Categories: "Technorati"

Meri^enda

We've been rethinking our podcasting strategy and hardware - mostly due to the poor sound quality of our previous podcasts. We also realize that we want to podcast on more than just open source topics, so "Open Source Conversations from the Open Source Café doesn't cut it.

Merienda in Tagalog [via Spain] and Merenda in Italian, mean snack or the small dishes that make up the snack, such as might be served in an Enoteca. Podcasts are very much the same, a small dish for the mind, to be taken in hand, and consumed on the run, or savored as you while away the time at your favorite wine bar, enoteca, caré or caffé. So, Meri^enda will be the name and tag for our podcasts going forward.

We did some web research, received recommendations from friends who are podcasting, and advice from Mike at Manor Music, Inc. and have begun investing in some podcasting gear [Note that links go to our Amazon store].

This gives us the capability to record directly to MP3, for quick podcasts from the field, the ability to do higher quality recordings, to roam around an audience, and even to record off the phone or skype or computer. We have some podcast plans for the summer, so keep a look out for Meri^enda. Enjoy.

Managing Distributed Workgroups

Since the earliest days of InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc. we've been concerned with how to support and manage distributed workgroups, whether comprised completely of employees, or including "outsourced" team members, whether all members are "distributed" locally or globally. This was a subject of conversation at our first joint Board of Directors and Advisors meeting in December of 2000. [We celebrated six years as a separate corporate entity on June 16th.] The discussion ranged [and still considers] topics as diverse as tracking time spent and resource usage to making all members feel like a part of the team. Todd McGrath was a member of our Board of Advisors, and from that IASC meeting, the idea for ServiceCycle was germinated in Todd's fertile brain. We had some input into the early direction of ServiceCycle, and, I believe, some influence on Todd's decision earlier this year to open source the code for ServiceCycle. Recently, Todd wrote:

Reasons for my questions and thoughts relate to an application I've been developing over the years - a collaboration platform called ServiceCycle. Frankly speaking, a thing that has always bothered me about ServiceCycle is that is not focused on a particular industry or niche. The industries that use ServiceCycle are all over the board."

"Perhaps ServiceCycle could fill a void in outsource management? It could be customized to provide SLA management/enforcement, RFP distribution and monitoring, service contract templates, preferred vendor list organization and ratings, monitor and measurement of milestones, issue tracking, key dates, communication archiving and of course, tracking and reporting.end quotation
- Todd McGrath in Flat World Software Development » Outsource Management Software

Since it's inception, ServiceCycle has been a integral part of our TeleInterActive Lifestyle™ toolkit, along with open source, web based software for project tracking and certain MMORPGs for team building.

ServiceCycle can most definitely fill a the void in outsource management. In addition to its current collaboration capabilities, it could also help improve/archive communications, using XMPP, OPML and SIP. [Todd - remember that one joint proposal we did to a Sheriff of the realm?] Some of Todd's other ideas could be implemented by incorporating workflow engines and reporting or decision support tools. One challenge with globally distributed workgroups is the problem of asynchronous communications - different time zones. Problems can seem less urgent when they arose while you were sleeping. If ServiceCylce can help bring immediacy to these types of communications, it would plug a gaping hole in outsourced projects.

Converting Songs Bought in iTunes to mp3

If you have bought songs in iTunes and want to play it in your Palm or other devices (in my case using PocketTunes for my Palm LifeDrive) and need a mp3 format to do it, here are some ways to do it.

Use Audacity, an OpenSource software to convert it

OR

Try this method:

1. From your iTunes, burn the CD of the songs you purchased using the iTunes preference Disc Format: Audio CD. Just go to Edit -> Preference -> Advanced -> Burning. Note: iTunes will not allow you to burn MP3 CD for songs you bought. To Burn CD, just click on the Burn Disc icon &#59;D

iTunesPreferences
Click to view original size

2. Use your mp3 ripping software, in my case, I used, Windows Media player. Click on the Rip tab. Right click the Rip tab and a pop up menu comes up. Choose Tools -> Options . From Options, click on Rip Music. Under Rip Settings, Format choose: mp3.

WindowsMediaPlayerPreferences
Click to view original size

3. Rip the songs you bought and burned to the Audio CD. The songs converted to mp3 format will be created in the directory as specified in your preferences directory in Windows Media Player. Media Player created a subdirectory under this called Unknown Artist\Unknown Album (Date TimeStamp), e.g. D:\myhomedirectory\My Music\Unknown Artist\Unknown Album (5-13-2006 10-58-55 AM)

4. Transfer your mp3 files to your non-iPod MP3 player, in my case the LifeDrive

Transfer to LifeDrive
Click to view original size


Enjoy!

Open Source and Offshore Development

Recently, my friend Todd McGrath has written about the symbiotic relationship of open source software and offshore development. He builds a case for the relationship between building trust in developers you might never meet (or mitigating risk in an offsourced project) with the use of open source software in the project.

In combining Open Source software and offshore development, high quality, cost effective software is more easily obtainable... Open Source provides a foundation of trust and confidence when using and/or providing offshore software development services.

