Monday, December 28, 2009

Following the Twitter Zeitgeist

Mark Ramskill
Is the person I’m following bringing any real value to me? The million dollar question. It’s very easy to follow someone just because everyone else is, or because you they have a job that gives the assumption that their tweets will be useful. Often this couldn’t be further from the truth.

- Is the person I’m following tweeting unique information and links or are they mainly retweeting stuff I’m already getting from other sources?

- Does the person I’m following follow me and if they do, do they ever communicate with me or retweet what I put out there?

Ramskill has some very good advice. Twitter should be fun, and not taken too seriously (unless you are handling customer relations on Twitter).

For my part I don't really follow any one person. I follow almost everyone in the Potomac region who works in technology. I am interested in the stream of coversation rather than individual people.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


From J. Timothy Sprehe's opinion piece in Federal Computer Week:
So what does the agency do to achieve integrated information management? It conceptualizes the solution as one of standardizing on a single ECM system toolset.

I have been working in content management since 1994 and I have only a vague idea as to what he means by that. If I don't understand it, there is a good chance other readers don't understand it. The struggle against IT speak is a constant one and sooner or later we all succumb; but if you want to make your point to the general public, or at least policy makers, you have to make your prose more accessible.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New to me local writer's blog

Thinking Like A Designer, A site for authors who want advice on preparing to work with designers, and for designers who work directly with authors.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Soros proposes way to fund to fight global warming

"I've found a way for someone else to pay ... to mobilize reserves that are lying idle," Soros told Reuters on the sidelines of the December 7-18 conference that will end with a summit of 110 world leaders meant to agree a new climate pact.

Hungarian-born Soros said green loans to poor nations backed by International Monetary Fund gold reserves could total $100 billion.

"This $100-billion fund I think could just turn this conference from failure to success," he said, admitting there were several legal and practical hurdles to unlocking the cash.

From Soros' email annoucement:
In September 2009, the IMF distributed to its members $283 billion worth of SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights. SDRs are an arcane financial instrument but essentially they constitute additional foreign exchange. They can be used only by converting them into one of four currencies, at which point they begin to carry interest at the combined treasury bill rate of those currencies. At present the interest rate is less than one half of one percent. Of the $283 billion, more than $150 billion went to the 15 largest developed economies. These SDRs will sit largely untouched in the reserve accounts of these countries, which don't really need any additional reserves.

I propose that the developed countries--in addition to establishing a fast start fund of $10 billion a year--should band together and lend $100 billion dollars worth of these SDRs for 25 years to a special green fund serving the developing world. The fund would jump-start forestry, land-use, and agricultural projects. These are the areas that offer the greatest scope for reducing carbon emissions and could produce substantial returns from carbon markets. The returns such projects can generate go beyond reducing carbon; there will be non-carbon related returns from land use projects, the potential to create more sustainable rural livelihoods, enable higher and more resilient agriculture yields and create rural employment.

This is a simple and practical idea. There is a precedent for it. The United Kingdom and France each recently lent $2 billion worth of SDRs to a special fund at the IMF to support concessionary lending to the poorest countries. At that point the IMF assumed responsibility for the principal and interest on the SDRs. The same could be done in this case.

I am very curious about what it must be like to handle a major figure like Soros and one of my life's ambitions is to meet Michael Vachon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Play by the rules

Buzz Bin as a good post on the new FTC rules for bloggers.:

While we don’t have a Sarbanes-Oxley-like law that codifies much of this for “endorsers,” the FTC has greatly expanded the things over which it will exercise influence. Endorsers (and influencers of endorsements) beware!

Beware indeed. Failure to observe the new rules will bring a Sarbanes-Oxley-like law down upon our industry's head.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Simply blacking out information in a Portable Document Format file won't keep data from prying eyes.

TSA officials posted what they thought was a redacted version of the TSA's airport security operating manual on a Web site used by private contractors looking for government work. The problem: the officials didn't actually delete sensitive parts of the document—they just blacked them out using a graphics tool.

That method left the underlying words intact, and they were exposed when readers cut and pasted pages from the document, "Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures," into a new file. The vulnerability isn't technically a bug in Adobe's product, but its existence shows how those handling secure information should be fully trained in the software they're using.

The end result of the foul-up was that highly sensitive information about TSA screening methods, interviewing procedures, X-ray machines and other terrorist prevention tools became easily available to millions of people on the Web.

This is just another case of the user failing to distinguish between a graphical blackout and deleting information. There have been many such incidents and Adobe invariably blames user error. But the Adobe design is completely counter intuitive. Adobe needs to correct this before someone gets killed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Great moments in timing

Golf Digest cover.
The cover line: "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger."

You have to feel for the editors of Golf Digest. Under normal circumstances this would be a fine article for a golf audience. The Golf Digest website makes no reference to their ill timed cover.

I think International Management Group bears some of the blame for the PR fallout. When you create an image for your client that is as odds with reality, and when maintenance of that image is dependent upon the press turning a blind eye to the obvious, it is only a question of time before the whole thing implodes. It would have been much better to give the public some inkling of your client's feet of clay. Then they would be prepared when his weaknesses became obvious.

A pyrrhic victory for the financial sector

The return of the plutocrats
So the plutocrats, it seems are going to win. They had a nasty couple of years, by plutocrat standards, and in a handful of companies operating under de facto state control they don’t quite have the free rein they would ideally like. But the system as a whole hasn’t changed, and those who thought that it might can’t quite believe how naive they were.

Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- “I just wrote my first reference for a gun permit,” said a friend, who told me of swearing to the good character of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who applied to the local police for a permit to buy a pistol. The banker had told this friend of mine that senior Goldman people have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.

Any victory that leaves you so fearful that you feel the need to pack a weapon is no victory worthy of the name.

Do I have any readers who do not understand that this is a tragedy waiting to happen? What happens if some jittery banker shoots some homeless person who shouts at him? How is the public likely to respond to the spectacle of a banker shooting an unarmed homeless person? putting aside the resulting prison term.

What if an entire office panics at the sight of demonstrators and opens fire? Because that worked so well for the guards at the Bastille.

Goldman Sachs, and any other financial institution going down this dead end, needs to put away the guns and hire themselves an experienced conflict resolution team.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The difference between telling and showing

This post is a text book example of how not to write a post for a public affairs blog. Americans are bombarded with the world is going to end rhetoric. In order to be credible you need to show rather than tell.

