Friday, August 29, 2008

Twitter and disaster preparedness

David Stephenson has some very good tips on the use of text messaging, camera phones, and Twitter in a disaster situation.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tropical Storm Gustav

Tropical Storm Gustav regional imagery, 2008.08.27 at 1315Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 17:05:47N Longitude: 72:26:01W.
Tropical Storm Gustav regional imagery, 2008.08.27 at 1315Z. Centerpoint Latitude: 17:05:47N Longitude: 72:26:01W.

Free legal and litigation software reviews

The eDiscovery Paradigm Shift
With the potential changes to The Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey, I started to research alternatives for substanttive research on litigation technology. I am pleased to report that I have found LitiReview by

Launched in August of 2008, LitiReviews boasts the largest collection of free legal and litigation software reviews on the web. All reviews (100+) are full-text, and have been published in legal magazines, journals, websites and blogs. LitiReview links to copies of reviews available on the internet, or hosted by us at the author's request.

Litigation support is going to be a growth industry.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New to me local XML blog


New to me local tech blog

Consumer Electronics Association Digital Dialoge

The technology of open source intelligence

Content-driven Applications in the Federal Government
These organizations and others are using MarkLogic Server to deliver useful information hundreds of times faster than with search engines and relational databases. MarkLogic Server lets you store, aggregate, enrich, search, navigate, and dynamically deliver the most relevant information in any format required.

It's not just the ability to collect masses of raw data, you have to have the processing power to analyze it. The technology behind this, while similar to marketing and other commercial applications, clearly has some distinct requirements. I am still learning about open source intelligence.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tweetake and records management

The Buzz Bin has a nice write up of Tweetake, a service that backs up your tweets. Marinel Mones gives some good reasons for backing up your social media, but fails to include possible litigation. It is just a question of time before social media is included in legal discovery. This is something PR practitioners are going to have to discuss with clients.


News Corp stock and Rupert Murdoch in the toilet?

"Media company News Corp., whose stock fell 29% in fiscal 2008, reported compensation of $27.5 million for Chairman Rupert Murdoch during the period."

I guess a business model based on lying isn't working too well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

XBRL and investor relations

SEC to Junk Paper Filings, Require Interactive Online Reports

Within two years, the SEC will require all corporations and mutual funds to file using a technology called XBRL (extensible business reporting language) with the first wave beginning in December. This transition coincides with the agency's plan to replace its document-based system, for collecting, analyzing and retrieving data, known as EDGAR, with an Internet-based platform, IDEA, short for Interactive Data Electronic Applications. ...

... To illustrate the system during a recent interview, Blaszkowsky sifted through volumes of financial information with a few clicks of his mouse, extracting data from several companies and creating a multicolor bar graph to compare the figures. Then he exported the data into an Excel spreadsheet. What took Blaszkowsky only seconds could have cost hours for a reader of current SEC filings.

"The centerpiece of our regulatory approach is giving investors the information they need to make wise decisions," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "We have an opportunity to exponentially improve the way we perform that mission."

This will make it much easier to understand SEC filings and far easier for financial reporters and bloggers to report on it. Far more data will be publicly available in a form that is easily comprehended by the general public. Investor Relations practioners would be well advised to explain all this to management.

DISA creates Technology Review Boards

Defense Systems
The Defense Information Systems Agency will no longer rely on third parties to alert it to promising technologies from sources that it might not otherwise identify, agency officials said last week.

DISA will abandon the third-party capability-broker concept it advanced last year and has instead established Technology Review Boards that will meet regularly to receive input on potentially valuable new technologies directly from small businesses and other likely sources, said Hank Beebe, technical director of DISA’s Program Executive Office for Command and Control Capabilities (C2C), at DISA’s Forecast to Industry 2008 last week in Arlington, Va.

