Eat your spinach: Email is good for you, but it could taste a lot better

July 3, 2015 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Takashi Okutsu of Traction Software's Japanese Business Office says that email is like spinach. It may be necessary for a healthy business, but not everyone likes spinach. He says that it's not reasonable to think that Social Network Software replaces email. It's better to look at how SNS extends and complements email. Takashi's July 3, 2015 TractionSoftware.jp blog post explains how, see this rough Google English translation.

Takashi often works with customers who depend on email for external and internal communication. In his blog post he uses several examples:

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It's simple to email content into Teampage. The article or comment is automatically logged with the correct Teampage account based on the incoming email address. It's also simple to CC: email to Teampage when you want others to see an outgoing email to a customer or other person you are working with.

People can receive an email notifications when an article they are interested in is posted to Teampage. You can choose to receive notifications based on: comments added to articles or spaces you watch; comments added to articles you wrote or commented on; articles with a tag you watch; articles that mention you.

When you receive an email notification, you can reply to the email to automatically add a comment to the threaded discussion. Only the content you write is added to the thread, not a copy of the entire email thread.

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But too many email notifications can be overwhelming. Teampage also provides an automatic email digest that summarizes articles and actions of interest, customized for the preferences (and access permissions) of each Teampage user.

You can use email notifications for your highest priority interests, and use the email digest to catch up on everything else. By default the digest is emailed once a day, but each person can choose to get a digest for a longer period (once a week), or several times a day.

Takashi concludes (in Google translation): "I think you have done already the spinach by e-mail. Why not been investigated in-house social us to support it. Just add a little plus of 'CC in TeamPage', you can get a big plus."

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Understanding Spinach Update: Takashi writes that the Japanese word ホウレンソウ (HORENSO) has a literal English translation "spinach", but it is used to refer to a Japanese practice that aligns members understanding and synchronizes actions. Thanks to Takashi and Google Translate, I've learned that: 1) Japanese people have useful terms for communication practices that don't have an English language equivalent. We should adopt them; 2) Teampage is very good for ホウレンソウ !

"HORENSO is a way of information sharing by way of aligning members' understandings and synchronizing actions about changing circumstances that happen in and out of an organization." from NNA post. See also definition of HOKOKU.

Related

Constellation Research Analyst VP Alan Leoposky aka @alepo frequently debunks claims that "email is dead" (or should be), pointing out: 1) Email is universal. No introduction or specialized software required; 2) Email is a firmly established habit. Habits are hard to change, and often shouldn't; 3) Email enables every person to filter, organize and prioritize what they see. In short, email should be viewed as one among many messaging channels, but it's the biggest elephant in the room. Finding ways to leverage email's strengths, and mitigate it's shortcomings is a good strategy.

March 2015 | TeamPage 6.1 Burn-up charts, interactive tables, SDK extensions Better tools for understanding the big picture of a projects or milestones

Dec 2014 | TeamPage @ Mentions Bring any TeamPage item to someone's attention, bring them into the followup conversation

July 2014 | TeamPage Notifications Introducing inline notifications

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style Understand how TeamPage connects people and their work

My Part Wor ks

May 22, 2015 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAbout 50 years ago, Andy van Dam joined the Brown University faculty with the world's second PhD in Computer Science (earned at the University of Pennsylvania). Today many of Andy’s friends, faculty, students and former students are celebrating his 50 years at Brown with Stone Age, Iron Age and Machine Age panels. [ June 9, 2015 update: See event video: Celebrate with Andy: 50 Years of Computer Science at Brown University ]

I’m part of the Stone Age cohort. In 1968 Andy and his Swarthmore colleague Ted Nelson gave a medicine show pitch to convince skeptical undergrads to sign up for an an insanely demanding one year, four course sequence then called Applied Math 101/102 and 103/104. I bit.

Starting with a tiny, two person department - and as a matter of principle - Andy recruited undergraduates as teaching and research assistants, a tradition that continues to this day. In an essay on the history of the Brown CS UTA [Undergraduate Teaching Assistant] program Andy said:

“Offering teaching and research assistant opportunities to undergrads,” he says, “was even more unusual, indeed was viewed with everything from skepticism to outright hostility. Hardly anyone said, ‘What a fantastic idea!’ Everyone was used to four years of preparation as an undergraduate, then n years of graduate work before you could contribute to a science. But we’re different. CS was and is young, experimental, and open for undergrads to contribute. And undergraduate participation in research in all fields has become commonplace, especially in the last decade.

In 1965, a single, intense full-year course could cover much of the breadth, if not the depth, of the systems-oriented portion of the discipline, not including theory, AI, numerical analysis, and a few other topics. Andy insisted that students couldn’t learn to be good programmers by solving small “toy” problems; they had to write significantly-sized programs, each taking multiple weeks.

Not just checking for the right answer but giving useful feedback on structure, style, and efficiency required careful reading and one-on-one help with concepts and debugging. In a class with forty students, it was impossible for one graduate TA and a professor to provide this level of attention, no matter how little sleep they were getting, so van Dam asked for help from students who had taken a prior programming course. In that first cohort, he remembers Bill Adcock; Dan Bergeron, who also subsequently got his PhD with Andy and became Chairman of the CS Department at UNH and went with him and a group of six other of Andy’s students for his first sabbatical in 1971 at the University of Nijmegen in Andy’s country of origin; and Dennis Ruggles, among others.

“The undergraduate teaching assistants,” Andy explains, “though they were initially called graders, didn’t just grade programs -- they not only provided one-on-one help to students but also became active participants in course design and in subsequent years read research papers and brought new ideas into the curriculum. In fact, they did everything graduate TAs did, becoming producers and not just consumers of education. We kept modifying the course as we went along, but the one constant was the highly-appreciated UTA system.

Few people appreciate it more than Ed Lazowska ‘72, who will lead the first (“Stone Age”) panel for Celebrate With Andy. He says, “I’m a faculty member precisely because of the UTA program. I went to grad school because Andy told me to. In some way, everything I do professionally today is due to him.

To provide feedback for the course, students wrote detailed, multi-page evaluations, something that was almost unheard of in 1965. As Bob Munck recalls, “Also after every class, the graders would sit around on the floor of Andy's office (later my office) and critique the lecture and him. I'd never seen anything like it.

On his commute home from work, Andy would listen to tape recordings of his lectures, filling the empty minutes with self-critiques: “Boy, was that a clumsy explanation! Get rid of the ‘um’s and the ‘you know’s.” Presentation skills are still something that van Dam is keenly interested in. “Today’s equivalent of ‘you know’ is ‘like’, which I try to stamp out in all students who work with me. I’ve given up on ‘awesome’.

An interesting aspect of the UTA program is that the system has essentially never been challenged by students due to the built-in checks and balances. “By having rotating TAs and detailed rubrics,” Andy says, “you create fairness. It’s a system that’s at least as fair as having a single faculty member grading. Besides, a single faculty member, even assisted by a few graduate TAs, can’t begin to read that many programs at the required level of detail, and students recognize that. Part of the checks and balances is that faculty members are responsible for assigning the final grades, and I personally review all borderline grades, hoping to find evidence for promotion to the next grade bin.

Originally something made up as they went along, the UTA program matured over a period of decades. Iteration and gradual regularization brought cross-course norms and standards that are used today by almost all Brown CS courses. “In my opinion,” says Andy, “We have the most systemic TA program, and there’s a well-defined appeal system in place to address any grading errors.

You can read about Andy’s honors and achievements on his Wikipedia page, and Professor Shriram Krishnamurthi's answer to Why is professor Andy Van Dam (Andy) so cool? Here are two short stories from me.

After Dinner

ImagePhoto of Andy on WBGH Boston’s After Dinner show, broadcast live at 7:30PM Monday October 20, 1969.

After Dinner featured Andy van Dam, Chris Braun, Bev Hodgson (then Brown Daily Herald editor), Al Basile and myself talking about hypertext for 30 minutes on a stage set that was supposed to look like a professor’s living room, right next to Julia Child’s WGBH TV kitchen. Andy is pointing to photo of Chris Braun at the IBM 2250 Hypertext Editing System (HES) console.

AvD writes: You might mention that the topic wasn’t just hypertext per se, but the use of hypertext for non-linear narratives, esp. hypertext fiction as a new literary form (Montreal Expo (68) had just shown an audience-influenced branching movie, Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Nabokov’s Pale Fire had been published, and experimentation was in the air. I’m sitting in the audience at the YURT inauguration symposium, listening to organizer John Cayley talk about “Cave Writing” and related spatial (immersive) hypertext projects that he and his students craft.

My Part Wor Ks

ImageBrown Computer Science circa 1969. Original edition.

The story as I recall: Most people chose an individual final project for AM 101/102. However, a few folk chose the two person assembler project.

A grader did an in person review with a two person team, noting a problem. One team member replied: “My part works, but he keeps passing me garbage.

It became a team programming mantra.

The first part was made into a button, with Wor ks spelling. The second part was the AvD equivalent of a secret handshake. Until now.

More

"Thoughtvectors in Concept Space badge" by @iamTalkyTina my posts | thoughtvectors.net

Related

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Andries van Dam - Wikipedia page

Celebrate With Andy: 50 Years Of CS At Brown - May 2015. An essay celebrating "the three golden anniversaries for the Brown CS family: fifty years of the UTA program, undergraduate involvement in research, and Andy van Dam at Brown."

Why is professor Andy Van Dam (Andy) so cool? - Quora, Jan 2015. I agree with Brown CS professor Shriram Krishnamurthi.

Pastepost - One more AvD story. The first public document from the first Hypertext Editing System was a press release announcing its own creation.

As We May Work - Andy van Dam - Tokyo 2008

The MIT/Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium - Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bush's As We May Think. Organized and MC'd by Andy van Dam

Hypertext Editing System - Wikipedia page. Photo by Greg Lloyd.

Enterprise 2.0 - Are we there yet?

November 21, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAndrew McAfee writes Nov 20, 2014: "Facebook’s recent announcement that it’s readying a version of its social software for workplaces got me thinking about Enterprise 2.0, a topic I used to think a great deal about. Five years ago I published a book with that title, arguing that enterprise social software platforms would be valuable tools for businesses...

Why did it take so long? I can think of a few reasons. It’s hard to get the tools right — useful and simple software is viciously hard to make. Old habits die hard, and old managers die (or at least leave the workforce) slowly. The influx of ever-more Millennials has almost certainly helped, since they consider email antediluvian and traditional collaboration software a bad joke.

Whatever the causes, I’m happy to see evidence that appropriate digital technologies are finally appearing to help with the less structured, less formal work of the enterprise. It’s about time.

What do you think? Is Enterprise 2.0 finally here? If so, why now? Leave a comment, please, and let us know."

Andrew – As we’ve discussed in the past, I don’t believe there’s a specific ‘Are we there yet?’ for Enterprise 2.0.

The lessons I learned from your excellent book and research are still relevant today. Enterprise 2.0 technology enables but does not guarantee organizational change. Some organizational change is invented and purposeful, some is serendipitous and emergent.

The effect of new technology on an enterprise is too often like picking up and shaking a sleepy beehive.

We’ve come a long way towards the vision that software and devices used inside a company will become more like software, Web services and mobile devices people use at home. Enterprise software and services need to meet the same expectations for clarity, any time / any where access, and easy of use that people expect at home, which shakes markets as well as assumptions. Tracking the relationship of Apple IBM from Nov 2009 through Nov 2014 (and their market cap) is an instructive example.

As Peter Drucker taught, organizations need to adapt and innovate to make use of these capabilities, which opens the door to new technology, capabilities, and markets for enterprise software and services at every layer of the stack. Which opens the door to new organizational challenges and opportunities…

I’m not surprised that this takes time - and like Bill Buxton’s analysis in his Long Nose of Innovation article from 2008.

I’ll also keep my faith in Peter Drucker and Doug Engelbart as the twin patron Saints of Enterprise 2.0. As I said in Nov 2009, you have your own sub-numinous stake in the game!

cheers,
Greg

Related

Enterprise 2.0, Finally? Andrew McAfee, Nov 20, 2014 (This blog post was originally posted as a comment)

Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest Challenges Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business Review Press, Nov 2009

The Long Nose of Innovation Bill Buxton, Bloomberg Business Week, Jan 8, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Greg Lloyd, Nov 9, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day | Emmy Noether, Mathematician

October 14, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebratesImage the contributions of women in science and technology, follow @FindingAda for news and events. This year I've chosen to write about mathematician Amalie "Emmy" Noether. At the time of her death in April 1935, she was described by Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Herman Weyl, Norbert Weiner and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics. Noether’s First Theorem is a fundamental tool of modern physics and the calculus of variations: every symmetry corresponds to a conservation law. "It was her work in the theory of invariants which led to formulations for several concepts of Einstein's general theory of relativity." [J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, 1997]. Of her later work, Nathan Jacobson said: "The development of abstract algebra, which is one of the most distinctive innovations of twentieth century mathematics, is largely due to her – in published papers, in lectures, and in personal influence on her contemporaries." Einstein wrote Noether's obituary in the New York Times, May 5, 1935:

"Within the past few days a distinguished mathematician, Professor Emmy Noether, formerly connected with the University of Göttingen and for the past two years at Bryn Mawr College, died in her fifty-third year. In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began. In the realm of algebra, in which the most gifted mathematicians have been busy for centuries, she discovered methods which have proved of enormous importance in the development of the present-day younger generation of mathematicians. Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. One seeks the most general ideas of operation which will bring together in simple, logical and unified form the largest possible circle of formal relationships. In this effort toward logical beauty spiritual formulas are discovered necessary for the deeper penetration into the laws of nature.

