Thursday, April 27, 2006

Records management blogs

From the Industrial Librarian we learn about:

Document Imaging talk


Greater Seattle Chapter of ARMA International



Information Management Now


The Ten Thousand Year Blog

Is it worth it?

Appeals court stews Apple over blogger rights

The State of California Court of Appeal gave Apple Computer's attorney a particularly hard day in court yesterday over its attempt to force the ISP of an Apple news site to hand over the email records of bloggers it claims revealed trade secrets. Apple has issued a subpoena for the records to find out who leaked the information to the bloggers.

... However, the three-member judiciary panel in the Appeal court was reportedly far less sympathetic to Apple's cause than the judge in the lower court, aggressively firing tough questions at its attorney.

Much of the criticial questioning centred around Apple's alleged reluctance to fully pursue its own internal investigation to discover the source of the leak within the organisation. Apple has reportedly not subjected any of the employees involved with the Asteroid project to lie detector tests or questioned them under oath.

So Apple is playing the heavy for what? If Apple wins in court, what will ti win? The reputation of being the corporate Republic of Fear?

What is worth to PowerPage? Was the story of a premature new product announcement really worth all the legal costs of this fight? It is not like this is about NSA whistleblowers after all.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to reach an out of court settlement?

Monday, April 24, 2006

XML Community of Practice, notes from the April 20 meeting

Owen Ambur opened with a few words about the history of the XML Community of Practice. It had been originally tasked by the federal CIO council and the Office of Management and Budget with developing a process to rationalize the XML part of the Federal IT architecture or, as one put it, “We can’t deal with vendors coming at us with intergalactic solutions.” He then introduced Amin Hassam of i411 to talk about the browser i411 has developed for, which permits you to browse by TRM and SRM facets.

Here, Owen interjected that if you have technology that does not fit neatly into existing categories, you can propose new categories. Owen mentioned obvious candidates for new categories: PDF, PDF/A, and IPv6.

At present, has only 43 items - but as it gains adoption the need for efficient search will increase.

Note to vendors - I strongly suggest you look at and consider if you have a component to propose. It is a highly cost effective way to bring your product before the federal market.

Owen then introduced Jonny Chambers to talk about Microsoft Solution Sharing Network. It was apparently designed to build reusable InfoPath forms for government. Microsoft designed it to generate content, build community, provide a portal where desired, bring together “packets of expertise” (workers located in different cities), and facilitate research into what enables information sharing and what creates barriers.

InfoPath is a good choice because it is XML based, has off-line capability, understands web services natively and moreover its forms can be tailored depending upon responses.

The floor was opened for questions, and someone asked, whether, if forms built by Solutions Sharing Network were created for the general public, the individual user would need InfoPath to use the form? Chambers replied that, “as of today, yes”, and that no public forms were currently being created.

Next, Betsey Fanning of AIIM presented on the Interoperable ECM standard. The iECM standard is being established to make it possible to access multiple repositories of information (in Java, .Net, and SQL, for example).

The goal is to create a standard that will make it possible to access information, even if you don’t know which silo (that’s tech speak for database) it is stored in. Rather than duplicate information (always problematical when dealing with multiple databases), the committee wishes to create links between repositories (another tech speak word for database).

The standard will make it possible for different software applications to talk to different data stores (still another word for database).

The iECM consortium is made up of large corporate users, government, manufacturers and VARs.

Note to software developers - participation in a standards committee is a great way to raise your company’s profile, establish your reputation as a leader, and shape the standard to be compatible with your product, or at least not exclude it.

John Fitzgerald of Software AG presented on their Tamino XML based database management system. Data goes in and out in XML; it also supports unstructured data.

Tamino is designed for mission critical situations (e.g., Amsterdam Airport), with a high degree of reliability and availability. It supports WebDAV.

Brand Neiman asked if Tamino supports RDF. The response was no, not yet.

Ken Sall presented on SKOSaurus. He explained that the government needs a common vocabulary of technical definitions that would apply across agencies. The XML Community of Practice wanted to create a process where Chief Information Officers could choose to or choose not to share terminology. SKOSaurus is based on ISO 2788:1986 and ANSI/NISO Z39.19. Sall gave some examples of overlapping government glossaries, such as the Defense Technical Information Center and the Center for Army Lessons Learned.

Sall showed how DTIC goes from general to specific terms. SKOS hopes to link the various federal thesauri in such a way that searches can be done semantically by software bots rather than manually.

