Thursday, July 28, 2005

Herding cats

We are organizing Global PR Blog Week 2.0. It promises to be much bigger and more sophisticated than the original event. Once again Constantin Basturea is doing most of the heavy lifting for the technical side of the event. I can see why his clients like him, for he is truly a shining light in our industry.

Truly bold

Beware of phantom stock regulators, officials warn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Con artists are setting up Web sites for fake U.S. regulatory agencies to lure stock investors, many from overseas, into fraudulent transactions, officials from New Jersey to Montana warned on Thursday.

These "phantom regulators" -- with names like the International Compliance Commission and the Securities Protection Agency -- have been brought to the attention of actual regulators, the officials said.

Right up there with his prediction that blogs will replace press releases

Blog Search Will Soon Be Extinct

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Call for participation: Security 2005 Conference & Exhibition

Security 2005 Conference & Exhibition: Homeland, Cyber, and Information Assurance

November 29-30, 2005
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Deadline for Abstract Submission is Wednesday, August 24, 2005

This annual conference brings together government and industry professionals to discuss priorities, programs and practical strategies to meet the evolving challenges of information and homeland security. The program is designed to address the current concerns of government managers responsible for information assurance, secure information sharing, information technology security, as well as a range of homeland security operations, including critical infrastructure protection, border and transportation security, risk assessment and mitigation, continuity of government, and other critical national security mandates.

As a companion event to the Security 2005 Conference and Exhibition, FCW Events also will host a one-day seminar on Thursday, December 1st to address “Identity Protection and Management for Government”

Nick Wingfield on how reporters use blogs

Just got this email from the Infocom Group.

Wall Street Journal Tech Scribe Reveals How Journalists Use Blogs in Reporting — and What PR Practitioners Should Do About It

According to the most recent Annual Euro RSCG Magnet Survey of the Media, conducted in partnership with Columbia University, more than half (51%) of journalists use Weblogs regularly — with 28% relying on them for day-to-day reporting. Sounds like an impressive — perhaps even inflated — statistic, right?

Not according to Wall Street Journal tech reporter Nick Wingfield. “Those findings sound conservative — particularly when applied to tech journalists,” he says. “In my case, I’m definitely part of the crowd using them in [my] reporting. Do my colleagues in Detroit check the auto industry blogs? Maybe not as much. What about reporters in DC — do they go to the political blogs? Probably.”

Wingfield’s point: “Certain industries and beats have embraced the medium more quickly than others. For example, the reporter who covers agriculture and farming probably isn’t going to find as much information for reporting in blogs. But in tech beats — it’s become part of the job. There are a lot of superb blogs out there and many [of us] are cherry picking out interesting stories there.”

Digging deeper, Wingfield reveals the following ways journalists actually use blogs during reporting — and shares a word of caution geared toward PR practitioners seeking to include blogs in their media relations efforts:

1. Journalists use blogs as tickler files when researching stories. “Blogs break big news on occasions,” says Wingfield. “That’s really useful to us. For example, the blogs were abuzz during the week of January 10th with leaks about what Apple’s product plans were. People have dissed blogs about being hit-and-miss in terms of accuracy — but in that case, they really shined. They [blogs like ThinkSecret and MacInsider] had the most amazing product leaks I had seen, including [information about the] Mac Mini and the iPod Shuffle.”

In addition: “In the days before blogs, trade pubs and newsletters would pick up on these types of stories — and the mainstream media would pick up the trades as tip sheets and not give them credit,” Wingfield recalls. “Crediting has gotten better, but the point is that these [blogs] can help us research story ideas. In this case, I didn’t really use [ThinkSecret or MacInsider] as tip sheets to do my story — but it helped me be prepared.”

He adds this caveat, however: “The Journal broke the Apple Intel [chip] news two or three weeks before they announced the deal. We broke it — and the blogosphere reacted, so it goes both ways.”

2. Journalists use blogs as sounding boards. “I also use blogs to see and hear how people in this fairly technical area think about a [certain product or announcement],” Wingfield continues. “Blogs will debate the merits and demerits of deals between companies, for example. They’re not research tools exactly, but they give you a sense of what people think. Also, after our story [ran], I went to those blogs to see what their reactions were to it.”

3. Journalists use blogs as digests of the day’s news. “Blogs also do good jobs of surfacing other stories in the mainstream media that I may not have caught,” Wingfield says. “This is useful in the RSS era — I have a newsreader cherry picking headlines from blogs and it saves me a lot of time. I also see the things they are linking to on other sites that I might not have hit myself.”

4. Journalists don’t “flog the blog” — they see blogs as useful websites. “The term ‘blogs’ is meaningless in a way,” Wingfield says. “Once they’ve become a useful tool, they’re really just a bunch of websites with useful information. They bear little resemblance to the epitome of blogs — which is a very personal, introspective diary. The blogs reporters use aren’t that.” His point: “It’s silly to conflate useful websites with real news information and rumors with those other kinds of sites.”

So what does all of this mean to PR practitioners? “Employee blogs, CEO blogs and other types of sites might be good tools for PR people to reach out [to their publics],” Wingfield says. “But whatever you [put online] has to have real information, be entertaining and original — and it can’t just communicate the corporate mainline. In addition, blogs are not a substitute for building relationships with reporters. They may help get information out — but you still [need to call the media],” he concludes.

Dr. Vincent Tortoriello

Enforsys President Dr. Vincent Tortoriello Appointed to Prestigious Advisory Committee

WHIPPANY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 27, 2005--Enforsys Systems Inc., a leader in public safety software development specializing in information sharing and mobile reporting for law enforcement agencies, today announced that company president Dr. Vincent Tortoriello has been named a full time member of the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standard Advisory Committee of the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute. ...

As one of the founders of Enforsys, Tortoriello has played a key role in working as the domain expert in the development of the company's various technology products and services. With a PhD in Chemical Engineering, he also served as a police officer for over 20 years during which he received awards for Life Saving, Meritorious Service and Exceptional Duty.

The creative friction

Shel Holtz informs us that Newsweek is listing to top ten articles most linked by bloggers. Not as thorough as the annotated New York Times, but very useful. We are all learning about how to have this online conversation.

Buttering up the press

Jim Horton points to a story of a reporter who was canned for accepting gifts. Bribery subverts the very thing that make PR possible, editorial integrity.

There are legitimate ways of buttering up reporters and editors. Write them congratulatory letters when they win something for their reporting. All reporters want readers, use your blog to link to their stories. (This works with industry analysts as well.) Recognize the work of their professional societies and trade groups. These are all legitimate ways flacks can cultivate relationships that do not compromise editorial integrity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

IJIS uses the power of blogging

From b.spirit -

Paul Womeli’s Tech Notes:

Bill Machrone, whose column has appeared in PC Magazine for over 20 years, writes in his August 9 column about the correlation between collaboration and information sharing functions often provided by expensive content management software and the same capabilities provided by blogging software. He describes the typical needs for collaboration including "built-in reader commentary, RSS syndication, template-based article entry, and the ability to make style changes without having to find and replace across every HTML page." and points out that most blogging software fills the bill.