In this article, my definition of Open Source is intended to mean complete products, tools, libraries, etc. with a vibrant community.

When implementing an outsource development strategy, choose developers that will use Open Source software in the overall solution. Using Open Source in the solution provides a shorter path to confidence and trust in outsourced software developers. Put another way, open source plays a positive part in the risk management of the decision to outsource. By choosing offshore software development partners that deliver based on community established Open Source with appropriate license for your needs, quality and the most competitive cost can be obtained.end quotation
-- Todd McGrath in Flat World Software Development » Open Source and Offshore Development

Those excerpts give his premise and conclusion, but you must read the whole article to see how he builds his case.

Todd focuses on outsourced, especially offshore, software development. There are, however, other things being offshored by businesses today. Business processes such as accounting and human resources, IT operations & maintenance, telecommunications management, design and development projects, and manufacturing are only a few examples. And there are many reasons for businesses to outsource. Some of these are reducing cost, enhancing skills, suplementing personnel, and taking advantage of economies of scale.

Having a common architecture or framework can be important in mitigating risk. But the assumption here is that if the first outsourced project fails, another team can pick it up because open source software provides common themes throughout software development, and you can find other developers with familiarity with the open source software that forms the basis of the project. I don't believe that this constitutes bulding trust in the original team, or even in the offsourcing tactic. So, I disagree with the premise that bulding trust is equivalent to mitigating risk. I would agree that using open source software in a software development project can help mitigate risk.

More importantly to building trust and to mitigating risk is assuring that the culture of the outsourcing partner matches your own culture. Can both partners truly communicate? Not just speak the same language, or a dialect of the same language, but truly understand each other's written and spoken dialogues, specifications, emails, messages and meeting notes. When offsourcing, societal, cultural and language barriers will complicate matters, and you may not have much control over these factors. [Excepting some artificial and unsustainable rules, such as a USA firm should only choose offsourcing partners in the Philippines because of the good blend of cultural match and economics.] You do have control over corporate culture aspects that affect the project, process, program or people being outsourced. For the type of software development projects of which Todd is speaking, you might want to consider:

  • decision making
  • documentation
  • specification
  • in-code comments
  • project management
  • QA
  • configuration control
  • version & release management
  • testing
  • bug fixes, enhancements and problem escalation/resolution
  • meeting protocol
  • team structure/team building
  • interfaces across and interactions among business untis/users, operations personnel and developers

I think these types of factors will be more important in building trust across distributed workgroups than the software architecture to be used.

Having said that, I do agree that there is a symbiotic relationship between offsourcing and open source development methodologies, in that both use the priciples of distributed workgroups, both are enhanced by the TeleInterActive Lifestyle™ and the two movements have feed off each other to a certain extent.

:Ben Metcalfe Blog Multiples

The idea that we would require multiple blogs per author and multiple authors per blog with the possibility of cross-posting is one of the deciding factors in our choice of b2evolution over Wordpress, plog or other blogware platforms.

Joking aside, Om's spot on. His instincts are right, and I can see this being a big theme of 2006 - people getting their second, third, forth blog. Blogs are cheap/free so why not? And for many of us it's already the case.

The question, therefore, is what can blogging platforms do to cater for this? Movable Type does multiple blogs and Blogger and TypePad also cater for it. So come on Matt, you gotta get WordPress multiblog working.end quotation
-- Ben Metcalfe in "Where do you put all that other stuff?"

We also couldn't agree more. There's only so much differentiation that can be done through categories. My partner and I each wanted a personal blog that could go in any direction that tickled our fancy at the time, as well as our focused blogs on the TeleInterActive Lifestyle and Open Source Solutions for BI.

The idea that folk would want to publish in multiple places also is one driver behind Marc Canter's philosophies, as he pointed out in "Cross Posting and the Future of having Multiple Blogs".

So, when looking at support from blogware, also look at support for micro-content, identity management, and OPML. Such is where the near future lies. The far future... who knows?

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The TeleInterActive Lifestyle is about the business processes, life choices, management challenges and technical issues facing organizations and individuals as individuals and organizations adopt the Internet of Things, Mixed Reality, wireless networks of all levels, mobile devices, long-distance collaboration, social networks, digital transformation, and adjust to growing urbanization.

Sensor Analytics Ecosystems for the Internet of Things (SAEIoT) brings value from emerging technologies through data management and analytics, advances in data science, as the IoT matures through the 5Cs: Connection, Communication, Contextualization, Collaboration and Cognition. The socialization of machines will allow for Privacy, Transparency, Security and Convenience to be flexibly provided with two-way accountability to build Trust among Humans and Machines.

AsDataArchon, we have evolved our consulting data scientist work from learning how to incorporate sensor analytics into data warehouses, business intelligence and analytics to focusing on IoT data management and forming sensor analytics ecosystems.

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Our current thinking on sensor analytics ecosystems (SAE) bringing together critical solution spaces best addressed by Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in Data Management and Analytics (DMA) is here.

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