In the case of net neutrality, you need to explain example by example what the practical consequences would be if the point-to-point architecture of the Internet were to be compromised. You need to cite specific examples of Internet Service Providers limiting access to demonstrate that this is a serious issue. Most of the time Save the Internet does this. This post fell short of their previous standard.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tom Gutnick at CPCUG

Tom Gutnick gave a most informative tour of open source application software. One thing that interested me was his characterization of ubuntu as open source for humans, by which I took him to mean that ubuntu was the best Linux distribution for those of us who are not technology experts.

A complete list of the software his discussed is at his web site. I am thinking of trying the open source office software, as well as GNU Cash, and possibly the project management software.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to get your company noticed

Newspaper ad sales fall again
With the depressed state of the overall economy, newspaper ad sales fell 28 percent in the third quarter.
Ad revenue totaled $6.4 billion, according to figures from Arlington-based Newspaper Association of America. It was a narrower decline than the previous period.

With advertising at an all time low, the surviving advertisers stand out. An ad that runs now will capture far more attention than an ad running in boom times which has to compete with all the other advertisements. Futhermore, an ad that runs in hard times automatically creates an image of financial strength.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Simple test for search engine visibility

Do a search on your company's name. Does your web site come up in the first page of results? If not you are in trouble.

Fixing this is very easy, but you do need to fix it. More and more customers are finding companies by searhing on the Web. If they can't find you, they can't very contact you.

I am constantly surprised by how many well established companies fail this simple test.

Chosing free beer over free speech

The post could also have been entitled he who pays the piper calls the tune.

More and more I see it suggested that musicians look to corporate sponsors to fund their tours and not even try to make money from recording their work.

In such a world corporate sponsors will have even more power to determine who is a star and who is a starving artist. Where will the next Bob Dylan come from? Who will write the songs which speak truth to power if everyone is auditioning for their corporate sponsor?

The future for the individual preformer never looked worse.

Recording Potomac tech events

Ross suggests that we find a way to record local tech events and put the result online. I think it is a great idea, but am not sure what I can do to advance it, save link to it.

Part of what I have tried to do with this blog is highlight local tech events. I think our local tech scene is greatly under valued and our contribution to technology goes unrecognized.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New to me local tech blogs

the agile approach, Phase2's insight on the buisness of web


Publishing Transformation Blog, A Blog created by David Case, Business Development Consultant at Apex CoVantage. Thoughts and news about Publishing Transformation through workflow engineering and technologies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The method in Murdoch's madness

I wrote off Murdoch's latest threats to remove News Corp feeds from Google News as so much blather until I read Boing Boing:
So here's what I think it going on. Murdoch has no intention of shutting down search-engine traffic to his sites, but he's still having lurid fantasies inspired by the momentary insanity that caused Google to pay him for the exclusive right to index MySpace (thus momentarily rendering MySpace a visionary business-move instead of a ten-minutes-behind-the-curve cash-dump).

So what he's hoping is that a second-tier search engine like Bing or Ask (or, better yet, some search tool you've never heard of that just got $50MM in venture capital) will give him half a year's operating budget in exchange for a competitive advantage over Google.

He may, in fact, get a taker. And it will be a disaster. A search engine whose sole competitive advantage is "We have Rupert Murdoch's pages!" will not attract any substantial traffic. The search engine will either go bust or fail to renew the deal.

The problem with the deal to give Google the exclusive right to index MySpace is that it cheats the users whose postings create the value of MySpace. If I am a musician who is obliged to give my music away for free on MySpace to presuade fans to come to my concerts, I want the widest exposure possible. As Google is by far the largest search engine, I might overlook this limitation, or I might not. I might find a place to post my music that was visible to as many search engines as possible. Murdoch simply does not understand the online economy.

Edit -
Looks like Microsoft will to oblige NewsCorp.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The problem with KickRSS

I wanted to create a public RSS reader of all the local tech, marketing, and PR blogs. I wanted one where the new posts would automatically float to the top, so readers could track the local zeitgeist.

Alas, my Tech on the Potomac KickRSS list does not seem the work that way. It appears to favor the blogs most recently added to the list rather than the most recent posts irrespective of blog. Can any of my readers suggest an RSS tool that would do that? If you remember the old Blogdigger tool, you will know what I am talking about.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nominate your customer

The 2010 Federal 100 nomination form
Federal Computer Week is now accepting nominations for the 2009 Federal 100 awards program, which recognizes individuals in government and industry who have played pivotal roles in the federal information technology community.

Deadline: Dec. 11.

If your customer looks good, you look good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did the stimulous reduce EHR adoption?

Shahid Shah thinks that the "bill probably has frozen more customers into waiting than encouraging them to buy." Software Advice is conducting a survey on the subject.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Which vendor not to choose for your EHR system

The Washington Post: Electronic medical records draw frequent criticisms:
Legal experts say it is impossible to know how often health IT mishaps occur. Electronic medical records are not classified as medical devices, so hospitals are not required to report problems. Many health IT contracts do not allow hospitals to discuss computer flaws, say Koppel and Sharona Hoffman, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Anytime a vendor wants you to sign an agreement that you will not discuss flaws in their system, that should set off a warning bell not to go near that vendor.

A more citizen centric FCC web site

Arts Technica reviews the new improved FCC web site:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a big step towards becoming more accessible on Friday, with an impressive upgrade of its Electronic Comment Filing System. The new EFCS offers far more searching capability, formatting flexibility, and bookmarking power than ever before. The system offers text searching and RSS conversion, and it makes it easier to comment on proceedings. EFCS 2.0 still doesn't go quite as far as we recommended last year, but it's another example of how the Commission is turning into a true public resource.

If the other agencies follow suit the collective impact will have an enormous effect upon a citizen's relationship with their government. I wonder if pubic affairs PR practitioners understand that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to publicize your Firefox extension

Today was spent listening to Steve Auerbach’s interesting presentation on Firefox extensions, and I got to thinking, how would a developer publicize their Firefox extensions?

Firefox lists extensions in order of number of downloads, and it shows the average ratings and links to reviews. Clearly you need to get your Firefox extension reviewed before users will try it.

The only thing I can think of is to send the link to any discussion list you participate in, and to members of any relevant user group you are a member of.

Monday, October 12, 2009

From customers to community

I am reading Chris Anderson’s insightful book, Free, and am stuck by the repeated references to community. Those of us who spend a significant amount of time online are conscious of the importance of building community, whether it is as simple as comments on blogs or as complicated as building an international network of user groups. Communities build and sustain markets in a way that nothing else can.

