Information Design Watch
August 11, 2005, 1:04 pm
Getting beyond the personal, instant messaging (IM) tools are being adopted by organizations as a means of instant communication and distributed collaboration:
“Of U.S. companies that have deployed internal IM networks, 44 percent did so to boost intraoffice communications…. But the potential cost savings also are compelling — 33 percent said they offer IM to their employees to reduce long-distance phone charges.”
In our own experience, we have found instant messaging to be a convenient way for people to quickly touch base and set up more formal communications — such as a conference call — especially when key personnel are in different time zones or travelling.
August 11, 2005, 12:42 pm
Joint lawsuits filed by Microsoft and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer have resulted in a $7 million settlement from a business responsible for more than 38 spam million messages a year. Score at least this one for Microsoft:
“We have now proven that we can take one of the most profitable spammers in the world and separate him from his money.” Brad Smith, Microsoft chief counsel
August 11, 2005, 12:40 pm
The OpenNet Initiative, an organization dedicated to investigating and reporting on state efforts to control the Internet, has issued a disturbing report on China:
“China’s Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world…. It comprises multiple levels of legal regulation and technical control. It involves numerous state agencies and thousands of public and private personnel. It censors content transmitted through multiple methods, including Web pages, Web logs, on-line discussion forums, university bulletin board systems, and e-mail messages.”
Coinciding with this report are stories on concessions that major technology companies have made to the regime. Such companies include Microsoft, who agreed to Chinese requests that its weblog service, MSN Spaces, restrict words such as “democracy” and “Tibet”, and Yahoo, whose Chinese search engine filters out politically sensitive results.
August 11, 2005, 12:38 pm
One “remix” that didn’t make the BusinessWeek Online article mentioned here is a cool Google Maps Pedometer that allows you to overlay points on a Google Map and see the distance they mark. Developer Paul Degnan explains his inspiration for the idea:
“As a runner training for a marathon for the first time, I found myself wishing I had an easy way to know the exact distance a certain course is, without having to drag a GPS or pedometer around on my runs. Looking at Google Maps, and knowing there was a vibrant community of geeks hacking it, I knew there had to be a way. So here it is.”
August 11, 2005, 12:36 pm
A number of major Internet vendors and search engines have made their data and services available to outside programmers. As a result, innovative developers have begun creating new Web applications by adding customized functionality to data derived from one, or more other Web sites. BusinessWeek Online presents a “slide show” of such sites as a (metaphorical) hip-hop soundtrack:
“…hip-hop culture’s mash-ups … combine two tunes to produce an entirely new song. Likewise, hackers are combining the data and features of two or more Web sites, creating entirely new, independent Web mash-ups…”
Page through the slide show using the links in the top right corner of the page (they are not immediately obvious).
August 11, 2005, 12:31 pm
Taking visualization to the third dimension, Lego Serious Play is a consultancy program that uses the colorful building blocks as the basis for corporate workshops. Participants use Lego bricks, joints, and gears to model work processes and business strategies. In a typical session, simple building exercises might be followed by more complicated endeavors:
“Groups are asked to capture a work process or dynamic using Lego, and again to explain their creations. The resulting ‘sculptures’ tell a rich story, [Consultant Robert] Rasmussen says. Examples include an upside-down pyramid balancing on its point and a vehicle with an elaborate design, but without the ability to move.”
The Lego Serious Play Web site is here: