Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tips for Teleconferencing

From the always informative Johanna Rothman we discover the insightful 27 tips for teleconferencing.

First responders and the Dept. of Homeland Security

Chuck Archer, PJ Doyle and Thomas Reinhardt

State and local law enforcement officials, through the statutorily established FBI Advisory Policy Board (APB), inform the federal government of their information needs to accomplish their mission. The states are broken into regions, with regional representation on the board. Believe it or not, the FBI generally delivers, without “inclusiveness” issues. Everyone in the policing community knows who is in charge of establishing the information requirements, and it is not the FBI.

Most people do not put much thought into the information and communications infrastructure that enables a police officer on the side of the road to enter into his mobile computer either a driver’s license number or a vehicle license plate number and determine if he is dealing with a wanted person or a stolen vehicle. The information, drawn from both federal and state and local databases, is returned to the officer generally in less than two seconds. One of the reasons that it has worked well for so long is that the users own and operate the infrastructure, and the Feds make their databases available to that infrastructure.

This article is seventeen months old and reflects something that Paul Garrett addressed in his presentation to NCC AIIM. Our current system of sharing arouse out of frustration with the federal government.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can ECM prevent another 9/11

Paul Garrett, Special Assistant to the CIO at the Dept. of Justice, spoke to the January meeting of NCC AIIM. Garrett described himself as passionate about information sharing and described his task as finding out how to persuade 18,000 law enforcement agencies to talk to a handful of federal agencies.

The federal work consists of bringing together the case management and litigation systems at: Justice, FBI, the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program, and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), the last of which Garrett characterized as the glue which held the rest together.

Executive Order 13388 requires federal agencies to make the necessary arrangements for information sharing. One problem is the hundreds of different markings that law enforcement documents have, many more than the secrecy classifications in intelligence.

Garrett compared the work of his group to the process described by Tom Friedman in his book The World is Flat. In the book, Friedman talks about how Linux started with a small group of programmers and began to spread as others found it useful. IBM adopted Linux when it recognized the value of a single standard. Garrett quoted Friedman’s observation that, “Once a standard takes hold, people start to focus on the quality of what they are doing as opposed to how they are doing it.” Garret explained how you have to build some “vanilla standards” that are obvious.

Here, Garrett reminded the audience of the recent advertising campaign by Dunkin' Donuts, which ridicules Starbucks’ Tall, Grande, and Venti, whereas Dunkin' Donuts uses the more obvious terms of small, medium, and large. Garrett said his group needs to “make sure that vendors understand the need for the ’vanilla standard.’ He showed a slide with a list of the terms “small, medium, large” with a bracket to the right of the list, and to the right of the bracket “add foreign names” and then TWPDES (for the Terrorist Watchlist Person Data Exchange Standard). This was an example of adopting simple terminology for information sharing taxonomy.

Garrett referred to an article in the Harvard Business Review that ran in August 2000 , How to Start an Insurrection:
Establish a point of view
Write a manifesto
Create a coalition (Garrett said this is the present stage of the NIEM project)
Pick your targets
Co-opt / neutralize opposition
Find a translator (to translate the project’s ideas to workers outside the project)
Win small, win early, win often

GJXDM was created by local law enforcement out of frustration with federal agencies. The idea was to take what works and build upon it. That is why NIEM takes GJXDM and other existing standards and builds upon them. Garrett explained that the federal government does not want to build new stove pipes on top of old stove pipe systems.

Old Model - Form Driven
USCIS - application - person
FBI - target - event
CPB - cargo - thing
Treasury - bank - corporation
CDC - location - event

New Model - Data Driven
People, places, things - This is how I do a name; this is how I will do a foreign name, and so on.

The new model is data driven, data and metadata in any order. In this way, “chunks” of data can by reused and shared by different agencies as appropriate. Garrett said that NIEM will handle the chunking.

Here, a member of the audience asked whether the agencies will change their systems on the front end or the back end. Garrett replied that they would change the back end, based on query. Changes will be made when information needs to be shared. Ultimately, front end systems will have to be changed, which is why NIEM needs the tech commercial sector, such as Documentum and Adobe, to embrace the standard. (At the mention of Adobe, there was general laughter, as Jason Goetz, president of NCC AIIM, works at Adobe and this was a nice plug.)

Garrett said that his group is asking that new systems be NIEM compliant on the front end. For that reason, the CIO’s office is working to get NIEM written into specifications for case management RFP’s and grants.

NIEM is being built on a shoestring. A small group of core people manage the standard. The challenge lies in convincing developers that this will make their life easier. NIEM is 70% done; developers can take it and then build the rest. With schema reuse, time to market should be reduced. Garrett said that NIEM’s strongest selling point is its compliance with OMB Circular No. A-130.

Currently, the Dept. of Justice cannot answer congressional questions such as how many open cases we have in what area , for example, how many environmental cases in the North East? The Justice Department’s Litigation Case Management System (LCMS) will address this problem.

The recently awarded Sentinel case management system at the FBI will probably be the biggest case management system in the world. I asked if Sentinel would be NIEM compliant and was astonished to learn that at its core it will not be compliant; but it will be able to share information according to NIEM standards. If the FBI can share information without printing documents, if it is no longer necessary to print out case histories and walk them over to the Dept. of Justice, it will be able to save a bundle of money on printing.

Garrett predicted that as NIEM adoption spreads, it would be possible to add services and benefits to the many forms generated by the federal government, such as the Customs Service, FEMA, the Coast Guard, and many others.

A member of the audience asked if there was a parallel with intelligence? Garrett said, “yes.” He went on to explain that the intelligence community had established good metadata standards, but not data standards.

Another questioner asked if there was any thought of sharing information for security clearances, going on to say it was expensive to hire someone with DOD clearance and then pay for FBI clearance for what would be a short project. Garrett replied yes, and that a Line of Business had been established for this.

Garrett explained the Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program (LEISP ). Like NIEM, it was launched to ensure information sharing. The idea is to create a “storefront” for all agencies, FBI, BATF, etc., with regional storefronts where local authorities could decide how their regional “storefront” should be arranged. Garrett emphasized the importance of protecting civil liberties; some information should not be shared.

Garrett illustrated the international nature of information sharing, referring to the bombing of the London subway. In July of 2005, DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey received a message about the bombing and had to decide whether it was necessary to shut down the Washington Metro. After consulting with the Justice Department, he decided to keep it open. This illustrates why local authorities need access to the best information available to the federal government.

A member of the audience asked about the feedback from FBI field operations. Garrett responded that reaction had been mixed. Some chiefs are worried about information getting out. The intelligence folks get it and love it.

Garrett said it was important to get some successes in information sharing and spread the word of those successes. A member of the audience asked if there was any way to give credit to the SACs (Special Agent in Charge, the head of an FBI field office) for sharing information. Garrett said, “No, we need to find a way to do that.”

He said that while NIEM’s search engine works reasonably well for photos, they have no present way to search video. I asked if they were familiar with Podzinger-. Garrett said that he was not familiar with Podzinger, but that someone could propose it to be included with NIEM. However, it would have to be nonproprietary to be included in the standard.

The Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Administration funded the development of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM). It was developed for the requirements for information sharing with careful privacy guidelines. It has made possible the establishment of Regional Data Exchanges (R-Dex) and the National Data Exchange (N-Dex). Garrett described these as “Google for cops” and offered as a mischievous example query, “What do you have on Jason Goetz?”, to general laughter. Goetz is the President of NCC AIIM.

Garrett talked about the different requirements of the federal agencies. The NIEM representative from the Dept. of Interior is fond of reminding his colleagues that Interior patrols more land than the FBI. Because of the wilderness character of federal lands, cellphone coverage is not very good.

He reminded the audience of the importance of maintaining the quality of information, saying, “Where do I get a response that can I trust?”, going on to say that no one would make an arrest simply on the basis of an N-Dex hit. In general, one would call the original investigative officer on any given N-Dex hit.

Currently, there is an R-Dex pilot project in Seattle. It is a strategic location, because in addition to being a large port city, Seattle has two Naval bases and several major dams in the area.

Garrett pointed out that the greater Washington, DC area is the poster child for the need for such information sharing, with multiple jurisdictions and numerous targets.

The NIEM group has identified 100 different markings law enforcement has for access to documents and 164 different policies for handling such documents. In many cases, it is simply a matter of an individual worker adopting a certain practice and the local jurisdiction maintianing that practice. The Presidential Memo, Guideline 3 orders agencies to share data, and this will give the necessary pressure to rationalize the existing practices. As Garrett explained, when stakeholders complain, “No, we can’t do this,” the NIEM group can simply say that they have a Presidential memo. Reform will enable the criminal justice community to share information with greater trust and accuracy. The new markings will be on the NIEM website.

NIEM is best understood as a framework for the development of standards for information exchange. The group strives for simplicity. It will unite different domains under one federated scheme. While currently NIEM covers only criminal justice IT, plans are underway to build it out to international trade, immigration, and emergency management.

