B2OB departed, with my silence. The many great memories about this place and the people I've met along the years, made it hard to let go. B2OB stopped following the editorial line. So did I! Many things changed since he was created. Sometimes I was under the impression that we where following parallel lives. He, trying to be what the years had shaped in him. Me, trying to move forward with a new identity, a new place and a different life. Farewell B2OB.
"Em todo o começo reside um encanto
Que nos protege e ajuda a viver.
Serenos transponhamos espaço após espaço,
Não nos prendendo a nenhum como a um lar;
Ser-nos corrente ou parada não quer o espírito do mundo
Mas de degrau em degrau elevar-nos e aumentar-nos.
Mal nos habituamos a um círculo de vida,
Íntimos, ameaça-nos o torpor;
Só aquele que está pronto a partir e parte
Se furtará à paralisia dos hábitos." Hermann Hesse


Ofertas de formação II

Afinal as Ofertas de formação da Competir são pagas. Demoraram 80 dias, é certo, mas pagaram. Talvez seja uma boa ideia reverem as práticas internas e passarem a referir tal facto quando acordam as condições com os formadores. Assim ninguém vai ao engano e não se vê logrado nas expectativas acordadas, depois de ter cumprido a sua parte.

No que me diz respeito, e olhando retrospectivamente sobre as acções de formação que dei, percebi que tenho tido muito boas experiências. Foi a primeira vez que tal me aconteceu. Pessoas de palavra que cumprem o que prometem (pois esta coisa dos contratos, quando as coisas correm mal, lá temos que gastar mais uns dinheiros para poder seguir a via da justiça... quando temos). 


Ofertas de formação

A empresa Competir fez-me uma nova proposta de formação, mas desta vez tive que declinar. Passados mais de 75 dias sobre a acção de formação que dei (primeira quinzena de Fevereiro), continuo a não ver nem o pagamento correspondente às 50 horas contratadas, nem resposta às diversas tentativas de contacto. Mas para quem esteja interessado em «dar» formação, encontram diversos pedidos deles na net.empregos, entre muitas outras ofertas de recrutamento urgente

Mas não se preocupem, pois a empresa é co-finaciada pelo Fundo Social Europeu (FSE) e pelo Estado Português, através do Programa Operacional de Potencial Humano (POPH), e até se encontra acreditada pela Direcção-Geral do Emprego e das Relações do Trabalho (DGERT).

PS1 - Após uma curta pesquisa, encontrei diversos casos que podem configurar práticas mais generalizadas. E isto claro, só para as pessoas que perdem algum tempo a tornar visíveis estas situações. Entretanto recebi uma mensagem que pede para aguardar pois os cheques irão ser emitidos na próxima semana. Ele há cada coincidência...


More than meets the eye

For the last year, along with readings in personal information management (PIM)  literature, I've been making my exploratory fieldwork in order to uncovered information artefacts at the office, at home and what mobile workers carry with them according to length of «stay away» and the kind of transportation used. One of the trickiest problems is getting to «see» what is sometimes invisible in different occasions. The other is gaining access to the places where those information artefacts are, since I have to «intrude» many times, on different occasions, to «record» them by means of photos, drawings, descriptions and/or recording conversations) .

When doing research is very important to assume nothing (easier said then done, cause we all have our world views). The way each individual uses information artefacts is very idiosyncratic and can contaminate our observations. The use I give to my information artefacts can not be transported to the people I'm studying. To explicit my own usage I've been also recording the artefacts I carry with me, in different occasions (first saw this on «what's in your bag» flickr group) and adding comments on my own usage behaviour. This is to say that I can not infer what people do with those artifacts just because the object is present. I have to know the how and why of that information artefact for that person, in that context.

A «simple» key chain can be much more than the eyes can grasp. In a collection of «The Near Field Communication Pool»(1) at flickr, related to RFID artefacts some of them look just like toys, but they allow information exchange by proximity or contact. One of the uses for that alike-key-chains is exchanging personal information with someone we meet. Very similar to exchanging business cards, except the exchange does not have physical visibility. This is something that might trick the observations and alerted me for the need to be alert for the presence of other toys in mobility contexts. First time I saw similar artefacts in use was in public transportation in Hong Kong (around 1997). Around the same time, I was using Amazon book store and found one inside one of the books I had ordered.