I think that this is a good idea and will reduce the amount of "wired" bids.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is Really Happening in the Agile Community: Beyond the Rhetoric

International Association of Software Architects
You've likely heard a lot about agile software development over the past few years, and some of it may even be true. Did you know that agilists are just as likely as traditionalists to write documentation? That the vast majority of them invest time in up-front requirements and architecture envisioning? That agile teams of several hundred people have successfully shipped software into the marketplace? That agile has a measurably higher success rate than traditional approaches? That people are succeeding at combining agile strategies on globally distributed teams? In this presentation, Scott Ambler, Practice Leader of Agile Development at IBM Rational, shares results from surveys run over the past three years by Dr. Dobb's Journal and strategies for scaling agile techniques to the real-world situations that you face. Find out what's really going on out there in Agile Land!

FOIA, torture, and records management

Judge Gives Government 10 Days to Avoid Contempt on CIA Tapes
But the judge, the Southern District of New York's Alvin Hellerstein, said at a hearing that he would give the government 10 days to produce a declaration to convince him why he should refrain from a contempt finding and from ordering production of a list of the tapes, information on witnesses and any documents or memoranda relevant to the Freedom of Information Act request of the American Civil Liberties Union.

So now the CIA must produce a list of evidence that it destroyed. How does an administrator produce such a list. Imagine the buck passing going on right now within the agency, for those who destroyed the evidence are keen to arrange that someone else be responsible for describing that which was destroyed, leaving that individual or individuals on the hook for any contempt citation.

All the worker bees within the agency and their contractors are going to play this by the book, let the big shots go to jail.

Command? Or watering hole?

Inside the Cyber Command Turf Battle
Reports by the Associated Press who obtained a memo on the subject said this week the Pentagon delayed and may even kill the Air Force's planned Cyberspace Command. Why exactly is up for speculation, but according to one insider who absolutely did not want to be identified - "It's a dollar Grab".

The insider went on to say that "with an estimated $30 billion being spent on cyber capabilities, who can blame them?"

As I tally it, the Army, Air Force, CIA, NSA, DIA, DHS, StratCom and two unidentified black-ops units have already begun developing cyber warfare capabilities. Anyone with an ounce of sense would not want to get in the middle of that group! The Pentagon has to be thinking it would be better to have one unified cyber command rather than all these dispirit efforts.

Cyber warfare is a highly desirable command area -- it is new, it's exciting, it's a real threat and arguably the hottest topic in military circles. Multiple security experts, including myself, have warned that significant and very special resources and expertise are required to execute the core elements of the Bush administration's cyber security plan.

Unified command? Or one isolated silo that only meets the needs of one service? And would one unified command promote the idea of information sharing so central to security?

Edit Comment on Schneier blog reacts to the news:
Russia vs. Georgia-Poland-Estonia are nothing when compared with AF vs. DHS? :-)

Effective use of video

Explaining cloud computing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Using metadata to expose astroturf

Wanted: Writers for D.C. tech lobby group, secrecy mandatory
A CNET News article published in June reported that the name of an LMG employee, Alexandra Esser, appeared in the metadata of the letter ostensibly written by the corn growers and other grassroots groups. LMG Vice President Gil Meneses told us at the time that Esser "merely PDF'd a copy before distributing it" to reporters.

This is a great argument for using text instead of attachments. That or you could do real public relations and build an actual coalition of groups that actually share your client's point of view.

The days of turning a blind eye to astroturf are at an end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Convention communications in the age of social media

Qwest said it added about 2,600 data lines, 3,400 voice grade circuits and 140 miles of single strands of copper and coaxial cable to handle the Democratic National Convention.
The company issued a statement Friday saying it expects the volume of calls, e-mail messages, instant messages, text messages, blogs, videos, and other data to be unprecedented.

"Qwest is well prepared to handle all of the data content that will be streaming through the Democratic National Convention," said Chuck Ward, Qwest's president in Colorado. "Never before has speed played such an important role in a national convention and Qwest is excited for the world to see the capabilities of our network infrastructure."

At least 35,000 politicians, media and delegates from across the U.S. are expected to attend the Democratic National Convention 2008 next week. Much of the focus will be on presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama who is expected to capture the party's official nomination.

