Knowledge El Dorado
Collaboration, Groupware, Communities, Peer-to-Peer, Grids, Clusters, Knowledge Management
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Tuesday, July 16, 2002  

Knowledge El Dorado has MOVED.
Along with the old content in the archives.

Please update your bookmarks to point to the new address:
http://www.jainnet.com/knowledgeeldorado/

See you in my new blogspace.

VeerChand Bothra.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002  

Home PC is down from a week.
So been forced to take a break from blogging.
Lets see when I return to blogging.

Veer.

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Thursday, June 20, 2002  

Technology for teamwork

David Weinberger comments on the article

Steve Yost comments on David's post

Jon Udell comments on Steve's Post

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Tuesday, June 18, 2002  

Peerarchy

This Boston Globe article nicely explains the paradigm shift in information flow. But digging deeper I find a change in how Information is Viewed.

'In the past information was manageable,' he said. 'What was difficult was moving the information around the organization. A hierarchical system worked well for that, but our needs have changed.'

David Weinberger comments on the article in his blog post

The problem with information hierarchies isn't that some people have more authority than others, it's that the information flow is one-way and codified.

Information was manageable in the past because it was limited in supply. Today not only supply of individual pieces of information has increased exponentially, but also Information has become a commodity by itself. This commoditization as well as abundance has changed the economics of information. What organizations need is value addition to this commodity and filtering and sorting of the abundant.

One of the ways to add value is by creating a greater whole from the individual pieces of information.

Communications between people increases in, what I call, a Peerarchy i.e. flat or absent hierarchy. It can be helpful in aggregating, filtering, sorting and analyzing information collectively or individually.

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Monday, June 17, 2002  

I like to define in carefully chosen words a term which could be seed to other ideas and concepts. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is such a term.
So I questioned myself - What is P2P?

What is Peer-to-Peer? by Clay Shirky

P2P is a class of applications that takes advantage of resources - storage, cycles, content, human presence - available at the edges of the Internet.

Is P2P Anything? by David Weinberger

"P2P" means, roughly, "It connects me to other people but not through my browser."

Peer-to-Peer: Toward a Definition by Ross Lee Graham

In its simplistic form it is usually structured as one-to-one through an exchange system.

The P2P Report by Emelie Rutherford

A more common (and limiting) definition says that P2P environments consist of computers with equal capabilities that share resources (such as processing power and memory), communicate exclusively with each other and do not connect to servers or central databases.

What is P2P? by Dave Winer

- A network app that doesn't run in a web browser
- The user's machine is a client and a server
- It's easy to use
- It includes some kind of tool for creating your own content
- Networks with other users, creating a community
- Does something *new* with networks
- Supports cross-network protocols such as XML-RPC, SOAP
- Deeply integrated for ease of use, lots of connections between the components
- Programmability is a big plus, providing a platform for P2P

Power to the people by Karlin Lillington

In networking terms, P2P describes a method of connecting computers so that each computer acts as a server to all the others on a network.

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Sunday, June 16, 2002  

Web services specification to target collaboration - InfoWorld

A coalition of Sun, SAP, BEA and Intalio has come up with WSCI (Web Service Choreography Interface).

Analyst Joanne Friedman, vice president of e-business strategies at Meta Group in Toronto, described WSCI as "an XML-based language to describe the flow of messages exchanged by a Web service, but in the context of a higher level business process."

For example, in an e-commerce transaction, WSCI would enable a buyer or merchant conducting a transaction to query the Web for a set of carriers to deliver the merchandise, she said. WSCI enables collaboration between more than two parties, said Friedman.

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Friday, June 14, 2002  

Interview with Albert-László Barabási, author of the book Linked.

He talks about Network theory, which says that complex systems like networks, follow simple rules. This is inverse of the Chaos theory which says that simple parts can depict complicated behaviour. The central idea of the book is of Hubs, which is used to understand and make sense of complexity. In fact, reading about the book reminded me of my discussions with Rajesh before, where he used the concept of Hublogs to make sense of the complexity in the Blog world.

Also worth mentioning is his view on Parasitic Computing having the potential to become a mainstream distributed computation tool.

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New P2P Info Delivery Options Emerge - Peer to Peer Central

Outlines two top peer-to-peer content delivery vendors viz. Uprizer and Bandwiz and tells how focus of these vendors has shifted from the entertainment market to the enterprise.

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Thursday, June 13, 2002  

Government agencies still stumped by info sharing - InfoWorld

Paraphrases "Goals should be defined before searching for Means".
The US government is unclear what it needs to help its various agencies co-ordinate and share information.

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Handheld plans: Danger ahead? - CNet

Interview with CEO and CTO of Danger about their product Hiptop, a converged device - phone with data capabilities.

When cell phones first came out, part of the reason they became so popular was because they were inexpensive and they worked the same way that your desk phone does. You have access to all the same content that you have for your desk phone. And there really hasn't been a low-cost handheld device that offers that same kind of experience with what we're used to on a desktop machine.

