Advice to the Very Small by Seth Godin

From our own experience with a Squidoo Lens, we can agree with Seth Godin's recent advice to very small businesses, that a lens can drive traffic to your blog. Our Open Source Business Intelligence lens is #8 in Computers with an overall LensRank of #159. Our lens and blog are now on the first or second page of results from a Google search for Open Source BI or Open Source Business Intelligence. We've been as high as #2 overall. We think this is pretty amazing for an enterprise focus lens of such arcane interest competing against lenses on MySpace themes and designer laptop bags. Our OSS blog gets upwards of 300 hits per month from the lens.

So, I agree with Seth on the value of third-party, high SEO value sites like Squidoo and Flickr. I also have a great deal of respect for TypePad and Six Apart. However, I think that branding through your own domain is very important. I don't think that myDomain.typead.com or myDomain.blogspot.com is as powerful nor as useful as blog.myDomain.com. Most hosting companies, such as our own, where your current web site and email get provisioned now, likely have some open source blog engines like b2evolution and WordPress available. There are many themes under creative commons licenses or freely available for use with these blog engines. Another consideration is whether or not you, the very small are going to do what you're told and blog frequently enough not to look abandoned. After all, as the Nox say, the very young do not always do as they're told. And the very small business owner may be too busy to blog even monthly or weekly, let alone several times per day. So, first consider if blogging is right for you, or if a content management system (CMS), that allows you to easily update your web site with news about your business and articles or reports of interest to your customers, or forums that can serve as a community site for your current and potential customers may be more important for you. Both content management systems such as Joomla! and forums are as easy to update as blogs.

Blogging allows you to speak as if from a podium, add comments and you're a speaker taking questions from the audience, allow trackbacks are you've created a type of panel discussion. Wikis allow you to author or community author a book or magazine. CMS allows you to provide fresh information to your audience. Forums, where registered users can also post, allow the most free-form type of discussion. So, first decide what you need, alone or with an adviser, and then decide if you'll do as you're told. &#59;)

BI Team Blog on OSBI

Welcome to the wonderful world of OSBI [not Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation] &#59;) Our linkblog now has over 60 links to OSBI projects, and other sites. I hope that you find it useful. We'll be updating our wiki and lens on Squidoo to match it.

I just ran across the BI Team Blog from Face and Hannibal, as they "uncover open source business intelligence", discovered via Technorati. I tried to leave a comment, but I'm having this little problem.

At any rate, I've added the BI Team to our linkblog. I plan to follow along as they check out Pentaho and JasperSoft BI Solutions. Check them out.

Upadate 20070415;13h05: I had set this post up as a trackback to the BI Team, and had recieved an "OK" back from the wordpress.com server, but I see it hasn't appeared 17 hours later. /sigh Let's try again... Hmm, wordpress.com says that they already have a ping from us for that post.

My Comments Go to Dev Null

/dev/null on a *nix computer is the bit bucket, the place where things go to disappear, the black hole of the computing universe. It appears that any comments that I try to write recently just disappear. This is mostly happening with Wordpress and TypePad powered blogs, either on wordpress.com or self-hosted using the open source Wordpress blog engine. With the help of Nicholas Goodman and Gianugo Rabellino, I know that the comments are NOT going into the Akismet queue of comment spam on their sites, and Gianugo even reposted the comment that I sent to him in email "pretending" to be me by putting my name, email and URL in the appropriate fields - it went through just fine. I've even tried leaving the comment with Camino and Safari, as well as the Firefox that I normally use on my MacBookPro. I should have mentioned that Wordpress gave me an error message saying that I had left that comment already when I tried to leave the same comment with Camino after trying with Firefox. I don't think it's a cookie thing; it doesn't seem to be browser related; nor do I seem to be marked as spamming. The only other thing that I can think of is that it is somehow related to my IP address. I'll try commenting from my "south bay office". Any one with any ideas... please HELP.

Update 20070415;13h12: It seems trackbacks won't go through either, as my attempt to communicate with the BI Team blog shows.

Update 20070418;15h45: I should mention that I've had this problem in the past with TypePad blogs, such as Shel Israel's, and today with Seth Godin's.

White Bean and Ham Soup

Now that you've made many ham and swiss on rye sandwiches, ham frittatas, Denver omelettes, and whatever else, from your leftover Easter 2007 ham, and you're down to the bone, what's next?