A member of the audience asked, “Where does DOD fit in all this?”
Garrett responded that “DOD is playing nicely” and added, “They are DOD; they play where they want. Same with FBI, they have guns, I don’t.” Garrett went on to say that it is not necessary for every IT system in DOD to be NIEM compliant. Weapons systems do not need information sharing capability.

The NIEM website has been a great success; there have been over 30,000 downloads of the data standard. Garrett observed that this was amazing, as it is not a video or anything with obvious mass appeal. In the opinion of this observer, this is a good omen for acceptance of the standard.

Describing NIEM governance, Garrett said, “You have to bring in the technical guys pretty quick.” He went on to stress the importance of bringing in all stakeholders, including local authorities, academic authorities, and industry groups such as IJIS.

Al Linden asked, “How do you set up a standard PMO with various government agencies?” Garrett answered that it had to be community based, with general involvement with the groups directly affected.

Garrett observed that IT governance and policy are critical, not technology. Ultimately, adoption of the standard would be by choice; you can’t mandate compliance. However, like clean air, “How can you be against standards?” He concluded by asking the assembled audience to “get on the bandwagon.”

Edit -

Please this comment by Owen Ambur, which somehow was directed to another post, but clearly belongs with this one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Casino Royale

The Bond brand has been successfully updated, Casino Royale is a great movie. Daniel Craig is a completely different Bond, rough cut and with piercing blue eyes to die for.

The movie opens with a great clip that has the signature gun shot, view down the barrel of a gun, that we expect of all Bond movies, and the opening credits are very cleverly done. The first scene is the best chase scene I have ever scene in any movie. There are serious red dresses in this movie, ladies will experience serious garment envy. Highly recommended.

One viewer thought the product placement was a tad overdone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A great use for a blog

FCW Tech

Not all the good stuff can fit into reviews. And you might want to know why we decided not to review a certain product. In the Tech Blog, Technology Editor Rutrell Yasin, Reviews Editor Patrick Marshall and Senior Reviews Writer Michelle Speir Haase will offer insights and observations drawn from the test center's ongoing examination of products as well as from conferences and shows we attend.

Blogs are a great place for all those items a reporter thought was interesting, but not newsworthy enough for print. It is also a good place to test the newsworthiness of a given subject.

Let there be music

Bonneville Moves D.C.'s Classical WGMS to WETA

Bonneville International Corporation, owner of Classical WGMS-FM in Washington, D.C. at 104.1 and public broadcasting station WETA-FM at 90.9 FM, announced Monday a cooperative agreement in which WETA will switch to a classical music format at 8 p.m. on Monday evening, Jan. 22, and become the exclusive provider of classical music in the greater Washington area.

Classical WETA's Official Release

Edit -
Smart move, they have established a blog, Classcial WETA FM

Monday, January 22, 2007

New to me process improvement blog

Agile CMMI blog
A starting point for a discussion on marrying Agile methods and CMMI. The opinions expressed here are the authors' and contributors' and do not express a position on the subject from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) or any company or Transition Partner affiliated with the SEI.

When I first started blogging there were almost no project management blogs.

Dubious distinction

U.S. Remains Dirtiest Spammer, But China Makes More Malware

Actually spam is not a technology problem, it is a business practice problem. We need to ask Visa, MasterCard, et al, why do known spammers have merchant accounts?

Two major Linux groups to merge

Computer World

January 22, 2007 (IDG News Service) -- The two main evangelizers of the Linux operating system, Open Source Development Labs Inc. (OSDL) and Free Standards Group Inc. (FSG), are merging to form the Linux Foundation.

The two industry consortiums will announce on Monday that they're in the final stages of combining their respective operations, according to Jim Zemlin, who will head the Linux Foundation. He was the FSG's executive director.

With Linux now an established operating system presence for embedded, desktop and server systems, the primary evangelizing mission that the OSDL and FSG embarked upon in 2000 has come to an end, Zemlin said. The focus for the foundation will be to help the Linux community more effectively compete with its primary operating system rival Microsoft Corp.

Actually I think Apple has the most to fear from Linux. The day there is Linux desktop software as user-friendly as Apple the Apple price structure will be unsustainable.

Information sharing and House Resolution 1

House Resolution 1 creates a Congressional a mandate for information sharing, the funding to fulfill that mandate, and the training to enable law enforcement, federal, state, and local, to carry out information sharing. It also protects civil liberties.

