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

General Interest

Desktop Sidebar – Getting Rid of Desktop Widgets and Still Having It All

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Given that yesterday I created a rather lengthy weblog entry I thought that today I would just create a quick post to actually share with you one particular productivity tip that I have been enjoying myself for the last few weeks. It actually has got to do with a piece of freeware that one colleague of mine shared in his Intranet weblog some time ago and which he thought would be worth while checking for other folks. And I must say that it surely is because it provides a new, and interesting, experience with your own (Windows) desktop. It is called Desktop Sidebar and you can download it from here.

Long time readers from this weblog would probably remember how in the past I have been weblogging a few times about what it used to be Konfabulator, now Yahoo! Widgets. Another superb piece of freeware that would allow you to have a number of different widgets with lots of different bits and pieces of information readily available directly from your Windows desktop. Yes, I know that Mac fans do have similar capabilities available. In fact, it all started with them ūüėČ

Well, I have been using Yahoo! Widgets  for a number of months now and have been making use of it quite extensively all along and *loved* the experience thus far. Till I actually read that other weblog post from that colleague of mine in his Intranet weblog where he encouraged folks to give a try to Desktop Sidebar. So I did. And WOW! I got rid of Yahoo! Widgets! I now got a new favourite Windows desktop tool, called Desktop Sidebar and with some really nifty features.

To start with, it comes up with the following set of pre-installed panels:

Not bad, eh? Well, it gets better. Because, perhaps one of the best, and most interesting, things is the fact that there is  also an ever growing set of additional plugins that people have been creating and making available on the main Web site. Really nice! Certainly a very healthy sign that this particular piece of free software has got a long history of enhancement after enhancement. There is almost a plugin available to perform an incredible set of actions or get information from a wider range of information resources.

Thus you can see why I have now switched over from Yahoo! Widgets to Desktop Sidebar. I could go on and on and on detailing some more about the different features and so forth, but I am just going to leave it over here and just encourage you all to download it and give it a try for a week, in case you haven’t done so already. I bet you will not be back. At least, I haven’t. Oh, and before you ask, yes, this is an application for those of us still on Windows¬† ūüėČ

Enjoy it!

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Social Tools for Business Use: Web 2.0 and the New Participatory Culture – London – February 2007

(As previously shared over in elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog at ITtoolbox)

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Phew! I am back ! Last week was one of those weird weeks that I guess I have been having in the last few months. It surely was a very busy at work, trying to figure out where I am with my team as far as activities are concerned for the remaining of the year. Lots of great stuff, indeed, that I am hoping to be able to share with you all as time goes by as some of it has got an external exposure as well.

However, what nearly knocked me down completely was a nasty stomach bug that didn’t leave me with much more energy after work and the usual catchup with everything. So I have been neglecting this weblog a bit since I first needed to get that out of my body, get back in shape and back in full force! Which is what I am actually going to be doing with this new weblog entry.

A big thanks to the few folks who have been contacting me offline asking me what was happening. It is greatly appreciated to find out that there are some folks out there who keep reading off this weblog, who take an interest when I disappear for a few days without no apparent reason. So thanks much, folks! As I said, very appreciated and touching!

Ok, so, back to business. Lots of stuff have been happening all along around the area of Knowledge Management and I am hoping to continue sharing some of that as we move along, but one of the things that I am actually trying to figure out, specially now that we just got started with a new year, is to actually find out which conference events I would want to go this year that would be really worth while attending. And then from there onwards follow up on other events that although I cannot make it to them I am still interested in finding out some more about their outcome and what people thought about.

One of the latter conferences mentioned above that I am surely going to be checking out every so often is one that the folks over at Unicom are organising this very same month in London, February 21st to 22nd. It is titled Social Tools for Business Use: Web 2.0 and the New Participatory Culture and you would be able to find more information about it over here. As I said, this is one of those conference events that I would have loved to make it, but that, alas, I will not be able to.

Reason why I would be very interested in attending, and if you are in the area during that time, I strongly suggest you try to make it, too, is because the agenda put together for it is rather impressive. There are a few folks whose pitches look very interesting since it is all around the subject of social software and Web 2.0. Like Lee Bryant‘s on "Enterprise 2.0 – towards a social infrastructure for collaboration and collective intelligence" or Suw Charman on "Fostering Adoption: A strategy for encouraging use of social software in business" or John Davies on "Combining Wikis and the Semantic Web: moving towards Web3.0".

