Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rivers Run Red and Immersive Workspace

Following on from the previous blog post where I presented about Virtual worlds there was an exciting announcement around the release of a collaboration platform from Linden Labs and River Run Red.

This is a logical evolution of virtual world technology and this is something we do inside IBM across a number of virtual world technologies. 3D collaboration is in its infancy and the initial release of services will be purely in SaaS mode but over time I would expect on-premise solutions to be the norm.

I am keen to see 3D applications seep into mainstream life. There are examples from IBM Research, Immersive Technologies and 3DInternet that make this more and more likely.

Generation Y and 3D Internet

I have broken my keynote cherry. Last week I delivered the keynote address to the Digital Technologies Professional Learning Symposium here in Auckland. The audience was made up of 150 IT teachers for 11-17 year olds. The conference was orgnaised by Michael King of Cognition Consulting to promote the new Digital Technologies curriculum.

I wanted the pitch to address a generic Generation Y persona, I did this by using a character called Chloe and talking about her likes and dislikes. I then spoke about the employment needs of the OECD economies with a focus on training professionals in the subject of Service, Science, Management and Engineering (SSME). The last section looks at video games, console games, online games and Virtual Worlds as this is a massive growth area for the internet or 3D internet.

Here is the presentation I gave which is on slideshare. The session was recorded so I will upload it to Blip.tv when the organisers send me a copy of the video file.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Movember 2008

Its Movember, the month formally known as November. In Movember the world comes together to raise awareness and money for Men's health specifically Cancer and Depression.

In New Zealand men live 4 years less than women, why? because they think everything will be ok and there is no need to go to the doctor. We need to try and change this and the Movember project aims to do this.

Movember is a project that is run across the globe so you can contribute to your local cancer societies via the website.

Have a look at the presentation below for more information, visit the Movember website, join-in and contribute.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: movember cancer)

Friday, November 7, 2008

IBM Collaboration is Interesting - honest guv

I have uploaded my first presentation onto a video site, in this case blip.tv. The video is of a presentation I delivered on Wednesday 15th October at the New Zealand Software Association. I have already shared the presentation in a previous blog entry but you are now incredibly lucky to have me in glorious technicolor pontificating about Social Media.

Comments appreciated.

Uploading Video

It was quite a palaver trying to decide which video site to use to upload this piece of video. I started with Blip.tv but the response times to New Zealand seemed really slow. As an impatient person I binned that idea and went onto the next video site Vimeo. Unfortunately Vimeo does not allow commercial type material and because this has some IBM content I had to bin that idea. Next site, Viddler. Viddler seemed like a great option as I have had some really cool feedback about it unfortunately they couldn't accommodate a 168Mb file so they were struck off my list and thrown into the rubbish bin (trash can). Running out of ideas I remembered I had an account with Revver (who owe me 28c), two problems here, a really bad description editor i.e. html is not allowed and they don't accommodate the 168 mb video file size. Guess what? I went back to Blip.tv and started the upload, I guess I will have to live with the slow response. - ho hum.

Blip.TV additional extras

The video has been uploaded and blip.tv has some cool extras with regards to promoting your video.

1. Share comments across your blog site - like it although not sure how it will look and feel on this blog
2. Add to iTunes - not done this before so will be interested to see what happens!!
3. Facebook - adds an application
4. Blip.tv channel
5. Flickr

No bad eh!?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Which wiki shall I try today?

I was describing my need to use a wiki in a previous blog post. I had some time this afternoon to do a quick Google search to see what was on offer. One of the wiki's that came to light was Tiddlywiki.

"TiddlyWiki is a single html file which has all the characteristics of a wiki - including all of the content, the functionality (including editing, saving, tagging and searching) and the style sheet. Because it's a single file, it's very portable - you can email it, put it on a web server or share it via a USB stick."

That sounds pretty good especially as its one file.

TiddlyWiki is already being used as:

  • A personal notebook
  • A GTD ("Getting Things Done") productivity tool
  • A collaboration tool
  • For building websites (this site is a TiddlyWiki file!)
  • For rapid prototyping"
I am having a play with it to see if it adds some value to my information gathering activities.

It looks like Tiddlywiki is used quite extensively within British Telecom. I pulled this video from the Open Source arm of BT called ommosoft so they can give you an incite of their usage.

TiddlyWiki in BT from Phil Whitehouse on Vimeo.

The Magic Number

I had a meeting with Peeyoosh Chandra of Ogilvy yesterday to talk about Social Media and Social networking. The most interesting aspect of the conversation to me was the introduction of the magic number.

In Advertising agencies the magic number is 3. For every person we hit with our advertising we would expect that individual to influence and spread the message to 3 other people. Based upon this metric agencies decide which method or channel should be used to reach say 30,000 people.  (I hope I have not lost anything in translation here)

I delivered a presentation to the NZ Software Association entitled "Collaboration and Social Networking" (pretty snazzy title eh!?) a couple of weeks ago and within that presentation I spoke about Measuring the Success of Social Networking implementations which sparked PC and I connecting.  The initial stats show us that if we introduce a new funky feature into our website or social networking site we can dramatically effect the usage of the social networking site. 

Here is the presentation I delivered to the NZSA in full. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Something to ponder: Blogging tips

I consider myself pretty new to blogging. I have created a bunch of posts and slowly made small changes to my blogger theme as time allows. I stumbled upon this video presented by problogger which I found really useful. You have three guys giving some tips about how to write a successful blog. Its a short film 02.30 minutes and worth a view.

Where does that leave me and this blog. Should I still blog about random Social Networking stuff or talk about my experiences.... something to ponder.

