Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Attention security specialists

NCC AIIM Monthly Meeting, Thursday, January 11, 2006

Can ECM Help Prevent Another 9/11?
Speaker: Paul Garrett, Special Assistant to the CIO, U.S. Department of Justice

The events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated to the nation that a terrorist attack could, in fact, happen on US soil. One of the major lessons learned from that disaster was the need for a centralized repository of up-to-date critical information immediately accessible to Law Enforcement agencies across the nation. NIEM, the National Information Exchange Model, is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. It is designed to develop, disseminate and support enterprise-wide information exchange standards and processes that can enable jurisdictions to effectively share critical information in emergency situations, as well as support the day-to-day operations of agencies throughout the nation. NIEM enables information sharing, focusing on information exchanged among organizations as part of their current or intended business practices. Information that is exchanged between agencies can be separated into individual components—for example, information about people, places, material things, and events.

The National Capitol Chapter of AIIM (NCC-AIIM) is proud to welcome Paul Garrett, Special Assistant to the CIO, U.S. Department of Justice, for our January meeting. Mr. Garrett coordinates initiatives to improve information sharing among the nation’s security and law enforcement agencies. Join us to learn how Enterprise Content Management plays a significant role in keeping over 18,000 law enforcement agencies connected and informed.

Nominate your customer

The Federal 100

he Federal 100 recognizes individuals from government, industry and academia who significantly influenced how the federal government buys, uses or manages information technology. Federal 100 winners are recognized for their risk-taking, vision and pioneering spirit in the federal IT community. As always, this program is not about popularity but impact.

The Monticello Award

The Monticello Award recognizes an agency information system that had a direct and positive impact on human lives in 2006. The type of information system is immaterial -- what matters is impact.

In 2006, Federal Computer Week chose not to give a Monticello Award. Instead, we recognized the many systems that helped in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

If your customer looks good you look good.

Systemic risk

Cracks start to appear in credit pipe

Two words you have not heard for a while, save in boring central bank seminars: systemic risk. A couple of weeks ago, there was an indication that it was back. The dollar interest rate 10-year swaps spread widened out by 2.5 basis points on December 7. That may not sound like much but in what has been a very complacent market for the past year it was a five standard deviation daily move, and it tells us that there could be trouble in paradise.

A bad sign. A very bad sign.

2006 tech trends

Government Computer News has 11 trends from 2006. I think they get it about right. My guess is that next year we will be hearing more about collaboration.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On a sad anniversary

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog

Another reason to use text email

DOD bars use of HTML e-mail, Outlook Web Access

Due to an increased network threat condition, the Defense Department is blocking all HTML-based e-mail messages and has banned the use of Outlook Web Access e-mail applications, according to a spokesman for the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.

The sudden nature of this has got to be a problem for some offices, but it is a wonder anyone still uses Outlook.

Fix your email

Well done SEC

SEC Freezes Russian Stock Hacker's Assets

What Motown Records can teach 1105 Media

The biggest competition at Motown records was the competition between Motown artists. For example, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles competed directly with The Temptations.

If 1105 Media decides that rather than directly compete, Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News would divide up the work and cover more stories it would be a loss. Superficially it sounds good, but the reality for newsmakers would play out along the lines of “oh Government Computer News did a story last week on the FEA TRM so Federal Computer Week doesn’t want to do another one”. From the newsmaker’s point of view it is better if these two publications remain competitive even if they owned by the same company.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday fun

Dog Hates Tickle Me Elmo Extreme

Shizzu vs Elmo

Tickle Me Elmo and Tatum

Merry Christmas everyone, see you next week.

Five things about me

Tom Murphy has tagged me. I have been fearing this, because I can’t toss off witty remarks on something like this. So this will be a little more clumsy than the others. So that is the first thing, I have no skill for this sort of blog game.

I am a music lover. I studied violin, viola, piano, guitar, and voice. I sang alto in my high school chorus and from time to time in church choir. My favorite composer is Beethoven; that sounds like I never got any farther, but Beethoven is my all time favorite.

My favorite books on business are Think, the Soul of a New Machine, and Money of the Mind. Indeed I like anything written by James Grant. The Levy Institute is my favorite think tank.

