One Big Database In the Sky

<ed.note>Jay Deragon provided a pointer to the Plaxo acquisition by Comcast. Here’s the comment I provided (with a little editing):

I’ve often thought that the United Way ought to have approached Plaxo to offer a private branded version of Plaxo to the US’ 1.5 million nonprofits who all pay some mailing house or the USPS to de-dup all those newsletter street address corrections. How much more efficient (less redundant) and how much less wasteful of NPO/NGO funds to let the community update their own data once and for all. They (United Way) also could have launched an "open" version — except that NGO|NPOs are all so paranoid about intrusion into their donor bases. What they haven’t figured out is that once the public figures out there is such a high degree of redundancy in the NGO|NPO world, the sector is going to undergo the consolidation every other sector is facing — especially now that they can pretty much be reduced to bank accounts and workers on the street who could be enabled by "one big database in the sky" collaborative tools.</ed.note>

2008 Fiber To The Home Conference & Expo September 21 – 25, 2008 Gaylord Opryland® Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, TN

<ed.note>The conference’s theme is "Linking Communities at the Speed of Light" but more intriguing to me is the the scheduled appearance of Don Tapscott (The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business, Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs, Creating Value in the Networked Economy, Blueprint to the Digital Economy: Creating Wealth in the Era of E-Business, Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation, The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence, Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World, Paradigm Shift: The New Promise of Information Technology)  adreessing his latest work, Wikinomics How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Implicit in Tapscott’s writings is management’s buy-in of the distrubuted digital enterprise-enabled results-only collaborative work environment. If you happen to be one of those creatures (especially if you are from Nashville), I invite you to join the Project Net-Work group and Technology Nashville.</ed.note>
Sunday, September 21, 2008
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.                                   Registration Opens                                                                               
Monday, September 22, 2008
7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Opens
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Developer Panel Workshop  *Additional fee*
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Home Networking Workshop  *Additional fee*
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Track Session – Series 100  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

FTTH Executive Summit *By invitation only*
Moderated by:
Don Tapscott, Author

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Track Session Series 200  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EXPO Grand Opening & Opening Reception *Open to all registered attendees*
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Registration Opens
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Opening General Session    *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
Keynote Speaker – Don Tapscott, Author
Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
Sponsored by: Corning logo

FTTH Council Awards
Sponsored by: FTTH Council

FTTxcellence Awards
Sponsored by: Corning logo

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break    *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Global Carrier Keynote Panel   *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

EXPO Hall Opens   *Open to all registered attendees*

12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m. Luncheon in EXPO Hall  *Open to all registered attendees*
3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. ITCo Panel  *Conference Pass attendees only*
3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Track Session Series 300  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Track Session Series 400   *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Track Session Series 500   *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. International attendee Reception   *By invitation only*
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Registration Open
7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Government and Regulatory Panel
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Track Session Series 600  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Track Session Series 700  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Refreshment Break  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Track Session Series 800  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 a.m. Panel Session Series 900  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. On Own for Lunch
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EXPO Hall Opens
4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Closing General Session with Keynote Speaker  *Conference Pass and Day Pass attendees only*
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

EXTRAVAGANZA – Closing Reception with Entertainment *Additional fee*
"Don’t forget your dancing boots!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Post Conference Workshops 

NOSI’s Survey of FOSS use in the nonprofit sector

Michelle Murrain posts:

We’ve finalized the report on the survey we did early last month. There are some interesting results, and it is worth a read. The summary:

Our sampling wasn’t sufficient to allow us to draw firm conclusions about software choices in the nonprofit sector as a whole, but our responses did come from a broad range of organizations. These groups are diverse both in size, mission and their use of free and open source software, and it is clear from their responses that FOSS is actively used in the nonprofit sector. FOSS is common on web servers, and while FOSS desktop operating systems are still uncommon, many nonprofits use free and open source applications on proprietary desktop operating systems. Many people in the sector use FOSS everyday, or at least quite frequently. Nonprofits do have a clear understanding of the strengths of FOSS, and at least some organizations have made organizational commitments to open source and open standards.

Read it here.

Please take the NOSI survey on the use of FOSS inthe nonprofit sector


The Nonprofit Open Source Initiative (NOSI) is very interested in the use of free and open source software in the nonprofit sector. We want to understand better how FOSS is used, what people’s attitudes are towards it, and what resources are necessary for organizations to choose and use FOSS.

