Should Small Business Give Twitter A Twirl?
As someone who has heard about Web 2.0, but never really “got it”, I am now on a journey of Web 2.0 discovery.
The article listed above is good. At least I know now, that I am not alone.
Should Small Business Give Twitter A Twirl?
As someone who has heard about Web 2.0, but never really “got it”, I am now on a journey of Web 2.0 discovery.
The article listed above is good. At least I know now, that I am not alone.
It was a warm evening. Not a pleasant warm, but a sticky, humid, clammy warm where you feel like someone had soaked their woollen socks in a hot bath and then wrapped them around your head.
The phone rang. After a quick shot of whatever was in the cup on my desk, I picked up the receiver. There was a dame’s voice on the other end, and it sounded like there was trouble. I took another swig from my cup, and inched closer to the open window.
The dame was upset.
She introduced herself as Trudy, and started to tell me what was wrong. Her voice was like a poorly tuned violin. But then, I was in no place to be critical – my voice wasn’t gonna win any beauty contests, either. She told me that the search engine at the place where she worked, (some high-class lawyers outfit) was holding out on her, and she wanted me to find out why.
My name is Killa Hertz, and this was my sort of case.
Pulling my jacket on, I headed for my car. I knew that it was gonna be a long day…
The drive up-town was exciting as porridge. I went over the details in my head like a tommy gun being fired by a madman. It didn’t make sense.
I pulled into the only open space in front of the building where Trudy worked, I looked around. Nothing looked out of place. I went inside. The place was air-conditioned, and there were groups of men in suits huddled together like sardines sitting at an AA meeting. I could smell the panic.
Trudy met me in the foyer, and we sidled into a small conference room. “Tell me the specifics” I said to her…
to be continued…
… Part 2
Ha! I was impressed by this article:
They could have also called it “A Guy in a T-shirt with a Good idea”.
I have just read the most amazing ebook about using Backchannels while giving a presentation.
A backchannel is that communication that takes place that aside from the main channel of communication. In this case, it refers to the discussions and feedback that happen (usually via Twitter, etc) by the audience of a presentation.
The eBook is by Olivia Mitchell (@OliviaMitchell). The book is chocka full of really, great advice about making use of a backchannel when making a presentation. (In fact the name of the book is How to Present with Twitter and other backchannels“)
Olivia starts off describing how Twitter has changed presentations. Namely, members of the audience have a way of sharing their opinions of the presentation, tweeting what is said in the opinions, or even giving feedback to the presenter.
She describes the benefits of using Twitter during a presentation for both the audience, and the presenter. For the audience this includes increasing the content of the presentation (users can add explanations, etc), virtual participation, and it provides a form of collaborative note-taking. The presenter, on the other hand gets immediate feedback and can make adjustments, as well as the fact that what is being presented is being spread beyond the confines of the conference hall, and the people physically present.
As well as describing the “psychological” preparation that needs to be done (especially if you are new to using Twitter in a presentation), Olivia gives great advice on how to use Twitter – the use of hashtags (including the value of creating a specific hashtag), the tools that allow the twitter stream to be displayed, and ways to respond to different types of tweets.
One great tip is to make sure the phrases and sentences that you are using in your presentation are “twitterable”. That is make sure that the length of the sentences is “twitter-friendly”. A Tweet can be 140 characters long. Take into account:
Then make sure that the sentence/phrase does not use more characters than 140 – the number of characters used by things such as the hashtag (mentioned above), the letters RT (for ReTweet), your twitter name, etc.
Also in the book, Olivia give an excellent review of the various tools that are available. I strongly recommend that you grab a copy of this book. What is really incredible is that it’s free to download! Here’s the link to Olivia’s website:
In 2008 I became aware of CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Standard), and started following its progress (from afar). I knew that several big players in the ECM world were pushing CMIS, and that it would allow interoperability between different repositories. (I blogged about CMIS in an earlier post.)
However, I never really understood how CMIS worked on a technical level. I know that there is a plethora of content about how CMIS worked, but, not having a BIG brain, I had a tendency to jump in at the deep end, and almost drown in the information that was available.
This has changed (a little bit). I’ve just watched several short YouTube videos. One in which Dr David Choy (Chair of the OASIS CMIS TC and a member of EMC’s CTO staff) discusses the technology behind CMIS, and another where Jignesh Shah (Product Manager for EMC’s DFC technology) talks about the application of CMIS. (Links to these are at the bottom of the page.)