My favorite PR blogger is Jim Horton, even though he makes me writhe with envy at his polished writing style. Almost every morning he produces one single elegant pearl of a post.

The dogs I have owned have included a medium sized fluffy black mutt, a rough collie, a black labrador retriever, a pomeranian mix, and the current incumbent, another rough collie. My great regret is that I have never lived where I could have several dogs. If I could, I would live like Squire Western, decorating my home in straw and dogs.

As revenge for making me envious every single morning, I am tagging Jim Horton. And just because they are local boys I am tagging Chris Abraham and Steve at D-Ring.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Gartner’s blunder

Shel Holtz is much too nice. Gartner’s prediction that the growth of blogosphere will level off is just plain laughable. I try to stay away from predictions because that is the fast and easy way to make a fool of yourself, but this is so obvious.

As Jim Horton often reminds us, we need to watch politicians because they are the innovators in PR. It was the 2004 American presidential election that propelled blogging from early adapter to early mainstream. In 2007 politics will once again be the driver for the exponential growth of blogosphere.

Starting next year, Washington, DC is going to be subpoena city. Representatives John Conyers and Henry Waxman and Senator Patrick Leahy have already announced that they plan to hold investigations. You can be sure that the other chairmen will make, how shall we say, liberal use of their subpoena power.

It is safe to predict that Conyers will use his personal blog to build support for his inquiries, and that thousands will link him. An entire community of blogging will spring up around the House Judiciary committee.

Nor is the power of YouTube lost on anyone, given its role in the recent Virginia Senate election. You can be sure that all these new blogs will follow the proceedings on C-SPAN and quickly upload critical moments to YouTube, embed the link in their blogs, which will then spread virally across blogosphere.

Each of these investigations will attract its own community of bloggers, both supporters and critics. Beyond that, there will those like Adam Kovacevich who will comment on the proceedings from a PR point of view.

There will be bloggers such as your humble servant who will watch the proceedings with an eye for searching out how the concepts of political blogging can be applied to the commercial world. We have already seen some of this with the Motoral Developer Network and the Federal XML Collaborative Wiki. Clearly there will be more group sites of this nature.

One of the readers of the Eschaton blog created an RSS reader consisting of all the blogs kept by Eschaton commenters. It is just a matter of time before technology user groups establish RSS readers consisting of member blogs, or groups of complementary small businesses build RSS readers consisting of their blogs, in an effort to drive traffic and business to their corporate sites.

Aggregators such as BlogNetNews will offer small blogs a platform to build audience, thus increasing the incentive to blog. Tools such as Blogdigger offer individuals the opportunity to their own communities.

All of these factors will drive the continued exponential growth of blogosphere, YouTube, podcasting, and related social software.

Technorati rank

My inbound links are way down, maybe I should bait the blogosphere.

Second life

I haven’t followed Second Life because frankly, it sounds like too much trouble. There also seems to be a problem with act first, think later.

The humble tool that just won’t die

Contrary to what B.L. Ochman and Tom Foremski tell us, the press release is alive and well. Today’s Bull Dog Reporters brings us a useful tip sheet:

ACES Charter Member and Baltimore Sun Copy Desk Chief McIntyre Shares Five Fundamentals Designed to Earn Your Release a Second Look

McIntyre makes five points:
1. Get it right—failure to fact check destroys future credibility.
2. Simplify the approval process—write tight from the outset.
3. Eschew jargon and technical language—write conversationally.
4. Don't oversell or overstate your news—journalists are watching for that.
5. Revisit headlines—be direct and don't fall for "headline-ese."

Anyone who thinks the press release is dead, or that readers do not find such announcements interesting, should check out Potomac Tech Wire, a daily newsletter that consists entirely of press releases. I am reliably informed that its contents are the subject of lively discussion at NVTC events.

All gone

Constantin Basturea appears to have deleted his Headlines from PR weblogs and PR Newswire seems to have shut down their Media Insider blog.

I am sorry to see this because they were my chief source of news about PR.


Constantin assures me that the PR blogdigger is still up but is experiencing technical difficulties, and will be up again. Moreover it seems that Media Insider has a new URL.

