Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Is there quality open source calendaring systems out there

December 2nd, 2007

I must say it’s something I haven’t been able to understand for a long time now, why isn’t there (Slashdot link)| Quality Open Source Calendaring / Scheduling?
I’ve used Google calendar .. but they’ve have made it way too easy for my liking and MS exchange is a none option for me.
I currently use Webcalendar , which has been fine … but I’m having a slight issue with remote sync to the web calendar through Thunderbird.
So I must look into Zimbra & Citadel who appear to come out the best from this Slashdot forum thread.
Finally a good general read on Creating an Online Event Calendar can be found off the k5n site.

Outside innovation to lead user to prosumer

November 4th, 2007

The work of professor Eric von Hippel, in his management of innovation, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been mentioned many times in the Living Labs context, particularly his view on the lead-user process, and his book Democratizing Innovation. (Available from Amazon , but also I like the way the book has been released under a Creative Commons License and is downloadable immediately).
Okay straight off I’m a believer but I still need to see this concept in “the flesh” so to speak and as I was reading a blog entry by Patty Seybold on Lead Users vs. Lead Customers and the Role of Toolkits I came across an interesting comment posting about the BBCs’ new media backstage initiative, and there it is Prof. von Hippel’s process in full effect, with prototypes and idea genreation engaging the lead users.
Which has me a little worried given this futurist video from Davide Casaleggio, and the rise of the Prosumer, as it appears that the BBC are on track to fulfill their part in the future media scene as shown in this video.

Expansion for the European Network of Living Labs & Open Innovation

October 29th, 2007

I’ve been travelling that last couple of weeks and so its time to catch up on a couple of things, and the first item is my recent trip to Brussels for the expansion of the European Network of Living Labs and the Open Innovation workshops.
So this growth of the ENoLL from 19 to 51 members is a remarkable demonstration of how lively European innovators can be” as qutoed from the press release. Let’s hope so!
A big hit at the workshop was the Harmonization Cube. If you’re wondering what’s written on the “Service Creation” side of the cube just give Claire Fahy a buzz as she had a big part to play in getting this side completed.

Social networking through your mobile, but is it ready?

October 7th, 2007

Linked to the previous post on the Mozilla Joey project I joined the private Beta of Nokias’ Mosh social networking site back in August. Although it’s only really worth talking about now as the site is more visable to the outside world.
Looks like there are a number of players in this space and I also came across CellFish but just didn’t have the time (heart) to register yet.
Anyway originally all interaction with Mosh was through the web browser, but I’ve just found a new app to run on the phone which curisously I’m more willing to do than purely use the broswer on the phone. Now I thought, Nokia will the get the mobile client right even if the server side does not look top notch, but in this case on initial impression the app isn’t that great, all links kick you off to the phones browser which I wasn’t too happy with in the first place and now i have the added stoppage as I always authorise my network connections.
Anyway in this case the Mosh community is a little too small to make big impact as the wow factor, as the content is sparse and I get the impression that everyone else on the site is just like me, just having a look in to see briefly what it’s all about. Case in point one document suggested for me was one called test.txt ….. hmmmmm
To me it feels like social networking as we know it today isn’t ready.

Future Internet: Looking at the past looking at the Future

September 16th, 2007

Seriously can we design the Future Internet. Well one of the items we’re going to have to look at is ‘How’ people will use the internet in the future.
Well others have tried to predict future technologies and the next couple of videos are not a bad attempt.
From 1967 the Philco-Ford Corporation released the following video which holds some predictions for home computer use in 1999.

Now I must say this isn’t a bad attempt, and in looking at it, it may be too accurate, but the folks over at Boing Boing seem to confirm that it was a true release.
And Apple with all it’s latest iPod gadet releases have this FutureShock from 1987

Both these concept videos nearly hit the mark, while maybe a little off on the social aspects of ‘their’ tomorrow, and while overall we’re not quite in that future world, the point is we must imagine ‘again’ before we can deliver.

Assessment of the feasibility and possible impact of the establishment of a European Institute of Technology

June 22nd, 2007

Completed in March 2007, this report analyses the feasibility of the European Institute of Technology [EIT] (pdf) as proposed by the European Commission and positions it in the context of existing universities, research establishments and institutions and programmes for supporting innovation and technology transfer in Europe.
The main points coming out:-
1) The relative weakness of Europe to convert knowledge into commerce and critical mass or to
reward entrepreneurship and excellence in research and education is not a problem that is the
same for all countries, all regions or all institutions … and that smaller European countries, Finland, France, Spain and Germany perform significantly better than or as good as the US and Japan.
2) Three basic organizational models exist for an EIT. A fully centralized EIT on one location is the first. The Commission proposal opts for the fully decentralized one where research, training and supporting innovation in one Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) is carried out by a large number of teams across Europe.
The report proposes a third option, a cluster model for the EIT. This option consists of multiple institutes or KICs – to derive the terminology of the Commission’s proposal – but each being physically concentrated at one or only a very small number of adjacent locations. The various institutes are knot together only by a funding instrument and a brand name.
3) Knowledge production is ‘joint production’: private and public investments in knowledge have strong complementarities and geographically strong agglomeration features.Under the prevailing conditions, the cluster model has the greatest potential to strengthen the main local/regional agglomeration aspects of joint knowledge production within the research areas turning them into attractor poles for knowledge workers.
4) Europe’s score in university rankings shows that EU universities are underrepresented in the top 40 or 50 ranked universities. Source: The Shanghai JiaotongUniversity ranking 2006.
And for my own reference the Ranking Methodology used.
While Europe has several top tier universities of high quality offering excellence over a broad range of subjects. Where they differ from US equivalents is in their selectivity of admission, share of undergraduate and graduate students (apart from a few exceptions such as ETH Z), size of research budgets, and to a lesser extent, in their level of interdisciplinarity which might be related to the much narrower bachelor curricula in Europe. it is clear that over the past 15 years, many universities have been actively engaged in projects to collaborate with industry and commercialise the knowledge that they developed.
6) Several large-scale co-operative schemes exist at the European level which companies, universities and research centres find attractive and effective for joint technology development underpinning future innovation, such as the EUREKA Clusters, FP6 Integrated Projects FP7 Joint Technology Initiatives, and National Programmes such as those in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Belgium, and France.
7) Impact: The report points out that there may be significant substitution problems. In several important fields where a KIC would most likely be considered, instruments already exist or are under construction to promote collaborative research, technology development and technology transfer. EUREKA clusters are a case in point, where partners may not see the advantage of being replaced by a KIC. The Joint Technology Initiatives currently being formed under the FP7 would also appear to compete with any potential KIC given the fact that the differences between these two entities are not clear enough. It notes, but do not simply adhere to the views expressed by some companies that a KIC will complement rather than compete with such initiatives.
The limited impact that a KIC, hence the EIT, would have on the quality of graduate training, research and, industry-university-research institute collaboration, coupled with the substitution effects, suggests that the EIT through its KICs cannot easily develop into a reference for the existing top tier universities or research institutes in Europe. Its dispersed nature would not assist the universities and national governments in their quest for reforms leading to for example, increased differentiation, autonomy and better governance, or for more effective technology transfer practices.
Given these points this is not what I read from the headline of a recent IEEE Spectrum article “U.N. EXPERTS DISMISS VIRTUAL EUROPEAN “MIT”“.
And the EU seem to be motoring ahead anyway with a “Call for pilot projects for cooperation between European Institutes of Technology” in which at least three partner organisations must participate to form a KIC, each of which must be established in a different EU member state