But then again, there are also some other folks who I have been following up on for a number of years, some of them I have already met in person and some others I am hoping to be able to meet them in real life pretty soon ! Like, for instance, Euan Semple who will be talking on the opening keynote on "What will "businesslike" mean when business isn’t like business anymore?" or Phil Bradley who will be talking about "Practical Uses of Web 2.0 Technologies in a business environment".

At the same time it would have been a great opportunity to be able to meet up with two IBM fellow colleagues: Ian McNairn and Roo Reynolds who will also be presenting at the event. Ian will actually be putting together a case study on "An Inside View On How IBM Uses Social Networking to manage its own precious knowledge." I am sure that this one is going to be really interesting for everyone, but I for sure would love to see that one and catch up with Ian once again ! Last time we saw each other was way back in 2003 ! Too long, I am afraid!

Roo’s session, on the other hand, is about "Web 2.0 and Virtual Worlds" and I am sure that is another must-attend session. Why? Well, not only because Roo is actually quite a fun guy who knows lots of stuff on lots of different subjects, but also because he, along with Ian Hughes (Over at Eightbar), were the first couple of folks who brought the world of the metaverse, yes, indeed, Second Life, into IBM and from there onwards it has been an incredible experience! I would suggest you subscribe to Eightbar if you haven’t done so already to check out what is going on in IBM around this very same area of virtual worlds.

So as you can see from the above text Social Tools for Business Use: Web 2.0 and the New Participatory Culture would have been an incredible event that I would have loved making it in the end. Plus it would have given me the opportunity to catch up with one of my favourite world cities: London. I guess it cannot get any better than this, so I am looking forward to catching up with it all virtually as I am sure that quite a few of those folks would be telling the whole world what it was all about and how it went, but one thing for sure is that if you are going to be in London during that time I would suggest you try to make an extra effort and try to attend the event, because I know for sure that it would be really worth while all the money!

(Sigh, I guess I will have to wait for the next one…)

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IX Blogs & Gofio РCrónica y Primeras Impresiones

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El pasado jueves coment√© aqu√≠ en elsua c√≥mo el fin de semana me hab√≠a apuntado para la novena edici√≥n de los Blogs & Gofio que se celebr√≥ en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria el s√°bado por la noche. Pues bien, aqu√≠ ten√©is la cr√≥nica, que ya adelanto que no va a ser muy extensa, y tambi√©n os comentar√© cu√°les han sido mis primeras impresiones. Pero primero quiz√° comentar c√≥mo ya algunos de los asistentes al evento han empezado a compartir sus impresiones en sus diferentes blogs. As√≠ pod√©is ver c√≥mo Esther lo comenta en Atarecos, Fran en Cr√≥nicas de Esperantia, Daniel en Islas en la Red, Sergio en Los Cinco Anillos y, por √ļltimo, de momento, Manuel en Mangas Verdes.

Sí, ya lo sé, demasiada información para leer en tanto poco tiempo, o sea, que no me voy a extender demasiado ya que creo que todos los gofiosferos que atendieron han dado ya buena cuenta de cómo fue el evento. En principio, comentar que se comentaron tres diferentes temas, a cual más interesante y que seguro que hubieran dado muchísimo más juego si el lugar elegido para el evento hubiera sido diferente: Posts patrocinados, podcasting, responsabilidades legales del blogger.

Sobre la conversación en torno al podcasting, la verdad es que casi me la perdí toda, o sea, que será una buena oportunidad para presentarme de nuevo al taller sobre podcasting propuesto para el 10 de marzo. Eso de estar al otro lado de la mesa en un sitio donde el ruido impera por doquier no es lo más recomendable.

En fin, que espero que la pr√≥xima vez el lugar elegido sea un poco m√°s tranquilo, del estilo del after-dinner al que nos fuimos. ¬°Muy buena elecci√≥n! Incluso tuvimos nuestro propio troll, al que, por supuesto, y como bien dice V√≠ctor Ruiz, no lo alimentamos y despu√©s de un corto per√≠odo de tiempo … se fue. ¬°Genial! ¬°Funcion√≥!

