Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Hard Hat Prom

Mussorgsky and Strauss were played outside my office window to celebrate the Guildhall school of music and drama’s new development at Milton Court. London EC2.

This is the site of the fire I blogged about in January.

Photos by Martin Lake

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Future of Creative Technologies

I am excited to be attending the Future of Creative Technologies conference tomorrow at The Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT), De Montfort University, Leicester.

I don’t often mix with academics or get to hear free thinkers such as these, but this crowd also have a very grounded focus on the small enterprise.
My imagination is sure to be fired many times during the day and I expect that to inspire a few blog posts, so please check back here over the next few days.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Full Circle Wiki

Roughly 15 years ago Ward Cunningham started it all with his Wiki
Wiki Web editor. For the next twelve years the wiki was the preserve
of the techie. It was used by teams of developers to comment about code changes and features to be incorporated into the software they were building.

For the last three years people like me have been pushing the virtues
of the wiki for use outside the IT department. Enterprise wikis like
Atlassian's Confluence make this possible by providing friendly
editors and integration with office suites like Microsoft Office.

Now Beth Stackpole spotlights in this Computerworld article the growth of enterprise wiki use within the IT department as a whole. When I spoke to Beth, I was keen to talk of all the non-IT business uses the Confluence tool was fulfilling but she only wanted to focus on IT use!

Funny how things often go full circle.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

-- Winston Churchill

Could one say the same about IT departments?

Thanks to the Radio 4 Today program for bringing this apt quote to my attention.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stewart Mader in the UK

Stewart author of WikiPatterns and ex-wiki evangelist at Atlassian is in the UK this week to give a couple of workshops now that he has gone solo with his own consulting company.

The first of his sessions is a free (as far as I can tell) evening meeting on 3rd September at WuffleClub entitled Grow Your Wiki and the second, Effective Project Management Using a Wiki is the following morning at the same venue where the cost is a very reasonable 50 quid!

I am very excited to be attending the project management session as I have always felt the wiki was a perfect tool to supplement the more traditional PM tools like MS project. I explored with Mentor Group's Peter Nightingale using a wiki for the change management and project configuration aspects of a project. I also have used the corporate wiki for project reporting: paste a good quality JPEG of a MS project GANT or PERT into a wiki page and then email the link (or better still rely on the RSS feed) to all interested parties. The recipients do not need to have MS project or any special file viewers and they can use the wiki's functions to give feedback.

I will endeavor to blog late next week about Stewart's workshop.

Friday, August 29, 2008

London Wiki Wednesday is back on track

I was pleased to be able to assist with the re-launch of London Wiki
. After an absence of eight months I was able to work with David Terrar of Business 2.0 and WordFrame to organize a meeting, again at NYK. It took place on August 13th and all involved pleged to hold the meetings on a regular (every two
months) basis with the next on likely to be on October 1st. David's account of the event can be found here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wiki Evangelist

Stewart Madder the wiki evangelist at Atlassian wrote a great piece about my current wiki deployment here. I believe the hope is that the article will be syndicated to a number of prominent business print mags.

This can only do good for those working in the enterprise wiki field.

While I am at it, I recommend Stewart's book Wikipatterns to anyone working in our field.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Modest queues for UK iPhone

I counted 30 outside the Carphone Warehouse in Moorgate and about 50 outside the O2 store. Better than last time and I suppose if you multiply it by all the stores in the country, quite respectable!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Every thing is a social network now!

"Every thing is a social network now!". Leo Laporte.

"If you put a new garbage can on Hal Street, within an hour its gona have 150 friends!" Merlin Mann

Both from on MacBreak Weekly 25th June.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The genie is out of the bottle!

"Wikipedia represents something like 100 million hours of thought while Americans alone spend 100 million hours each weekend just watching TV adverts."
Clay Shirky

Thanks to David Tebbutt (iWR) for this quote and the title of this post.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Atlassian in Europe

On Thursday of this week, I attended the Atlassian User Group meeting in London. Here are my rough notes on the proceedings:

Atlassian now have over 11,000 customers. They will open their European office before the autumn. It will be in Amsterdam.

Josh Wold will move from London to Amsterdam. They have a new person in London: Michael Studman.

Turnover is now 35m USD and has been doubling each year.

Confluence 2.8 has been released. It has improvements to the user interface with some good new themes, page ordering and navigation drag & drop. The SharePoint connector will be released very soon. It provides for single sign on (SSO), search across both platforms and ability to embed content from each other.

Atlassian divide their Confluence efforts into three camps:

1. Writer - improving the editor (rumors of an edit-in-MS word function).
2. Discovery - better tools to find info
3. Engine room - back end tech. improvements

Generally, Atlassian are working hard to closely integrate all of their products. The CROWD product (SSO) has rel. 1.4 which offers great user profile management with nested groups and provides a User Self-Management console.

