June 09, 2004

TDF Finale

Training Directors Forum wrapped up midday. I am an exhausted but happy camper. Phil Jones told me 475 people attended (including 83 faculty and about 40 sponsor reps). I felt much more intimate. Talking with vendors and with friends, everyone agreed that small is beautiful. Training Directors Forum has the most loyal customers of any VNU training event.


Informal Learning Center

The small size, combined with healthy breaks, sponsored meals and open bar, and inviting facilities, encourage schmoozing. I talked myself hoarse.


Real Learning


More real learning.



Watch out for this bunch!

I have more notes and scribbles...but no more energy tonight.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2004

Dropouts


Tammy Galvin has stepped down as editor-in-chief of Training magazine, along with Stacey Marmalejo. I'm looking forward to a revitalized Training mag.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2004

Googlism


One of my freshman roommates at college continually quoted Eccelesiastes, saying, "Vanity of vanities," sayeth the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." I don't know about you, but I'm glad college is behind me.

Googlism is all vanity, but it's quick and kind of fun. In brief, Googlism gathers phrases about you from you-know-where, e.g.

Googlism for: jay cross


jay cross is founder and ceo of internet time group
jay cross is a thought leader in elearning
jay cross is ceo of elearning forum
jay cross is a social scientist
jay cross is valiantly trying to get a webcast working on other end
jay cross is acknowledged
jay cross is a blunt proponent of the bottom
jay cross is doing some very interesting research and writing on elearning
jay cross is director of the omega institute
jay cross is strictly business


Naturally, I had to try a few other names, for example:


Googlism for: brandon hall


brandon hall is the official name of the administration building
brandon hall is not an appropriate setting for students with severe learning disabilities
brandon hall is murdered on sept
brandon hall is from north carolina
brandon hall is a very structured and traditional school community which holds high expectations for its students
brandon hall is a leading independent expert in e
brandon hall is an internationally recognized researcher and speaker on e
brandon hall is a person
brandon hall is an ideal location for your meeting or conference
brandon hall is probably the best known name in the lms
brandon hall is the lead researcher for brandon
brandon hall is a completely innocent victim
brandon hall is a renowned e
brandon hall is een onafhankelijk onderzoeker op het gebied van e

On a roll! Gotta try another name.


Googlism for: bill gates


bill gates is a satanic worshiper who uses microsoft to gain
bill gates is richer than
bill gates is the anti christ
bill gates is a theif
bill gates is on the bus
bill gates is a hero
bill gates is darth vader
bill gates is opening windows on world health
bill gates is the pope
bill gates is the devil
bill gates is "biggest
bill gates is killed in 1999
bill gates is evil
bill gates is not the
bill gates is committed to the macintosh
bill gates is a racist
bill gates is scheduled to testify in antitrust
bill gates is a wanker
bill gates is 666
bill gates is the devil himself
bill gates is an american unoriginal
bill gates is smiling
bill gates is not richer than god
bill gates is an arrogant
bill gates is a genius
bill gates is a wimp
bill gates is number one and worth 110 billion dollars
bill gates is sharing his fortune
bill gates is a bleeding heart do
bill gates is very busy taking over the world
bill gates is not the sort to allow a rival like steve case to get an edge on him
bill gates is not the only one who needs to think about antitrust
bill gates is going to have to physically come over to my house and lobotomize me before i believe that ie is not just an application
bill gates is a nice man really
bill gates is dead
bill gates is still rich
bill gates is richer than all african countries put together
bill gates is so powerful that microsoft has just declared itself a nuclear state


And another....

Googlism for: monica lewinsky



monica lewinsky is lovely
monica lewinsky is sex
monica lewinsky is not alone in this world
monica lewinsky is jewish? if she wasn't
monica lewinsky is another person who
monica lewinsky is so staged and controlled
monica lewinsky is writing a "tell
monica lewinsky is interviewed on tv
monica lewinsky is not alone in this world not so much time ago the whole world was watching the development of the notorious story between
monica lewinsky is trying to say? read the original in russian
monica lewinsky is what the cia and the kgb used to refer to as a "honey trap"
monica lewinsky is safe sex? try telling your spouse oral sex isn't adultery?
monica lewinsky is a dame


For this final one, I'll admit that I deleted lots of redundancy and distastefulness.

Googlism for: britney spears



britney spears is dead
britney spears is not my daughter's role model
britney spears is #1 woman
britney spears is here
britney spears is a new elvis presley and a new american icon
britney spears is one fine shtook of ace
britney spears is the world's top celebrity according to forbes
britney spears is feeling fine
britney spears is so hot when
britney spears is single
britney spears is not a real woman
britney spears is a virgin
britney spears is smoking cigarette
britney spears is vet
britney spears is fake
britney spears is the best
britney spears is set for a role in buffy the vampire slayer
britney spears is 2001's #1 woman online
britney spears is planning to release a collectible book and dvd in december
britney spears is spending some time away from music
britney spears is one of the biggest sensations to hit the world of pop
britney spears is living a 'dream'
britney spears is nude
britney spears is not a slut
britney spears is awfully busy
britney spears is a man
britney spears is writing a tell
britney spears is evil
britney spears is naked on the net
britney spears is like many 17 year old girls
britney spears is a three
britney spears is the target for parody
britney spears is world tour starts let me know thanks re
britney spears is walking down the street with a pig under her arm
britney spears is the pentium 4
britney spears is much inspired by the man with great contributions to computer science
britney spears is ready to drive milk fans crazy one more time
britney spears is back and she's here to stay
britney spears is hanging out with jenna jameson and according to friends
britney spears is to be given an award for her charity work
britney spears is far from upset over her parents' recent divorce
britney spears is eyeing a future career in politics
britney spears is a virgin i
britney spears is mine
britney spears is still a virgin and plans on remaining pure until marriage
britney spears is both religious and conservative
britney spears is 20 years old
britney spears is an amazing young woman
Bet you can't resist: Googlism
Posted by Jay Cross at 05:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Upcoming Events


This Saturday I'll be attending PlaNetwork in the San Francisco Presidio. It's a great venue for strengthening weak ties.


Sunday afternoon I arrive in Chandler, Arizona, for Training Directors Forum. I'll be there through Wednesday afternoon.



Will exchange scintillating conversation and/or consulting advice in exchange for rides to and from Sky Harbor Airport. I arrive in Phoenix 3:30 pm Sunday and depart 4:30 pm Wednesday.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

eLearning Effectiveness?

Oxymorons.info lists more than 800 combinations of contradictory or incongruous words, such as 'Cruel Kindness' or 'Jumbo Shrimp.'

 
AssistantManager
HomeOffice
IndependentFinancial Advisor
IndustrialPark
JobSecurity
LimitedLifetime Guarantee
LiquidPaper
LongBriefing
MobileStation
Mobil™Station
Monopoly
MovingTarget
NewAntiques (Arriving Daily!)


This got me thinking about the state of corporate learning.

Level 1evaluation
eLearning
Performancemodel

This page intentionally left blank.


For a non-laughing matter, how about this post to David Farber's IP maillist:



    From: "Trei, Peter"
    To: [email protected]
    Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 10:58:50 -0400
    Subj: The worst case of password abuse - ever.

    This is just Strangelovesque....

    What was the password which controlled the firing of America's ICBMs for years during the height of the Cold War?

    00000000

    That's right. For *all* of them. The Permissive Action Link codes for all of Americas missiles provided less protection than on an average suitcase.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 29, 2004

ASTD msg 1 of n

I'm spending several days with my parents in Northern Virginia and will be flying back to the West Coast tomorrow.

Why the blog break? I lost my nationwide Internet connection, so I've been unable to post photos. Email is spotty, too. Thanks to everyone who expect me to be more consistent and wrote to see if I were okay.

The official word on ASTD is:

    (Alexandria, VA) May 28, 2004 - Over 8,900 training, learning, and performance professionals from 78 countries attended the American Society for Training & Development's (ASTD) 2004 International Conference & Exposition, the workplace learning and performance industry's most comprehensive annual event. The ASTD Conference took place May 23-27 at the new Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The EXPO drew 342 vendors.

The Jay-version of what went on, scheduled to appear here next week, will feature coverage of the chirping cicadas, the Who Moved My Cheese booth, my annual award for the worst expo booth, coverage of the bash at the Smithsonian, and tidbits of corporate espionage.

Posted by Jay Cross at 01:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 16, 2004

User indifference

Notice anything odd about this ad for the Microsoft watch?

It's upsidedown. Who wears a watch that only others can read?

I'm trying to synchronize three lists of contacts. There's a contact list in Outlook 2003 but all the entries in mine are duplicates (and I have no clue how to weed out the redundent ones). There's an Address Book available via Accessories that contains another list entirely. And there's a list that Card Scan maintains. And I almost forgot the names and email addresses that Outlook is capturing as I send mail; I can't find where these are. And some fragments left over from Outlook Express. And a list trapped in Eudora. And another in Mozilla Mail.

Communicating with contacts is one of my prime functions on the net, but if Microsoft has information to help out, I've yet to find it. There's no apparent automatic backup. Synchronization is a nightmare. What I really need is a secure web-based way to maintain one list of contacts info that's accessible wherever I am.

I'd prefer to have to read my watch upsidedown than to continue struggling with hidden .wad and .pst files. Am I alone in my confusion?

Posted by Jay Cross at 01:06 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

Sonoma Dreaming

This week is the quiet before the storm, for May is chock-a-block with conferences, presentations, and writing porjects. I hate to tread the same ground twice, so I'm inventing lots of new content and fresh examples. Several years ago, my preparation would have included meticulously planning inputs and outputs, due dates and audience profiles, notes and journal entries, and a field of PostIt notes. In an unpredictable world, this old logic no longer applies.

After a charming lunch with a friend in Sonoma, I drove up the long, tree-lined driveway to the former home of General Mariano G. Vallejo (1808-1890), who, at the age of 30, was named comandante-general of California. His charming carpenter gothic home, built in 1850, is now a state park. I sat on a bench across from a one-room meditation cottage by a fountain in the side garden.

I inhaled a few deep breaths, tuned in to the babbling fountain, and gave my hand the freedom to scribble whatever came to mind. After a bit of pruning, I'd roughed out some changes in the world that can serve as the foundation of my upcoming presentations:

Schadenfreude continuation.

Fifteen years ago, a French chateau appeared in the southern section of Sonoma Valley known as Carneros. It's a knock-off ot the Taittinger family chateau in Champagne. The day's work nearly done, I felt compelled to stop.

I liked the Brut better than the pricier rose and the all-chardonnay Reve de Blancs-de-blancs. Alas, the bubbles disappeared from the Brut before I'd finished my half-glass sample.

Small world. The fellow who brought my wine sampler and I struck up a conversation. He conducts an online leadership program through a local college. Soon we were doing riffs on value-driver collaboration.

By now you may be wondering, "Has Jay totally lost it?" Maybe. But I think it's more the return of spring, bright sunshine, and flowers everywhere.

Here's where I'm investing my time these days, not in priority order:

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 27, 2004

Upcoming Events


This Friday. Free.







Knowledge Roundtable 2004: e-Learning: From Practice to Profit


Wednesday, May 5th - Friday, May 7th
Radisson Harbourfront Hotel, Kingston, Ontario

Speakers: Dr. Maryam Alavi, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, Emory University, Dr. Roberto H. Bamberger, Solutions Architect, Microsoft Corporation, Jay Cross, CEO, Emergent Learning Forum, Jacques Gaumond, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Technomedia Training Inc., Lynette Gillis, President, Learning Designs Online, Lucy Jacobus, Senior Manager, STRATX, Maxim Jean-Louis, President & CEO, Contact North/Contact Nord, Leslie Jefford, Learning Consultant, Bell Canada Enterprises Corporate Services, Sebastien Lamiaux, Consultant, STRATX, Richard Nantel, Director, brandon-hall.com, Jamie Rossiter, Director, E-Learning Program, CANARIE Inc., Patrick Sullivan, President, Workopolis, Trace Urdan, Principal and Senior Research Analyst, ThinkEquity Partners Inc.

Download e-Learning: From Practice to Profit Brochure
Register Online

I'll be talking about "Metrics, A Pragmatic and Contrarian View".
Posted by Jay Cross at 10:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2004

'Lanta

I spent several days this week in Atlanta.


Ali-Oli, a beautiful restaurant in Buckhead. Jet-laged Jay, enjoying a fine meal.


What a gorgious place to work. The dining room is built directly over the Chattahoochie River.


The Chattahoochie National Recreation Area provides access along the riverbanks. I sat a spell to read.


The swallows were brave enough to let me get close.


On impulse, I went to see Kill Bill 2. As I entered the darkened theatre, I was almost knocked out by the smell of fast food. The audience was seated at small tables and counters. I pulled up a chair to the counter. The guy on my right was digging into chicken barbecue; the folks to the left were gobbling a pile of French fries. Both had pitchers of beer.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004

e-Merging e-Learning

If you happen to be in Abu Dhabi in mid-September, drop by the e-Merging e-Learning Conference.

I'll be speaking, along with Curt Bonk, Richard Straub, and some interesting-sounding characters I have yet to meet. This will be my first trip to the Middle East. Any advice?

Posted by Jay Cross at 02:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

Exercise?

Exercise is not my favorite activity. I'd much rather sit at my desk and mind-meld with the net. Usually I need something besides my health to push me out the door to wander the hills of my neighborhood. Yesterday it was photographing spring colors as I walked. The day before, the dogs begged so hard, I couldn't let them down.


Spring in Berkeley (click for larger image)

Tonight I downloaded mp3 interviews with Tim O'Reilly, John Hagel, Steve MeConnell, Don Norman, and a bunch of other people I hold in high regard. Tomorrow I'll walk up Wildcat Peak while imbibing their words of wisdom.


Internet Surfing Finds

Entropy at MIT

Complexity Digest

Santa Fe Institute

New England Complex Systems Institute

The Complexity & Artificial Life Research Concept for Self-Organizing Systems

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2004

Free webinar this Tuesday

Join me online this coming Tuesday, April 13th, at 3:00 pm Eastern, noon Pacific. We'll spend about an hour together.

The title of my chat is Emergent Learning. The sign-up page says I'll talk about about adaptive systems, social networking, contextual collaboration, content aggregation, value networks, real-time enterprise, business process modeling, and the economic return from intangible assets.

Frankly, I have yet to outline what I'm really going to talk about. (If you have suggestions/questions, email me. I will likely cover a dozen recent discoveries and insights, thereby increasing the odds of offering something to everyone.