Its a thought-provoking analogy. But another analogy from chief of Mobile Computing at IBM had a better A-ha! factor. He said the disappearance of a Telephone's cord (Mobile Phones) made a big difference to the whole world and similarly the disappearance of a Personal Computer's cord (Mobile/Notebook computers) is an equally disruptive development.

One word of caution from Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian from their book Information Rules on analogies. They say analogies are an effective way to communicate strategies but can be a dangerous way to analyse strategies.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2002  

The Information Economy - How much will two bits be worth in the digital marketplace?

This is a 1995 article from Scientific American. I know its dated. But what I like about opinion and analysis from early days of something is that they provide an evolutionary picture. Its like Astronomers looking for information from stars billions of light years away as they could provide clues about the state of our universe billions of years ago.

Technology for producing and distributing information is useless without some way to locate, filter, organize and summarize it. A new profession of "information managers'' will have to combine the skills of computer scientists, librarians, publishers and database experts to help us discover and manage information.

Also, I believe that things are relatively simple during childhood. And all great things are simple. Read the above citation. Cut to the present. Now look at Bloggers. The description of these "information managers" fits very well to that of Bloggers.

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Monday, June 10, 2002  

Was reading Amazon.com reviews of David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web when I stumbled upon the book Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. It was the first one under Customers who bought this book also bought: section.

Would be interesting to see how these two books are related. First I'll be starting with Small Pieces Loosely Joined.

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Sunday, June 02, 2002  

Linked: The New Science of Networks - by Albert-László Barabási

From Linked:

This book has a simple message: think networks. It is about how networks emerge, what they look like, and how they evolve. It aims to develop a web-based view of nature, society, and technology, providing a unified framework to better understand issues ranging from the vulnerability of the Internet to the spread of diseases. Networks are present everywhere. All we need is an eye for them...We will see the challenges doctors face when they attempt to cure a disease by focusing on a single molecule or gene, disregarding the complex interconnected nature of the living matter. We will see that hackers are not alone in attacking networks: we all play Goliath, firing shots at a fragile ecological network that, without further support, could soon replicate our worst nightmares by turning us into an isolated group of species...Linked is meant to be an eye-opening trip that challenges you to walk across disciplines by stepping out of the box of reductionism. It is an invitation to explore link by link the next scientific revolution: the new science of networks.

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Saturday, June 01, 2002  

Four Smart Ways To Run Online Communities identifies three activities central to the success of every online community: member development, asset management and community.

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Andy Chen points to this Fast Company article.

I liked the mantra he mentions, "Many eyes make all bugs shallow" referring to the open source movement.

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Friday, May 31, 2002  

Building harmony through the Internet - by Dan Gillmor

Collaboration tools start with simple e-mail and Web discussion groups. They include weblogs, the increasingly popular interlinked online journals, and range upward in complexity to elaborate, multiplayer games and high-end enterprise systems.

Dan writes about Rocket Network, which makes music-collaboration system creating a virtual recording-studio.

What intrigues me about collaboration tools is that they:
- Try to create a sense of place, which really does not exist
- Slenderize the need for physical presence
- Create affinity among members without the senses of touch and sight

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Thursday, May 23, 2002  

This InformationWeek article looks at business-intelligence extranets focussed on the business-to-business market.

B2B Extranets are a good idea as it gives the customer better access to information related to it in realtime and When it needs. But without support for open standards in storing and delivering information the same cannot be said about customers getting information How they need it.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002  

Morgan Stanley's Internet analyst Mary Meeker is quoted in the article Looking For a Dot-Com Winner? Search No Further, saying "Google is the eBay of information". A strange comparison between eBay and Google. Her argument is that people go to eBay for hard to find things and they go to Google for hard to find information.

I don't see much similarity between the two other than both being highly successful and using a Kevin Werbach term - DotCom survivors.

For eBay the content is user-generated or to be more accurate community generated. But for Google there is no community of its users. eBay's skill is how best it handles communities while that of Google is finding information.

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Friday, May 17, 2002  

Customer Communities: Its a Win-Win-Win proposition.

The purpose of a business is to create value for its shareholders by providing value to its customers.

Lets look at three main entities whose interests a business has to mind:
- Customers
- Employees
- Shareholders

Customer Communities (CC) are a source of value for all the three.

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Thursday, May 16, 2002  

Customer.Community: Unleashing the Power of Your Customer Base

On how businesses could use Online Communities as a source of value for both, the customer and themselves.

From the Inside Flap of the Book:

Through the Internet, businesses now have an unprecedented opportunity to find out who their customers are-not by collecting data but by listening and talking to customers. These online communities provide a place for businesses to receive and direct feedback from their customers and offer those customers a chance to participate in a community of interest, not just in a transaction.

Online "Customer Community" gives customers a reason to stay loyal.
It also helps in attracting new customers if the existing ones are satisifed serving as a tool for generating Word-Of-Mouth. Of course, the opposite of that can also happen if there are unsatisfied customers. But then it is imperative for a business to keep the customer gratified.
Can an Online Customer Community be viewed as a Stickness Factor for a Business?

Most importantly it helps in
- Lowering the cost of customer acquisition
- Generating demand
- Peer-to-peer customer service.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2002  

According to a survey by NerveWire, companies had the least success in overcoming distrust in sharing information with business partners.