There are powerful features of enterprise class blogging software tools that go beyond Machrone's observations and begin to build the basic collaboration and information sharing capability that members of any particular community of interest seek. At the IJIS Institute, we adopted a secure enterprise blogging software package made by Traction Software which we use for multiple important purposes. First, it totally defines our web site using a customized skin that we had Traction create for us. While our web site looks and acts like a conventional web site, it is actually built with the blogging software and everything on the public web site is just composed of articles (posts) in the Traction software. This makes the update and maintenance of the pages trivial, as MS Word documents can simply be copied into the web pages and uploaded with a mouse click eliminating all the work of HTML encoding and placement (although it is very easy to add HTML formatting).

The importance of definitions

Alex Hoffman:

I always find definitions important because all too often I find myself talking at cross purposes with others, because we are actually talking about different things. Part of the problem is that one really needs to clarify the perspective or audience the definition is addressing. For example to a .NET developer, a component might be "an object that implements IComponent", whereas, to a general audience a component might be "something that is a part of a larger system or structure".

Part of the reason this blog regularly posts definitions is to create a handy resource for this author for the precise meaning of IT terminology. Much of the bad writing in tech comes form this misuse of terminology.

Some advice to PR agencies

Use a hyperlink.

Monday, July 25, 2005

More on press releases

Dan Gillmor is not thrilled with our military putting the same made up quote in two different press releases. He goes on to make some very entertaining observations about quotes in press releases:

Look, PR people make up quotes all the time. It's part of their job.

If you're in the news business you see this stuff all the time. I mean, when a corproate CEO is quoted as saying, "I am gratified by the performance of our frabjab-widget business unit during the quarter, when the trajectory of widget sales continued to move in a favorable direction," you can be fairly sure that this line was written, not uttered, and not by the guy being quoted. ...

For example, it strains my brain to imagine that John Lee, senior vice president, CNN Newsource Sales, really told a PR person: "A more useful Web site continues CNN Newsource’s leadership position in communicating with affiliates, ensuring that they have all the information they need as quickly and reliably as possible from CNN. This newly designed interface is an easy-to-navigate portal that connects affiliates to the world of news. It is an efficient, intuitive, one-screen, information portal that lets each desktop user get immediate, topical information that they need from CNN to produce their local newscasts.”

Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? The only human-sounding aspect of that quote is the bad grammar.

All this makes me think that Kevin Dugan may be on to something when he suggests sending out press releases in a podcast/mp3 file.

If everyone listened to their news releases before sending them out, I suspect their quality would improve dramatically.

The ever quoatable BL Ochman

The business press is discovering BL Ochman.

Chicago Tribune

Before you launch your blog, research existing blogs, noting what you like or don't like about other blogs. And make sure you have something to say. Think about what you're going to write about and why anybody would read it, Ochman said.

If you don't think you can sustain an interesting, updated blog, the medium might not be effective for your company, Weil said. "This is such a cool phenomenon, but as the buzz quiets down, it's going to be `Oh, yeah. I have to keep it up,'" she said, noting, "Not everyone likes to write."

Red Herring

B.L. Ochman, founder of, has studied Internet trends since 1995. Ms. Ochman, who uses her blog to drive traffic to her web site or to sell her books, is convinced that blogging is the future of corporate marketing. She points to the Paris-based CEO Bloggers Club, made up of European CEOs who post at least twice a week. “For whatever reason… they’re blogging to communicate with their customers,” she says. “Some of what they write is bull---t, but some of them really get into” discussions with readers.

Now that she’s famous, hope she won’t forget her friends.

IJIS helps build the National Sex Offender Public Registry

National Sex Offender Public Registry Goes Live

In a press conference July 20th, Assistant Attorney General Regina Scholfield announced that DOJ had met Attorney General Gonzalez's stated objective of having at least 20 states live in the National Sex Offender Public Registry. Schofield noted that the goal could not have been met without the direct paricipation and support of the private sector (as contributed by IJIS Institute member companies).

The OJP press release was issued to inform the public of the availability of the new NSOPR site which is now live. Many IJIS Institute member companies "adopted" states and volunteered to help set up web services to connect the existing state registries to the national registry.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

What is OPML?

Outline Processor Markup Language

An XML format for outlines. Originally developed by Radio UserLand as a native file format for an outliner application it has since been adopted for other uses, the most common being to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators.

Now you know.

Responding to the pitch plague

John Waggner points to Kevin Dugan’s 12 News Release Alternatives. My personal favorite:

6) Podcast/mp3 File: We're all listening to podcasts and can think of news that might be effective in this format. If everyone listened to their news releases before sending them out, I suspect their quality would improve dramatically.

Congruatulations Neville Hobson

Today marks the first birthday of this blog - one year ago today, NevOn opened its doors on TypePad.

Redefining the government/university research partnership

The Federal Demonstration Partnership

The Federal Demonstration Partnership is a cooperative initiative among 10 federal agencies and 98 institutional recipients of federal funds; its purpose is to reduce the administrative burdens associated with research grants and contracts. The interaction between FDP’s 300 or so university and federal members takes place in FDP’s 3 annual meetings and, more extensively, in the many collaborative working groups and task forces that meet often by conference calls in order to develop specific work products. The FDP is a unique forum for individuals from universities and nonprofits to work collaboratively with federal agency officials to improve the national research enterprise. At its regular meetings, FDP members hold spirited, frank discussions, identify problems, and develop action plans for change. Then these new ways of doing business are tested in the real world before putting them into effect.

Promoted from comments, National Grants Partnership, a very handy resource.

National Information Assurance Training and Education Center

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Software process improvement blogs

When I first started blogging there were a few project management blogs, but no process improvement blogs. I recently found a few:

OOAD, AOP and Design Patterns

Ingenieria de Software / Software

Cirrus Minor


Alex Hoffman Weblog

Return on Information Security Investment Resources


Process improvement blues

The Frameworks Quagmire

Next National GJXDM Developer Training

The IJIS Institute

In conjunction with the CTC 9 conference, the next national training program for developers in the use of the GJXDM will be held September 15-17 in Seattle. The course announcement contains instructions for registration and obtaining hotel accomodations.

Why interoperability matters

Take a Look At Your 911 Systems

By 911, I mean your public safety systems used by first responders for near real time operations (say Computer-aided Dispatch) and the police and fire records databases.

1. Until 9/11 (the event), these have been local systems, aka, vertical smokestacks, with little interoperation even across neighboring jurisdictions.