It is not a new phenomenon; there have always been hobbyist groups. It is simply that the Internet has given communities an opportunity to thrive as never before. Success in marketing communications will more and more be defined by the ability to cultivate communities.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mark Warner’s address to the Grow Smart Business Conference

Senator Warner began by saying “It is OK to leave your cell phones on, to me it sounds like money,” to appreciative laughter. Warner said his work at Nextel and Columbia Capital gave him some perspective on financial and business matters.

He began to describe where he thought the economy was at. Warner said we needed some financial re-regulation. He described himself as a new senator who “just got hired,” and that it had been a wild nine months. He characterized the recent actions of the federal government as extraordinary, and that few appreciated how close we came to a complete financial meltdown. Ugly and blunt instruments had halted a world wide recession. Warner said that never again should Americans hear too big to fail. While the stimulus was necessary, Warner said that it had been “mis-marketed.” On third of the stimulus is tax cuts, one third relief for the states and the remaining third is spending that offers a lot of opportunities, especially for small business.

Warner pointed out that while Virginia is one of the few remaining states with AAA bond rating; without the relief from the recent stimulus package Virginia’s finances would look like California. The economy is that bad.

Warner explained that the spending part of the stimulus consisted of grants and other incentives for smart grid, build out of broadband, high speed rail, and health care IT. He said that he was “disturbed” that the administration has not been faster in getting those dollars out.

Continuing to speak about the economy, Warner said that we had avoided complete disaster; but that we were not out of the woods. He repeated his earlier assertion that we need financial re-regulation; he did not appreciate how much excess and abuse there had been in the financial sector until the recent hearings before senate banking committee. While a fan of free market capitalism, Warner said that we need rules.

He said that small business faces tough times to get financing and that he would welcome ideas as to how to rebuild small business financing. He said that 89% job growth will come from small businesses if they can get financing.

Here, Warner began to talk about health care and said that both from a moral and economic view, “we have to get it done.” He predicted that without reform our health care system will collapse.

He jokingly described a town meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia with “1800 of my closest friends.” He said that he had told the town meeting attendees, “You know Medicare if a government problem,” only to hear “NO it is not!” The senator lamented that you “can’t make progress with people like that.”

He said that we have to decrease out federal deficit; and that, “I hope that we can find a private market solution” to our health care problem. He expressed hope for a bipartisan solution but that he was a “little disappointed with colleagues on the other side” and that even in the absence of bipartisan support, “We still have to act.” .

The senator began to talk about health care IT, observing that technology has revolutionized every industry except health care. He said that the federal government needs to establish standards, going on the observe that federal standards had made the cell phone industry possible and that we needed federal standards for health care IT.

He reminded the audience of the obvious, that we need more transparency in health care. List prices have no real relation to what people are paying. Warner said that we need wellness and prevention programs. Some very large employers have wellness programs. The senator said that we should take the best practice models and make them more available. He suggested that large businesses should be able to open up their plans to their suppliers.

Warner said that tort reform should be part of the health care reform mix.

He reminded the audience of his work for the Virginia Health Care Foundation. It is devoted to helping those who cannot afford insurance, but whose incomes are too high to qualify for any public assistance.

Warner said that it was “important to make system work”,
observing that too grand a package could be too expensive. He said that we needed to change financial incentives. Our present systems rewards hospitals with high readmission rate. He said that instead of fee for service we need to move to a health care system that rewards value.

Video of Warner’s remarks.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chris Anderson's address to the Grow Smart Business Conference

Chris Anderson gave the keynote address, characterizing our time as the golden age of small business. He considers that the Internet has so changed the distribution system, that niche markets have a chance to develop in a way that was not previously possible. By way of example he talked about watching Gilligan’s Island as a youngster. The show was such a huge hit that it was difficult not to believe that this is what Americans really wanted to watch. But as Anderson pointed out, this was the twentieth century’s confusion with supply and demand. Broadcast TV’s distribution system limits choice. The Internet shows that we are more diverse.

Anderson pointed out that the Internet has infinite shelf pace. Everything is out there and small businesses have the opportunity to appeal to long tail niche audiences. Consumers are not satisfied with what is on the shelf at Walmart, they want more choices. Markets are global and your customer can be anywhere.

He said that most of us live in both the head and the tail. Appealing to niche audiences can make you more profitable. Anderson observed that the Italian economy has excelled in producing small boutique companies with global impact.

He said that companies exist to minimize transaction costs; they aggregate people, supplies, and distribution. He called the twentieth century the era of big companies. The Internet has lowered transaction costs.

Here, Anderson began to talk about his experience as an entrepreneur. He pointed out that the Internet offers us the opportunity to find the smartest people in the world. He offered his opinion that the passionate amateur was more valuable than the bored professional.

While working on his robotics company Anderson searched the Internet to discoverer everyone who was writing about robotics. He discovered that the ideal candidate for his company turned out to be a nineteen year old high school drop out, describing the young man’s expertise as a Google Ph.D.. He said this illustrated the “meritocracy of the Internet.”

Anderson allowed that big companies do some things magnificently. He said that small companies can move quickly; but have trouble scaling up.
The moment you go on the Internet, you are a global company. With Paypal you can accept business from anywhere, you can, as it were, box above your weight.

He said that the Web is a good place to do business with suppliers. Three guys with laptops can be a hardware company. He offered the sad tale of the man who invented intermittent windshield wipers as an example. He was in the middle of building his factory when he discovered that the Auto companies had stolen his idea from him. Nowadays you would simply use the Internet to locate a manufacturer and get your order for wipers before risking your capital.

At this point Anderson began to discuss the evolution of the free economy. He told the story of Jello, how the manufacturer had given away free cook books filled with recipes based on Jello and then took product to the local store and persuaded the local store owner to stock some Jello, based on the demand the cook books were sure to generate.

Anderson said that the “power of free” allows consumers to experience products for free. The minority pays for majority. Google takes profits from one product (advertising) to subsidize its free products.

He said that freemium is the inversion of old free sample give away. The freemium model gives out 90% of the product and charges for 10%. Freemium sells itself; the consumer experiences the product before they pay and is sure they want it. The challenge is to properly define the free/paid divide.

Microsoft enterprise software is free to small business and paid to big business. Clearly, the idea is that as the small business grows to a large business it will pay for Microsoft because it likes the product.

Microsoft got the idea from Chinese pirates. Microsoft realized that in a developing country like China, if software pirates were going to steal software, it is better that they steal your software. The music industry failed to understand this, and lost the opportunity to control their industry. The video game industry is moving to the freemium model, and here Anderson described his son's fascination with the Club Penguin. Anderson suggested that the freemium model could work well for health care IT. We could have information driven health care, only going to doctors for the big things.

