Sunday, March 16, 2003

Adding trusted blog search

Trusted Blog Search.

Micah has simplified his microblogosphere search tool, which he calls "Trusted Blog Search". It's really simple. You feed it the URLs for your blog and for your subscriptions file, and it gives you a piece of Javascript that you can copy into your home page template. Afterwards you can search spheres centered around your blog with radius 0 (my blog), 1 (blogs I read), and infinity (the Web).

I'm trying it out right now (find it below the calendar). While there are still a few things to iron out in the "blogs I read" search, I find it quite handy. If you try it, be sure to put in the slash following your blog's URL in the customization box.

[Seb's Open Research]

Worth trying out. I've added it here. Micah's also set up a simple form to generate the javascript you need to add to your template, so it's pretty simple to do.

6:02:35 PM •  • comment  
No, it isn't done yet

The Death of Documents and the End of Doneness. I just stumbled across this article by [David Weinberger] from 1998 on "The Death of Documents and the End of Doneness". This is how the article ends:

The cards are stacked against documents. We are seeing a massive cultural shift away from the concept of done-ness. The Web allows for constant process and enables open-ended groups of people to be invited into the process. Things on the Web are never done, and the damn "under construction" sign is implicit at every site. Why should anything be declared "done" when that means taking responsibility and arbitrarily picking a place to freeze a process in a context that is always always always changing?

Documents are things that are done. That is why the Web will kill them.

Its a great article and a penetrating insight into how the web is changing and will continue to change business life! [Gurteen Knowledge-Log]

The notion of doneness is worth thinking about. I suspect one of the organizational barriers to k-logs, weblogs, business journals, or whatever we end up calling them is this assault on the concept of done. Think of how many review processes and sign off workflows end up being barriers to moving forward on intranets and knowledge management initiative.

My positions on most topics is constantly evolving (hopefully in the direction of more sophistication). Weblogs provide a natural tool for capturing and reflecting that evolution. Once you get comfortable with that notion of flux, you also become more at ease with putting half of three-quarter baked ideas ought there to be seen and reacted to. It's a terribly artificial notion that you or an organization must somehow come to a concrete, fixed-for-all-time, conclusion before you can put it out there.

Warren McFarlan used to tell a story about the risks of publishing as an academic. He claimed that publishing your ideas always meant that there was a permanent record of your bad ideas. But that is only true if you try to separate ideas from their context. For some aspects of science, I suppose you can strive for truths that are likely to last across many times and place. For most of the knowledge that I worry about, however, context is everything. Where you stand depends on where you sit. The more readily we not only acknowledge it but adapt our tools to reflect that the better off we will be. Giving up on the idea of doneness is a pretty good step in the right direction.

5:38:16 PM •  • comment  
Expanding the boundaries of my ignorance

Brockman on "The New Humanists". Arts and Letters Daily features this essay from a forthcoming book by John Brockman that explores "New Humanism": new ways of understanding physical systems, and new challenges to basic assumptions of who and what we are and what it means to be human:

"We live in an era in which pessimism has become the norm," writes Arthur Herman, in The Idea of Decline in Western History. Herman, who coordinates the Western Civilization Program at the Smithsonian, argues that the decline of the West, with its view of our "sick society," has become the dominant theme in intellectual discourse, to the point where the very idea of civilization has changed... As a counternarrative to this cultural pessimism, consider the twofold optimism of science.

First, the more science you do, the more there is to do. Scientists are constantly acquiring and processing new information. This is the reality of Moore's Lawójust as there has been a doubling of computer processing power every eighteen months for the past twenty years, so too do scientists acquire information exponentially. They can't help but be optimistic. And second, much of the new information is either good news or news that can be made good thanks to ever deepening knowledge and ever more efficient and powerful tools and techniques.

Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

A worthy upbeat attitude in the midst of so much other negativity. Consistent with the Dorothy Parker observation that I use as my tag line.

I used to use a simple diagram in some of my presentations. It represented knowledge as an expanding circle. What was interesting to me is that if you looked at the interface between what you knew and what you didn't know, the "boundary of your ignorance" grew as you learned more. The more you learned, the more things to be learned you became aware of.  That's a very energizing prospect and a humbling one at the same time. It means I will always have a list of things to learn.

3:36:14 PM •  • comment