Month: January 2004

Content Management conferences, mags, and links

AIIM International (The Association for Information and Image Management)

AIIM Conference Information

CMS Watch

CMS Wire

KM World

Open Source Content Management

Portals Mag

Seybold San Francisco 2004

Transform Magazine

XML & Web Services Mag

More vendor consolidation despite ECM market growth

More vendor consolidation despite ECM market growth. IDM reports on a recent Meta Group report covering the future of enterprise content management (ECM). To quote: While the worldwide enterprise content management (ECM) market will continue to grow at a healthy rate, further vendor consolidation is expected in… [Column Two]

Here’s another quote from the article: “ECM systems are generally tactical and non-discretionary expenditures, but they are increasingly becoming strategic core investments. With organisations seeking more strategic enterprise content solutions, the ability of ECM software to fully manage all enterprise content and avoid costs by consistently applying proper compliance and legal risk policies/procedures is emerging as critical to organisations.”

DigitalThink Preps E-Learning Service Update

DigitalThink Preps E-Learning Service Update. DigitalThink will bump up capacity, speeds performance and adds more reporting capabilities in a new version of its hosted L5 Learning Delivery System to be launched on Friday. [eWEEK Technology News]

I haven’t done any DigitalThink classes in a while but I really liked what they had to offer when I took a Java course from them about six years ago. The only gripe I ever had was one of their live mentors wasn’t checking homework very closely. A colleague submitted an assignment that was obviously wrong (didn’t even compile) but the mentor returned it with “Good job!” comments. DigitalThink handled the issue and we didn’t see any problems after that.

Got some great games for Christmas

Got some great games for Christmas…

Ballast is by Gigamic, the makers of Quorridor, last year’s favorite acquisition (right up there with Spy Alley). Ballast is a Jenga-like game where you take turns removing blocks from a structure. You are awarded different points for different sized blocks. The kicker is that the blocks are all cylinders and are stacked within a vertical ring. So, it is pretty tricky. My 5 year-old son liked it but I think he enjoys the carnage of Jenga to the more subtle block-shifting of Ballast.

Octiles is very cool. It is sort of like Chinese Checkers. Up to four people attempt to move all of their pieces to the opposite side of the board. The catch is that the paths your pieces follow change. Between you and the other side of the board is a field of octagons. On your turn you are allowed to place an octagonal tile (“octiles”) which has a set of arcing paths printed on it. Each tile has a different pattern. The paths of each piece interlock to form a twisted maze. Your piece must cross the tile you placed. This one was my son’s favorite of the three new games. He’s able to beat me with minor coaching (and poor play on my part!).

Carcossone was given to me by my Aunt who played the game with my Uncle and a German couple. They liked it so much, the German couple gave it to them (my Uncle had to find an English-language rule set). I can see why they liked it so much. In the game, up to five people take turns placing tiles that contain things like roads, cities, farms, and cloisters. The tiles must match up with existing tiles (eg, grass on an edge matches with grass on an existing tile). After placing a tile, you can deploy a “follower”, a little wooden piece that essentially declares that territory for you. You score points by completing formations like completed cities, roads, and cloisters in which you have a follower deployed. You can also get points for followers deployed as farmers that supply completed cities. The trick is that you have a limited number of followers. And, once deployed, farmers can never be re-used.

The game changes each time you play and requires different strategies based on the number of players. Mine came with a free set of “river” tiles that add a subtle yet challenging twist to the tile layout constraints. Yesterday my Uncle sent me the “Inns and Cathedrals” expansion tiles but we haven’t played with them yet. My son enjoys the game but requires more coaching than the other games (the box says 8 and up). The longer playing time is also a challenge to a five year-old’s patience. My nieces, nephew, and in-laws all enjoyed playing until the late hours. Good stuff.

Recent reads

Read a couple of books over the break. Life of Pi by Yann Martel is outstanding. It is the best fiction I’ve read in a long, long time. It originally piqued my interest because of its lost-at-sea theme (check out my Listmania list for more seafaring books). When Reverend Kanter quoted it during church one morning, I added it to the wish list. I wasn’t disappointed. The book starts out exploring the life of a boy searching for his spirituality. He ends up being a Hindu-Christian-Muslim. That alone is pretty interesting, but he also grows up a zookeeper’s son. These two world’s collide as Pi ends up a castaway during a disaster at sea. I won’t give away any more than that. My advice is to not read anything more about the plot–just open up the book and dive right in.

The other book I read was The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel. It’s a non-fiction account of John’s experiences chasing UFOs and other strange phenomena in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s more like a collection of case notes than a single cohesive story. A lot of the stories sort of ran together. I haven’t seen the movie upon which the book is based, but maybe in this case, the movie pulls it all together better than the book.