" /> CTDATA: September 2003 Archives

« August 2003 | Main | October 2003 »

September 30, 2003

Presidential Candidates Make Serious Use of Weblogs to Motivate Grassroots

Earlier this week Editor and Publisher ran a story on how weblogs are changing the way U.S. presidential campaigning is done for the November 2004 Election. The article cites a number of weblogs that have been launched, including Howard Dean's so-called Blog for America and a blog covering campaigning in New Hampshire, called NHprimary.com.

It is hard to put these political weblogs into perspective, because the majority of the current activity is on behalf of those opposed to George W. Bush. A lot of commentary on Howard Dean's use of the Internet has been very positive, although a few hardcore bloggers like Dave Winer and Doc Searls have put his effort into perspective.

We are in the early days of the use of weblog technology for national political campaign purposes. So far, the most successful applications seem to be fundraising related. One day, the aides to political candidates are going to figure out how to harness the technology. Then, they will be able to get their message out without media filtration.

It's far more difficult to judge how long this relatively sophisticated, rapidly evolving technique for grassroots politicking will take to arrive at the state and local level. Based on what arrives in our mailbox and what we hear over-the-air in New Jersey, it may take a couple of years for weblogs to be effectively utilizied here.

September 26, 2003

Sophos Acquires ActiveState for its Anti-SPAM Expertise

Martin O'Donnell pointed out that ActiveState has been acquired by Sophos. ActiveState is a leader in the design of OpenSource software development tools, but has recently achieved major success in development of server-level anti-SPAM software. Sophos is an anti-virus software developer that had begun to develop email filtering tools, but had been more successful in the anti-virus part of email filtering market prior to the acquisition.

The ActiveState Language tools, ASPN Perl, ASPN Tcl, Komodo, and related products are particularly important to Microsoft Windows users who are committed to incorporating OpenSource into their work environments. Both companies stated that they remail committed to marketing these tools under the ActiveState name in the future. We hope that they live up to that commitment.

RPM Corporation Promotes the "Value of 168"

Earlier this week RPM Corporation issued its 2003 annual report entitled The Value of 168. According to their report:

The Value of 168 is a statement of the corporate philosophy of RPM. This figure, often cited by our founder, Frank C. Sullivan, literally represents the number of hours in a week. On a deeper level, it serves to remind us of his belief that we are born with two great gifts: life and the time to do something with it.

This concept is interesting in at least two ways:

  1. With all the emphasis that people have placed on 24 x 7 in recent years, it's surprising that no one else has "done the math", realized that the product of the equation is 168, and used it in a marketing campaign.
  2. It's an interesting coincidence that this annual report comes out only a few days before the publication of Lance Armstrong's book "Every Second Counts". The founder of RPM was talking about the same thing that the great cycling champion is talking about today.

Lance Armstrong's Book "Every Second Counts" to be Released October 7

Dave Aiello wrote, "This morning, I pre-ordered a copy of Lance Armstrong's new book,
Every Second Counts
, from Amazon.com. The book is going to be available on Tuesday, October 7."

"I absolutely loved Lance Armstong's first book,
It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
, and I believe that this book has made a real difference in my life:"

  • It gave me insight into what made Lance Armstrong the most dominant athletic champion of my generation.
  • It inspired me to be aggressive in the face of the uncertainties in my life, which certainly pale in comparison to those that Armstrong has faced.
  • Finally, it has helped me to support my friends and family members who have experienced cancer, and to better understand their struggles.

"I'm strongly recommending Every Second Counts, in spite of the fact that I have only read the first chapter of it. (You can read Chapter 1 yourself on LanceArmstrong.com.) This chapter artfully summarizes most of the key points of It's Not About the Bike for those people who haven't read it, while bringing others up to date, at least to the time period preceding this year's Tour de France. If the first chapter is indicative of the entertainment value of the entire book, we will not be disappointed."

"There are a couple of other reasons why I think Every Second Counts will be a big hit. One of them is Sally Jenkins, Lance Armstrong's co-author on both books. Sally Jenkins is to Lance Armstrong's books what teammates like Roberto Heras, Manuel Beltran, and George Hincapie are to his cycling-- Armstrong would not be the great champion that he is without the contributions of these people. I don't think Sally Jenkins has ever contributed to a book that isn't well written and interesting."

"Another reason this book will be worth reading is that Lance Armstrong has demonstrated that he knows what it takes to repeat great performances. A man with five Tour de France wins has to be able to deconstruct previous performances, figure out what worked and what didn't, listen to his advisors, make a new plan, and execute it."

"In an interview with CyclingNews.com, Lance Armstong talked about the new book and how the publisher added a new chapter after the book was completed, to address the latest events in his life:"

We got lucky because the book was actually printed and in the warehouse and then the Tour happened. The lead time on books is amazing; they're done printing in July for an October release. So the publisher realized that this year's Tour was so exciting that it's gotta be in the book. So they went back and looked at how many new pages they could cram in there before the binding bends. It turned out to be 15 more pages and they could re-bind it. I mean, the book was done! But now we have a final chapter and the afterward, and we have another ending, which is a whole new chapter that includes the Tour and all the great stories about Luz Ardiden and the reaction from the team after that... it's good.

"It's hard to believe that the additional 15 pages will not also touch on Lance's pending divorce from his wife, Kristin Armstrong. I'm hoping that if he does discuss the divorce, he deals with it in the same forthright manner that he has used with other difficulties in his life."