I'm closing down this stage of the research and initiating a new one.  For that I'll have to gain access to fair to high mobility workers of different business sectors that allow my presence in different contexts (office context and «on the go» context), during varying periods of time, distributed in a year period. Since I'm based in Portugal, and financial constraints limit my traveling (hence the variety and scope of the research), I'll have to limit my observations to Portugal. So if you feel you would like to be part of the study, can handle my presence during different times in an year, allow me to record the information artefacts you use and be willing to respond to some questions, I would be very glad to give more information and more details about the study. What's in it for you? Might not seem much what I have to offer, but you would be part of the research and, hopefully, with all the praxis I'll be gathering you (and/or your organization) would be contributing to the knowledge needed to advance support «from workers' mobility to information mobility» (and a front reservation seat when the research defense takes place ;)

The reason I'm posting in English is mainly for trying to connect to others that might be doing similar researches and/or have already done similar studies and want to share what worked and did not work in their design strategies or engage me in other conversations going on.

[Update, 29/Mar/2009]: More on NFC (Near-Field Communication): An Introduction to Near-Field Communication and the Contactless Communication API(2), by C. Enrique Ortiz (June, 2008). See table below, taken from this introduction on different technologies for NFC:

(1) Found this collection through Ton Zylstra photo in flickr.
(2) Found this on The Mobile Monday, after following VD call for the coming meeting of MoMo chapter in Portugal, on April 6th.


remember swurl? not anymore!

Recently, this is the second tool I used that does not work anymore. First it was magnolia. Gladly I never cease to use delicious. I used magnolia as a backup for delicious (redundancy if you will)  but it was never up to date. Today I went to swurl and the timeline of all users are gone! Gladly it was «only» a timeline of aggregated information from other places. Redundancy seems to be a vital practice this days ;-)

BTW, can anyone recommend a timeline for aggregating data from different places?


in the middle

Reading Six ways to make Web 2.0 work, in The McKinsey Quarterly. How strange it feels, looking back , only 6 years ago, when I decided to create a space to promote the use of blogs inside the research lab I was working. 

Back then I was a lunatic (since i was not a journalist, neither a politician ;) with strange blogger friends, having to hide beyond b2ob. The editorial stopped making sense for some time: blogs and other social software have their place in organizations (and society), my friends are real great individuals, people can not bare not collaborating, blogs helped me found other worlds (and myself),am not working for INETI... and my name is not Mónica André anymore.

The end of a cycle and the start of a new beginning. In the middle, only transitions.


I can open my Gmail account with IE, but I can not open it with Chrome?!??!

Smartpen for normal notebooks or Moleskines?

When I saw Smartpen at first, I thought it would solve the transitions from taking notes in paper and then moving to digital. You might think it's a minor problem, but since the majority of people still use hybrid spaces for relating to their information (paper, digital, web), this gadget would be very handy for bridging those spaces.

After checking all the details to buy myself one, found out that "The Pulse™ smartpen works only with Livescribe™ dot paper. Use it to activate all smartpen applications." This means, one needs to buy special dotted numbered notebooks (1 to 8) in order to make the smartpen work, and apart from the «normal» needs of plenty of our gadgets (recharge, data transfer, and supplies), it does not support Linux or other open source variations, althought it works for Windows & Mac.

If you know a smartpen for normal white paper notebooks or moleskines, do please drop me a line. I'll buy it and I'm sure plenty of more people I know will buy it also.


re-design for a «new internet»

Do We Need a New Internet? by NY Times.com:
"The Internet’s original designers never foresaw that the academic and military research network they created would one day bear the burden of carrying all the world’s communications and commerce. There was no one central control point and its designers wanted to make it possible for every network to exchange data with every other network. Little attention was given to security. Since then, there have been immense efforts to bolt on security, to little effect."
Problems with openness and security belong to different sides of the same coin: we want the right to open and access information (to infrastructures too) but when implementing this rights and disseminating then does not see everyone obliging the same obligations that come with every right.

Some people are arguing that re-designing the internet infrastructures, what they call «a new internet», calls for a proposal of users abdicating their privacy rights. Still don't know if this feeling for a «new internet» comes only from the US, or if more people from different countries are advocating for the same thing, but I have been listening a lot about this lately. Do you think the solution for a better infrastructure passes by abdicating of our privacy? Are we letting others decide by us? Whose to tell what a «new internet» will be like? What are we making about it?

If we lived in a perfect and homogeneous world of equal rights and obligations, these would come as something «natural». But this is not so. We are (still) not born equal, let alone the inequalities of access to resources, to a proper life, to education, jobs, leisure, housing... freedom (and all the responsibilities that come with it). 