… I made notes! Here they are:
Mark’s small Brain Notes on CMIS
CMIS Technology Primer
What is it?
A proposal from EMC, IBM & Microsoft developed in collaboration with OpenText, Oracle, Alfresco and SAP to provide an inter- operability standard to allow a generic application to access different content repositories without product-specific interface code.
Why is it needed?
Many companies are running disparate repositories from different vendors. This can be, for example, because each repository offers specific functionality that a specific business unit within the company makes use of, or that the company has acquired the content store/repository through the purchase of, or merger with, another company. Having a standard that allows an application to access each repository (regardless of which product the application belongs to) allows the Enterprise to make full use of the information that it has.
How does it do that?
CMIS offers a Service Oriented Infrastructure (CMIS APIs) that an application can use to access the content from each repository. This means that an application does not have to worry about how to communicate with the repository – just the CMIS APIs.
Design points for CMIS
The design goals were: – platform independent, programming language independent, protocol independent. – easy to lay on top of existing repository (cannot be complex – the data model should be able to sit on top of existing repositories so that the data model and behaviour match that of the repository.
What isn’t it?
CMIS is not a full-function interface to explore the priority functionality of priority content management systems. It provides, however, core functionality that is common to all CMS products that are on the market today.
What does CMIS consist of?
1. An abstract data model that describes the content stored in the different repositories. It is a generic model that can be easily mapped to different priority applications.
2. Set of abstract services that allow an application to access the content stored in a repository.
3. Two web binding protocols. These allows the CMIS’ generic services to be made available via the web to an application regardless of the specific protocol used by the CMS.
The web binding protocols currently used are: * SOAP * REST using APP Additional protocols may be supported in the future.
= Predefined object types =
There are 4 object types defined by CMIS, Each has an immutable object_id.
1. Document – represents elementary asset that is stored in the repository (document, image file, video, etc). Document objects can be versioned, and are searchable.
2. Folder – container object – can contain other objects (including folders, thus folder hierarchy is also possible). Document objects can be stored in multiple folders (multi-filing). Document objects can also be “unfiled” (orphaned) – that is they do not reside in a folder.
3. Relationship objects – Represents binary relationship between two other objects. The relationship can have its own properties.
4. Policy Object – administrative policy that may be applied to other objects. (E.g. content retention policy)
| FOLDER |
| * Content | * Container | | * Metadata | * Hierarchy/Filing | | * Version History | * Metadata | | | | | ————– | |————–| META MODEL | ————| | ————– | | | | | RELATIONSHIP | POLICY | | * Source | * Target | | * Target | | | | |
=========================================== = Basic Services = i) Access
CMIS provide basic services to access these 4 objects – CRUD Create Retrieve Update Delete Applies to all 4 types of objects A repository can create subtypes using the above 4 basic types Basic services also apply to sub-types.
CMIS also allows services to apply a policy on an object, (effectively placing an object under the control of an administrative policy). ii) Query capability CMIS allows for the querying of objects.
The CMIS Data Model consists of object type definitions. The object types define the schema. (The schema is effectively a set-up of properties for each object).
On top of the model, a Relational View is defined.
A property in a data model will appear as a column in a table. On top of that a subset of SQL92 is used. This can be used to search against the relational view. This was extended to be able to – do FullText searching, as well as – searches on multi-value properties. (Each column in a relational view is single-value, however in content management a property can sometimes have multi- ple values) – ability to limit search within a particular folder, or folder tree
Thus – two basic functions: 1. CRUD 2. Query
This allows a generic application to access repositories without writing repository-specific code.
Dr David Choy’s video discussing the Technology behind CMIS
Jignesh Shah video discussing application scenarios of CMIS
Alfresco’s – Getting Started with CMIS
Gene pointed out that each social software system had three or more of these elements (but not necessarily all of the elements).
Using Gene’s list I decided to do a case study where I analyse a fictional document management system, and see how it measures up.
The Company: Wet Cleaver Dry Goods
Background: Wet Cleaver Dry Goods designs and manufactures ready-to-wear clothing for farmers. This includes rain wear, winter clothing, informal dress clothing, hats, gloves, etc.
It has factories in three different countries. It uses an Oracle-based Content Management system to store and manage, clothing designs, as well as operating procedures, sales information, customer feedback, and press releases, etc. Designs and patterns are sensitive and need to be tracked. Operating Procedures need to follow a Review process before being available for use. Press Releases need to be routed to the appropriate managers for sign-off before being released, and customer feedback has to be routed to the appropriate department heads. Security is applied to the documents ensuring that they can only be edited by members of each particular department. Each user has an Active Directory account, and a matching account in the CMS. Exchange is used for e-mails.