Here is what I think is going to happen, there is going to be a flurry of meetings within the federal government to discuss the nuts and bolts of this act. These meetings will not just involve the enforcement agencies at the Department of Justice and Treasury, but also enforcement agencies at the other Departments, such as Interior. It will also involve the intelligence agencies, not just NSA, CIA, and DIA, but also the intelligence agencies within the departments, such as Commerce, Federal Reserve, and so forth.

The NIEM group will work to bring in local and state authorities along with the relevant vendors. If you have a software solution that sells to the criminal justice market and/or addresses information sharing, it behooves you to follow these discussions.

Edit -

It should be noted that while this has passed the House, it has not passed the Senate nor has it been signed by the President. I am assuming that it will be passed into law in a very similar form to it's present one. However, the meetings will not commence until it is signed into law.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Connecting Applications with WCF

Brian Noyes presented on Window Communication Foundation (WCF) to the Capitol .NET User Group. He said that WCF is designed around services orientation. I asked if services orientation was the same as SOA and Noyes replied not necessarily, adding that there was some debate on the precise definition of SOA.

Noyes listed the needs of a services oriented world: the need to connect clients to back-end services, the need to be decoupled from the specific service technology/calling patterns, and the need to support distributed system capabilities (service hosting, instance management, reliability, async communications, transactions, and security).

WCF is a framework for connecting distributed applications. It is part of .NET 3.0 and enables building SOA applications. WCF implements Web Security (WS) standards. It has a single API that supports .NET remoting, asp.NET web services, enterprise services & communications, and MSMQ.

.NET has messaging systems at its core, SOAP messages (not necessarily XML/Text). Clients and services communicate through endpoints. Endpoints consist of address (where), binding (how), and contract (what).

Noyes compared it to a phone call: the number to be dialed (address), the language and grammar & syntax (binding), and what you are going to say (contract).

He walked through the WCF address process: the location of a web service, that is, the URL (protocol, server domain, port, and service URI (optional). For example, you could have multiple logical services off of the same port.

Noyes compared WCF Bindings elements to Lego blocks. He described bindings as the brains of communications, encapsulating what happens on the wire. Bindings determine the wire level protocol, communications patterns, message format, security, transactions, and reliability. Bindings can be extracted out of code and put into config.

Noyes characterized bindings as SOAP on a wire.” WCF defines nine standard bindings. They are compatible with: Basic, TCP, Peer TCP, Named Pipe, and Web Security (WS). Noyes said the bindings were pre-configured but can be tweaked. Standard bindings can be customized, or developers can define custom bindings.

A member of the audience asked, “What is card space?” Noyes replied that it was a new identity subsystem, which can manage multiple passwords, user name/password, WSSy, and DIME.

Noyes described the kinds of WCF Contracts: services contracts (operations exposed by the service), data contracts (what data is passed through the service operations), message contracts, and fault contracts.

He explained that service contracts are defined as an attribute of Type via .NET interface. The .NET interface can go down to the WSDC level but doesn’t have to. For security reasons, nothing is exposed unless specified; the default settings are all set to “opt in.” (This suggests to this observer that Microsoft has finally internalized the necessity of building security into its software.)

To implement a service type, implement a service contract interface. This does not require WCF specifics for basic communication. Clients are connected via a WCF proxy, and the proxy exposes service contract methods. Passing data is based on data contracts; best practice is to define data contracts for custom types used in the service contract. (My notes indicate using SPUtil to implement data contracts.)

Noyes said that interoperability is mostly addressed through message contracts.

He ended the presentation with a brief overview of WCF’s advanced capabilities: asynchronous calls, call back, sessions (Noyes indicated this doesn’t go well with transactions), security, reliability, queuing, transactions, and peer to peer.

Connecting Applications with WCF - Slides and demos

WCF Master Class

A Developers Guide to Deploying Windows Forms Applications by Brian Noyes

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What is meant by structured data?

Structured vs. unstructured documents

Structured documents are called structured because they have a fixed layout. That means that a certain piece of data is always on the same location on the document. An example of this type of document is an enquiry. All enquiries will have the same data on the same spot on the document.

Not necessarily a good idea

Tom Murphy has reminded me of a post by Steve Rubel:

During a recent interview with Podtech's Maryam Scoble, Mary Jo Foley revealed that ZDNet has a payment scheme in place that rewards its bloggers based on the number of clicks their posts get. Foley recently left Ziff Davis to become a free agent. Her primary gig involves writing a well-read blog on Microsoft for ZDNet, which CNET owns. (Microsoft is an Edelman client.)