Libraries didn't abdicate privacy in the name of their users and they managed to deal with security issues. Isn't this a false pretext for serving other purposes? Imagine all the information each one of us accesses being recorded and crossed with other information. Imagine to whom could this interest? Who would control and have access to that information? Wouldn't this pose other security concerns?

My feelings are not easy on this. I like sharing my information but I don't like sharing all the information. I feel all of us have the right to decide what's private and what's public about us, in different stages. Don't know about the rest of you...


growing a knowledge tree

Although far away, feel very near. That's what knowledge sharing makes possible. And if you like to see the growing of a Knowledge Tree, see each leave Nancy is capturing in Rome:


Studying technology at work

by Wanda Orlikowski (2007), Sociomateriality: A Practice Lens on Technology at Work, video and slide presentation on ICTs in the Contemporary World seminar. Main ideas from the lecture:
  • Agency is an ongoin reconfiguration of the world
  • reconfiguration of expectations and norms of work
  • unanticipated consequences
  • contradictory dynamics
  • multiple realities


aggregating information in a timeline

Some time ago (can't seem to remember when), I've created an account in swurl. I was forgotten of that trial until I've received a warning by Google about a citation of B2OB. Went back to revisited that digital space and got surprised by my timeline containing different feeds, from different spaces I have out there. Unfortunately, having my research place (infotransitions)(*)  restricted means the feed can not be incorporated in swurl. Another thing that bugs me is that I can not incorporate feeds from my digital libraries (LibraryThing and CiteUlike). Nothing is perfect, even free stuff ;-)

It's amazing how the same bits of information gain such a different perspective through time, when seen in terms of aggregation from different places. «Seeing» is something we have to craft also. In research as I guess with many other activities, is very important, because what we develop can not be seen most of the time.

Sure there are formal places and events where we have to prove our accomplishments (milestones), and to produce products (papers, dissertations, thesis, presentations, communications, reports, etc), but sometimes it can be very frustrating to understand what one as been doing the rest (or the majority) of the time.

I wonder if my advisor as the perception of this information flow? Does he have that perception on the rest of his students? Would he benefit to implement such a timeline to follow students progress? Do others students also use digital spaces to make progress available to advisers? Do advisers feel the need to follow students progresses? What else do they use or need?... 

Anyway, for me this kind of integration is very useful for research (and reminding myself) cause it allows me to context information in time from different sources:
  • data collection (situating dispositions for detecting data collection biases, weighting context of collection, leave trails for information ties to other studies/ readings/ reflections/ etc.)
  • reflections (information environment, questions that remain to answer or that where forgotten, writing reflections unveil trails and relate to other reflections,....)
  • readings (how readings in time affect and are affected by research phase)
  • milestones (It's amazing the number of activities that underline these moments, specially regarding information behaviours... and so easily detected in the timeline)
  • wish lists - books, gadgets, tools, events... and all the things we wish we could have to accomplish our goals/ task/ work/ etc.
  • opinions (things that make us trigger and add other possible views on subjects, coming from different people, with so different world views that help me to think differently about my research subject)
  • life (since we can not separate our research from our lives)
  • Other uses: this can include Department where students are developing the research, detection of students phases, networking, ...
What else could I be using that would give better results?

(*) «transição de espaços informacionais» was the starting point of my PhD research as it emerged during my master's research work. Like a personal notebook, this space is restricted so I can mess around with my thoughts without the fear of misleading passing by strangers or concerns about my (lousy) writing skills.


Keep in mind before the change occurs

An interview following the research by HBS professor Boris Groysberg, Lex Sant, and Robin Abrahams, based on their case study "When Stars Migrate, Do They Still Perform Like Stars?" looks at the "portability" of performance and the likelihood that some positions may improve or diminish one's prospects for career advancement:
"What our research suggests is that portability isn't only determined by what industry you are in, or what particular company you work for, but it's also a result of how collaborative your job is. This suggests that workers who have already developed extensive firm-specific human capital (in the form of relationships or mastery of the firm's system and processes) should weigh the decision to change jobs carefully, because their major value is in the company they currently work for and the teammates they work with. If they do change jobs, they should make sure that the new employer is invested in their success and will give them the resources, and the time, to build the relationships that they need. (...) make sure your collaborative efforts take you outside your own team, and get you working across departments and with people outside the firm. These boundary-spanning relationships can help protect your portability—and your value in your current job."
It's never to much to say it again: don't believe in «stars» but I believe in the time it takes to build a productive «star team» because performance is so dependent on the relations we build through working (making things happen) together and learning our way around with that precise team of unique persons and experiences of life.