11 Nov

Zoho Gets on Public Health Status Train

Kudos to Zoho for introducing a detailed dashboard monitoring the health of their online applications. I’m very pleased to see more and more web app vendors delivering on transparency I advocated as early as 2001 for online apps and services.
At Watershed we have our own mini health portal with tabs for our internal and external apps. Most of our vendors now at least have some sort of blog keeping track of scheduled downtime and unforeseen issues. We’re lobbying those who still don’t so they get on board. And this is part of my default checklist each time I’m considering potential online software vendors.
Off-topic notice to the non-existent readers mourning the long-gone days when I used to blog more often. You can get more frequent Olivier fixes on Twitter. One liners work well for me as I rarely find the time to research and write longer blog posts anymore. Speaking of micro-blogging, we’re also satisfied Yammer users, which is really filling a gap for distributed teams.

10 Nov

Plowing through Unstructured Data

Jon Udell just experienced some of the practical limitations getting in the way of sharing and representing structured data easily that I’ve been running into myself. To produce an entry about Circuit City’s store closures, I had to spend a lot of time massaging the source data (coming from a PDF) in Excel so that it was properly mappable and chartable. Tasks that add little value and should take 5 minutes easily balloon into hours of menial work to renormalize and restructure data that should have been published as csv or xml in the first place. “Fake” digital content is going to get in the way of publishers for the foreseeable future. The challenge is to optimize workflow to get a decent production cost/time for enhanced news coverage. It’s all about making things replicable.