Register here. It's free.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2004

Knowledge Roundtable 2004: e-Learning

Knowledge Roundtable 2004: e-Learning: From Practice to Profit

Wednesday, May 5th - Friday, May 7th
Radisson Harbourfront Hotel, Kingston, Ontario


Speakers:

    Dr. Maryam Alavi, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, Emory University
    Dr. Roberto H. Bamberger, Solutions Architect, Microsoft Corporation
    Jay Cross, CEO, Emergent Learning Forum
    Jacques Gaumond, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Technomedia Training Inc.
    Lynette Gillis, President, Learning Designs Online
    Lucy Jacobus, Senior Manager, STRATX
    Maxim Jean-Louis, President & CEO, Contact North/Contact Nord
    Leslie Jefford, Learning Consultant, Bell Canada Enterprises Corporate Services
    Sebastien Lamiaux, Consultant, STRATX
    Richard Nantel, Director, brandon-hall.com
    Jamie Rossiter, Director, E-Learning Program, CANARIE Inc.
    Patrick Sullivan, President, Workopolis
    Trace Urdan, Principal and Senior Research Analyst, ThinkEquity Partners Inc.


Download e-Learning: From Practice to Profit Brochure

Register Online



Jay Cross
May 7, 2004

Metrics are relative, not absolute. Find out why the only valid
metrics for corporate learning are business metrics. Figure out
what matters in your organization; then show the connection
between that and what you do. Kirkpatrick’s four levels are bunk.
Imagine telling your sales manager that the sales force was well
prepared (“Levels 1 & 2”) but simply hadn’t sold anything (“Levels
3 & 4”). Good luck in your next job.

Traditional accounting assigns intangibles a value of zero.
Hence, traditional ROI has little credibility with enlightened executives.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Even amateurs play this game

Quiz: How many errors can you spot in this unsolicited email?

Dear Jay,

________ is a 5 year old custom content development and Education
Organization with presence in over 5 countries of the globe. We provide
training solutions to individuals, organizations,colleges, universities,
and the Government. 6?

With strength in Instructional design,Content Research and Development,
Design & Development of Learning Technologies & Tools, we offer
organizations end to end learning solutions for all your custom content
and training needs. But who punctuates your courseware?

We are enclosing in this mail details of a proposition which we would like
to discuss with your organization. We would like to partner with
__________ to offer solutions to your partners in Custom content
development. There is no enclousre.

We would welcome any further queries you may have in this direction and
looking forward to a discussion. I can hardly wait.

Best Regards
Raju


_______, the global eLearning consultancy
Sr. Manager, Business Development
Chennai 600 004
India.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Please take note:


1. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please let us
know immediately. Kindly refrain from disclosing, copying, or using the
information in any way. You heard the man. Don't share any of this valuable form letter.


2. As an anti-virus measure, our mail server rejects the following
attachments: *.com; *.exe; *.bat; *.eml; *.mp3; *.dot; *.vb; *.vbs; *.vbe.
If you need to send us an attachment of this type, please contact Tock at
chat____net.


Thank you!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

Yes, that is I

In answer to your queries, yes, I'm the subject in the photo currently in the header of Internet Time Blog. Palo Alto, California. A few years back.

Here's one from the same era, this one shot in Alexandria, Virginia.

Photographs are the only memories I retain from this period. They aren't real memories, so much as reconstructions. Of course, if you bought the logic of Dr. Gerald Edelman repeated here last week, "real memory" is an oxymoron. "No brain event happens the same way twice. Even memory is always a variant, he says — a re-creation, never a repetition."

We don't "remember;" we re-think.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2004

Spam, spam, spam, spam, virus

I'm getting five or ten messages a day that read like this one:

Hello user of InternetTime.com e-mail server,

Some of our clients complained about the spam (negative e-mail content)
outgoing from your e-mail account. Probably, you have been infected by
a proxy-relay trojan server. In order to keep your computer safe,
follow the instructions.

For details see the attach.

The attachment is invariably a virus-laden document.

Since I run the "InternetTime.com e-mail server," the emails are clearly bogus. Don't you be fooled.

Yesterday's email also brought a request from "Citibank" that I send them my PIN and account number for "verification." This was a new form of an old con; I alerted Citibank security.

Opening the mail these days is like walking through a mine field.

Posted by Jay Cross at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2004

Context Driven Topologies

Context Driven Topologies is a collaborative effort to begin to draw the geometry of knowledge as it changes over time.

The aim is long-term digital preservation by redefining the relationship between historical comprehension, human dynamics, the pace which new ideas emerge and change other ideas around them - and a new way to describe this process to advanced networks of machines.

Lou Kauffman, a knot theory topologist and project participant explains it as this “For me, the key concept is that of the "pivot". An image in one field can trigger a patterned response in another field due to matching structures at some level of discourse. The surface appearance can be of a "tiny" relationship due to much that lies beneath the surface. The key to this project will be the facilitation of such pivot events. This requires the creation of space and context, not computation or classification. But computation and classification are necessary ingredients to make the images and information available for play and purvey”.

Whoa! Knot theory topologist? Other participants include a cognitive scientist and ontological engineer interested iin semiotics, a theoretical nuclear and particle physicist, a chemist and natural philosopher, a theoretical morphologist, a Los Alamos theorist and inventor in physics, neuroscience and emergent computation; a theoretical cosmologist, a sculptor interested in symbols, form and unseen concepts; an American composer of concert music, a painter using oils on canvas to dwell on the order in disorder, a painter investigating process grammars and artworks as maximal memory stores, an unusual kind of choreographer living in a small town in Germany (He makes audio acoustic clothes), a photographer from New York City who investigates the nature of light and is a painter of formal abstraction derived from physics and mathematics, an artist transforming data from non-art images to suggest a complex economical portrait of how learning and innovation evolve over time, an inventor interested in information visualization and interaction design, and more artists, animators, and archivists.

And what do I have to do with this group? One of my oddball hobbies is looking for art in nature. The person working to get an NSF grant for this project came upon a photograph of gravel I took in Point Richmond five or six years ago. It's the righthand image below:

Deborah MacPherson plans to use this in a presentation at the Fourth International Conference MATHEMATICS & DESIGN (M&D-2004) in Buenos Aires this June. [ Her portfolio ]

Weirder things have happened to me; I just can't seem to recall them right now.

Here's a Rothko that popped up in my window while flying from Paris to San Francisco a couple of years ago. I think this is Kansas:

And another Rothko trouvee, this one the beach in Nice:

Posted by Jay Cross at 05:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2004

DigitalThought

Convergys, an outsourced billing and customer service operation spun out of Cincinnati Bell, is buying custom content developer DigitalThink for $120 million, about 3x revenue. Think of it as buying staff at $320,000/head.

DigitalThink was riding high in mid-2000 when it announced a long-term $100 million deal with EDS. Yesterday DigitalThink said their arrangement with EDS was toast.

Posted by Jay Cross at 01:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

An Alternate Reality

Late this afternoon I drove from Berkeley to south San Jose, a two-hour journey along crowded but fast-moving freeways. Usually I'll spend a long drive contemplating the future or just letting my brain hop from one topic to the next: Honda Accord as isolation chamber. Today I cut on the radio. NPR was broadcasting Senate hearings on 9-11.

Deja vu. Senate hearings are an old dance form. Al Pacino and Robert Duvall in the Godfather captured them perfectly. The McCarthy Hearings were better live tango than Uncle Miltie ("Senator, have you no common decency?"). The propaganda & innuendo of the House Unamerican Activities Committee waltzed through my school and countless others (Operation Abolition -- Watch the lefties ride the spray of the firehose down the steps of San Francisco City Hall). The Watergate shuffle kept me glued to the tube for the better part of a summer (bonus points: John Dean lived in the same block in Alexandria as my parents at the time).

When Rummy came on today to go through the motions, the image of Robert McNamara kept popping into my head. In Fog of War, McNamara says that when they ask you a question, you don't answer it. Instead, you answer the question you wish they'd asked. I smiled as a senator told Rumsfeld that his answer was great but it didn't address the question he'd been asked.

The central theme of today's inquiry, and I'm cutting a few corners here, boils down to "Does shit happen?" A senator would ask whether we shouldn't have figured that bad guys might hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings. No, not necessarily, would come the reply. You can't be ready for everything. The smart-ass senator would suggest that maybe if we'd declared war on Al Quaida, that would have focused our attention. How so? asked the intel guys, noting that while always alert to avoiding "collateral damage," we've been trying to off Osama for years. Declaring war on a decentralized organization that flies no flag wouldn't have helped. Yeah, but maybe we'd have assessed "actionable intelligence" more liberally. I'm certainly not an apologist for Rummy, but the Senate's Monday-morning quarterbacking is so far from reality, it makes me ill.

Hey, you guys inside the Beltway, the world is unpredictable. Get over it. Sometimes there's no one to blame. As I mentioned, shit happens. Q.E.D. Deal with it. Let's work on improving the situation. Or is that too bi-partisan?

Coming up next: Religion. (Just fooling.)


Posted by Jay Cross at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2004

Celebrity spam, the new collectable

Jakob! You rascal! And I was hoping to pick up an Esther.

Posted by Jay Cross at 05:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2004

Wordless workshop

Pictures louder than words department:



Trans Canada highway enroute from Fredricton to Moncton.


The river here was majestically frozen.



This farm dog was suspicious of me taking pictures on the frozen riverbank.


Moncton is healthy, except maybe for this place where the pizzas are great, and the beer brewered on premises.


Stephen Downes and I compared notes in the aforementioned Pump House.


Harold Jarche and I talked about everything from CMS and Drupal to pumping up eLearning in the Province.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

Pandora's mailbox

Most of you aren't newbies, but here's a warning, just in case.

My emailbox is overflowing with bogus warnings from Microsoft this morning. Typical copy:

New MyDoom Virus Variant Detected!

A new variant of the W32.Mydoom (W32.Novarg) worm spread rapidly through the Internet. Anti-virus vendor Central Command claims that 1 in 45 e-mails contains the MyDoom virus.

The worm also has a backdoor Trojan capability. By default, the Trojan component listens on port 13468.

The attachment is a virus. Do not open the attachment.

Microsoft does not email virus alerts. Ever. These email bombs are sent out by the viruses themselves.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2004

Google/Yahoo Compare

I love it when people come up with stuff like this.

Get an instant comparison of hits on the topic of your choice on Google and Yahoo. The blue lines show the relative position.

Give it a try. (Go ahead, do some ego-surfing. See the relative rankings of your ego-boo.)

Thanks to David Weinberger for the pointer.

Posted by Jay Cross at 07:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

Tangents

After dinner, I figured I invest an hour in crafting my RSS experiments page. Fat chance.

I scanned the first half dozen items and then my curiosity kicked in. There is simply too much cool stuff on the web. Maish Nichani hijacked my attention, saying

    The need for design research seems quite obvious: work and life have become complex; we need holistic methods to understand the changing relationships before designing anything. Nathan Shedroff offers a glimpse of how holistic one needs to get in designing experiences.

    I sense a similar shift in e-learning design: from instructional design to learner experience design (LXD). If this too is going to be a mind, body, and soul shift, then we are need to be more holistic. We need to look beyond learner characteristics and learning objectives. We need our own set of learner experience methods to help us understand the complexities of learning, working, and decision making in the real world.

Nathan's site was beautiful and thoght-provoking (and marred by dead links). Ideo's experience design was so compelling that I shelled out $50 for a set of methodcards (which I'll tell you about once I have them in hand).

Next I followed Maish's lead to Zen and the Art of Knowledge Management, a short but cogent description that cuts to the chase. It's as if author Carl Davidson has been reading my mind, for he's giving the same oddball advice that I do: visual learning, storytelling, talk spaces, social network analysis, and even a lovely quote from e e cummings:

    While you and i have lips and voices which are for kissing and to sing with who cares if some one-eyed son of a bitch invents an instrument to measure Spring with?

I'll be back to explore the other resources here.



"RSS Job One: Managing The Real-Time Information Flow" is the title of an article by Robin Good, and that says why "syndication" is so important. There's a wide river of opinions, pointers, and facts floating by 24/7. You can cross your fingers, wait weeks or months, and drink in a filtered, flavored, packaged bit of the flow from some corporate backwater, or you can scoop some current, unadulterated stuff out of the river with your RSS dipper right now.



How News Travels on the Internet by Steve VanDyke. So true. I think the chart needs a few more pieces: distortion filters, amplifiers, misinterpreters, spin doctors, etc.

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bait-and-switch

I spent the last 90 minutes on Orbitz trying to find the best multicity fare for a trip to Washington and New Brunswick. Finally, I found the right combination and clicked the "Book It" button:

Twenty seconds later, I had signed in. Then I received this message:

Drat. How could the price jump so fast? Answer: It hadn't. I went back to the beginning and re-entered the data. Guess what?

I know that airline pricing is a very complicated, ever-changing, mix of stuff, but that's no excuse for promoting one price when your software knows it's higher.

There's the old story about the woman who goes into the butcher shop.

    Lady: "$5 a pound for hamburger!?! The butcher down the street only charges $4/lb."

    Butcher: "Why don't you buy your hamburger from him?

    Woman: "He's sold out."

    Butcher" "Lady, when we're out of hamburger, it's only $1 a pound."

The next three flights I chose were sold out.

When I finally found a flight that actually had seats, Orbitz told me:

This time I made it all the way to bottom of the final screen:

Then my screen froze. I waited ten minutes, then bailed. My "My Stuff" folder showed that I'd booked the flight. Time to pick a seat.

Uh oh. Looks like the skies are crowded. Six legs on my trip; not an aisle seat in the bunch.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

The daily training spam


I dunno, Steve.. Dyslexia, maybe?

Posted by Jay Cross at 06:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Regis McKenna

Next on stage at the WebEx User Conference was Regis McKenna, marketer extraordinaire. This is the guy who helped launch America Online, Apple, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Intel, Linear Technology, Lotus, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, Silicon Graphics, 3COM, and many others.

Regis is my kind of marketer. He published an article in Harvard Business Review that claimed "Marketing is everything." His focus on time played a role in me naming my company Internet Time Group.

Since I've read all his books, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that Regis's thinking directly parallels mine.

The network is the new social and cultural model. Even Al Quida billed itself as a network.

Marketing evolves as it involves.

The goal of marketing is to build and sustain relationships with buyer and seller, and to expand and sustain those relationships over time.

In 2002, humans created 5 exobytes of new informaiton (that's about as many bytes as the earth has ants.)

Marketing is being redefined as a learning process.

Moore's Law is behind the ascendence of value-added services.

Robert Putnam (Bowling Alone) wrote that the Net made possible "drive-by relationships."

Marketing is everybody's job.

Starbucks is in the real estate business. In Silicon Valley, there's a Starbucks inside another Starbucks.

Regis pulled a few gadgets out of his pockets, noting that he'd given his 10 year old granddaughter an i-Mac. Upon receiving it, she turned it on and said, "Life is good." She has a cell phone, too.

Regis pulled a transistor out of his pocket. Next he held up a tiny chip that contained 500 million transistors. And after that, a vial that contained 1.5 billion nanodevices.

