08 July 2006

... One Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey Typing is moving!

... One Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey Typing will be moving to a new address: ie http://www.pascalvenier.com/blog/ and will now be powered by Wordpress and hosted by BlueHost.

I have transfered all the posts and comments which can now be viewed there.

Do not forget to update your bookmarks or feeds.

Blogged with Flock

06 July 2006

Foldera: the new free virtual office

Although I still have not received my own credential for a beta account (hint! hint!), I nevertheless have been able to take a good look at the way Foldera works, having been given this week the opportunity to use an existing account. This is thanks to Marc Orchant, who has recently very kindly invited me to become a member of the virtual advisory board, which he is currently setting up for his new endeavour, ClassFolders, Foldera’s proposed education vertical solution.

The Foldera vision is a simple but very powerful one: organizing the user's work instantly. According to a blurb:
"Foldera is a new way to access and manage your applications, teams, activities and information, sorted by project, from wherever you are in the world. Using Foldera, you can instantly share, organize and archive your information and data."
A, or rather the, key feature in Foldera is the Activity Folder. Activity Folders allow for the automatic sorting and filing of information and documents. Once an Activity folder has been created, each email message, IM, but also documents created in other applications are accessed from within the folder in question. I have found Foldera surprisingly easy to use and managed to do everything I wanted to do quasi-instinctively. It is only later, when I decided to prepare this post, that I took a good look at the online manual, which is unusually clear and helpful.

Screen shot of a Foldera Activity Folder

Foldera is great for group collaboration and working on a common project, as it makes exchanging documents and making comments about them very easy, but it would undoubtedly benefit from including a wiki capability, which is unfortunately missing at the moment. As the concept of automatically filing documents is so central to Foldera, I did find paradoxical that there is currently no possibility to actually archive email messages. The gmail message archiving function has become so central to the way I process emails and get to an empty in-box by the end of each day, that I was disapointed not to find something similar here.

As someone working across platforms (MacOS/Windows) and from two different places (home office/office at the university), I can fully appreciate the advantages using Foldera would have for myself. It could also benefit friends: tongue in cheek, I would venture in saying that using Foldera, my friend Chris Brogan, of Lifehack fame, would no longer be loosing his USB memory sticks! ;^) I was initially seduced by ContactOffice, which I find very useful. However, Foldera really seems to have the potential to take things to a whole new dimension. It seems clear that the Huntington Beach folks are going in the right direction: talks of the integration of applications and possible mash ups are in this respect most encouraging. Now, could it bring about a real paradigm shift? It is perhaps early days to tell, but it seems to be a real possibility.

Coming soon: an interview with Marc Orchant on Foldera and Getting Things Done.

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Blogged with Flock

05 July 2006

Flock Browser Beta

I am taking the opportunity of the summer break to try and blog more regularly.

As no detailed blog post seems to have been published on Foldera since the release of the Beta on 19 June 2006, I have decided to prepare one of my own which should be posted later this week. For the time being, here are my first impressions on the new Flock browser.

I have been trying the Flock Browser Beta 1 (v. 0.7) for Mac OS X since yesterday and must say that I was so impressed that it was pretty much an immediate adoption. I would therefore very strongly recommend it to anyone. Two of my favourite features, besides the favorites toolbar à la Safari, are:

  • Flock's Photobar which allows you to view online photos from a Flickr account (yours or a friends) at the top of the browser,
  • The built-in blog editor, which allows you to write and edit blog posts and which I am using to write this post. It is really user friendly and so easy to use. The way it creates very simply technorati tags is really cool.

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Blogged with Flock

An interesting business model for book publishing

I was listening this morning in my car to the French state-owned radio France-Inter, which had a good programme on La Révolution internet, de l'e-commerce à l'e-citoyenneté (The Internet Revolution, from e-commerce to e-citizenship). One of the guests was Joel de Rosnay who has published earlier this year a book entitled, La révolte du pronétariat (The Revolt of Pronetariat). I did find the pun on proletariat/pronetariat rather amusing. The new concepts created by Rosnay are those of "pronétaires" (English "Pronetarians") and pronétarians (Eng. "Pronetariat"), which he defines in the following way in the introduction of the book (my translation): "I call "pronetarians" (from the grec pro, ahead, before, but also favorable to something, and the English net [...] a new class of digital networks users capable of producing, diffusing, selling non-proprietary digital content, by implementing the principles of the "new New Economy".

What did really get my attention is the business-model the author described for the marketing of the book which really did got my attention. He explained how the book published by one of Paris' leading publishing house, Fayard, was initially released in a traditional way through bookshops in February 2006. About six months later, it was then made available online for free download, under a Creative Commons licence. The book sold very well the first time round, but the release of the free online version resulted in a second wave of purchase of the print version of the book, as people like to own their own copy. It seems to be a good win-win strategy which allow to combine making knowledge freely available online (a principle Rosnay advocates in the book) and profitability for the printed book.

Also of interest is the fact that the book is available online in three different versions. The originality here is that it is not only available as as html and as pdf, but also as a podcast. The technology used for creating this audio version is the ReadSpeaker.

I really much like the idea. So much so that I intend not only to have a good look at the ReadSpeaker technology, but to contact the publishing house which published my first book, back in 1997, with a view to emulating Joel de Rosnay's idea.

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Blogged with Flock

04 July 2006

Lars Plougmann on "When and where should be free information"

Writing about current devates on regulations governing the internet, Lars Plougmann, over at Mind this has written a very interesting post on When and where should be free information:

He writes: "This weekend I learned about two government follies. One is a lesson from history, the other is a current example. Both are about restricting access to information, limiting freedom and economic activity", and elaborates on the facts that "in 1797 the English parliament decided to impose a tax on personal timepieces" and that "in Russia today, civilians are not allowed to use GPS. The government is afraid that decentralised mapping threatens national security. This makes it difficult for organisations to record locations of their assets and use of car navigation systems is almost unheard of."

I, of course agree with his overall argument. I nevertheless would like to add that the regulations mentionned about GPS in Russia do sound rather odd, probably pointless, and most definitelly anachronisticly reminiscent of the spirit of the Cold War, one needs to bear in mind that whislt widely used by civilians, GPS remains a military technology. It was set up by the US DoD and is managed by the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base. Let us bear in mind that historically, as French Geographer Yves Lacoste famously once put it, "La Géographie, ça sert d'abord à faire la guerre", "Geography's prime purpose is war".

The Russians incidently maintain their own global system, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and the European Union is developping its own, Galileo, which should be up and running (Sorry about the lousy pun!) in 2010.

More in the wikipedia article on Global Positioning System