"These are a few of the reasons why I'll be reading Every Second Counts as soon as I can get my hands on it. I'm very confident that I'll enjoy it, and if I don't, I'll be back to say why."

September 23, 2003

"Eclipse in Action" Makes a Difference in How Quickly You Learn the Environment

Dave Aiello wrote, "The other day, I picked up a copy of
Eclipse in Action: A Guide for the Java Developers
because I'm trying to build a new Java-based web application. This may be the only book that discusses integration between Eclipse, an Open Source Integrated Development Environment, and Tomcat, the Open Source JavaServer Pages execution environment. As such, it will save me a lot of trial and error time."

"In addition, this book discusses Eclipse integration with Log4J, JUnit, and CVS. All of these are technologies that I have either used in the past or wanted to try to use in this project."

"I'm really glad I found this book before embarking on a new body of Java work. I will make additional comments about it, if I find things that warrant special mention."

September 17, 2003

Washington Post Discusses Weblogs as Business Building Tools

Lost in the run-up to the anniversary of September 11 was an article in The Washington Post discussing the idea of using weblogs to increase business revenue. Earlier that week, a meeting had taken place in Tysons Corner, VA, where best practices were discussed. According to the article:

One theory tossed around at the New Media Society event Tuesday night was that e-mail marketing is dead and business blogs are rising up as the replacement. While the medium may not be in its grave yet, powerful spam filters that block out corporate e-mails have certainly limited its effectiveness. But some proponents of blogging say the new business-development tool can succeed in ways e-mail never could.

It's much harder to run a successful email marketing campaign than most business people think. The pitch has to be very focused, and mailed to a well-defined group of people-- preferably who have already "opted in". Email marketing should also be coordinated with additional information on a website, since people who are interested in the message will probably want more information.

Putting all of this information into a weblog is often a better alternative. Only one tool is necessary to post your information. Summaries of the information you provide on your website can be distributed to other websites using syndication technologies like RSS. Your website can collect information about current and potential customers, and that information can be funneled to salespeople at your company for followup.

Once you start telling a compelling story on a website, an audience for it can easily develop. Over the past year, people interested in business weblogging and web services have come to visit CTDATA.com again and again. But, the key to increasing our business has been to keep the pointing out that the technologies we use can expand our customers' businesses.

So, by adding a weblog to your company's website, you can develop new clients and sell more products and services to your existing clients. By using existing web services interfaces to businesses like Amazon.com and Google, you can increase the revenues generated by your company's website.

September 11, 2003

In Memory of the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001

This article was originally published on CTDATA.com on September 11, 2002.

On September 11, 2001, over 3,000 people died in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, we remember all of the victims, and particularly the friends of CTDATA who were killed in the attacks:

  • World Trade Center

    • Vito DeLeo, mechanic at World Trade Center, USA Hockey official
    • John Eichler, retired executive at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, brother of Joan Aiello
    • John Pocher, bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, alumnus of Essex County Chiefs youth hockey program
    • Kalyan Sarkar, Port Authority seismic engineer, father of Kishan Sarkar-- a Rensselaer alumnus

  • American Airlines Flight 11

In addition, we remember the 343 members of the FDNY, the 23 members of the NYPD, and the 37 member of the PAPD who made the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

September 8, 2003

Article Relates Weblogging to Other Technology-Driven Trends and "Amateurization"

Dave Aiello wrote, "One of the longer, more thought-provoking, and link-filled articles that I've read recently has been published by Tom Coates on plasticbag.org. In (Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything, Coates goes a long way toward explaining how weblogging tools dramatically increase the ability of individuals and organizations to inexpensively create structured document repositories."

"Weblogging tools have not only succeeded in providing a well-understood means of adding new content to a web site, they have also given rise to a series of best practices that revolve around site layout and organization. Over the last two years, many people have reorganized web sites into a weblog format that lists the highlights of recently-created site content in reverse chronological order. This form of organization was found to work well with search engines like Google, but also gave rise to a host of information discovery tools that feed off the weblog infrastructure (such as Weblogs.com, Blogdex, and Technorati)."

"This article relates the development of weblog publishing systems to other revolutionary, computer-based knowledge creation tools that were perfected earlier: word processing and desktop publishing. It also correctly points out that the evolution of each of these publishing toolsets eventually led to an increased level of knowledge of their efficient uses. The ad hoc support communities that sprang up around word processing, desktop publishing, and weblogging led to an almost Darwinian evolution of state-of-the-art uses for each of them."

September 6, 2003

Back from a Week of Vacation

Dave Aiello wrote, "Some of you may have noticed that my wife and I were on vacation from August 30 to September 6. We stayed in beautiful Stone Harbor, NJ, aptly described as The Seashore at its Best."

"This is the first time that I have stayed in a rented house in Stone Harbor since the mid 1980s, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. The town has changed remarkably little since I was a kid. The weather was good for most of the trip, and we were there for enough time to really relax."

"In case you were wondering, I got 5,898 email messages during the week. I'm sure many of them are spam. It's taking quite a while to download them, and it will probably take longer to read through the ones that pass through Mozilla's filtering system."

"If you've been trying to get in touch with me, I'll probably contact you in the next day or two. I hope that you had as much fun as Kathleen and I did this week. But, I doubt it...."