Friday, September 28, 2007

Java communities

The Server Side

I am sure there must be many others. If you know of any, please put the URL in the comments.


Google Alerts, why press releases are more important than ever

Via the essential Spin Thicket I see that one of my fellow PR bloggers is taking another whack at the press release:

The Future of the Press Release - Part I, Acceptance

According to Outsell, Inc. in November 2006, 51% of information technologists (IT) source their news from press releases found on Yahoo or Google News over traditional trade journals. While this is technology, I can assure you that this stat is probably equally compelling across a variety of major industries. What this means is that press releases are no longer limited to journalists, bloggers, and analysts, but also read by customers directly in order to help them make important decisions.

I can attest to the truth of this. At the last meeting of NCC AIIM I sat next to a civil servant and proceeded to ask him about his sources of IT news. It emerged that he has Google News subscriptions to key words related to his agency’s work and reads anything connected to that subject matter. He actually preferred corporate press releases to trade publications as he didn't need a filter as he put it.

I have to say that I was distressed to learn this, while I am very careful about the accuracy of Presto Vivace releases, I do not recommend that readers get their news from flacks, however conscientious.

J2EE open source training in Reston

Northern Virginia Java Users Group discussion list
As a long-time NovaJUG member, I'd like to introduce my company's new Java EE-based training offerings to everyone, and I also want to make sure you all know that we're extending a 10% discount to all NovaJUG members. Here's our schedule of public classes in Reston, VA for November:

Introduction to JSF 5 Days
Nov 5 – Nov 9

JPA Development with the Hibernate® ORM 3 Days
Nov 12 – Nov 14

Java Development with Spring 2 Days
Nov 15 – Nov 16

AJAX for the Enterprise 2 Days
Nov 19 – Nov 20

Java Programming 5 Days
Nov 26 – Nov 30

We can also provide private classes onsite or at our own facilities. Please feel free to visit our website for more information, including the complete training schedule.

I'll have flyers available at tonight's meeting for those planning to attend. (If you can't make it tonight, you can download it the flyer as a PDF here:
Hope to see you there!

Jonathan Lehr
About Objects, Inc.
The developer training people.

Managing Electronic Records as Evidence

NCC-AIIM Monthly Meeting
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Westin Arlington Gateway

Proving the Truth:
Managing Electronic Records as Evidence
Speaker: Jeffrey Ritter, Esq., CEO, Waters Edge

Every organization, both private companies and government agencies, has a legal duty to preserve as potential evidence any electronically stored information (ESI) that may be relevant to proving the truth of the matter in any civil litigation in the United States. While there has been great attention given to the impact of the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, enterprise content management professionals have received little guidance on the requirements they must successfully execute in order for ESI in their custody to be admissible as evidence.

This presentation, by one of the nation’s most recognized and engaging thought leaders on the trustworthiness of digital information, introduces an insightful and compelling framework through which enterprise content management can focus on and better assure the ultimate value of digital information as evidence. In doing so, an ECM professional can become a more valued contributor to their organization’s overall legal and business objectives and significantly contribute to reducing the overall legal spending. The strategy—knowing the right questions to ask.

This could not be more timely.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Women’s Tech (un)conference

Identity Woman
I am producing another unconference this fall. It is for women working in technology called She’s Geeky. It is October 22-23 in Mountain View at the Computer History Museum.

I will be interested in reading the blogging that comes out of this.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Spoonful of Sin

Geoff Livingston was kind enough to invite me to the launch of Spoonful of Sin, a catering company specializing in desserts. The party was held at the very elegant Flashpoint.

Attendees were a great mix of Washingtonians. Most of the events I attend consist of techies, either marketing tech or building tech. The Spoonful of Sin party was a nice change of pace for your humble servant. I renewed my acquaintance with some I had met at the New Media Nouveaux event, including some local bloggers.

In a town with so many associations and other organizations holding special events, I predict that Spoonful of Sin will be a great success. Event planners are always searching for something that will make their event stand out, a spectacular desert would be a fabulous way to separate your event in a town of parties.

Roland Mesnier, former White House dessert chef, was present to sign his books. I had a chance to chat with him. He doesn’t think much of the Food Channel; he thinks their cooks are sadly overated. He also assured your humble servant that he could teach her to make puff pastry. No disrespect to Mesnier, but I seriously doubt he could teach this baking impaired blogger how to make a croissant.

I had a great time and want to thank Geoff for inviting me.

More from:
The Catch Up Lady
Pamela Sorensen

Monday, September 17, 2007

What is the Semblance Project?