2. Public safety is a late adopter market with a lifecycle at about 12 years long (time from purchase to retirement). This means that technologies taken for granted on the public Internet are not used widely for public safety systems (security concerns aside for the moment).

3. 9/11 was the wakeup call the industry needed to finally take the issue of interoperability seriously and begin to work on standards for CAD-to-CAD (APCO 36) and database interchange (GJXDM).

That is why the work of this committee is so critical.

How long must we sing this song?

Several blasts hit Egyptian Red Sea resort

A series of explosions hit the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh early Saturday, killing at least 49 people and wounding 150 others, witnesses and police said.

Such is the hubris of violence.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dilbert on RSS

From Devi0s:

The unofficial Dilbert RSS feed

XBRL and section 408 of Sarbanes Oxley

Bill Zoellick

Daniel Roberts of Grant Thornton used part of his time during last week's panel presentation to argue that there is indeed such a motivation. Roberts acknowledged all of the official reasons for the SEC voluntary program--testing technology features, uncovering software available for data tagging, finding out how mature the taxonomies are, discovering how deeply data will be tagged, assessing the amount of effort required to tag the data, and--of course--assessing the utility of the tagging for the SEC. However, in Roberts' view these official reasons leave out the BIG reason that the SEC needs XBRL. According to Roberts, the SEC needs XBRL so that the agency does not end up buried in a mountain of paper (or PDF or HTML -- which are largely the same thing when it comes to analyzing financial reports) and with keeping the SEC out of trouble with Congress.

According to Roberts, the SEC now receives a million pages of newly filed information every day. Given this enormous stream of data, the SEC is currently able to review the financial statements from only about 18% of the companies submitting filings each year. Roberts directed attention to the language of Section 408 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which reads, "In no event shall an issuer required to file reports under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 be reviewed under this section less frequently than once every 3 years." If the SEC is currently doing only 18% of the companies a year, and they are required to review every company no less frequently than every three years, well ... do the math.

Further, given the outcry from companies having difficulty meeting SEC deadlines under the Sarbanes Oxley Act, Roberts said that it was highly unlikely that the SEC would want to report back to Congress with the news that the SEC, itself, was not able to meet the requirements of the Act.

Peter Derby, Managing Executive for Operations and Management at the SEC, talk about the SEC's XBRL initiative at the 11th International XBRL conference

Extensible Business Reporting Language

Blogging government and technology

Nick Mudge’s Government and Technology Weblog

Behind the Curtain at TCG, Ideas about research related IT, grants management, and government's use of technology

Defenestrated, A delicate blend of eGov, grants management, technology, Britain, and the arts, with a dusting of random weirdness

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Open letter to journalists

I have a client who you have never heard of, a client with a good story. You don't subscribe to our RSS feed because you have never heard of us. How do I tell you about the client's story? Give me an alternative and I will never send another press release.

Nooked RSS Directory could be part of the answer.

PR business practice follies, connecting the dots

Shel Holtz is on target when he says that Jeremy Zawodny’s call for a email block list for tech oriented PR firms is a wake up call.

The practitioners who apply this shotgun approach to getting ink are damaging the profession. There are thousands of clued-in PR professionals who would target a journalist (or an influential blogger like Zawodny) only after doing his homework and determining that the reporter and the story are a good match. A blacklist would catch all those legitimate queries in the same filter as the “pitch spam.” Not only would the pitch never reach the target, but the journalist could miss a story in which he’s actually interested.

So why do PR shops engage in a practice which they know is ineffective to the point of being counterproductive? This post from Michael O’Connor Clarke may offer a clue:

If It Moves, Bill It!

Irregular, creative, or downright unethical billing practices are the dirty secret in too many PR agencies. Some of them don’t even realize they’re doing it – or they just don’t recognize that what they’re doing would, at best, raise serious questions were their clients to find out.

Could it be that some PR firms are sending out press releases just to be able to bill clients for stories they know will never be placed? I certainly hope not.

Clever blog name

A Nation of the People and IP Addresses

How to hype your conference

Invite bloggers. Works for seminars too.

Shari Kurzrok

I would like to join Jeremy Pepper and others in making an appeal for Shari Kurzrok of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, who is in urgent need of a liver transplant.

We might also take this occasion to reflect on the wisdom of permitting theocrats to determine our policy on stem cell research.

Spanish Language RSS Reader


The value of internal blogs


Rather than trying to generate ideas in meetings, Ms. Cronin-Lukas advises, companies should create an internal blog on which employees can share ideas. A blog allows employees to show tangible evidence of their thinking and expertise, getting ideas out of their heads and putting them to work for the company.”

This is my view. On the other hand, one can just imagine a Dilbert satire of internal blogs.

Blogging for Business, Kyle Wingfield, The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

First Response Coalition Blog’s early adopters

Wilson P. Dizard III , Government Computer News

Owen Ambur, co-chair of the CIO Council’s XML Community of Practice and chief XML strategist for the Interior Department, said the council sponsored to improve the federal government’s management of the emerging technology lifecycle.

“In layman’s terms, government executives can’t deal with all the vendors coming at them,” Ambur said.

Plans for the site call for the automation of an eight-step process:

* Identification of emerging technologies, broadly defined and not endorsed
* Subscription to technologies by government officials
* Stewardship, in which the CIO Council’s Emerging Technology Subcommittee takes responsibility for proposed components
* Graduation, when proposed components shift to the oversight of the Components Subcommittee following approval by the ET Subcommittee
* Budgeting, the stage at which components receive funds
* Acquisition, the purchasing process
* Maintenance of components throughout their lifecycle
* Retirement and replacement of components at the end of their lifecycle.

If this works it will likely be the model for large organizations everywhere.

How It Works: XML & Justice Integration

Tod Newcombe, Public CIO

Some Definitions
XML is a programming language that marks the meaning of content within a document or form. Unlike another markup language known as HTML, which has to do with the appearance of documents and forms on the Web, XML specifies what the information is with tags that identify categories of information.

These categories are called objects and consist of tagged data elements. A "person" object may contain elements that are physical descriptors (eye and hair color, weight, height, etc.), biometric descriptors (DNA, fingerprints) and social descriptors (marital status, occupation). A vehicle object would contain other types of elements, such as make, model, registration number or title. XML can then address the relationship between the objects (Is the person the owner of the vehicle?).

The key to XML is that objects have their own vocabulary -- described in a data dictionary -- making it possible to identify and exchange the information objects from one computer to another without having to use the same operating systems or application software.

Because the justice community is riddled with incompatible legacy systems, it has embraced XML as a basis for quick and inexpensive document exchange. For the first time, various justice and public safety agencies can develop a common vocabulary so documents and information can be exchanged quickly and efficiently.

Global Justice XML Data Model
Global JXDM allows different agencies to organize a justice-based data dictionary within their separate databases, which identifies content and gives it meaning. Besides the dictionary, Global JXDM is also a data model that defines structures and a repository of reusable software components.

