Monthly Archives: October 2005

Book – “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro





I just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go This is a somewhat melancholy study of three student’s growing up. Their prosaic childhood angst and issues offset the true issue within the book. It was a steady, well-paced story that was slow and gently laid out. The narrative style was like a wide and deep river with a glassy surface that hinted at the darker forces underneath.

This is the story of three children growing up at a special school called Hailsham. Kathy, the narrator of the story, tells of her years at school and the friendships that formed between her and Ruth and Tommy. These students live outside of society in a somewhat idyllic setting where a dark truth is always held just outside consciousness. Their tale explores what is it to be human, the need for hope even in for the hopeless and the way our society justifies its most gruesome actions.

Was it a fun read? Not especially. Was it a good read? Definitely. Ishiguro paints a slow, rich and deliberate picture with fine detail that, once you step back, you enjoy the final outcome.

– Jim

Social Mining – Web 2.0 and Folksonomies

I have been talking about the impact of “Web 2.0”, social software and folksonomies in regards to their possible impact on enterprise knowledge management.

* The Web 2.0 movement is about empowering people to publish their own content quickly and easily with a minimum of knowledge. Flickr, Youtube, del.icio.us, Blogger et al allow people to publish content with little knowledge of apache servers, domain name registrations and the rest of the system admin knowledge usually needed to run a web site.

* Social software (which Clay Shirky put as, “the stuff that gets spammed”) allows people share their content with others, to learn who is interested in their content and to learn who has interesting content. It is the “who” part that is of interest. Social software enables the discovery of people of interest similar to how Google enables the discovery of content of interest.

* Folksonomies enable the loose classification of content. This classification is done by people and is not a rigid hierarchical taxonomy but a loose metadata based classification scheme. This classification scheme is great for informal content such as blog entries or URLs and content that may be interpreted differently by different social groups.

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Xythos goes Open Source

I just returned from EDUCAUSE where I met with several people from Xythos. Xythos has just announced Developer at Xythos – a collaboration web site aimed at helping users do creative things with the Xythos software. Kevin Wiggen, the CTO for Xythos, also announced a new initiative to spawn open source development around the Xythos API.

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Maybe too much business travel

I just arrived in Orlando Florida for EDUCAUSE. I’m presenting at three different sessions (two on Identity Management and one on Folksonomies, Virtual Organizations and Enterprise Information Management). I just got into my room – a very middling Best Western Motel which is just fine but not great – when I started thinking about heading back home. Maybe I’ve been on the road enough recently. We were in Door County for the first part of September. I went from there to Philadelphia for a week. I was in Onalaska, WI for another meeting last week.

I have a trip in November (Information Technology Management Council) and one during the first week of January (Common Solutions Group) already on the books. There is another one out there in January – CalConnect Roundtable – on the 9th and 10th in Provo Utah that I will probably be sent too.

How do the salespeople do it? I’m now a Silver/Elite status flier on Northwest. I can’t imagine being Gold or Platinum – those 100,000 mile a year people. It helps if you are in a really good hotel. My hotel in Philly was a dog and this one is just okay. The hotel needs to have a really good work-out room. Being able to get a workout in daily really makes business travel a lot easier.

From the world of multitasking – I’m watching this shows on Geisha’s and this factoid just went past – the Geiko (one of the levels of geisha) will need three wigs and each wig cost $5000. That’s right, $15,000 worth of wigs.

Iraq war veteran post

On my old blog iMind version 1.0 I had written a post about three short on-line movies including one which was a slide show tribute of pictures from Iraq.

I had a comment posted the other day. I’ll quote it below. Kimberly, if you read this; why don’t you write about your experience? If you want, you can send me posts and I’ll place them here on this blog.

I hope that you stay safe in your tours of duty and that you will find peace when you are home.

>You can’t know what it’s like to come home from there until you’ve been there. I have been there 3 times now. And I watched the video and listened to the music and I watched and listened over and over and over. You just don’t know until you’ve been there. The video and music are truly a beautifully awesome tribute. I am going to buy the CD.

>Kimberly

Triple Posting Pictures

I have a flickr account for photos located here: My flickr photos. I also have a .Mac account where I post photos which is at: My .Mac Account Homepage. I also have gallery installed on this site which I use to post photos that I want to include in posts. It is located here: Gallery on jimphelps.info

I find myself triple posting pictures. I like to use .Mac because it is quick and dead simple and my friends and family know to look at that site. I like to use flickr for the tagging / folksonomy / social software aspects of the site. You can also automagically include photos from flickr into WordPress (the software used to run this site) though I haven’t configured that yet. And there is gallery, which is the easiest way to get pictures in-line in my posts on this site.

Triple posting pictures sucks. Each site has their own strengths and weaknesses. Any one have thoughts on this?

– Jim

p.s. Comments are moderated but they do get approved and posted.
p.p.s. Unless they are spam, then I delete them and I think evil thoughts about the spam-bastards who post them

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Tagging and Virtual Organizations

I have been espousing the idea that various conferences could choose a tag up front then implore their attendees to use that tag for their blog entries about the conference. This is a simple way to enable information aggregation from a virtual organization.

EDUCAUSE has just announced a tag for their upcoming conference. It looks like the will aggregate the various RSS feeds into a single page.

connect.educause.edu | Technology In Academia — Connect @ EDUCAUSE
Tagging the Annual Conference

If you’re blogging the conference or uploading photos from the show to a site that supports tagging (ala Flickr), please use EDUCAUSE_ANNUAL to classify your entries. We’ll be displaying aggregate information in the right-hand column at the url below:

http://connect.educause.edu/folksonomy/educause_annual

 

Longer than…

Just drove across the state to Onalaska, Wisconsin. On the way, I was surfing the FM dial looking for tunes for the trip. I forgot to charge up my iPod before I before I left and the battery died about 90 minutes into the trip. Ena and I swapped cars for the day so she had my car which has an iPod charger and my iTrip. Re: the original iTrip – it kinda sucks. The sound quality isn’t that great and you have to play a song file to changes the frequency that it broadcasts on.

Back to the topic at hand. I was surfing looking for tunes as I was driving. There is lots of God and Country out here in Southwest Wisconsin. I did run across the Dan Fogelberg Song “Longer”. It goes something like “Longer than, there are fishes in the ocean, higher than the… etc.” It was a pop hit love song in… let’s see I can figure this out – 1976. I began to laugh. This song was a HUGE hit and was everywhere (at least in Salt Lake City) in my 9th grade year. That was the year of my very first girlfriend – Jennifer Mills. We heard this song everywhere we went. We joked (or where we serious?) that it was “our song”.

There was a brief rush of memories – walking in the Spring back to her house and we got caught in a rain storm that drenched us both in a couple of minutes. She was wearing a lemon yellow cotton top which was soaked through. We reached her house and she said, “I think I’ll change my clothes”. I said, “you don’t have to as far as I’m concerned.” She laughed. I remember her making a carob cake (better for you than chocolate) and her wearing Earth Shoes. It was those 70s I’m talking about. She was very cute. My brother and his friends all commented on how cute she was.

It is amazing that a little snippet of a ghastly puberty love song can bring back such a rush of memories.

– JJP