Tyson Brooks of the International Association of Enterprise Architects was the last to speak. He explained the Enterprise Architecture Knowledge Digest, which will store and relate knowledge items pertinent to enterprise architecture in a common repository.

Edit -
Meeting notes

Local indicators, encouraging signs

N.C. bank jumps into tech fray with money to lend

Since mid-December, Square 1 ( has extended credit lines worth $9 million to three companies in the region: Optinuity in Bethesda, Wisor Telecom in Gaithersburg and Ciclon in Richmond. The bank has term sheets out to three more companies it wouldn't identify.

Square 1 expects to provide loans and services to as many as 18 companies this year and double or even triple that in 2007.

N.Y. investor's plan: Up to $150M for local tech firms

A New York venture capital group will invest as much as $150 million in local companies developing technologies for commercial and military uses.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thesauri Standards

A Thesaurus Interchange format for migrating to the Semantic Web

Databases, records management, and XML

I asked Owen Ambur to clarify something he said at yesterday's meeting and he sent me this reply:

Alice, when data is parsed into relational tables, the effect is to "shred" its presentation, i.e., the way it appeared to those who saw it when it was created. The techie weenies view that as a strength, because it means the records can be manipulated and reconstructed in many different ways. While that is all well and good for purposes of analyses, performing "what if" comparisons, etc., it is obviously very bad with respect to records management, i.e., the need to know who knew what and when they knew it.

One of the beauties of XML is that it enables us to have our cake and eat it too. That is, the original source records can be stored in *inviolate* form, with their presentation intact, in a DoD Std. 5015.2 certified E-records management system for as long as required by business requirements, while the data or subsets thereof can be parsed into databases for manipulation and analyses as needed and desired. (For
example, social security numbers (SSNs)) should not be stored in large databases with single points of failure, nor is there any good reason to store digital signatures or "binary large objects" (BLOBs) in relational databases. RDBMs are simply not the right technology to use for such purposes.) Moreover, to the degree that decisions may be based upon the data in relational databases rather than upon the original source records themselves, the process of auditing the data in the databases can largely be automated -- by comparing it to the original source records (which cannot be manipulated in *any* way).

Separating Content from Presentation: What We Don't Know (Because We Can't See It) Can Hurt Us

What goes around comes around

In Russia, Corporate Thugs Use Legal Guise

In those days, people wanting to take over a company often simply sent armed thugs to occupy it. The new raiders employ some of that old-style intimidation, but dress it up in legality by teaming with corrupt lawyers, accountants, judges, bureaucrats and police to exploit weaknesses in Russia's fledgling corporate legal system, Russian lawmakers and entrepreneurs say.

Hostile takeover indeed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Call for Participation: Team Software Process Symposium

Team Software Process Symposium date: September 18-20, 2006, Omni Hotel, San Diego, CA

Web: http://www.sei.cmu/edu/tsp/symposium.html

Theme: Measurable Improvements in Team Performance

Important Deadlines:

April 28, 2006 - Last date to submit abstracts

April 3, 2006 - Registration begins

August 28, 2006 - Last date for Hotel Registrations

The first Team Software Process (TSP) Symposium will include all yearly TSP activities. The conference will bring together users, adopters, and developers of the TSP, those involved in its development and transition, and those who are new to the technology and eager to learn more. Attendees will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, concepts, and lessons learned concerning the experiences, best practices, and suggested introduction strategy for the TSP methods and practices.

For More Information: Jodie Spielvogle, TSP Team, Software Engineering Institute

4500 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, Phone: 412 / 268-6504, FAX: 412 / 268-5758


What is FOSS?

Free and Open Source Software

Call for Participation - Sixth Annual International Conference on COTS

Theme: Systems Composition and Interoperability: A World in Transition.

February 26 - March 2, 2007, Banff, Alberta, Canada, Web:

Organized by: European Software Institute, Spain; Software Engineering Institute, USA; and the National Research Council Canada, sponsored by: IEEE Computer Society - (sponsorship pending approval)

Important Dates:

June 30, 2006 - Submission of Abstracts

July 14, 2006 - Submission of Technical Papers, Experience Reports, Panels, Tutorials, & Workshops

September 15, 2006 - Acceptance Notification

November 3, 2006 - Final Submission for Proceedings

In this sixth ICCBSS we look forward to expanding to issues of interoperability that have become critical for system development and acquisition. ICCBSS 2007 will address a wide scope of challenges and approaches -- technological and organizational -- for constructing, acquiring, deploying, and sustaining software-intensive systems that require interoperation among a wide variety of systems and components. In this conference in transition,we are looking for contributions related to COTS-Based systems, systems of systems, and systems interoperability. These contributions can take the form of research papers, experience reports, or surveys.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Congratulations Washington Post

The Washington Post 'bout owns the Pulitzers this year.