Free: The Past and Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

Network Solutions Grow Smart Business Conference

Congratulations to the entire Network Solutions team for putting on one of the best conferences ever. The conference was devoted to small business and it was full of practical tips. As befits an Internet company, much of the discussion surrounded the ways small businesses can use the Internet.

Clearly designed as a product launch, the conference introduced Network Solutions products and services for small business. Wisely, Network Solutions commissioned a survey of small businesses to discover their problems, and how successful companies were solving those problems. Network Solutions took that data and built a product based on their research. Having built their product, they designed a spectacular conference as a launch vehicle (this is the sort of thing big business can do well if they so choose).

Network Solutions’ small business package will be available at end of October. It will provide professional looking websites for a very competitive price. I predict they will do extremely well with it.

Roy Dunbar opens the conference.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The net neutrality debate reconsidered

I spent the morning at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation at their symposium, Designed for Change: End-to-End Arguments, Internet Innovation, and the Net Neutrality Debate.

The presenters discussed net neutrality from different perspectives, but they all, to one degree or another, characterized net neutrality advocates as religious and even according to one of the speakers in the dark ages.

All the speakers characterized insistence on net neutrality as a threat to the sort of innovation necessary to manage the ever increasing traffic loads on the Internet.

The ITIF is engaged in a high risk strategy. If they succeed in characterizing advocates as hysterical and anti-science, they can marginalize them and control the terms of debate. If they can succeed in goading advocates of net neutrality, or even a significant number into extravagant flaming they will score a great victory in their effort to marginalize them.

On the other hand, this strategy could backfire. It wouldn’t be so difficult for advocates of net neutrality to characterized the ITIF as engaging in ad hominem rhetoric and failing to address their concerns about equal access. There was a certain amount of anti-government rhetoric, nothing over-the-top, but plenty of unsubstantiated allegations of how the FCC might stifle innovation if they insist on net neutrality. By engaging in the rhetoric of insult they have precluded any sincere dialog with advocates of net neutrality.

There is a new player in this debate. Let’s see how they handle themselves.

Edit -
Rob Pegoraro: The Internet has grown and prospered because of a principle built into its core design -- it's open to your imagination -- and that principle is worth defending.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Astroturfing may become a federal offense

FTC Ready to Cut 'Astroturfing'

The controversial promotional practice of "astroturfing" -- flooding the Internet with bogus product reviews -- is about to hit the dirt.

The Federal Trade Commission is apparently on the brink of updating its 29-year-old guidelines on product endorsements. While that threat has been looming for more than a year now, advertising lawyers say final rules are expected to be announced before the year is up.

And the FTC, lawyers warn, will be making one thing clear: Phony online reviews will not be tolerated.

Some of us in the industry have been saying for years that astroturfing must go. Now that the Federal Trade Commission is saying it the industry will have to pay attention.

Online press room FAIL

I received an email from World Wide Conventions and Business Forums, so I decided to check out their web site. Check out their press room. You have to fill out a form with your name, business, complete contact information, and so on before you can even glance at their press releases. What reporter is going to bother? There are so many other companies to write about. Why create that barrier?

This company is not ready for basic media relations, never mind social media.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Technology is not a religious subject

Jason Perlow
I suspect that this is the case for the majority of enterprises and end-users, in the world where folks just want stuff to work.

Once a developer becomes psychologically invested in a technology logic goes out the window and it becomes a religious discussion. Which technology is easier from the perspective of end users becomes irrelevant.

Anyone who does not believe this is invited to read Slashdot or any other forum where developers gather to discuss technology and review the ensuing flame wars.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shashi Bellamkonda at CPCUG

I had the pleasure of seeing Shashi speak at the September meeting of the Entrepreneurs and Consultants SIG of the Capital PC Users Group. I would guess there were around 50 people there, a great turnout for what was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.

Shashi opened by saying that he has be attending CPCUG meetings since he was a student at Montgomery College. He went on to suggest that those twittering the event use the hash tag #cpcug09. I would observe that this is a great example of using social media to extend the reach of an event. Just by presenting to CPCUG Shashi was doing great work for Network Solutions; but by suggesting the use of a hash tag he extended the reach of his presentation while simultaneously promoted the group that had invited him to speak.

He went on the give and excellent overview of social media tools and some of the ways businesses are using them. He emphasized the impact of social media on search results and said that one of the benefits of blogging is gaining visibility in search results. I don’t think that can be said too often.

Shashi Bellamkonda’s account of the event

Slide Presentation

Pictures from the event.

More pictures from the event.

Small French Paintings at the National Gallery of Art

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec The Artist's Dog Fl├Ęche, c. 1881. National Gallery of Art

This painting by a teenage Toulouse Lautrec may be my favorite in the exhibit. It has a tenderness that is absent in all his other work and shows a very different side of Lautrec. The Trap, also by a young Lautrec, shows a hunting scene from what I presume was his home. We see the view of a lady's back with her hair done up in a chignon that was to be a central feature of so many of his later paintings.

Edouard Vuillard's Breakfast bears a remarkable resemblance to your humble servant at her breakfast, while his Conversation reminds one of a Thurber cartoon.

Small French Paintings
is part of the permanent collection and well worth seeing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New to me local business and tech blogs, experiments in refactored perception

Transition to Digital Television DTV Outreach in Motion
, Transition to Digital Television with the inclusion of the Underserved Communities

Chaos to Clarity

Waxing UnLyrical, personal, possibly poetic, musings on public relations, media, communications, and everything in between

Work, Wine and Wheels

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mobile is the future

I finally got a cell phone (202/492-1520). Within 24 hours of getting it I wondered how I survived so long without one. It is indescribably handy.

The experience has brought home to me all the ways people are using their phones, for many it has become their primary source of information. Riding the 30 bus coming down Wisconsin Avenue I noticed every single one of my fellow passengers was studying their phones with close attention. Surfing the internet or checking email? Impossible to say.

Clearly we have to rethink our communications programs for mobile compatibility. At minimum our clients need to have a mobile version of their website which can be easily discovered and accessed by the browsers that have been developed for mobile computing.

Tom Murphy has a good post about this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The myopia of the Australian Financial Review

Margaret Simons has an item about the proposed ethics policy for reporters for the Australian Financial Review. It is a ghastly throwback to the days of command and control and a total failure to comprehend the power of the new tools of social media.

