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Current Topic: Knowledge Management

Peak Google
Topic: Knowledge Management 9:43 pm EDT, Mar 13, 2013

Patrick McKenzie:

Add revenue. Reduce costs. Those are your only goals.

Urs Hoelzle:

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

Alan Green:

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad too.

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

Occupy Google Reader, from November 2011:

If I wanted Facebook I'd use it.

Who is in charge out there?

Peak Google

Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert
Topic: Knowledge Management 6:32 am EDT, May 23, 2011


Is our curse the endless pursuit of a happiness which can never be attained?

Ed Tom Bell:

You can say it's my job to fight it but I don't know what it is anymore.

More than that, I don't want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say, okay, I'll be part of this world.

Julian Schnabel:

Being in the water alone sharpens a particular kind of concentration, an ability to agree with the ocean, to react with a force that is larger than you are.

Maria Bustillos:

It's high time people stopped kvetching about Wikipedia, which has long been the best encyclopedia available in English, and started figuring out what it portends instead.

It's not perfect, of course, but neither is any other human-derived resource, including, as if it were necessary to say so, printed encyclopedias or books. It bears mentioning that if Wikipedia is a valuable resource, that is because a lot of people -- untold thousands, in fact -- are busting tail to make it that way.

Marshall McLuhan's insights, though they are being lived by millions every day, will take a long time to become fully manifest. But it's already clear that Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of "authority," "authorship," and even "knowledge."

A lot of things have changed since 2006, but Jaron Lanier's mind is not among them. Seriously, reading his stuff is like watching a guy lose his shirt at the roulette wheel and still he keeps on grimly putting everything on the same number.

Events have long ago overtaken the small matter of "the independent author." The question that counts now is: the line between author and reader is blurring, whether we like it or not. How can we use that incontrovertible fact to all our benefit?

Maybe disagreement doesn't have to be a battle to be fought to the death; it can be embraced, even savored.

Chris Jones:

The lights come back on. Roger Ebert stays in his chair, savoring, surrounded by his notes.


"The sadness of our age is characterized by the shackles of individualism," Bob Stein said. But are we throwing off those shackles, even as we speak?

James Reston, as quoted in Understanding Media:

A health director ... reported this week that a small mouse, which presumably had been watching television, attacked a little girl and her full-grown cat ... Both mouse and cat survived, and the incident is recorded here as a reminder that things seem to be changing.

Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert

Evaluating WikiTrust: A trust support tool for Wikipedia
Topic: Knowledge Management 11:44 pm EDT, May  1, 2011

Teun Lucassen and Jan Maarten Schraagen:

Because of the open character of Wikipedia readers should always be aware of the possibility of false information. WikiTrust aims at helping readers to judge the trustworthiness of articles by coloring the background of less trustworthy words in a shade of orange. In this study we look into the effects of such coloring on reading behavior and trust evaluation by means of an eye-tracking experiment. The results show that readers had more difficulties reading the articles with coloring than without coloring. Trust in heavily colored articles was lower. The main concern is that the participants in our experiment rated usefulness of WikiTrust low.

WikiTrust seems to be slightly more useful when only small parts are colored, but even then usefulness is limited. Participants in our experiment were not sure what to do with the information on the age of words in the text. Further development of WikiTrust could benefit from knowledge about the (heuristic) strategies of Wikipedia users when assessing trustworthiness.

WikiTrust is a promising support tool and in fact the only one that made it to the stage where it is actually available to the Wikipedia public. This study has shown that the decision to present trust information by a separate tab was right since reading behavior is affected by its coloring. However, more effort should be put into the usability of the system. This study showed that users are having problems to see how they can benefit from it, even though a clear explanation was provided and the participants were highly educated Master's students.

Virgil Griffith:

They've hit on the fundamentally Darwinian nature of Wikipedia.


We believe that Wikipedia can be a useful resource if it is used properly and read with a critical eye.

Luca de Alfaro:

We are happy to announce that WikiTrust works on the English Wikipedia!

Evaluating WikiTrust: A trust support tool for Wikipedia

Notabilia: Visualizing Deletion Discussions on Wikipedia
Topic: Knowledge Management 7:20 pm EST, Jan 11, 2011

Moritz Stefaner, Dario Taraborelli, and Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia:

As Doc Searls recently put it, Wikipedia is, like the protocols of the Net, "a set of agreements". A Web protocol defines the way in which computers communicate with each other and make decisions to ensure successful transactions. Wikipedia policies have the same purpose, but instead of transactions between machines, they regulate human decisions. An important part of these decisions bear on what topics are suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia and what topics are not. The present project looks into the nature and shape of collective decisions about the inclusion of a topic in Wikipedia.

Decius on Wikipedia, in 2003:

I've found myself using this more and more recently.

k, in 2005:

The handling of libelous or outright false content is something Wikipedia certainly has to deal with somehow. I think registration is an OK minimal requirement, honestly.

Andrew Keen, in 2009:

In the future, I think there will be pockets of outrageously irresponsible, anonymous people ... but for the most part, we will have cleansed ourselves of the anonymous.