Dan Gillmor at Backfence

Welcome to Backfence

By now you may have heard about the new direction that Bayosphere is about to take. The folks at Backfence, a community information network based in the Washington, D.C., area, are expanding and have offered to continue our operations here under their wing. My business partner, Michael Goff, and I made the decision with our investors. We all agreed that this was the best possible outcome of several alternatives.

I'm truly pleased with this move. Let me explain why.

Backfence, which launched its first sites in the Washington area, is a genuine pioneer in the citizen media field. The company focuses specifically on "hyperlocal" sites, forging new media and models to better serve communities and neighborhoods in ways we couldn't do before the Internet came along. Its founders, Mark Potts and Susan DeFife, are smart, talented and energetic -- and combine terrific backgrounds in journalism, the Internet and business. They care deeply about the future of local news and information, and they've put enormous thought and effort into their operation.

They're expanding, and have known since they started that the Bay Area would be a great place to try some new ideas. We’re able to give them a leg up with what we’ve done here at Bayosphere

I'm happy that this means the small community we’ve nurtured here has a chance to grow and mature. (There's also some small financial relief for me, as I’ve been covering Bayosphere’s costs for months now.) One of the obvious options was to simply shut it down. We never wanted to do that. But it wouldn't have made sense to keep it going indefinitely, either, without some clearer purpose and direction.

There will be changes, major ones. Backfence is all about local, not global, serving needs that many of us believe has been underserved by traditional media -- for entirely sound business reasons. Take a look around the Backfence sites, and you'll see how their tools focus people in a relatively small geographical area on helping each other know what's going on.


NIST Image Group's Fingerprint Research

How are we going to prevent fingerprints from being stolen or worse?

There is a limit to what PR can do for you

Rumsfeld To Meet with Military Commentators on Iraq

Beating back calls for his resignation, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has summoned military commentators for special Pentagon briefings on Iraq and the war on terrorism, a spokesman said April 17.

The session, which is scheduled for April 18, has all the earmarks of a public relations push to shore up support for the secretary through an influential group with connections to both the media and the military.

Well, why didn’t you say that in the first place?

Infocard is software that packages up identity assertions, gets them signed by a identity authority and sends them off to a relying party in an XML format. The identity authority can be itself, and the XML is SAML, or an extension thereof, and the XML is signed and encrypted.

Defending the neutral net

Let's get political

So I was excited when I heard about a political action committee that was launched recently specifically to represent the things I care about to the politicians who will make decisions on my behalf. Known as IPAC, this organization bills itself as “a nonpartisan group dedicated to preserving individual freedom through balanced information policy.” I learned about IPAC from a special edition of Leo LaPorte’s “This Week in Tech” featuring Ren Bucholz, EFF Policy Coordinator (and secretary of the IPAC board), and Jake Fischer, IPAC’s Executive Director.

Friday, April 14, 2006

You only get one chance to make a first impression

Pitches, Fees Found in 'Free File' Tax Service

Taxpayers who use the "Free File" online tax return preparation services offered by private vendors in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service often are confronted by surprise fees, expensive add-ons, loan solicitations and other marketing pitches, an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee has found.


Bad news for hacks is bad news for flacks

Earnings fall at three US newspaper publishers

New York Times Co., McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co. on Thursday posted sharply lower quarterly earnings on high newsprint costs and depressed advertising sales.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Execellent tagline

Bright solutions for dark fiber

Common Alerting Protocol

Health IT systems and medical devices should learn about CAP

However, if the software we write gets smarter about diseases and clinical decision making we could use something like CAP to help inform CDC and FDA for hazards, infections, etc. Medical device manufacturers could use CAP to report adverse events to their own internal IT systems and CAP gateways could help route important messages outside the hospital.

XML was supposed to be so easy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Database at Heart of Immigration Reform

MIAMI -- At the heart of any immigration bill that makes it through the heated congressional debates is likely to be a computerized system that could help employers determine instantly whether someone can legally work in this country.

A voluntary version of the Internet-based system has been up and running on an experimental basis since 1996 and now includes more than 5,000 companies nationwide. Democrats and Republicans alike _ including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. _ have included expanded versions in every bill now under serious consideration.