Of course, I had to find a way to talk with this guy, so I followed him behind the curtain. Handing my camera to someone in the crowd, we posed for a picture. Damn. Eyes closed again. At least this will give me an excuse to try to force my way into see Regis once more.

Posted by Jay Cross at 07:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2004

Awesome

The digital natives, kids who grow up with computers and the Net as part of their lives, have one big advantage over me: they will be alive long after I'm dead. One place I have something they have been denied is awe. Things that appear on the Net simply blow me away.

For example, I just followed a pointer from Robin Good to MultiMap.

Here's where Uta and I were married, in Heidelberg, Germany.

And the red dot marks my grandmother's house in Hope, Arkansas.

For someone who has bought heaven-only-knows how many paper maps, this sort of thing is phenomenal.

Posted by Jay Cross at 01:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2004

GetIt!


Hard to imagine, but if you just don't have enough Jay in your life, read this Insight Newsletter from GetIt Multimedia. (I know -- it's time for a new photo.)

Loyal Emergent Learning Forum members know Laina Raveendran Green, the interviewer and GetIt's CEO, for she attends our sessions when she's on this side of the Pacific (instead of Singapore).

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2004

Edinburgh

I adore travel to unfamiliar places. Even in the gray drizzle, alleys and cemetaries are beautiful if beauty is what you're looking for:

Some things remind one of home...

Others are a fun surprise, as in this Safeway:

Sometimes, you make private associations that bring a smile to your face.

Tonight I enjoyed a phenomenal dinner of nouveau Scottish cuisine. A pear stuffed with crab meat, wrapped in delicate smoked salmon. Grilled halibut in a red pepper coulis atop haricots verts and lightly sautéed vegetables. Three delectable Scottish cheeses.

The dollar is so worthless (less than half a £) than I feel like I'm carrying a third-world currency.

Luckily, I have no hang-up about shopping for bargains wherever I find myself. Speaking of which, I find the 10-year old Ardbeg Single Islay Malt superior to the 17-year. The elder is smoother, but it has lost too much of the youngster's peatiness.


Tasting notes

Next time I'm in Scotland, I think I'll go island hopping.

Posted by Jay Cross at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2004

New TV Series

Ripped from the headlines!!! (Today's New York Times)


White Collar Crime Unit

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 - Irwin Schiff, the nation's best-known promoter of claims that no law requires the payment of income taxes, suffers from delusions including a fantasy that he alone can properly interpret the tax laws, according to papers that he had his lawyers file in Federal District Court in Las Vegas.
The mayor's office noted that Irwin Schiff is not related for former DA Adam Shiff.

The mental health claim is also a ruse, according to an e-mail message sent on Tuesday to Mr. Schiff's thousands of supporters by his girlfriend, Cindy Nuen. She wrote that this defense is the only way for Mr. Schiff to escape fraud penalties because, she wrote, his lawyers are "scared" to tell judges that "the income tax law is meritless and frivolous."

Mr. Schiff's personal psychiatrist, Dr. Luis Carlos Ortega of Las Vegas, wrote last year, ... that Mr. Schiff has suffered from paranoid delusions about the tax system for decades.

...Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday on whether Mr. Schiff can be barred from selling his book "The Federal Mafia: How the Federal Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Federal Income Taxes."

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2004

MyDoom, Your Doom

I have now wasted eight hours over the past couple of weeks deleting virus-mail from my inbox. When the Feds find the S.O.B. who opened this Pandora's Box of cyber-mayhem, I propose they send him to Guantanamo for twenty years of :interrogation" by the best thugs the CIA can buy.

This morning I read through a hundred incoming emails on the web using Horde. I deleted 95% of them as obvious Spam.

This reminds me of hearing Tom Stewart talking about how email appears in his inbox "as if delivered in the night by some evil Santa."

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 31, 2004

Help save Berkeley landmarks

You may know that I love the Berkeley hills and their pathways. Last year I described a beautiful walk up a hill lined with houses designed by our revered, indigenous architect, Bernard Maybeck. A few days ago, a resident of that hill asked my help in getting the local Zoning Board to deny granting a special use permit that would allow someone to build an enormous, view-blocking, 22' by 2-story wall in this neighborhood. I'll do what I can.

To make a difference, you need to register your feelings with the Berkeley Zoning Board by this Thusday. For particulars, email: [email protected] They'll respond quickly and with gratitude!

Take your choice:


a. Unobstructed View


b. Two story, 22' high, industrial box

Click thumbnail for larger images.

The neighbor's letter:

History It's a sad day when the character of the Berkeley Hills is jeopardized by a new, very determined land-owner. The area comprising Buena Vista Way, La Loma and Maybeck Twin Drives, is cited as one of the most significant in the state by architectural historians.

The origins of the neighborhood's special reputation go back to the late 1890s when Maybeck began designing homes in Berkeley that blended into their natural surroundings and projected a simple, healthy lifestyle for their inhabitants.

Maybeck lived on Buena Vista Way and designed a number of significant houses there: the "Sack" House and the Wallen Maybeck House and the Mathewson studio to name a few. All designs reflected his guiding principles of blending in with the environment. In addition to Maybeck's former buildings, others such as The Boynton House ("Temple of the Wings") and the Hume Cloister, add historic interest to the neighborhood. All of these houses have been respectfully developed and many have been designated National or State Historic Landmarks, under a time-consuming process initiated by their owners.

Call it Buena Vista Way, Maybeck's area or more curiously, "Nut Hill," it's a place with a lot of history. And a place that has been preserved by owners and occupants for everyone in all Berkeley and beyond to enjoy. Those who live there delight to see runners, bikers, interested tourists and of course, the Path Wanderers, come up and take a look around, take in the views and peer inside some unique homes. Often times, when they see a walker huffing and puffing toward the top, they offer a glass of juice or an invitation "to come inside and poke around." It's a resource for the whole city, and residents are proud to be its guardians.

It's not always a breeze to live in the area however because the codes around zoning and building are fairly strict. Additions to homes and even permits to build carports are not easy to come by. Thus far, these few special "blocks" have developed organically and their uniqueness remains intact.

The Issue at Hand
Unfortunately, residents living in Maybeck homes and others there, are now faced with a possible decision by the Zoning Adjustments Board to allow a very large, very modern and mostly windowless house to be built in the middle of the historic area. The lot to be developed was part of the site of the home that Maybeck built and lived in until it was destroyed by the major Hills fire in 1923.

If Use Permits are granted, the house as designed will be almost twice as tall as anything else in the area and characterized by a 22-foot long façade that would eliminate the views of the Bay from the street.

Neighbors have written letters, gone to late-night Zoning Board Hearings and as respectfully but solidly as possible opposed these Use Permits being granted. The residents are not against development, in fact, some are contractors and builders.

They are however united against this project that does not respect the history of the area. They have worked to preserve the Hill as a Berkeley resource and find it difficult to believe that its future could soon be forever altered.

Taking a Stand
They would be very appreciative to have Path Wanderers Members write a letter to the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board and/or the Planning Commission or otherwise communicate with the powers that be in the City, to OPPOSE this project.

The final Zoning Board vote is scheduled for FEB 12th. Zoning Board members will review all letters and input received by FEB 5th.

Wes Boyd, MoveOn founder, when he was interviewed by CTNow last August said, "You wish these things would be taken care of by other people." Area residents are hoping the Path Wanderers might be a group that cares enough about the history and preservation of the Hills that they would be inspired to write to the City on this.

The address:

    Zoning Adjustments Board C/o Current Planning Division 2120 Milvia Street Berkeley, CA 94704

    Re: proposed house at 2861 Buena Vista Way
    Attn: Sage



Temple of the Wings

Posted by Jay Cross at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2004

No room for LMS big boys

Contracting Office Address

    Office of Personnel Management, Contracting, Facilities and Administrative Services Group, Contracting Division, 1900 E Street, N.W., Room 1342, Washington, DC, 20415-7710

Description

    The Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. will be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will lead to the establishment of multiple Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for online training, products and services in support of the Government Online Learning Center (GoLearn). GoLearn is responsible for providing the full spectrum of web-based human capital performance (e-HCP) tools and the full range of web-based training content, including academic, technical, executive and organizational development courses to federal employees.... The LMS/LCMS niche will be set aside totally for small business. The NAICS code for this niche is 541511 (Custom Computer Programming Services). For this niche a company is considered small if it has gross average annual sales for the proceeding three years of less than $21 million.
Posted by Jay Cross at 09:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

Uh-oh, proper perspective

A Daughter's Letter home from College

    Dear Mom and Dad:

    It has been four months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and am very sorry for my thoughtlessness. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. Don't read any further unless you are sitting down .... OK?

    [If you know this old chestnut, jump ahead to the sequel.]

    Good. I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got from jumping out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire, shortly after my arrival, are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get three headaches a day. Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory and my jump were witnessed by an attendant at a nearby gas station, and he was able to call the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital, and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt-out dorm, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it is kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but I'm sure it will be before I start to show.

    Yes, Mom and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents, and I know you will give the baby the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing our premarital blood tests, and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up, thanks to my daily penicillin injections.

    I know you will welcome him into our family with open arms. He is kind, and although not well educated, he is ambitious.

    I guess that's it. Now that I have brought you up to date, I want you to know... There was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged, I do not have syphilis and there is no man in my life. However, I am getting a "D" in History and an "F" in Science, and I wanted you to see these marks in their proper perspective.

    Your loving daughter,

    Chelsea

PRESS RELEASE

DigitalThink Announces Financial Results for Third Quarter of Fiscal 2004


SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DigitalThink, Inc. (Nasdaq: DTHK), the leader in custom e-learning for Fortune 1000 companies, today announced financial results for its third quarter of fiscal 2004.

. . .

"We are seeing very positive signs in the custom e-learning business and more importantly in our business," said Michael Pope, president and chief executive officer of DigitalThink.

. . .

That said, we do face a significant challenge in our relationship with our customer EDS."

"EDS is our largest customer first signed under a master agreement in July of 2000," continued Pope. "We have a valid and binding contract with EDS that runs through June 2005. Many times over our three-year relationship we have renegotiated the master agreement with EDS by amending and expanding our service offering, in all cases with the best interests of our customer in mind. EDS alleges that DigitalThink is currently in default under the master agreement. We strongly believe there is no basis for these allegations. The dispute is not over quality of courseware or level of service concerns. EDS, however, has indicated it may attempt to terminate the remaining portion of the contract."

"This current discussion does not surprise me, as we have renegotiated many times in the past. We are currently in negotiations with EDS to provide a business resolution to the matter using the process provided for in our contract. If we are unable to reach a mutually-agreeable business resolution regarding this matter we intend to pursue all breach of contract and other claims we have against EDS. Obviously, a business resolution is our preferred outcome."

"Rest assured, we are not standing still at DigitalThink. Customer concentration risk is not new to this company. As such, we have assessed the situation of what DigitalThink looks like without EDS many times in the past. We have a plan that we believe will enable us to serve our clients and fulfill on our mission of providing outstanding customer service and custom e- learning. Our plan would require significant expense reductions, including headcount reductions and lease terminations."

"In summary, you should understand four points: one, we see positive trends in our business conditions; two, there is an issue with EDS that we are taking all possible steps to resolve amicably; three, we believe we have an extremely strong case should we have to resort to a legal resolution; and four, most importantly, we have a plan for DigitalThink's continued execution for our customers and our shareholders should EDS go away as a customer," concluded Pope.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

Plug those leaks

A visit from the FBI
By Scott Granneman, SecurityFocus
Posted: 28/01/2004 at 13:02 GMT

A favorite trick is to surreptitiously turn on the Webcam of an owned computer in order to watch the dupe at work, or watch what he's typing on screen. In one, a hacker sent a WinPopup message to a fellow: "Hey, put your shirt back on! And why are you using a computer when there's a girl on your bed!" Sure enough, the camera had captured a guy using his computer, sans shirt, and in the background you could clearly see a young woman stretched out on a bed.

and

Eastern European hackers, backed by organized crime, such as the Russian mafia. In other words, the professionals. The easiest way to illegally acquire money now is through the use of online tools like Trojans, or through phishing: set up a fake Web site for PayPal or eBay or Amazon, and then convince the naíve to enter their usernames, passwords, and credit card information.



More of these are Posted by Jay Cross at 03:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 19, 2004

TechKnowledge Travel Plans

I just booked my flight and room for ASTD TechKnowledge in Anaheim the second week in February. This will be about my umpteenth time working across Katella Boulevard from the Kingdom of the Mouse.

You don't need to stay at the Convention hotels. I have never stayed at the Hilton or the Marriott on the Convention Center grounds. Too rich for my blood. Five years ago I stayed at a cheapo motel on Harbor for $40/night; it's since been torn down.

This time around, I'll be at the Anabella. It's on Katella, a five-minute walk from the Conference Center. Clean. Friendly. Laid back. I had a good experience there two years ago.


A deluxe room goes for $64/night ($55 before tax) from hotel.net.

My flight from Oakland to Orange County is costing more than I'd planned on: $111 roundtrip (Alaska Air, orbitz.com) because I didn't reserve far enough in advance to qualify for Southwest's $60 ticket.


I wouldn't dream of paying to go to DisneyLand. (I did it long ago; my son has outgrown it; I consider Disney almost fascist). However, you can get the Disney aura by walking through Downtown Disney, a Disneyesque shopping mall with restaurants. It's walking distance from the hotels.

Drop me an email if you'd like to meet while I'm in Southern California.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

The Beatles Strike Again

A number of years ago some politico was horrified to discover that the song he'd been praising, "With a Little Bit of Help From My Friends," was about drugs.

I'll be speaking at WebEx's premier User Conference in San Francisco. My invitation just arrived.

We have chosen "Come Together" for our first conference theme as we know our WebEx customers, experts and partners will want to come together to experience this important event!

You figure it out.

Posted by Jay Cross at 06:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2004

Mispelling? Us? We help people decide on degree programs.

Press Release Source: eLearners.com Inc.

eLlearners.com(SM) Launches Free Online Assessment Tool to Determine if Online Education Is Right for You
Wednesday January 14, 7:30 am ET

eLlearners?

HOBOKEN, N.J., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- eLearners.com Inc., creator of the leading website for connecting learners to online education, announced the launch of eLearners Advisor, a new tool designed to assist prospective students in determining their readiness for online education. The free seven-minute assessment tool asks 42 targeted questions designed to evaluate the user's preparedness. eLearners Advisor then provides comprehensive feedback and information that students can use to help them decide if an online degree program is appropriate for their needs.



Press Release Source: eLearners.com Inc.

Correction -- eLearners.com Inc.
Wednesday January 14, 8:54 am ET

In the news release, eLearners.com(SM) Launches Free Online Assessment Tool to Determine if Online Education Is Right for You, issued earlier today over PR Newswire by eLearners.com Inc., the company name was misspelled in the headline. It should have read "eLearners.com" rather than "eLlearners.com" as incorrectly transmitted by PR Newswire.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Generic Corp's Implementation Advice

Now that Generic Corp has a mission, they need to tell customers how to implement their products.