Foley says she likes the pay-for-performance model because "It rewards people... who do a lot of work to make sure that their blogs are popular, which is what I do." Foley's writing has long been a must-read for keeping up with all things Microsoft.

Whenever one of my clients gets a good hit in the press, I send the link around to every blogger who covers the subject in question. I assume everyone else is doing likewise. Here at Presto Vivace we do things the old fashioned way, one pitch at a time. My competitor at Smoke, Mirrors, & Hatchet is not so squeamish. In a world where journalists are paid on the basis of the page count, Smoke, Mirrors, & Hatchet will hire a string of impecunious freelancers to blog about their clients, and set up a software bot that will repeatedly hit the stories in question from the astroturf blogs. Reporters who cover Smoke, Mirrors, & Hatchet clients will see their page count soar while reporters who cover Presto Vivace will see a modest bump that is coming from actual human beings. You see the problem?

Blogs, a very effective marketing tool

Tom Murphy has an astonishing report about the effectiveness of blogs as a marketing tool:

Interestingly, a former colleague, who works at a reasonably sized tech firm told me yesterday that they did detailed analysis on product downloads over the past six months - we’re talking relatively large volumes - and they were staggered with the findings.

Over 40% of their product downloads came directly from a blog link.

I have to conclude that blogs are an essential to any software marketing effort.

Murphy also points to this very very interesting article from Jennifer McClure: Online Missteps to Avoid, Six Tips for Web-Savvy PR—and Tech Trends to Watch in 2007

FOSE 2007

FOSE will run from March 20 - 22, 2007 at the Washington, DC Convention Center. Now is the time to contact reporters, their appointment books are already filling up, so don't delay.

Remember, talking to reporters is different from talking to prospects. Reporters want to know why your service/product is NEWS. Try to look at your company from the point of view of someone who did not have a vested interested in its success. Try to think what is it about your FOSE exhibit that would interest that person, that is the news.

Why the cost of online advertising is about to go up

Bloggin', Bloggin', Bloggin, Keep Those Papers Bloggin'

A report out today from Nielsen/NetRatings, which monitors online use, shows that traffic to blogs at the 10 busiest online papers more than tripled in December 2006 compared to December 2005, from 1.2 million unique users to 3.8 million unique users.

Saying goodbye to a funny man

Newspaper Columnist Art Buchwald Dies at 81

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Press releases, include links

Excellent advice from Chris Thilk

Marketing emails often don't contain links, which kind of defeats the purpose. Even more troubling in my opinion is the number of pitch emails I get that don't contain links. I like to link out to stuff since, more than anything, it bestows a kind of legitimacy to what I write. If I get a press release that's just been pasted into an email I more or less ignore it since it gives my readers nowhere to turn for more info.

Everyday I receive an email newsletter from Potomac Tech Wire which consists entirely of press releases with links. It seems they won’t pick up a release unless it is linked.

Implementing change in an organization

This paper on Implementing Innovation Strategies has a lot of good ideas.

The politics of tech groups

Information Week has an execllent overview of the tech advocacy groups, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center For Democracy & Technology, Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Markle Foundation. I advise clients to keep up witht eh views of such groups and meet with them whenever possible. The politics of tech issues is unpredictable and today’s opponent can be tomorrow’s friend.

Java programming tips

The Java Developers Almanac 1.4

This website supplements the book The Java Developers Almanac 1.4. All the code examples from the book are made available here for you to copy and paste into your programs.

This is just one of many examples of online resources for programmers. So far as I know there is no .NET equivalent of this. I think this is the sort of thing that gives open source and competitive edge on proprietary systems.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In search of links

Superior snark from Josh Hallet

Excellent advice from BL Ochman. One thing she and I disagree about, long essays on blogs. The most popular entries on this blog are the long entries consisting of original reporting. If it takes 2,000 words to describe something, then write 2,000 words. Write 3,000 words if the subject requires it. Just make sure you are using those words to communicate something interesting to your reader and not show off or be pretentious.

DC BUG, not what you think it is

Washington DC BEA dev2dev User Group

Monday, January 15, 2007

In honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The full version of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech.

If you have not heard the whole thing, I highly recommend this. You can’t really understand the power of King’s witness unless you see him speak. We are lucky to have it on film.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tenant Based Applications; NovaJUG November meeting

Hugh Brien works for the Wiley Technology Division of Computer Associates, which does Web application performance monitoring (HTTP & J2EE). They also provide HTTP traffic monitoring at the IP level, measuring true response times all the way to the browser.

