Sunday, August 06, 2006
Wikimania - Day 3
As always, one saves the best for last! This morning, I attended a panel discussion moderated by Harvard Business School Professor, Andrew McAfee. To understand the value of this presentation, you need to know that some of the ideas so excited me that by using my laptop during the presentation, I made five changes to my engineering wiki. Panelists included individuals from Intel, McKinsey, Mathworks ... who have been much very successful with their wiki implementations at their corporations.
Aside from the fact that this truly was a panel discussion (90 minute event, but with only 10 minutes of prepared content), I was amazed to learn such facts such as McKinsey does not even lock down the root page of their corporate wiki. Strike me a chicken. I have six pages locked down for basic structure for my own wiki. That obviously begs the question whether I "grok" wikis. In the name of a basic structure, am I defeating the purpose of a wiki?
You can learn more about this session via this link. In addition, I invite you to link to the representative from Intel's blog ... also known as the "blog guy", the "podcast guy", or finally the "wiki guy" at Intel. You will learn more from Josh (the Intel guy) about the use of wikis in the enterprise ... and a lot of other good comments about Wikimania.
Posted Later on Sunday
Wikimania is over. It was a fantstic event, and I met intelligent people. If you get the change, attend next year, and don't stay in a hotel. The dorms are where it's at! My activities in Boston this evening included:
A training run along the banks of the Charles River
Watching my first Calvin Ball match
Somehow it seems appropriate that the remaining Wikipedians would be playing Calvin Ball. If you're not familiar with the concept, use the Wikipedia link given above to learn more. Essentially Calvin Ball has no rules, yet it has rules which are ever changing. This somehow defines the concept of Wikipedia, and the result is very cool.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Wikimania - Day 2
There are too many interesting presentations, and not enough time! However, I will be able to attend many of the sessions I missed via the web, and so can you. Link here.
I will choose to focus on today's keynote by Brewster Kahle. It is one thing to say "knowledge should be free, and available", it is another thing to actually do something about it. Brewster Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive, which is attempting to be an archive of free online information .... from the sublime to the serious. During the Q&A for the presentation I asked about any efforts involving the various engineering and technical societies. As background, companies submit papers to the societies without charge, but then lose the rights to those same papers. Believe it or not, those same engineering societies then turn around and try to sell companies electronic access for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To make a long story short, I sent an email to the folks at Internet Archive this afternoon offering to be a point person for working this issue (i.e. when papers are submitted, rights would also be retained via Creative Commons and the actual papers would be stored on the Internet Archive). We'll see what happens ...
One of my other sessions was on the use of wikis and citizen journalist co-led by Dan Gilmour (Silicon Valley / Internet Columnist). Attending this session was more of a "hobby" for me, but I was interested to find 1/2 of the attendees were from the likes of the Boston Globe, the LA Times, NPR and Yahoo. The discussions were neat, but the it appears the wiki needs a bit more direction as used for news gathering. It's a cool concept, but very much in its infancy. One example of citizen journalism that was talked about was More Perfect .... take a look.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Wikimania - Day 1
I just attended the Wikimania keynote delivered by Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia. It was a fascinating talk, and I wonder if he realizes he is also driving a "free form" collaboration movement inside the corporation?
Although all the sessions will be great sources of knowledge, it is the private conversations between participants where I am finding the most value. Last night I had long talks with Wikipedians from China, South Africa, Holland, and oh yes ... Wisconsin. Although all the individuals and projects they are working upon are really neat, I want to focus upon the young man from Holland. He has developed a software tool/code to work with Wikipedia such that it easily rendors on a Nokia PDA. Having just visited India and China in the last month, I understand the value of the cell phone over the computer. This is the device that connects the world to knowledge (or it will be).
Perhaps one of the more interesting parts of our conversation was when I asked the young man (remember, I am 50!) how he makes a living (i.e. the Wikipedia code generation for cell phones). The answer was amazing, he makes enough on other software projects to get by, and then travels around the world ... more often than not staying in the homes of other Wikipedians. This is a foreign concept for a husband and father of three children, but I applaud it!
At some point this weekend, I will try to give credit by name to this individual. I'm sure I'll learn his name, and link! (as promised ... an update ... link to Kasper Souren)
An update later in the day .... Yahoo News is reporting on Wikimania, and chose to focus on the quality issue. They could have made their headline any of many other topics ... grrrrr.
I attended a thought provoking talk this afternoon by Stanford Law School Professor, Larry Lessig. Although trained as a lawyer, he advocates the concept of "free culture" and "read write" web. This ties into the whole idea of Creative Commons as it relates to intellectual property rights. Repeatedly during his talk he refers to the book, The Wealth of Networks, written by Professor Yochai Benkler from Yale Law School. In his book, Benkler speaks to how the networked economy is changing the way we interface with one another. It is a fascinating subject, and if you would like to learn more I invite you to listen to either of these two podcasts:
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wikimania - Minus 1
Hello from the Harkness Commons at Harvard Law School. I am checked into my dorm room ($40 per night), and am excited about tomorrow's start of Wikimania. I've already been invited to a party tonight ... a gathering of nerds! Should I bring my computer?!
This conference focuses on Wikipedia, the use of wikis, and open source software for use in knowledge management. It may even be a bit unreasonable to be talking about those services while using MSN Spaces (you know .... the knowledge should be free idea). Regardless, over the next few days I shall try to give you my impressions on this conference. Given I am a corporate manager, I may not be a typical attendee, but I am still a nerd!
Quite frankly, I am excited about attending this event. I can not remember the last time I attended a seminar or conference that was not sponsored by someone (or vendor). In addition, I have no speaking responsabilities.
Till tomorrow ....
I find Lawrence Lessig's lectures facinating. Here is a link to the audio from the Wikimania session:
An additional Lessign lecture The Comedy of the Commons, I also found highly informative/thought provoking.
Thanks for all the updates from wikimania. Sounded like an excellent conference.
Posted by: Greg Stratford | August 09, 2006 at 11:41 AM