Bag Man

Apparently Kickstarter has decided I fit the profile of someone who wants the perfect bag. They may not be wrong.

One reason why I love winter is I can justify wearing a coat. My favorite coat has a gallon in pocket space. I can carry ALL THE CRAP. Phone, novel, notebook, pens, change, receipts, camera, chargers, headphones, batteries, highlighter, sharpie, etc. The coat becomes my purse.

I even have an October 2009 Facebook post:

Excited I get to wear my purse… I mean… coat this morning.

I have tons of backpacks. A couple work laptop ones. A couple personal laptop ones. A pool one. Three gym ones. And more lots of others.

I have a packed suitcase with a week’s worth of clothes packed so I would not have to pack in an emergency.

I know the pros and cons of each bag for each purpose. I have pretty much settled into having them correctly allocated.

Name Collisions

Blackboard has a conference they call BbWorld. I noticed there are some odd tweets with the same #bbworld hashtag lately. These appear to be about a Blackberry conference to be held next month.

Collisions on names are common enough. For example, here are a couple names our clients use to brand their sites which other places also use.

My own project, GeorgiaVIEW is not immune. Some time ago I noticed the GeorgiaView Consortium (geological remote sensing) at the University of West Georgia.

I guess it is a good thing one Bbworld is in July and the other is in September.

For now I’ll just drop my RSS feed for the hashtag.

BBworld From Afar

Staying true to tradition, Blackboard found a great speaker, Seth Godin, with a positive message. Notes people took…

Scott found the best point, I think.

Compliance doesn’t work to create value. Compliant work will always go to the lowest bidder. We can always find someone cheaper to follow the manual. Value is created by doing something different.

See! This is a mind numbingly positive message.

I liked some people on Twitter pointed to Jeff Longland’s role with VistaSWAT as a leader in the vacuum Blackboard has left open in the community.

Created a Yahoo Pipe for Bbworld09.

UPDATED 2009-07-15:

This TED video has much of the same substance as Godin’s Bbworld keynote.

Rock Eagle Debrief

GeorgiaVIEW

  1. SMART (Section Migration Archive and Restore Tool) created for us by the Georgia Digital Innovation Group seemed well received. I’m glad. DIG worked tirelessly on it on an absurdly short schedule.
  2. Information is strewn about in too many places. There isn’t one place to go for information. Instead between Blackboard, VistaSWAT, and GeorgiaVIEW about 29. I amazed I do find information.
  3. Blackboard NG 9 is too tempting for some.
  4. Vista does DTD valdiation but not very well. We need to XML validation before our XML files are run. As we do not control the source of these files and errors by those creating the files cause problems, we run them in test before running in production. I am thinking of something along the lines of validating the file and finding the errors and reporting to the submitter the problems in the file. Also, it should do XML schema validation so we can ensure the data is as correct as possible before we load it.
Yaketystats
  1. If you run *nix servers, then you need Yaketystats. I have been using it for 2 years. It revolutionized how I go about solving problems. If you are familiar with my Monitoring post, then this is the #2 in that post.
That is all for now. I am sure I will post more later.

Monopoly Fears

Something brought up my abandoned Friendster blog, which had a link to fiftymillimeter which used to be my favorite photography site by people in Athens prior to me even moving here. Why “used to be”? Well over a year ago, they stopped posting to the site. Sad, I know. Still, I was curious, Where are they now? I ran across Twitter-Free Fridays looking for Toby Joe Boudroux.

What I found interesting about this post was his approach to whether or not Twitter is or is not a monopoly. I agree with the first part. The last sentence surprised me.

Being at the top of an emerging market segment does not constitute a monopoly. Unfair practices, abuses of that dominance to limit fair access to resources and outlets – those are monopolistic. If Twitter struck a deal with Mozilla that blacklisted other microblogging services, we’d have something to talk about. Opening APIs freely and allowing supplemental markets to emerge hardly seems consistent with railroad barons.

Supplemental markets would be the equivalent of a railroad baron allowing new train stations or business to sell to the customers using the trains. Open APIs allow other corporations to find a niche. However, they are not a direct competitor. For example, with Twitter, the API is not used by Pownce or Jaiku. Friendfeed who fits in both the lifestream market and the micro-blog markets does use the API. More commonly, the Twitter API is used by companies like Summize or Twitpic in searching or posting content.