A partir de ah√≠ las conversaciones si hicieron mucho, pero que mucho, m√°s interesantes, ya que tocamos todo tipo de temas: sobre la Internet, pol√≠tica, globalizaci√≥n, Second Life, que espero poder convencerlos un poquito m√°s la pr√≥xima vez sobre el incre√≠ble poder de comunicaci√≥n y colaboraci√≥n que expone no s√≥lo para el mundo del consumidor, si no tambi√©n para el mundo de la empresa. Lo dicho, un buen n√ļmero de temas a tratar, desde luego, y quiz√° poco tiempo. A ver si la pr√≥xima vez, que ya estoy deseando atender, me puedo quedar hasta un poco m√°s tarde.

Y ahora a comentar un poco sobre mis primeras impresiones, que quizá las pueda resumir brevemente en el simple comentario que el evento me encantó. Yo pensando que estaba aquí un poco aislado de todo lo que está pasando en el mundo de la blogosfera y de repente me animo a ir un evento y ver cómo se desarrolla y ¡la experiencia, increíble! Me ha gustado mucho el ver que hay gente aquí en la isla que se preocupa, que se mueve, que están tratando de romper moldes en el mundo de la Internet a través de los blogs y me ha encantado haber sido aceptado desde el primer momento para poder participar en esa evangelización sobre el social computing y poder llevarlo cuanto más lejos, mejor. Pues sí, ¡ya estoy esperando al próximo evento!

Y hasta aqu√≠ hemos llegado, ya que no quiero que el post sea demasiado largo. Simplemente comentar, por √ļltimo, que pod√©is ver diferentes fotos compartidas por Manuel Almeida, en el grupo de Blogs&Gofio y por V√≠ctor Ruiz. Y tambi√©n aqu√≠ os dejo la √ļltima actualizaci√≥n que he hecho a mi blogroll a√Īadiendo todos los blogs de la gente que atendi√≥ el evento el s√°bado pasado. ¬°Por supuesto, no pod√≠a dejarlos fuera, ahora que ya nos conocemos! Aqu√≠ los ten√©is:

(Gracias, una vez mas,a todos los que asististéis, por la cálida acogida y por hacerme sentir como uno más del grupo. Se agradece y ¡hasta la próxima!)

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IX Blogs & Gofio

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Hace un par de meses coment√© aqu√≠ mismo, en este blog, otro de los cambios que iba a introducir a partir de entonces: el hecho de empezar a escribir art√≠culos en espa√Īol para poder entrar a formar parte de la blogosfera espa√Īola. Y aunque parece ser que llego un poco tarde (M√°s vale tarde que nunca, ya lo sab√©is), el hecho es que aqu√≠ me ten√©is escribiendo este primer art√≠culo del a√Īo en espa√Īol y esperando que las palabras salgan con la misma facilidad. Veremos.

Desde luego, la principal raz√≥n por la que me animo a escribir este art√≠culo en mi lengua materna es por el hecho de que hace unos d√≠as otro de los blogs en espa√Īol bastante populares que sigo con bastante frecuencia, Mangas Verdes, coment√≥ algo que me pareci√≥ la mar de interesante: IX Blogs & Gofio. Efectivamente, parece que tanto Manuel Almeida como V√≠ctor Ruiz la han vuelto a formar y se han decidido a crear el IX evento de Blogs & Gofio para todos aquellos bloggers de la Gofiosfera que quieran atender el evento. Y como hace ya tiempo que tengo este blog listado en Planeta Canarias pues me he animado y ya he dado la confirmaci√≥n para atender este encuentro de blogueros en Las Palmas De Gran Canaria y que tendr√° lugar este mismo s√°bado.

