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links for 2010-09-30

  • The following is a highlight of a competitive analysis I did earlier this year when I was involved in designing software that would allow remote research teams to work together. While software is still a long way from replacing all in-person collaboration it's becoming easier for remote or mobile workers to stay productive and communicative with their team. Certainly the tools we have available today are a vast improvement over what I used when I first tried telecommuting 12 years ago!

    There are many articles out there covering similar if not exactly the same ground. Hopefully you will find some gems in mine.

  • We're looking for the best of the best in open and engaging government. The second annual Merit Awards program will recognize excellence in innovative implementations that aim to deliver a more efficient and collaborative government.

    The nomination process is simple – just tell us in 500 words or less how your nominee is helping to create a more open and engaging government, whether it's in interagency collaboration and information sharing, constituent interactions, or overall creativity. Nominees can be government individuals, agencies, or programs – from Federal Civilian, Defense, or State or Local government.

    The Adobe Government Assembly Program Advisory Group will review all nominations and select the winners, who will be recognized for their achievements in improving government efficiency at the Adobe Government Assembly in Washington, D.C. on November 3.

  • The Open University's website aims to achieve W3C WAI Priority 2 level. To support blind users and keyboard users most pages have a 'skip to content' at the top of the page which allows blind users to skip over the navigation links to the main content of the page.
  • One of the reasons given for this major change of teaching policy is the beneficial effect of grammar teaching on the children's writing; but this has inevitably invited criticism from those who believe that the earlier research has proved this effect to be a myth. The status of the research evidence is clearly an important issue, and even an urgent issue given that the policy is already being implemented (on a massive scale). What, then, does the published research really say about the effects of grammar teaching?

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links for 2010-09-29

  • Another unfortunate limitation with Kindle (though not unique to Amazon) is that they don't offer any way of providing customers who purchase ebooks access to publisher updates. We regularly update our ebooks to correct errata and make other changes, and free updates are one reason many O'Reilly readers come to oreilly.com for their ebooks.
  • Marie Bjerede writes "The Web 2.0 model can be applied to education on two levels. The first is at the level of software that provides or supports educational experiences. The second is at the level of the human systems and workflows that are entailed by the day-to-day work of educators and students and citizens.As a veteran software organization leader and management geek, I see deep parallels between the architecture of software platforms and that of human organizations. For example, in both cases, the question of quality has moved from “does it work as designed” (which is now considered table-stakes) to “is it designed to do the right thing?”
  • Two and a half years ago, Forrester introduced Social Technographics®, a way to analyze people’s social technology behavior. Today, we want you to take a moment and think about the uptake of social media in your company. Ask yourself the following question:

    From the following list of statements, please select where your company stands with social media. (Please choose all that apply)

    1. My company currently has a social media strategy.
    2. My company is thinking about developing a social media strategy.
    3. My company is trying to defend why we don’t have a social media strategy.
    4. My company is currently trying to understand what social media is.
    5. None of the above.

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links for 2010-09-28

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links for 2010-09-27

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links for 2010-09-26

  • On a panel on the future of communication in the workplace, Nicky Wakefield, Human Capital Partner at Deloitte Australia, said "We have found a strong correlation between use of Yammer and staff retention." Can we add employee retention to the ways to make the case for microblogging in the enterprise?
  • n this approach you would start by creating an almost entirely flat IA, so that each discrete area, initiative or campaign gets its own section or article listed at the same level within the site, without imposing any structural hierarchy. In other words any chunk of content that forms a coherent, stand-alone topic, big or small, would get its own entry in the list, its own landing page, and as many child pages as needed to tell the story.
  • A while back we were looking to enable user comments on pages of the BIS website by building bespoke functionality into our main platform. The intention, pretty much, was to replicate the lovely comment and moderation engine you get from WordPress within our own CMS, and be able to toggle it on and off for each page.

    So why not just use WordPress? you might well ask.

    Well we do, as you know – frequently and with style – and will carry on doing so when it suits. But while WordPress-powered microsites are often just the ticket for ad hoc digital engagement, there are also times when it feels like the effort involved in building, populating, hosting, testing, launching, promoting, moderating, maintaining, evaluating, troubleshooting, archiving, redirecting and ultimately decommissioning a campaign microsite might be overkill.

  • The original Pilsen East Artists Colony at 18th Street and Halsted was established in the 1960s, and since then the area has been transformed into a bustling commercial street, boasting galleries and coffee shops. The neighborhood changes of recent years have spurred much discussion about Pilsen’s future.
  • Ragdale is an artists' retreat located on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw's 1897 summer home in Lake Forest, IL.

    The artists' community, which is situated just 30 miles north of Chicago and overlooks 50 acres of prairie, now hosts over 200 emerging and established artists of all disciplines each year.

  • Includes how to set a password for CPanel servers
  • You want to learn HTML so you can finally create those web pages you've always wanted, so you can communicate more effectively with friends, family, fans, and fanatic customers. You also want to do it right so you can actually maintain and expand your Web pages over time, and so your web pages work in all the browsers and mobile devices out there. Oh, and if you've never heard of CSS, that's okay—we won't tell anyone you're still partying like it's 1999—but if you're going to create Web pages in the 21st century then you'll want to know and understand CSS.
  • Want to know how to make your pages look beautiful, communicate your message effectively, guide visitors through your website with ease, and get everything approved by the accessibility and usability police at the same time? Head First Web Design is your ticket to mastering all of these complex topics, and understanding what's really going on in the world of web design.