To provide users with a more “accessible” interface, SharePoint 2007 has been used to create a Portal. Each department has it’s own site which is populated with special web parts that provides access to the documents in the Oracle-based Content Management system, as well as its native functions.
Each web site has been designed by the IT department, based on discussion with the end-users to meet the “requirements” the department the site is intended for. SharePoint groups have been created for each department and populated with the users’ active directory accounts. Each site is secured so that only members of each department can access the related site, and, to ensure that a consistent look-and-feel is maintained, as well as to reduce support issues, the users do not have the right to create new sites themselves, or to customise the sites (“My Sites”). If users from different departments need to work on a document together, a SharePoint site is created along with a SharePoint document library. The required documents are placed in the document library by the CMS administrators, and specific users are granted access to the site. Further to this, a SharePoint Search Center has been created, and with the use of a special protocol handler, is able to index the contents of the oracle-based CMS. Users, however, are only able to find documents that they have rights to.
A separate SharePoint site has been set up to store FAQs, lists of who is in each department, etc.
Analysis: Does this system have three, or more (or any) of the elements that Gene listed? Lets have a look…
Something else that Gene had done in his post was to create a social software honeycomb. That is, each element was represented by a hexagon. Then each hexagon was shaded depending on whether the particular system supported the social element.
Looking at the Document Management system of Wet Cleaver Dry Goods, the honeycomb would look like this:
Clearly this system does not contain three, or more, of Gene’s social elements.
In a (much) later post I will present a number of ways this system can be made more “sociable”.
Interesting moment last week.
I was involved with the setting up of a taxonomy for the storage of existing Engineering documentation (CAD drawings, project documentation etc.). BlueCielo‘s Meridian CMS would be used to manage CAD (and related) documentation. The Meridian system stores all engineering documents in a “read-only” area. If an existing document needed is to be worked on, it is moved into a “work area”.
As well as managing the engineering documents, the main goal was also to make it easier for documents to be located, and re-used.
An app would be used that would allow a user to perform a search on specific properties. I was sitting in a conference room with a project manager, and a “business user”, and we were trying to determine which metadata would be used.
At one point, the discussion focused on the piece of metadata called “project”. Each CAD diagram produced was produced for a particular project, with a specific project number, and this number was recorded in the title block of the CAD Drawing . “Great” we thought. That is something that can be captured, and then searched for. The Business User spoke up and said “Well, an existing CAD drawing can actually be used in other projects.” OK – that shouldn’t be a problem. We assumed that the project number would be updated as appropriate. No – the Business User advised us that normally, a copy of the technical drawing would be taken. The drawing would be modified, and then the modified drawing would be saved.
“So” we asked “no-one changes the Project number?” No – it turns out that the modified drawing is merely placed in a folder that has the number of the project as its name, along with other documents used in the particular project. Thus it was the folder, that the documents were in, that defined whether they related to a particular project regardless of the project number that was included on the document itself.
So here we had an interesting situation. Coming from the IT/consulting side I found it hard to understand why the project number in the title block on the drawing was not updated. That was an identifying piece of metadata. On the other hand, the business user was adamant that this was not standard practice. So what should be done?
The first, and most obvious, solution that I and the Project Manager came up with was to get the person modifying the drawing to change the project number at the same time.Even though this seemed logical, it did mean forcing the user to change their process. Was that really necessary?
A second option was that the “Business Administrator” (the person administering the system at a business level), could modify the project number on the document after the modified drawing was re-introduced into the system.This meant more work for the Administrator and was risky. It required constantly monitoring the system.
The third solution was to automate it. When the CAD drawing was moved out of the Read-Only area, and placed in the “work area”, it was placed in a folder specifically for that project. At this stage, the system could be automated so that it reads the name of the folder (i.e. the project number) and then updates that piece of metadata in the drawing. The company installing the application, (Greenock), advised us that this would not be a problem.
So – even though the modifying of the project number in an engineering diagram seems like something that an end-user should do, to change that means that the user has to change to suit the technology. Option 3 is what should happen. Technology has to be modified to suit the user.
I’m reading a fascinating post by Robert Paterson at the moment about the learning, and the difference between natural, and mechanistic, learning. While natural learning is something done as part of life, the other separates learning from life (in a manner of speaking).