By making the standard independent of vendors, operating systems, storage media and applications, JXDM is fast emerging as a key technology for assisting how criminal and judicial organizations exchange information.

Why can’t we share?

Some Definitions

Definition of Content, Document, and Record

If you are not clear on what is meant by these words in an IT context, these are very succinct definitions.

How vendors and users can work together to solve problems

IJIS Institute Forms Advisory Committee on Law Enforcement IT Standards

The IJIS Institute has announced the formation of a new committee designed to support the development of information technology standards for law enforcement agencies.

The IJIS Institute has been working closely with the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council (LEITSC), a consortium of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum, the National Sheriff’s Association, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The mission of LEITSC is to provide outreach and education to the nation’s law enforcement community regarding IT standards; represent law enforcement in the development of standards that affect the information sharing; and to facilitate the development of standards by utilizing committees composed of law enforcement practitioners. Further detail is available at . The IJIS Institute has been working with LEITSC to develop functional standards for computer aided dispatching and police records management systems. The Council is in the process of circulating the draft functional standards through committees of its four partners to attempt to achieve national consensus on what these systems should do for law enforcement agencies of all kinds.

Watch this process carefully. It will become the model for the industry, not just the public sector.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Federal Computer Week’s policy on unnamed sources

Chris Dorobek

The crux is that we want to avoid it whenever possible. Using unnamed sources hurts our credibility. [Read Poynter’s “Readers: Anonymous Sources Affect Media Credibility,” June 17, 2005] Let’s be honest – people think we just make it up. So unnamed sources need to be the exception, not the rule. And in those exceptional cases, we still need to watch out for the reader and attempt to give them as much context as we possibly can.

I understand that there are circumstances where we do need to use unnamed sources. But in those cases, we need to provide readers with some context about this person. Is he or she with government? industry? It can make a significant different… and without that context, the person appears to have the “voice of God,” when he or she may actually be a vendor who is saying that the government really needs to have a single HR system and -- presto! -- the company just happens to have a perfect solution that will solve all of the government’s problems.

We want to use unnamed sources only when the information is so important that we cannot get it anywhere else. If somebody is just saying that having unified financial systems are important, it probably isn’t necessary to quote them anonymously. In those cases, it is probably worth calling more people. (It is probably still worth the interview, but it may not be worth using in print. Those interviews, however, can give you background that can help flesh out your story and future interviews.) By contrast, there are situations where a vendor will say that some agency system is off track and they could lose a contract if they were to say so publicly. Even then, I think it is important to provide some context about who this person is – identifying them as a vendor at minimum… or a vendor with knowledge of the program… or a vendor competing for the program… or something that gives the readers a sense of any conflicts, if there are any.

At minimum, [FCW editor-in-chief] John [Monroe] and/or I will need to know who these people are so we can make the assessment about any potential conflicts, etc. Both John and I [and Federal Computer Week] would stand by the agreement, but it is important that your sources know that editors do need to know who is being quoted.

Finally, with all of that said, we stand by our agreements. Remember that going on background (a source is not used by name; you need to establish the parameters of that up front – is this person called an industry official or agency official or what) or to go off-the-record (you will not quote the person at all) all needs to be worked out up front. This is an ethically – if not legally -- binding agreement. We stand by those agreements. We always have and we always will. If we agree up front that we will not identify somebody at all, we won’t. But we always make the final decision about whether the information that person provides is important to the story.

To summarize:

* Let’s only quote anonymous sources if it is absolutely necessary.
* If we do need to make such an arrangement, do it so we can provide the reader with the necessary context – where is this person coming from?
* If that information is included in a story, make sure it is so important that it would change the reader’s understanding of the situation and that there is no other way of getting the story or that comment.

Fellow flacks, we have a role to play here. If we explain to our clients how speaking anonymously contributes to an atmosphere of distrust, we can put an end to this evil practice.

Brian Noyes asks a question

Why Why Why Why Why no wireless???

I don’t get it. Why is it that every little Podunk airport I fly through (yesterday it was Ft. Wayne IN) has wireless internet access in the airport, but many major commuter hubs (Washington National, Dulles, Chicago, etc.) do not.

Good question.

NIST guide for security controls

Emerging Technologies alerts us to the release of the draft for NIST’s Guide for Assessing the Security Controls in Federal Information Systems

Adsense in RSS

A Venture Capitalist does the numbers.

Good customer service is good PR

I share BL Ochman’s view that dissatisfied customers who blog offer an early warning system for product/service defects. Corporations would be well advised to treat them with respect. Steve Rubel calls these bloggers vigilante journalists. I have to ask, are customers who rave about products also vigilantes? Or does this only apply to critics?

The Public Relations of using fingerprints

Fingerprints at Disney: The Desensitization Imperative

Some people might ask, what's the problem with using fingerprints?

There are several. The first is that fingerprints carry a mystique and stigma which interferes with reasoning about them. That your fingerprint is unique does not mean that a computerized fingerprint reader will properly and uniquely identify you. You leave your fingerprints everywhere. This is what makes them useful to law enforcement. But it also makes it easy to forge. Fingerprints are also hard to change. And finally, even if fingerprints are easy to steal...well, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Our best friend

So Far, Dogs Are Still Best Detectors of Bombs
From a civil liberties point of view this seems the least intrusive approach.

What is the best way to send a press release?

Ben Silverman takes a survey. It looks like faxes and wire services are the best way to send press releases.
Code rage, don't let it happen to you.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The fight against unsolicited commercial email

What's This Page For?

The purpose of this page is to make it so that spammers who attempt to collect email addresses off the web through programs will not have real email addresses in their database, causing them trouble because they will have to clean out their list. This page has one hundred randomly generated email addresses (reload and new ones will appear). At the bottom of the page is a link to this page again, essentially reloading it for programs to collect more fake email addresses. Email collecting programs will be sent in an infinite loop by following the link at the bottom of the page and will get more and more fake email addresses stuck in their databases. This helps to place many invalid email addresses that won't help spammers (they will get more returned email ;) and is our effort to FIGHT SPAM.


Actually there is a very simple solution to this plague. Without credit card merchant accounts unsolicited commercial email would not be economic. If Visa, MasterCard, et al were to alter their terms of service to ban spammers this would all cease.

Owen Ambur thinks out loud

Some Wild & Crazy Thoughts on Potential Applications of XML

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Boris Mizhen is phishing for trouble.

Received this in my in-box -
Subject: Fcu Important Info
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 13:11:28 -0700

Dear FCU holder account,

As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in Federal Credit Unions (FCU) network.
We recently noticed the following issue on your account: A recent review of your account determined that we require some additional information from you in order to provide you with secure service. Case ID Number: PP-065-617-349 For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please log in to your FCU account to restore your access as soon as possible.

