Friday, July 31, 2009

Jeff Jonas - Data Finds Data

Jeff Jonas has just linked to a chapter he and Lisa Sokol have written for a new O'Reilly book Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions.

His chapter is called Data Finds Data and is well worth a read.

It reflects his approach that data and queries should be combined and both considered content. E.g. if I did a search yesterday for “stuff” and found nothing & today some info on stuff arrives, then yesterday’s query is actually ‘content’, and today’s data should be a query that finds yesterdays search (mind-boggling recursion-like magic happens here).

I met Jeff when he was in town a while ago. He is passionate and enthuisatic about data anaysis and discovery - and his ideas are worth exploring.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Book - Search User Interfaces

This book by Marti Hearst presents the state of the art of search interface design, based on both academic research and deployment in commercial systems.

Topics include:
  • How to Design Search User Interfaces
  • How to Evaluate Search User Interfaces
  • Models of the Information Seeking Process
  • Search Interfaces Fundamentals, including:
    • Query Specification
    • Presentation of Search Results
    • Query Reformulation
  • Advanced Topics, including:
    • Integrating Navigation with Search
    • Personalization in Search
    • Information Visualization and Search
    • Mobile Search
    • Social Search
    • Multimedia Search
This book will be available on paper in September, but is available to be read online, free of charge. Read it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The US Federal IT Dashboard

The IT Dashboard provides the public with an online window into the details of Federal information technology investments and provides users with the ability to track the progress of investments over time. The IT Dashboard displays data received from agency reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), including general information on over 7,000 Federal IT investments and detailed data for nearly 800 of those investments that agencies classify as "major." The performance data used to track the 800 major IT investments is based on milestone information displayed in agency reports to OMB called "Exhibit 300s." Agency CIOs are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a monthly basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided on the website.

And now there is an IT Dashboard Blog.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

SharePoint Governance Workshop

From Craig Roth's description of Burton Group's one day SharePoint Governance Workshop:
Governance is the largest section of the workshop, but I also want to point out the 'SharePoint as an enterprise solution' section which applies an ITIL v3 model to SharePoint to structure our advice on offering SharePoint as a service rather than just dumping raw infrastructure on your users and divisional IT departments.
Can you imagine an organisation dumping SharePoint on users and letting them fend for themselves?

Surely, it would never happen.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ce n'est pas une Gazelle

This Microsoft Research News entry - When Is a Browser Not a Browser? points us to their Gazelle research paper written by Helen J. Wang et al. It includes this curious paragraph (those are my italics) :
Wang is quick to dismiss various news articles that refer to “the Gazelle browser” as if it were a product prototype. Although the idea of a browser operating system undoubtedly caught the imagination of technical press and bloggers, she stresses that Gazelle is strictly research. In fact, the Gazelle project is just another milestone, admittedly a significant one, in an ongoing effort to prove a concept Wang and several of her colleagues have been pursuing for years.
The trouble is, the paper is called 'The Multi-Principal OS Construction of the Gazelle Web Browser'.

Sounds like the various news articles that refer to 'the Gazelle browser' looked at the title of the research paper and made a reasonable inference to me.

We might have a while to wait......

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Google Chrome OS and Apple

It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to Chrome OS.

Microsoft will trot out Gazelle with their classic 'we are already working on the future, so don't you worry your heads about anyone else's products'. However they'll have to spend the next year working on Windows 7 SP1 and continuing to recover from the Vista hangover.

Given ChromeOS now puts Google in the netbookspace, will Apple choose to compete now - as they have so far chosen not to do. I wonder whether Apple already had a September '09 or January '10 netbook/iBook product announcement planned. If not, they now have a window before the second half of next year to shape the agenda.

Fake Steve on Google Chrome OS

Fake Steve says Let's all take a deep breath and get some perspective:
So everyone is worked up about this new browser operating system from Google. Drudge apparently has gone off his meds again and calls it a 'death blow' to the Borg. No spinning red light, but still, pretty over the top. I guess it's supposedly going to destroy us too -- like we're some kind of collateral damage. Man oh man. Where to begin?
Funny and to the point, as usual. Do yourself a favour...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Software Needs Its Own Bauhaus Movement

Brian Prentice from Gartner says Software Needs Its Own Bauhaus Movement:
One of the key perspectives of the Bauhaus movement was a rejection of the superficial ornamentation so commonly found in the arts, crafts and architecture of the 19th century. In its place emerged streamlined, minimalist design forms meant to capture the essence of an objects purpose.

But what happens when functionality becomes superficial ornamentation? By extension, form must also ultimately fail. That is exactly the dilemma facing the software industry.
I like the linking of the Bauhaus movement to what has been happening in some corners of the ICT world. Most people could point to examples such as iPhone, Google Chrome, Pam Pre and Twitter of honed and focussed software.

I think the constraints created by having to deliver to a smaller form factor or a simpler programming model enables a re-thinking of the 'fat client' app. You don't hear terms such as 'bloatware' in these contexts.

It will be interesting to see how thin and focussed Google's just-announced Chrome OS will be.

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Read the latest Google blog post - Introducing the Google Chrome OS
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Twitter your Flickr directly from Flickr

The Flickr Blog now tells us that Flickr now supports posting to Twitter (as just another type of blog post).

Mike Gotta on Social Graph Engines

Mike Gotta has collected a number of points to Social Graph Engines:
Very likely to be one of the next 'big battles' for those trying to scale social networking and related tools/applications.