Category: "Current Affairs"

Online to Mass Media like Novel Series to Short Stories

It struck me that the mass media attempts to leverage the web are akin to short stories filling in the background for book series, while I was reading "Social Networking and Breaking the Fourth Wall" by Steve Portigal.

The Chart, so the story goes, is a new online social networking site that leverages the graphic device they’ve used for several seasons, in which sexual contact between different characters are charted on a large whiteboard in Alice’s homeend quotation
-- Steve Portigal in "Social Networking and Breaking the Fourth Wall" on All this Chittah Chittah

Steve also points to "‘The L Word’ Spins Off Its Chart" in the New York Times, which discusses OurChart.com, a web site tied into Showtime's "The L Word" series.

I've seen many examples of this recently. Mass Media is trying all sorts of experiments to tie into newer and converged media| communications | computing technology, from voting on reality shows using SMS, or getting show updates via SMS/MMS, character blogs and webisodes.

All of this has a slight reek of desperation to it. Whatever the motive, and whatever comes out of old line media attempting to leverage the tools allowing everyone with a computer and broadband connection to be a content creator and publisher, it is interesting.

Part of what's happening is reminiscent of something I've seen in science fiction serial novels all of my life. Short stories and fan written stories filling in the background of those fictional universes. You can find this all over Science Fiction and Fantasy. Two that come immediately to mind that have built large communities with community generated content are Anne McCaffrey's "The Dragon Riders of Pern" and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series.

Compare how those authors and communities have developed and the rich tapestries of work that have been created with things like

And many, many more. These are just the few I found in some quick searches. Many, if not most, TV shows have background support from the web.

So, are these just examples of insincere marketing, or extensions into the fan base? I think that the answer to this will come from how well the show's producers and sponsors join the developing conversations and integrate third-party fan generated content. Just like SFF authors have been doing for generations.

IASCP

Hmmm...

IASC is an association devoted to understanding and improving institutions for the management of environmental resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively. Many will refer to such resources and their systems of usage as "commons".end quotation
from "International Journal of Commons" posted in Open

who got it from Peter Suber's Open Access News posting.

Ah, but there seems to be some confusion, for if you go to the organization's web site, you'll see it's IASCP not IASC.

The International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP), founded in 1989, is a nonprofit Association devoted to understanding and improving institutions for the management of environmental resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively by communities in developing or developed countries.

IASCP's goals are:

  • to encourage exchange of knowledge among diverse disciplines, areas, and resource types
  • to foster mutual exchange of scholarship and practical experience
  • to promote appropriate institutional design

end quotation
from IASCP web site

Until you go further into their site, and find the first quote.

I wonder if this possible name confusion will lead to us getting a spate of requests for information about Common Property and the new International Journal of the Commons, as we keep getting requests for information on Aloe Vera farming after an newspaper in India listed the international Aloe Science Council's web site as iasc.COM rather than its true iasc.ORG?

Putting all that aside, the fortchcoming International Journal of the Commons looks to be an important contribution for governments and institutions concerned with the governance of natural resources that are [or should be] held as common property. I'm sure that those involved with open source, copyright, DRM, digital lifestyle aggregators, social networks and similar intellectual property and data-types natural resources will be able to learn from the lessons of other types of common property that will be taught in this journal.

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.

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This Web Log (Blog) is intended as a discussion of the business processes, life choices, management challenges, wireless networks, mobile devices, collaboration software, social networks and technical issues facing organizations and individuals: distributed workgroups, digital lifestyle aggregation, telecommuting, road warrior and all ways in which you can live the TeleInterActive Lifestyle™. It is a service of InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc.

InterActive Systems & Consulting, Inc. (IASC) performs research in the areas of data analytics, collaboration and remote access.

InterASC Professional Services, a service mark of IASC, provides strategic consulting and project management for data warehousing, business intelligence and collaboration projects using proprietary and open source solutions. We formulate vendor-independent strategies and solutions for information management in an increasingly complex and distributed business environment, allowing secure data analysis and collaboration that provides enterprise information in the most valuable form to the right person, whenever and wherever needed.

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