I have the pleasure of following many journalists on Twitter, and it is obvious that they use it to test reader interest, fish for information and hype stories. It is a good medium for a naturally gabby community like journalists.

Weirdest of all is the proposed restrictions on books:
Full time AFR journalists are prohibited from working outside Fairfax, including on books or by accepting speaking engagements. The Editorial Director can waive this prohibition – which presumably will come as a considerable relief to noted AFR authors such as Neil Chenoweth.

Considering that they only reason I have ever heard of the Australian Financial Review is the work of Chenoweth, I would think that they would want to encourage their reporters to publish books. It is the cost effective way of increasing brand awareness while increasing the prestige of the brand. What is Fairfax management thinking?

No sector of English speaking news media is better poised to profit in the online world than the Australian news media (with the obvious except of New Zealand). The Australian Financial Review truly does have tomorrow’s news today and could use Twitter to hype breaking news in the Pacific market, where they will invariably beat their British and North American competition. It is incredible that they would toss away such valuable tools.

Thank you Maria Baibakova

Baibakov Art Projects to be Lead Sponsor of Landmark Kandinsky Retrospective at the Guggenheim

MOSCOW.- Baibakov art projects is to be a lead sponsor of the forthcoming Kandinsky exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (September 18, 2009 – January 13, 2010). Maria Baibakova, Director and Founder of Baibakov art projects, Moscow, will also be co-chairing the 50th Anniversary Gala event for the museum on 16th September, which promises to be a most glittering occasion on the New York cultural calendar during the opening of the fall season.

I going to try to get to New York City for this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jody Powell, 1943-2009
Powell Tate

Jody Powell is one of the reasons I went into PR. I was part of the Carter campaign in 1976, going back to when it was Jimmy Who. I never met Powell personally, but everyone in the campaign got to know him through the stream of memos that went out to campaign staff and volunteers. He was quick to alert volunteers to negative press articles that were about to come out. It is easier to maintain morale if you know what is coming.

Powell's book, The Other Side of the Story, is one of the most illuminating on media relations. This book was the first warning I had about the how the abuse of anonymous sources was corrupting our media and political culture.

One of the giants of our industry has fallen. He will be missed.

The New York Times obituary can be found here.

Edit -
Powell Tate has created a page for tributes.
Capitol Communicator's obituary.

Edit ii
Associated Press
Dale Leibach, a longtime friend and business associate since their days in the Carter White House, said the ex-president went to a nursing home where Powell's mother lives to tell her of her son's death before she heard it on the news.

It is so indicative of Carter that he went personally to tell Powell's mom of the death of her son.

Edit iii
MikeMartinez's tribute.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I don't do link exchanges

Legitimizing social media

WFED's Jason Miller has a story about the GSA's guidelines for social media. I predict it will have an effect far beyond the civil service. Federal guidelines on almost anything have a way of becoming de facto guidelines for the whole society.

For all our anti-government rhetoric, the federal government is still regarded as the objective and authoritative source for standards.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

NAWBO DC: Getting the most from your website

I will be covering this event for this blog:

Ask the Expert: Getting More From Your Website
September 10, 2009 | 3:00 - 7:30 pm
Westwood Country Club, Vienna, VA

They will have a team from Network Solutions there to answer questions, so it should be a great event.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Organization of Legal Professionals

Via Gabe and David, we learn about the Organization for Legal Professionals.

We had naively assumed that there was already an organization that certified legal support standards. Not so it seems. This then is a welcome development.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Judith Leyster, a convivial look at the Dutch 17th Century

File:Judith Leyster Self Portrait.jpg

Judith Leyster exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, June 21–November 29, 2009

I went to see the Judith Leyster exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. She is unlike any of the other Dutch Masters. Unlike the marble stillness of Vermeer, or the severity of Rembrandt, Judith Leyster's subjects are enjoying life.

Almost all of her pictures portray musicians preforming. Most of them are clearly enjoying Holland's fine beer. The exhibit is well worth seeing, it is Dutch Masters as you have never imagined them.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Call for Nominations: Science Public Service Award

From my in box:

2010 National Science Board Public Service Award

~ Honoring Service in Public Understanding of Science and Engineering ~

Call for Nominations

The National Science Board (NSB) Public Service Award honors individuals who and groups that have made substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States. These contributions may be in a wide variety of areas that have the potential of contributing to public understanding of and appreciation for science and engineering – including mass media, education and/or training programs, entertainment, etc.

The NSB Public Service Award is given to one individual and one group recipient in May of each year. Past recipients include: NUMB3RS, the CBS television drama series; Ira Flatow, Host and Executive Producer of NPR’s "Science Friday"; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Bill Nye The Science Guy; and NOVA, the PBS television series.

For nomination instructions, please visit All inquiries about the award or nomination procedures should be directed to Jennifer Richards, National Science Foundation (

Deadline for Nominations: November 4, 2009


The NSB is the 25-member policymaking body for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and advisory body to the President and Congress on science and engineering issues. Drawn from universities and industry, and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education, or public service, and records of distinguished service. For more background on the NSB and its current composition, visit:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Stalker marketing is an unsustainable business model

Information Week has an article about a coalition seeking greater protection of consumers' online privacy. Push back is coming from those with a vested interest in stalker marketing.

Apart from the fact that we want the freedom of surfing the internet without corporations tracking us, lack of privacy is a security vulnerability. Now is the time to put in place regulations that protect our privacy, before we have a trillion dollar industry with a vested interest in spying on us.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday at Hillwood

I spent the morning visiting Hillwood, the estate of the late Majorie Meriwether Post. I've wanted to go for sometime as I am fascinated by all things Russian and Hillwood has a marvelous Russian collection. The museum is really a tribute to a great lady more than it is an art museum. They don't do a very good job of telling you who the artists were or the subject of the portrait. But I enjoy looking at art the way private collectors see it, as part of their home, rather than the way I usually see it, in a museum. I hope to go back soon and check out the elaborate gardens that she created.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Center for Advanced Defense Studies Call for Submissions

The following just arrived in my in box:

Defense Concepts is a quarterly publication by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Defense Concepts publishes informative, provocative and comprehensive essays and reports on all aspects of contemporary security issues. While some articles address traditional topics, such as war and peace and diplomatic and military history; others address issues of growing importance, such as environmental and demographic challenges and the rise of global terrorist networks, that have not been as salient in the media. Because it includes diverse perspectives from globally recognized executives, leading academics, and political leaders, Defense Concepts serves as a forum for leading thinkers and strategists to discuss the critical issues of global security.