New to me PR blog

Mike's Points

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Old consulting adage

If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

Adversarial Information Retrieval

Apparently that is the technical term for spam on the Web (as opposed to Unsolicited Commercial Email, the term for email spam). Matt Cutts alerts us to the Third International Workshop on Adversarial Information Retrieval on the Web. It’s nice to know the technical people are on top of this. The problem is that spam is not a technical problem and is not susceptible to a technical solution.

Spam is a credit problem. Without merchant accounts it would not be possible for spammers to operate. The financial services industry has completely failed to do their part in the fight against spam. As I have suggested before, were credit card providers merely to cancel the merchant accounts of only the most notorious spammers we could bring this down to manageable proportions.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wanted: clarification from Google

Constantin Basturea points to this comment from Matt Cutts:

Google wants to do a good job of detecting paid links. Paid links that affect search engines (whether paid text links or a paid review) can cause a site to lose trust in Google.

What is meant by paid link? I advise clients to buy sponsorships with local tech groups that offer links and logos on their websites. Would that sort of sponsored link be penalized? Why would Google penalize that? I can see it is not the same as a spontaneous link from a blog, but I don’t understand why it should be penalized.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Local Drupal group

The Washington, DC Drupal Group meets tonight. I don't think I will be able to make it.

Why the sheriff's office and fire department need to share information

IEPD specifications can improve public-safety communications

During last year's wildfires in Southern California, San Diego-area residents received diametrically opposed directives from public-safety officials who apparently were working with contrasting information about the blazes.

“The sheriff's folks were running around telling everybody to stay in their homes, [saying] ‘Everything's fine, the fire's under control,’” said Paul Wormeli, executive director of the IJIS Institute, a not-for-profit corporation consisting of industry members. “Meanwhile, the fire guys were saying, ‘Get the hell out of here because your house is about to go up in flames.’”

As it turned out, the fire personnel's assessment of the blaze was accurate. For some heeding the advice from the sheriff's department, staying in their homes proved fatal — a harsh reality that reminds Wormeli of the important role the IJIS Institute's data-standards work can play during an incident.

“Eleven people died because of the misinformation,” he said. “If the dispatch centers had all been connected and were able to share that information from the fire guys accurately to the sheriff's deputies — through the dispatch system and onto their mobile computers — you might have been able to save lives.

NovaJUG bloggers

This is list of all the blogs by members of NovaJUG

Jonathan Lehr's Weblog

David Bock's Weblog

One Nomad’s Blog


Jeet's world

Jayesh's Blog

Tom McQueeney Weblog

The Eclectic Technologist



Blog for Hugh Brien

Test Often

bdg's plumtree blog

Chris Bucchere's Blog

Tom Gullo's Blog

Glen Mazza's Weblog

and of course, your humble servant, Presto Vivace Blog

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blogosphere and editorial judgment

One of the hardest things about pitching a story is persuading a reporter or editor of the newsworthiness of your client. Theoretically reporters understand the criminal justice system needs good technology, but they don’t think their readers will be interested.

Now that a high traffic blog has put it on their front page, perhaps reporters will reconsider.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Media mergers can be a good thing

Chris Dorobek in The FCW Insider:

I can tell you that we are not closing any of the publications down. To be honest, from a business side, it just wouldn't make sense. An advertiser buys in FCW and GCN. If we close GCN, does it mean they are going to say to themselves, 'Well, I'll just buy two pages in FCW.'

But from an editorial perspective, I'm not sure it makes sense either. For 20 years now, FCW and GCN have been going after one another -- sometimes viciously. There was a lot of competition out there -- and regular readers of this blog know that I am a fan of competition. But we were essentially fighting for the same stories -- working hard to get the latest Doan news up four minutes before they do. All that time, energy and effort meant that readers had different versions of that story, but it also means that all sorts of stories went untold and unreported because we just didn't have the time, energy or resources.

So there will be changes. Vitale put it well tonight. "Watch this space," referring to both FCW and GCN. We will need to create publications that are clearly distinguished from one another. Our hope is that, 18 months from now, people no longer refer to us as Government Computer Week of Federal Computer News.

Regarding competition, if we don't meet the needs of our readers and this community, I have faith that in this media market, there will be 15 blogs focusing on government IT, several Web sites. There is plenty of competition -- and the outstanding reporting teams at both FCW and GCN are going to ensure that we cover what people need to know to do their jobs.