"People have become smarter about how to communicate and conduct business globally and we see that with the explosion of the Web. Today's workforce is realizing the significant benefits that virtual tools provide in saving time and money, allowing them to be more productive."

Tips for getting the most out of _________________

• Find a champion. Select someone to motivate and inspire a team or organization to use the new tool. He or she can be anyone or anywhere in the organization, as long as they know the technology. The champion must also have insight about the challenges that people in a virtual environment face.

• Set clear expectations. The champion must set clear expectations for how the technology is to be used to improve teamwork. Print them on a reference card for everyone to post on their computer monitor and view.

• Train people only on methods and essential features they will use now. Give people only as much as they can apply right now, today. Then stop. Let people digest what they have learned, practice it in their real work and get comfortable with it. Then introduce new features.

• Teach new skills over time. To create true teamwork, the best practices and skills have to keep evolving. Therefore, people need more learning and support, one step at a time.

"If people don't find value in a tool, they'll stop using it. The key is to embrace collaborative technology and introduce it in new ways that drive high-performance teamwork."

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

Mission of Generic Corp

Some day I plan to write a generic proposal for a generic product sold by Generic Corporation. In preparation, I collect content-free business puffery I find on the net. This is what you get when you click "Mission" on one corporation's home page:

We intend to hold a strong position in our industry by offering quality service to our customers, hiring the brightest and best people available, by nurturing a family type culture that extends to our partners and customers, and by focusing on efficient practices. We will seek to keep overhead low, while continually offering a strong value proposition to maximize revenue, thus leading to a profitable enterprise.

Everything we do, everyday, underscores our collective dedication to this credo. Our objective is to earn the right to become our stakeholders’ vendor-of-choice, employer-of-choice, partner-of-choice, or investment-of-choice.

I am not making this up.

It takes a special view of the world to write such a buzzword-laden, self-centered, meaningless piece of tripe. Wow. I am in awe.

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Wayne & me

Wayne Hodgins and I chatted for 2 1/2 hours today. Wayne lives in the future and thinks waaaaaaaaaay out of the box. Friends have told me they can't understand a word he says. Some of us find him a visionary and inspiration.

With apologies to Steve Martin, Wayne suggests, "Let's get small." Granular. So small that we can glue the grains together to construct anything we can dream up. Like configuring personalized lessons for everyone in the world.

Metaphor #1. Dell Computer. You build your own computer. They get it to you fast because they maintain an inventory of standard components. Dell doesn't have factories that make things; it has warehouses that assemble things. Question: Is Dell selling products or services? Can we do a Dell on learning?

Metaphor #2. Planeload of soldiers flying to the battlefield. As they take off, they don't know where they're going or what role they'll be expected to play. They must be ready to handle the unexpected. How can the military make sure the troops have right competencies? Or can learn them on the way? Competency is more important than content because the objective is to accomplish the mission.

Metaphor #3. Personalized lessons for each of the 6.3 billion people on earth. ("What if the impossible isn't?" Wayne is underwhelmed by our expectations.) Modular assemblies, open architecture, Web services/interoperability, and learning grains as small as possible but no smaller, are all parts of the solution. But how can we avoid the manual tweaking and closed-system mentality that held back Performance Support?

We count on emergence -- organization and structure that are already there but not yet visible. That's what underpins the automated collection of metadata, expert locators, pattern recognition, smart graphics... self-organization.

Metaphor #4. Parameterized design, AKA emergent design. Feed the parameters of the desired output into CAD and have it instruct the computer to create a 3D prototype. Or design a boat hull on the screen and the computer-controlled mold shapes itself to the pattern. One-off's become as economical as mass-producted. (This gets me thinking that Business Process Modeling will evolve into parameterized workflow. It's all in your head. Or on your hard disk.)

How small can we get? What do the atoms look like? Wayne considers Bob Horn's information blocks the minimum. They're as small as you can go with and still have them stand alone. Any atom has four distinct elements. Each atom, or grain, is composed of four basic pieces: "pure" content, presentation, sequencing, and meta-data.

You want to play with these things, you need IMOTO,

  • Identifiers
  • Meta-data
  • Objects
  • Taxonomies
  • Ontologies

Wayne's and my thinking overlap in numerous areas. (And, having written that, I realize it's akin to saying that I agree with Hawking about string theory and Gell-Mann about quarks.)

  • recognition that competence outweighs content
  • the challenge is to be ready for the unexpected
  • we've only just begun the exponential ride
  • many things arrive in the wrong size packages (e.g. gimme the slide I want, not a full PowerPoint presentation)
  • serving the customer is the ultimate value proposition

Turning hurredly to the Edinburgh Scenarios, Wayne suggests we consider our linear dimensions as if they were loops:


I'm still puzzling over that one. Mobius strips?

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 29, 2003

Koan Spam

This morning I received a mystifying email from China. The body reads:

    selector articulatory avocado stairway fought contributor honoraria lakehurst face edwardine robot profuse rifle macassar artillery mournful homebound nantucket contrariwise madison teleconference balletic choosy dire bayberry carve gustavus complementary conceit wastewater otter console parasite letterman compel crank harsh nauseum bromide leghorn disk anus schumacher superstition opalescent smart tango switzerland flail amputate saguaro fluorescent edible militate ilona cowpony micky eva

Anyone know what's going on here? Did I intercept a terrorist message in code?

Posted by Jay Cross at 08:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 28, 2003

Recycled Spam

What illegal shenanigans will those crafty spam artists think up next?

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2003

24 hours

Seb Paquet writes Seb's Open Research, a blog with "pointers and thoughts on the evolution of knowledge sharing and scholarly communication." He wrote me from New Brunswick that he planned to be in San Francisco today and we decided to rendezvous.


Late Wednesday Seb sent me an email that he was going to a party in my neighborhood in Berkeley the next evening and perhaps we could meet there. So I put on my Santa suit, wandered over to Jerry Michalski's house (I thought he lived in Sausalito; he's actually a neighbor), and met an absolutely wonderful group of people, some of whom I knew through their blogs.

The story continues...

At the party, Gordon Moore (no, not that Gordon Moore), invited us to drop by the Internet Archive for lunch the next day. Seb was new to San Francisco, so this morning I led him on a whirlwind tour on the way to lunch. Among other things, we tangled with Union Square, the Post St. shops, Chinatown, North Beach, cable cars, the Marina, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Seal Rock, Great Beach, and Golden Gate Park.

The Internet Archive


It's a great contrast: a century-old, clapboard Army building housing an altruistic, hyper-high tech operation. Inside, Brewster Kahle and a dozen helpers create, maintain, and move forward the Internet Archive.

Brewster aims to capture and preserve all the books, magazines, television, the web, software, and music created by humankind, and to make it accessible to the entire world. He thinks of it as "making the free world work." It's a 25-year goal.

In addition to the Archive staff, clustered around the luncheon table were a chap from the National Library of Iceland, another from the National Library of Norway, two people from the Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders, a guy from SBC Global, a volunteer from Boston who is helping the Archive capture music, and others.

The Archive is moving its computers into a new data center. The fellows moving the PCs joked about carting around "100 Terabytes in a U-Haul." The Archive runs on a complex of nearly a thousand computers. Their typical computer includes four 250 gig hard drives, a terabyte in all, and costs about $1,400. They consume about $500 worth of electricity every month.

From the Archive's site:

    Why the Archive is Building an 'Internet Library'

    Libraries exist to preserve society’s cultural artifacts and to provide access to them. If libraries are to continue to foster education and scholarship in this era of digital technology, it’s essential for them to extend those functions into the digital world.

    Many early movies were recycled to recover the silver in the film. The Library of Alexandria — an ancient center of learning containing a copy of every book in the world — was eventually burned to the ground. Even now, at the turn of the 21st century, no comprehensive archives of television or radio programs exist.

    But without cultural artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. And paradoxically, with the explosion of the Internet, we live in what Danny Hillis has referred to as our "digital dark age."

    The Internet Archive is working to prevent the Internet — a new medium with major historical significance — and other "born-digital" materials from disappearing into the past. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, we are working to preserve a record for generations to come.

Stewart Brand has written:

    "The Internet Archive is a service so essential that its founding is bound to be looked back on with the fondness and respect that people now have for the public libraries seeded by Andrew Carnegie a century ago.... Digitized information, especially on the Internet, has such rapid turnover these days that total loss is the norm. Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result; indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to notice the problem properly. The Internet Archive is the beginning of a cure — the beginning of complete, detailed, accessible, searchable memory for society, and not just scholars this time, but everyone."

One amazing aspect of the Internet Archive is its reliance on volunteers. The fellow assembling the music archive does it as a labor of love. Today was the first time he had met Brewster or visited the Archive. Similarly, Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders spreads the task of proofreading amongst five hundred active volunteers. Some people check a page a day, others complete dozens, and some folks do this almost fullltime. Interested? They'd be glad to have you join in "preserving history one day at a time." Thus far, PGDP has proofed a million pages. They've posted 10,000 public domain books to Project Gutenberg. Charles Franks says they're tracking their target of proofing a million books in ten years. The strength of numbers at work--along with the genius of chopping the work up into small pieces....

Conversations with Jerry Michalski, Jerry's mom, Steve Larsen (Net Perceptions), Peter Merholz, Seb Paquet, the Archive people, and dozens of others have generated so many ideas and connections that my head feels about ready to pop. I'm going to have my morning coffee, browse through the New York Times, and let "the boys in the back room" process my neural firings.

Well, I find I have to get out a few thoughts.

I am filled with optimism that we can make the world a better place. Folks like Jerry and Brewster are going to help us do it.

Everything in the world is connected or becoming so. At present it's like the "Internet cloud." You don't see the lines of connection but you trust that they are there. I'm beginning to perceive something parallel, sort of "Reality Soup." I appreciate that everything (systems, people, places) is connected, I don't see most of the connections, but just realizing I'm in the soup simplifies my worldview.

Now, I'm going to go get that coffee.

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 10, 2003

eLearning Forum Season's Party

Menlo Park (SRI)
eLearning Forum Season's Party

You missed it!

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2003

A Day of Shopping and Surfing

360 degree views of Stonehenge. Absolutely stunning.

There's wonderful writing in the blogosphere if you have the pointers to find it. Caterina:

    On the Diminution of Knowledge

    It seems to me that the shadow cast by one's mind, that is, the sphere of knowlege that one's brain may encompass, is finite, has a certain limit, and stays within that limit; that one thing remembered causes another thing to be forgotten; that one carries one's own personal circumference of attention, and that, try as one might, try as I might, that is, I cannot cram more understanding, more thinking, or more knowing into this pre-ordained or self-limited Knowosphere. That someone else knows something and I don't doesn't cause me to relax into the noosphere, though there are certain things I am happy not to know, i.e. I haven't the faintest idea what football team is likeliest to triumph this year, and am satisfied that certain problems, (an understanding of cube roots, fathoming Kant) fall outside the realm of my concern.

I can relate. I've given up on football, cube rootes, and Kant, too.


Today I participated in a demo of Breeze Live, Macromedia's new synchronous technology. Wow. Macromedia was having internal server problems, so Peter Ryce plugged his modem into a phone line and still managed to give a snappy performance.

    The Breeze interface is clean, a minimalist work of art. Breeze compares to the conferencing tools I'm accustomed to. like a Jaguar XKR compares to my Honda Accord. Don't get me wrong. My Accord is a great car. It's virtually maintenance-free. But getting into a Jag, everything is leather, chrome, or walnut burl. It's fast. It look stunning.

    Peter showed us a Breeze presentation (that is, PowerPoint ocnverted to Flash), video that had been converted into Flash (supposedly a push-button operation), hi-res jpg photos, and other content from a library. He flipped into app sharing -- and recorded that vignette for immediate playback. He called up some "Flash Paper," Macromedia's Flashy Acrobat-like tool (except lightweight).

    Tom King clicked open a webcam, quite clear but the size of a large postage stamp. I clicked a link and my webcam shot appeared right next to Tom's. Given that Breeze Live comes with voice over IP, this could be a nifty coaching environment.

    Tom and Peter use the metaphor of a conference room to describe the Breeze Live environment. Unlike conferencing solutions that are over and done with when everyone exits, a Breeze Live Conference Room is persistent. I can go back where we were this afternoon and find the same set-up, the same presentations, the same content library, etc.

I'll report back after I've tried Breeze Live. After all, this was just the demo. (Scroll to last item of the link.)


December 02, 2003

Overture

Overture is a recent Yahoo acquisition. Their new direct mail piece is headlined "Increased Sales Leads." I just received one addressed to:


    Jay Cross
    Owner
    Jay Cross
    30 Poppy Lane
    Berkeley, CA 94708-1408

Okay, so they confused a personal name with a company name. But I begin to question the validity of their algorithms when I received four more copies addressed to:

    Jay Forrester
    Webmaster
    Internet Time Group

    Bill O'Brien
    Analog Devices CEO
    Internet Time Group

    Patti Shank
    Managing Partner
    Internet Time Group

    Dee Hock
    CEO of Visa
    Internet Time Group

I guess I'd better get my sales leads elsewhere.

Posted by Jay Cross at 05:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

Berkeley Dinner with Dave Winer


Dave

Thirty of us joined Dave Winer this evening at the King Tsin restaurant on Solano at the Albany/Berkeley border for feast and conversation. We filled four tables. I talked with a couple of people who didn't know who Dave is!

Unlike the Chinese dinner event in Palo Alto a few months back, where everybody had a camera, I seemed to be the only one taking photos and rudely flashing at people as they ate. In the great majority of my shots, everyone has their eyes closed.

Dave's M.O. at these dinners is to start a new table when the one he's at fills up. This keeps the group from feeling like there are tables for adults and tables for children. Unfortunately, given this game of musical chairs, I didn't get to speak to Dave all evening. Next time I'll arrive late.



Mark & Chris contemplate the whole fish that arrived after we were stuffed.
These are both Scobelizers.

Sylvia pulled the group together.


Paul writes for Wired, among others.

 

Oh, boy, nothing like a big plate of broccoli for dessert.
← Tom Hunt, sys op and teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley, told our table that adolescents learning to program is parallel to their learning a foreign language. Do it early on and the student will speak fluently for life. Learn a language as an adult, and you end up sounding like Henry Kissinger. Tom believes that fluency in one programming language begets fluency in another. If schools were flexible (ha, ha, ha), wouldn't we map the curriculum to the plasticity of students' minds?

Yours truly. I told you we had our eyes closed.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

LOL at EDS

It's late. I should be in bed. But this simply cracked me up> EDS: Running with the Squirrels. Things have apparently changed since the days when Ross Perot was calling the shots.