Aqu√≠ ten√©is un peque√Īa descripci√≥n del evento, tomada del blog de Manuel, Mangas Verdes:

Hemos pensado darle un peque√Īo formato a la cosa para animar y dotar de contenido a la velada. Antes de la cena y de la free tertulia se expondr√°n dos temas y se debatir√° en formato de mesa redonda. Luego ya, el correspondiente desmadre propio de estos acontecimientos. Los temas propuestos son ‚ÄėPosts patrocinados‚Äė y ‚ÄėPodcasteando‚Äė. En principio, y si nadie se ofrece para reemplazarme, yo har√© de introductor al asunto de los posts patrocinados, que tanta pol√©mica ha levantado en la blogosfera. Charlaremos un rato sobre eso y luego daremos paso al asunto de los podcasts. Acabo de hablar con Fran J. Saavedra y √©l tambi√©n asume el reto, probablemente en divina conjunci√≥n con el equipo de Canarias Bruta. Nueva charla y al turr√≥n, digo al gofio. Calculamos que toda esta primera parte no dure m√°s de una hora (media hora por tema: breve exposici√≥n y debate).

Pues eso, que ya me he animado y será la primera vez que me encuentre con un buen grupo de bloggers canarios. Desde luego, muy pero que muy interesante. Me apetece. Aparte de los dos temas mencionados también hablaremos un rato sobre las responsabilidades legales del blogger. O sea, que con tres temas harto jugosos y con mucho juego.

Ya os contar√© c√≥mo fue el evento. De momento parece como que el s√°bado por la tarde / noche ya lo tengo ocupado ūüôā

¡Allí nos vemos!

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One Year of Weblogging – Happy Anniversary! – And a Lovely Present

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Nope, don’t worry. You are not having any kind of d√©j√† vu. elsua’s First Anniversary was actually celebrated back in October 2006. The attached weblog entry is actually coming from elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog. Yes, that is right, this is one other change that I wanted to introduce for 2007. And I guess that it would also be a good excuse to have a little bit of a break from all of the stuff that is going on over at Lotusphere 2007. Gosh, there are tons of really good material in there, so keep on reading!! That is exactly what I am doing myself, trying to keep up with everything and working on a couple of entries to comment on some of the more interesting bits and pieces. But one step a time.

You may be wondering why I am actually starting to share from today onwards content that I have already posted over in my ITtoolbox weblog, right? Well, there is actually one main reason for it. And that reason is you. Yes, that is right. During the course of 2006 I have been receiving a number of different offline comments from different folks who read elsua.net that they actually do not check the different entries I shared over at ITtoolbox because when they subscribe to the weblog they only get summaries of the entry and not the full RSS feed. So you basically don’t come back.

Well, I have been checking things out and it looks like ITtoolbox is going to continue further providing partial feeds, so I thought it would also be a good idea to cross post in here so that you get a chance to read the stuff I get to weblog about over there. That way, you can comment in here about those entries, or if you would want to have a look into that conversation in ITtoolbox you can get a first glimpse of what the main subject of the conversation would be.

So from now on, I am actually going to include both the direct link and the entire content of the weblog post, so that if you are subscribed to elsua.net you can also check all of the content I am sharing elsewhere. Yes, indeed, this weblog is about to become your one single stop to everything that I write elsewhere on the Internet. Good, eh? Thus without any further delay, since I know I am already making this weblog entry a bit longer than what it should, here is the post I shared yesterday in ITtoolbox where I was actually celebrating my first year anniversary of weblogging over there and a little story of one lovely present I got in yesterday as well. But read on … (And stay tuned because there would be many more entries coming through from now on. Not to worry).

Earlier on today, while I was browsing through my daily RSS feeds, as part of my catch up right after the holidays, I bumped into Darren Rowse‘s ProBlogger entry on 66 Successful Bloggers and What They Can Teach You which points to another interesting article from Bill Belew with that same title. Bill’s particular entry actually references the recent book that Ted Demopoulos put together under the title of What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting and which featured 101 folks sharing their thoughts about what weblogging and podcasting is all about including plenty of different tips, tricks and advice on how to get the most out of both of them.

Well, Bill’s post just links to the 66 webloggers who shared their expertise around weblogging and podcasting with Ted. And Ted just put it all together quite nicely along with his own thoughts in a book. Quite an interesting read, if you would want to increase your OPML file adding a whole bunch of different feeds that cover a wide range of topics around different ways of using weblogging and podcasting. Specially, from a business perspective. Really nice!

But at this point you may be wondering why I am writing about all this, right? Well, as a starter, to mention that I am one of those 66 webloggers in Ted’s book and mentioned by Bill at #12 giving some advice on how weblogs can be used as Knowledge Management tools. Secondly, because, just today, I got my copy of the book in the mail (YAY!), after waiting for a number of weeks for it (Thanks Ted!), and it felt just like a lovely present from the perspective that today I am also celebrating the first year of weblogging here in ITtoolbox. Perfect timing, don’t you think?