JIRA Studio, a hosted (software) development platform and a on-demand development suite has been launched.

Atlassian see their imminent major challenges as: integration and large (organization) customers.

Sonali Vitarana from StatPro outlined her company's use of Confluence to bolster their web based offerings (of financial stat. tools) to their external customers. SSO between Confluence and a number of other applications is accomplished by their utilization of Crowd the Atlassian authentication and user management product.

StartPro make use of an Adaptavist remote hosting contract to run their Confluence server. They utilize the Adaptavist Theme Builder product to brand and deliver an enhanced look & feel to their wiki. This gave them a greatly improved Dashboard with the ability to launch all of their other applications. They also utilize the Statistics plug-in from Adaptavist to give them greatly improved user/visitor stats.

A presentation on (JIRA) a highly configurable issue tracker from Atlassian mentioned new releases of the product, a plug-in called Green Hopper to allow the tool to be used for project management using SCRUM/Agile.

There are also a number of workflow/approval plug-ins available.

Adaptavist break-out session:

(Thanks to Dan Hardiker for the clarification post (see below))

The Dashboard's Recently Updated panel is based on Smart Lists and utilizes the Lucene search / text indexing tool.

Adaptavist stated that the Usage Tracking Plugin ( formally known as the Activity Plugin) can have a negative performance impact where the wiki is dealing with a large number of page hits. The plugin also doesn't work in a cluster environment.

There are similar alternatives such as the Reporting Plugin which is rather powerful, but can again have performance problems when scaling up to thousands of users generating millions of hits per day.

Adaptavist offer an alternative, the (FOSS) statistics plugin which is built to scale up to cope with billions of hits.

A very interesting video on demand site that runs entirely on Confluence: parleys

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to get into Enterprise 2.0

After the recent reporting by the BBC of the Forrester market forecast for a $4.6 spend on global enterprise 2.0, friends that I have not heard from for some time came out of the woodwork asking me how they could get a slice of that money.

Even though I agree completely with Euan Semple, with whom I have been working closely, that these things should not cost that much (our enterprise wiki cost about GBP16k for the year!) I do feel that there will be plenty of work for consultants so I got thinking about how to gain the experience that will be needed. Here are my ideas:

Step 1. Get accounts at all of the following, use them become very familiar with them:










Wikipedia (become a wikipedian)







2. At the same time - start blogging (I suggest you start with a free account at Google - blogger)

3. Study enterprise Wikis (there are only two worth looking at: Socialtext and Atlassian Confluence).

4. Perform a couple of wiki roll-outs for charities / public sector for no pay.

5. Look at personal pages like Netvibes, iGoogle and Pageflakes

6. Having become familiar with bookmarking from step 1, look at enterprise bookmarking (Cogenz is one example)

7. Read the books: The wisdom of crowds, The tipping point, Wikinomics.

8. Read everything on this blog: http://theobvious.typepad.com/blog/

If anyone has other suggestions, please leave comments.

Good luck!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reuters get it!

I spotted this very interesting article on the Intranet Journal:

“Global information company Reuters has taken a step that it hopes will leave a big footprint on the development of the semantic web.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Imbedded Confluence spreadsheet nirvana

Fantastic news: Atlassian have introduced an embedded wiki spreadsheet for the Confluence product called EditGrid. It has been implemented as a Confluence plug-in and finally brings real-time spreadsheet collaboration to the enterprise wiki world.

When the wiki page is saved the spreadsheet is stored as an Excel like attachment to the page. Normal wiki change tracking / versioning is extended to the spreadsheet's contents!

When the page is viewed the sheet's contents is rendered in HTML right on the page – no clicking of links or examining the page for attachments! The viewing user is even able to perform sorting and auto filtering.

When the page is placed into edit, a special sheet editor is provided.

Uncharacteristically for Atlassian, the plug-in has been provided first for hosted users (both Hosted and the newer Enterprise Hosted schemes) but in-house users will have to wait until "later in 2008 Q1".

I feel that this feature opens up the Confluence tool to even more possibilities regarding emergent applications/user organized applications and is possibly another nail in the coffin of the traditional CMS style intranet.

Well done Atlassian and thanks!

More info here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fire in Moorgate

Sorry folks, This post has nothing to do with intranets or social computing, rather I document a bit of local excitement visible from my workplace:

A fire broke out around 11:00 today in the old practice fire tower, part of the Milton Court development London EC2.

The sound of gas canisters exploding could be heard even through the triple glazed glass of our tower (CityPoint) The fire service arrived after about 20 minutes and after a period of apparent inactivity they rapidly brought the blaze under control.
My guess is that the blaze was started accidentally by workmen using acetylene cutters on or near the top floor of the structure.