Perhaps I'm easily amused this evening, but this quote from Michael Schrage also brought a smile to my face:

    "I think "knowledge management" is a bullshit issue. Let me tell you why. I can give you perfect information, I can give you perfect knowledge and it won't change your behaviour one iota. People choose not to change their behaviour because the culture and the imperatives of the organisation make it too difficult to act upon the knowledge. Knowledge is not the power. Power is power. The ability to act on knowledge is power. Most people in most organisations do not have the ability to act on the knowledge they possess. End of story."

More of the same

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 19, 2003

Digital library night

Last Sunday I made my way down to the Hillside Club on Cedar for Berkeley Cybersalon: Libraries and the Future. I had no idea what I was getting into but figured it had to be better than TV. Besides, I don't get out enough.

Daniel Greenstein, president, the California Digital Libraries Initiative, explained the economics of research publications; it's not a pretty picture. Since '86, inflation has risen 75%; the fee for research journals is up 400%. A majority of the pubs are sold in "baskets" by commercial publishers. Changing things will involve faculty shunning the price-gougers. This is the same argument corporate training managers face. Vendors want to sell the whole store; customers want only what they want.













Anne Lipow, director of the Library Solutions Institute, is concerned about the human element in research libraries. Research librarians are often idle, awaiting patrons' queries. They can point people to the best sources, save time, and improve the quality of research. Where do librarians fit n the digital world? This, too, has a direct analogy in the training world. There the question is, "What happens to the instructors?" The answer is that some of them before facilitators, guides, coaches, and organizers, both online and in the real world. In the Information Age, surely there's a role for librarians -- so long as they don't refuse to budge from their comfort zone behind the counter.

Brewster Kahle, founder of The Internet Archive, was the real treat, an enthusiastic visionary. His goal is universal access to all knowledge, and he has plans on how to get there.

    • How much is there? 100 million titles (the Library of Congress has 26 million).
    • How can we access it? No matter where Brewster finds himself, he's always a one-day walk or less from an Internet cafe.
    • How to capture the info? It takes about 2 hours to scan a book. This doesn't cost much in India.
    • How to distribute the books? Vans outfitted with computers, scanners, etc., are printing books on demand in India, Egypt, Uganda.... Kids have 100,000 books to choose from. Production cost is $1/book. These are often the first book a kid ever owns.

Off line, Brewster described what it would take for universal access, Mind you, the Web is growing by a couple of terabytes a month. To capture the world's knowledge, Brewster sees the need for six locations with a petabyte of storage and gigabit/second access. Whew! Brewster is founder of the Internet Archive. See How the Wayback Machine Works. Before that, he came up with WAIS and Alexa.

Brewster is founder of the Internet Archive. See How the Wayback Machine Works. Before that, he came up with WAIS and Alexa.

Posted by Jay Cross at 07:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No means no.

Yahoo! was once respected on the Net. They just lost me for good. This arrived in today's email. It triggers that line that Doc mentioned last month, "What part of everything don't you understand?"

When you first registered with us and created your Yahoo! ID, our system presented a single "Yes" or "No" option for receiving all types of marketing communications. At some point you said "No," and after that we no longer sent any of these types of messages to you.

In March 2002, we began rolling out an updated marketing communications system. Instead of just a single "Yes" or "No" choice, we created a new Marketing Preferences page where you decide....

When this updated system was first announced in March 2002, we told you we'd begin sending you messages about Yahoo! products and services across all categories, even though you had said "No" to messages under the old single choice system. We also told you that you could still say "No" to these messages by visiting your Marketing Preferences. But we did not completely implement this change until now.

Starting January 1, 2004, Yahoo! will begin to send you messages, via email or postal mail, about our own products and services....

I guess they're looking out for me, giving me a default setting of "yes" to all this crap:
    These categories are for Yahoo! services only.
    New Yahoo! features and events. Yes  No
    Special offers, online sales, and shopping tips on Yahoo!. Yes  No
    Travel specials and exclusive deals. Yes  No
    Managing personal finances. Yes  No
    Entertainment, games, and sports. Yes  No
    Finding a job or an employee. Yes  No
    Meeting someone special or a new friend. Yes  No
    Staying in touch with friends and participating in online communities. Yes  No
    Managing my time and contacts. Yes  No
    Using Yahoo! for research and surfing the Web. Yes  No
    Building web sites for personal or professional use. Yes  No
    Ways to sell things on Yahoo!. Yes  No
    Tools for growing and managing a business. Yes  No

    See what you could be receiving. Check out some sample special offers from Yahoo!
Posted by Jay Cross at 06:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 13, 2003

Internet Time Outbound

(This is a letter to the Internet Time mailing list.)

It's been three months since the last issue of Internet Time Outbound. I'm better writing a daily blog than churning out a once-in-a-while newsletter. Nonetheless, I'll give you a brain-dump of some things that struck me as important this past quarter.

If you're not familiar with blogs, note that the first thing you see may be the tip of an iceberg. Click "Continue" for more.

Informal Learning. This is the low-hanging fruit of performance improvement. Think of it as "unauthorized learning." It can move mountains and it is dirt cheap. Vendors won't tell you much about it because they haven't figured out how to make money from informal learning. See this article in CLO or this white paper.

Blogs. Web-logs, or blogs, are finally catching on in business. Blogs are a new medium, both a very simple way to write and slap pictures on the web and a means of preserving and indexing thoughts and observations. A good blog is an online salon. Blogs are nodes in communities of practice. Third graders post their assignments on the web and are critiqued by their peers. I wish I'd been able to do that. The first Ed Blogger event starts in a couple of weeks in San Francisco.

Workflow Learning. Tomorrow we're throwing open the doors of the Workflow Learning Institute. I am convinced that the NEXT BIG THING in learning & performance is just around the corner. Workflow Learning rides on the back of web services; it's the real-time, on-demand learning that appears when it's needed. Sam Adkins and I are publishing research reports, setting up a subscription news service, and trying to get the word out through webinars, eLearning, and live events.

TechLearn. Earlier this month I returned to Disneyworld for my sixth TechLearn. I've blogged them all. Photos and antique observations are available from this page. This year's summary: (1) Let's get small. (2) Provide it when they need it. (3) Work = learning = work.

Webinars. It's fun to webcast to people all over the world while sipping one's own blend of coffee and surveying the redwoods in the backyard. Two or three hundred people attended my events this quarter, so I plan to continue them next year. I want to experiment. Today's webcasts resemble lectures, or infomercials; I would rather conduct a dialogue. Stay tuned.

La France. I had a wonderful time visiting friends in Southern France. photos For something a bit more zany, try the How Berkeley Can You Be parade or our week in Toronto

Richard Saul Wurman spoke at Online Learning this year. Memorable lines: "I'm not that smart but I'm incredibly curious. I love it. ? Users? I don't give a shit. I don't know what's in their heads. I only know what's in mine. I only write about what I understand." Were only all designers this honest.

    "I sell my desire to learn about things. That journey is what you take people on."

    Someone else's joke: I thought my brain was the most important organ in my body and then I thought, hey, look who's telling me that.

    Getting at perspective, Saul tells a Steve Wright joke: "Everything is in walking distance ... if you have enough time."

    It's one of the most important things we do, but no one receives training in how to converse. (A meta-learning observation.). By the way, the Meta-Learning Lab is seeking funding to develop a "black belt" facilitator program. We are out to fix the process, not the events.


Social Network Analysis is important. (Back to the informal learning thing.) I became a charter member of the Institute for Social Network Analysis of the Economy and talked with the professor who discovered the "strength of weak ties." The irony is that I have heard from the Institute since I gave them my dues. It's like the page at the Society for Organizational Learning site: "What We Do. Practice - - - This page is currently under construction." (And has been under construction for more than two years.)

In a webinar on personalization, I asked people to imagine a store that treated customers the way early eLearning treated learners. You bought an expensive item last week and come back into the store. No one acknowledges you or says hello. No one calls you by name. They've already forgotten you were here before. They have no memory of your purchase. There isn't much merchandise on the shelves and you're not allowed to try anything on before you buy it. We never follow up. You want a personal shopper? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. That's a good one. Is it any wonder people don't buy this stuff?

jay

Jay Cross, Internet TIme Group, Berkeley, California

What's new with you? Send me an email or leave a comment below.
Posted by Jay Cross at 08:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 29, 2003

Head Stop

Head Start is testing small children. Today's New York Timtes notes:

    More than half a million 4-year-olds in Head Start programs around the country are taking the same test, which has been mandated by the Bush administration. The largest standardized testing of such young children ever in this country, it has exposed a bitter divide between federal officials and many experts in early education.

    The test reflects the philosophy and principles behind the No Child Left Behind law, which emphasizes literacy and math, and has imposed testing for children starting in the third grade as a key to raising academic achievement.

    But critics say the test is flawed and meaningless for such young children, whose development is in enormous flux.

We don't need no education.
We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teacher, leave those kids alone.
Hey, Teacher, leave those kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 27, 2003

Scroll down for links

Interoperability? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It's funny -- funny-strange, not funny-ha-ha -- that cyber-catastrophe seems to know the precise time to needle the user for maximum effect. Gonzo programmer that I am, over the weekend I decided that rather than simply add a few menu items in the sidebar to my blog, I should shift the entire site to CSS. No more tables, just blocks of stuff floating here and there. Professional. In one touch, I could recast hundreds of pages in Halloween orange and black if the spirit moved me.

Of course, I tried to do this without manuals. It's like riding a motorcycle without a helmet or swinging from the high trapeze without a net. I fell. The new site looks wildly different in each popular browser. Things look great in Mozilla, iffy in Internet Explorer, and unworkable in Opera. Oh joy.

Looking for navigation and links? Page-down. They're down there somewhere.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 11, 2003

Where I'll be

Here are some of my whistlestops in the coming quarter. I'll be wearing the loud Hawaiian shirt. Please say hello.

KMWorld & Intranets 2003
October 14-16, 2003
Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, California

eLearning Forum
October 24, 2003
University of California
Berkeley, California

TechLearn 2003
November 2-5, 2003
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Flawda

eLearning Producer 2003
November 11-14, 2003
San Francisco, California
(Register here)

ASTD TechKnowledge 2004
February 9-11, 2004
Anaheim, California


Want Ad
Seeking a kick-ass meeting room for 60-75 people for four hours in November to conduct monthly meeting of the eLearning Forum. A broadband Internet connection would be nice to have. Rewards are prestige, honor, free admission to event, recognition on our website, and our enduring thanks. Email me.

Posted by Jay Cross at 04:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2003

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.

It's too bad Franz Kafka is not around to enjoy this and say "I told you so."

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-039

Buffer Overrun In RPCSS Service Could Allow Code Execution (824146)

Originally posted: September 10, 2003

    Who should read this bulletin: Users running Microsoft ® Windows ®

    Impact of vulnerability: Three new vulnerabilities, the most serious of which could enable an attacker to run arbitrary code on a user's system.

    Maximum Severity Rating: Critical

    Recommendation: System administrators should apply the security patch immediately




I'm still using Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, but it is no longer in support. However, this bulletin has a patch. Why is that?

Windows NT 4.0 Workstation has reached its end of life as previously documented and Microsoft is not normally providing generally available patches. However, due to the nature of this vulnerability, the fact that the end-of-life occurred very recently, and the number of Windows NT 4.0 Workstations currently in active use, Microsoft has decided to make an exception for this vulnerability.

We do not anticipate doing this for future vulnerabilities, but reserve the right to produce and make available patches when necessary. It should be a priority for customers with existing Windows NT 4.0 Workstations to migrate those to supported platforms to prevent exposure to future vulnerabilities.

[Pay us or our lack of support will destroy you.]

Disclaimer: The information provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.


[Don't blame us.]



Technical description:
An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could be able to run code with Local System privileges on an affected system, or could cause the RPCSS Service to fail. The attacker could then be able to take any action on the system, including installing programs, viewing, changing or deleting data, or creating new accounts with full privileges.


[This vulnerability could easily delete everything from your hard drive, probably after stealing your financial records, passwords, work in progress, and dirty pictures and posting them on the net for everyone's amusement.]



"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more."

My son, who has made one stock purchase in his life -- Microsoft -- switched to Linux. Now he's running BSD. I have other things to invest my time in, and I don't have a friendly Help Desk or sysop to call from my home office.

I used to rationalize putting time into knowing the latest technology fads, tweaks, patches, and workarounds by telling myself it was worth it to be able to share with others. I've hit the tipping point. I'm spending more time dorking around with fixes and Spam and brushes with catastrophe than I can justify. I'd rather be writing, photographing, analyzing, documentation, mindmapping, reading, interpreting...using my wetware.

So, where does one go? I would have thought this foolish until I finally encountered one patch too many. The answer, which I'll be exploring this week and next, is:

My switching costs used to be too high to contemplate this. Thousands of dollars in software, muscle memory for tapping out frequent instructions, and lots of peripherals/gadgets. Then it occurred to me that I can still use all this arcana as long as I'm not vulnerable to the net. I'll get a Mac and use it when I'm connected and keep my desktop for processing and specialty functions. At a minimum, this will give me training wheels while I get up to speed.

Network
Mad As Hell [listen]


written by Paddy Chayefsky

Howard Beale: I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don't go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won't say anything." Well I'm not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. God Dammit, my life has value." So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Things have got to change my friends. You've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 11, 2003

How Organizations Learn

What We Do
Practice - - - This page is currently under construction.

About Organizational Learning
What 's New in OL? - - - This page is currently under construction. Please check our calendar for upcoming SoL events and related happenings in the field of organizational learning.

These pages have been under construction for at least two years!!

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 09, 2003

Get Real

Why do I hate RealNetworks? Let me count the ways.

#1 You must provide a credit card number even though you're welcome to drop out before charges begin. They're hoping you'll forget....

#2 You can sign up online but you can't sign out online. Sign up 24/7; sign off working hours only. Reminds me of AOL.

    "To cancel your subscription, please call us at 1-888-768-3248.

    Thank you,
    RealNetworks Customer Service

    Our hours of operation are:
    Monday - Friday, 6:00 am to 7:30 pm - Pacific Time
    Saturday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm - Pacific Time
    Sunday, 7:30 am to 5:30 pm - Pacific Time

#3 Real claims to do this to improve their service. What bullshit.

#4 If the past is any guide, I'll be discovering weird stuff Real left behind weeks after I've tried to eradicate it.


Posted by Jay Cross at 01:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 05, 2003

Microsoft-fu

Today I was sitting in Josh Bersin's kitchen. He got a conference call. I switched on his computer and started grabbing the news. Then I dropped by this site just to see how it looked in IE, which I'd given up for Mozilla and Opera, each of which has its strong points but both of which are miles ahead of IE.