Born in a Jewish family distinguished for the love of learning, Emmy Noether, who, in spite of the efforts of the great Göttingen mathematician, Hilbert, never reached the academic standing due her in her own country, none the less surrounded herself with a group of students and investigators at Göttingen, who have already become distinguished as teachers and investigators. Her unselfish, significant work over a period of many years was rewarded by the new rulers of Germany with a dismissal, which cost her the means of maintaining her simple life and the opportunity to carry on her mathematical studies. Farsighted friends of science in this country were fortunately able to make such arrangements at Bryn Mawr College and at Princeton that she found in America up to the day of her death not only colleagues who esteemed her friendship but grateful pupils whose enthusiasm made her last years the happiest and perhaps the most fruitful of her entire career."

ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Princeton University, May 1, 1935

In The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of Dr Dave Goldberg summarized Fräulein Noether’s life, her academic struggles - championed by Göttingen mathematicians David Hilbert and Felix Klein - and contributions to the foundations of modern physics.

"Hilbert and Noether skirted the rules by listing Hilbert as a course instructor and then having Noether as the perennial guest lecturer, though this didn't extend to getting Noether any sort of paycheck. It wasn't until 1922 that the Prussian Minister for Science, Art and Public Education gave her any sort of official title or pay at all, and even then only a pittance. As Hilbert described it in his memorial address for Emmy Noether:

When I was called permanently to Göttingen in 1930, I earnestly tried to obtain from the Ministerium a better position for her, because I was ashamed to occupy such a preferred position beside her whom I knew to be my superior as a mathematician in many respects. I did not succeed. . . . Tradition, prejudice, external considerations, weighted the balance against her scientific merits and scientific greatness, by that time denied by no one.

In all events, bringing her to Göttingen turned out to be an incredibly good idea. Almost immediately upon her arrival, Noether derived what's become known as Noether's 1st Theorem and by 1918 had cleaned it up enough for public consumption. And this is where we pick up the physics part of the story."

Fräulein Noether’s name and contributions to mathematics will live forever, despite the obstacles she had to overcome as a mathematical genius of the first rank - who happened to be a woman.

No woman should require the endorsement of mathematical legends like Hilbert, Klein, Einstein, Weyl, and Weiner to pursue and excel in the mathematical, scientific, or other career they love. We need every Fräulein Noether born in whatever place or circumstance, and need to support and encourage all who are inspired by her work and example.

Update See Marie Curie [ and Emmy Noether ] cartoon by xkcd "You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process. So don't try to be the next me, Noether, or Meitner. Just remember that if you want to do this stuff, you're not alone." via @ValdisKrebs

More Finding Ada Blog Posts

Ada icon by Sidney Padua From the Thrilling Adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free). Enjoy Babbage and Lovelace adventures, backstory and more on Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Named Data Networking - Boffin Alert

September 8, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageOn Sep 4, 2014 the Named Data Networking project announced a new consortium to carry the concepts of Named Data Networking (NDN) forward in the commercial world. If this doesn't sound exciting, try The Register's take: DEATH TO TCP/IP cry Cisco, Intel, US gov and boffins galore. What if you could use the internet to access content securely and efficiently, where anything you want is identified by name rather than by its internet address? The NDN concept is technically sweet, gaining traction, and is wonderfully explained and motivated in a video by its principle inventor and instigator Van Jacobson. Read on for the video, a few quotes, reference links, and a few thoughts on what NDN could mean for the Internet of Things, Apple, Google and work on the Web. Short version: Bring popcorn.

For a short non-technical introduction, see Wade Roush's Sep 2012 piece on Van Jacobson and Content Centric Networking The Next Internet? Inside PARC’s Vision of Content Centric Networking. Background: Jacobson's work on CCN begot the NDN project, where he is now a Principle Investigator. A few quotes from Roush's story:

The fundamental idea behind Content Centric Networking is that to retrieve a piece of data, you should only have to care about what you want, not where it’s stored. Rather than transmitting a request for a specific file on a specific server, a CCN-based browser or device would simply broadcast its interest in that file, and the nearest machine with an authentic copy would respond. File names in a CCN world look superficially similar to URLs (for example, /parc.com/van/can/417.vcf/v3/s0/Ox3fdc96a4…) but the data in a name is used to establish the file’s authenticity and provenance, not to indicate location.

It’s easy to see how much sense this makes compared to the current client-server model. Say I’m using my Apple TV box to browse my Flickr photo collection on my big-screen TV. To get each photo, the Apple TV has to connect to Flickr, which is hosted on some remote data center owned by Yahoo—it could be in Utah or North Carolina, for all I know. The request has to travel from the Apple TV over my Wi-Fi network, into Comcast’s servers, then across the Internet core, and finally to Yahoo. Then the photos, which amount to several megabytes each, have to travel all the way back through the network to my TV.

But the photos on Flickr are just copies of the originals, which are stored on my camera and on my laptop, about 15 feet away from my TV. It would be much smarter and more economical if the Apple TV could simply ask for each photo by name—that is, if it could broadcast its interest in the photo to the network. My laptop could respond, and I could keep browsing without the requests or the data ever leaving my apartment. (In Jacobson’s scheme, file names can include encrypted sections that bar users without the proper keys from retrieving them, meaning that security and rights management are built into the address system from the start.)

“The simplest explanation is that you replace the concept of the IP address as the defining entity in the network with the name of the content,” says Lunt. “Now all the talk in the network is about ‘Have you seen this content?’ and ‘Who needs this content?’ as opposed to ‘What is the routing path to particular terminus in the network?’ It’s a simple idea, but it makes a lot of things possible...

“One of the things that’s intriguing about not having to go to the source is that you could start to think about implementing applications differently,” Lunt says. “You could build apps that don’t have any notion of a server at all. So you could have Twitter without Twitter or Facebook without Facebook—that is, without having to have a major investment in hosting content, because the network is caching it all over the place.

Such architectures might give users more control over privacy and security of their data, and let them share their own data across devices without having to go through proprietary services like Apple’s iCloud, PARC executives say.

“What Apple is trying to do with iCloud is to say: You shouldn’t have to care which device you got an app on, or which device you took a photo on, whether it was your iPad or iPhone or MacBook Air. You just want your content to be on the other devices when you want it,” says Steve Hoover, CEO of PARC. “That validates our vision. But the way they are solving that puts more load on the network than it needs to, and it requires consumer lock-in. So Apple may be a user of this [CCN] technology one day, because it will make it easier. On the other hand, they could also hate it, because it will make it a lot easier for other people to provide that capability of getting the content whenever you want.

In my option, one of the technically sweetest characteristics of NCN is its relationship to current TCP/IP and networking protocols (quotes from NDN Architecture: Motivation and Details):

Like IP, NDN is a “universal overlay”: NDN can run over anything, including IP, and anything can run over NDN, including IP. IP infrastructure services that have taken decades to evolve, such as DNS naming conventions and namespace administration or inter-domain routing policies and conventions, can be readily used by NDN. Indeed, because NDN’s hierarchically structured names are semantically compatible with IP’s hierarchically structured addresses, the core IP routing protocols, BGP, IS-IS and OSPF, can be used as-is to deploy NDN in parallel with and over IP. Thus NDN’s advantages in content distribution, application-friendly communication, robust security, and mobility support can be realized incrementally and relatively painlessly...

Communication in NDN is driven by the receiving end, i.e., the data consumer. To receive data, a consumer sends out an Interest packet, which carries a name that identifies the desired data (see Figure 2). A router remembers the interface from which the request comes in, and then forwards the Interest packet by looking up the name in its Forwarding Information Base (FIB), which is populated by a name-based routing protocol. Once the Interest reaches a node that has the requested data, a Data packet is sent back, which carries both the name and the content of the data, together with a signature by the producer’s key (Figure 2). This Data packet follows in reverse the path taken by the Interest to get back to the consumer. Note that neither Interest nor Data packets carry any host or interface addresses (such as IP addresses); Interest packets are routed towards data producers based on the names carried in the Interest packets, and Data packets are returned based on the state information set up by the Interests at each router hop (Figure 3).

The router stores in a Pending Interest Table (PIT) all the Interests waiting for returning Data packets. When multiple Interests for the same data are received from downstream, only the first one is sent upstream towards the data source. Each PIT entry contains the name of the Interest and a set of interfaces from which the Interests for the same name have been received. When a Data packet arrives, the router finds the matching PIT entry and forwards the data to all the interfaces listed in the PIT entry. The router then removes the corresponding PIT entry, and caches the Data in the Content Store. Because an NDN Data packet is meaningful independent of where it comes from or where it may be forwarded to, the router can cache it to satisfy future requests. Because one Data satisfies one Interest across each hop, an NDN network achieves hop-by-hop flow balance...

Names

NDN design assumes hierarchically structured names, e.g., a video produced by PARC may have the name/parc/videos/WidgetA.mpg, where ‘/’ indicates a boundary between name components (it is not part of the name). This hierarchical structure is useful for applications to represent relationships between pieces of data. For example, segment 3 of version 1 of the video might be named /parc/videos/WidgetA.mpg/1/3. The hierarchy also enables routing to scale. While it may be theoretically possible to route on flat names (see ROFL), it is the hierarchical structure of IP addresses that enables aggregation, which is essential in scaling today’s routing system. Common structures necessary to allow programs to operate over NDN names can be achieved by conventions agreed between data producers and consumers, e.g., name conventions indicating versioning and segmentation.

Name conventions are specific to applications but opaque to the network, i.e., routers do not know the meaning of a name (although they see the boundaries between components in a name). This allows each application to choose the naming scheme that fits its needs and allows the naming schemes to evolve independently from the network.

I haven't quoted from short sections on Data Centric Security, Routing and Forwarding, Intelligent Data Plane, Caching, or Intellectual Property Approach and open source. You should read NDN Motivation & Details, then much more from named-data.net if either your head exploded, or you are jumping up and down in your seat with questions and objections.

Much of this is QED Marketing - I told you how it works, not what it means for you. Here are a few thoughts:

1) Secure efficient transport of content crossing many boundaries is a hard problem, getting harder as the number of people, things, and places on the Web grow, and as people look for a seamless and trusted way to deal with things they care about at home and at work. For example, how could Apple (or Google) leverage NDN to deliver on an internet of your things? How might players other than the giants leverage NDN to compete?

2) NDN offers the possibility of doing a lot of the hard work at the network level, which is a win if it offers a economic benefit to those who pay for the fabric of the internet, and opportunities to invent and grow scalable businesses more effectively. For example, what could change if Amazon offered NDN as an Amazon Web Service?

3) NDN might offer an appropriate secure, flexible framework for connecting people to content at work. Businesses use siloed applications for for transactional data for good reasons: they are simpler to build, (potentially) more secure, and (potentially) more flexible than old style monolithic business applications if they become sources of content linked together at a higher level of an application stack. NDN might be a great protocol to build flexible, secure, extensible business applications connecting people to the content they want - and are allowed to use.

With respect to the network issues, I'm a fan, not an expert, but the NDN proposal seems to share many of the (relatively) simple, scalable, decentralized characteristics that fueled the growth of the Web and evolution of TCP/IP. NDN seems to be most attractive for big content, particularly where multicast style delivery and caching can delivery big bandwidth and responsiveness improvements, but it looks like a lot of thought has gone into efficient localized delivery. Likewise, management of a very large, frequently changing name space is a challenge, which also seems to have gotten a lot of intelligent attention.

With Cisco and Huawei on board as founding industrial partners of the NDN Consortium, you can bet that a lot of caching routers can be sold, and NDN routing technology will take the fast track if there's economic payback for NDN, which will drive better payback, faster adoption, etc.

The good thing is the program has advanced to the stage where many of these questions can answered by experiment - we shall see.

Will the NDN Consortium take off? Will Google, Apple and Microsoft jump in? Or will NDN join the queue of technically sweet solutions that never really get off the ground? I'm optimistic that NDN has the right technical characteristics and pedigree, with smart experienced people leading the charge. With the Internet of Things and secure content distribution efficiencies as economic drivers, I hope we'll all benefit from NDN's content delivery model as the next stage of the Web's evolution. If you're not in the battle, bring popcorn and watch - it should be a good show.

