On Business Processes and Scripting Languages

Jon Udell is one of the most interesting technology columnists out there. He’s writing about a lot of the items I find most interesting in the technology world today: the importance of networks, giving people the ability to do their own programming. In ‘Refactoring the Business’ he discusses the confluence of scripitng languages and business processes. Some of the recent challenges I’ve been trying to deal with work seem like they would be perfect opportunities for scripting languages.

Graphing Tools

More information visualization tools found via iaslash. Permanent entry refers to programs such as GraphViz, Tulip, and more.

The internet and the shuttle

The New York Times reports that NASA has released a detailed map of the Columbia reentry process. Immediately I go over to and download the map onto my own computer. What amazes me is how easily I can get from the reported story to the real source thanks to the internet. How different this flood of information is from the Challenger explosion staggers me.

Fear and Fatalism

As I drove into work this morning I listened to the people on the radio discussing how to prepare for terrorism and I was struck by how similar the fears expressed by people today match the fears I felt during the early 1980s regarding the threat of nuclear war. There were many nights during junior high school when I stayed awake waiting for the brilliant flash of light that would signal the end of the world.

Assessing risks

From the New York Times: Assessing the Odds of Catastrophe.

But a rapidly evolving set of conceptual and computing tools allow mathematicians, engineers and insurance executives to assess the risk of what are euphemistically known as low-probability, high-consequence events.

The field, known in professional jargon as probabilistic risk assessment, helps companies and government agencies decide whether they are prepared to take the chances involved.

Tomorrow Now - Bruce Sterling is Right

I’ve been reading Tomorrow Now, the new non-fiction book by Bruce Sterling. It’s seven chapters organized around the seven ages of man from Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage” speech. In it Sterling tries to suggests possibilities for the future. Two recent articles reinforced some of the points he made. Robert Kuttner sounded off today in The American Prospect about the unseemly media frenzy surrounding the crash of the Columbia space shuttle over the weekend.

On computer security

The folks at CAIDA, the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, have posted a very intriguing analysis of the Sapphire SQL Server worm that overran the internet a few weekends ago. Basically they say this is the first confirmed example of a rapidly spreading worm, it infected 90% of the hosts within 10 minutes of being released. What was previously a theoretical possibility is now a potential reality: the internet could be seriously damaged by a worm before any person would have a chance to react.

Metaphors on the Public Domain

Since the decision on Eldred v. Ashcroft there has been a lot of discussion on the web about the failure to find an appropriate metaphor for intellectual property. Doc Searles wrote about this after the recent decision. Today I found another longer essay by Robert A. Baron that appears to be worth further reading. It includes this bit about falling into the public domain. While “to fall into the public domain” is a common enough expression, sensitivity to its implied meaning is now causing some speakers to be wary of its use.

Metrics for Knowledge Management

Via OLDaily comes this article on creating metrics for knowledge management. Metrics for knowledge management and content management by James Robertson.

Visualizing Social Interaction

Here’s an interesting summary article on efforts to visualize the social interactions mediated by computers and technology from

I particularly like the links through to resources at IBM : the Social Computing Group and work by Bonnie Nardi. I commented briefly on her book “A Small Matter of Programming” here.