Having introduced himself, Brien began explaining the tenant based application model. The application is a tenant in a large building; just like a hosting environment, the application lives in a larger infrastructure.

He used as the example, not because he wanted to sell Salesforce, but because it is the best known example of Software as a Service.

Brien contrasted the cost of SaaS with the cost of hosting your own applications: hardware, software & maintenance , overhead, personnel, and bandwidth. Other than Salesforce, SaaS providers include Netsuite (SRM/ERP Solution) and RightNow (SRM Solutions). Possible new players include SAP (which is going to build its own JVM and Brien indicated that SAP is not easy to work with), Oracle, and some others.

He said that Salesforce offers a comprehensive set of web services API’s for: JAVA, .Net, PHP, and Ruby.

Here, Brien began a demonstration using NovaJUG meeting attendees as an example. From my notes:
simple application w/ context
- add object
->call it a class
class w/ enrollment & topic
enable reports
add fields
custom fields

text based topic

just use metadata

drop down list to add fields - all schema automatically generated

(Here, someone asked if Salesforce was a black box and therefor if you wanted to host your own application, that you would be out of luck. Brien said yes.)

Brien continued the demonstration.

From my notes:

add data available via web services:

Samples can be downloaded from the Salesforce website.

After the Salesforce demonstration, Brien spoke briefly about Wiley Technology’s web application performance monitoring. It seems everyone makes the same mistakes, either pig in the python (one big slow call), or Death by a thousand cuts (too many little calls).

Brien discussed the need for building a proper ratio of work threads to database connections. He said the out of box connection defaults are too low.

Brien recommended JMeter as a good load tester, and advised that testing at the five user level for a couple of hours would tell you a lot.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New to me tech PR blog

Alan Weinkrantz PR Weblog

Looks like a very well done tech PR, worth a look-see.

SOA humor

From Pensieri di un lunatico minore we learn that the enthusiasm for SOA is not universal.

How to promote your Webinar

In addition to blurbs from happy customers you could also link to bloggers who post about it. By giving links to bloggers you will encourage other webinar attendees to post about it in their blogs. Bloggers love link love and are more likely to write about your service if you give them a link.

Todd And’s Top Marketing Blogs

According to Todd this blog is 53 out of 150 of the top marketing blogs. Thanks Todd.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Disney PR Disaster

The Spocko roundup:

San Francisco Chronicle

The tale of Spocko, a self-described "fifth-tier" blogger who lives in San Francisco, exemplifies how one person with a computer and an Internet hookup can challenge the views of a major media corporation -- and what a media corporation will do to stop him.

For the past year, Spocko has been e-mailing advertisers of KSFO-AM with audio clips from its shows and asking sponsors to examine what they're supporting. Some sponsors have pulled their ads, after hearing clips like one of KSFO's Lee Rodgers suggesting that a protester be "stomped to death right there. Just stomp their bleeping guts out."

Morgan pledged to "hit back" over Spocko controversy, claimed it "is all going through Media Matters"

Blogger makes ABC, Disney accountable for trashy radio

Mickey Mouse outfit shuts down blogger site


Remember that old expression about how the press always has the last word? In the post-blogosphere world there are no last words.

From PR blogosphere:
Holmes Report

Prices fall on US Treasuries

TREASURIES-Bonds hold at lower levels after TIPS auction

NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - U.S. government bond prices fell on Thursday, holding at lower levels after data showed below-average demand for $9 billion of new 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

The auction's bid-to-cover ratio, a gauge of overall demand, was 1.67 versus an average of 1.81 at the last five auctions of new 10-year TIPS, based on data from Wrightson ICAP.

Indirect bids, a proxy for foreign demand, totaled $3.72 billion, below the average of $4.6 billion for new TIPS supply, according to Wrightson ICAP.


I am not a PR body guard

Vy Blog alerts us to this hilarious post about press tours. I have to take issue with this part:

Interviewees generally come in threes.

There’s the Main Guy, the Other Guy, and the PR Bodyguard.

The reason I sit in on client interviews is partly to give moral support to my client and be able to give an after-interview assessment, but also to learn. Each interview goes a little differently and by watching them you are able to better prepare your clients for future interviews.

Note - no client of mine has ever visited a PowerPoint presentation upon a journalist.

AIIM has a blog

John Mancini has been blogging for months at ECM Industry Watch, but I just found out.

Call for nominations

Tony Byrne alerts us to AIIM's and CM Pros' call for nominations to their respective Board of Directors.