Related

Named Data Networking Architecture: Motivation & Details The best short technical overview I've found of the objectives and approach of the Named Data Networking project. Read the overview to get quick idea of how content is named, the NDN security and caching model, how NDN works over (or under) TCP, scaling issues, and more.

A New Way to Look at Networking - Van Jacobson's Aug 2006 Google Tech talk on TCP and Content Centric Networking (CCN). CCN is the title of Jacobson's Xerox PARC project, which became "the single biggest internal project at PARC." CCN led to the formation of the Named Data Networking project as a National Science Foundation funded Future Internet Architecture program in Sep 2010. Jacobson is currently a Principle Investigator of the NDN project. See Van Jacobson speaks on Content Centric Networking for a longer (three hour) and slightly earlier version of Jacobson's CCN talk presented as a Future Internet short course, including slides.

Reinventing the Web II (Aug 2014) The Web won vs "better" models by turning permanence into a decentralized economic decision. Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web? NDN is the sweetest and most credible global technical approach I've seen.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work (Jun 2014) A level above an Internet of Things: seamless experience across devices for you, your family, your health and trusted service providers, at home and at work.

Intertwingled Work (Jul 2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Thought Vectors - Ted Nelson: Art not Technology (Jul 2014) Ted Nelson should be smiling - but I won't hazard a guess. From what I see, everything in NDN seems compatible if not influenced by the Docuverse, Tumbler, and fine grain content addressable network architecture that Nelson described in detail in his 1987 book Literary Machines. I believe NDN provides secure, scalable, fine grain, and upwards compatible networking that could connect the front end and back end Xanadu architecture that Nelson describes in Literary Machines. I'll follow up on this with a separate Boffin alert.

Linked, Open, Heterogeneous

August 31, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image Art, Data, and Business Duane Degler of Design For Context posted slides from his 5 April 2014 Museums and the Web talk, Design Meets Data (Linked, Open, Heterogeneous). Degler addresses what he calls the LAM (Libraries, Archives, Museums) Digital Information Ecosystem. I believe the same principles apply when businesses connect internal teams, external customers, external suppliers, and partners of all sorts as part of their Business Information Ecosystem. Read Degler's summary and slides, below:

"The tide of available information continues to rise. The opportunities that come from open access, linked data, sharing resources with other institutions, and standards-based data are enticing - and perhaps overwhelming?

Emerging design approaches help you find ways to make the most of your opportunities for new types of interactions and engagement with Information Objects. They focus on:

- Exploration, serendipity, use: Rich, relevant design requires an intimate understanding of information and the way people interact with it. It's more than attractive styling - although that's important. It's about people engaging in ways that stimulate the intellect and the experience. People need to find information, use it, relate other information to it, and share it for decades to come.

- Scalability, persistence, authority: Rich, relevant design also takes the long view. Understanding that the integrity of the information matters. This is increasingly important as we move toward more linked, open, and born digital cultural information.

Your institution becomes a gateway to an ecosystem of artistic imagery, scholarly insights, history, perspectives, and related objects. Other people will use your information to create new interpretations and works, which then build on what you hold. Curating information may be perceived as a burden (to be made easier!), yet it is a significant opportunity to reinforce the value and authority of institutions that enhance the information ecosystem."

Related

Dark Matter by Michael Peter Edson 19 May 2014. "The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums" an important essay on the opportunity and mission for museums and cultural institutions: "We’re so accustomed to the scale of attention that we get from visitation to bricks-and-mortar buildings that it’s difficult to understand how big the Internet is—and how much attention, curiosity, and creativity a couple of billion people can have."

Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter (2014) Inspired by Michael Edson's essay. Just as Bush suggested in July 1945, I believe there's a need for people to act as explorers, guides, and trail blazers over knowledge they know and love. You can experience that personal knowledge and passion on a tour, at a talk, or in a conversation on a bus, at a party - anywhere you meet someone who loves one of these institutions. I think it's particularly valuable to have trail blazers who are also skilled professionals personally represent and communicate the values, knowledge, and heritage of their museum, just as a great reference librarian becomes a library's ambassador.

Reinventing the Web II (2014) Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web?

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Thought Vectors - Ted Nelson: Art not Technology

July 5, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageThe technoid vision, as expressed by various pundits of electronic media, seems to be this: tomorrow's world will be terribly complex, but we won't have to understand it. Fluttering though halestorms of granular information, ignorant like butterflies, we will be guided by smell, or Agents, or leprechauns, to this or that pretty picture, or media object, or factoid. If we have a Question, it will be possible to ask it in English. Little men and bunny rabbits will talk to us from the computer screen, making us feel more comfortable about our delirious ignorance as we flutter through this completely trustworthy technological paradise about which we know less and less.

To give up on human understanding is to give up hope, what we call in English "a counsel of despair." I think there is hope for much better and more powerful software designs that will give ordinary people the power over computers that they have always wanted - power with complete understanding. But that requires inspired software design, which I believe is art and not technology.

I believe the technoid vision does not comprehend what is humanly desired, humanly needed, and humanly possible. Especially the need and possiblity of human understanding. So excuse me from the butterfly crowd; I hope you will come with me to where understanding may be found.

Ted Nelson
The Future of Information
ASCII Corporation, Japan 1997
Image courtesy of Computer History Museum

This quote from Ted Nelson's 1997 book makes a point similar to Nelson's closing point in his July 2014 interview with Gardner Campbell as well as statements in his 2011 Possiplex autobiography, and 1975 Computer Lib / Dream Machines. Nelson sees computer technology as a medium for creative expression, not an end in itself, or a cheap replacement for human creativity. He cites film directors among his primary inspirations and heros, noting that his personal ephipany came in the early 1960's when he learned that it was possible to connect computers to screens. Nelson invented the terms hypertext and hypermedia to describe the new capabilities that he envisioned. During his 2014 interview Nelson cited the example of Orson Wells. For Ted Nelson, what you see on a computer screen and interact with should be the result of human creative intelligence applied through the use of new engines of expression over an endlessly evolving intertwingled corpus of literature. Using Nelson's cinema analogy, history put him in a position where he would have to invent the motion picture camera to achive his goals, but I believe his motivation was to become the seminal director and intellectual father of the new media which are his earliest and most influential inventions.

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Related

Intertwingled, The Festschrift-- Ebook celebrating Ted Nelson Day at Chapman University, 2014 (Springer-Verlag) (via @TheTedNelson, 12 Jul 2015) A free Springer ebook edited by Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C. Struppa. Chapters by Alan Kay, Brewster Kahle, Belinda Barnet, Ken Knowlton, Dame Wendy Hall, and others. Closing chapter What Box? by Ted Nelson. I highly recommend this book.

Living The Dreams: A Conversation With Ted Nelson Published on Jul 5, 2014. Dr. Ted Nelson speaks with Dr. Gardner Campbell about research, fantics, computer liberation, and the ongoing struggle between schooling and learning. A conversation undertaken in support of "Living The Dreams: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds," a digital engagement pilot of Virginia Commonwealth University's UNIV 200, Inquiry and the Craft of Argument.

Ted Nelson talk - Possiplex book launch From Welcome to Possiplex : An Autobiography of Ted Nelson party at the Internet Archive on Oct 8, 2010.

Possiplex: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization, an autobiography of Ted Nelson, Mindful Press, Feb 2011.

Triangulation 164 - Conversation with Ted Nelson Leo Laporte's July 2014 conversation with Ted Nelson, broadcast Aug 18, 2014 on TWiT.tv. On hypertext, Xanadu - and being a media guy. "To me, all media are alike. You think about what are the effects you want - and you think about what are the technicalities it will take to give you those effects. So when I took a computer course in graduate school, I thought 'Holy smoke, you can put interactive screens on them'... Interactive screens were instantly obvious to me."

Computer Lib / Dream Machines A brief description of Ted Nelson's 1974 book. Ordering information for an authorized 2014 replica reprint, which I highly recommend.

Ladies and gentlemen, the age of prestidigitative presentation and publishing is about to begin. Palpitating presentations, screen-scribbled, will dance to your desire, making manifest the many mysteries of winding wisdom. But if we are to rehumanize an increasingly brutal and disagreeable world, we must step up our efforts. And we must hurry. Hurry. Step right up.

Theodor H. Nelson, “Barnum-Tronics.
Swarthmore College Alumni Bulletin, Dec 1970, 12-15
Quoted from Dream Machines, 1975
See New Media Reader Computer Lib / Dream Machines excerpt

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Meet Takashi Okutsu: Director, Traction Software Japanese Business Office

July 2, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageTakashi has been a TeamPage wizard since 2007, and now directs Traction Software's Japanese Business Office. Takashi provides exceptional sales, consulting, and support to TeamPage customers in Japan. He is a valued member of the Traction Software global team, and a frequent contributor to the TeamPage Customer Support Forum including development and discussion of TeamPage SDK plug-ins and examples. We invite Japanese visitors to explore TractionSoftware.jp for TeamPage information and a free trial. You are also welcome to join the TeamPage Japan Customer Support Forum to talk with Takashi and Japanese TeamPage customers.

Please follow Takashi on Twitter as TSIJPBO for Japanese TeamPage news from トラクション ソフトウェア (Traction Software Branch Office), Yokohama, Japan.

You can also follow Takashi's Buna Tree Melopan Twitter account to learn about walking in the Tanzawa mountain area of Kanagawa Prefecture, computer topics, and Japanese cooking, including camping meals Takashi has made with his Traction Software Swiss Army knife.

Image

Thought Vectors - What Motivated Doug Engelbart

June 23, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageBy "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. 1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits. 1a2

Doug Engelbart Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223, October 1962

This week's Thought Vectors in Concept Space assignment is a blog post based on a nugget from the works of Doug Engelbart. I like this quote because Doug talks clearly about what motivates his research; what motivated his life's work.

To me, it's interesting to note that Doug wrote his report in 1962 just as NASA was launching Project Apollo, and not long after President John F. Kennedy announced his challenge to land on the Moon. Project Apollo was arguably the most challenging engineering project of the 20th century, designing and testing families of new engineering systems as well as new classes of hardware. But Project Apollo was more than an engineering project; it was a grand challenge that motivated NASA to do its best and engaged most of the world as spectators in a high stakes, highly visible race to the Moon.

Doug's vision was also an engineering vision, designing and testing new human/computer systems as well as new classes of software. The paragraphs, links, paragraph-grain addresses, relationships, viewspecs and visualizations of Augment/NLS made Doug's thought vectors as real as they could possibly be, recording, linking and animating thoughts in a way that could never be done with paper plans and records. But like Project Apollo, Doug's vision was more than an engineering project; it was and is a grand challenge, to find better ways to enable people to solve critical problems, part of a trail on augmentation started by Vannevar Bush that will never end.

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"Thoughtvectors in Concept Space badge" by @iamTalkyTina my posts | thoughtvectors.net

Related

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Blog post celebrating Doug Engelbart's 85th birthday, includes quotes and links to resources. One of the quotes from Engelbart's talk at the Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium became the tag line for this VCU course.

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. by Douglas C. Engelbart, October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906) A work Doug referred to as the bible of his research agenda, it also outlines the motive for his work: enabling groups of people to respond to the increasingly complex and urgent problems of humanity. If you want to read Doug's original works, start here.

Reinventing the Web II

June 16, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageUpdated 29 May 2015 Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web? A Twitter conversation.

How the Web was Won

I believe Tim Berners-Lee's original HTTP and HTML protocols succeeded beyond his original vision of a globally scalable, loosely coupled network of Web pages that anyone could edit. The fact that his original protocols were simple, decentralized, and free for anyone to use were essential to success in a world of competing proprietary Internet publishing and commerce "standards" from Microsoft and others. But in my opinion, the Web won by turning permanence and stability into a decentralized economic decision.

Berners-Lee's original W3C protocols appeared at the right time to open clear field opportunities for distributed publishing, marketing, sales and advertising that fueled the Web's growth and evolution. Recapping the argument from my first Reinventing the Web post:

The idea that any sensible person would rely on a global hypertext system where links on one computer pointed at locations on another computer which would break whenever the remote computer was unilaterally moved, renamed, taken off line or abandoned seemed absurd.

The idea that you would have no way to know what incoming links would break when editing or refactoring content seemed just as bad.

The Word Wide Web protocols looked like they would work for relatively small cooperative groups like CERN who could keep things from breaking by having shared goals, and using peer pressure plus out of band communication to keep distributed content alive.

Actually that intuition was pretty good, because the World Wide Web took off in a direction based on other incentives compatible with those assumptions - and grew like crazy because unlike alternatives, it was was simple, massively scalable, cheap and eliminated the need for centralized control.