Threat Level, in 2007:

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of CalTech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Notabilia: Visualizing Deletion Discussions on Wikipedia

DARPA Network Challenge
Topic: Knowledge Management 8:10 am EDT, Oct 30, 2009


To mark the 40th anniversary of the Internet, DARPA has announced the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that will explore the role the Internet and social networking plays in the timely communication, wide area team-building and urgent mobilization required to solve broad scope, time-critical problems.

The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of ten moored, 8 foot, red weather balloons located at ten fixed locations in the continental United States. Balloons will be in readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roadways.

Google's Santiago de la Mora:

If you are not found, the rest cannot follow.

Google's Eric Schmidt:

The "smart people on the hill" method no longer works.

Mathew Honan:

Simply put, location changes everything.

Alexander Karp:

We were very naive. We just thought this was a cool idea.

Samantha Power:

There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

Katie Shilton:

Participatory sensing opens the door to entirely new forms of granular and pervasive data collection. The risks of this sort of data collection are not always self-evident.

Marshall McLuhan:

Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left.

Joshua-Michele Ross:

The iPhone does a whole lot more than display information. It is an environmental sensor. Its value lies just as much in sensing information as it does in displaying information.

Libby Purves:

There is a thrill in switching off the mobile, taking the bus to somewhere without CCTV and paying cash for your tea. You and your innocence can spend an afternoon alone together, unseen by officialdom.

A lamentation:

There is no pleasure in the chase anymore.

DARPA Network Challenge

Cut-and-paste writing
Topic: Knowledge Management 7:42 pm EST, Mar  1, 2009

Steven Johnson:

The software also acts as a kind of connection machine, helping to supplement your own memory. The results have a certain chaotic brilliance.

I imagine some may consider this cheating: reducing the art of writing to an elaborate game of cut-and-paste.

Before Devonthink, I used to lose weeks, stalling before each new chapter because it was an empty sea of nothingness. Now, each starts life as a kind of archipelago of inspiring quotes. All I have to do is build bridges between the islands.

Jonathan Lethem (but not really):

The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral caliber and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands.

Cut-and-paste writing

The dynamics of Web-based social networks
Topic: Knowledge Management 5:22 pm EST, Nov 21, 2007

Social networks on the Web are growing dramatically in size and number. The huge popularity of sites like MySpace, Facebook, and others has drawn in hundreds of millions of users, and the attention of scientists and the media. The public accessibility of Web–based social networks offers great promise for researchers interested in studying the behavior of users and how to integrate social information into applications. However, to do that effectively, it is necessary to understand how networks grow and change. Over a two–year period we have collected data on every social network we could identify, and we also gathered daily information on thirteen networks over a 47–day period. In this article, we present the first comprehensive survey of Web–based social networks, followed by an analysis of membership and relationship dynamics within them. From our analysis of these data, we present several conclusions on how users behave in social networks, and what network features correlate with that behavior.

The dynamics of Web-based social networks

Information R/evolution
Topic: Knowledge Management 9:25 am EST, Nov 10, 2007

This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

Information R/evolution

The Liberator, by Shane Harris | National Journal
Topic: Knowledge Management 12:14 am EDT, Sep 26, 2007

Shane Harris offers a profile of Mike Wertheimer, the idea rat behind A-Space, the "MySpace for spies."

"This has got to be about ideas. We have to sell people on the ideas."

Sixty percent of US intelligence analysts have five years of experience or less on the job. In the larger intelligence community of about 100,000 employees, which includes clandestine operatives and support staff, those young workers are about 40 percent of the rolls.

By and large, these newer members of the community are optimistic and, like Wertheimer, believe that the intelligence community is dangerously broken.

"I am threatening the status quo," Wertheimer says. "And that's a hard pill to swallow for anybody."

Wertheimer says that a colleague once told him, "You will have succeeded when you become really hard to manage."

Wertheimer compared the government's attempts at collaboration to the Borg ... who "assimilate" whole societies by stripping people of individual character traits ...

Wertheimer says that the intelligence agencies could be compared to the record companies.

Lowenthal told him, "I think, unfortunately, a lot of this is pandering to a bunch of commissions that have no understanding of what we do for a living, or the nature of our work, and to a workforce. And I don't think that's a sufficient ground for a transformation. And so I'm left here wondering, what's the end state? For what reason?"

The Liberator, by Shane Harris | National Journal

Visualizing Email Content: Portraying Relationships from Conversational Histories
Topic: Knowledge Management 3:42 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2007

We present Themail, a visualization that portrays relationships using the interaction histories preserved in email archives. Using the content of exchanged messages, it shows the words that characterize one’s correspondence with an individual and how they change over the period of the relationship. This paper describes the interface and content-parsing algorithms in Themail. It also presents the results from a user study where two main interaction modes with the visualization emerged: exploration of “big picture” trends and themes in email (haystack mode) and more detail-oriented exploration (needle mode). Finally, the paper discusses the limitations of the content parsing approach in Themail and the implications for further research on email content visualization.

Visualizing Email Content: Portraying Relationships from Conversational Histories

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