Answering Questions

I was having a read of Gia Lyons Jive Social Networking and Collaboration blog this morning and she has an entry called "Why is it so hard to get smart people to share?". While the entry is interesting it was one of the comments that I found of most value.

"...trying as much as possible to answer any and all questions with a URL. Usually if the answer doesn’t exist on the web it is easier for me to document the answer in a wiki, then when the same question comes along all I need to do is resend the URL. Once the information is out there some people will find it (and hopefully expand it), and even better, they won’t even need to ask me in the first place."

It dawned on me that I don't always do this so. I still send Attachments to satisfy customer requests when actually all I need to do it put it up on a wiki or a secure space.

I have two choices in terms of content locations:

1. Lotus Greenhouse
2. A random Wiki

Lotus Greenhouse is a SaaS solution from IBM that allows anyone to have a play with IBM's collaboration tools in a safe environment. There are ample places within the greenhouse to store information and there are multiple methods of sharing this information with colleagues, business partners and customers. The only issue I currently have is it is effectively a closed Beta in that I have to request from the Admin access for my customers which makes instant collaboration slower than I would like.

I think in the short term I will use a wiki and see how I get on....anybody got any suggestions which one to use PBWiki, wikidot, wetpaint etc?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thinking Outside the Inbox

Luis Suarez a Social Networking consultant from IBM talks about his experiences of not using email. He has successfully reduced his email to 30 emails per week, most of which are calendar invites.

He describes email as the following:
  1. locked
  2. private
  3. poor visibility
  4. a political game of cc: and bcc:

He shows how to move away from these points to a model that is;

  1. open
  2. public
  3. transparent

He reflects that he actually has more control over his interactions and it allows him to be more productive.

He talks about the adoption of social networking tools starting with communities. A community shares content around a topic that the members are passionate about.

Luis goes on to say that he used to spend 2-3 hrs a day on email, this time is now spent in Social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. He makes a very interesting statement that the one thing that email does not give you is trust.

I don't want to spoil the video but it is really worth a look.

Visualization and Dashboarding

As usual I came into the office and checked out the latest information nuggets from the twitter world. I wanted to highlight Google virtualization API.

"The Google Visualization API lets you access multiple sources of structured data that you can display, choosing from a large selection of visualizations. Google Visualization API enables you to expose your own data, stored on any data-store that is connected to the web, as a Visualization compliant datasource. Thus you can create reports and dashboards as well as analyze and display your data through the wealth of available visualization applications."

Dashboard technology is usually used by management in a corporate setting. Essentially a senior manager logs onto their intranet home page and dashboard data is personalized and presented to that senior manager based upon their role, responsibility, targets, goals and personal interests. This information may be presented in graphs, pie charts and tables. The senior manager is then able to click on the graphs and tables and drill -down to see how those higher level metrics were calculated. Have a look at this demo and a technical wiki on the subject,

The Google offering deals with the initial dashboarding requirements but it is not yet able to provide a rich drill-down experience. I think its limitations are acknowlwdges in the title of the offering "Google Visualization"

I am a keen advocate of SaaS solutions and believe that these types of tools can assist organisations in deliver something quickly. My personal view is that it would be limited when the requirements for a company would be to be able to drill down through layer after layer of metrics and KPI data.

If a client just wants visualization then here is a piece of emerging technology from IBM's Alphaworks that is not widely known about "Many Eyes". It provides visualization of information similar to Google Virtualization although you need to upload the datasets into the service to produce a visualization. I have included a screen shot of a sample visualization.

Monday, November 3, 2008


While trying to decide whether to start up a corporate blogging service for New Zealand based businesses I stumbled upon LiveWorld's solutions.

"Community Center 2.0 is LiveWorld’s enterprise-scale social network and community platform. It brings together community applications, management tools and systems infrastructure to deliver the best mix of user features, administration, management, reporting and scalability—all flexible enough to tailor to your community requirements. Community Center offers the strongest loyalty marketing, support community and engagement network solution on the market."

Sounds like a load of the usual marketing guff but the list of customers is impressive and the interview with the CEO below sparks interest. The CEO talks about Generation C for Community connected those born after 1978....interesting but it isn't really inclusive enough. The new generation is the Opt-In generation. This is where members of all the generations choose to use the latest tools and methods to communicate and interact. While the usage of these new tools is driven by the younger generations the number of "older" folk using the tools is also growing.

Looking further into the website they list a bunch of capabilities that Liveworlds provides:

"Expressive Profile, Blog, Photo Album, Friends List
Community Showcase Gallery
Community Calendar
Message Forum
Mobile Alerts
Mobile Upload
Moderation Tools and Reporting
User generated content: video, photos, reviews, blogs, polls
Live events"

So I guess that this is a server based solution with a bunch of ways of calling and integrating the function into corporate and social networking sites. However, I am not sure if this is a Web Content Management system to rival Drupal, Joomla, Lotus Web Content Management? Questions of integration with those sorts of systems would be useful to understand.

The Liveworld website seems to be a bit light on detail in terms of the technical information and there isn't a nice video to watch the solution working which is a shame as I am sure that would have cleared up a lot of the basic questions that are twirling around my head.

In summary this looks like a company to watch, I like there business model and they are a serious operator - good luck!

Beached Bro and Viral Marketing

Last night on New Zealand's TV1 a group of young Australian film makers spoke about their animated film entitled "Beached Whale". This short film is funny as the actors speak with a Kiwi (New Zealand) accent and basically poke fun at their friends across the Tasmin Sea.

The last few frames of the short film sparked my interest as the film makers have added a small amount of viral marketing which is a URL to a cafepress where the film makers are selling merchandising.

Great film, great marketing!