Soup, of course

'Tis my understanding, taken from Zuppa "Soups from the Italian Countryside" warning: Amazon Link by Anne Bianchi, that there are eight types of Italian soups:

  1. Zuppa - rich and complex, usually served over a large slice of crusty bread, that has been brushed with olive oil and maybe garlic or an appropriate herb, and toasted on that side
  2. Farinate - a porridge or gruel, made from a savory, often vegetable, stock with polenta, buckwheat or farina (flour made from durum or semolina wheat, barley or farro, rice or chestnuts)
  3. Minestrone - a "big soup" with many, many ingredients [my family's minestrone is ham, cabbage, green beans, salami or pepperoni, potatoes and savories]
  4. Minestre - much like a zuppa but with rice or pasta, rather than being served over bread
  5. Brodi - a broth, possibly served over a large crouton, as with a zuppa, or croutons, or not
  6. Pancotti - bread soups
  7. Passate - purees made with a food mill
  8. Creme - cream soups

So, rather than the minestrone that my parents make, or a simple navy bean soup, here's what I'm doing with my ham bone today...

Minestrone di Castagne e Fagioli Cannellini

A big soup of chestnuts and white beans adapted from Anne Bianchi's book
  1. If using dried cannellini [small white beans] and dried, peeled chestnuts, pick over for stones, wash, and soak together overnight as usual, one pound of chestnuts and an half-cup of beans
  2. Put the ham bone and whatever meat is left into a stock or crock pot with a properly studded, sweet, yellow onion
    Onion studded with bay leaves attached using cloves
    Click to view original size
  3. Cover the ham, bone and onion with vegetable stock; simmer for four hours
  4. Add the soaked, drained, and otherwise prepared beans and chestnuts, and simmer for two hours
  5. Add a bunch of kale, chard or spinach that has been cleaned and soaked in cold, salted water for an half-hour, two tablespoons of a soffritto made from diced onion, celery and carrot, cracked black pepper, and coarsely chopped parsley, lightly (literally boiled in oil) stewed in olive oil and butter, until the vegetables are very tender, a grind of nutmeg, crushed pepper, and salt to taste, cook another 20 minutes
  6. an half-cup of white arborio rice may also be added at the same time as the greens and spices for a very hearty soup

Serve piping hot with crusty bread and white wine and... Enjoy! :p

An Afternoon at JasperSoft

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Andrew Lampitt, Senior Manager Business Development, Nick Halsey, VP of Marketing, and Ian Frey, Director of Product Management & Product Marketing, at JasperSoft HQ in downtown San Francisco.

We discussed a wide variety of topics such as all of our backgrounds, JasperSoft's history, strategies, and future plans. Here's a sampling of the conversation.

  • As announced in January, JasperETL is based upon Talend Open Studio. JasperSoft found Talend Open Studio to be a very mature and well-planned data integration product. While the Talend Open Studio ETL tool was only released in the latter part of 2006, it is the result of a three year R & D effort led by former Informatica and DataStage personnel system integrators [updated 20070416]. The goal of JasperETL is to provide an easy-to-use but fully featured graphical ETL tool to facilitate data integration for the Jasper BI Suite.
  • There are over l30 active projects available for download on JasperForge. According to the forge statistics, 38 are public and 93 are private. Some of these projects use JasperSoft products, some extend them, and some provide embedding or integration of JasperSoft products into other applications. This led to a discussion of the Jasper4 program vs. other adapters; JasperSoft provides the functions in a Jasper4 branded application, such as Jasper4salesforce, while adapters or other applications from the community or third-parties would not carry the Jasper4 brand. CRM is a particularly active area as exemplified by the SugarCRM adapter, the partnership with Centric [see the OSA announcement] & the previously mentioned Jasper4salesforce.
  • JasperSoft has 5000 payinq customers in 81 countries, approximately half are ISVs embedding JasperSoft capabilities into their own products, projects or offerings.
  • JasperAnalysis & JasperServer are separate projects but share the same framework, which is why they were originally released on the JasperForge as JasperIntelligence, but they are currently being branded as Jasper BI suite; Ian gave a presentation showing the architecture and roadmap.

Overall it was an informative afternoon, and we're looking forward to working more with JasperSoft BI Suite in the future.

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889

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