Damned if my site didn't look goofy. The blog column was overlapping the navigation column. Argh. IE interprets tables in a non-standard way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know good practice calls for testing one's site with a variety of browsers. In my case, I'm author, coder, webmaster, smut eraser, and graphic artist on a site that is continually changing shape and pushing the envelope. I'd rather see Microsoft go along with standards than force tens of millions of us to create workarounds.

Jay's justice: If you are convicted in Federal court of cutting off a competitor's air supply, you are obligated not to abandon your product for at least five years after killing the competitor. Nor are you allowed to collude with the purchaser of the former competitor's acquirer to bury what's left. Nor are you allowed to violate court order by incorporating the product back into your operating system to retain your monopoly.

That's just my opinion. I might be wrong.

Posted by Jay Cross at 07:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2003

Cheezy book


Please Remove My 'Cheese'

Jon Warshawsky once again demonstrates that Deloitte has a sense of humor.

Hypothetical Publicist from Penguin Putnam: Mr. Warshawsky, we're delighted you've finally had a chance to review Who Moved My Cheese? You're the last person who had not read and benefited from this worldwide mega-bestseller on "An A-Mazing way to deal with change." We'd love a quote from Cappuccino to use on the next version of the book jacket.

JW: Well, I'll try to put a positive spin on this. Who Moved My Cheese? is beyond any shred of doubt the worst and most useless thing in print. It's trite, dull and insulting. So far this year, I can say with some confidence that I've learned more from Snapple bottle caps and Eminem album lyrics.

PP: (Laughs) Love that journalistic wit. Surely you appreciated the storytelling approach to explaining reactions to change? Makes you think, doesn't it? And what a quick read!

JW: There's absolutely no way that 10 million adults actually read about two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two really teeny tiny people named Hem and Haw living in a wee little maze with a disappearing wad of cheese. I'm embarrassed for the consulting profession. I hope my parents don't see this.

PP: 'Cheese' is all about metaphor, so it's even more sophisticated than it appears. Powerful metaphors drive this tale of universal struggle in the face of change. Even the names are ingenious.

JW: Well, you've got me there. Who would've thought Hem and Haw would have 'hemmed and hawed' before seeking the new cheese. And Sniff and Scurry were so perceptive -- and responsive.

PP: Exactly! Now you've got it. Sometimes people can't grasp the great truths in 'Cheese' without mulling them over. It's a quick read. A lot of people keep it on their desk or even front and center on their coffee table. Did I mention that it's a quick read?

JW: It took me a week and a half. I kept it in the bathroom.

PP: So, you keep a few quick-read business books in the loo?

JW: No, not usually.

PP: Well, the insights here have universal relevance. For example, 'Smell the cheese often so you know when it's getting old.' Brilliant, you've got to admit. Will you be giving this book to your colleagues as a practical roadmap to change? A lot of people do.

JW: With nearly 10 million people actively trying to give this book away, I'm having a hard time placing mine, to be honest.

PP: Exactly, it's a phenomenon. Covey's '7 Habits' was pretty good, but people just read it and kept it. 'Cheese' is one of those quick reads made for giving. I'm sure a lot of your Change colleagues at Deloitte have found their professional lives touched by 'Cheese.'

JW: Some have left for other careers, but most have put enough distance between themselves and 'Cheese' that our clients still take them seriously. Our bill rates are down, though. And we've all stopped ordering cheese on our sandwiches. It was making some people ill through association.

PP: Any practical bits from 'Cheese' that strike you as words to live by? A lot of people see bits of themselves in there. People report feeling enlightened. Any insights that resonated with you or constructs that you've transferred to the consulting front lines, so to speak?

JW: No.

PP: Well, all right then. Not all roses, but I'll rework a few of your perspectives -- some great stuff here for the dust jacket of the 48th printing. As a bonus we'll be sending the video, the cheerleading kit and the new Sniff and Scurry plush toys to you at the Cappuccino office. Did you know we've sold nearly one million plush toys?

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Souvenir of the march


Lest we forget: Things are a whole lot better now than they were 40 years ago.

Here's Martin Luther King's speech and its sources. I just re-read it. Took my breath away.

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August 25, 2003

Toronto

Uta, Austin, and I just returned from a weeklong vacation in Toronto. Cool city. More photos here; click thumbnails for larger photos.
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August 08, 2003

Election time follies


At least the other guys in this photo aren't going to say anything.

The race is heating up.

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August 06, 2003

Automated Instructional Design

According to a Reuter's story, McDonald's is testing a robot instructional designer at Hamburger University. The automaton was designed in Sweden and eliminates the need for human designers. The robot takes learning objects from an integrated repository and assembles them into personalized learning experiences. If the testing is successful, McDonald's may use the bots to develop their entire curriculum, fullfilling the prediction in last week's article that robots would begin displacing human knowledge workers.

Not really. Something was lost in translation. The real story said,

According to a Reuter's story, McDonald's is testing a robot burger flipping machine at their Romeoville, Illinois innovation store. The machine was designed in Sweden and eliminates the need for human burger flippers. The machine takes the burgers from an integrated freezer and cooks them on the grill. If the testing is successful, McDonald's may roll them out in more stores, fullfilling the prediction in last week's article that robots would begin displacing human unskilled labor.

Relayed from meryl.net blog

The issue may be "when" rather than "if." If companies are comfortable outsourcing programming and instructional design to India, Eastern Europe, and Turkey, how long can it be until automated modeling wises up to our heuristic algorithms?

Never mind. It's probably the Terminator 3 meme kicking in again. The Age of Machines. Bill Joy's nightmare; Ray Kurzweil's dream. Besides, I just saw Seabiscuit, and I'm optimistic that the underdogs in our glum economy are soon going to charge to victory once more.

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July 27, 2003

Impermanence

Dave Winer & Mark Pilgrim recently had a dust-up over the propriety of changing the words in a blog once it's been posted to the web. Mark accused Dave of changing the wording (and meaning) of what he wrote on DaveNet post-posting. Mark set up a bot to periodically take a peak at Dave's blog and post a before & after whenever changes were made. Dave thought this underhanded and a copyright violation to boot. Vowing to get Mark, when Dave handed out his new business cards to some people, he would say "See what it says there? Harvard LAW School. We've got a lot of lawyers on our side."

The Dave & Mark Show is over for now, but the issue remains. Trend-setter Rebecca Blood thinks it dishonorable to recall what you've published, aside from fixing typos. Her logic is that you don't know who's already read the initial version. She says bloggers should treat errors the way the press does: Don't change the original; post a retraction.

By and large, I do not agree. I think of my blog in several different ways. I use it to voice my opinons, as I'm doing now.

I also use the blog as a reference source. It's a content management system. Some of my pages, e.g. How People Learn or Glossary, are collections of five years or more of links and content. Naturally, I prune the dead links. And if I change my mind, I may rewrite a section entirely.

Do I need to highlight new or changed material?

No. That gets into "How old is old?"

My eLearning Jump Page has more than a hundred links. My original links page pre-dates every link on the same page. Does it make any sense to highlight the entire page as having changed?

So be forewarned: I may change this posting tomorrow or five minutes from now or a year hence. Few things are permanent in the digital age.

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July 26, 2003

Terminator 3


Yesterday I wanted to clear my head so I went down to the local movieplex to watch famous Grazer and potential future governor of California, Arnold Schwartzenegger. In case you've been wondering, Schwartzenegger is German for "black miner."

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley described a world where "feelies" had replaced movies. Terminator 3 is a step in that direction. The entire film is an adrenaline rush. Like The Fugitive, T3 is one long chase scene, with no chance for a breather. As the terminatrix chased the good guys' pickup and a dozen cop cars in a heavy-duty, super-wide construction crane, trashing cars and buildings and firetrucks in its path, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Not a minute passes without a horrendous car crash, automatic weapons fire, and an encounter with a menacing robot.

Feelies do take one's mind off day-to-day concerns.

Leaving my bungalow in Guatemala, I bid the housekeeper farewell with Hasta la Vista! Giggling, she replied "Hasta la Vista, Baby." The Terminator movies are a global cultural phenomenon, and I would have gone to see T3 just to hear the bots say "I'll be back."

This episode's bad guy is a gal. It's good to see Hollywood getting with the feminine agenda. Nonetheless, there are a few guy jokes, like the fembot checking her looks in a mirror or her rather erratic driving. Pulled over by a traffic cop, the terminatrix grows Pamela Anderson style boobs to distract his attention.
If you saw T1 or T2, you can imagine the major themes of T3. Robot gets blown up, run over my heavy equipment, decapitated, crushed, and reprogrammed but climbs out of the wreckage to scare the bejeezus out of you again. T3 throws in a new twist: the baddest of the bad guys is not a machine. It's "SkyNet." Software. The bots hatch a virus that invades the Internet, the television broadcasters, and the telephone grid. By the time it takes over the military command-and-control system, SkyNet rules the world. The good guys go to a bunker to blow up the central military computer. They find nothing. The bots have learned from Napster. Their network has no center. It routes around failure. Damn, but these machines are smart.
Should you see this movie? If you're into the Terminator series, Arnold, computer graphic animation, or roller-coaster style thrills, do it. So much action leaves scant time for characterization; this one won't win any best actor Oscars. Compared to the original Terminators, the plot's a bit thin. You might do better to go see Laura Croft.
 

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July 23, 2003

Success in business

In an article entitled What Really Works in the current issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Nitin Nohria, William Joyce, and Bruce Roberson report that of the 160 companies they studied,

Without exception, companies that outperformed their industry peers excelled at what we call the four primary management practices—strategy, execution, culture, and structure. And they supplemented their great skill in those areas with a mastery of any two out of four secondary management practices—talent, innovation, leadership, and mergers and partnerships.

We learned, for example, that it doesn’t really matter if you implement ERP software or a CRM system; it matters very much, though, that whatever technology you choose to implement you execute it flawlessly. Similarly, it matters little whether you centralize or decentralize your business as long as you pay attention to simplifying the way your organization is structured. We call the winning combination the 4+2 formula for business success. A company that consistently follows this formula has better than a 90% chance of sustaining superior business performance.

The July issue also contains an article by Art Kleiner that asks, Are You In with the In Crowd? Reading Kleiner's article, I realized that every large organization I've ever worked with has its own "In Crowd" or "core group." That's good and it can be bad.

At the core of your company, there is a group of people who seem to call the shots. More precisely, all the shots seem to be called for their benefit. It’s as if the organization, beneath its formal statements of mission and purpose, has actually been set up to fulfill this group’s needs and priorities. Everything else that the organization does comes later: satisfying customers, creating wealth, delivering products or services, developing employees’ talents, returning investment to shareholders, and even insuring the company’s own survival. They are means to the end of keeping the core group happy.

The core group won’t be found on any formal organization chart. It exists in people’s minds and hearts—indeed, the root of the word “core” is probably the Latin word cor, for heart. It comprises the cluster (or clusters) of people whose perceived interests and needs are taken into account, consciously or not, as decisions are made throughout the organization. In most organizations, talking explicitly about this group is taboo; its existence is a dirty secret that contradicts the vital corporate premise that we all have a common stake in the company’s success. In fact, all employees do have a common stake in the company’s success, but the company has a greater stake in the success of some employees than of others.

This is all too true:

For a start, while corporations legally belong to shareholders, the psychological truth is that they will always belong to some inner group of managers.

What to do? Create a core group of exemplary leaders, not masters and toadies:

When core groups display independence, creativity, and power, the rest of the company follows. The same goes for when core groups take courageous stands; when they talk together openly and raise disputes for the sake of understanding them better; when they are diverse in their makeup and their thinking; when they forgo politicking, empire building, and exploitive behavior; and when they embody a sense of stewardship for the organization. Such behavior on the part of the company, in turn, creates value for shareholders, especially over the long term. But unless you are prepared to remove many of the members from the organization, these traits can’t be engineered into the core group. In most situations, core groups take on such traits when they realize they will be rewarded for them—in part by the approval of regulators, but primarily by the group’s own newfound ability to attract employees, customers, financiers, and shareholders.

For once, here's an alumni benefit of substantial benefit: I now receive HBR online. For free.

Culture is vital, in spite of the feelings of some managers that it's "soft" and hardly worthy of the sort of attention devoted to manufacturing or IT.

Winning companies... design and support a culture that encourages outstanding individual and team contributions, one that holds employees—not just managers—responsible for success. Winners don’t limit themselves to besting their immediate competitors. Once a company has overmatched its rivals in, say, the effectiveness of its logistics, it looks outside the industry. Employees may ask, for instance, “Why can’t we do it better than FedEx?” If the goal is unreachable, it still represents an opportunity for high-performing employees and managers: “If we can’t be the best at logistics, why not outsource it to a partner that can?”


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July 12, 2003

Coming to a PC near you....


 
Write eLearning's Next Chapter with Jay Cross
eLearning Forum Boston E-Learning Association Powered by Interwise
Join Jay Cross, CEO of eLearning Forum and Founder of Internet Time Group, in this interactive 1.5-hour online seminar as he discusses what happens next in the rollicking life of eLearning. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to engage with one of the most respected thought leaders in eLearning.

Topics include:
eLearning today: over-achiever or corpse?
Big winners: companies that have made millions through eLearning
Big losers: companies that have lost millions through eLearning
Collaboration: putting people back into the eLearning process
Workflow-based learning: real-time, inevitable, and no more courses
Blogs, wikis, and gonzo learning
Space is Limited So Register Now!
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July 08, 2003

I-KNOW 03

I-KNOW 03 took place the first few days of July in the marvellous new conference center in Graz.

Graz is in eastern Austria, almost as far south as you can go without entering Slovenia.


Hear Jay's keynote presentation at I-KNOW 03

Photographs of Graz and Vienna

The conference center was perfect. Generous windows brought nature indoors.

At a multinational conference on knowledge management, everyone knows that social networking is important. We had plenty of breaks and delicious meals prepared by organic farmers and vintners from the region.
Scientist/professor/novelist/ and entrepreneur Hermann Maurer opened the general session.
Klaus Tochtermann described the mission, history, and structure of the Know Center, a practice-oriented research organization funded by both government and industry.

Ben Shneiderman gave an inspiring opening talk, drawing on themes from his recent book, Leonardo's Laptop.

"The old computing is about what computers can do; the New Computing is about what people can do." The major advances: GUI, web, music, IM, photoblogs.

It's time for science, art, engineering, and aesthetics to converge: Renaissance Man 2.0.

Jenny Preece, Keith Andrews, Ben Shneiderman, and I take a brief walk around the messeplatz.

At one point in my keynote presentation, I asked how many in the audience had blogs. Of the 250+ attendees, only three of us blogged!

Lilia Efimova, a Muscovite now with Telematica Instituut in The Netherlands, is a fellow believer in blogging. We had a tough time understanding why others just don't get it. People asked, "Isn't blogging sort of the same as SMS messaging?"