You must click the link below and fill in the form on the following page to complete the verification process.

Click here to update your account.

Of course the link carried the user to:"

Network Solutions says this address is registered to RIPE Network Coordination Centre. According to the The Registry of Known Spam Operators, Boris Mizhen is behind RIPE Network Coordination Centre.

Take care Mr. Mizhen. When you attempt to scam the customers of a Federal Credit Union the chance of crossing someone with the police powers to go after you are good to excellent.


Results from the RIPE Network who is search


(Or Metadata Hits the Mainstream)

The last week has seen a considerable discussion occur on 'folksonomies' on two different lists and also at .

Some issues that have come up in the lists:


- easy to find something according to what keyword is popular now
- good way to introduce people to metadata - it is more effective than not using tags at all, is easy to do and does help with retrieval
- good way to address *part* of the metadata puzzle - i.e. retrieval and resource discovery
- reflect an understanding of the subject from the community itself - the terms are not imposed - 'snapshots of the collective understanding/use of terms'
-it has implications for how 'standardisation' of metadata occurs; the meaning and concepts of terms change over time and taxonomies need to be able to reflect this
- it is possible to have an unmoderated intervention by the users
- the users can create their own taxonomy, rather than having to pick words from a pre-defined list (and how is that created?)
- it encourages multiple categorisation
- users are encouraged to make meaningful relationships between information resources for themselves
- users can create personal taxonomies - i.e. list of words which make sense them (personally I still use the term 'station' rather than 'calling point' on the railways; I fight the battle against US imperialism by insisting that I buy 'chips' in Ultimate Burger, rather than 'fries')
- folksonomies help with serendipity
- blog and wiki writers are using them


- Lack of synonym control
- variant spellings and punctuation
- does it simply lead to high recall but low precision?


- can the folksonomy and the 'official' taxonomy work together?
- how would this be done?
- how are search engine logs being analysed and the terms which users there being incorporated?
- where in the ISPV does the term 'folksonomy' appear? : )

James Melzer comments.

Data theft

Barbara Haven has it exactly:

What we need is someone in power who can put the burden for identity theft where it belongs: on the institutions who collect this data.

David Fletcher on eGovernment and interoperability

David Fletcher has an interview in Propolis. You have to register to gain access and speak Spanish to understand it.

When good people give bad advice, Public Relations Tactics

Final Watergate revelation prompts questions for potential anonymous sources

Many journalists and PR practitioners agree that there are varying degrees of anonymity. Common terms used include “deep background,” “background,” “not for attribution” and “off-the-record.” What these terms mean, how they differ and how they are implemented is up to the individual or his or her media outlet.

A terrific guide is The Washington Post’s Policies on Sources, Quotations, Attribution and Datelines, which is paraphrased below. (A version is available at

On the record: Information that is fully attributable.

Background: Also called “not for attribution,” is information that can be attributed to a vaguely referenced source.

Deep Background: Information that is not to be attributed in any way. The Washington Post calls this a “tricky category” and encourages reporters to avoid it if possible.

Off-the-record: Frequently misused, this is conservatively interpreted as information that is not to be used in any way. Interestingly, The Washington Post urges reporters not to listen to off-the-record information, since it can restrict their ability to gather information about a story.

For Guidance: A less common term, but the basis for the relationship between Felt and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, this is information to prompt further reporting on the understanding that it will not be used as the basis for a story. Felt helped Woodward and Bernstein know whether their investigation was going in the right direction.

And then of course there is the double super secret background that Matthew Cooper offered Karl Rove. Steven Colbert explains:

Industry term, a bit of lingo. In essence it’s just like regular background, but with no tag-backs, frontsies or backsies, taken to infinity, plus one, on opposite day, circle, circle, dot - dot, now you got a cootie-shot. It was first pioneered by Edgar R. Murrow.

It’s a dirty practice, don’t be part of it.

Let’s you and him fight

Sometimes it’s better to turn down an interview.

Homeland Security Grants Guide

Click here to download the Homeland Security Grants Guide in PDF format.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Post Site Splits Into Local, Global Pages

Eighty Percent of Visitors Are Outside Area on Wednesday night launched separate home pages -- one for the local audience, and one for national and international users -- as part of an effort to make the paper more relevant to readers and advertisers.

The home page will feature a different mix of stories depending on the Zip code readers submit when they register at the site.

About 80 percent of the 8.5 million unique visitors to the site each month are from outside the Washington area, said Tim Ruder, vice president of marketing for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. He added that local readers return to the site more frequently and linger longer. ....

But Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said The Post also has lost something. "What The Post is doing today is a recognition that the balance of power has shifted to users who can choose the way they receive news . . . that they're not entirely in charge of how people get their news anymore."

Huh? Newspapers who present their material in a way that enables readers to get what they want when they want aren’t losing anything. They are gaining credibility.

Compare and contrast

Iraqi blogger Khalid Jarrar has been taken into custody by the Iraqi mokhabarat, or secret service. Jarrar is author of Secrets in Baghdad and is the brother of Raed from Raed in the Middle.

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Must Register Blogs

Iran agrees military co-operation with Iraq

Friday, July 15, 2005

Data-Sharing SystemsThat Work

Jennifer Maselli, Government Enterprise

Data Defined
With the Bush administration's emphasis on improving data sharing among agencies, particularly as it relates to matters of homeland security, the Justice Department 3-1/2 years ago began developing the Global Justice XML Data Model. Global JXDM can be used by any local, state, or federal agency to share information with other departments without requiring them to replace existing systems.

One of Global JXDM's most critical applications is its use by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security as the baseline technology underlying the National Information Exchange Model, a data-sharing initiative that will span Homeland Security agencies and support data dictionaries that encompass terminologies from the secret service, the intelligence community, and customs and immigration systems.

Global JXDM incorporates a data model that includes a data dictionary that houses more than 2,700 definitions and an XML schema. Using the technology, agencies can define small, reusable components--such as name, address, telephone number, and physical description fields--that seamlessly populate documents in other applications, such as rap sheets. There's no need for a separate interface to make sure that one application pulls the right data from another application when fields with the same data exist in these applications under different names--for instance, "last name" and "surname."

What happened to Technorati?

David Sifry explains.

Really simple selling Launches RSS Advertising

ARLINGTON, Va., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- today announced that it will introduce advertising in its RSS (Real Simple syndication) feeds, making it the first major news site to offer ad units in its syndication streams.

To launch on July 15 in its Top News, Politics and Opinion feeds, the ads will be part of a unique campaign integrating RSS ads, online video, behavioral targeting and standard ad delivery.

This is great news. The Washington Post has found a way to make its online edition profitable. That means they will have the money to fund a first class news organization.

Jeremy Pepper does not think much of this, but I think it is great.