You can read more on Mr Paterson’s blog: http://smartpei.typepad.com/robert_patersons_weblog/2005/01/design_natural_.html.
Just the other day the e20 Tweetjam was held. This was a online discussion about Enterprise 2.0, and it was done completely using Twitter. I was not able to take part in the conversation, but Bryant Duhon, who organised the tweetjam has posted the transcript from the session.
The first thing that he mentions is that he had created a “Wordle” of the discussion. This is a cool site that makes a word cloud from a given text.
I had a look at the site and have also created a Wordle of this blog (at the time that this Post was created).
You can see it here: http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/2152912/markjowen.wordpress.com
For many, many, many years I was anti iPod and anti iTunes. I always loved listening to university lectures and teaching programmes using my mp3 player, but it didn’t matter which one it was (as long as I didn’t have to fumble with the buttons while I was on the treadmill at the gym (yes – I know – I listen to lectures about philosophy, history, art while I’m working out!)
Anyway – with an iPod, the thing was I hated was the idea that I had to use iTunes to get all my content. Everything I had was on my hard drive.
Then a funny thing happened. I won an iPod Touch. (While attending an EMC Documentum Momentum conference, I entered a competition at the Solfit booth.) Initially I was ecstatic just for the fact that I won something. Then I started thinking – “What am I going to do with this thing?”
I loaded the mandatory iTunes (much to my chagrin) and then it began. I started to really, really love the iPod Touch. Of course, the iPod Touch is the iPhone without the phone (or camera), and as such I could run iPhone/iPod apps. Way Cool! I could view my e-mail, look at my LinkedIn contacts, read books. Even Doom ran on the iPod Touch! Quickly it became almost impossible to see me without the thing. (Much to my wife’s despair.)
Recently we were planning a trip to the other side of the world to visit my parents. I knew my Dad would really love to see what the iPod could do, and how you could look at photos, etc. As such I loaded up the iPod with all sorts of things that would allow me to demonstrate it in its full glory. And also with books and other entertainment that would keep me busy during the 24 hour flight.
Then, on the day we left, on the way to the airport, I realised that I had left the thing on the sofa at home! There wasn’t time to go back and get it so I bit the bullet and tried to accept that my iPod was not with me. This was, initially, very hard. I was an iPod junkie, and needed my regular fix.
Quicker than I had expected, I discovered that life without the iPod was possible. I did other things (talking with my wife for example). I tried to describe the iPod to my parents, but realised that, in reality, they were not going to be jumping up and down enthusiastically about it anyway.
After 3 weeks sans iPod, i found the relationship between me and the iPod had changed. We still loved each other, but it was no longer that starry-eyed, puppy love. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore to cradle the iPod and try the different colours of the Flashlight application, or to kill a few monsters. I would say that the relationship now is more “balanced”. There isn’t that dependency anymore.
I’ve recently installed Reporting Services 2005. (I know – it’s an older version.) This was to allow some of my users to create KPI reports for Project Server use.
I used SQL Server Reporting Services, briefly, about 4 years ago at a client site, but haven’t touched it for a long time. Thus my knowledge was very rusty.
Thinking that I could install it, and then start merrily creating reports, I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case. I had a look at the Books Online for SQL Server Reporting Services, but this was really jumping in the deep end – I just ended up getting confused.
So that’s when I turned to the Microsoft Level 200 training webcasts. Even though these were made back in 2006, I found them really valuable. The presenter Susan Wisowaty does a really great job.
There are 6 webcasts and I have watched the first three (Introduction, Report Designer, and Report Builder). Reporting Services seems like an excellent app, and I’m really keen to do more with it.
The main problem that I had from the beginning is that, from my PC, I was not seeing the “Report Builder” button. Logged onto the report server it worked, but this wouldn’t be handy for the power users that wanted to create the reports. This is where I had turned to the Books Online (and got swamped).
The training videos are really good, but each one is about an hour long. After watching the first three I still couldn’t work out why the “Report Builder” button was not displaying. I didn’t have another 3+ hours to watch the rest of the videos, but now I had a better understanding of Reporting Services. So back to Books Online. This time I looked at the Tutorials. And there in Lesson 1, it explained exactly what I needed to do. I hadn’t added the users at the System-level!
Once this had been done (the users were given the System User role), the Report Builder icon magically appeared!
I’ll still be finishing the three remaining videos (Report Delivery, Administration, Extending) though.
Investigating the best way to monitor SharePoint’s Search processes using Windows Perfmon.