1) The Web became a distributed publishing medium, not the fabric for distributed editing and collaboration that Tim Berners-Lee and others envisioned. People and Web publishing engines like Amazon created content and kept it online while it had economic value, historical value (funded by organizations), or personal value. Content hosting became cheap enough for individuals or tiny groups. Advertising supported content became "free".

2) Search engines spanned the simple Web. Keeping content addressable now gained value since incoming links not only allowed people to bookmark and search engines to index what you had to publish (or sell), but the incoming links gained economic value through page rank. This provided even greater motivation to edit without breaking links, and to keep content online while it retained some economic, organizational or personal value.

3) People and organizations learned how to converse and collaborate over the Web by making it easy to create addressable content others could link to. The simple blog model let people just add content and have it automatically organized by time. The Wiki model required more thought and work to name, organize and garden content, but also creates stable, addressable islands of pages based on principals that reward cooperative behavior.

4) Search engines, syndication and notification engines built over the Web's simple, scalable protocols connected the Web in ways that I don't think anyone really anticipated - and work as independent and competing distributed systems, making rapid innovation possible.

Tim Berners-Lee made an inspired set of tradeoffs. Almost every concept of value on the Web: search engines, browsers, notification is built over his simple, open, highly scalable architecture.

I believe it's possible to provide what TBL calls "reasonable boundaries" for sharing sensitive personal or organizational data without breaking basic W3C addressable content protocols that makes linking and Web scale search valuable. That should be the goal for social and business software, not siloed gardens with Web proof walls.

Building a better Web over the Web we have

Telephone companies used to call their simplest and cheapest legacy service POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). I believe it's possible to build a richer and more stable Web over POWS (Plain Old Web Services) without necessarily starting from scratch.

One answer to "who benefits?" and "who pays?" are the businesses who benefit from a richer and more stable Web connecting the systems they use to get work done. Stable fine-grain links and bi-directional relationships connecting systems of record and systems of engagement open the door to business systems that are more flexible, effective, simple to develop, and pleasant to use - more like the public Web than traditional line of business systems.

Museums, libraries, and archives such as Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive, the Library of Congress and others have a mission to collect and curate our cultural heritage and knowledge. The Internet Archive shows how little it costs to collect and index an archive of the content of the visible Web.

Commercial publisher monetize their archive, but have weaker economic incentives to maintain stable links to content outside their own domain.

Commerce sites and providers of consumer-focused Web services may have the greatest economic incentive for deep linking with stable references and relationships spanning devices you own, your home, your health and healthcare providers, your car, your family - and your work, see Continuity and Intertwingled Work.

If I'm right, there are economic incentives for Web content creators to make their work more linkable, visible and useable using straightforward, decentralized, and non-proprietary upwards compatible extensions of Plain Old Web Services.

I believe that indices spanning permalinked locations as well as incoming and outgoing permalink references to content in "stable islands in the storm tossed sea" can be created and maintained in near real time at Web scale, preserving the integrity of links to archival content distributed across the Web.

For example, any domain could publish an index to its permalinked content. Other domains implementing the same protocol could make incoming references to that content by permalink. This is a simple decentralized protocol, no more magical than the published external references that a link editor or dynamic linking system uses to resolve references connecting independently compiled modules of code.

Domains that agree to implement the same protocol, and use permalink (URI) references for content in other compatible domains then have a more stable, decentralized model for permanent links. If domains also publish their own permalink outgoing references (external as well as internal), a Web level service could build and maintain reliable inverted indices of bi-directional internal and domain spanning links. The federation of such domains could be spidered by any number of independently developed services, creating a more stable and useful Web as a decentralized service without breaking the simple Web protocols that every browser and other Web service relies on.

I don't know who has suggested this before; it seems obvious, and is a straw man not a solution. I'm using it to argue that we can and should invent ways to improve the capabilities of the Web using the same simple, decentralized philosophy that made the Web wildly successful versus "better" hypertext systems.

See Michael Peter Edson's Dark Matter essay and my Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter response.

Related

Reinventing the Web (2009) Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and the evolution of the Web. Ted Nelson wants two-way links, stable transclusion, micropayments. Tim Berners-Lee wants a new Web with open, linked data. I believe that most of what they want can be delivered using the current flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web as the delivery medium for richer, more stable, more permanent internal models, as stable federations of islands in a storm-tossed sea.

The Internet's Original Sin by Ethan Zuckerman, The Atlantic, Aug 14, 2014. Ethan confesses his role - invention of the pop-up Ad - stating "It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble." He makes a convincing case that the apple in the Web's garden is Investor storytime "... when someone pays you to tell them how rich they’ll get when you finally put ads on your site." A darkly comic but heartfelt essay on the past and future economy of the Web: "It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web"

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Dark Matter: The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums by Michael Peter Edson on May 19, 2014.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work (2014) A level above an Internet of Things: seamless experience across devices for you, your family, your health and trusted service providers, at home and at work.

Reinventing the Web III (2014) followup Twitter conversation with @zeynep, @jeffsonstein, @kevinmarks, and @roundtrip.

The Web of Alexandria (2015) by Bret Victor "We, as a species, are currently putting together a universal repository of knowledge and ideas, unprecedented in scope and scale. Which information-handling technology should we model it on? The one that's worked for 4 billion years and is responsible for our existence? Or the one that's led to the greatest intellectual tragedies in history?"

And Victor's followup post "Whenever the ephemerality of the web is mentioned, two opposing responses tend to surface. Some people see the web as a conversational medium, and consider ephemerality to be a virtue. And some people see the web as a publication medium, and want to build a "permanent web" where nothing can ever disappear. Neither position is mine. If anything, I see the web as a bad medium, at least partly because it invites exactly that conflict, with disastrous effects on both sides."

Update 13 Jul 2014 Added new section headings, added the inline recap and economic benefit examples, added a link to a Jul 2014 Reinventing the Web III Twitter conversation on the same topic.

Update 23 Aug 2014 Added link and brief note on Ethan Zuckerman's fine essay on advertising as the Internet's Original Sin.

Update 29 May 2015 Added links to Web of Alexandria and followup by Bret Victor on why the Web is a bad medium.

Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter

June 13, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageOn Jun 9 2014 Virginia Commonwealth University launched a new course, UNIV 200: Inquiry and the Craft of Argument with the tagline Thought Vectors in Concept Space. The eight week course includes readings from Vannevar Bush, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and Adele Goldberg. Assignments include blog posts and an invitation to participate on Twitter using the #thoughtvectors hashtag. The course has six sections taught at VCU, and an open section for the rest of the internet, which happily includes me! This week's assignment is a blog post based on a nugget that participants select from Vannevar Bush's 1945 essay As We May Think. Here's mine:

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client’s interest. The physician, puzzled by a patient’s reactions, strikes the trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their physical and chemical behavior.

The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only on the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.

This quote is part of a longer section in Bush's essay describing his concept of the Memex, a desktop machine imagined as an extension of 1940's microfilm and vacuum tube technology.

This quote stuck me while reading Michael Peter Edson's essay Dark Matter published on Medium.com in May 2014.

Edson's essay begins "The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums" explaining:

I am talking about museums, libraries, and archives—heritage, culture, knowledge, and memory institutions—and there is really nothing like them on the face of the earth. And whether we’ve realized it or not, my colleagues and I who work with technology in these institutions have been participating in an extraordinary project — the building of a planetary scale knowledge sharing network for the benefit of everyone on earth.

He writes:

Despite the best efforts of some of our most visionary and talented colleagues, we’ve been building, investing, and focusing on only a small part of what the Internet can do to help us accomplish our missions.

90% of the universe is made of dark matter—hard to see, but so forceful that it seems to move every star, planet, and galaxy in the cosmos.

And 90% of the Internet is made up of dark matter too—hard for institutions to see, but so forceful that it seems to move humanity itself.

And it’s not necessarily that the glass of museum, library, and archive technology projects is half empty, as opposed to half full; it’s the fact that the glass of the Internet and the dark matter of open, social, read/write cultural engagement is so much bigger than museums, libraries, and archives are accustomed to seeing and thinking about. And the glass keeps growing at exponential speed, whether we fill it with good work or wait in committee meetings for the water to pour itself…

Edson concludes that museums, libraries, and archives "can play a huge role in the story of how Earth’s 7 billion citizens will lead their lives, make and participate in their culture, learn, share, invent, create, cry, laugh, and do in the future" by going back to Tim Berners-Lee's original vision of the Web, where every person can be a writer as well as a reader.

Cultural Web sites, blogs, Google, Facebook, Twitter and are part of the solution, but Edison's challenge goes beyond that.

I believe there are three parts to his challenge:

The role of trail blazer: Just as Bush suggested in July 1945, I believe there's a need for people to act as explorers, guides, and trail blazers over knowledge they know and love. You can experience that personal knowledge and passion on a tour, at a talk, or in a conversation on a bus, at a party - anywhere you meet someone who loves one of these institutions. I think it's particularly valuable to have trail blazers who are also skilled professionals personally represent and communicate the values, knowledge, and heritage of their museum, just as a great reference librarian becomes a library's ambassador.

The medium: Museums have long had lectures, journals, and newsletters. Most cultural institutions now have web sites, blogs, and Twitter or Facebook accounts, which can be really interesting depending on who does the writing and response. In Dark Matter Edson goes well beyond the comfort zone of most museums into the world of video blogging, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumbler and more. Of the video blogging brothers who created 1,000 plus videos on the YouTube Vlogbrothers channel, Edson writes:

It is evident from watching 30 seconds of any of their videos that they are nerds, and they proudly describe themselves as such. If you announced to your museum director or boss that you intended to hire Hank and John Green to make a series of charming and nerdy videos about literature, art, global warming, politics, travel, music, or any of the other things that Hank and John make videos about you would be thrown out of whatever office you were sitting in and probably be asked to find another job.

The mission: A little less than a year before the end of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote a letter to Vannevar Bush, asking Bush how to turn the "unique experiment of team-work and cooperation in coordinating scientific research and in applying existing scientific knowledge" during WWII to the peaceful pursuit of scientific knowledge after the end of the war. President Roosevelt concluded: "New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged this war we can create a fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life." Bush responded to then President Harry S. Truman in July 1945, the same month As We May Think was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Bush's report, titled Science the Endless Frontier, lead to the creation of the National Science Foundation.

The Dark Matter mission is different, but it calls on museums and other cultural institutions to rethink how they bring together the heritage they preserve and the broader society they serve. I believe that the skills and passion of trail blazers can help connect the people and the common record of their culture by creating trails that can be seen and built upon now and by future generations. Anyone can now create a trail, and museums should become the richest and most welcoming sources for trail creation. Museums can help by opening up access as well as by creating and curating trails - across all media - as part of their core mission, a unique experiment in team-work and cooperation.

See Dark Matter and Trailblazers - @mpedson and Vannevar Bush for more quotes from Michael Peter Edson's essay, quotes from As We May Think, and President Roosevelt's wartime letter to Vannevar Bush.

Update Oct 30, 2014 See Michael Peter Edson's Internet Librarian International 14 keynote slides, Dark Matter 

Update Jan 21, 2015: See The Museum of the Future Is Here by Robinson Myer, The Atlantic, Jan 20, 2015. A thoughtful redesign of the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewett museum adds a stable URL for every object in its collection, as well as an API for accessing related content.

What the API means, for someone who will never visit the museum, is that every object , every designer , every nation , every era , even every color has a stable URL on the Internet. No other museum does this with the same seriousness as the Cooper Hewitt. If you want to talk about Van Gogh’s Starry Night online, you have to link to the Wikipedia page . Wikipedia is the best permanent identifier of Starry Night-ness on the web. But if you want to talk about an Eames Chair, you can link to the Cooper Hewitt’s page for it ...

“When we re-open, the building will be the single largest consumer of the API,” said Chan.

In other words, the museum made a piece of infrastructure for the public. But the museum will benefit in the long term, because the infrastructure will permit them to plan for the near future.

And the museum will also be, of course, the single largest beneficiary of outsider improvements to the API. It already talks to other APIs on the web. Ray Eames’s page , for instance, encourages users to tag their Instagrams and Flickr photos with a certain code. When they do, Cooper Hewitt’s API will automatically sniff it out and link that image back to its own person file for Eames. Thus, the Cooper Hewitt’s online presence grows even richer.

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As We May Think - Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly, July 1, 1945

Reinventing the Web - Blog post on the creation and evolution of the Web and thoughts on making the Web a more writerly medium based on Berners-Lee's original intent and the vision of Ted Nelson.

Doug Engelbart's copy of As We May Think - with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins - Blog post also includes links to the Oct 1995 Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th anniversary of As We May Think, with videos of talks and panel sessions.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Blog post celebrating Doug Engelbart's 85th birthday, includes quotes and links to resources. One of the quotes from Engelbart's talk at the Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium became the tag line for this VCU course:

Doug Engelbart: ... So, moving your way around those thought vectors in concept space - I'd forgotten about that

Alan Kay: You said that, right?

