A Fabric, not a Platform

ImageApple and Google are competing to build a fabric that connects everything you own and use, working outward from the globally meshed supercomputer you carry in your pocket. Both apply deep learning technology to AI assistants, and are opening up their AIs and bots to other apps, bots, and cloud services. This richly connected fabric makes bots useful and AI assistants valuable by teaching them how to identify objects you're talking about as well as understand what you want done. The same applies at work. Making this happen requires a shift from the traditional definition of a platform to a fabric which makes it possible to connect people and the actionable objects they use, in context.

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Introducing impi! - Pierre Bienvenüe

ImageI'm happy to introduce Pierre Bienvenüe, founder of impi Business Improvement Solutions Pty, a South African business improvement firm and TeamPage solution partner since 2012. Pierre has great experience in helping mid-size companies organize and run effective quality improvement programmes. impi! works with clients as partners from concept definition, initial rollout, through improvement of the quality program itself. Pierre has worked with Traction Software and clients to develop templates, plug-in extensions, and a methodology for using TeamPage to support the impi! business improvement model, with solid results to report. This post is an introduction. You'll hear more from Pierre as an expert guest blogger on this page, in Traction Software's TeamPage customer forums (free registration), and across the web.

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Chris Nuzum Hyperkult XXV Video | Tripping Up Memory Lane

ImageWatch this video of Chris Nuzum's Tripping Up Memory Lane talk at Hyperkult 2015, University of Lüneburg, 10 July 2015. Traction Software CTO and co-founder Chris Nuzum reviews hypertext history, his experience as a hypertext practitioner, and the core principles of Traction TeamPage.

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Daily Report 日報 = Observable Work: Takashi Okutsu

ImageTakashi Okutsu of Traction Software's Japanese Business Office recently posted an update to his Daily Report TeamPage plugin. Takashi writes: "In some Japanese companies, it is common to look back what an employee did in the day, write a summary, and submit it to his/her boss. This is called "日報" (daily report or daily journal) and it's a way of sharing information between employees and bosses in the hierarchy. If you are interested in the ways of business in Japanese companies, you may find this blog post interesting." This example of Observable Work is very simple to understand and use. Quality Management and other TeamPage solutions follow the same pattern. Update 18 July 2016: See DailyReports.biz for information about Traction Software Japan's new dedicated Daily Report solution, including a live demonstration, pricing, feature summary and frequently asked questions.

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Shaka, When the Walls Fell

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Original Traction Product Proposal

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I hope you'll enjoy reading the original Traction Product Proposal, dated October 1997. Many early Traction concepts carried over directly to the Teampage product first commercially released in July 2002, but we've also learned a lot since then - as you might hope! The quotes still make me smile. The Proposal and Annotated References may be helpful to students interested in the history and evolution of hypertext.

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Teampage hypertext journal: Design concepts, by Takashi Okutsu

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Takashi Okutsu of Traction Software's Japanese Business Office wrote a blog post, Teampage hypertext journal: Design concepts. Starting from Chris Nuzum's Tripping Up Memory Lane presentation, Takashi explains how TeamPage's append-only journal models editable content, links, and relationships − while maintaining a full audit trail. See this Google English translation.

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

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.

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My Part Wor ks

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 ]

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Enterprise 2.0 - Are we there yet?

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."

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Ada Lovelace Day | Emmy Noether, Mathematician

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:

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Named Data Networking - Boffin Alert

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.

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Linked, Open, Heterogeneous

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:

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Thought Vectors - Ted Nelson: Art not Technology

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.

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Meet Takashi Okutsu: Director, Traction Software Japanese Business Office

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.

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Thought Vectors - What Motivated Doug Engelbart

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

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Reinventing the Web II

ImageUpdated 19 Jun 2016 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.

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Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter

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:

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Continuity and Intertwingled Work

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 enables you to continue what you're doing across devices and applications by securely encapsulating your identity and the context of your action as an object. From picking up a draft email message started on an iPhone and continuing work with that draft on your Mac, to answering an 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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style

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.

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

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.

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Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

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.

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