The Semblance Project

The Semblance project houses several subprojects that provide reusable components for Java applications, and particularly for Java EE (J2EE) web applications. Of the current three subprojects, two are frameworks (Foundation and StrutsLive), while the third is a comprehensive example application. The Foundation framework contains a broad array of generic utility classes and components, many of which were extracted from the original StrutsLive code base in order to make them easier to consume outside the web tier.

StrutsLive is a framework that adds powerful new capabilities to Struts 1.x, enabling it to function as a modern, component-based framework with features rivaling those of Webobjects or Tapestry, while maintaining total back-compatiblity with exsiting Struts 1.x application code. StrutsLive is in use today in dozens of major production applications, from high-volume B2C websites like The Shopping Channel and Armani Exchange to mission-critical B2B applications, such as an energy trading system for Enbridge Energy, a billing system for a major European telecommunications company, and the Environmental Protection Agency's compliance reporting system.

Clearly, this is the kind of collaborative effort that is driving software development.

Another example of how Potomac Tech culture is different

GIT Rockin
Folks from around the federal information technology community really let their hair down at Federal Computer Week's Git Rockin' event Oct. 19.

The show, staged at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Va., was billed as the first battle of the government IT bands. Twenty-six groups submitted tapes to a panel of judges, who chose four finalists to perform at the event.

Each band had to include at least two members from the federal IT market. The crowd voted for their favorite band by buying $1 tickets, with all proceeds -- about $15,000 -- going to the United Service Organizations of metropolitan Washington, D.C. The winner was Full Mesh, which featured talent from Juniper Networks. To learn more about the bands and the event, visit

HHS guitar god (and CIO) Charles Havekost had to forego the competition after agreeing to serve as the evening's emcee, but that didn't stop him from putting on a show.

Is your software telegenic?

GCN is adding a new dimension to its product reviews with the debut of GCN Lab TV.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How not to do damage control

If a critic wants to come to your conference, take his registration money and welcome him. Declining his registration just makes you look bad. Better your critics come to your events openly than have them recruit supporters to attend your events.

If there are many enthusiastic blog posts about your event, why would you fear a handful of critics? You do have a blogger outreach program don't you? If not, maybe you should get one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Congratulations Jill Aitoro

Mark Amtower tells us that Jill Aitoro is moving to Government Executive. He also has some very interesting gossip about 1105 Media.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What editors think of local PR firms

Every year or so I do an unscientific survey of reporters and editors from the government trade press to see which PR firms are most respected and most helpful to both their clients and the publications. I email people I work with in the press and simply ask their opinion and I guarantee their anonymity.

There were no big standouts (no company with more than 2 votes). The best recommendations in terms of how the reporter or editor referenced a PR firm were for Alice Marshall (PrestoVivace; one reporter called her the best he had worked with) and Evan Weisel (W2 Communications, one reporter noted he does lots for his clients and adds actual value for the trade press). Other reporters just sent lists, or had shorter comments. And while I did not ask for it, a few gave me negative feedback. Instead of sharing the negative, I simply took a point away from the company referenced.

Making the cut (alphabetical: Advice Unlimited, Alice Marshall/PrestoVivace, BrainBox, Borenstein, Boscobel, Fleishman Hillard, Hosky Inc, Larkin and Associates, OKeeffe, Strategic Communications, and Welz and Weisel.

A huge thank you to the anonymous editors who were kind enough to mention Presto Vivace, Inc. An even bigger thank you to all the editors who recognized the newsworthiness of Presto Vivace clients.

The resilient federal market

No credit woes in government services
The headlines this summer are dominated by talk of the “credit crunch.” Many pundits are predicting that tightening in the debt markets will bring an end to the frenzied merger-and-acquisition environment. Although this may be the case in other industry sectors, I do not believe the current credit woes will curtail M&A activity in the defense and government services arena in the near term.

Let's hope he is correct.

Troll patrol

How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community
If you want to fight trolling, don't make up a bunch of a priori assumptions about what will or won't discourage trolls. Instead, seek out the troll whisperer and study their techniques.

Troll whisperers aren't necessarily very good at hacking tools, so there's always an opportunity for geek synergy in helping them to automate their hand-crafted techniques, giving them a software force-multiplier for their good sense. For example, Teresa invented a technique called disemvowelling -- removing the vowels from some or all of a fiery message-board post. The advantage of this is that it leaves the words intact, but requires that you read them very slowly -- so slowly that it takes the sting out of them. And, as Teresa recently explained to me, disemvowelling part of a post lets the rest of the community know what kind of sentiment is and is not socially acceptable.