The Big Bad Blogs

Ronn Torossian has another one of those blog baiting articles in today’s Bull Dog Reporter. From the article:

So what is 2007? For smart companies and PR professionals it is it the year the industry fights back.

Fighting back against blogosphere is a little like poking a stick in a hornets nest.

Torossian goes on to hold up Apple as a company that understand PR. Well certainly Apple gets press play all out of proportion to its market share. Apple understands cool technology and products that work out of the box. Apple does not understand blogosphere and social media. In that respect Microsoft, Sun and just about every other technology company cleans Apple’s clock. Apple’s notion of control and secrecy just don’t work in blogosphere.

Blogs are perfect for technology evangelism and Apple is making a big mistake by failing to embrace them.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New to me federal standards group

Storage Resource Management Resource Group

Scientific Data Management Research and Development Group

Promoting your industry

IJIS member Justice Served has informed me that they have just issued their 2006 Top Ten Court Websites.

This is an excellent example of raising your profile by advancing your industry. Well done Justice Served and congrats to the winners.

Proposed law on federal data mining

Bipartisan Legislation Requires Federal Agencies to Report to Congress on the Use and Development of Data-Mining Programs

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) was joined by Senator John Sununu (R-NH) and others in introducing a bill requiring federal agencies to report to Congress on data-mining programs they are developing or using. The Federal Agency Data-Mining Reporting Act mandates that agencies disclose to Congress information about data-mining programs they are using in connection with anti-terrorism and law enforcement efforts, including why they are using the data-mining technology, if the programs work as intended, and what steps are being taken to protect privacy and due process rights.

I once heard an interesting presentation by James Kasprzak where he said that one of the ways people defeat data mining is to simply lie, and that excessive personal data collection is therefore self-defeating.

Solzhenitsyn on data and privacy

Edit -

A reader was kind enough to send a this link, which I accidentally rejected as comment spam. It is worth looking at -
filtering the useful signal from noise
The post looks like it just addresses data mining from blogs, Kasprzak was talking about excessive data collection from sources such as credit agencies, purchasing histories, and other things. He was also talking about what happens in police states, people simply lie, until the lies pile so much that the information well is simply poisoned.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Free Speech, Free Beer

At the November meeting of NovaJUG, Hugh Brien said he did not understand the fascination with Ruby, saying, “If a .Net guy came in we would all throw rocks, why are we excited about Ruby?”

Partly it’s the appeal of free beer. In my experience engineers are cheap. (You can always tell if you are at a meeting for engineers, the food is pizza at best, for marketing a hotel banquet room, and for PR elegant luncheon or swank cocktail party.) Engineers will cheerfully trade ease of implementation for price (a reason they must not have control over requirements).

But the appeal of Open Source goes beyond cost. It is accurate to talk about Open Source as a movement. Clearly programmers have the feeling of participating in something quite special.

I am still unclear on the difference between Open Source and Free. Some definitions:
Why “Free Software” is better than “Open Source”

Difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software"

Flatter blog

Apparently Phil Gomes had the same idea I did:

Journalists love to know that they're being thoughtfully written about just as much as your clients want to have stories thoughtfully written about them. For the first time, blogs allowed PR pros to do that in a meaningful, visible, and conversation-friendly fashion.

The same can be said for industry analysts, venture capitalists, and anyone else you might wish to cultivate.

Monday, January 08, 2007

John McCalla

John McCalla, editor of Washington Business Journal, has died. He was 38.

He will be missed.

Problem with Vista

Joab Jackson

Here are a few: Since the operating system continuously polls device drivers, performance could slow. In certain instances, the fidelity of content could be reduced during playback. Peripherals could be remotely disabled by Microsoft itself, should they be compromised. Older peripherals may have to be replaced once they are no longer commercially supported. And overall, the OS has a whole layer of built-in control that remains out of reach to administrators.

“Even without deliberate abuse by malware, the homeland security implications of an external agent being empowered to turn off your IT infrastructure in response to a content leak discovered in some chipset that you coincidentally happen to be using is a serious concern for potential Vista users,” Gutmann wrote.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Local user group blog

The Maryland ColdFusion User's Group has established a member blog. I'm sure we will be seeing more of this sort of blog.

Finger not on the pulse

Today’s edition of Bull Dog Reporter asks the following question on their Pulse of PR feature -

What will be the most impacting PR trend to take hold in 2007?