Qwest said it added about 2,600 data lines, 3,400 voice grade circuits and 140 miles of single strands of copper and coaxial cable.

I had not previously considered the impact of social media on the physical requirements of communications infrastructure. Hope it all works.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cyber attack on Georgia: from servers inside the US

Before the Gunfire, Cyberattacks
Researchers at Shadowserver, a volunteer group that tracks malicious network activity, reported that the Web site of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, had been rendered inoperable for 24 hours by multiple D.D.O.S. attacks. They said the command and control server that directed the attack was based in the United States and had come online several weeks before it began the assault.

Precisely where in the US?

Broadband penetration in the Potoamac Area

DC Area Gets High Marks for Internet Speeds
Speeds in the Washington region improved this year. Virginia has the fourth-highest download speeds in the country with 5.0 mbps, up from a ranking of 11th in the country last year. Maryland rose to 8th in the country, up from 10th, with 4.0 mbps And the District ranked 16th in the nation, up from 39th, with 2.8 mbps. That's bound to improve now that the District and Verizon have reached a deal to extend its FiOS service into the city.

That is very encouraging.

2008 Report on Internet Speeds in All 50 States

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scheunemann: coin operated expert

McCain Adviser Was Lobbyist for Georgia

John McCain's top foreign-policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is a leading expert on U.S.-allied Georgia -- and was a paid lobbyist for the former Soviet republic until March, in the run-up to what has become a major battle between Georgia and Russia.

This is just plain crude. Most of the time a lobbying firm will advise their clients to contribute to a think tank who will then recruit a sympathetic scholar, thus preserving a patina of expertise. This is just plain foreign policy payola.

The situation in the Caucuses

Saakashvili says Moscow wants to oust him
President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday accused the Russian government of invading undisputed Georgian territory and of seeking to depose his government as foreign ministers from the Group of Seven urged Russia to agree an immediate ceasefire with Tbilisi.

Blow to hopes of oil pipeline security
The so-called east-west energy corridor across Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey established with strong political backing from the US, has eroded Russia’s stranglehold over energy exports from one of the world’s few remaining untapped oil provinces.

Dubbed the “pipeline for peace” by its western promoters in the 1990s, the 1m-barrels-a-day Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline commissioned in 2006 has brought a new source of high-quality oil into the Mediterranean to compete with Russian supplies.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Open source content management

Alfresco as a SharePoint alternative
It's an interesting option. As readers of our ECM Suites Report 2008 know, Alfresco is one of the more interesting ECM vendors around. The question you might ask yourself however is, why would anyone want to do use Alfresco instead of SharePoint? Clearly open source enthusiasts will herald this as a major breakthrough - and those enterprises that espouse open source may well become customers. But then again, if you are going to dump Microsoft for the back end, why use Office at all, given there are open source alternatives?

But this release has appeal beyond the open source community, for the simple fact that by using the Alfresco alternative you are not locked into the Microsoft stack. This isn't so much an issue now, but will be when Office and SharePoint effectively merge at the next major release. Unhooking the two from each other (or at least having the option to do so) is good risk mitigation, and a powerful thing to have in your armory when negotiating with Microsoft.

Just as clearly Microsoft would like to lock you in with their solution.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Alice Marshall! live at the Tech Council of MD!

Growing Your Business Through Social Media

September 10, 2008
08:30 am - 12:00 pm
Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County Campus, Academic & Research Building, Room 106-110 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
Social networking websites are fueling America’s next big business and marketing boom. We’ve all been asking ourselves what's next after e-mail marketing and the answer is Social Networking!

Social Networks help people connect over the web in unique ways. Businesses are turning to Social Networks to market to clients they never met and meet new prospects they would have never known.

Learn everything you could ever want to know about Social Networking at the Tech Council of Maryland’s Social Networking Conference. Learn how to leverage a blog, how to build an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or upload your video on YouTube to drive traffic, interest and money to your business! We’ll teach you how to enhance your company’s reputation, connect with customers and build trusted relationships like never before.