Let's think about what we are putting in place. There are worse things than illegal immigrants.

Treasury bill rates increase again

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in yesterday's auction to the highest levels in more than five years.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Where can I find a job with a startup?

Where indeed.

Redaction blues

Agencies risk unwitting release of sensitive information using popular office software

A new front line of national and corporate security is emerging, and some of the most common document applications, including Microsoft Word documents and PDFs, are putting people on it without their knowledge. In the past several years, federal agencies and private-sector companies have released documents on the Internet that they thought did not contain sensitive content, but they actually did. That has led to embarrassment, scandals, firings and national security breaches when unintended readers discovered the hidden data.

Owen Ambur is calling to third party vendors to propose solutions. He is far too kind. Application developers have been grossly negligent and need to provide an intuitive from of redaction that would truly delete data. This is a disaster waiting to happen and if the nation suffers because someone didn’t properly redact data in a publicly released document, playing blame the end user will not be a successful PR strategy.


Europeans rush to register .eu domain names

LONDON — Just over 300,000 Europeans scrambled to register their .eu Internet domain names in the first hour of being able to do so, according to figures issued by the European Registry of Internet Domain Names (Eurid), the independent body set up to handle the registration process.

This will be a splendid thing if it takes some of the traffic off the .com root server in Herndon.

Neville Hobson comments.

Friday, April 07, 2006

OS religious wars

Bill Hilf blog attracts anti-Microsoft posters

Microsoft's Linux expert has launched a company sanctioned blog in an outreach attempt to the Open Source community but all it seems to attract are irate anti-Microsoft posters.
Hilf says the unmoderated blog called Port 25 at is intended to promote open communications between his interoperability team and the Ipne Source community. "As someone who has many hours at the command line, debugging things such as protocol states (LISTENING?) and getting software and servers working to provide some type of service, the concept of server ports and being open is well engrained in how I and the team here in our lab think about communications – so we thought it was applicable to how we want to start the dialogue around this subject. I guess it just took a Slashdot interview and a couple thousand emails (and consistent nudging from friends) to really drive the point home that having a participative discussion around OSS and Microsoft technologies is a good thing, not –as many people may believe- something we want to ‘hide’ or shy away from."

Despite Hilf's stated good intentions, however, a quick perusal of the blog, which commenced on 28 March, shows that the posts are almost exclusively anti-Microsoft rants by unimpressed users.

Must be very confusing for some when Microsoft goes off script.

When you hit the send button too quickly

Some poor publicist found out she sent incorrect information after she sent out an announcement. If I had done that I would have asked the blogger to modify the post with correct information. I am not sure I would have been successful.

Shake down journalism

It's a federal case, for real.

Paul Holmes reminds us that this is a perfect example of why we must put our client's interest ahead of our relationship with any single reporter.

Media Orchard who is following the case points to Ron Burkle’s piece in the WSJ and Harvely Silverglate’s story in The Phoenix.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

IMF warns high prices risk global crisis

Javier Blas, Financial Times

High energy prices are “exacerbating” global economic imbalances, increasing the risks of a crisis, the International Monetary Fund will warn next week.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

Debbie Weil on blogging basics

Debbie Weil talked about business blogs to IPRA today. She did a great job on going over the basics for a largely skeptical audience. She spoke about markets as conversations and the power of personal voice, using Bob Lutz as an example.

One thing I greatly disagree with is the term Consumer Generated Media, we should always use the more respectful term citizen. Words have meaning and the word citizen is far more conducive to a conversation of mutual respect.

It seems R. Scott Hall takes a similar view.

Someone please explain why this is so bad

Planted Valentine's Day report secretly stems from rose peddlers

In 1999, the Flower Promotion Organization (FPO) was created to end a 30-year trade war between U.S. and Colombian flower growers. Since then, with the help of major PR firms like Porter Novelli, the bi-national industry alliance has embarked on a strategic multi-million dollar campaign to raise consumer demand for cut flowers.

Naturally, there's no better time for the FPO to push their buds than Valentine's Day. So on February 13, a video news release (VNR) created by Medialink Worldwide and funded by the FPO was distributed to TV stations across the country. The two-minute fake news feature centered around the floral care advice of Dr. Bridget Behe, a professor of horticulture at Michigan State University. In addition to gorgeous shots of roses in full bloom, the VNR directs viewers to Behe's Flower MD website and a toll-free hotline, both sponsored by the FPO.