Ian Lipner shares Pepper’s skepticism.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


How to Promote Your Experts, Executives and Spokespeople in the Media

Best ProfNet Placement Tips

Read the query. “This sounds obvious, but it bears repeating,” Margot Carmichael Lester, who is familiar with ProfNet both as a PR professional and a freelance writer. “When I submit a query, I can't tell you how many query responses I get from people who aren't even close to being a relevant source. If the reporter bothers to mention the type of source s/he's looking for, respect that and don't respond if you aren't selling what's needed. It’s a waste of every one's time.”

If you send an irrelevant response the reporter will write you off and then you won’t be able to place stories when you have something newsy.

iClip lite wins DashboardWidgets' Mac mini contest!

Dashbord Wigdets

Congratulations to John Casasanta, the developer of iClip lite, for winning DashboardWidgets’ Mac mini contest. iClip lite is a multiple clipboard & scrapbook widget designed to improve your efficiency and productivity for most tasks you do on your computer. It enables you to quickly to store and retrieve snippets of information like text, pictures, Internet addresses and more in its multiple “clip bins”.


iClip is a new multiple clipboard/scrapbook software application for Apple Macintosh computers with OS X.

With iClip, you can drag & drop or copy & paste all kinds of information into its “clipping bins”. You can store:
clipping types

* text
* pictures
* URLs
* sounds
* movies
* and much more

This might be very handy for PR pros.

iClip lite

iClip lite is a free Dashboard widget version of the award-winning iClip. It was designed in conjunction with the Widget Machine and features stylish graphics and animation by the talented Mac theme artist, Pe8er.

Inventive Blog

Has this happened to you?

John Waggener

How many PR people have pitched a story, been shot down, then seen that story appear in the same publication a couple of months later featuring a competitor's product? Thought so.

Comforting to know I’m not the only one.

Where to put the link?

When you send out a press release with a link, should it go at the top or the bottom of the release? Anil Dash says it should go at the top and I suspect he is right. Also, don’t miss this hilarious parody of the pitch from hell.

Vive la France!

In honor of Bastille Day, La Marseillaise:

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Qui viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils et nos compagnes!

Aux armes citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons, marchons,
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

Amour sacré de la patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs!
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs!
Combats avec tes défenseurs!
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents!
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!

Nous entrerons dans la carrière
Quand nos ainés n'y serons plus;
Nous y trouverons leur poussière
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre!

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

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

Online Data Gets Personal: Cell Phone Records for Sale

Jonathan Krim, Washington Post

Think your mate is cheating? For $110, will provide you with the outgoing calls from his or her cell phone for the last billing cycle, up to 100 calls. All you need to supply is the name, address and the number for the phone you want to trace. Order online, and get results within hours.

Attention cell phone providers, it is only a question of time before your failure to protect your customers’ data lands you in a spectacular PR disaster.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Whither the trade press?

Steve Gillmor

Saturday night we had dinner with an old friend from the trade press. He's resisted the siren call of the blogosphere longer than most, and pretends to cast doubt on its significance with the best of them. Oddly, he paid more attention to the podosphere when it emerged late last year; I took that as tacit acknowledgment of both spheres.

Over cabbage soup at Max's Opera, we dissected the continuing slide of the trade space. Print books, notoriously slim in the summer months, are even slimmer this time around. I noted Matt McAlister's bolt from Infoworld to Yahoo!, a 48-page issue from Information Week (typically the last to drop folio below the baseline ratio of ads to editorial), and the appalling lack of bodies in a JavaOne press conference as significant data points.

This may seem like so much inside baseball to most of you, but this has been building for a long time. What's new is the insistent voice of the blogosphere beginning to dominate the conversation between vendors and customers. It's more of a zero sum game than many are willing to accept. Analysts are consolidating (read: contracting) and tech news has been commoditized to something approaching loss leader. Folks like Stephen Shankland and Ephraim Schwartz are increasingly providing analysis in their beat areas, and of course the Redmonk boys are open-sourcing their methodology if not their recommendations.

The trade press is an essential part of the industry dialog. Someone has to provide the narrative account, someone has to do product reviews, someone has to do analysis. Bloggers are amateurs and cannot provide anything like the consistency necessary for quality reporting.

Elizabeth Albrycht comments.

Michael Gartenberg comments.

It’s not your computer

Eric Peterson

While our data suggests that internet users are actually less clear on the true definition and potential uses for "internet cookies" the Pew report does paint a fairly grim picture and, at least in my read, suggests that cookie deletion may get worse before it gets better.

No one ever won a war with their customers. The whole attitude about cookies has to change. If people want to delete cookies from their computers that is their right.

Spyware Definitions and Supporting Documents released for public comment.

Submit a comment

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


FBI Presents Plans for its Next Generation Information Management System, Sentinel

Last week the FBI hosted an Industry Day with industry members to describe planning for its upcoming acquisition of its next generation information system, SENTINEL. Additionally, mission partners from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) presented information on their expectation of how SENTINEL will enhance information sharing across organizational boundaries.

Twenty-seven companies, consisting of eighty-seven representatives, attended the half-day event. Attendees were offered the opportunity to gain additional insight on SENTINEL's direction from a group of senior FBI technology officials.

FBI Information Technology Fact Sheet

What is spyware?

ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer

NEW YORK - Anti-spyware vendors and consumer groups took a stab at issuing uniform definitions for "spyware" and "adware" on Tuesday in hopes of giving computer users more control over their machines.

The definitions seek clarity that could help improve anti-spyware products, educate consumers and fend off lawsuits from developers of software that sneaks onto computers.

You would think it would be obvious; but when you start defining anything you realize it isn’t so easy.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Finding the path to information sharing

John Monroe, Federal Computer Week

Many people have observed that the appropriations process often inadvertently makes information sharing difficult. By their very nature, information- sharing programs cut across agency boundaries, and those boundaries often cut across appropriations subcommittees. Such a fragmented view complicates the holistic approach information sharing requires.

Cooper, though, suggests a promising approach, one that works the system rather than trying to fix it.

Industry executives, who frequently lobby their representatives to support particular projects, ought to take to Capitol Hill on behalf of information-sharing programs, Cooper said. Many people dislike lobbying, seeing it as a source of much of the pork in the budget at the end of the appropriations process. But an essential element of lobbying is education.

Spammers Most Likely Users Of E-Mail Authentication

Gregg Keizer, TechWeb News

On the eve of an industry summit to discuss how e-mail authentication can stem the flood of spam, one security firm says that spammers are already using the protocols -- to slip their junk mail past filters.

Is it just possible we are going about this all wrong? As I have suggested before, without credit cards spam would not be possible. If Visa, MasterCard, et al, were to alter their terms of service to ban spammers this would all come to a quick end.

What is Data Governance?