Doug Engelbart: I must have, its so good. [laughter] Its to externalize your thoughts in the concept structures that are meaningful outside and moving around flexibly and manipulating them and viewing them. Its a new way to operate on a new kind of externalized medium. So, to keep doing it in a model of the old media is just a hangup that someplace we're going to break that perspective and shift and then the idea of high performance and the idea of high performance teams who've learned to coordinate, to get that ball down the field together in all kinds of operations.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work

June 12, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAt Apple's WWDC 2014 on 2 Jun 2014, Apple demonstrated how to build a great user experience spanning a your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple calls this OS level capability Continuity. It basically enables you to continue what you're doing across devices and applications by securely encapsulating your identity and the context of your action. From picking up a draft email message started on an iPhone and continuing work with that draft on your Mac, to answering and incoming iPhone call on your Mac, I believe this opens the door for a level of seamless experience that everyone will want for personal use, their family, and at work.

Here’s why. I believe Apple aims to connect:

  • Your actions, across the devices you use
  • Your family (Family Sharing);
  • Your home (HomeKit);
  • Your health and healthcare providers (HealthKit);
  • Your car (CarPlay) See what Apple is offering via auto OEMs;
  • Your work (by extension I'll call this WorkKit) If Apple wanted to play in the enterprise software space. [Apple does want to play, see IBM/Apple Update below - grl]

Regardless of Apple’s intention as a platform for business applications, if Apple succeeds in the personal space, I believe this vision of continuity sets a benchmark for user experience at work, and will kick off a new level of competition to win the attention of enterprise developers and IT departments, working top down rather than bottom up.

1) Apple is using SDK extensions to bridge access to other Apps and OS services. My understanding of the SDK architecture introduced at WWDC 2014 is that personal information and context flows across Apps and iOS services based on extension of the App sandboxing that has kept iOS relatively malware free and consistent. This is critical if you believe that Apple’s strategic goal is to become the trusted, secure hub for personally identifiable information for you, your family, your health information, home, and car. It's what I believe is needed to make a personal Internet of Things work.

2) Google, Yahoo and others gather correlate, analyze and use personal identity metadata including your location, search history, browsing history to monetize for their own purposes or to sell to others. I believe Apple is trying to build a counter story on security using identity and services encapsulated in devices you own. [Confirmed. See 17 Sep 2014 A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy and links below - grl] In addition to continuity, examples include OS8 MAC address randomization for WiFi localization privacy and hardware partitioned storage of iOS fingerprint data.

3) Folk who dislike the Apple’s walled garden and curated applications sometimes fail to acknowledge that many people value a safer, more consistent, curated, and delightfully designed user experience to a toolkit.

4) I want my personal information and keys to access heath, home, car, family information stored in a walled garden in a device I own, with gated access looking in for Apps I authorize, and freedom to search, link and use anything looking out. Apple appears to be developing its stack top down, starting from a vision of a seamless user experience that just works, giving developers the extensions they need to innovate and prosper.

5) I believe Apple’s principles of continuity and identity are also what businesses need for a safe, secure, consistent, delightful, and productive user experience for people at work, see Intertwingled Work.

Update 12 Aug 2014

IBM's 15 July 2014 partnership announcement with Apple caught many analysts by surprise. To me, it makes perfect sense as a path to broaden Apple's market. Over the past several years Apple's iOS security, provisioning, and deployment investments removed barriers and eliminated friction for Enterprise customers bowing to Apple as the inevitable Bring Your Own Device of choice. IBM's position as a trusted supplier and developer for Enterprise customers complements Apple's position and focus as your lifestyle hub - for healthcare, home, family, car, and work - and the Internet of Things. I see Google as Apple's only potential competitor. Look for interesting times.

Tbits: Putting IBM MobileFirst in (Apple’s Enterprise) Context Andrew Laurence writes: "Since the iPhone, Apple has developed a subtle enterprise strategy, so subtle that many pundits miss it. Instead of pursuing business sales directly, Apple has quietly worked to remove barriers that might impede usage of its products, including in enterprises. This approach enables Apple to pursue design and user experience while also making its devices more useful to business and fitting enterprise concerns better..."

"Although commonly known as a “computer company,” IBM is really a software and services company, focused on developing and supporting applications for customers. And not only applications, but whole solutions, which requires combining development, hardware, software, management, and more. When a company hires IBM, they also sign on to purchase software licenses; for IBM to supply, manage, and service hardware through its lifecycle; and to purchase support for it all through the life of the contract. The service contract includes not only development of the application if necessary, but also ongoing support and management services: provisioning and deployment, as well as integration of the application and hardware into a cohesive whole to provide a coherent solution..."

For IBM’s customers, the MobileFirst endeavor represents just such an opportunity. Their applications can be developed and deployed on Apple’s popular iOS platform, drawing on IBM’s deep well of enterprise development experience and letting IBM bask in Apple’s reflected glory. I imagine that IBM will get special pricing for Apple products sold through MobileFirst; I also suspect these devices will be provisioned through Apple’s Streamlined Enrollment and tightly managed (via mobile device management policies) through IBM’s Endpoint Manager and MaaS360 products, with software procurement managed through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program."

How IBM could help Apple win one of the biggest markets of all Ryan Faas writes in CITEworld: "Apple's partnership with IBM may deliver more value to Apple than just expanding the iPad's penetration in the business world. Although the partnership will certainly focus on creating business apps, the focus on creating industry-specific apps may boost Apple's fortunes in one of the fields that it is actively seeking to disrupt -- health care."

Update 23 Aug 2014

Apple HealthKit and VRM. A thoughtful essay by Doc Searles. Doc methodically examines Apple's HealthKit from the perspective of Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) principles, goals, and tool requirements - all relating to customers ability to define and manage their own relationship with vendors, rather than vice versa. He finds that HealthKit's principles appear to be an encouraging match, quoting this blog post on "security using identity and services encapsulated in devices you own".

On points 3) and 4) of this blog post, Doc says:

"As a guy who favors free software and open source, I agree to the extent that I think the best we can get at this stage is a company with the heft of an Apple stepping and doing some Right Things. If we’re lucky, we’ll get what Brian Behlendorf calls “minimum viable centralization.” And maximum personal empowerment. Eventually."

Doc see one big unanswered question:

In all cases the unanswered question is whether or not your health data is locked inside Apple’s Health app. Apple says no: “With HealthKit, developers can make their apps even more useful by allowing them to access your health data, too. And you choose what you want shared. For example, you can allow the data from your blood pressure app to be automatically shared with your doctor. Or allow your nutrition app to tell your fitness apps how many calories you consume each day. When your health and fitness apps work together, they become more powerful. And you might, too.

Update 18 Sep 2014

We're Building Privacy Into Everything You Use Every Day Apple on privacy. The moment you begin using an Apple product or service, strong privacy measures are already at work protecting your information. We build extensive safeguards into our apps and the operating systems they run on. Apple examples include: iCloud; Safari; Maps, Siri and Dictation; Mail; Apps and the App Store; Pay; Health; HomeKit; Spotlight Suggestions; Randomized Wi-Fi Addresses; Security by Design]

A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy Quotes:

At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled...

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay. And we continue to make improvements. Two-step verification, which we encourage all our customers to use, in addition to protecting your Apple ID account information, now also protects all of the data you store and keep up to date with iCloud...

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

One very small part of our business does serve advertisers, and that’s iAd. We built an advertising network because some app developers depend on that business model, and we want to support them as well as a free iTunes Radio service. iAd sticks to the same privacy policy that applies to every other Apple product. It doesn’t get data from Health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail, and you can always just opt out altogether.

Related

Apple's WWDC 2014 Continuity Demo: Identity, Security, User Experience - Storified clipping of the Twitter conversation with @dhinchcliffe @DylanTWilliam and @haydn1701 that motivated this post.

Internet of Everything - Four Questions (with Tweets) - Ron Miller moderated a 20 Jun 2014 Twitter conversation on The Internet of Everything. Ron defined IoE: "For context think of the Internet of Everything as the Internet of Things plus people, process and data." A few Tweets from me specifically related to the topic of this post:

"When I walk into a room, every device and system should know who I am, what I'm interested in, what I can do."

"Not just "May I refill your coffee?" from the coffee pot, but "whoops looks like widget supplier will be late" on ERP wall."

“Device/owner delegates authority to trusted service to securely collect data and act on things on behalf of owner” vs

"Assumes HQ is safe and challenges device in field to prove to what level it and its owner can be trusted"

Software design is taught in the wrong department. Interactive software is a branch of cinema - Ted Nelson, April 2001

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style ... the units of work (tasks, ideas, clients, goals, agenda items); information about that work (relevant conversations, files, status, metadata); how it all fits together; and then the people involved with the work (who’s responsible for what? which people need to be kept in the loop?)

A new TeamPage logo, and a new look at Traction Software.com

June 9, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageYou'll be seeing the new TeamPage logo here, on Twitter, Facebook, across the Web, and next to TeamPage sites shown in your browser's tabs; I hope you like the it! I also hope you like the the new look at TractionSoftware.com. Our customers believe TeamPage is ideal for work that combines collaboration and action tracking, including quality management, human resources, project work, intelligence analysis, knowledge management, and compliance. We want TractionSoftware.com to tell this story simply and clearly, and we'll continue to improve this site just as we continually improve TeamPage. Please contact us for insights into how customers use TeamPage to get work done, along with a free trial.

An Infinite Number of Cats on Keyboards: Ted Nelson & Computer Lib at Homebrew Computer Club Reunion

November 16, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Order a perfect reprint of the original version of Computer Lib / Dream Machines directly from Ted Nelson, autographed if you wish. Highly recommended.

Image

Ted Nelson's original 1974 edition of Computer Lib / Dream Machines was tour de force on hypertext, personal computers, and more. It was printed tabloid size, with Ted's hand drawn diagrams, neatly scribbled annotations, pasteup text and graphics in a style that has to be seen to be appreciated: think Whole Earth Catalog for computer geeks, film buffs, authors, philosophers, cartoonists, carnival barkers, and children of all ages.

In 1987 Microsoft Press did a good deed by reprinting the book, but chose a standard trade paperback layout which lost much of the charm.

The 1974 edition printed by Hugo's Book Service in Chicago has two front covers (one for Computer Lib and one for Dream Machines). Both books share the same binding, and you flip to read in either order. An original edition sells for over $250 when you can find a copy.

Read a fine essay and authorized sample from Computer Lib / Dream Machines as well as other classics at New Media Reader Excerpts, by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (Editors), MIT Press 2003.

In Nov 2013 Ted announced that you can order a perfect reprint directly from him for $100 including US postage ($108 for California residents).

See Mark Graybill's blog post on meeting Ted at the Homebrew Computer Club Reunion, 11 Nov 2013.

Here's the back of the Computer Lib flyer including payment address, terms, and email ordering address:

Image

Ted Nelson speaks at the HomeBrew Computer Club Reunion, 11 Nov 2013 (YouTube video)

Update: On April 24, 2014 Chapman University hosted INTERTWINGLED: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson. The conference "examined and honored the work and influence of this computer visionary and re-imagined its meaning for the future". Speakers include: Belinda Barnet, Dame Wendy Hall, Alan Kay, Ken Knowlton, Jaron Lanier, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Concluding remarks by Ted Nelson. See conference session videos.

Update: Intertwingled, The Festschrift-- Ebook celebrating Ted Nelson Day at Chapman University, 2014 (Springer-Verlag) (via @TheTedNelson, 12 Jul 2015) A free Springer ebook edited by Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C. Struppa. Chapters by Alan Kay, Brewster Kahle, Belinda Barnet, Ken Knowlton, Dame Wendy Hall, and others. Closing chapter What Box? by Ted Nelson. I highly recommend this book.

Ada Lovelace Day | Marissa Ann Mayer, Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Executive

October 15, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebratesImage the contributions of women in science and technology, follow @FindingAda for news and events. This year I've chosen to write about Marissa Ann Mayer Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Executive, currently President and CEO of Yahoo! Over her career Ms Mayer earned exceptional recognition for Computer Science teaching (while working for her Stanford degrees), software engineering, design, product management, and her executive skills. Ms Mayer joined Google as employee number twenty in 2009 and played an instrumental role leading Google Search for over 10 years.

In 2013 Ms Mayer ranked 31 in the Forbes Magazine list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, and the first woman listed as number one on the Fortune Magazine's annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old.

Quoting from her Yahoo! biography: "During her 13 years at Google, Marissa held numerous positions, including engineer, designer, product manager, and executive, and launched more than 100 well-known features and products. She played an instrumental role in Google search, leading the product management effort for more than 10 years, a period during which Google Search grew from a few hundred thousand to well over a billion searches per day. Marissa led the development of some of Google's most successful services including image, book and product search, toolbar, and iGoogle, and defined such pivotal products as Google News and Gmail. She is listed as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.