Marketing local tech culture

The Webpreneur
Well, it’s already underway. There are events popping up all over and people are starting to become more active. The one issue that I see is that a large portion of the community is not locally active. While I can’t tell you why that is, I know it’s the case. There are investors who are quietly involved but they seem to be hesitant to become active in the community. What are the components of a successful technology community? I think there are a few components:

* Technology enthusiasts
* Entrepreneurs
* Investors
* Scholars
* Technology journalists

In discussing Lunch 2.0 with my new friend Isaac a couple days ago, Isaac brought up a good point: there is not enough coverage of events in Washington, D.C. by the local press. Why is that? Perhaps we are failing to do enough public relations. Why wasn’t there a Washington Post article about the recent Barcamp or any of the other technology events that have occurred? A few of the local tech companies are successful with coverage but there are bigger things happening. I have met a number of local companies that are now significantly invested in Facebook application development. So invested that it is now their core business model. Is such a shift in the technology environment not news worthy? I think is.

I started this blog partly with the idea of building recognition of local tech culture and demonstrating a market for this sort of news.

Potomac Tech Culture is different, it is more diverse that Silicon Valley with far less hubris.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Norwegian Medieval Tech Support

How not to use PowerPoint

For Oscar winning presentations, use Keynote.

Amtower’s Epiphany: a book for our times

Mark Amtower’s current book, Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes, could be boiled down to one phrase, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

What, at first glance, appears to be a straightforward business book, turns out to be a compelling description of a personal journey and its lessons for entrepreneurs. Amtower’s thesis is that nice guys do not finish last, that business is about providing value and building relationships. Those who fail to provide value, those who do not build relationships based of shared values of decency and integrity, will either fail, or succeed in a way that makes life not worth living.

Amtower has an unpretentious style of writing that is at once disarming and compelling. He is persuasive precisely because he maintains that he is not an exceptionally gifted, not God’s brightest child as he puts it. Amtower does not ask us to admire him, but rather to conduct our business and life, in such a fashion that we admire ourselves.

This book is about the value of persistence, work ethic, and above all, doing the right thing. Robert Strauss used to say that good government was good politics; Amtower teaches us that good conduct is good business.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tropical disturbance 99L

Northern Atlantic Ocean regional imagery, 2007.09.05 at 1145Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 29:45:40N Longitude: 69:53:06W.

Northern Atlantic Ocean regional imagery, 2007.09.05 at 1145Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 29:45:40N Longitude: 69:53:06W.

Carolinas at risk from tropical disturbance 99L
An area of disturbed weather (99L) that formed along an old frontal boundary appears to have developed into a subtropical depression, and may grow into a tropical storm over the next day or two. Strong upper level winds from the west are creating about 15 knots of wind shear over 99L, and satellite loops of 99L show the classic appearance of a weak, sheared system--a nearly exposed low level circulation system, with all the heavy thunderstorm activity pushed to one side by strong upper-level winds. This shear is forecast to remain between 15 and 25 knots over the next two days, which should allow some slow development. A QuikSCAT pass from 6:52am EDT showed that 99L has a vigorous closed circulation with top winds of 25-30 knots (30-35 mph), so in my book this system is already a subtropical depression. The reason I call it subtropical is because there is still clear evidence of a frontal boundary attached to 99L, evident as long band of clouds extending from the south side of the storm (Figure 2). The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to investigate this system at 2pm EDT, and NHC may wait until then to see if 99L can maintain its strength before naming it a subtropical depression.

Why it is difficult to counter a lie

TCG alerts us to an article in The Washington Post about psychological research into myth busting. It seems the process of exposing lies can have the effect of reinforcing them.

When clients are the victim of smears, it is necessary to put out correct information in such a way that the lie is not reinforced.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Standards selection is vendor selection

ISO votes against fast tracking Microsoft's Office Open XML
The International Organization for Standardization has voted against a proposal to fast-track Microsoft's Office Open XML format as an international standard. Here's how the vote went: all 41 of the of the countries that had worked on the proposal participated in the vote. There were 17 "yes" votes, 15 "no" votes, and 9 abstentions. Without counting the abstentions, that works out to 53.12 percent approval, far short of the two-thirds majority needed. Of the 87 national standards bodies voting, 18 voted against OOXML, leaving OOXML just shy of the 75 percent threshold for that vote.

Andy Updegrove explains the voting process.

Additional perspectives:
ODF and OOXML in Ghana and the developing world
Background information on ODF, OOXML and why It matters

This was an important victory for open standards and will create more opportunities for everyone.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Impact of Government-Wide Contracts

Mid-Tier Contractors Getting Left Out
Driving the growth of big companies has been a shift in the way government does business. In the past, federal agencies would hold competitions for each project -- specific jobs for which medium-size firms could effectively compete.

Starting in the mid-1990s, government-wide contracts became more popular. Generally, the contracts are so large that only big companies can compete for them. A recent example is the $50 billion, 10-year Alliant information technology contract, awarded earlier this summer to 30 companies, all but a few of them billion-dollar-plus firms.

This needs more examination.