E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Collaboration

Damaka – Experience the Joy of Communicating

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A few weblog posts back I created a couple of weblog posts regarding a few of the VoIP / IM tools that are out there and that were going to bring some competition to Skype, which is always a good thing if you would want to stay ahead of the pack. That was when I talked about VoipBuster, Jajah and Gizmo. At the same time, and not too long ago, I mentioned Google‘s incorporation into the VoIP / IM space with the launch of Google Talk. In short, it looks like the list is never going to end just there so I thought I would mention one last addition that I have been enjoying for a couple of weeks now and which I think is also going to have something to say.

It is called Damaka and you can download it from here. It is still in beta but you can already download it to see what is actually all about. As the homepage says it is one of those real-time collaboration tools that brings joy into communicating with others and there is a single reason for this: it is actually quite a lot of fun to use. It has got lots of pretty neat, and extensive, features (Although I am missing the ability of sending files. Hope they add that one soon, too!), that try to put together not just Instant Messaging and VoIP, but also e-mail, SMS messages, etc. etc. So this is one of those clients that you cannot ignore if you are looking for an integration with some other applications you may be using already.

One other feature that I like quite a lot, actually, although it is not exclusive from Damaka is the ability to send offline messages; also the fact that both text and VoIP calls are encrypted, not like some other tools; and finally the fact that this new tool is “firmly committed to the use of industry standards throughout the product”. This is really great stuff ! As I said there are tons and tons of really useful features, like a weather forecast option, or a stock exchange one, or a Media Player to listen to your favourite piece of music. And the list goes on and on and on.

But where is the fun part in collaborating using this particular application, you may be wondering, right? Well, it is all over the place in its user interface with some really cool graphics, very well put together. And also with another of my favourite features to enrich the online interactions: the usage of dum-dums just to stress out your point in a much more interactive way. I must say that when I was first using Damaka I didn’t see the point of using such fun arguments to enrich the conversations, but then over time I found out through talking to a number of folks that it is a superb effort to try improve the team building techniques to make people feel comfortable with one another in order to be able to collaborate much more effectively.

I tell you, if you are looking for a feature packed VoIP / IM tool, with a great user interface and with some lovely options to encourage informal discussions, and therefore great for some initial team building to get collaboration going, while keeping the fun part of the interaction alive all the way through, Damaka will be probably one of your best choices to have a look at. After all, collaborating and sharing knowledge with your colleagues, or with your friends, should not be boring, should it ? Now, if only file transfer would be available… Let’s hope it makes it some time soon and I think we would have a very powerful option out there, folks ! If you want to give it a try just send me a message to elesar and we will pick it up from there. Have fun !

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IBM Delivers Notes And Domino 7

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A few months ago it was announced as Hannover, the next generation of Lotus Notes 7 as Ed mentions in his weblog. And a few months later, and while we wait for that final release, I am proud to present you IBM Lotus Notes / Domino 7. Yes, after a few months trying out and testing Notes 7 and its many new features, it is now available in its final version and if you have been using Lotus Notes for a little while this is one of those releases that you just cannot ignore. Both colleagues of mine, Ed and Alan, have been sharing already a number of weblog posts related to different press releases and overall you can see that the response has been very positive.

And to be honest I couldn’t expect anything less. I tell you, you will have to try it out to make your own opinion, but some of the features that Lotus Notes 7 brings together are state of the art, as far as groupware tools are concerned. It will make a very extensive weblog post if I just mention some of my favourite features so what I will just do is to refer you to Alan’s weblog where he is just going to continue sharing some of the coolest Hints and Tips that Lotus Notes 7 has got to offer.

As a starter, and just to give you a flavour of what is to come, check out this weblog post from a few days ago: New Window Tab Options in Notes 7, where you can read some more about two of my favourite features: Close All Windows Tabs and Save Window State. Does it ring a bell what other application does the same thing beautifully? Yes, I knew you would know about it.

As I said already, there will be plenty more that I will be commenting as time goes by. There is just so much to talk about this new release that we will just have to go one step at a time. For the time being, and just to give you some more material to read, here is another press release, which is the one that gives the title to this weblog post: IBM Delivers Notes And Domino 7.


(Update): First paragraph has been updated based on the feedback from ktn ! Thanks a lot, ktn, for the headsup and for the confirmation details. I didn’t think it would be that confusing for folks but after rereading the article I think you are right. So I have made some updates hoping that it will be much clearer now. Let me know if you feel it is still confusing.

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Who Said That Weblogs and Wikis Are Not Effective Communication and Knowledge Tools?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

Indeed, whoever said that they would probably need to come again and think about it twice. Specially after seeing web links like these two: News junkies find Wikipedia more than encyclopedia and Praise for ‘weather nerd’ comes from blogosphere. Certainly, over the last few years (And maybe now even more so) we are starting to see how new, and yet more powerful, ways of spreading around information and knowledge are taking place all over on the Internet. Cases like Wikis or Weblogs are just two examples of some of the most impressive given the fact that they have democratised the way information is made available to everybody on the web.

As we went ahead in time we have seen how both tools have enabled people to have their own voice and formed opinions available to millions of people in no time and all that with a permanent record, that later on search engines would manage to find information in them. That is why Wikinews has become so popular lately. That is why weblogs cannot longer be ignored. Take, for instance, the example from Brendan Loy and his weblog. Out of nothing who would have said that just before the tragic events took place in New Orleans he actually predicted it all and let the whole world know about it? You may think that it was pure chance, since he is not fully qualified for the job, but he certainly had lots of hard facts at his disposal that he used and that cannot be denied. Yet, everybody ignored him and his comments. After all who is going to believe somebody with such peculiar About me description ?