Our interactive morning brings together expert panelists who will teach you how to get started in social networking circles and how to market like never before. Learn best practices and killer marketing techniques to get you noticed in different media. We’ll teach you how to stand out, how to rise above and how to drill into Social Networking circles for big money.

Whether you are a newcomer to the social networking phenomenon or someone who is utilizing multiple sites, this workshop will to you how to maximize social media and how to make it work for your business and your personal goals.

Social Networking Agenda
8:00 - 8:30 am Registration and Networking
8:30 - 8:40 am Welcome
  • Rick Harris, Executive Director, Tech Alliance, Tech Council of Maryland
  • 8:40 - 9:10 am Opening Keynote
    Marketing Survival Strategies for the Attention (less) Economy
  • Jeremy Epstein, Marketing Navigator;
  • 9:15 - 10:00 am Using Social Media For Lead Generation and To Find New Customers
  • Chris Hopkinson, Director of Business Development, DubMeNow
  • Tien Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Lore Systems and Opus 8
  • 10:00 - 10:15 am Break
    10:15 - 10:45 am Using Social Media to Generate The Right Kind of Press Coverage For Your Company
  • I.J Hudson, former NBC-TV4 technology reporter and current Director of Communications for Garson Claxton LLC
  • Jiyan Wei, Product Manager, PRWeb, Vocus
  • 10:50 - 11:20 am How To Add New Media To Your Existing Media and Communications Department
  • Marc Hausman, President and CEO, Strategic Communications Group, Inc.
  • Alice Marshall, Founder and President Presto Vivace
  • 11:25 - 11:50 am Social Network Superstar Case Studies
  • Chuck Kramer, Sr. Vice President &CTO, Social & Scientific Systems
  • Robin Ferrier, Communications Manager, Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County Campus
  • Chris Frew, Scientific Recruting Manager, Tech USA
  • 11:50 - 12:00 pm Closing Comments

    Sponsored by:

    Register for this Event
    Member Plus (Individual) $49.00, Member (Individual) $60.00, Non Member (Individual) $129.00

    DNA, databases, and crime fighting

    An example of his: there's an increasing desire among politicians and law enforcement to create huge DNA databases for forensic purposes, to aid in crime fighting and whatever. This will work until criminals start collecting DNA samples and scatter them at a crime scene creating confusion.

    Angell didn't mention a counter-measure, and I have one that I'm sure the politicos will want to use: make the possession of DNA a crime. There's the obvious exemption for your own DNA, but this brings new and important expansions of the old standby of "inappropriate contact."

    More and more, I am convinced that lack of privacy = lack of security.

    Solutions for e-waste

    Bull Dog Reporter has an item on the growing problem of e-waste and dumping it in poor countries.

    There are businesses that specialize in recycling e-waste. If you look at your municipal government's website they may list companies that perform this service. That is how I found Turtle Wings.

    Wednesday, August 06, 2008

    Hillary Clinton on Reforming Government Contracting

    Hillary Rodham Clinton writing in the Wall Street Journal
    I've proposed a comprehensive overhaul to root out corruption in no-bid contracts and other shady deals. Reforms must include the following:

    - Instead of rewarding companies that exploit tax shelters and incorporate in tax havens, let's ban the federal government from contracting with companies that hide profits offshore.

    - We should put in place safeguards so that contracts are awarded to responsible companies that abide by the law and complete the work they're hired to do.

    - Let's put a stop to the disgraceful practice of giving bonuses to contractors for work never performed, which has been allowed to happen in Iraq and throughout the federal government according to the GAO and inspectors general.

    - We need to increase transparency and competition in the contracting system, and to stop the ideological privatization of critical governmental functions.

    She's not going to be President, but she could could very well put these ideas into practice.

    Did the Central District Court of CA just leagalize industrial espionage?