This is the first of an annual survey, so we can understand and track trends of the use of FOSS in the sector, and so we can strategize how best to meet the needs of the sector. We’ll be releasing a report next month with the results of the survey.

It will take about 5-10 minutes to fill out. We’d very much appreciate your time! Please take it no matter what the level of use of open source software is in your organization – data on as wide a range of organizations will be helpful to us.

Please encourage your colleagues and clients to take this survey as well.

The survey is here.

Thanks again!

Michelle Murrain
Coordinator, Nonprofit Open Source Initiative

UCP Mid TN Resolution Run 5K Run Walk or Roll, New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2008, Nashville, Tennessee

Proceeds benefit programs and services of United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, including the Durable Medical and Adaptive Equipment Exchange, providing equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and other essential items for individuals with disabilities.

Online Registration Closes – 12/29/08 10:00 AM

Starts at Hilton Park across from Gaylord Entertainment Center
8:30 a.m. On-Site Registration
10:00 a.m. Race Begins

222 5th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Brief Description:
Resolution Run 2008 5K Run, Walk or Roll on New Year’s Day. Race begins at 10:00 am in downtown Nashville on Demonbreun St. between 3rd and 4th Ave. So. Race day registration and packet pick-up begins at 8:30 am at Hall of Fame Park next to the Hilton Hotel at Demonbreun & 5th.

Additional Information:
Race Day Registration – Individual $25.00 Family of 3 – $65.00 5K Certified Course # TN03018DJR Course includes downtown Nashville, the Titan’s Stadium and the Shelby St. Pedestrian Bridge. Start and finish will be on Demonbreun St. adjacent to Hilton Park and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

5K Run/Walk/Roll – Individual – $20.00
5K Run/Walk/Roll – Family of 3 – $50.00

Download Race Registration Form

Download High School/College Team Registration Form

Download Sponsorship Information

Download Course map

Download Brochure

Blogs a Radical Tool for Disability Community

<ed.note>A decade or so after the interweb becomes popular with the public it is discovered by "Big Advocacy". Let’s see how long before they "discover" other centralizing data tools like community enabling content management, wikis and standardized financial metadata, taxonomies, etc. ( vs. "recommendations and principles" ) for NGO/NPO data interoperability purposes… A boy can dream. Of course, that’s not to say that the corporate world "gets" this "meaningful data over a distributed, digital enterprise" approach, either. You oughtta ask yourself: "If it is true that 96% of firms fail within ten years, what are the 4 percent doing differently?"</ed.note>

“Expanding Africa’s Broadband Capacity”, Connect Africa Summit in Kigali, 29-30 October 2007

Where: Kigali, Rwanda

Why: The main goal of the Summit is to help bring connectivity to Africa and promote "Connect Africa", a new partnership that seeks to expand the information and communication technology infrastructure of the continent, especially Internet broadband.

Who: Some 500 participants are expected to attend the Connect Africa Summit. Participants include the patrons of the initiative, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Ghana’s President John Kufuor, who is also the African Union Chairman. High-level participants include International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré; President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka; and Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett, who is also the Chair of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group, will make a contribution by video link. The Presidents of several African nations are expected to participate.

The event will bring together political leaders, including Ministers and Heads of State, CEOs and senior executives of global and African IT companies, leaders from civil society and heads of international and regional development banks. Industry leaders including Cisco, GSM Association, Ericsson, Huawei, British Telecom, Qualcomm, NTT DoCoMo, Neustar, Safaricom, Nokia-Siemens and Microsoft will attend and announce new initiatives to help bring connectivity to Africa.

The Summit sessions are designed for television to encourage interactive participation and key sessions will be moderated by Stephen Cole, a renowned TV anchor with Al Jazeera International. The event’s press conferences will be webcast live, and time slots for telephone interviews with prominent participants will be allocated for those journalists who cannot attend.

The event is organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the Global Digital Solidarity Fund.