The Center for Advanced Defense Studies has an open call for submissions in the following styles:

News pieces may include articles on a project, program, or service dealing with a topic relevant to information policy, information sharing and international law; intention awareness and cognitive science; mathematics; military information science and strategy; emerging technology; political psychology; political science and social sciences. Reviews of recent literature and information on newly offered instrumentation, apparatus, and laboratory materials of potential interest to researchers will also be accepted. A news piece should be no more than 600 words.

Editorial submissions include guest commentary -- timely opinion pieces that are thought-provoking and elegantly written. We publish commentaries from a diverse range of perspectives, but all successful submissions are fact-based, persuasively argued and constructive in tone. An editorial piece should also be no more than 600 words.


* Traditional academic manuscripts that share empirical, methodological, and/or applied findings;
* Research-based academic essays with proper citations;
* Research- and/or interview-based articles; and Interactive and non-interactive projects, accompanied by project documentation.

Title Page, Abstract, and Biography: The title page for papers should include the title of the work, the names of all authors, the affiliations of all authors (university or institution, position), and an email address at which the author or authors may be readily contacted.
Please include an abstract of no more than 100 words, as well as a brief biography of no more than 50 words. The abstract should include as many keywords from your essay as possible. The biography should include a current academic or professional affiliation and any recent publications or activities.

Formatting: Manuscripts must be typed, double-spaced, and should not exceed 10,000 words including references. CADS adheres to The Chicago Manual of Style for formatting of all headings, tables, figure, and references. For more information on The Chicago Manual of Style please visit the following URL: All references must be in the form of numbered endnotes and should be strictly limited in number. Images, illustrations, and graphics may accompany Abstracts and Full Submissions as appropriate. CADS accepts JPG/JPEG or PNG file formats up to 300dpi resolution (or highest available). However, all images, illustrations, or graphics must be extracted from Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format documents and sent separately.

Submissions: Manuscripts may be submitted to the editors electronically to the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Manuscripts submitted via e-mail should take the form of attachments formatted in Microsoft Word. Submissions should be sent to sarah.catanzaro[@] and include all aforementioned information

Deadlines: All submissions are due November 10, 2009. Submission deadlines are usually not extended. However, the Editorial Board will accept submissions received after the deadline on a case by case basis and requests that authors contact CADS if circumstances prevent submission of the paper or commentary on time.

Editing: If the submission is accepted for publication, the Editorial Staff may contact the author(s) of the submission regarding potential changes or issues in the submission that may need to be addressed prior to publication. The Editorial Board requests that authors respond in a timely manner to such inquiries to facilitate the publication process.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Editorial misogyny

Check out this headline at ZDNet: Final thoughts on supermodel-blogger catfight. Would a case involving men be referred to as a “cat fight?” I should remind readers that headlines are not written by columnists and the column itself seems perfectly thoughtful. I don’t agree with it, but its tone is entirely respectful.

The headline writer at Info World catches the essence of the case: A skank discussion: Privacy, anonymity, and misogyny

Skank specifically refers to a disreputable woman, there are very serious consequences for a woman who is successfully labeled as a skank. For a professional model those consequences might very well include the loss of opportunities to represent certain brands. From little lies big lies grow. She was justified in her suit and the courts acted appropriately in my judgment.

Edit -
From the comments at Boing Boing
Technically, the model has a case because calling someone a skank or ho is a statement and truth can be measured (is she having sex for money or is she excessively promiscuous?) while if she'd flat-out just called her a bitch it would have been an opinion. It is also a statement that can easily be shown to affect the model financially - if she wasn't being hired for jobs where the employers objected to that kind of behavior, or if a morals clause in a contract kicked in. Reputation can be very important in those situations. It is also clear that the intent was malicious.

But let me also point something out: this is cyberbullying on behalf of the fashion student, and it's not cool, and I would 100 times prefer than no one get to be anonymous on the internet than we choose to do nothing about cyberbullying - even between adults, where we otherwise expect them to "just get over it."

Edit ii -
Dan Gillmor has some thoughts on the matter.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

VP Biden to announce 1.2 billion in grants for EHR

Biden to announce Thursday nearly $1.2 billion to promote electronic medical records system
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden plans to announce Thursday nearly $1.2 billion in grants to help hospitals transition to electronic medical records.

HHS expected to announce state health IT funding
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided the Office of the National Coordinator $2 billion to promote the meaningful use of health IT. Up to $300 million was intended to help establish state HIEs; another share would fund regional training centers to help physicians and hospitals incorporate health IT into their practices.

There will be a conference next month
on how to get the benefit of the stimulus to pay for your EHR program.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FTC Issues Final Breach Notification Rule and the day's EHR news

FTC Issues Final Breach Notification Rule for Electronic Health Information
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a final rule requiring certain Web-based businesses to notify consumers when the security of their electronic health information is breached.

Kentucky Creates Electronic Health Information Office

On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) announced the creation of a new office designed to serve as a single point of contact for state and federal agencies working on health IT initiatives, the AP/Lexington Herald-Leader reports (AP/Lexington Herald-Leader, 8/17).

Health care industry could learn from VA, says CBO

Rural hospital hinging future on federal incentive

OSCEOLA, Mo. — Electronic medical records are a life-or-death issue at Sac-Osage Hospital — not necessarily just for the patients, but for the hospital itself.

Facing a budget shortfall, the 47-bed hospital in rural western Missouri is borrowing nearly $1 million to pitch its paper medical charts and purchase a state-of-the-art electronic health records system. The hospital is hinging its survival on what it hopes will be a $3 million windfall of federal incentives for hospitals that go digital.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Multiple groups proposed for EHR certification

E-health committee calls for multiple groups to certify records systems
The top federal panel that sets policies for electronic health records so that a national system can be adopted made recommendations on Friday that would allow multiple organizations to certify electronic record products instead of the one certifying body that exists today.

Wouldn't multiple groups defeat the purpose of having a standard? I can see that if some feel that the exiting certification body has become the captive of a small group of vendors changes need to be made, but multiple groups?

#FAIL! Proprietary EHR LockIn through CCHIT Certification

In other EHR news:
How RxNorm fits into clinical interoperability

Merge Healthcare opens its code

First Wi-Fi pacemaker in U.S. gives patient freedom

How Medical Device Connectivity Can Improve Outcomes in the SICU

Exceeding Expectations: Microsoft Health Users Group Conference Event

Social Media Policy and Employee Guidance

Do Hospital Executives Use Their IT Vendors as Scapegoats?

