Cone consider, and act on one's comment. No wonder readers like blogs.

Jay Rosen has a long post about how there is no news at political conventions, but he wants to cover them anyway.

Here are some stories Technoflak is interested in following, if any editor is interested:

Voting Machines, will there be anything in either party's platform about verifiable audit trails? 10 points to the journalist who asks Senator Chuck Hagel about voting machines.

Convention delegates are the people who, collectively, run our country. They only get together every four years. Who is selected as delegate and what they say to each other is news. Some of the attendees will be running for Governor or Senator in the near future, and somewhere on those convention floors are the presidential contenders of 2024. Now is the time to get to know them.

Every county committee chair will be at their respective conventions. This is a great opportunity to interview them and get a feel for what is really happening at the grassroots level. No matter how much a county chair spins it, what they say, and what they do not say, will reveal a great deal about how the campaign is going. The journalists who seek out the county chairs will get much livelier copy than the unfortunates who stand in line waiting for Karl Rove to throw them a scrap.

As I suggested over at Ed Cone’s blog, it may help to think of political conventions as trade shows for politics. The speeches are certainly news, but the action in the exhibit hall, as it were, is also news.

One last word, no anonymous sources. If the source doesn’t want their name on a quote, why would you want your byline on it?

A spot on Google

Tom Biro writes that most of the comment spam at The Media Drop originates from Blog*spot hosted sites. There is a real possibility that at least some web logs will start blacklisting all blog*spot track backs.

Google needs to take action without delay.


Tom Murphy points another one of Keith O'Brien's great articles on technology and public relations.

Many RSS evangelists say that journalists are usually among the early adopters and are utilizing this technology to get leads. The ability to filter by source or keyword gives reporters the opportunity to receive only receive beat-specific stories. With RSS feeds, journalists are much more able to filter out what does not pertain to them. While this could initially worry PR professionals that their messages can be easily ignored, the truth is (and was) that that has always been the case. With RSS, the important messages will have a much higher likelihood of reaching the journalists. And while journalists might ignore the message, it will get delivered regardless of the message, whereas a spam blocker could snare an e-mail.

The whole issue of search is going to change the humble art of the press release. If you want your story picked up, you must choose your very carefully.

(emphasis Techoflak)

on edit-

Micropersuasion points to some excellent links explaining RSS:

What is RSS?

RSS Readers

In the comments at Micropersuasion, Elizabeth Albrycht captures the small business dilemma perfectly:

Now, there is an important point here. RSS is great for distributing news once someone knows to subscribe to the feed. If a journalist doesn't know your client exists, then you have to use email/phone/meetings -- all of the traditional PR techniques -- plus blogs etc. in order to introduce that client. Then, RSS can take over from there for press release distribution.

Cassini: Lord of the Rings

Rings of Saturn

The Cassini-Huygens mission which reached Saturn last week has sent back images and data which may reveal the origin of the planet's famous rings.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


One problem appears to be a fear of decision-making in the cabinet of Mikhail Fradkov, the prime minister appointed by President Vladimir Putin in March. His ministers have fallen victim to what the rating agency Standard & Poor's dubbed "policy paralysis".

Management by fear would be closer to the mark.

KM World Conference, October 26–28, 2004

The National Conference and Exposition on
Knowledge Management, Content Management, Intranets, and Portals

Looks like they are still accepting speakers.

You may be using Explorer browser but not know it

From the Honolulu Advertiser:

Recent alerts about security breaches in the popular Internet Explorer Web browser advised users to fix the program or stop using it altogether. Less prominently reported was the fact that some Web surfers may be using the bugged browser and not know it.

That could happen to people who use certain Internet service providers such as AOL, Earthlink and Roadrunner, some experts say. Those ISPs and other providers use customized versions of Internet Explorer that have been rebranded with another name.

Now you know.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Referrer Log Spamming

Referrer Log Spamming is when scumbags hit your website, but forge what is called the HTTP_REFERRER header and insert their own scumbag URL in it. The reason is that they hope that your web sites will publish statistics about activity on it, and this almost always includes something called the "Referrer Report" that list where people came from to visit your web site. So what happens is the scumbag URL ends up being listed, which counts as "back link" and makes them look better to the Search Engines

Most of these spammers are pornographers. There are existing laws regulating the sale, distribution and marketing of pornography. These spammers are probably violating one or more of those laws, so why doesn't some politically ambitious local prosecutor go after these criminals?