Dan Neel, CRN

IBM aims to define a new category for business IT that it calls "data governance."

The Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant describes data governance as the sum of information security, privacy and compliance, and to make real-world sense of it the company has formed the Data Governance Council, said Steve Adler, the council's chairman and a program director for IBM Data Governance Solutions.

The Data Governance Council includes vendors, corporate IT customers, VARs, integrators and technology consultants who meet each quarter to exchange ideas and experiences about how they deal with information security, privacy and compliance, Adler said. At the same time, the participants will attempt to hash out strategies and case studies that could spur more efficient, secure data management within compliance guidelines, he added.

This is something to watch carefully.
EGov Electronic Government Center of Excellence

Building secure systems

Mark Burnett

While we're at it, let's just abandon all insecure network protocols. For every insecure protocol, there is an encrypted version, so why even keep the insecure protocols around? Why even install telnet when there's SSH? Why use FTP instead of SFTP? And what about instant messengers, plus IRC, NNTP, SNMP, and all the other unencrypted protocols? Boycott them all. Sure, you might say that we need to support these protocols for backwards compatibility. While that makes sense for now, we need to set some future date when we will phase these out, otherwise they will never leave us. Who wants to be backwards compatible with insecurity anyway?

While I'm on the subject of encryption, I say it's time everyone stopped coding their own homegrown encryption algorithms and just use well-accepted encryption standards. If you think that your custom triple-rot13-xor-encoded encryption function is unbreakable, think again. Why even bother with your own encryption when there is plenty of freely available code already out there? Why are programmers so compelled to reinvent the wheel? Obviously the public humiliation of endless security advisories isn't enough of a deterrent from people using ROT-13, XOR, or some other lame encryption. What do we have to do, pass a law or something? ...

How about responsible programming? Sure we have heard a lot about stack overflows and SQL injection, but if you write software, you should let people have a few security options rather than you making all the decisions for them. For example, give people the option to simply not record recently-opened documents, store personal information, or completely shut off unused services such as an embedded web server. When you configure the installer, it would help if you could also set the file permissions automatically so that others don't have to go back later to research and test for the most secure permissions.

Programmers, system administrators, what do you think?

GJXDM Information Exchange Package Documentation Guidelines

V1.1 - Final

Many justice and public safety organizations have been working to define information exchanges, conformant with the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM), to be used within their information sharing enterprise. Recently, a number of justice practitioner and industry organizations have been working to define “reference” information exchanges, intended as models for information exchanges that meet specific business needs. The Global XML Structure Task Force (XSTF) recognized the need to identify and describe a common set of artifacts to document the structure and content of a GJXDM-conformant XML instance used in an information exchange to meet a specific business purpose. This set of artifacts is referred to as “GJXDM Information Exchange Package Documentation.”

The products of these efforts have also been known as “Exchange Documents” and “Reference Exchange Documents” (or simply “Reference Documents”). This paper uses new terminology described in the Definitions section.

Version 1.1 incorporates comments from the XML Advisory Committee, GTTAC, and the XSTF. "Description" was changed to "Documentation", "GJXDM" was dropped while leaving it optional, and a few other minor suggestions by XML Advisory Committee, GTTAC, and XSTF members were incorporated.

The date of the "draft" version 1.1 (although not marked as a draft) was March 1, 2005. This is a "final" version 1.1 dated March 2, 2005 with a change to the file name from "...Description" to "...Documentation" and a few minor changes from comments on the draft version 1.1. No further changes are anticipated in the near future.

National Information Exchange Model

What Is NIEM?
NIEM stands for the National Information Exchange Model. NIEM is an interagency initiative to provide the foundation and building blocks for national-level interoperable information sharing and data exchange. The NIEM project was formally announced at the Global Justice XML Data Model (Global JXDM) Executive Briefing on February 28, 2005. It is initiated as a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with outreach to other departments and agencies. The base technology for the NIEM is the Global JXDM. The NIEM will leverage both the extensive Global JXDM reference model and the comprehensive Global JXDM XML-based framework and support infrastructure.

DOJ created the Global JXDM by gathering approximately 16,000 data elements from 35 data dictionaries comprised of DOJ agencies as well as various local and state government sources. The developers removed the redundancies and duplications and resolved semantic differences. Currently, Global JXDM consists of a well-defined and organized vocabulary of 2,754 reusable components out of which there are 400 Complex Types, 150 Simple Types, and 2,209 Properties that facilitate the exchange and reuse of information from multiple sources and multiple applications. The Global JXDM has effective governance mechanism and widespread recognition and is rich, flexible, extensible, and used by local and state agencies.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Why you should read that boring press release

There is a good reason editors do not allow reporters to write rants about the boring press release they receive. Unless you can write with extraordinary skill, such rants are boring. BL Ochman has some terse words for this ill-natured post from Russell Beattie. Beattie:

You know, now that people in Public Relations have "discovered" blogging, I'm seeing a notable downward trend in the quality of the discussions online. These are the people who think they understand communication and people in general, yet seem to be the last ones to be arriving to the blogosphere...

Actually we’ve been here a while; but apparently poor Mr. Beattie just got the memo.

Blogging isn't my "job" - I do this for fun. I'm not looking to fill column inches or dead airtime with your crap, I'm looking to provide real information and opinion to my readers who in turn return the favor and educate me.

News flash, reporters are looking for real information to inform and entertain readers. Moreover it is a job for them and most have shareholders to answer to. That is why they cannot afford to write rants about the horrible press release they receive.

Every new product announcement is a concrete example of where companies think the market is going. Only by consistently scanning press releases can you get a feel for an industry. This is a very time consuming process; that is why you need professional journalists. Moreover only an expert can separate the wheat from the chaff. Yes, it would be nice to only receive the wheat and none of the chaff; but life is filled with little disappointments.

Bloggers would be well advised to get over themselves. If you are going to keep finding interesting items for your readers you have to remain open to new things. That means scanning through material that wasn’t designed for your personally. The issue is not whether some flack is familiar with your work and sent you a perfectly crafted story pitch, the issue is whether they have sent you something that might interest your readers.

The reason flacks pitch bloggers is that bloggers are another part of the press. Frequently they are interested in our clients’ products.

Steve Rubel shows a lot of class.

Worker bees blog comments.


The Death Of A Firewall

Tear Down the Firewall

Thursday, July 07, 2005

NJCA National Forum 2005

National Criminal Justice Association

National Forum 2005
Policy, Programs and Technology
Changing Models, Directions and Priorities — Old Issues/New Realities
August 1-3, 2005
Dana Point, California


The American justice system is experiencing profound changes as the nation’s attention continues to focus on terrorist threats, foreign and domestic. Many challenges confronting state, tribal, and local justice decision-makers and practitioners have been confronted before, but today’s public safety environment is different. The 2005 National Forum on Policy, Programs, and Technology – “Changing Models, Directions & Priorities – Old Issues/New Realities” will examine the effects of the new environment in areas such as crimes against the elderly, cyber-crime, criminal intelligence, and gang violence.