People said they didn't have time to blog, but it's not as if blogging crowds out other activities like, say, parasailing or watching television would. Blogging is part of my work routine; it makes public what I used to do just for myself.

The networking continued at an evening buffet followed by dancing to the music of Men in Black.

It's eye-opening to see people one day presenting theories of knowledge nodes and the next dancing their butts off and playing with the band.

The presentations are going up on the I-KNOW website, so I will not reinvent the wheel here.  
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June 27, 2003

Mind Share

Wired has published an article by Steven Johnson entitled Mind Share, BLOG SPACE: Public Storage For Wisdom, Ignorance, and Everything in Between. While the web was designed around documents, the rise of blogs makes it possible to look at it through particular personalities. You learn more about a person through their blog than anywhere else, short of shacking up.

What happens when you start seeing the Web as a matrix of minds, not documents? Networks based on trust become an essential tool. You start evaluating the relevance of data based not on search query results but on personal testimonies. ("This page is useful because six minds I admire have found it useful.") You can research ideas or breaking news by querying the 10 people whose opinions on the topic you most value - what Cory Doctorow calls an "outboard brain." A tool recently created by Dave Sifry of the blog analysis site Technorati lets you take any URL and automatically generate a list of bloggers who have commented on it. Almost anything you stumble across can be filtered through the perspective of other bloggers.
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Collective intelligence

Today George Por and I met for hours, talking of collaboration, how people learn, and our life journeys to-date. George and I were born the same year, and we both majored in sociology, have lived in Paris & Berkeley, and are true believers in blogs and communities of practice. Aside from that, we've followed very different paths to arrive at common ground. We dodged the heat by hanging out in the Berkeley Marina, concluding with a tête-a-tête at O Chamé (sashimi, squid, champagne oolong) before George BARTed back to the City. What a wonderful way to end a busy week!

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June 22, 2003

What am I supposed to learn from this?

My ISP told me my online store crashed last week because an .htaccess file in my home directory got the server wrapped up in knots. How odd. The file had been there for months. And that hardly explains why the site went down the next day. Also, the system status panel has been flashing a red overload light for days. So Friday evening I scoured the net for a new home for www.internettime.com.

Saturday I signed up for an account with ipowernet.com. $10 a month for 500 MB of storage. They support the Agora shopping cart, so I’m in the midst of coding and loading a new store. Then I’ll reload several blogs and upload 400 MB of content. While I’m at it, I’m converting my former website into a content repository so by this time next month I plan to be managing one giant floating blog.

I can’t hate the ISP I am leaving behind. They have cost me sixty hours of programming and hassles, indeterminable lost sales, and probably some prospects who think I’m out of business. But the word “hate” brings up an image of the Dalai Lama in my mind’s eye. When asked if he did not hate the Chinese, he softly replied, “They have taken my country. Why should I give them my mind?” Retribution is another matter. Stay tuned.

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June 12, 2003

Down the Well

Since 1990, I’ve used [email protected] as my personal email address. I remember the WeLL fondly from the early, pre-net days. Loopy stuff from Blair until he snuffed his candle. Long, legendary posts from Howard Rheingold. Spectacular rants from Mandel. Food advice from Duck. Word duels between tnf and Jef. Jokes, poems, commentary on the news, classified ads. It was worth at least an hour a day.

The WeLL wrote me a few days ago explaining that it was time to renew my account. The only package that comes with email is the “Complete Account.” (Web and shell access to The WELL, extra search tools and services, 10 MB of storage, a WELL email address and web page, and access to Table Talk plus Salon Premium subscription.) Special deal for me, a customer continuously for more than a dozen years: $150.

I called the billing department. “You mean I have to pay $150 to maintain my email address?” Yep. I’d get Salon. Hmmm. Seems to me Salon’s been on the edge of bankrupcy for several years. I don’t want to be the one who pushes them over the cliff but neither do I want a ten month subscription to decaying content if they disappear. I paid $15 to have my email forwarded to [email protected] for six months.

I just took a final tour of the Berkeley Conference and the Jokes Conference. For me, the comraderie and the familiar names got lost in the transition to the web. I used to be a wellbeing; now I’m a blogger. Ten years in the future I”ll probably have a wireless connection implanted in my head. (You, too.) I guess it’s progress.

Good bye, WeLL. You gave me lots of memories.

Login name: jaycross In real life: Jay Cross
Directory: /home/j/a/jaycross Shell: /usr/local/shell/picospan
Mail Address: jaycross Registered: Mon Apr 16 15:17:18 1990

Please change your address book to my new address:

[email protected]

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June 10, 2003

PlaNetwork 9, Memes

Concepts that drove PlaNetwork:

augmented social networks
whole systems
group mind, co-creation
recreating the prairie (a la Kevin Kelly)
sustainability
ecology & ecosystems
complexity and complex systems
salvation through software
find what works
open source
ship what you learn, use what you get, optimize your patch
Bucky Fuller
scanning
either/or becomes both/and
media bias
sharing


Doug Engelbart, his goal to augment the intelligence of all humanity, told me that age is destroying his memory.

the love economy
info: goods not bounded by private property
economics = linear = wrong
mo-blogs

reusable portal infrastructure
pages & links becoming spaces & objects
online mirror of reality
taxonomy mirrors nature

digital stories
stewardship
digital convergence


concentric rings of communities
social network analysis
I’m a node, you’re a node
social software
semantic connections

meta-knowledge
the library for dogs
emergence: let it be
cyberspace meets meatspace
digital lifestyle aggregator

layered on top
head, heart, mind process
put it back out there: wiki


Gail Taylor led the assemblers


phases of assembly
timeline
perturbation
infrastructure
level playing field
create the problem

engagement
collective intelligence
ping
dual recorders
experiment
integrated front-end
portals/portholes

design = elmination of options
shared purpose
belonging
identity
transformation

graphics as fragile as a sand painting
realtime blogs & IRC
created something we want to live with


Jim Fournier

deep trust of chaos
get peices of puzzle on the table and keep them face up
group mind

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June 09, 2003

PlaNetwork 7, Sunday

So what was this all about? I spent a couple of days in the Presidio.

The title was Networking a Sustainable Future. Calling PlaNetwork an event demeans it. Half the people in attendance were shaping the event itself, by making a presentation or feeding the assemblers or processing the content or spreading the word or figuring out what to do next. PlaNetwork wasn’t so much a meeting as an introductory meeting and bonding experience. Somebody’s got to save the world. How about you?

The idealism and big hearts of Bucky Fuller and Doug Engelbart wafted through the air. Bucky challenges:

It will take me a while to reflect on and document PlaNetwork. Luckily, most sessions were captured on video and in blogs that will appear on the PlaNetwork wiki. Here’s the index.

There’s a lot more to come. (The in-crowd is continuing PlaNetwork today.)

Check the Augmented Social Networks white paper.

Do you want to help create a sustainable world? Start by signing The Earth Charter.

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June 07, 2003

PlaNetwork 6, Marc Canter

Yesterday at the first concurrent session at PlaNetwork I spied a boisterous, larger-than-life character I’ve read and read about for years: Marc Canter.

In 1984, Marc founded MacroMind which eventuallly morphed into today’s Macromedia. Lately, he’s been popping up on my radar as he voices his take on blogging, syndication, social networks, collaboration, Open Source, klogs, the fusion of art and technology, and more. Fasten your seat belt and look at Broadband Mechanics.

I told Marc I’d been to Broadband Mechanics the night before, and though the WebOutliner looked cool, I could not get it to work. He gave me a demo. What an awesome product! An open source front-end to web content of all sorts. The Outliner is a creative cockpit for writers, artists, and everyman — what Apple used to call “the rest of us.” It’s high-tech under the hood and the simplicity of sophistication on the outside. Marc chided me for not following the directions properly: “See where it says ‘Click twice’? You’re supposed to click there twice.” Duh. I’ll give a more complete review of WebOutliner after I’ve played with it some more.

Later in the day I was waiting to ask Marc a question as he advised some fellow on a new product that relies on web services as a carrier. Rattling off concepts at a staccato pace, Marc said, “So at the semantic level of the meta-meta-meta, it’s really simple stuff.” Deal with it.

From an interview with Marc that appeared in Corante:

From The Marc Canter Show:

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June 06, 2003

PlaNetwork 5, Immersive Earth

Wow. Watched a 3-D fully real-time rendered cruise on the Martian landscape which was generated from Nasa data. Forty cheap Linux boxes assembled the sim for around $1500. Then we go to a simulation of the inside of the International Space Station. Is the cognitive overload changing the nature of astronauts’ reality.

Earth from afar has changed our concept of ourselves. Powers of 10 to the Presidio.

Bonnie DeVarco: Spherical media environments could be the next landmark experience.

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PlaNetwork 4, MediaSpace Power

Networking Power: Struggle and Transformation in MediaSpace

Wi-fi does not reach the west room where we're meeting; I'm writing this offline.

Aliza Dichter: Media is not just radio and TV, but also the net, billboards, and toys. Government handing the rights to a half dozen media companies is parallel to letting only K-Mart and Wal-Mart trucks use the public highways.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan: Third World Majority Hip-hop. Reclaiming our voices through digital storytelling is not just about us telling our stories; it's about reclaiming our dignity, our communities, and our histories. Disney, AOL, Fox, GE, and Viacom keep us where we are.

If you want a photo of my grandfather, you go up to the attic. A black woman might have to get grandad?s photo from the Hearst anthropology museum. 'These are stolen images.' It is rape of our people!

Look at the video game Custer's Revenge, where Custer, sporting an erection, goes after an Indian babe tied to a cactus. Could this be for real? Sort of. The Classic Gaming Page describes a brief unregulated period in the early 80s when games were unregulated. Custer's Revenge was sold under the counter. While revolting in concept, a primitive, buggy game like this wasn't the sort of thing to turn white boys into monsters. Besides, this was 16 years ago, hardly the best evidence for what's happening today. Here's what it looked like:

I?m sure Thenmozhi takes a lot of crap because she's female, black, and Asian, but her extremism detracts from her credibility. Yeah, the world is full of injustice but that hardly converts anthropologists collecting photos into rapists or young white males into drooling, blood-thirsty revenge seekers. (Memories of Andrea Dworkin.) www.cultureisaweapon.net

Ilyse Hogue. smart meme. Beware of false memes.

Control mythology. War on Terror. Wave the flag. Diamond rings for anniversary.

Santa's red & white came from Coke. Huh? (Update: This is an urban legend. Santa had the costume before Coke began its Santa campaign.)

Points of intervention. (vulnerabilities) Taking to the streets. Tree sitting. Greenpeace.

Battle of the story or story of the battle? When Bush was a kid, he put firecrackers in frogs to blow them up. Topple the Saddam statue.

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PlaNetwork 3, Blogging

Blogs are a San Francisco phenomenon. It’s early enough that we’re able to have true pioneers with us today. Mena Trott of Moveable Type/Six Apart, Jason Shellen of Google/Blogger, David Sifty of Technorati, and Rebecca Blood, author and blogger.

Mena: In 2001, Six Apart began as a hobby. Mena and her husband Ben both had experience with CMS. It was techie, not something for easy set-up. Their new server based product will be easier to use is coming out in July. Typepad will have photo albums and other nifty features. Mena’s blog was for personal expression in a boring work environment. Now their target is to get everybody blogging. Languages, tools, mo-blogging.

Jason: Blogger started in 1999 among techies. It caught on because it was push-button publishing. Some folks in the audience didn’t know what “blog” meant, so Rebecca told them and Jason is now demoing the simplified Blogger interface.

Blogger is good at letting people write and post. They’re working with things like camera phones. Jason took this shot right before the session:

Blogging is becoming mainsteam. During the invasion of Iraq, a blogger

A blog is personal space where you can express your views. (It could be a group blog.)

At Google, they use BIG (Blogger in Google):


Blogs are more like conversations.

David Audience poll: 2/3 in the audience have a weblog. Half a dozen don’t have a clue. David likes blogging because it allows people to communicate an easy way to do it. Some are kittyblogs. But what turns David on is that lots of people are writing what they care about, and if you want to find out about these things, you can do it. (Mena and Jason are both blogging away even though they’re sitting on the panel in the front of the room.) Technorati has some great features; click Cosmos to see links from other sites.

Rebecca shows a variety of blogs. Some are mediating enemies, such as dialognow.com which hosts conversations between Indians and Pakistani. Or sluggerotoole.com which discusses Irish confrontation.



Too insular? Clay Shirky says there’s an A-list that dominates the blogversation. (It’s a power law distribution.) Rebecca says there’s more to it: some unknowns have risen to the top.

Publicity? Mena suggests that you write as if subscribers were paying a price.

Background: There are 450,000 blogs, 250,000 of them in English.

Lunchtime.


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PlaNetwork 2, Open Source

Mitch Kapor is preparing to speak -- after we solve a few technical glitches. I am disappointed to see that he has given up on wearing loud Hawaiian shirts. Open Source Software Applications. Open software is interesting beyond the software sphere. Desktop Computing: Stasis Which Is not Satisfactory Desktop Computing Stakeholders. Big Enterprises ... Dynamics of a Market Failoure We don't know what wouldhave happened if Gore had assumed office... But our regime change in Washington presided over doing nothing to Microsoft even though found guilty of monopoly practices.
Richard Stallman, a flawed genius, truly believed that having access to source code is the sine qua non of programming; it's build by teams and should be shared. Conceived free software, created C compiler and EMACS. Problem was that Stallman saw everything from the programmer's point of view, not the user's. Then came Linus Torvalds.Let's have fun working on this together. This was the transition from free software to open source. Linux has gone from a hobby project to mission-critical software used by zillions of corporations. Mitch's Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF) is trying to bring openm source apps of uncompromising quality to end users. Chandler Mitch's wife's 5-person business needed a shared calendar -- and had to install Exchange Server to get it. Overkill. Chandler: modular Outlook. Spirit of Lotus Agenda lives on -- databasesthe way people think. Premium on user experience: power and ease of use. Customizable and extensible. Look at Linux as a model for Chandler. Chandler was named for Raymond Chandler, the mystery writer ("because what it was was a mystery to us"), rather than the character on Friends. Oganizational dynamics: Community/have to keep some out. Transparency/let others see what we're doing. Our IRC is like an open door. This is both liberating and scary. It's as if the team is writing a novel, publishing one page at a time.
PlaNetwork is in ways a "gathering of the tribe." I keep bumping into friends I know from other networks: EOE, bloggerati, Meta-Learning Lab, eLearning Forum, addapt, SRI, Human Landscaping, publicity work from a dozen years ago, Cal Berkeley, the Association of Internet Professionals, and the Internet Users Group. Hi, everyone!! http://www.osafoundation.org [email protected]
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PlaNetwork

Elizabeth Thompson opened PlaNetwork at the Presidio with an eloquent plea not just to think globally and act locally, but to combine activism and the net to think and globally. She and Jim Founier founded PlaNetwork in the cocktail lounge atop the Hyatt a few years back. They are PlaNetwork.

