Thursday, 31 January 2008

Stop Reading - Skim Dive Skim

Genie left a great comment on one of my favorite posts - Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog. She said:
"Because this is the way that we're going to learn in the future" - I love it!

Not sure about the 9 year olds though, my kids are downloading music and games and creating their own language on messenger. So not so certain about reading - no one reads these days - they play. Blogs are the last gasp before virtual interactive education takes over the schools. Plug in and turn off.
The 9 year olds reference is around a statement made by Karl Kapp - “my 9 and 11 year old sons have a deeper understanding of the tools” than you do.

Genie made me think a bit ... (thanks Genie) ...

While she is talking about kids in the future and their use of writing and reading, it really made me wonder:
Do we read anymore? Should we read anymore?
I know that I rarely really read anymore ... I skim and then dive in depth and then skim. I read as few words as possible. Just enough to get the general sense of what is being discussed. I miss a lot of detail, but I also am pretty good at being able to find the detail when I need to get to it.

I have a horrible habit of reading my email using this same reading style. This means that I sometimes miss important pieces of information buried somewhere in an email. [Edit - I originally wrote horrible. But I'm not so sure.]

And, in comparison to most executives that I know, I'm quite thorough. Send most executives a two page email and you are lucky if they skim the first two lines. Do they read their business books in depth? Did you read this? I don't think so, they find the single concept and then figure that the rest of the 200 pages give great support for that concept.

Genie is talking about kids, but in thinking about what she said and my own behavior, actual reading of items from start to finish is pretty much gone.
My bet is that many of you have skimmed right down to this item. Did you miss the question I asked in the paragraph above?

There's an embedded poll right here to show you how many people are skimming vs. reading.

My bet is most people, especially those reading blogs, are skimmers. And, they are right to be skimmers! So -

Stop reading.

Skim, dive, skim. That's the way to go.

Oh, and you need to have skills around understanding, keeping and refinding. You skim at a level that gives a basic understanding, allows you to make a decision around what it is, do you need this again and how you will store it away (if at all).

The only time you actually read something is when you need all the details for processing right then. Otherwise, it's a waste of time to go through all the details. You only need enough to understand what it is and get back to the details later.
Most often there is no payoff for reading. Skim dive skim is the best ROI on your time.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Request for Proposal (RFP) Samples

Based on my post LMS RFP, I've been asked several times if I knew where you could find samples of Request for Proposals (RFPs) for custom eLearning development, performance support tools, learning content management systems (LCMS), elearning authoring tools, etc. Today the question was for Microsoft Project. This wasn't something I could directly help the person, but I had the sense that people may be missing some key search tricks that would give them a list of reasonable results.

The keys are:
  1. (filetype:pdf OR filetype:doc) - only show me actual documents in either of these formats. This trick works really well when you are searching for content on a wide variety of things, often I add in filetype:ppt as well to find presentations.
  2. (RFP OR "Request for Proposal") - find either of these terms
  3. (LCMS OR "Learning Content Management System") - find either of these terms
Obviously, substitute the key terms such instead of LCMS. And in the case of something like custom eLearning development, you want all of those terms, so you just add them at the end.

If you string these together in Google, you will find documents that give you suggestions what go in RFPs as well as actual RFPs that people have on the web. You have to scan down a bit, but it's well worth the effort.
Click one of the above examples, and modify with your terms.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Human Computer Interfaces

The post questioning Cursive Writing has turned to a few questions of alternative human computer interfaces. This is a fun discussion. Thought I'd post a couple of pictures here that go along with the recent discussion.

A picture of the direct brain interface that allows input direct control of mouse via brain ...

Conceptually what is happening ...

Wearable computing, full high end PC with connectivity ...

Automotive repair interface seen through projection on glasses...

What I plan to look like in 25 years ...

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

National Offender Defendant System

The December , 2007 edition of US Federal Courts newsletter, The Third Branch contains an article on the National Offender Defendant System (NODS). "It combines access to Judiciary personnel on PeopleFinder, which helps locate probation and pretrial services officers, as well as all the defendant/offender information on the Probation/Pretrial Services Automated Case Tracking System (PACTS), all the case information on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, and violations in the Central Violations Bureau’s system." The article goes on to state: "NODS was originally designed exclusively for use by Judiciary staff, but according to" (Chief of the Probation and Pretrial Services Technology Division, Nick) "DiSabatino, another version—with limited features—is in the works for an external audience. The outside version would, for example, link to a limited version of PeopleFinder, and not link to PACER."

Friday, 18 January 2008

NIEM - Did You Know?

