Month: May 2007

When business got things right about Free/Open Source licenses

It’s always interesting to see “business” people getting things right about the Free/Open Source world. For example, the last month Boulder Open Coffee Club was dedicated to “open source issues that developers face”. The NVA blog contains a summary of the recommendations. Basically, it is: “know the licenses you are using and what you can(‘t) do with them“. And AskTheVC gives links to Lawrence Rosen’s book: “Open Source Licensing” (not read yet, maybe for a future post). They also link to a Boulder’s company (Openlogic) that helps you to maximize returns, minimize risks and accelerate innovation with Open Source (all keywords you should have in a business plan! ;-)). They also have some resources about Open Source for businesses.

We were sure about it but now other people are actually creating things with Free/Open Source software πŸ™‚

Post publishing editing

Brad Burnham recently wrote a post on the editorial process on the web, where the work happens after the publish button is pushed, not before it. It’s a report on a forum session and you can read some stakeholders opinions in the post. There are a serie of good points in the post and comments but, imho, there are also some questions left unanswered.

Basically, blog posts are edited after their publication: if I wrote something wrong, people will tend to post comments correcting what is wrong. That’s why Robert Scoble doesn’t agree with Andrew Keen when the latter argued that “the recent rise of user generated content is lowering the overall quality of programming on the web”. I think there is a “population effect”: the more visitors you have, the more edition and discussions you can have.

Now I would like to know if and how people edit their original posts after getting new input and/or corrections. I try to add a note at the bottom clearly stating the edition. What if I don’t do that? Content will vary over time. How can you trust such content? Since RSS feeds are not reflecting those changes, people using RSS are not aware of these changes. As stated in the post I was referring to, people need new tools to continuously assess the relevance of information they read on the internet (it was already the case with static content but this need becomes more urgent as dynamic content are more easily created and modified). Or bloggers must endorse “rules of conduct” not to edit posts but in this case, it’s up to the visitor to read comments and to summarize what should be the truth out of all this.

I think we are all used to the traditional media editing process: once it’s written, it should be right or corrected in the next publication (by the way the process is mutatis mutandis the same in mainstream media as well as in the scientific literature). Ditto for television where once it’s aired, it should be either correct or later corrected. The main difference is that blog posts and dynamic content in general are there at an instant i and stay during a certain duration (delta-i) in an unmodified form OR in a modified form. If you read the same popular page of the wikipedia (or any other wiki, e.g.) everyday, you’ll never read twice the same information (but main facts will still remain the same).

Finally, unlike Brad Burnham and people who wrote comments on his post, I don’t consider this “post publishing edition” as a problem for decision making (would it be at the business, personal or scientific level). Fact-checking and multiple sources of information are not yet obsolete.

Is VoIP reliable?

I am wondering if VoIP is reliable … Since a few weeks, the university is deploying VoIP phones in the whole campus. The good thing is that everything was apparently planned since a long time: cables were already there, just next to the regular IP cables. But since then, some problems are occurring … No connection to the “old” phone network, a whole morning without phone due to “a problem in the software controlling one of the infrastructure device”, … A few days ago, I even received an e-mail from the lab computer specialist telling all the scientists how to reset the lab firewall in case it blocks all the IP+Voice communications (for an unknown reason). I am not criticizing the deployment model of this particular case but I’m wondering how reliable is VoIP …

With “old” phones, you still have the opportunity to call emergency services even in case of total electricity failure (switches at the phone company may have to use a backup power system). Is is still the case with VoIP? After a small search on the web, the critical points in VoIP seem to be server/IP routes/routing devices redundancy, cooling and … keeping some traditional phones to the Public Switched Telephone Network πŸ™‚

Buttons cluttering

Image seen on a post on the Hyper Dog Blog:

Fortunately, the content was still longer than the right pile and bottom line of buttons. Can’t someone create a “social network of social networks” (and call it “Web 3.0” of course) to help those poor recognition-hungry-bloggers? πŸ˜‰

A third scientific paper for the Poirrier-Falisse!

Nandini published her second scientific paper in Journal of Proteome Research and it was just published “ahead of print” (i.e. in electronic version before the “official”, paper version). It’s:

Ruelle V., Falisse-Poirrier N., Elmoualij B., Zorzi D., Pierard O., Heinen E., Pauw ED. and Zorzi W.: “An Immuno-PF2D-MS/MS Proteomic Approach for Bacterial Antigenic Characterization: To Bacillus and Beyond” J Proteome Res., e-pub ahead of print.
PubMed ID: 17488104
DOI: 10.1021/pr060661g

Congratulations! πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, it is not Open Access (it mainly depends on the lab publication policy) so you need to pay to have access to the full-text (but I think Nandini will also self-archive this article somewhere). Here is NandiniÒ€ℒs BibTex entry (it will be updated for volume and pages asap).