The anonymice strike again

The New York Post explains how it reported Kerry had chosen Gephardt as his running mate when Edwards was the choice. Allan blamed the mix-up on sources ''the Post believed to be correct.''

UN agency takes aim at cleaning up spam

From the Toronto Star:

GENEVA—The United Nations is aiming to bring a "modern day epidemic" of junk e-mail under control within two years by standardizing legislation to make it easier to prosecute offenders, a leading expert says.

Spam has become "an epidemic on our hands that we need to learn how to control," Robert Horton, acting chief of the Australian communications authority, told reporters yesterday. "International co-operation is the ultimate goal."

Technoflak is not enthusiastic. If this means an international version of the tough Virginia anti-spam law it will be a fine thing, if it means an international version of the federal law, which essentially legalizes spam, then it will make things worse.

Venture Capital Deal Algebra

From Feld Thoughts:

In a venture capital investment, the terminology and mathematics can seem confusing at first, particularly given that the investors are able to calculate the relevant numbers in their heads. The concepts are actually not complicated, and with a few simple algebraic tips you will be able to do the math in your head as well, leading to more effective negotiation.

The essence of a venture capital transaction is that the investor puts cash in the company in return for newly-issued shares in the company. The state of affairs immediately prior to the transaction is referred to as “pre-money,” and immediately after the transaction “post-money.”

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A venture capitalist explains valuation

From the A VC web log:

The fact is that almost all venture capital deals are done as convertible preferred stock investments. That means that the money we invest is more like a debt instrument in the event the business doesn’t work out very well. We get our money out before the entrepreneurs do if the deal goes sideways or down.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly

We have a new hero in the fight against unsolicted commercial email, TechWeb reports:

In addition to the federal legislation, Reilly charges the spammer's actions are prohibited by the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The case is scheduled to be heard July 21 in Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court.

The AG's office identified the alleged spammer as William T. Carson of Weston, Fla., who offered “pre-approved mortgage rates even with bad credit” to consumers. Reilly's spokesperson added that 27 complaints against a business operated by Carson have been filed with authorities including Reilly's Consumer Complaint Hotline and the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

Christopher Koch explains Sarbanes-Oxley

Sane people don't want to go to prison. They can even get a little frantic about it.

Harpers Ferry

Technoflak went to Harpers Ferry for the weekend. Harpers Ferry stands at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, or the confluence of Civil War and Appalachian Trail tourism, depending on your point of view. It is a beautiful and fascinating place.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

In honor of the glorious fourth

The Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

--John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Nick Wreden's succinct explanation of marketing

I often use a formula for prospect:
Financial success = Product features that match to market need x marketing (awareness, lead generation, etc.) x kill ratio (percentage of leads that are converted to sales).

Companies, especially tech firms, typically spend all their money on product features without realizing that success is directly linked to the second and third aspects to success. If I had a dime for all the times I had been asked for "free" marketing while staring at a room full of expensive programmers and equipment....

Nick Wreden, MA, MS
FusionBrand Blog

Like thread through a buttonhole

Cassini Slips Into Saturn Orbit

PASADENA, California -- Like thread through a buttonhole, the Cassini space probe successfully slipped through a gap in the rings surrounding Saturn -- not once, but twice -- on Wednesday night, kicking off a four-year mission to study the second largest planet in our solar system.

Along the way, the bus-sized spacecraft fired one of its two engines for nearly 96 minutes, made more than a dozen pre-programmed flips, and managed to avoid hitting any pebble-sized particles that might lie between Saturn's rings. And it did it all at speeds reaching 69,000 miles per hour.


Think how thrilled NASA engineers must be right now.

Saturn revealed

In this image released June 28, 2004, dark regions represent areas where the spacecraft Cassini is seeing into deeper levels in Saturn's atmosphere. The dark regions are relatively free of high clouds and the light at these particular near-infrared wavelengths penetrates into the gaseous cloud-free atmosphere and is absorbed by methane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera on May 15, 2004, from a distance of 15.4 million miles from Saturn. The Cassini spacecraft is due to arrive and orbit the planet Saturn on June 30, 2004.