Writes Louise Kehoe, in Trust a barrier to new e-business applications

Technologies that enable companies to disseminate and update information efficiently - both internally and with external business partners - have run into the age-old problem of people being unwilling to share.

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IBM, startup launch massive 'grid' for online gaming

Network Gaming is also a form of collaboration.
Collaborating for entertaining of ourselves.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2002  

Paul Saffo from What Business Would You Start on Inc

But more important, here's why wireless matters: the Internet was a revolution, but it was a revolution that came only to our desktops. And even before the Internet arrived, business was something that was happening less and less at our desks and more and more everywhere else. Well, what wireless does is it delivers connectivity to where we actually live and work and play.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2002  

Excerpt from Linux Journal
Introducing Zope - By Reuven M. Lerner

The behavior of an object in Zope thus depends not only on its definition, but also on its location in object hierarchy. For this reason, acquisition is sometimes explained as analogous to the "nurture vs. nature" debate in biology: an object's definition can be seen as "nature", while its location in the object hierarchy can be seen as "nurture".

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Friday, February 15, 2002  

Torvalds unplugged

They say that for adoption of Linux in the Enterprise, they need to have some standardization.

There are actually a lot of these things going on. The LSB [Linux Standards Base] is the most well known. At the same time I kind of disagree because I think that one of the strengths of Linux is that there has been more than one Linux. If you look at Linux 6-7 years ago, the main distribution was Slackware and Ygdrasil. You may have heard of Slackware but you may not have heard of Ygdrasil. The upside of many distributions is that there's competition and the best one wins. Downside is the fragmentation. You have to balance the upside and downside of competition and so far it's been fairly successful. There haven't been that many problems. Part of it is the license. It's very hard to fragment something that is GPL. It doesn't really fragment. Sure it fragments all the time but in the end the strongest one wins. And the strongest might not be one, but it may be multiple distributions for multiple markets. Anyone who thinks that it should solidify is kind of short-sighted. Sure solidifying is good in the short term but in the end it only hurts. I think that's the problem with Microsoft. They haven't very much competition and they haven't had any reason to be aggressive in any sense other than economic.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002  

Talking about Slashdot, Steven Johnson from his book Emergence:

"He had created a kind of currency, a pricing system for online civics. By ensuring that the points would translate into special privileges, he gave them value. By making one's moderation powers expendable, he created the crucial property of scarcity. With only one or the other, the currency is valueless; combine the two, and you have a standard for pricing community participation that actually works.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2002  

Free software and its social implications

"GPL Society" is based on the principles of production of Free Software.
These principles are:
- Self-unfolding as the main motivation for production,
- Irrelevance of exchange value, so the focus is on the use value,
- Free cooperation between people,
- International teams.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2002  

"The cost in conventional media of informing people at a cerebral level about a product or service is simply too high. It is more cost- effective to grab them by the subliminal subconscious gut reaction. There is neither time nor space to genuinely inform." The Internet is the first communications medium that is unlimited by space or time: the message is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day; and there is endless ability to supply information. Which means we now have the opportunity to appeal to the buyers' intelligence, in addition to appealing to their emotions.

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Monday, November 05, 2001  

Servicification = Commoditization.

When software becomes a service it becomes commodity.

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Saturday, September 01, 2001  

ODP - Open Directory Project

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.

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Thursday, August 30, 2001  

This is very important - Knowing what you know best.

There has to be a single expertise which builds your credibility. Brand names are built by Ad agencies but Credibility is business's franchise. Credibility has roots in actual work, work that makes a difference in people's life and which adds value.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2001  

And God created Google

By early 2000 Google had already become widely popular. It's high relevance and reach (in terms of web-pages indexed) generated the best form of publicity i.e. Word-of-Mouth. And the internet junta tired of finding 640,845 irrelevant search results lapped up Google.

Google concentrated on just doing one thing best - Searching. Knew that it was a search engine and it's business was of indexing and searching. Looks like a very simple strategic direction. But yet so powerful cause it helped them to focus.

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Friday, July 13, 2001  

There was a time when searching had become a painful task. Out of the available options - Yahoo / Altavista / Lycos / Excite, Yahoo's human-compiled directory and it's search results (powered by the Inktomi database) were the best.

The other three majors were aspiring to gain Portal status and level with Yahoo. In this endeavour they, especially Altavista, neglected their core competence - the Search Engine.

A good SE could have helped them in realising their Portal aspirations by being the USP, traffic generator, loyalty factor and the competitive advantage in a highly undifferentiated space.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2001  

New World Order
By Edward Cone, Interactive Week

Sometimes I just wonder whether the "servicification" of software implies that software becomes a utility like electricity.

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Saturday, July 07, 2001  

El Do·ra·do2 (d-räd, -r-)

n.

A place of fabulous wealth or inordinately great opportunity.

Twenty first century puts us on the threshold of the Knowledge Age. Information is imperative for knowledge age.

I would be keeping track of the developments in the Collaboration space through this blog.

VeerChand Bothra

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