What not to do

From Managing Product Development:

What’s on Your Not-to-do List?

There is always more work you could do. And there will never be enough time to do it all. The key to successful work is to pick and choose which work to do and when.
When you're planning your work, ask yourself these questions:

1. What does the organization pay me to do?
2. What work helps me fulfill that mission?
3. What work is important to the organization, but should not be done by me?
4. What work is not needed by the organization?

The phish market

Forget Phishing Just Buy Personal Info

If you need information about a person in Moscow, just go to the market and buy it. The Globe and Mail reports that along with the usual pirated software, cd's etc. you can find out information such as the bank records of your competitors, motor vehicle information and tax returns.

Patrick Fitzgerald, a hero for our time

It’s been said that no one ever won a war with the press. That is why it takes nerves of steel to do what Patrick Fitzgerald has done, jail a journalist for contempt of court. You can be sure he will pay for this for the rest of his career. But it was the right thing to have done. Judy Miller’s defenders would have us believe that anonymous sources are an essential part of journalism. The myth is that anonymous sources are brave whistle blowers providing essential information. The truth is that they are more likely to be character assasins and vectors of misinformation.The decision jail Miller for contempt of court demonstrates that no one is above the law and that national security is more important that the narrow privileges of any group.

Others comment:
Steve Chapman On Why Miller Should Give Up Her Source
Bob Somerby: Masterworks of self interest.
Joshua Micah Marshall (not related) provides some context.

Dan Gillmor: Shameful and scary
BL Ochman: a sad day for democracy.
Fred Wilson: I totally respect what she is doing.
Jay Rosen: Time for Robert Novak to Feel Some Chill


Terror blasts rock London

At least 33 people have been killed in a series of explosions that ripped through London's transport system this morning, and more fatalities are expected to be announced later today.

Where the bombs exploded.

A terrible loss. Their lives were so much bigger than any idea.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to the British Embassy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Congratulations CXO


Cleveland, Ohio—June 22, 2005—The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) heaped high praise upon CXO Media Inc. and its CIO, CMO, and CSO magazines last night at a national awards ceremony. CMO magazine, just 10 months in print, won the highly sought after Magazine of the Year prize plus three gold awards, including New Web Publication. Sister magazines CIO and CSO each took home two gold awards as well as several other distinctions. All three magazines from IDG business unit CXO Media are now ASBPE Magazine of the Year award winners, a distinction they have collectively earned four times in the past six years. Last night’s awards were conferred at a ceremony held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland where the country’s leading editors, publishers and designers gathered to celebrate the best of the best in business-to-business publishing.

A new business model for industry analysts?

About CMS Watch

CMS Watchtm is an independent source of analysis and advice on content management and enterprise search. In addition to the freely-available articles on this website, we publish technology reports that provide independent analysis and practical advice regarding web content management, records management, and enterprise search solutions.

Our reports help sort out the complex landscape of potential solutions so that project teams can minimize the time and effort to identify and evaluate technologies suited to their particular requirements.

To retain our independence as a vendor-neutral analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for the vendors we cover.

If this catches on it will shake up the industry.

A simple act of kindness

Apple Executive Calls Family of Teenager Killed for Ipod

As Errol Rose made preparations on Monday to bury his 15-year-old son, Christopher, who was killed last week in Brooklyn during a fight over an iPod, he received a telephone call from a stranger. The man spoke in tones that the grieving father said had momentarily quieted his anguish.

The stranger, Mr. Rose soon learned, was Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, the company that makes the iPod.

"I didn't know who he was," Mr. Rose said yesterday. "He called me on my cellphone, at 4 maybe. Or maybe it was 5." Mr. Rose said he had stopped noticing the passage of time since his son was killed.

The men spoke for a few minutes.

Calling him by his first name, Mr. Jobs asked how Mr. Rose was doing, he said, and conveyed his sympathies. "He told me that he understood my pain," Mr. Rose said. "He told me if there is anything - anything - anything he could do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit."

This simple act of kindness, I almost hesitate to post this in a PR Blog, sets a great example for all public figures. The public respects such gestures.

The News Blog

And with that one act, Jobs proved he was far more decent than either Michael Jordan or Phil Knight. When kids were being shot over sneakers, they remained mute or acted like it wasn't their problem.

Clearly Cupertino cannot be happy with the increased rate of iPod thefts, but a murder? Over an iPod?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Message broads, email discussion lists and how to use them

Like most of us I participate in several email discussion lists. Participants ask for recommendations for software, lawyers, furniture, every imaginable aspect of running a business. This kind of referral is likely to result in a sale and quite possibly a lasting business relationship. So how can you cultivate this?

Ask your customers what email discussion groups they participate in. Do a search on Yahoo Groups for discussion groups that include your industry. Monitor these lists and get a feel for the discussion before you post anything.

Tell your best customers about such lists.

Let’s say you are an independent PR Practitioner who specializes in technology companies. You could link to the PRSA NCC discussion site. But it is unlikely that small system integrators would be interested in such a group. Better to link to the Netpreneur AdMarketing list. If you link sufficient number of such groups it is only a question of time before one of your happy customers gives you a recommendation.

Nobody knows what we are doing with blogs

Blogs are new and we are still figuring them out. We know enough to write blogging guidelines about how to keep out of trouble. But we are still learning how to use blogs effectively. That is why it is necessary to keep an open mind.

Tom Murphy has some excellent advice, including:

As the number of corporate blogs grow there needs to be some clear planning in what you are hoping the blog will achieve - and part of that is some realism regarding how many readers you will attract and how long it will take.

Murphy points to some sage advice from Morgan McClintock that predictable posting is more important than daily posting. BL Ochman has some terrific tips for writing better blog posts.

My advice is to keep an open mind and trust your instincts.


While everyone else was watching fireworks I was watching March of the Penguins. It is a fascinating documentary about Emperor Penguins and their struggle to live in the harshest place on our planet.

It is a beautiful, compelling, and highly recommended.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

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

Canada Day

Celebrate Canada.

A day late, but greetings to my Canadian readers.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Disaster recovery

How do you plan for a situation like this?

In April of this year, Health Market Science of King of Prussia, PA, told police that they feared I was misappropriating trade secrets. That very afternoon, police raided my house with a search warrant to seize every computer in the house, paper files, CDs, and DVDs... even my wireless router and cable modem!

Congratulations Science Magazine

Carl Zimmer tell us that Science Magazine is celebrating its 125th year.


Podcasting is making audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) available online in a way that allows software to automatically download the files for listening at the user's convenience.

New resource for business podcasts


This is very helpful for those of us still trying to learn about podcasting.