Did you know that the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) website contains links to resources and tools that can help you work with the standard?  One resource is the NIEM Mapping Tool developed by Georgia Tech Research Institute.  It will let you "create and exchange, associate a domain model with that exchange, map the domain model to NIEM, and generate artifacts - such as mapping reports, wantlists, and schemas - based on that mapping." To go to the Mapping Tool website, click here

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Technology to Watch

We recommend that court technology planners monitor the progress and implications of the upcoming auction of radio frequency spectrum and the creation of a shared public safety wireless broadband network by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust.

On November 15, 2007 the US Federal Communications Commission selected the non-profit Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation (PSST) to hold the license for 10 MHz of public safety radio spectrum designated for nationwide wireless broadband use.  The concept for the broadband network “is to have priority access for public safety to a nationwide, interoperable wireless broadband network that incorporates the latest technologies in use by the private sector”.  As noted in an article in Police Chief Magazine by PSST Chairman, Chief Harlin McEwen these benefits potentially include:
  • “Broadband data services (such as text messaging, photos, diagrams, and streaming video) currently unavailable in existing public safety land mobile systems”
  • “A hardened public safety network with infrastructure built to withstand local natural hazards (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.) that would include strengthened towers and backup power with fuel supplies to withstand long-term outages of public power sources”
  • “Nationwide roaming and interoperability for local, state, and federal public safety agencies (police, fire, and emergency medical services) and other emergency services such as transportation, health care, and utilities”
  • “Access to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) similar to current commercial cellular services”
  • “Push-to-talk, one-to-one, and one-to-many radio capabilities that would provide a backup to (but would not replace) traditional public safety land mobile mission-critical voice systems”
  • “Access to satellite services to provide reliable nationwide communications where terrestrial services either do not exist or are temporarily out of service”
For more information see the Public Safety Spectrum Trust website.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Massachusetts Courts Laud Videoconferencing

An article titled "Patchy reception for TV justice" by the Boston Herald newspaper noted that the Massachusetts trial courts have been using videoconferencing technology since 1993.  However, despite it's success and resulting cost savings "neither the trial court nor the prison system have plans to expand the program".

Monday, 7 January 2008

Federal Courts Provide Free Records Access

The December, 2007 edition of The Third Branch newsletter contained an article on a pilot program being offered by the Administrative Office of the US Courts and the US Government Printing Office to provide "free public access to federal court records available at 16 libraries in 14 states."  The article goes on to state:

"The project offers free access to the federal Judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at 16 participating federal depository libraries. PACER ( allows users to obtain case file documents, listings of all case parties, judgments, and other information from district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts online, with the data immediately available for printing or downloading."

E-Courts 2008 Conference

E-Courts 2008 will be held at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada from December 8-10.   Session subject matter will include criminal case E-filing; electronic record archiving; and electronic information presentation.  Watch the conference website  for more information at:

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

XML/NIEM Training Available

We learned from Scott Chontow of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Policy & Planning Staff that there are approximately 10 training slots available for XML/NIEM training session to be held February 11-15, 2008 at the IJIS Institute in Northern Virginia. For more information contact Mr. Chontow via e-mail at:

NIEM Executive Briefing Webinar available

Press release:

NIEM Executive Briefing, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was delivered via Webinar on November 14, 2007. The audio recording with slides is now available at: ew?id=8DBB9B&pw=c_2M%5Cb

To view the Webinar recording:
  1. Select the "View Recording" link.
  2. Enter first and last name in the appropriate fields.
  3. Enter first and last name in the appropriate fields.
  4. Enter the e-mail address and company name in the appropriate fields.
  5. Select "View Recording."
  6. The briefing will begin with both audio and visual recordings.

NASCIO Releases Latest in Series on Records Management and Digital Preservation

Press release:
(LEXINGTON, KY) – The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is pleased to announce the release of Part III in the series on electronic records management and digital preservation: protecting the knowledge assets of the state government enterprise. A product of NASCIO’s Enterprise Architecture Committee, this research brief was completed to focus on strategies and technological solutions for managing the proliferation of electronic records. Part III in the series is now available at:

New York Court's CTO Honored

In it's December 10, 2008 edition, Computerworld magazine has honored New York State Unified Court System Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Sheng Guo as one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders 2008.  The magazine recognized his work in the installation of Wi-Fi access points "in the state's 250 courthouses".  The article goes on to quote: "Guo says he believes the state should provide Wi-Fi in courthouses for free as a public service.  If the state continued to charge for Wi-Fi, he says, the initiative to expand would have failed."