Prior to joining Google, Marissa worked at the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland and at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a M.S. in Computer Science. For both degrees, she specialized in artificial intelligence. While at Stanford, she taught computer programming to more than 3000 students and received the Centennial Teaching and Forsythe Awards for her contributions to undergraduate education. In 2008, the Illinois Institute of Technology awarded her an honorary doctorate of engineering."

"Companies with the best talent win." Marissa Mayer, CEO Yahoo!

Ada icon by Sidney Padua Download the Thrilling Adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free). Enjoy their adventures, backstory and more on author Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Previous years

Ada Lovelace Day | Sunita Williams, Astronaut and Captain U.S. Navy 2012

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab 2011

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner 2010

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU 2009

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style

October 11, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageJustin Rosenstein wrote an excellent option piece for Wired, The Way We Work Is Soul-Sucking, But Social Networks Are Not the Fix. Justin begins: "With Twitter’s recent IPO filing, the most popular graph dominating conversation is the “interest graph.” Before that, it was the “social graph,” courtesy of Facebook. But we’re now seeing the emergence of a third important graph: the work graph." The work graph term is new - and useful - but I believe the model dates back to Lotus Notes and even Doug Engelbart. In this blog post I'll review Justin's definition and use it to describe Traction TeamPage's work graph model. I'll also show how TeamPage leverages its work graph model to meet challenges of information overload, work with external as well as internal teams, and work that needs to span siloed systems of record.

Work graph defined

"...A work graph consists of the units of work (tasks, ideas, clients, goals, agenda items); information about that work (relevant conversations, files, status, metadata); how it all fits together; and then the people involved with the work (who’s responsible for what? which people need to be kept in the loop?).

The upshot of the latter data structure is having all the information we need when we need it. Where the enterprise social graph requires blasting a whole team with messages like “Hey, has anyone started working on this yet?”, we can just query the work graph and efficiently find out exactly who’s working on that task and how much progress they’ve made. Where the enterprise social graph model depends on serendipity, the work graph model routes information with purpose: towards driving projects to conclusions." Justin Rosenstein, Wired 9 Oct 2013

Just so!

TeamPage's work graph

TeamPage watches what you do, and automatically maintains two-way links and relationships as you edit, keeping an accurate version history of everything so you can easily see what changed, when, and who did what.

TeamPage's work graph automatically connects articles, comments, status messages, tasks, milestones, projects, links, shared references, and relationships stored in TeamPage to the TeamPage profile of the person who created, edited or tagged the work, along with a time stamp for the action.

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This concept of a work graph is helpful in describing what TeamPage automatically creates and maintains as you work.

But what counts is how TeamPage uses its work graph model to cut clutter, make it much easier to work with people anywhere inside or outside your organization, and make files and records already in IT systems easily accessible to get work done.

The same work graph information is organized and presented two different ways: by person, or by unit of work. This enables TeamPage to show activity feeds, dashboards and calendars of people, linked to the work they created or edited, as well as activity feeds, dashboards, and calendars for specific tasks, projects, and spaces where many people work together.

Dealing with information overload - use the work graph to add context to de-clutter activity streams, navigation and search

You can start by creating a new task directly attached to any paragraph in a TeamPage article. TeamPage links the task and paragraph to make it simple to see what the task is about, in the context of the original meeting notes, spec, or question that kicked off the followup action. You don't need to explain much to define the task, because the task has a direct link to the original source - in context - making it much easier for anyone to come up to speed. Or just click the New Task button to create an independent task.

No more fumbling through your own email, hoping that the person you're working with can find their own copy of the right email or file, or wasting time sending copies to people who just realized they don't have the right stuff. Send a link to any TeamPage task or other item by email or your favorite messaging system when you want to talk about a complicated item during a phone call or video chat.

You can collect a set of tasks to manage as a named Project, and use name Milestone to specify common Start or End dates for related tasks.

You can focus on any specific project or collaboration space and see its dashboard and activity stream without irrelevant noise and clutter. You can also zoom out to a birds eye view which shows a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view spanning everything you have permission to read. Or click any person's profile to see a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view focused their work units and actions (clipped to what you're allowed to read).

You can shift your focus whenever you want. You can also watch any article, task, project, or other unit of work and get an automatic email or inline notification when it changes or is commented on. Click on the link in the message to zoom back to that context, or simply reply to the email notification to add a comment in the right place. Or subscribe to TeamPage's email digest for an automatically generated daily summary of activity with links you can click through to read more or reply.

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Working with external and internal teams - use permission rules to clip what the work graph lets you see

TeamPage's work graph model includes permissioned access that automatically clips content to show just those work items, relationships, and search results each person is allowed to read.

This makes it simple to use TeamPage for work that can cross boundaries, linking customers, suppliers, partners and internal teams with different permissions to different business activities on the same TeamPage server.

TeamPages' work graph model allows you to put a private comment (or task) in a more private space where it's only visible to a smaller group. For example, an internal team discussion on a customer's question.

Typically each external client has a private space (like separate clients of a law firm), and internal team members have a birds eye view across all clients and most or all internal spaces. TeamPage makes it simple to set up granular access rules for spaces based on individual names, Active Directory, LDAP, or TeamPage group membership.

There's one TeamPage work graph connecting all internal, external, public and private content. Permission based filtering of TeamPage's work graph happens automatically and efficiently at a very deep level whenever activity stream, dashboard, comment thread, or search results are shown to any person. This technology is covered by Traction Software's US Patent 7,593,954.

With TeamPage you don't have to stand up multiple systems and juggle posts, conversations, and tasks across multiple social software silos to work with customers, clients, partners or internal teams working on different activities with different permissions.

Extending the work graph to content on the public Web, Intranet pages, and siloed systems of record.

TeamPage's Social Enterprise Web option enables you to share, tag, task or comment on any page your browser can see on the public Web or on your private intranet. Just install TeamPage's Web browser plug-in extension for modern browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

The Social Enterprise Web option also lets you add a TeamPage share button (like Facebook or Google+ share buttons) or comment box (like Disqus) to any public or intranet Web page your organization controls. Comments are stored in TeamPage , and link back to the external Web page, which is treated as part of the TeamPage work graph.

As a bonus, the content of a page linked to TeamPage with the browser plug-in, share button, or comment box is automatically indexed for TeamPage search and drill down navigation.

The Social Enterprise Web option makes pages on the public Web or your organization's intranet simple to see, share, find and connect to TeamPage tasks. A task or question on an internal purchase order page can tracked and used part of TeamPage's work graph without complicated or expensive custom integration.

For example, add a TeamPage comment box to an Purchase order page in a Web based ERP system by adding a JavaScript snippet, and see something like this:

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TeamPage's Attivio Plus option enables you to extend the TeamPage work graph to content stored in your organization's SharePoint, Documentum, File server or SQL Database applications.

You can then search, share, task, tag or comment on any work item in these external systems, making live external transactions part of your TeamPage work graph, including integrated TeamPage and external content analysis, search and navigation.

The Attivio Plus option scales to handle very large external content stores using Attivio's world-class AIE technology along with a simple deployment model and licensing that's both flexible and affordable.

Contextual Computing At Work:

"In the world of work, I believe it's incredibly valuable to capture and connect the natural objects of your attention and interest, including tasks, projects, work product, relevant discussion, related references even if you're standing in for Siri or Google Now.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's Acme tasks, projects and work should pop up near the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about tasks, projects and other related to the Acme account and its associated activity streams.

The important requirement is making tasks, projects, pages, discussions and other work products first class sharable, named objects that can be connected to each other and what you're working on, discussed, tagged, tasked, and navigated as well as found using search. Being able to talk about tasks and projects relating to Acme captures one important part of your interest and behavior graph (activity stream), and links these items to the names and behavior of other people working with or discussing the same objects.

The objects and connections made in the context of work are more reliable than connections that need to be inferred from your behavior - and they're available now, including the ability to connect tasks, projects, pages and discussion in TeamPage and files, discussion, email and SQL databases in your external systems of record. They record valuable context for Siri and Google Now when used at work - but there's no reason to wait to get started."

TeamPage examples

How to make your ISO Auditor Smile; And Make Your Professional Life Much Easier Use TeamPage to create, edit, view work instructions from concept to shop floor, tracking every part qualification and compliance issue and notifying everyone when a significant change has occurred so they can read about and adopt the new procedure on their own. Result: a happy and productive team, and a smiling ISO auditor.

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work TeamPage shows dashboard, activity stream, and calendar views of any project, task, milestone when you want to focus on a specific action, or zoom out to get a dashboard that shows a birds eye view of all business activity (based on what each person has permission to read). You can also click to any person's TeamPage profile and see a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view of all of that person's actions (based on what each person has permission to read).

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed. The TeamPage action tracking model focuses on making it simple for individuals and teams to plan and coordinate the daily, weekly and monthly activities that drive effective teamwork, with task that can be pinned directly to any paragraph of a TeamPage article or comment.

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent A question found in a customer email stored in Exchange, an issue with a new drug application filed in Documentum, a fact in a legacy document stored in SharePoint or a File server S: drive, a record in an SQL database can all be discovered, discussed, tagged, and tasked for follow-up action in TeamPage without converting or importing data from its original source. Systems of record look and act like they are part of the same permission-aware TeamPage fabric used for collaboration, communication, and action tracking in the flow of daily work.

Three primary knowledge domains: intelligence, dialog records, and knowledge products Want to talk about work graphs? Here's how Doug Engelbart dreamed up and build the first hypertext system to link work units and people with the NLS/Augment software, starting in 1968 (no typo). See Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

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Related

Dec 2014 | TeamPage @ Mentions - Bring an article, comment, status post or other object to someones attention by typing their name.

July 2014 | TeamPage Notifications - Inline and email notifications. Watch what interests you, reply inline or by email.

How to make your ISO Auditor Smile; And Make Your Professional Life Much Easier

August 27, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageJordan had a conversation with a TeamPage customer in Sweden who agreed to document and publish a TeamPage case study, but the ISO auditor story is too good to wait. The customer is small precision machined products manufacturer. They initially supplied prototypes to the Swedish defense industry, but now focus on precision products for heavy vehicle manufacturers.

The company is ISO/TS 16 949 certified for Quality Management, ISO 14 001 certified for Environmental Management, and rightly proud of their reputation for producing high quality products and close cooperation with their customers. They use TeamPage for their Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process and Product Part Approval Process (PPAP). When the conversation took place, they had moved 90% of their procedures and shop floor work instructions from Microsoft Word to TeamPage. This gave everyone in the company live access to TeamPage procedures, for quick reading, search, moderated editing, ECO, and issue tracking from concept to shop floor.

Then the ISO auditor paid a visit:

"We had an audit last week and because we have incorporated about 90% of our procedures in TeamPage and also having the output from them in TeamPage our auditor was freakin' ecstatic. I demoed the 'Add' button for sections and a template article and I see his jaw drop. Pretty funny to see, these guys are very seldom impressed.

We also use TeamPage for work instructions read/used mainly by 40 machine operators. We also post news about new work instructions and change information on updated ones.

Earlier the same day the auditor came to see us we received a customer complaint. That is serious stuff in our line of business. I wrote an 'Quality Alert' in TeamPage (based on a template) and in this particular Quality Alert there were a few things that the operator needed to do and inspect so that we are again able to supply parts within customer specifications.

The auditor picked-up on this immediately when he arrived. I showed him the procedure written in TeamPage, the Quality Alert in TeamPage and the updated work instructions in TeamPage. He said “Good, but have you talked to the operators?” and I said “No, I don't need to. I would have but I have been to busy preparing for this audit”. He walked directly to the machining area and started interrogating operators. I was grinning, he looked surprised. It was amazing. All operators knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing, the information distribution and the Quality Alert simply worked. It always works.

Thank you Traction Software for making my professional life so much easier."

You're very welcome!

The quotes are from our Quality Manager contact (used with permission), writing in that company's space on Traction Software's TeamPage server. A company space is used to work with Traction Software folk privately, versus posts made to one of the Forum spaces shared by all TeamPage customers, friends, and Traction Software employees.