New to me local tech blog, JQuery and related technology

Crashing the congressional server

Constituent e-mails to House clog system
Overwhelming interest in the debate over healthcare legislation has clogged the House system that allows constituents to send e-mails to their members directly through the House website and lawmaker Web pages.

Congressional staff can easily discern the difference between individual citizens using the web contact form and advocacy groups using bulk email. The weekly mail reports indicate not just the number of contacts on a given issue pro and con, but also the number of individual citizens versus bulk email. If you want your communication to make a difference, use the member's web contact form. Advocacy groups use bulk delivery systems to monitor how many contacts they mobilized, but it is not useful from the point of view of influencing a member.

Just one more way that selling to the gov't is different

Government wants contractors to register soon at stimulus-tracking site

Contractors, state agencies and other recipients of $25,000 or more in federal funds under the economic stimulus law are being urged to register on the new Web site beginning Aug. 17.

The government created to collect and channel information about disbursement of the $787 billion in economic stimulus law funding. It links to, which posts data and maps about the stimulus spending for the public. recently added new interactive mapping features.

From the point of view of voters and taxpayer this is a great idea; but for contractors it is just one more thing.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Asymmetrical web contact forms

It used to be that a prospect’s first impression of your company would be your phone system. Nowadays it is more likely to be your web site, so it is critical to make a good impression. Your home page should download swiftly, have an intuitive navigation interface, contain large font with good print contrast ratio, and have plenty of white space. It other words, it should be easy on the eyes.

Even if you have addressed all the basics, an easy to understand web site with all the relevant information organized in a intuitive fashion, the effect of all this can be spoiled by a poorly designed web contact form.

One of the problems with online communications is the delayed feedback. When you are talking face to face you have all sorts of visual cues that tell you how the other person is reacting. Even on the phone you have tone of voice that communicates so much. Online you only have text, which loses so much context. Online forms are a critical part of the sales process, and so it is crucial to put yourself in your prospect’s place and see things from their point of view.

An online form that demands detailed information while providing none in return is very irritating. It is so much easier to contact John Smith in sales as opposed to merely SALES, a name is a great confidence builder. Of course it is easier to route a lead if you know the person’s name, title, company, address, phone, fax, and email. On the other hand it is slightly invasive to be asked to provide all that by a company that will not so much as provide the name of the recipient of the form. You can’t see all the prospects who glance at the form and decide it isn’t worth filling it out without knowing who they are sending it to. It is so much more friendly, more low key, more trust inspiring, to give the names of the contacts and ask only for names and email addresses in return. Don’t expect prospects to give you more information than you give to them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What would you do if you witnessed a crime?

Confidential Twitter documents

If someone gets hold of private documents and sends them to you, and you’re an online publisher, what do you do?

Say you’re not interested and tell them to phk off? Publish and be damned, if not possibly sued, whatever the content? Publish bits and pieces according to your lights and sensitivities?

TechCrunch seems to have chosen the latter course.

If someone shows you stolen material the proper thing to do is return the stolen items, and report the incident to the police. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this amongst journalists, but it is really very simple. A citizen should report criminal activity to the police.

If the stolen items are themselves evidence of criminal conduct, then the case is different. But if the material is just the information connected to a normal business, then its theft is a criminal matter.

I will be writing more about this when I have a chance, but once again the news business seems to be losing their moral compass and taking the rest of us with them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Small Business Investment Company program

Recovery Act boosts venture capital
Small businesses having difficulty securing private equity or venture capital may find it easier to get funding as a result of changes made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The changes, which were implemented Friday, will affect the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program.

Excellent news.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dirty tricks under color of journalism

Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade

Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims

Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

It is all there, breaking and entry, illegal surveillance, more like secret police than a news organization. So what do you do when your client is on the receiving end of this sort of pressure.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Alice Marshall's email

If you are trying to reach me, be sure to address it to:

marshall AT


prestovivace AT

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New to me local writers blogs

Editorial Inspirations; A place to explore grammar quirks as well as discuss the world of publishing.

Narrative Nonfiction; Telling Stories That Are True

GreenListDC Blog, Information and commentary about green living, green events and green issues in the Washington, DC area.

Debbi Mack: My Life on the Mid-List, a few reflections on the writing life

Let's not listen

Jeff Porro: Tough Talk in Hard Times

Word Kitchen, where copy cooks

Rebellion, at the intersection of design and activism

, From lab to park bench

One Tomato at a Time

Nominate your customer

Government Computer News Awards Call for Nominations
The GCN Awards recognize extraordinary work by governmental agency IT teams whose accomplishments or innovative use of technology over the past 12 months have made significant contributions to the performance of their agencies or the services they provide.

Nomination Deadline is June 29, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Congratulations David Silverberg!

ASBPE names finalists for magazine of the year
The association also said HSToday Editor David Silverberg will be honored with ASBPE’s first Journalism That Matters Award at the event.

Does the FTC have double standards for bloggers and big shot pundits?

FTC plans to monitor blogs for claims, payments
Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies, if they do so at all.

The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.

Bill Kristol
was on retainer with Enron and never disclosed it. George Will accepted a large honoranium right before he wrote a glowing review of Conrad Black's biography of FDR. So why would a blogger with a free laptop be different?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why journalism matters: David Rohde

Times Reporter Escapes Taliban After 7 Months
David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban, escaped Friday night and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Welcome home David Rohde. I love happy endings.

New to me local tech blogs

Something Important To Say :-)

enterprise 2.0 the bdg way

The Caffeinated Blog
, Social Media & Content Marketing... Straight Up - Online Marketing Blog

ClioWeb, Jeremy Boggs blog.

Regina Hopper

Women Grow Business

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Coming next week, Alice Marshall, live, in concert!

I will be presenting at next week's Social Media for DoD and Government conference:

Workshop B: Make Your Friends Online Before You Need Them
New media offers more opportunities than ever to place stories. Your public is probably constantly talking about your office or service on email discussion lists, blogs, wikis, social tagging sites and the like. On the other hand, the online world can be a brutal place, and controversies can bubble up from nowhere. Rumor control can often depend on establishing credibility before a controversy erupts. Learn how your employees and partners can be your best ambassadors in these situations, how to develop guidelines, and how to turn blogging pitfalls or challenges to your advantage.

I am very nervous, the other speakers are top in their fields.

Monday, June 15, 2009

e-Discovery miscellany

Gabe says that you should probably do what the judge orders.