    E-Mail Hacking Case Could Redefine Online Privacy
    The case, Bunnell v. Motion Picture Association of America, involves a hacker who in 2005 broke into a file-sharing company's server and obtained copies of company e-mails as they were being transmitted. He then e-mailed 34 pages of the documents to an MPAA executive, who paid the hacker $15,000 for the job, according to court documents.

    The issue boils down to the judicial definition of an intercept in the electronic age, in which packets of data move from server to server, alighting for milliseconds before speeding onward. The ruling applies only to the 9th District, which includes California and other Western states, but could influence other courts around the country.

    In August 2007, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, in the Central District of California, ruled that the alleged hacker, Rob Anderson, had not intercepted the e-mails in violation of the 1968 Wiretap Act because they were technically in storage, if only for a few instants, instead of in transmission.

    "Anderson did not stop or seize any of the messages that were forwarded to him," Cooper said in her decision, which was appealed by Valence Media, a company incorporated in the Caribbean island of Nevis but whose officers live in California. "Anderson's actions did not halt the transmission of the messages to their intended recipients. As such, under well-settled case law, as well as a reading of the statute and the ordinary meaning of the word 'intercept,' Anderson's acquisitions of the e-mails did not violate the Wiretap Act."

    Anderson was a former business associate of an officer for Valence Media, which developed TorrentSpy, a search engine that helped users find "torrents," or special data files on the Internet that can be used to help download free audio, software, video and text. According to court documents, Anderson configured the "copy and forward" function of Valence Media's server so that he could receive copies of company e-mail in his Google mail account. He then forwarded a subset to an MPAA executive.

    The documents sent to the MPAA included financial statements and spreadsheets, according to court papers. "The information was obtained in a legal manner from a confidential informant who we believe obtained the information legally," MPAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman said.

    Valence Media alleged that the MPAA wanted those documents to gain an advantage in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the company and its officers.

    "The case is alarming because its implications will reach far beyond a single civil case," wrote Kevin Bankston, a senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a friend-of-the-court brief filed Friday. If upheld, the foundation argued, "law enforcement officers could engage in the contemporaneous acquisition of e-mails just as Anderson did, without having to comply with the Wiretap Act's requirements." Those requirements are strict, including a warrant based on probable cause as well as high-level government approvals and proof alternatives would not work.

    If I am reading this correctly, anyone with the technical know how can set up shop as the secret police. I would love to know what e-discovery experts think of this ruling.

    The Sullivan principles come to the Internet

    Spurred By Olympics Web-Coverage Debate, Internet Companies Agree on Code of Conduct for Operating in Repressive Countries

    Google, Yahoo and Microsoft said this week that they were close to finishing a voluntary code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet — a project they started in January 2007. In letters released by Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, the companies said they have agreed on principles "protecting and advancing the enjoyment of freedom of expression and privacy globally," the LA Times reports.

    It looks like they are searching for a cyber version of the Sullivan principles. I wish them well, but doing business in a police state will always be a faustian bargain.

    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    Call for papers: ITVirtualizationLive

    I just received this email:
    Call for Papers

    Deadline for Submissions: August 22, 2008

    Dear Colleagues,

    , the premier conference addressing the business and technology drivers behind the adoption of virtualization technologies, has officially opened up its Call for Papers and will be accepting speaking proposals until August 22, 2008.

    Taking place in Orlando, Florida on December 9th - 11th, we are expecting an impressive audience of business and IT executives to be in attendance. Conference attendees will be looking to understand the business benefits that virtualization has to offer and the technical challenges facing IT organizations looking to implement these new technologies.

    I am honored to serve as the conference chairperson for ITVirtualizationLive. We are committed to providing in-depth, unbiased technical content to our attendees. To that end, I am asking you and your colleagues to submit proposals that achieve that goal. The topics listed below are suggestions, broken down into three broad categories. If you have another topic that fits into one of the categories and would like to submit it for consideration, feel free to do so.

    Thank you for submitting your speaking proposal for consideration. I hope to see you in Orlando in December.