Yes, indeed, today marks my first year of weblogging here in ITtoolbox and there couldn’t be anything better than receiving at home one book that I knew was going to be a fantastic, enlightening and educational read about something so exciting as weblogging and podcasting from a business perspective.

So, while I am enjoying my first weblogging anniversary over here, with 233 weblog entries and a total number of 447 posts, including comments, along with 43 connections made thus far, I am also starting to read Ted’s book to learn some more tips and tricks on weblogs and podcasts.

I must say that it feels like yesterday when I was kindly invited to join ITtoolbox but it is actually one exact year, 23rd of January 2006, that I got things started over here and, if anything, I must confess that it has been a wild ride all along. Having reached both star and super star blog status has been an incredible opportunity all along to meet up some amazing folks all over the place that, if anything, have always been sharing one passion: that one for Knowledge Management. Something that comes close to my heart as well, of course.

Because otherwise I am not sure I would have lasted for that long. It has been an exciting journey thus far and although I am not too much into resolutions and such one thing for sure that I have been thinking about while I took that long sabbatical month on vacation is the fact that it is great to be back for, yet again, another year ! So you can expect me to hang around over here for some more time sharing with you that same passion for KM that you all have as well and hoping that we can engage in some really interesting conversations, like we have been able to participate in thus far.

So here is to another year, or plenty more!, of weblogging at ITtoolbox ! Thanks a bunch to all those folks who drop by on a daily basis for some content on elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog and I look forward to some further interactions with you all during the course of 2007 !

(Time now to continue reading What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting and get ready that upcoming review on what I thought about the book… Stay tuned!)

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Directory of RSI Software

Every now and then I always keep trying to collect a number of different online resources and helpful tips on something so important for all of us, sitting in front of our computers, as helping prevent RSI, that is, Repetitive Strain Injury. Far too many times I have been exposed to a number of different colleagues and friends who have been suffering from such disorder to different degree that over time I have grown to become more and more conscious about trying to prevent it. So that is why, whenever I bump into helpful resources on the subject, I feel like linking to them hoping that others would be able to benefit from them in order to try to avoid RSI.

And that is why I wanted to create this weblog post today and point you to a recent entry that Jeremy Wagstaff, over at The Loose Wire Blog, created under the title Director of RSI Software. In there you would be able to find a whole lot of different resources and RSI related software that would certainly help you get some more awareness of what you could do to prevent such disorder. Here is a quick rundown on how that software tries to help:

1. "Working out how long you’ve been at the keyboard and reminds you to take breaks;
2. Suggesting exercises for you to perform while you’re taking those breaks;
3. Records macros (shortcuts) to specific tasks you do a lot so you don’t have to use the keyboard as much (especially keystroke combinations);
4. Reduces mouse usage by allowing you to control the mouse from the keyboard (including dragging)
5. Reducing mouse clicks by automating the process (move the cursor over something you want to click on and hold it there, and the software figures out you want to click and does it for you)"

As I said, going through the entire article will help you check out on some of the different options available out there and how you can get the most out of each of them. Oh, and if you are wondering about what my favourite piece of RSI software is I would have to agree with Jeremy as well: Workrave. A very ease to install – use that gives you multiple options to self-regulate your own pauses according to your own needs and quite unobtrusive when it is not needed. And when it is needed with the different breaks, the best there is. It will block your keyboard and will gently advise you to go away from the computer and do something else, like stretching or whatever else.

And best part of it is that it is freeware, so you wouldn’t have to pay any money in order to keep you healthy while staying in front of your computer for all those hours. I tell you, if you haven’t tried out Workrave just yet and if you are starting to feel that little tingling then I strongly advise you download it today and get to use it right away. And in the mean time you can also go and check out the different¬† options suggested by Jeremy, which I am sure would be able to provide some really good tips, too¬†

(Kudos to Jeremy for sharing this helpful weblog post with us all and for digging out all these interesting and worth while exploring tools to help us keep sharp at what we do. Thanks, Jeremy!)

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