See TeamPage Solutions: Quality Management

Related

Decagon Devices: Plans, Products, Projects, Procedures and ISO 9001 Quality Management

Athens Group - Traction TeamPage for Quality Management, Training and Knowledge Base

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

July 4, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageI was very sad to learn that Doug Engelbart died quietly at home on 2 July 2013. Doug had a long life as a true visionary engineer, inventor, and pioneer of technology we use every day, and technology where we're just starting to catch up to Doug and his SRI team in 1968. Unlike many pioneers, Doug had a quiet, friendly, and unassuming nature combined with deep knowledge, iron will, and a determination to pursue his vision. His vision was to aid humanity in solving complex, difficult and supremely important problems; Doug's goals were noble and selfless. The sense of dealing with an Old Testament prophet - a kindly Moses - is perhaps the greatest loss I and countless others who have met and been inspired by Doug feel today. I've written frequently about Doug in the past, and I'll continue to do so. Here are a few remembrances and resources that seem appropriate. I'll update this list over the next several days. Farewell Doug and my sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

“Someone once called me ‘just a dreamer’. That offended me, the ‘just’ part; being a real dreamer is hard work. It really gets hard when you start believing in your dreams.” — Doug Engelbart, Dreaming of the Future, Byte, September 1995.

Press and public valediction

DOUGLAS C. ENGELBART, 1925-2013 Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse John Markoff, New York Times, 3 July 2013. "It was his great insight that progress in science and engineering could be greatly accelerated if researchers, working in small groups, shared computing power. He called the approach “bootstrapping” and believed it would raise what he called their “collective I.Q.”"

In Memoriam: Douglas Engelbart, Maestro of the Mouse and So Much More Harry McCracken, Time, 3 July 2013. "Engelbart was able to see things that most people couldn’t, and make them real. But he was also a passionate believer in what he called Collective IQ — the ability of teams to do things that lone guns cannot.

Computing pioneer and GUI inventor Doug Engelbart dies at 88 Dylan Tweeny, VentureBeat.com, 3 July 2013. "Although Engelbart is often referred to as the inventor of the mouse, that’s a bit like saying Henry Ford was the inventor of the steering wheel. The mouse was a clever invention, but it was merely one component of a larger vision of how computers could increase human intelligence, or what Engelbart called our collective IQ."

Doug Engelbart, visionary Robert X. Cringley, I Cringley, 3 July 2013. "To most people who recognize his name Doug Engelbart was the inventor of the computer mouse but he was much, much more than that. In addition to the mouse and the accompanying chord keyboard, Doug invented computer time sharing, network computing, graphical computing, the graphical user interface and (with apologies to Ted Nelson) hypertext links. And he invented all these things — if by inventing we mean envisioning how they would work and work together to create the computing environments we know today — while driving to work one day in 1950."

Chris Nuzum's fine valediction for Doug: "RIP Doug Engelbart, and thank you. For taking the time to walk a few miles after dinner in 1995 with a young admirer, for your urgent encouragement to do something about my ideas, for your generosity with your time in providing feedback and encouragement, and for the lifetime of work your poured yourself into with boundless enthusiasm and determination. Your inspiration lives on." See photo

Douglas Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution Howard Rheingold, MIT Technology Review 23 July 2013. "To Engelbart, computers, interfaces, and networks were means to a more important end—amplifying human intelligence to help us survive in the world we’ve created. He listed the end results of boosting what he called “collective IQ” in a 1962 paper, Augmenting Human Intellect. They included “more-rapid comprehension … better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble.” If you want to understand where today’s information technologies came from, and where they might go, the paper still makes good reading."

Engelbart's First, Second and Third Order Problems. Jonathan Stray's 4 July 2013 Twitter valediction, a Storify collection with some links expanded. "First order is doing. Second is improving the doing. Third is improving the improving."

If you truly want to understand NLS, you have to forget today. Brett Victor wrote A few words on Doug Engelbart 3 July 2013 in honor of Doug Engelbart life and passing. A few very well chosen words. A Storify collection with a few links expanded and quoted.

"The least important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What did he build?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to admire him, to stand in awe of his achievements, to worship him as a hero.

But worship isn't useful to anyone. Not you, not him. The most important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What world was he trying to create?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to create that world yourself."

Doug Engelbart Resources

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Douglas Engelbart Interviewed by John Markoff of the New York Times Outracing the Fire: 50 Years and Counting of Technology and Change Computer History Museum oral history interview, March 26, 2002.

Doug Engelbart Video Archive: 1968 Demo - FJCC Conference Presentation Reel Dec 9, 1968 Internet Archive, the so called Mother of All Demos. See also From Pranksters to PCs chapter about Engelbart's 1968 FJCC demo from John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, authorized excerpt.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. by Douglas C. Engelbart, October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906) A work Doug referred to as the bible of his research agenda, it also outlines the motive for his work: enabling groups of people to respond to the increasingly complex and urgent problems of humanity. If you want to read Doug's original works, start here:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. 1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits. 1a2

Traction Software Blog posts

Tricycles vs. Training Wheels Jon Udell writes: "Easy-to-use computer systems, as we conventionally understand them, are not what Engelbart had in mind. You might be surprised to learn that he regards today’s one-size-fits-all GUI as a tragic outcome. That paradigm, he said in a talk at Accelerating Change 2004, has crippled our effort to augment human capability." Doug's discussion with Alan Kay at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think (including links).

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart Elements of Doug's work that directly inspired Traction TeamPage, what we do, and how we work. A personal rememberance.

Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal Doug Engelbart's Journal versus email - an alternate history.

And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands... The 1968 Mother of All Demos and John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker are the two patron saints of Enterprise 2.0. And why.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 Doug Engelbart's mission, goals and accomplishments, including a dialog with Alan Kay at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think symposium.

Doug Engelbart's copy of As We May Think - with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins From the Doug Engelbart digital archive (see links). Original donated to the Computer History Museum.

Happy Birthday Doug Engelbart! Video highlights from Doug's talk and panels at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think symposium, Oct 1995. Videos of Doug's talks including his famous Dec 1968 Mother of All Demos are now part of the Doug Engelbart Digital Archive maintained and managed by The Internet Archive

Working Across Boundaries

June 16, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIn his Jun 2, 2013 blog post, Chess Media analyst and author Jacob Morgan asks: How Open is Too Open? He asks "Would you be comfortable working in an all glass building where people can see everything you do and every move you make?" Jacob outlines the benefits of transparency: "Keep everyone on the same page; Build trust and fostering better relationships; Allow employees (and customers) to contribute ideas and value when they see the opportunity to do so." Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, but not being transparent enough may do more harm than good. He ask: "How open is too open?" I agree with the benefits Jacob outlines, and believe the answer to Jacob's question depends on the answer to a critical question: "Transparency for what purpose?" I'll start the ball rolling in with this post, including some real-life customer examples.

For example, if you work for a consulting (or law) firm, your clients have a strong, natural expectation that their work with the firm will be kept private from other clients, even if client work is more broadly shared internally among members of the firm. Some work within the firm may be more closely held for good reason - ranging from employee health records to Board meeting minutes. I believe it's a mistake to limit collaboration to work that must be visible by all members of the firm. I also believe it's extremely valuable to work with external clients, suppliers, and partners as well internal teams, within and across necessary and natural boundaries. The question I'd like to discuss is: "How do you balance transparency, boundaries, and the need to work across boundaries?"

Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, and uses an analogy that compares a glass building vesus "a regular building that just doesn't have locked doors."

"I do believe that organizations need to be much more open and transparent but there’s a balance that needs to be struck here. There’s a big difference between showing everything to everyone vs making things open to people should they want to see it. To use an analogy it’s the difference between constructing a glass building vs constructing a regular building that just doesn’t have locked doors." - How Open is Too Open?

I'd say "very few locked doors, where needed to get work done, particularly with external stakeholders."

In an early Three Places for People blog post, I use a similar analogy:

"Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space. Architects are skillful in designing spaces to match their clients desires and expectations by providing cues that are easy to perceive and appropriate for the intended purpose, but a lot of the norms of the same physical space become clear only from social context.

If you walk into a conference room with a group of people you don't know talking quietly around a table - and someone closes the door behind you - you'll likely speak and act differently than if you walk into the same room with people you know laughing, eating and drinking. If you walk into a theater you'll probably seat yourself quietly in the audience rather than striding onto the stage (see the Re-Placing Space reference).

What fascinates me about social software is how we're learning to create places with perceived affordances - features and user models - that seem natural for different purposes and intentions. I use Facebook, Traction Software's TeamPage server, and Twitter as three separate places: my neighborhood, my workplace, and the public commons I like to use." - Three Places for People

One Traction TeamPage customer matches the consulting firm / client example precisely. The firm is near the top of the list of 100 global firms in their market. They use separate TeamPage spaces for each client, but allow members of the consulting firm to work across all client spaces. Members of the firm use TeamPage's project, task, milestone or client space dashboards to focus, and can also step back to a bird's eye view across all activity that they are permitted to see, organized by Space or by Person (with activity stream, project, task and milestone tabs on each individual's Profile). See Action Tracking, Project and Case Management in TeamPage

Another Traction TeamPage customer provides services to customers worldwide, with over 5,000 employees operating in over 150 locations and 75 countries. The firm uses TeamPage to get new clients onboard; author and share client and location specific procedures; track and communicate status including response to weather conditions and other forces that require changes to planned procedures. Shared access to procedures, notifications, and changes build strong business relationships that are a competitive advantage for the firm. Tens of thousands of complicated procedures need to be constantly changed and reviewed in near real time by both the firm and clients. The shared procedures are the core operating plan for the firm and the basis for everything the client values and pays for. TeamPage dashboards, notification, action tracking and search provide simple, reliable and secure access for each client, while allowing members of the firm to maintain global awareness, diving into any project, task, or space to quickly resolve an issue or come up to speed, see Deep Search.

In summary, I believe there's no reason to settle for a collaboration and action tracking solution that only handles internal collaboration, or assumes that everything happens in a building with glass walls and no doors. Real business value and sustainable competitive advantage often depends on working easily within and across boundaries that need to be in place to do business.

Related

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style - Working with internal and external teams

Borders, Spaces, and Places - Walks through specific examples of boundaries and boundary crossing activity

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People - About the social architecture of three places: 1) a public commons (like Twitter); 2) a place for friends and family (like Facebook); 3) a place where you work (for me, Traction Software's TeamPage server).

Intertwingled Work - Working across siloed systems and boundaries set up to meet business purposes - like the consulting firm client example.

A Circle is not a Space - How Google+ circles make it possible to share individual conversations with a list of circles each individual controls (later extended to groups) versus sharing work within one or more spaces. Some distinctions are important to understand when you want to handle collaboration for a business or other purpose over an extended period of time.

Contextual Computing At Work

May 28, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIn Co.Design May 24, 2013 Peter Morrison of Jump Associates writes The Future of Technology isn't Mobile, it's Contextual. He says that the way we respond to the world around is based on situational awareness. "The way we respond to the world around us is so seamless that it’s almost unconscious. Our senses pull in a multitude of information, contrast it to past experience and personality traits, and present us with a set of options for how to act or react. Then, it selects and acts upon the preferred path. This process--our fundamental ability to interpret and act on the situations in which we find ourselves--has barely evolved since we were sublingual primates living on the Veldt.

Here’s the rub: Our senses aren’t attuned to modern life. A lot of the data needed to make good decisions are unreliable or nonexistent. And that’s a problem.

In the coming years, there will be a shift toward what is now known as contextual computing, defined in large part by Georgia Tech researchers Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd about a decade ago. Always-present computers, able to sense the objective and subjective aspects of a given situation, will augment our ability to perceive and act in the moment based on where we are, who we’re with, and our past experiences. These are our sixth, seventh, and eighth senses."

Peter argues that we need four graphs to make contextual computing work:

  • The Social Graph - how you connect to other people and how they are connected to one another, including the nature and emotional relevance of those connections.
  • Your personal graph contains (gulp) all of your beliefs - data relating to a your deepest held beliefs, core values, and personality.
  • The Interest graph - what you like - is about curiosity
  • Your behavior graph - sensors that record what you actually do versus what you claim you do

I agree that one great value of Peter's contextual computing is to make agents like Apple's Siri or Google Now much more effective in answering questions, making recommendations, and delivering what you want based on how you express it in your own words or gestures, taking into account your current situation, recent requests and interests. But this augments a more fundamental capability: human content navigation, including but not limited to search.

In the world of work, I believe it's incredibly valuable to capture and connect the natural objects of your attention and interest, including tasks, projects, work product, relevant discussion, related references even if you're standing in for Siri or Google Now.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's Acme tasks, projects and work should pop up near the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about tasks, projects and other related to the Acme account and its associated activity streams.

The important requirement is making tasks, projects, pages, discussions and other work products first class sharable, named objects that can be connected to each other and what you're working on, discussed, tagged, tasked, and navigated as well as found using search. Being able to talk about tasks and projects relating to Acme captures one important part of your interest and behavior graph (activity stream), and links these items to the names and behavior of other people working with or discussing the same objects.

The objects and connections made in the context of work are more reliable than connections that need to be inferred from your behavior - and they're available now, including the ability to connect tasks, projects, pages and discussion in TeamPage and files, discussion, email and SQL databases in your external systems of record. They record valuable context for Siri and Google Now when used at work - but there's no reason to wait to get started.