For further information, click here or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861
Fax: +41 22 730 5939

Contact: in New York Enrica Murmura, Tel: +1 212 963-5913, E-mail; in Washington, DC Henny Rahardja, Tel. +1 202 473 4857, E-mail; in Tunis, Emmanuel K. Ngwainmbi, Tel: +216 71 10 26 27, E-mail

About ITU

Venture Capital Consolidates

<ed.note>"One of my major themes … is that once one buys the premise of the distributed, digital enterprise there is really only one business domain – data. Every distinction people perceive is imposed by legal contrivance, legacy tradition and personal interest." My wife now knows this Doddsism by its shorthand, the "One Big Database Rule" — to wit, given a particular sector’s sufficient adoption of IT, it will consolidate. This is why, as an overgeneralization, NPOs/NGOs persist in "hating" the adoption of industry-wide data standards, etc. — it threatens their practice of hiring folks trying to make it out of bad situations — since these folks perform tasks which are often the easiest to automate. It also threatens the salaries of around 1.5 million executive directors in the US alone ( who, more often then you might think, are fairly well compensated ) .

At the opposite end of the spectrum,, an hr-xml demo site, is one of my favorite portents of the "Rule" as it affects IT professional staffing. Subcontract listed 6,103 vendor members before it went dark. That’s six thousand global vendor selling essentially the same professional staffing services and supporting executives, boards of directors, facilities, etc. for a sector which is essentially "one big database" of automated job and candidate matching ( which is what hr-xml standards strive to enable ). The actual bottleneck in this process is the refusal of the service purchaser to adopt extensively detailed, standardized ( hr-xml flavored ) job descriptions; I refer to the difficulties caused in IT by the persistant refusal of purchasers to adopt streamling technologies as the business case for the need for a "Microsoft Certified Client" designation ( or insert your favorite vendor alliance program token here ) so that IT vendors industry-wide can know who the most efficient onboarding clients are without having to relive the SOP nightmares.

In parallel, the speed which often occurs with open source software development is, in part, because it eliminates the unnecessary corporate hierarchy, retaining only its online "code repository" function ( cvs, subversion, etc. ). A wiki full of task assignments, agreed upon deliverables and dates, and an occasional conference call or face to face — and Robert’s your Relative. If you haven’t had a chance to listen thru other related implications of the "Rule" in the Tofflers’ latest, "Revolutionary Wealth," I’d strongly advise you to do so…soon.</ed.note>

Matthew McCall on AlwaysOn Points to OVP’s Charting the Course

So, we focus on a different metric. We look at the number of firms that have made a new investment in the last 12 months. To us, if you have not found at least one new deal in that time, there is a high probability you have indeed been "shaken-out" and are simply playing out the cards in their hand.

In 2000, there were 1156 different venture firms that made at least one new deal. In 2006, there were only 597. This is more like a 50% drop, not just 15%! We think that is the big, so far unwritten, story. The US venture industry has been cut in half. That certainly qualifies as a major shake-out.

New FOSS certification for non profit sector

Chris Bailey, UK ICT Hub FOSS in the VCS project, writes:

As part of the work for the UK ICT Hub’s FOSS in the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) project we are developing a new certification for FOSS use by not for profits, Free and Open Source Knowledge (FOSK). We are doing this in partnership with the Linux Professional Institute

(LPI) whose certification for Linux system administrators has world wide recognition.

We want to fill an important gap by developing a non-technical certification for anyone who is "responsible for recommending and/or choosing FOSS solutions for an organization". Though the new certification is initially being designed for the UK VCS there are plans for it to be beta tested in the USA and Germany too as a step towards establishing it internationally. A FOSK certified individual will have an understanding of the Linux and FOSS environments and knowledge of the solutions available in the FOSS world together with an understanding of the issues involved in their implementation in the VCS.

We are now in the final stages of recruiting 12 Subject Matter Experts (SME) internationally who have been chosen for having a good cross section of skills and knowledge concerning FOSS use in the not for profit sector. This SME team will begin work early next week.

Interestingly it will have a majority of women on it. We think this can be a certification that will get away from the "male geek" image FOSS often still has in some quarters and encourage more women to take part in FOSS development (the figures are awfully low at the moment).

The syllabus for the certification will form the basis for FOSS trainings for the UK VCS early next year. Accessibility issues concerning FOSS use will be an important part of both the certification and the trainings.

Details of the new certification and a timeline for it’s development are now in a wiki at:

We want to involve the widest number of people from the not for profit sector in developing the certification, so we very much welcome comments and suggestions through the wiki at all stages of development of the certification, which we plan to launch on January 1st, 2008.

Registration on the wiki is open to all.