Jim explained that this year’s conference is less rigid than their first one. It’s a three-ring circus. There’s an online collaboratory. The “Assembler Team” is using online and onsite tools to look for emerging patterns and connections, “aggregating information and steering it from one activity to another where it can have maximum impact. Our creative quest is to discover and design the shortest path to realizing our collective goals.”

We are to follow PatchWorks Rules (I’m now a “node”) which call for us each to:

  1. Ship What You Learn. Communicate as you go. Don’t hold the idea back until the end. In nature, everything co-evolves and co-emrges.
  2. Use What You Get. We need to understand problems and information from other areas. You don’t have to believe it or agree with it, but you have to use it.
  3. Optimize Your Patch. By “shipping what you learn” and “using what you get” each part will be recalculating its current state, constantly seeking its own optimization while creating the whole.

Hazel Henderson has just taken the stage on opening day at PlaNetwork. (I’m blogging this in real time.)

Homage to Bucky Fuller and Barbara Marx Fuller. Citizens + Computers + Communications = Commujnity. Hazel wrote this book in the early seventies! She’s been around. At the time she figured the future would be phones and smartcards. (Hazel is using transparencies. Remember those?) Sustainability has been an issue for a long time.

We’re being guided by this awful GNP model The economists only count the monetized costs, not the “love econoomy” and mother nature. The economists still control the political side:pay attention to only four factors — unemployment, deficits, inflation, and interest rates. But the world is more complex than that.

Ironic cover of The Economist: “The puzzling failure of economics”

The economists are linear and therefore can’t grok complex systems. A “Post-Cartesian Scientific Worldview” sees interconnectedness, redistribution (recycling), htererarch (webs), complimentarity (both/and), etc. In Washington, Hazel’s message did not go far because the traditional economists own the status quo. Hazel envisions three modes of resource use in national development: informatin, matter, and energy.

Bush: The fossil administration (coal to oil to hydrogen).

Time warp

While I blogged some of these words in real time, I have come back and added more words and the pictures the next day. This seems a little like manipulating photographs. It’s a “patchwork” synthesis, no longer a purely chronological blog but more simply an entry in my personal content management system. Maybe all my posts should carry a disclaimer.

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June 03, 2003

Grab bag

Notes from a few minutes idle time between long bursts of work:

Resource Shelf, Resources and News for Information Professionals.

The World as a Blog displays real time blog entries on a globe that shows where they are originating.

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May 17, 2003

ASTD hits San Diego

ASTD started this evening with a brisk outdoor reception on the terrace of the Convention Center overlooking yachts bobbing up and down in the harbor.

Great, simple hors-d’oeuvres of baba ganoosh, hummus, tapenade, red pepper salad, and a sweet fig and onion preserve with pita, focaccia, and toast points to spread it on.

Brief chats with Tina Sung, Kevin Oakes, Pat Galaghan, Jane Massy, Pat Crull, and others, but saw almost no speakers. Hence, no juicy gossip yet, but I’ll see what I can scrape up tomorrow.

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May 06, 2003

In the Southwest

I’m on the road again, mixing business with pleasure in Cave Creek, Santa Fe, and Taos.


Dating back to 1100, the Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.


Time slows down here. At the Pueblo, the word they use for “five minutes from now” is the same as the word for “tomorrow.”


You get a back to the land feeling out here. Animals everywhere. Hawks, eagles, buffalo, prairie dog, owls, kangaroo rat.

Now I’m in Arroyo Hondo, in the sixties the commune headquarters for the universe. New Buffalo, The Hog Farm, Lama, and numerous other groups smoked pot, raised vegetables, danced naked, and fell apart not long after being established.

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April 13, 2003

Schooling

The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto’s screed about what’s really wrong with “public” schools brings tears to my eyes. The entire book is online. School is the ultimate in unsituated learning, an artificial world concocted for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t read Gatto unless you’re prepared to get pissed off. Do read him if you’re prepared to challenge your assumptions about compulsory schooling.

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March 27, 2003

Food learning

Today I had lunch with Paule Caillat in her kitchen near the Place de la Republique. Paule is a cooking teacher and guide who has introduced hundreds of Americans to French cuisine — the real thing, not the stuff served in restaurants. Her Promenades Gourmandes features walks through open-air markets, the kitchens of **** hotels, a famous baker’s shop, and so forth, which inevitably end with a meal in her wonderful kitchen. Using the freshest ingredients, she teaches a contemporary “cuisine bourgeoise,” a precious repertoire of menus that are easy to recreate at home.

Great business, eh? At least it was until the war with Iraq. Now even Americans who like the French are sometimes afraid to admit it. Flights from the U.S. to France are half empty. American visitors call Paule once or twice a week instead of two or three times a day. Her website goes live this week. She wanted to know if eLearning could help out.

After a frittata and roast lamb with fingerling potatoes, a few glasses of Veuve Cliquot and vin rouge, and of course a couple of cheeses, we sat down to explore the opportunity. We watched some video segments Paule had done for a cooking series pilot. We talked about what she does do please her customers. (They love her.) And luckily, a doctor from Minnesota called. He was coming to Paris in a week. The family would like a food tour; the wife would like a cooking lesson; they’d all enjoy lunch. (You can do the same — call Paule at 33 1 48 04 56 84 or email <paule.caillat@wanadoo.fr.)

We concluded that Paule’s customers don’t want just cooking lessons. They want the entire experience. They want a trusted source of information and food savvy in Paris who can lead them around while speaking fluent English and catering to their needs.

Could elearning help out? asked Paule. I suggested she forget the term eLearning. More important by far is providing the experience of being with Paule virtually. La Paule Virtuelle. This has more to do with connecting than with learning. It might work like this:

Paule and I talked about culture & food, McDonald’s, le marketing, Chez Panisse, the Berkeley Bowl, and green lentils. Then I wandered down to the Place des Vosges and l’Hotel Sully.

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March 24, 2003

The Cotswolds



Last week’s photos of Manchester and The Cotswolds are up at jaycross.com.

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March 09, 2003

Innovation in eLearning????

I’ll never forget my introduction to the concept of “multi-level marketing.” An instructional designer who worked for me invited my wife and me to dinner. She dropped the hint that she and her husband also wanted to tell me about their new business.

I was naive. I didn’t know that “Let me tell you about my business” translates into “Let me prey on our friendship to convert you into a soap distributor so you can make money off your friends the same way we’re going to try to make money off of you.” That night we got the whole Amway pitch, right down to motivators like sticking a picture of the car you really deserve to drive on the fridge. The great thing was, you didn’t really have to sell any soap. The real money came from signing up other distributors. Let them degrade themselves twisting the arms of friends and relatives to buy soap while you were busy creating fresh soap entrepreneurs throughout your social circle.

Some people love this stuff. I’m skeptical of any business with a murky value proposition. To me, multi-level marketing is little more than a demonstration of the greater fool theory in action.

Well, I suppose it had to happen. Today an email tipped me off to a new method of distributing eLearning. You guessed it: multi-level marketing.

Elearn Express only wants $400 up front, most of which you’ll get back, to give you $1,000 worth of eLearning courseware and the opportunity to earn untold thousands of dollars by setting up a distribution network. When your network is in its ninth generation, it will have enrolled nearly 30,000 learners and you’ll put $88,914 in the bank.

Why didn’t SmartForce or Pensare think of this?

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March 08, 2003

Marketing, honorable profession

“Ick. I hate marketers. I really, really, REALLY hate marketers. 99% of ‘em just don’t get how this ‘Internet thing’ works,” writes Chris Pirillo today.

Chris runs the most informative Windows resource on the web.

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March 02, 2003

Nothing new in organizational learning

What’s New in Organizational Learning?

“This page is currently under construction. Please check our calendar for upcoming SoL events and related happenings in the field of organizational learning.”

Details, details. The page in question is more than a year old.

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February 25, 2003

Culture

Living in a global economy, it's about time we started paying more attention to global learning. This is a lot more than "localization." This is culture.


Source: Geoffrey Moore, Living ALong the Fault Line

My gut tells me culture, particularly taking advantage of cultural differences rather than trying to homogenize them into some bland "world culture," is going to be extremely important in the near future.

Didaxis has some interesting thinking on this, and I'll be working with them in Paris next month. Didaxis proposes deeply integrated human solutions aimed at transforming the professional environment in which work is effectively performed, knowledge is managed, culture developed and learning integrated. (Disclosure: I am a member of the board of directors of Didaxis.)

If you share our interest, check out Geert Hofstede's Homepage, particularly his summary of my ideas about national culture differences

That's context for an intriguing article that appears in The Technology Source dated (surprisingly) May - June 2003.

The Global e-Learning Framework:
An Interview with Badrul Khan


by James L. Morrison and Badrul H. Khan

Some issues can be understood in terms of how they represent a distinctive overlap between two different dimensions. For example, with respect to the interface design and ethical issues related to designing e-learning for a cross-cultural population, consider these questions:

February 19, 2003

University of Phoenix

The current issue of Fast Company has an interview with John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix and my former boss.

The Hard Life and Restless Mind of America’s Education Billionaire

John’s is a real rags-to-riches story. The article begins:

Today John is on the upper half of the Forbes 400 list of the superrich. 140,000 students, all adults, attend the University of Phoenix at 41 compuses. UoP Online has 60,000 students and is growing at a mind-boggling 60% annually.

In 1976-7, I designed the University of Phoenix’s Bachelor of Science in Business program. At the time, we were the “Institute for Professional Development” in San Jose. It was a zany place to work.

When I was laying out the flow of the business program, explaining that accounting should come before finance, John opined that it shouldn’t make a whole lot of difference. Teach someone to talk with a businessman, and by God, he’d be a businessman. That shouldn’t take very long. What? A few weeks?

I developed forty facilitator guides — the entire senior year curriculum, recruited faculty, and managed student recruiting, but I refused to move from the Bay Area to Phoenix. Today I wouldn’t be on the Forbes 400,000 list if they had one.

John’s book Rebel With a Cause is amazing in its honesty. For example,

John came down with prostate cancer in the late seventies, and most of us figured his days were numbered. He’s 82 now, and continues to amaze his doctors at Stanford Medical Center.

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February 10, 2003

The Jay-Blog

You're reading Internet Time Blog, which is where I dote on my professional interests. The common thread is improving performance.

If you're just browsing around, what we used to call surfing the net, you might prefer my personal blog. The latest entries have to do with left-handedness, achieving authentic happiness, and celebrity dachshunds.

Pablo Picasso and dachshund.



Meanwhile, over at the Learning Circuits Blog, we're conducting a poll on our own informal learning. Magazines? Conferences? Blogs? Gossip? How do you find out what's going on in your field? Come on down!

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February 06, 2003

Sight Mammals

The February issue of T+D magazine arrived in the mail this afternoon. I have to admit that I beamed with pride on finding this first in the list of features:

Executive Summary / Free PDF

You see*, I believe that over-reliance on the alphabet impedes our understanding of how things work, and that favoring graphics over text can make the world a better place to live. Words are just words. Visuals are often a better approximation of reality.


"This is not a pipe." (It's a picture of a pipe.)

Of course, you've heard my rant on this if you've visited the Center for Visual Learning here at Internet Time.



A year ago, the topic of visual learning grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me to the core. Having proposed visual learning as the focus of the April 2002 meeting of the eLearning Forum, I set out to get my arms around the subject.

Sherrin Bennett, who had recorded, or rather interpreted visually, our eLearning Forum sessions for the previous year, helped me understand the potential of the field. When I met David Sibbet, founder of The Grove Consultants and more or less the inventor of group graphics, Sherrin coincidentally was in the next room. David is an inspiration -- I'd appreciated his work before but hadn't recognized it as his.

Word of the eLearning Forum session led to meetings with Bob Horn, inventor of Information Mapping and author of Visual Language. Among other things, Bob conceptualized how the web would work before Tim Berners-Lee got his first job. Wow! Yet another luminary.

To round out the eLearning Forum event, Dave Gray, the founder of Xplanations (you've seen their work in Business 2.0 and other places), flew in from St. Louis and linked graphic presentation to business performance.

A few days before the eLearning Forum meeting, I wanted to document all the things I'd been learning. ("Can you see what I see?") I wrote a piece called Envisioning eLearning.

eLearning Magazine liked the first half of what I'd written, and it become the Guest Editorial in the November issue. T+D was more interested in the meta-skills and broader implications; Sight Mammals is drawn from the second half of my original story. By the way, I didn't dream up the title Sight Mammals, T+D did, but I love it!






Double entendre intended.

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February 02, 2003

Me too.

"My goal is to learn how to organize and distribute information in ever-more-efficient ways. With a speciality in timeliness." Dave Winer

I also want to have a hand in creating the information I distribute.

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September 19, 2002

The New Rules

I should be focusing on finishing the presentation I will be delivering four days from now, but some ideas are nagging me to be expressed and I'm not that good at arguing my brain out of such notions.

Several recent memes are influencing the way I conceptualize my website and my professional direction.

The notion of object orientation has me pondering what size unit is appropriate for my newly designed website. Also, the separation of form and substance, thanks to stylesheets, is liberating. And using a search engine instead of a hierarchy or indexes adds flexibility, too. The title of David Weinberger's book about the web, Small Pieces, Loosely Joined, describes the blueprint for the new internettime.com. In tmie, half the site will be Easter eggs one trips over accidentally.

Nothing is ever finished. I used to complete a page or a white paper or a chapter and figure that is was "done." No longer. There's always a new perspective. And, since everything seems to be connected to everything else, things are always in flux. This is just as well, since people (including your author) engage with unfinished works but are bored when everything is over. Hell, they may have something to add; hence the need for two-way authoring. I like the way Movable Type encourages me to come back to add on to items I'd posted a while back.

Time is accelerating and is more important than it used to be. When I mentioned this to a management consultant friend, he asked, "Do you have any proof of that?" My response was, "Can't you feel it?" For the last dozen years, I've been drawn to the study of time, without explanation, like the moth to the flame. (I can identify with the Richard Dreyfus character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind who was obsessed with Devil's Tower.)

This notion that relentless time is moving ahead is goading me to shift over to the new internettime.com before I normally would have. It is not finished. It's half-baked. But then, it never will be finished. And I have experiments I want to conduct on the web and cannot afford the time to keep two sites up to date.

Finally, I'm reconceptualizing the role of the site itself. At first, we positioned ourselves as an authority on eLearning. When we'd figure something out, we'd clean it up and present it on the site. The new role is inquirer. We invite people to look over our shoulder as we explore how the world works and how to make it better. The inquiry leads outside of our familiar domains but we have the courage (or is it chutzpah?) to boldly go out on that thin ice. Psychology? Cog-sci? Design? Socio-biology? The new science? Entropy? Chaos? No problem.

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