Do You Email?

Sterling will quit using email because it is a great big waste of productivity and energy.

Seraching for alternatives, some believe that RSS will kill email publishing.

Maybe, the personal information manager Chandler will one day allow for more efficient communication. Recently, the XML Format for Chandler’s Data Model Schemas has been published, which reveals on the technological level some of the project’s vision. Interested? Today’s posting on the Chandler developers list says: “We will be releasing Chandler revision 0.2 on Tuesday, September 22nd”.

So do you still email? I do, but it seems that my virtual communication behaviour is outdated, so I should consider alternatives 🙂 Actually, I recently unsubscribed from most developers mailinglists I actively or passively participated in, because [read Sterling’s statement on emails].

In fact, communicating with your friends or like-minded persons can be done in Weblogs if what you are saying is not too private and of relative general interest. At least, blogs keep a friendly community updated in a way that let’s any member of this community decide on his own, when she wants to consume the information aka visit the Weblog. It’s the queue doctrine of email messaging, that makes it often uncomfortable to manage and incorportate into your workflow.

The German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” published a wonderful article about the always-on generation who email themselves out of life. The article discusses, especially from a psychologic viewpoint, that “email addicts” have a shattered lifestyle. Always-on junkies think that they are more efficient doing a multi-tasking workflow – but in fact, they are 50% slower then persons working sequentially (doing one job in a row).

Thesis 6: Widen the Experience of Informational Relationships

Urs’ posting on ChangeLog to RSS converter shows that we are moving towards content networks on many levels. Wrapping changelogs or mailinglists onto a RSS interface would allow to relate both types of content to each other. A developer could relate a certain list posting to a changelog entry.

Traceable content linkage, especially between bits and pieces of content, allows for (true) online knowledge management. The inherent experience of informational relationships in the WWW will widen with more and more applications managing the correlation between different information types.

Thesis 5: Understand the Knowledge Market!

I wrote quite some reports to my Weblog about the UKUUG 2003 conference in Edinburgh. Some people might ask – and I asked myself: “Why does he give away his knowledge?”. In fact, travelling to conferences is quite some fun, but also quite some work.

The reasons to go to conferences is meeting with and talking to people, doing “human networking”. If you’re a speaker, conferences are the platform for your project to let others understand what you are trying to achieve. Conferences don’t pay out quickly in terms of new customer deals. Instead, they often pay out only in terms of “knowledge exchange”. Thus, it might be a good idea to keep to yourself all the good contacts you made at the conference, and all the good talks you have heard.

Writing reports about any session that you’ve visited is even more work. Especially if the aim of the reports is to let other people assess the importance of the talk in terms of “did I learn something new?”. Usually, this is done within companies – but I do it for the public of the Weblogging community.

Why? Because I am a saint? Definitely not! I do it for purpose and I want to “earn” something. Weblogging is about selling, brokering, and buying knowledge. The whole Internet is. By providing precious information to others, I hope to raise awareness of people and thus my share in the knowledge market. Being known to be knowledgeable can in fact pay out in real cash – or at least in Blogshares 🙂

Weblogs perfectly fit into the mechanisms of knowledge markets. They are a vehicle for selling, brokering, and buying knowledge. They offer the ability to individuals to invent themselves as a product in the knowledge market: to show what they know, how they deal with information, on what their decisions are based, which actions they take, which results those actions bring.

Saints? No. Egomanics? Maybe. Rather clients as well as servers of the knowledge market 🙂

UKUUG: Automated Website Synthesis

Siu-Wai Leung’s talk Automated Website Synthesis was quite an eye-opener for me at UKUUG 2003:

Basically, Siu-Wai presented a proof-of-concept how to apply Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Semantic Web technologies to transform annotated content to a Website. Read it again! His talk was not only about how to present annotated content on a Website, no, it was rather about how to automatically create a Website from annotated content! In fact, what he talked about was ontology-based web content development and design.

He perfectly demonstrated the use of such an approach for aviation accident reporting. The tools he used are the HEIDI ontology (HEIDI is the abbreviation for “Harmonisation of European Incident Definition”). Furthermore, upon any aviation accident, a sophisticated pilot report form has to be filled in. Furthermore, data is automatically being recorded storing e.g. the altitude and speed of the airplane. Based on that data, Siu-Wai was able to create a graph showing the altitude of the plane, or a tree of events of the aviation accident.

The Website prototyping was done using a Simple Website Interface Model (SWIM), the Web Modelling Language (WebML). More on the technology behind can be found in Siu-Wai’s paper (PDF).

At the end of his talk, Siu-Wai summarized that the ontology-based mapping of information, Website, and perception is an AI problem (that’s his mapping hypothesis). He presented some ideas of how this could be achieved in the future. I very much liked his idea to use genetic programming to mutate the design of single Webpages or complete Websites to find the most suitable format to present the information to the user – an intelligent way of adaptive and personalized C/KMS.

That was a cool talk 😉 The aviation accident reporting demo seems like a perfect prototype to exemplify the possible advantages of AI and the Semantic Web. Also, the idea of genetic mutations of info visualization acknowledges the reality that every individual has a different way of filtering information and offers a higher flexibility in personalized content presentation then the theme-based CMS currently provide.

Collaborative Learning Environments: "KoALA", "Learning Lab"

I met Jan Kiszka at UKUUG and he pointed me to the following two projects:

Information seems to be available in German only. The project is about collaborative training software and headed up by the ZDT of University of Hannover.

Learning Lab Lower Saxony (L3S)
“The L3S is part of the Wallenberg Global Learning Network (WGLN) which is coordinated by the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL).

Central research areas of the L3S are:
– Educational Technology and Collaborative Learning
– Digital Media and Semantic Web
– Innovations in Learning
– eLearning Curricula and Content

The work of L3S includes research, consultancy and technology transfer as well as infrastructure and support in the field of innovative teaching and learning technologies. Thereby L3S aims at the permanent introduction and use of these new technologies into education.”

Jan had a nice IBM R40 Notebook with him, maybe that’s my next one 🙂