So, give us a little bit of time to work this all out, but I think there is amazing potential.

That is very reassuring both from a reader and a flack prospective.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New to me local tech blogs



IASA switches to Liferay 4.1,

IASA, the International Association of Software Architects, has launched a revamped web site at

IASA switched its platform to Liferay 4.1, an open source portal and content management system.

The new website will facilitate virtual communities which is so important to this sort of community.

This is why I don't have instant messaging

Those annoying little IMs? They cost $588B

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The chances of you finishing this article without getting interrupted or distracted are slim.

U.S. office workers get interrupted on the job as often as 11 times an hour, costing as much as $588 billion to U.S. business each year, according to research.
Video More video
A showdown between a daredevil and a rapper. CNN's Ali Velshi is 'Minding Your Business.' (December 13)
Play video

Add in the distracting lure of checking e-mails, surfing the Internet and chatting by computer, and workers interrupt themselves nearly as much as they are interrupted by others, experts say.

"With instant messaging on your desktop and alerts and e-mail notifications, you set yourself up for it," said John Putzier, founder of FirStep Inc. business strategists in Prospect, Pennsylvania.

I'd like to know how FirStep came up with that figure.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why “leaking” should be shunned

Mike Manuel links to Valleywag’s amusing post on how to leak. It does offer good insight into this noxious process.

Unless you have evidence of serious wrong doing or a threat to public safety, speak on the record.

Too often leaking is just about showing off. It is degrading to our public discourse when no one will take responsibility for their words. This evil practice is reducing citizens and reporters to informers and secret police. Living in freedom means speaking openly. Maybe you have to live in greater Washington, DC and see the damage up close to comprehend its corrosive effect.

I had the same reaction

Job of the Week: Negroponte Needs Mouthpiece To Decline Comment

It was inevitable

FTC Moves to Unmask Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Marketing is an honorable profession, be proud of it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Australian Defence Force blunder

From D-Ring PR we learn that the Australian Defense Force has shut down all soldier blogs. That is a real shame. The soldier blogs give readers a unique view of war that is available from no other source.

For the US the soldier blogs may be the best PR they have going, with all due respect for their public affairs officials. The soldier blogs give us a sympathetic view of their difficult situation.

During 2007 it is likely that congressional investigations will expose some very disturbing developments. The voices of the soldiers themselves are likely to be the most convincing counter to what is likely to unfold.

For serious techies only


Important local tech blog

Code Snipers, I can't pesuade my Tech on the Potomac Blogdigger group to pick up the RSS feed.

Ownership shuffle

Today’s Washington Post carries the news that the Post Newsweek Tech Group has been sold to 1105 Media. 1105 Media recently purchased 101 Communications Group, publisher of Federal Computer Week.

This means that Government Computer News and Federal Computer Week will be owned by the same company. Will they fold the magazines into one? Or keep them separate? Either way this is worrisome. It will only make it harder to place stories.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Great names for blogs

Drunken Data

The Spy Who Billed Me

Google's page rank

From the indispensable Argyn we learn about this description of Google's page rank.

Implementing IPv6 at the Federal level

Shawn McCarthy has a piece in Government Computer News suggestion that IPv6 if more of a configuration management and IT services issue, rather than a pure deadline issue. That may very well be the case. Does it make any difference if a citizen using an old protocol, say dial up, is trying to access a federal website? I don't know. This is the kind of issue civil service IT personnel must consider all the time.

The new Congress and the Homeland Security industry

David Silverberg has an excellent editorial on what the new Democratic controlled Congress is likely to do about Homeland Security. Silverberg shares my view that this is likely to be a good thing for security vendors as Democrats have promised to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Adobe plunges PDF into XML

From Joab Jackson's Tech Blog we learn that the new PDF will be entirely in XML format.

What are the migration issues of this? Will you need two PDF readers? One for the old format and one for the new?

The beta version is available for review. I encourage interested parties to check it out and comment as appropriate.

Tone deaf about sums it up

Music Industry Wants to Cut Artist Royalties

So, let's get this straight: My buddy Brooks Boliek at the Hollywood Reporter writes that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) -- the music industry's lobby and cop, responsible for suing music pirates, including the occasional 12-year-old -- now wants the federal government to slash how much money musicians get when their songs are played.