    Keith Ward
    ITVirtualizationLive Conference Chairman

    Topics of Interest :

    TOPIC 1: Virtualization Planning and Implementation
    This track covers the basics of virtualization – how to lay the groundwork for getting the most out of your virtual infrastructure. Suggested topics include:

    Understanding the layers of virtualization and how they affect your planning
    Capacity planning
    Performance benchmarking
    Security architecting
    Understanding the different virtualization architectures
    Why go with Microsoft vs. Citrix vs. VMware
    Installation issues
    Choosing the right hardware for virtualization
    Implementation gotchas
    Virtual desktop infrastructure planning – thin client/fat client/zero client considerations
    TOPIC 2: Management
    Once your virtual infrastructure’s in place, you need to manage it. Virtualization brings unique management challenges, and we’ll help you get a handle on them. Suggested topics include:

    Differing management frameworks
    Managing the physical vs. the virtual
    Is a single pane of management glass best?
    Management tools – what’s out there? What works best? Free vs. commercial
    Virtual storage management
    Virtual network management
    Virtual I/O management
    Virtual desktop infrastructure management
    TCO/ROI considerations
    TOPIC 3: Best Practices
    Your virtualization infrastructure is humming along, but you need to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Here’s how. Suggested topics include:

    Optimizing your network for virtualization
    Improve your disaster recovery system
    Backup tips and tricks
    What you need to know about licensing to save money and stay in compliance
    Top tips for application virtualization
    Best practices for: VMware/Microsoft/Citrix/Virtual Iron/Parallels
    Security best practices
    Lifecycle management best practices
    Submission Guidelines
    Please include the following information with your submission:

    Speaker’s Name
    Speaker’s Title
    Speaker’s Company
    Title of presentation
    100-word description of presentation
    3-5 bullets explaining what the attendee will learn from presentation
    Speaker’s color photo (hi-resolution)
    Speaker’s Bio, including previous conference speaking/presentation experience

    How to Submit Your Proposal

    Submit your speaking proposals by going to:

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    Spam, who sends, who recieves

    Government Computer News reports a survey from MessageLabs that lists, Illinois, South Dakota, Oregon, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Alabama as the most spammed states.

    So where is the spam coming from? An earlier report from MessageLabs lists Florida and Texas.

    Mark Sunner, CTO of MessageLabs, said: "Florida and Texas are the only two US states where bankruptcy laws treat the company or the individual so favourably."

    "The laws in Florida actually favour the spammer," added Sunner. He told that spammers base themselves there because in their worst case scenario - getting caught and being put out of business by hefty penalties - they will be able to keep possession of assets "bought with their ill-gotten gains" such as cars and houses.

    Boca Raton, Florida has the dubious distinction of being the spam capital of the world.

    Friday, August 01, 2008

    August 1, Switzerland's national day

    Liberation: Federal Pact and the Rütli
    The new trade route made those regions far from the centers of power look interesting for the counts of Habsburg (northern Switzerland) who were trying at the time to strengthen their dynastic power. As a reward for help in several war expeditions to Italy, German king Friedrich II exempted the valleys of Uri (1231) and Schwyz (1240) from the jurisdiction of any counts and dukes so they would be subject to the king alone.

    When his successor king Rudolf of Habsburg, the first German Emperor from this house, died in 1291, people from Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden feared that the counts of Habsburg would try to regain influence in their territories. So they swore to help each other against anyone attempting to subject them. This is the historical background of the legend of the Oath on Rütli (a meadow on the western shore of Lake Lucerne, see picture). While the Federal Charter (Bundesbrief), dated from "the first days of August, 1291" is a historical fact and can be seen at the Museum of the federal charters in Schwyz [during summer of 2006, the federal charter has been on exhibition in the USA for a few weeks], the Oath on Rutli is a legend (anyway well composed, because of the secret nature of the beginning of the history of the old Swiss confederacy). Towards the end of the 19th century, August 1st was introduced as a national holiday.

    The William Tell Overture, in observance of Switzerland's national day.