DiscoverReady first to announce recession over, in North Carolina

Social Media: Electronic Discovery’s New New Thing?

Legal staffing firm ads e-Discovery to its services.

Untimely objections doom motions to compel

Analysis of Zubulake v. UBS Warburg.

The crushing burden of e-Discovery
; it is an IT responsibility.

Presentation to the Arkansas Bar Association

Why you need a lawyer who will tell you unpleasant truths

E-Discovery is Low Tech
A lot of the work we do is low tech in nature. It's funny because the college graduates we hire have been raised in a Web 2.0 world and are shocked to find their time copying & counting files, tying out exceptions, recovering passwords, converting files from one format to another, etc. What's worse is that we'll hire experienced technologists who end up doing similar low grade work. The lucky ones get to run SQL queries. Whoopee! That's considered advanced.

Electronic Evidence and Discovery; What Every Lawyer Should Know Now

Analytics and e-Discovery

ITLA white paper on best practices for legal holds

Recovering data from a corrupt hard drive

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wireless access in Washington, DC
DC Public Schools offer access to their wireless systems.

This weekend has been pleasantly spent sitting at a picnic table, under the shade, doing client work. All this is possible because the DC government keeps their wireless system open. It is a very nice amenity.

Unfortunately, the DC Public School system blocks access to all sites defined as social networks. This includes Twitter and most blogs, but not Slashdot or LinkedIn. Still, I was able to get a great deal of work done while enjoying the spectacular weather we are having.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kazuo Kawasaki's Peace Keeping Design Project

Last night I went to see Kazuo Kawasaki's lecture on his Peace Keeping Design Project, which was put on the the Japan Information and Culture Center (part of the Embassy of Japan).

Kawasaki has designed some very clever vaccination packets that make it impossible to reuse the needle. He is also working on some powdered vaccinations that would be inhaled, thus making needles unnecessary. It was a fascinating presentation.

The future of the Internet

I wonder if the Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists who back them understand how much their business model is dependent upon a neutral web and how easily it could slip away from us.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Startup Rockstars DC #5

I just got back from Startup Rockstars. This one was hosted by Latham & Watkins LLP. The evening was opened by Kevin Boyle from their Emerging Company Practice Group. Then a young woman, whose name I did not catch, introduced the evening's speakers.


Think Talk

Genius Rocket

Legal River

Revamped Media

During Genius Rocket’s presentation there was a spirited discussion about the fairness of asking artists and designers to work on speculation with no security of being paid. Genius Rocket’s view is that their system allows designers to bid on business that they otherwise would not be able to compete for. However, I have to agree with one of my fellow attendees that Legal River has a much more equitable arrangement whereby a prospective customer asks for a bid and prospective providers answer. That way the winner is paid and the others do not have to produce work on speculation.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Web 2.0 tools for government and industry and how they meld

The show notes from my appearance on the May 4th edition of Amtower Off Center.

Groups Mentioned
DC XML Users Group

Amtower Off Center Blog
The Amtower Report, Volume 6, #18, November 5, 2007

Debbie Weil
Geoff Livingston
Dorobek Insider

David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly
Malcolm Gladwell

Some good LinkedIn groups for government contractors:
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Federal IT Group
The Document Imaging Group
Washington DC Area XML Users Group

Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes

Reggie Henry, Chief Technology Officer for ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership presents to DC Web Content Mavens

Mashable: Top 10 Reputation Tracking Tools Worth Paying For

BearingPoint: GovTwit Directory

The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging

We Didn't Start the Flame War


Global PR Blog Week 1.0

B2B Magazine: InterAct keeps the conversation going through online initiatives
The Borenstein Group
IJIS Institute Public Safety Information Sharing

Mike Manuel: The Inefficiency of Social Media

Presto Vivace

The Federal Contractor Network

DC Technology Network

Online PR Thoughts

Monday, June 01, 2009

Home of the brightest smiles in Virginia

Check out the site of Dentist Steven Bunn. He has a clients rights section and an explanation if HIPAA.

How to think of a wiki

In his interview on Federal News Radio, my client, Shahid Shah, described the wiki more succinctly than I have ever heard before:
...word processing document that multiple people can simultaneously edit without having to pass it from one person to another.

That is so simple, and so obvious, but I had never heard it put that way before and I will remember that for future use.

Shah went on to point out that the document stays in the same place, revision managed. In the case of the Budget Formulation Wiki there is an elaborate permission hierarchy that makes visible only those parts of the document the user is allowed to see.

Edit -
More from Behind the Curtain at TCG
Federal Financial Management News Web Log comments.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Greater Washington, DC, an island of solvency in a red sea

Kim Hart
It's just one more sign of the region's growing clout in the business and technology world. This is where stimulus dollars are doled out, where the economic recovery is taking shape, and where regulations -- many of which directly affect businesses -- are being crafted and rewritten. Of course, lawyers and lobbyists are getting a great deal of business helping folks find ways to tap into stimulus money. But Washington's new power role is also good news for local firms.

The stimulus dollars are for the whole country, but the federal government is a unique market and most of the talent that understands it are located along the Potomac.

Voting machines miscellany

Evgeny Morozov describes European resistance to DRE voting.

Dan Wallach explains why open source code is the logical choice for voting technology.

suggests that open source is fine but that paper ballots inspire more confidence.

A Hawaiian judge has blocked use of the machines until proper administrative rules have been set.

Andrew Appel gives us a rundown of the witnesses in a the New Jersey voting machines trial, Gusciora v. Corzine.

Danielle Citron has additional trial coverage.

A Further Look Into Voting Machines

Nizhal Yoddha points to IEEE Computer Magazine's latest article on the problems with the machines.

Clearly the credibility meltdown continues. Maybe someone should write a book about that. East Coast blogging seems to agree.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Apps for America challenge

Sunlight Foundation

What it Is

Apps for America is a special contest we're putting on this year to celebrate the release of! We're doing it alongside Google, O'Reilly Media, and TechWeb and the winners will be announced at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase in Washington, DC at the end of the Summer.

Why we're doing it

Just as the federal government begins to provide data in Web developer-friendly formats, we're organizing Apps for America 2: The Challenge to demonstrate that when government makes data available, it makes itself more accountable and creates more trust and opportunity in its actions. The contest submissions will also show the creativity of developers in designing compelling applications that provide easy access and understanding for the public, while also showing how open data can save the government tens of millions of dollars by engaging the development community in application development at far cheaper rates than traditional government contractors.

First prize is $10,000 and serious bragging rights.