So, you don’t want people commenting on your Website? Watch out for Google’s Sidewiki

I don’t want to pick on the SMH in particular, but it was the first site I found with some real comments attached:


BTW You don’t have to install Sidewiki to follow the comments, there is an RSS stream (e.g. the SMH home page) although it appears to be restricted the comments per URL not the whole domain. The API for this service also means we could expect to see a bunch of new tools appearing that take advantage of it, e.g. Twitter integration.

One defence against SideWiki are encrypted (HTTPS) pages. And luckily for intranet managers, SideWiki doesn’t support comments on internal sites. Yet, anyway…

Next generation enterprise aggregator from Attensa released

The Attensa StreamServerâ„¢ creates value by:

  • Breaking down information silos by enabling information from separate systems and communities to be found, organized and flow freely throughout your business.
  • Networking knowledge by enabling people to easily share insight and knowledge with others.
  • Increasing awareness and efficiency by empowering users to benefit from large amounts of information and many interactions as opposed to being overwhelmed.

Attensa have announced the availability of Attensa StreamServer, their next generation enterprise information aggregator. I’m really pleased to see Attensa continue to innovate around this important area and I’ll be taking a more detailed look at their new StreamServer product in the near future.

Parsing the Aussie state: Not just access, but accessible and useful formats needed

Just geocoded Medicare office location data… all looks good, except Palmerston has ended up in West Africa. lol. #gov2au

Last night’s geocoding effort wasn’t without its problems. I probably should have made it clear that this was a mechanical translation and that I didn’t check every location for accuracy. I only noticed Palmerston was a bit off because of where it appeared on the Google Map I created! 🙂

Still, the process highlighted a few issues:

  • .xls format isn’t a particularly good Web 2.0 data format. If not JSON or XML etc, then even publishing in a plain format like .csv help as tools like Yahoo! Pipe will parse it.
  • If the data relates to or contains geographic data, then it absolutely has to be geocoded to be of any use.

Relatively speaking it didn’t take me long to convert the .XLS file or find a site that would geocode the data for me. However, confirming the quality of even this simple set of geocoded data might take a little more effort. It would be good if all this was done at the source.

I noticed one of the data files supplied by the Government 2.0 Task Force competition has been supplied in SPSS format. This raises more difficult problems because unlike .xls, most users won’t have ready access to software or sites that can parse it into something useful. So, the first step here is translation not mashing. Hopefully people into mapping will have better luck with some of the other geographic data files that have been provided.

Perhaps we should be calling this ParseUp Australia instead?

Mashing the Aussie State: Geocoding Medicare office location data

Just for fun(!), I geocoded the Medicare office locations released as part of the ‘beta’ initiative and then put it on a map:


Unfortunately I don’t have anywhere to host the map itself (because of the script, I can’t post it here), however the raw geocoded data is available via Google Docs.

Examples of innovative corporate IT in Australia: Jetstar and CSC

I picked up a copy of the August/September edition of Australia’s CIO magazine while stuck at Melbourne airport last week. A couple of positive Web 2.0 related stories grabbed my attention (and it does make a change from the usual scare mongering or lame vendor case studies about CIOs spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on some piece of new obscure piece of hardware):


First, discount airline Jetstar have started to virtualise servers and desktops. This has resulted in a shift in how they regard PC and laptops, which they now treat as commodities. Apparently most users have admin right’s to their computers and can install what they want. The IT department has a policy of trouble shooting user’s computer problems for 15 minutes and if it can’t be fixed they simply reimage it back to their original standard operating environment. To counter act any security issues user maintained equipment creates they are now focusing on addressing this threat at their network level rather than the user’s desktop.

I like this quote from their CIO, Stephen Tame:

I can see a future where you join a company and they say ‘Congratulations… Where’s your laptop? And, by the way, here’s a 16 gig SD card that contains our SOE’

Clearly inside Jetstar it isn’t quite a Web 2.0 environment yet (virtualised with thin clients etc rather than Web 2.0), but the attitude of the CIO is on the right track.

If you happen to work for Jetstar, I’d love to know how this environment works for you in practice.


I’ve talked about my old friends at CSC on this blog in the past, who have been working for some time at putting enterprise social computing into practice. There is a good interview with CSC Australia CIO, Ben Patey, who talks in more detail about their global implementation of Jive’s SBS platform. Remembering the CSC is a massive IT services firm, Ben describes CSC’s initiative (called C3) as tackling all the “classic business problems”:

  • The ability to find people and things in an organisation of 90,000 staff around the world;
  • Reducing the risk of intellectual property being lost when people walk out the door;
  • To help with the ‘on boarding’ process for new staff; and
  • To attract new staff, as C3 demonstrates that CSC is an innovative company in practice.

C3 is still being treated as a pilot, but through a viral marketing approach has managed to attract over 20,000 users. Ben says:

“The general feeling is that it’s a great gap filler and is hitting a sweet spot,” he says. “One guy said he went from a sceptic to a convert and that it really makes you want to get involved, and that this is just what we have needed for a long time to truly connect. It’s much easier, and more fun. Another critical success factor is the senior executives use of the tool; in CSC Australia our local CEO, CFO and VPs are actively blogging which is a tremendous indication of the power of C3.”

Both Jetstar and CSC are companies that take the bottom line very seriously… so its really is refreshing to see stories like this coming out of the Australian corporate IT sector. New Web inspired approaches to supporting the needs of corporate users aren’t just consulting waffle, they have a real and important impact.

MediaWiki limits Enterprise 2.0

I have had a fair share of hands-on time with wikis. With that said, I’ve come to a conclusion — MediaWiki inhibits Enterprise 2.0.

I’m with Gil on this. I recognise that MediaWiki *never* claimed to be an enterprise social computing tool and that in many instances it was the bridgehead that introduced wikis inside the firewall, but it isn’t really fit for enterprise purposes beyond a very narrow use case. Gil goes on to describe four inhibitors: No rich text editor, no fine grained access control, no document management and no additional collaboration features.