Yet, he was right. He still is right. And like you I am sure that it has crossed out your mind what would have happened if the powers that be would have listened to what Brendan had to say. I am sure that lots of tragic stories could have been avoided. We would have probably been talking about something else the last few days than what Katrina has managed to do. That is why even though there was a time where we would be ignoring content stored in Wikis and Weblogs that time is now part of the recent past. There is a new wave of spreading information, and most of the times, the right information. Yet we tend to ignore it and obviously face the consequences. So after the recent set of events and seeing how web sites like Wikinews are coming along, I doubt that we can ever afford not listening to what is happening out there. We eventually should re-focus ourselves and start taking both means of spreading information a lot more seriously and consistently. After all there is probably a good and refreshing new way of spreading the information, other than the traditional media. Key question would be though …

… Are you ready to listen ? Will you ignore it the next time around ? … Hopefully, we will not. Otherwise we may face the same sad stories like the ones we have just seen all over the place taking their share once more. And, to be honest, I doubt we would be able to afford it once again.

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Narrative Techniques for Leaders – October 7 2005 – UK

(Migrated weblog post from LSR) This is the first weblog post from a new category I created just a few minutes ago and which will try to capture something that I have always found very interesting at the same time that enlightening. And that is the attendance to different conference events. Call them conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars, online meetings / events, you name it. So in this category I will try to detail different conference events for which I have an additional interest in rather attending or knowing something more about them. Obviously, these conference events would have something to do with Learning & Knowledge, (Remote) Collaboration, Communities and Communitybuilding, Social Networking, etc. etc. There isn’t anything so unique as to be able to weblog live events that are taking place at the same time that you are participating in them so I am hoping that as I may get my chance to travel to different places I would be able to detail some of that. However, and since that travelling may not be taking place as often as I would like it to be I still have got an additional interest for different events. Which is also why I am going to be asking to my weblog readers to participate and chime in and share with me what their experience(s) have been to different common interest related events. Take, for example, Narrative techniques for leaders : Mastering transformational leadership through the use of narrative. Masterclass to be held in the UK on the 7th of October and event that I will not be able to make although I would be interested in getting to know some more about how it went. About a couple of years back I attended a similar masterclass provided by Dave Snowden and I thoroughly enjoyed the powerful messages on how important storytelling is for any Knowledge Management organisation in order to try to inspire a much more powerful and rewarding knowledge sharing culture. This year’s masterclass will be provided by Dave Snowden again and Steve Denning and after reading the agenda I think it would be as equally useful, if not, as in previous years. So from here I would ask anybody out there who may be reading of elsua and planning to attend this event to let us know how it all went and what new exciting things are happening around the world of storytelling and its different narrative techniques. Here you have got some further details from the event from Steve Denning’s web site. I look forward to reading some more from you all.

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The Role of Instant Messaging in Communities

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

While I was writing the previous weblog post on Wanting to Manage Tacit Knowledge? I popped over to Shawn’s weblog to check out if the links would still be active or not and right there I bumped into the following weblog entry: The role of instant messaging in communities of practice and I just couldn’t help thinking about it while I was finishing writing the previous post.

In principle, I completely agree that presence awareness using Instant Messaging can certainly be a great enabler to keep the community activities going by allowing people to see who else is also online while they are interacting in the community space. It would certainly help increase and boost that sense of belonging to the group. However, and while thinking about that, why just restrict it to Instant Messaging alone and that so called presence awareness? Why not add on top of that some location awareness. I would think that it would also be very beneficial to not only know if the community members are online or not but also where they are.

This can certainly help people understand better why another community member may not be able to reply to IM messages, or why he / she may be temporarily away and unavailable, or while travelling where exactly they are so that they do not get interrupted in the middle of the night. This location awareness certainly will help the community building aspects of knowing where people are and in most cases it will certainly help improve the camaraderie with different community members since it would help them meet up physically if they would be located in the same location, wherever that may be, in order to talk face to face.

And lucky enough for us there are options and different tools out there that could contribute in providing to the community that location awareness aspect, as well as the presence awareness one through IM. Cases like Plazes and Meetro are good examples for that kind of functionality. I am personally using both and I find it quite important and enlightening to be able to see if my colleagues are online or not and if they are, where they are. After all, it is all down to make you feel as if you are talking to and interacting with them face to face, wherever that may be. And we all know how powerful that can be.

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Balance – Where Could Collaboration Take You?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

What I am about to share is, in my opinion, one of the best, most shocking, animations I have seen in quite a few years. It is a file that has been uploaded to YouTube and it is called Balance (An 8 MB download).

The reason why I really enjoyed this animation is because it just simply puts together one of the most fascinating messages out there: lack of collaboration or teamwork can be fatal to a project’s life. Indeed, whether you are working in a project with a particular team or whether you belong to a community unless you collaborate there is probably no space for you and the rest of the team or the community would probably let you know about it quite up front. The key to work in a team, a community or whatever other larger group is one’s own capability to collaborate, to share knowledge, to learn from others. And failure to do that will just make any project fail. Like you can see in this Balance animation.

As I said it is a bit disturbing as well but, hopefully, will bring forward a positive message with regards to how people should behave whenever they need to get involved with other people in order to produce something. Working alone will not take you anywhere. Working with others in a team / community as a team / community member will get you as far as you may have set up the limit for. You decide how far you want to go.

“Knowledge is Power”Sir Francis Bacon

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