The RIAA has asked the fedgov's Copyright Royalty Judges to lower the rate, which hasn't been changed since 1981.

I'm not quite sure I understand the RIAA's argument, which seems to have something to do with selling ringtones, but I do know that, from a public-relations standpoint, the request to lower songwriters' royalties is tone deaf.

Piracy hurts artists as much as record labels, so I don't see the justice of this. I suspect the new Democratic controlled congress will be very unsympathetic.

Requiem for classical music on the radio

Redskins Owner Set to Buy Last Classical Station

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has reached a preliminary agreement to buy classical music station WGMS-FM in a deal that would expand his budding sports-talk radio empire and likely be the swan song for the area's only classical outlet.

This would be a terrible blow to the cultural life of our community.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

James Kim

CNET Senior Editor, 1971-2006

James Kim was a respected expert on cutting-edge digital devices, an owner of a trendy clothing store and a lover of the futuristic-sounding music known as electronica.

Yet, according to friends, most of Kim's life revolved around old-fashioned values: sacrifice, friendship and family. Those who knew him say they aren't surprised that Kim, in the last act of his life, demonstrated the ultimate expression of devotion to his wife and daughters.

The body of the 35-year-old Kim was discovered Wednesday in a rugged wilderness area in southern Oregon. He had set out across snow and ice with only tennis shoes to protect his feet. He had eaten little in the seven days since his car got stuck.

"Anyone that knows James will tell you that he would do anything to protect his family," said Jason Zemlicka, a friend of 10 years and former co-worker. "I know him, and he must have believed he was going to get somewhere."

Friends and co-workers now mourn Kim but say they will celebrate his success at helping to accomplish his most important goal during that desperate week in the woods: the rescue of his wife, Kati Kim, and the couple's two daughters, Penelope, 4, and Sabine, seven months.

"I have had the privilege of knowing James since our days together at TechTV," said Joe Gillespie, executive vice president at CNET Networks and a former co-worker of Kim's while the two were at the now-defunct cable channel. "And while I have many fond memories, I will honor forever what he set out to do last Saturday. He is true a hero to all here at CNET."

He will be missed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

From Debrett's


Here's one reporters will like:

Avoid Writing A Pointless Subject Field

The subject line is a summary of the content of the e-mail, and should alert the recipient. A well-written subject line will ensure that the e-mail gets the appropriate attention. It is also used for filing and retrieval purposes, so it is important that it accurately reflects the topic of the e-mail.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advertising costs

CNET has an interesting article about gaming social media. From the article:

Companies charge as much as $15,000 to get content up on Digg, said Neil Patel, chief technology officer at the Internet marketing firm ACS. If a story becomes popular on Digg and generates links back to a marketer's Web site, that site may rise in search engine results and will not have to spend money on search advertising, he said.

For that amount of money you could buy numerous sponsorships at professional societies, user groups, and trade associations, thus generating good will along with website traffic.

Hat tip to Chris Abraham, who has a very funny comment.

About astroturfing

Chris Abrahm has written one of the best warnings against this noxious practice that I have seen.

See also the anti-astroturfing campaign.

Viral Marketing

I was talking to Chris Abraham the other day and said I didn’t really do viral marketing. I then described my work publicizing the work of the Federal XML Work Group and how my work had been linked from the official minutes. I observed that this was an illustration of how you can use your corporate blog to build relationships and generate publicity that is otherwise not available at any price. A more recent example was the post I wrote about the local IEEE meeting; they were kind enough to link it from their website.

Chris pointed out that this was what viral marketing was all about and I had been doing it without even thinking about it. Sometimes we put a bit if mystery to marketing terms that is not warranted.

Monday, December 04, 2006

December DC SPIN meeting

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Skills/Experience Needed for a Chief Software Engineer for a DoD Acquisition, and The Proper Specification of Requirements
Speaker: Al Florence

I'm sorry I won't be able to go.

Well done corporate blog

Developer Testing is so lively, so engaging, you can hardly believe it is a corporate blog. Yet it is totally professional and inspires confidence. Very well done indeed.