Blogs and other new media will supplant mainstream media as consumers' primary information source
Environmental reputation will become a key PR initiative in the U.S., as it is in Europe
Companies will begin to hire PR for individual projects (rather than as AORs), like in the UK
Online media will continue to splinter into micro-focused granular niche outlets

The answer is none of the above. While all of these will be important, the number one PR trend of 2007 will be dealing with the PR fallout from congressional subpoenas. Maybe you have to live in the Greater Washington Area to understand what is about to happen.

Senators Biden and Leahy, Representatives Waxman and Conyers, have all promised aggressive oversight hearings. You can be sure that other committee chairs won’t be far behind. Local law firms are already soliciting business. PR Strategists are dropping quotes in the press hoping to attract clients. The fall out will not be limited to Washington, DC or even the Unites States; these investigations will have international repercussions.

It should be kept in mind that there will be continuing high profile prosecutions. Scooter Libby’s trial begins this month, the Abramoff investigation continues, and there will be others. Many newsmakers will find themselves having to respond to both congressional and criminal investigations. For federal contractors sucked into this, (Hello Halliburton, HP and Walmart want to thank you for taking them off the number one PR disaster list.) the difficulty will lie in responding to subpoenas without admitting wrong doing, and deflecting blame in such a way as to not burn bridges for future business, a very difficult needle to thread.

A proper PR crisis management and reputation repair campaign will have to integrate the legal defense with media and online relations. It will be necessary to respond to charges, both legal and press, discredit critics wherever possible, and stop rumors before they spread. To do this PR will need the traditional tools of media monitoring and public opinion polling; but will also require new tools to mine blogosphere and publicly posted online discussion groups to gage public opinion. The fools will try astroturf techniques. This is invariably a bad idea, but in this atmosphere catastrophically bad. With hundreds of interested parties, both professional and amateur, on the look out for that sort of thing, you are certain to be caught. Don’t even think about it. Indeed if you are a federal contractor and you try this, someone will accuse you of misusing government money. Even if the charge is false you could get hauled up before a committee.

Technology reporters take note, the winners, as always, will be the providers of the technology the enables the investigations, the defense, and the citizen response. Search technology, both online and enterprise search will see robust growth as a result of all this. Technology such as Blogpulses’s conversation tracker will come into its own.

As the hearings go forward, we will all be reminded of the importance of records management and email archiving. We will also learn new things about evidence recovery. There is sure to be some idiot idiovitch who still doesn’t understand that when you delete email you only delete the pointer, not the message.

A less publicized winner, but even more profitable, will be the providers of litigation support software. The litigation that springs out of these controversies is likely to continue for years after public attention has drifted elsewhere.

Technology that enables the citizen response to all this will also be a big winner. Blogging will continue to grow, and providers of blogging and commenting software will see growth as will fighters of comment spam. Indeed it is likely that a whole new class of spam will grow out of this. My guess is that someone will be stupid enough to vandalize their critics’ discussion sites with aggressive comment spam. They will be caught and it will provide the rest of us with huge entertainment.

There will be a lot of anguish in the months to come; but for those of us in technology there will be many opportunities.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Explaining Defense procurement

DOD throws light on how it buys services

Assad, speaking at a recent conference sponsored by the Contract Services Association of America of Arlington, Va., said he is focusing on getting information systems to the warfighter and managing the procurement processes more efficiently.

Is there a difference between a warfighter and a soldier?

So what would a chemical attack look like?

SAIC to Put Attack-Simulation Tools on the Web

With the motto "Making the World Safer," the Defense Threat Reduction Agency uses computer models to play out doomsday scenarios, forecasting what might happen if an attack were launched and what could be done to minimize its effects.

The models cover biological, chemical, nuclear and other kinds of weapons.

San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. won a contract worth up to $53.9 million from the agency to put modeling and simulation tools on the Web for first responders and government agencies.

No, this won’t be available to the general public. Just military and public safety personnel.

Presenting your company

Morgan McLintic has some execellent advice, including beware of the demo demon.

Windows Communication Foundation

Last month I attended a presentation by Brian Noyes on Windows Communication Foundation, which I hope to write at length about at a later time. One thing that caught my attention was that WFC has been designed on an opt-in basis. The default setting are closed and the programmer has to open up for each individual task. This suggests that Microsoft has finally learned the importance of building security into their systems. Whether or not your use Windows, this means a more secure Internet for all users.

Online relations

Chris Abraham has some execellent insight into Microsoft’s/Edelman’s Microsoft Vista promotion. His analysis fits with my theory that we should not merely disclose our online operations, we should brag about them.

I predict we are going to see much more of this sort of promotion.