Related

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work

Intertwingled Work

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Traction TeamPage: Connected Work

TeamPage Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects

Lost Roots of Project Management: Think Agile that Scales

April 25, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

The Manhattan Project, Atlas and Polaris projects cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management didn't use that model; new high innovation projects shouldn't either. Think Agile that Scales. A fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".

Launch of an Atlas B intercontinental ballistic missile - Wikipedia USAF photo

Lost Roots : How Project Management Settled on the Phased Approach (and compromised its ability to lead change in modern enterprises) 
Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch, 2009/59/TOM
INSTEAD Research Working Paper

Quoting from Introduction:

“Modern” Project Management is often said to have begun with the Manhattan Project (to develop the nuclear bomb in the 1940s), and PM techniques to have been developed during the ballistic missile projects (Atlas and Polaris) in the 1950s. The Manhattan Project “certainly displayed the principles of organization, planning and direction that typify the modern,management of projects.” “The Manhattan Project exhibited the principles of organization, planning, and direction that influenced the development of standard practices for managing projects.

This characterization of the roots of PM represents a certain irony – the Manhattan Project did not even remotely correspond to the “standard practice” associated with PM today, and both the Manhattan and the first ballistic missile projects fundamentally violated the phased project life cycle: both applied a combination of trial-and-error and parallel-trials approaches in order to “stretch the envelope”, that is, to achieve outcomes considered impossible at the outset.

However, the Project-Management discipline has now so deeply committed itself to a control-oriented phased approach that the thought of using trial-and-error makes professional managers feel ill at ease. In our seminars, experienced project managers react with distaste to the violation of sound principles of phased control when they are told the real story of the Manhattan Project (or other ambitious and uncertain projects). The discipline seems to have lost its roots of enabling “push the envelope” initiatives, de facto focusing on controllable run-of- the-mill projects instead.

How could this happen? And does it matter? In this paper we describe how the discipline lost its roots and we argue that it matters a great deal: it has prevented the project management discipline from taking center stage in the increasingly important efforts of organizations to carry out strategic changes and innovation.

Related

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - The social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you

Intertwingled Work - Scalable like the Web

Ada Lovelace Day | Sunita Williams, Astronaut and Captain U.S. Navy

October 16, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAda Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. This year I've chosen to write about Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut and US Navy Captain currently commanding Expedition 33 on the International Space Station. I hope young women reading about Ada Lovelace Day now are encouraged by her example to pursue their dreams where ever they may lead - here on Earth or as the first Earthling to set foot on Mars.

Captain Williams graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 with a B.S. Degree in physical science and was designated a US Naval Aviator in 1989. She served as a helicopter combat support officer and officer in charge of a H-46 detachment for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations before being selected for NASA's Astronaut Training program in 1998. She served as crew for on International Space Station Expedition 14, setting new records for female astronauts in space (195 days) and spacewalk EVAs.

On July 14 2012 Captain Williams launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome to join ISS Expedition 32 as Flight Engineer and Expedition 33 as Commander. On Aug 6, 2012 she and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide completed a pair of spacewalks totaling more than fourteen hours to install a balky Main Bus Switching Unit, bringing her total EVA time for six spacewalks to over 44 hours. She is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers. Read Captain Williams' Why Did I Become an Astronaut interview for her personal story. Follow @Astro_Suni on Twitter.

Image

Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free), and enjoy more of their adventures on author Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Previous years

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab 2011

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner 2010

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU 2009

Remembering Neil Armstrong...

August 26, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong, The Engineered Century. I was sad to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong on 25 August 2012. I'll always remember meeting Armstrong at an event for high school science students in the spring of 1966. He'll be remembered forever as the first person to set foot on the Moon on 29 July 1969. He coolly navigated the lunar lander to the surface despite computer alarms, avoiding rocks at the planned site, and landing with gauges showing about 20 seconds of fuel left. But that wasn't his only close call as an astronaut. In March 1966 Armstrong and David Scott successfully returned Gemini VIII to earth after a runaway thruster spun the Gemini and attached Agena target vehicle to a roll rate of about 300 degrees per second, making chances of recovery "very remote".

Armstrong and Scott were scheduled for a brief question and answer session at the Pennsylvania state science museum auditorium in Harrisburg - squeezed between astronaut meet and greet events for the Governor and state legislators a few blocks away. A handful of high school students and their science teachers from local schools were invited to the event on short notice. I was lucky to be selected by my high school physics teacher, who knew I was a space nut - before geek came into general use. There were a few hundred students, teachers, and a small number of reporters and photographers in the auditorium for the afternoon event.

A state official welcomed Armstrong and Scott, invited them to tell us about the Gemini VII mission, and cautioned that they'd only have a few minutes for questions before they had to move on to the next event. Armstrong and Scott thanked everyone for showing up on short notice, made a few brief remarks on the mission, and opened the floor for questions.

All hands went up. A local science teacher was the first person recognized - not Mr. Sault my physics teacher. He asked how they as astronauts would justify the time and treasure that the US spent on the space program. His question was a long, slow, philosophical speech. All the kids groaned and mumbled. Armstrong diplomatically summarized NASA's mission and suggested that although as a citizen he enthusiastically supported NASA's mission, astronauts executed policy, but didn't make it.

The next question went to the pudgy kid with glasses and camera jumping up and down in the tenth row - me. Maybe it seemed like a safe bet. Before the talk I reviewed everything I could read and remember about the mission and had my question prepared. Most of us in the room remembered when the spin began at about 4pm the afternoon of the 19 March 1966 launch since the launch and significant events like the Agena docking were covered on live TV, and of course we watched. So: 1) What in your training and experience enabled you to diagnose and recover so quickly? 2) How far along was the mission debrief and investigation? 3) Could you share any insights on the thruster issue and changes to avoid similar problems?

I got a smile and a nod from Neil. Armstrong and Scott ran out the short time remaining on the clock with a crisp summary and discussion on the thruster problem, test pilot skills, and new training procedures, which they enjoyed as much as we did. When Armstrong and Aldrin ran into issues on Apollo descent and landing I felt confident it would work out.

On Saturday 25 Aug his family posted: "Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

They continue:

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” - The family of Neil A. Armstrong, 25 Aug 2012

I hope this sky isn't cloudy, since I plan to spend some time looking at the moon. And winking.

A few links and references on the life and times of Neil Armstrong, including several that aren't so common. I strongly recommend his NASA Oral History project interview.

The Engineered Century - Neil Armstrong, National Academy of Engineering, Spring 2000, The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering. Edited version of remarks to the National Press Club, 20 Feb 2000

Neil A. Armstrong (1930 - 2012) - From the family of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong | 1930 - 2012: Made 'Giant Leap' as First Man to Step on Moon - John Noble Witford's New York Times obituary, 25 Aug 2012

Gemini VIII Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Apollo XI Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Lunar Landing Guidance Equations - Part of the source code for the Lunar Module's (LM) Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), for Apollo 11. From the Virtual AGC and AGS emulation project

Oral History Transcript Neil A. Armstrong, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. Interview by Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose and Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Houston, Texas - 19 Sep 2001 (pdf 106pp)

Catalog of NASA Oral History Collections - NASA Headquarters and Field Centers

Anti-Social Software

July 17, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIt's common to read about corporate culture as a big barrier to successful adoption and use of social software in business. It's easy to understand people's reluctance to change and adopt a new way of working. There are many good reasons to be wary of the promised benefits of change if you don't have relevant direct experience ("I've used this and it works"), clear examples, trust in your organization, and trust in your leadership. Books like Jacob Morgan's new The Collaborative Organization offer great practical guidance, examples, and answers to important questions. However, most social business advice makes a common and good-natured assumption that your organization is healthy - or at least has good intentions - but is just hard to convince. That's not always true.

The culture of some organizations ranges from ineffectual to poisonous, and it's difficult to turn such organizations around. I believe social software can be an amplifier of behavior - bad or good. A list of patterns of behavior to avoid comes from an interesting source: the January 1944 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Simple Sabotage Field Manual No. 3 (declassified in 2008). I tip my hat to Michael Cooney for his July 13 2012 Network World story: CIA: Five particularly timeless tips from the Simple Sabotage Field Manual which includes Michael's own selection of quotes and a link to the newly released manual.

The purpose of the manual was to educate people in World War II occupied countries on techniques for simple sabotage, performed by ordinary citizens with no special training or equipment. In addition to physical sabotage, the manual offers suggestions on General Interference with Organizations and Production which should be read as an anti-pattern for Enterprise 2.0 behavior and methods.

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

OSS Field Manual No. 3
17 Jan 1944

1. INTRODUCTION

a. The purpose of this paper is to characterize simple sabotage, to outline its possible effects, and to present suggestions for inciting and executing it.

b. Sabotage varies from highly technical coup de main acts that require detailed planning and the use of specially trained operatives, to innumerable simple acts which the ordinary individual citizen-saboteur can perform. This paper is primarily concerned with the latter type. Simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.

c. Where destruction is involved, the weapons of the citizen-saboteur are salt, nails, candles, pebbles, thread, or any other materials he might normally be expected to possess as a householder or as a worker in his particular occupation. His arsenal is the kitchen shelf, the trash pile, his own usual kit of tools and supplies. The targets of his sabotage are usually objects to which he has normal and inconspicuous access in everyday life.

d. A second type of simple sabotage requires no destructive tools whatsoever and produces physical damage, if any, by highly indirect means. It is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt a non-cooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit. Making a faulty decision may be simply a matter of placing tools in one spot instead of another. A non-cooperative attitude may involve nothing more than creating an unpleasant situation among one's fellow workers, engaging in bickerings, or displaying surliness and stupidity.

...

11. General Interference with Organizations and Production

(a) Organizations and Conferences

(1) Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

(2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

(7) Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision - raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

(b) Managers and Supervisors

(1) Demand written orders.

(2) "Misunderstand" orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.

(3) Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don't deliver it until it is completely ready.

(4) Don't order new working materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.

(5) Order high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don't get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.

(6) In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.

(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least fiaw. Approve other defective parts whose fiaws are not visible to the naked eye.

(8) Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.

(9) When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.

(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

(12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.

(13) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.

(14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.

(c) Office Workers

(1) Make mistakes in quantities of material when you are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.

(2) Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.

(3) Misfile essential documents.

(4) In making carbon copies, make one too few, so that an extra copying job will have to be done.

(5) Tell important callers the boss is busy or talking on another telephone.

(6) Hold up mail until the next collection.

(7) Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.

(d) Employees

(1) Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.

(2) Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lath or punch, take needless time to do it. If you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary. Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.

(3) Even it you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.

(4) Pretend that instructions are hard to understand, and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.

(5) Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

(6) Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

(7) Snarl up administration in every possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.

(8) If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.

(9) Misroute materials.

(10) Mix good parts with unusable scrap and rejected parts.

12. General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion

(a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.

(b) Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.

(c) Act stupid.

(d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

(e) Misunderstand all sorts of regulations concerning such matters as rationing, transportation, traffic regulations.

(f) Complain against ersatz materials.

(g) In public treat axis nationals or quislings coldly.

(h) Stop all conversation when axis nationals or quislings enter a cafe.

(i) Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.

(j) Boycott all movies, entertainments, concerts, newspapers which are in any way connected with the quisling authorities.

(k) Do not cooperate in salvage schemes.

Strategic Services Field Manual No. 3

17 January 1944
OSS William J. Donovan Director
Declassified 2 April 2008
Download the full manual (.pdf) from the CIA.gov unclassified news archive.

"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed."

July 11, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed," writes New York Times columnist Nick Bilton - not pictured on right - in his July 8, 2012 Bits column, Disruptions: Life's Too Short for So Much Email. He's cranky just because he received 6,000 emails this month, not including spam and daily deals. Nick says: "With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace."

Nick continues: "Last year, Royal Pingdom, which monitors Internet usage, said that in 2010, 107 trillion e-mails were sent. A report this year from the Radicati Group, a market research firm, found that in 2011, there were 3.1 billion active e-mail accounts in the world. The report noted that, on average, corporate employees sent and received 105 e-mails a day. Sure, some of those e-mails are important. But 105 a day?" Please read his entire column for a lively piece of Nick's mind on the subject.

Email is OK for incoming introductions and disposible notifications, but when you try to use email for collaboration, multiple To: addresses turn it into something like the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera.

Add the Cc: line and give up all hope! In 2008 Google engineer Kevin Marks referred to email as a "strange legacy idea" for the younger generation. I call it tragicomically inept for collaboration.

In 2003 Clay Shirky said: "All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners."

From my 2008 blog post Email isn't dead - It's only sleeping

See Clay Shirky, Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (pdf)

Caroline McCarthy, The future of Web apps will see the death of e-mail, CNet.com, Feb 29, 2008

Modern social software is now being widely adopted as an alterative to email collaboration, based on a pattern that Doug Engelbart recognized long ago, see Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal.

May I suggest Traction TeamPage?

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