If economists or lawyers determining whether a company with a large market share is monopolistic are influenced by open APIs creating supplemental markets, then this could be a strategy to avoiding DOJ further scrutiny? At Bbworld / DevCon, a frequent point of pride from the Blackboard folks was the anticipation of Bb9 to have a more open, accessible, and useful API. This API will be able to do everything the current one in the Classic line can currently do. The anticipated additions to this API could benefit many supplemental markets. (Let’s just forget at the same time, they are saying API for the CE/Vista products is a dead-end development path.)

Scoring points with the DOJ (and more importantly the court of public opinion) could never hurt while trying to sue a much smaller competitor like Desire2Learn. Some characterize Bb as not likely to stop until D2L no longer exists. Who knows? I doubt even Chasen knows. Still, it would far fetched to characterize just this as making Blackboard a monopoly.

There are pleny of alternative LMS products to the Blackboard Learning System: Moodle, Sakai, ANGEL, eCollege, and many, many more. Heck, the rumor mill would indicate more and more higher education institutions are considering and even changing to the alternatives. Blackboard acknowleges institutions likely run multiple products. With Bb 9, they encourage people to use the Learning Environment Connector to single sign-on to into the other products. With the Bb9 frame remaining so they know who got them there, of course.  Don’t forget about a Personal Learning Environment,

Certainly I dislike that Blackboard hears my objections and continues to act in ways contrary to them. However, that happens within my own team. Neither group are criminal for ignoring me.

Stats

Dreamhost collects the access and error logs for the web site domains they host for me. The stats are crunched by Analog. The numbers are okay. I much prefer Google Analytics. (Even AWStats is better.) Analog is good enough.

While at Bbworld, Nicole asked me about the hits to her wedding web site. She made it sound like then she and Ashley had the data but just needed to know how to interpret the data? Now a couple days later they didn’t have the data. Instead, they ran into a password issue.

Shell / FTP:

What I had suggested to Nicole was Ashley could find the stats by going to the logs/william-nicole.com to find the data. (Actually it was logs/william-nicole.com/http/html)

Web:

Since, only Ashley’s user can access the stats through the shell / FTP route, I went into my admin panel to add Nicole and myself a user to access the stats. I erroneously assumed the user with access to manage the content (Ashley) would have access to the stats. Instead, Dreamhost only automatically grants the panel user (me) access to stats. Doh! So I ended up creating them both accounts.

Shameless Plugs:

Nicole’s site is http://william-nicole.com/.

Another site I am hosting for Shel is http://artistictraveler.nu/.

Bbworld ’08

My cameras (yeah, two of the three) have lots of pictures. Expect some this weekend. Hopefully they will be paced to last the week rather than an insane dump all at once. Watch my Flickr.

Yet again, I failed to blog at BbWorld. Probably I would had wifi been available in the sessions. Instead, I paid more attention and tookk notes. Hopefully this weekend I’ll compose some thoughts. Certainly, the repercussions of what I have learned this week will occupy my thoughts for months to come as it gets rehashed over and over in meetings. So… No rush.

Also, as a recruiting trip, it has been a dismal failure so far. I do have a couple sessings later today which might yeild something.

Bb 9 is NextGen?

UPDATE: Have another source who disagrees with Badge who made the claim below.

———

Hopefully this is true. I’d hate to be spreading a false rumor. Anyone willing to confirm? 😀

According to J. L. Badge, Blackboard 9 will be the “NextGen” product we are… *cough* eagerly… *ahem* waiting to see. John Fontaine was in our building Thursday. He mentioned NextGen several times. I must have fallen asleep to have missed a version number was mentioned when he talked about NextGen. It makes me wonder if Jan Posten Day’s recent blog post re: Blackboard Ide Exchange is to elicit early feedback on NextGen?

Certainly, if Bb9 is The One and people can get a first look at BbWorld ’08, then the conference will be mobbed. Lovely.

The “Too little, too late.” comment is funny. Apparently he is professor who has moved on to hanging out by himself in Second Life. A little ahead of the curve.

My interest for Blackboard products are 1) stability, 2) deployments, and 3) doing tier 3+ support well. These early looks are only going to tell me maybe a bit about #3. I really won’t know what I want to know until I talk to the Bb Perfomance Team and look at the dirt from the command-line. Of course, the elimination of all but a few Java applets deserves for us to lift John Fontaine up on our shoulders and parade him around all during BbWorld ’09.