    Whether you're building a personal blog or a corporate website, there's a lot more to web design than <div>s and CSS selectors, but what do you really need to know? With this book, you'll learn the secrets of designing effective, user-friendly sites, from customer requirements to hand-drawn storyboards all the way to finished HTML and CSS creations that offer an unforgettable online presence.

  • Officials in Iran have confirmed that the Stuxnet worm infected at least 30,000 Windows PCs in the country, multiple Iranian news services reported on Saturday.

    Experts from Iran's Atomic Energy Organization also reportedly met this week to discuss how to remove the malware.

    Stuxnet, considered by many security researchers to be the most sophisticated malware ever, was first spotted in mid-June by VirusBlokAda, a little-known security firm based in Belarus. A month later Microsoft acknowledged that the worm targeted Windows PCs that managed large-scale industrial-control systems in manufacturing and utility companies.

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links for 2010-09-25

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links for 2010-09-23

  • Google Election Center helps you provide up-to-date election information to voters and create custom search tools for your website. You can submit the following kinds of information:

    * Polling place locations
    * Registration instructions
    * Ballot information
    * State and local election office contact information

    The Election Center Data Manager will guide you through the process of uploading and validating your information. After receiving your information, Google will display election information to your voters through our Maps application.

  • Game mechanics have become a popular way of increasing user engagement and pushing user adoption, referral and retention, and many startups have sought ways to incorporate game mechanics into their sites.

    In a recent blog post, David Feinleib, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, lists the following 10 ways to incorporate game mechanics into a non-game service:

    1. Your service: the game. Feinleib suggests that if you start thinking about your service as a game, you will identify some of the ways in which game mechanics — ideas of competition, rewards, and so on — will best fit in.

  • Technology is making the resume obsolete faster than we think. Now, some candidates send LinkedIn profiles in lieu of resumes. They’re better than resumes in that they give extra pieces of information: recommendations, which can be misleading but often give some insight into the candidate’s personality, as well as the people we know in common professionally. The website Unvarnished takes LinkedIn recommendations to another level by making the reviewer anonymous, and therefore more candid.

    But sites like oDesk and eLance more closely reflect the future of resumes and how companies hire. When you hire someone on those sites (or similar contractor marketplaces), you don’t see things like what college they attended, you see past jobs and employer ratings. This simple reputation score is much more reliable, fair, and is harder to fudge than any resume.

  • Punctuated equilibrium is a theory that says that evolution isn't a straight line. Species remain the same for long periods of time, and then suddenly there's a burst of dramatic change.

    That's how I see digital textbooks. We're poised to see all the years — if not decades — of predictions and debate left behind. Change is here. It's driven by technology, by the arrival of ebooks and the digitization of print, and by a consensus among publishers and educators that the time is now.

    Sooner than later, more learning will flow into minds of students from digital than analog source materials.

    This point was made dramatically — and for me, too sensationally — by Nicholas Negroponte at a recent Techonomy conference. He proclaimed that the "physical book will be dead in five years."

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links for 2010-09-21

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links for 2010-09-20

  • It looks like a heading, but things are not always what they seem. I used to have a friend who had a shiny red Porsche, the only problem was the Ford Granada ignition key, that’s right, it was a kit car, proving that looks can be deceiving. If you’re a sighted user, you can scan the page, interpreting the visual presentation and skip straight to the section that interests you. As you can imagine, someone with a visual impairment using a screen reader, has a tougher time identifying a section of interest.

    Headings are the solution, but only if we use the correct method of marking up headings, with the use of tags. You should always start with a <H1> heading then as you get to a sub-heading you should drop it down a level and use a <H2>, you can do this in a hierarchical manor all the way down to an <H6>. If you don’t like the look of a heading’s default style, you can use CSS to style it just as I did above but this time using a tag that conveys some structure.

  • I know a lot of companies are looking for interesting way to improve employee morale and health but I would not have thought as gardening as way to do that.

    After reading this article creating a company garden has a lot of benefits in improving the quality of life in the workplace.

    (tags: health work)

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links for 2010-09-19

  • Answer the following questions to determine whether your presentation and communication skills work for you or against you.
  • We are always looking for creative and talented artists and designers. Once we find them, we ask them to cooperate with us and release something for free. We provide them with the full freedom to showcase their professionalism and express their creativity. Every release helps to make the Web a nicer place. In fact, the results are quite often pretty impressive. You can find our previous releases in our section Freebies.
  • As the social web grows in size and influence, you need to ensure that your website is optimized to take advantage of this new phenomenon. Gigya delivers social optimization with a powerful set of tools and services, including:
    Connect your site to all major platforms like Facebook for Websites and Twitter.
    Get single sign-in, easy form fill, account linking, our Invite Plugin
    and more.
  • With all these ways to market, it might seem that the last thing a practitioner needs is to be told about a new way to market their practice. But using Facebook – the ultimate social networking tool – will allow you to do many of the things you are currently doing even more effectively, with much less effort and significantly lower cost. More than 500 million people are using Facebook worldwide. With more than 120 million in the U.S. alone, chances are good that nearly 50 percent of your current patient base is not only using Facebook, but is logging on several times a week. This is a tremendous opportunity to project your message and reinforce relationships with current patients, as well as tap into a market of new patients.
  • The identification of information needs should be sufficiently rich and complete in representing and elaborating users' true needs. Since information use usually takes place in the context of a task or problem situation, it is helpful to recognize that information needs consist of two inseparable parts (Taylor 1986, 1991): that pertaining to the subject matter of the need (what information is needed), and that arising from the situational requirements of utilizing the information (why is the information needed and how it will be used).

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September 2010

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