The video news release is nothing more than the old double spaced printed press release in video format. If it is truthful, relevant and compelling, why shouldn’t a news organization use it? The release in question uses a professor, not a CEO of a private business, and supplies information on the preservation of roses, something that might interest viewers on Valentines Day.

Some of these examples are troubling, but some seem perfectly legitimate PR.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My older sister tells the that

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00in the morning, the time and date will be:


You won't see that again unless you live another 1000 years.

Chinese official calls for sale of U.S. debt


BEIJING A call by a Chinese legislator for China to trim its holdings of U.S. debt and to stop buying dollar bonds rattled markets Tuesday, weeks before President Hu Jintao visits Washington.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

What is the difference between a portal and a content management system?

Janus Boye points to this explanation:

An enterprise portal generally delivers content so it can be consumed, but portal software also typically aggregates content and data from a variety of locations. Perhaps more importantly, portals are designed to deliver a variety of services as well: include search, collaboration, document management, business intelligence, business process management, and more.

A web content management system generally supports the production of content, but some products deliver content as well, which can make them "portal-like." This is especially the case in the open-source world, where the systems often grew out of dynamic page delivery systems.

Portal Vendors

Web Content Management Vendors

Note- CMS Watch does not accept payments for vendors. If you want them to review your product you will have to come up with a rationalization for why your company should be reviewed instead of one of the vendors they currently review. Think carefully about your market niche before you pitch them.

Not editorial intelligence

Maurice Chittenden, The Sunday Times - Britain

A CATFIGHT has broken out among leading figures in the British media over whether journalists should sup with spin doctors from big business.

Julia Hobsbawm, the public relations guru who once ran a company with the wife of Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has set up Editorial Intelligence (EI). She says it will serve as a database of the country’s leading columnists and also as a forum “where PR meets journalism”.

... Last week the BBC advised two of its staff to resign from EI’s advisory board after learning that the firm was offering journalists £1,000 a year to sit on the board and £200 a time to attend seminars.

It is one thing for journalists to appear at PR events to teach us how and how not to pitch to them, it is an entirely different matter sit on the board of such and organization or have PR pros serve as judges for press awards, too chumy by half.

Computer Sciences to consider sale

Andrei Postelnicu and Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times

Computer Sciences, the information-technology services company, said on Tuesday it was considering putting itself up for sale and announced plans to cut just over 6 per cent of its workforce in a bid to streamline operations.

The company said it had hired Goldman Sachs to “explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a potential sale”. It cautioned that “there can be no assurance” that the review would result in a transaction.

This is going to shake things up.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Excellent use of a corporate website

Check out the home page for Advanced Data Tools. Prominently displayed is a list of their customers who have award winning data warehouses. This reinforces Advanced Data Tools’ relationship with their customers and tells visitors that they produce award winning work.

NIST releases revised card standards

Florence Olsen, Federal Computer Week

The National Institute of Standards and Technology released technical specifications this week for vendors to use in products or technologies that must be compatible with the federal government’s new computer-readable personal identity verification (PIV) cards.

NIST Special Publications, 800 Series

I can't say I am very enthusiastic about this project.

Hint to vendors, encourage your customers to enter

Government Solutions Center Pionner Awards Call for Nominations

FCW Events invites you to nominate your program for the 8th Annual Government Solutions Center Pioneer Awards. Winners will be recognized at the:

3rd Annual itsGov "Technology Buying at Year-End" Showcase
Showcase: July 26, 2006
Awards Luncheon: July 26, 2006
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, DC

This year's program will honor government agencies for "Innovative Use of Technology in Government Programs" through COTS solutions or other technology applications. Winners will be recognized at an Awards Lunch and will showcase their winning programs at the 3rd Annual itsGov "Technology Buying at Year-End" Showcase.

Award nominations are due no later than Monday, April 24

We encourage you to nominate the successful programs within your organization that can be shared with your peers and serve as models for other government enterprises.

For more information on the award and to access the nomination form, visit:

Job fair for .Net professionals tomorrow

Job Fair - April 4th, Prior to the Main Meeting

The Central Maryland Association of .NET Professionals will be having a .NET Developer's Job Fair from 4pm to 6:30pm prior to April's main meeting, at the UMBC Tech Center. This Job Fair is for people with all levels of experience, from those that want to know what .NET is to senior level. The Job Fair will include about a half-a-dozen career enhancing presentations about the industry and your job search. No Registration Required. Free Admission. For details go to