Category Archives: Productivity

Unfound, unused data is just clutter

Data is not information unless you can find it. But information can’t be applied to knowledge in the absence of the means by which to use it. Access must yield meaningful information in order to turn bits of code into valuable and actionable business information. I like to think about it this way: libraries house rich caches of data in the form of books, but finding the exact piece of information you seek requires some level of research and library science expertise. Wouldn’t it be ideal if the information you seek could somehow be collected and organized for you, in the format and context in which you want it? And wouldn’t it be even more helpful if it was assembled for you, not just from the local collection, but from libraries in Singapore, Milan, Minneapolis and Copenhagen? Some early examples of this new approach to information management illuminate its enormous possibilities


Being buried in data isn’t a new problem, but the issue has grown exponentially in recent years, as more and more data pours through corporate networks and the Internet. IDG recently dubbed this phenomenon the “digital big bang,” and a quick look at data growth shows why. In digital terms, 161 exabytes (or 161 billion gigabytes) of information was created, captured and replicated in 2006. But by 2010, this number will explode to an estimated 988 exabytes. Much of this data will be created by you and me, individuals. IDC found that 70 percent of the data is created by end users and over the Web. In one day, YouTube streams more than 100 million videos, while 1 billion MP3 files are shared over the Internet daily. The increasing convenience and ubiquity of digital devices also add to the explosion.

Web 2.0 flips the information delivery model upside down–it’s now about global access, and information at your fingertips, aggregated from sources that you don’t even necessarily know about, or care where they exist. Based on a set of search criteria, information in all its rich forms–media, video, audio, images, documents, text–all will be assembled together in context and delivered to users and applications for real-time experience….As information is effectively harnessed, hidden insights will appear that were previously buried in mountains of unorganized data, and more and smarter discoveries will result.

Read this perspective from EMC’s Chief Development Officer Mark Lewis (via C|Net)


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Filed under Aggregate, Media Evolution, Productivity, Search, Tools, Ubiquity, User generated content, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

Web Widgets become serious business

The rise of widgets was caused by several factors including the adoption of RSS, the expansion of the blogosphere, growth of social networks, fashion of self-expression and the democratization of the web at large. Originally, the goal of widgets was to simply deliver a miniaturized version of a specific piece of content outside of the primary web site…A major development in the history of widgets occured just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. The goal of this effort is to standardize how widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent, follows W3C principles, and is as interoperable as possible with existing market-leading user agents on which widgets are run.

from The Evolution of Web Widgets: From Self-Expression to Media Companies at the Read/Write Web

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Productivity, Tools, web 2.0

Is email becoming counterproductive?

If I took it seriously, I could spend all day dealing with my email and never do any actual work. Which is why, increasingly, I tend to ignore my inboxes. This may seem discourteous, but in fact it isn’t – because much of ‘my’ email isn’t actually aimed primarily at me at all. I am just one of the people who is cc’d on the correspondence. In other words, people who are communicating with one another have added me as a kind of bystander. Their motives for doing this are varied. In some cases they are doing me a courtesy, or trying to persuade me that they’re not doing things behind my back. (Little do they know that I couldn’t care less.) In other cases, they are simply being lazy or covering their arses in case anything goes wrong, at which point they will say that I was ‘kept in the loop’ and accordingly must share some of the blame.

The problem is not with email as such, but with the way organisations have subverted – or perverted – it for bureaucratic purposes. And they have done it for the same reason that spammers have perverted personal email: because it’s cheap and easy to do.

Read this item from the Guardian Unlimited with email commentaries from the San Francisco Chronicle, WIRED, C|Net’s Digital Kids blog and Nora Ephron (free version, courtesy of the Herald Tribune, of the for-a-fee New York Times article). Previously from WNM: Maybe the utlimate question…are we any better off?

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Filed under Productivity

The age of peer patenting

The patent office is experimenting with the concept of opening the examination process to outsiders, inviting public peer reviews. On June 15, Mr. Dudas said, the patent office will begin a pilot project for open reviews of software patents. The patents in the pilot program will be posted on a Web site, and members of the public with software expertise will be allowed to send the patent office technical references relevant to the patent claims.

Read this article from the New York Times and visit the ‘peer to patent’ website and blog. Discussion at MetaFilter.

Previously from WNM: Parallel refereeing: open and closed peer review

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Filed under Business 2.0, Digital Commons, P2P (Peer to Peer), Productivity, The Politics of New Media, Virtual Communities, When New Meets Old

New Media is indulgent, counterproducive and often just silly

The AMA recently suggested that perhaps gaming addiction should be considered as a sub-category of internet addiction. This is a step in the right direction. Clearly “internet addiction” doesn’t begin to cover the realm of bizarre and pathological behaviors the internet inspires. Herewith a list of afflictions and syndromes I feel should be added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, or perhaps the DSM IV.Ib….

Read Lore Sjöberg’s take on “Narcissistic Blog Disorder, Bookmark Loop Disorder, E-mail Gullibility Syndrome, Atemporal Fad Disorder, Pugilistic Discussion Syndrome and Amusement Identify Disorder.”

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Filed under Productivity, Technology, our Mirror, web 2.0

P2P system of distribution *may* improve disaster recovery efforts

US researchers are developing a peer-to-peer system that aims to make it much easier to ensure survivors get what they need to re-build their lives. The iCare system directly matches donated goods or services to the specific items that survivors have asked for. It also improves the use of spare space on delivery trucks to get aid to disaster-stricken areas more quickly.

Read this item from the BBC

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Filed under P2P (Peer to Peer), Productivity, Technology, our Mirror

Twitting…wait Twitt-er-ing. Sorry.

For one, what is up with this obsession the Twitter generation has with expressing itself and monitoring each others’ lives? I don’t understand the need to spew out personal information and random thoughts to the world. And that’s just what Twitter is designed for: to be a medium through which you can share stream-of-conscious babblings with your friends and with anyone who has time to lurk on the Web site and read inane musings of strangers.

The Case Against Twitter by C|Net’s Elinor Mills

The beauty of Twitter is that, unlike a full-out blog, there’s no obligation to be philosophical, thought-provoking or grammatically sound. Because it doesn’t require that kind of extra effort, it’s great for people like me who want to jump on the social-media bandwagon but don’t have the time to set up something elaborate on WordPress. And unlike social-networking profiles like those on Facebook and MySpace, it’s free-form.

In Defense of Twitter by C|Net’s Caroline McCarthy

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Connection/Isolation, Digital Commons, Productivity, Technology, our Mirror, User generated content, Virtual Communities