The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 191 - 16 May 2017
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In This Issue
100 Companies in KM
Data Residency Webinar
Safari Self-Assessments
The Andrew File System
Flash Organizations
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management
KMWorld has published the 2017 edition of its catalog of 100 companies "providing innovation, ingenuity, usefulness, and expertise to the knowledge management and information management community."
Data Residency Webinar Replay
The May 11 webinar by Claude Baudoin and OMG's Technical Director Andrew Watson, entitled Data Residency: Challenges and the Need for Standards, based on the OMG's recently published white paper, is now available for replay.
Safari Now Offers Self-Assessments
Safari, the information technology learning platform from O'Reilly, has rolled out self-assessments for some of its most popular "learning paths," including Python, Git, Linux system administration, big data, software architecture, web development, and machine learning. Don't look for very sophisticated tests -- these are series of fairly basic multiple choice questions -- but assessments are always useful when there is no direct instructor feedback to tell you how well you have understood the material.
Where Did Dropbox Come From?
Today, we are faced with many choices to share files with people who don't work for the same organization: Google Drive and Dropbox are probably the best known and most used. There is a key distinction between the two, however: Google Drive files exist in the cloud only, while Dropbox has a replication mechanism that places a copy of each shared file on your own hard drive -- so that you can work on that file while offline, with the full performance of a local application, and resynchronize with the cloud version later.

So where did this technology come from? This NetworkWorld article traces the inspiration for Dropbox back to the Andrew File Systems invented at Carnegie-Mellon University, in collaboration with IBM, in 1983-85. It is interesting to note that an open-source version, OpenAFS, is still an active project and that AFS is still in use at CMU and elsewhere.
Flash Organizations
We know that the Web has thoroughly changed the economy, "disintermediating" some exchanges (think eBay) and enabling the rise of social media and of the "sharing economy" (Airbnb, Uber). More recently, we've seen "task farming" sites such as TaskRabbit or Upwork. All this challenges the old way in which supply chains are managed, and even the definition of what constitutes an enterprise.

Researchers at Stanford have pushed this farther with work they recently presented on "flash organizations" -- a crowdsourcing model in which one can rapidly create a virtual organization, recruit collaborators, manage tasks, and enable collaboration. Compared to the task farming model, which is a flat structure with people performing identical and relatively low-skilled tasks, a flash organization has a structure (albeit a flexible and malleable one) and certain roles and responsibilities can be assigned to people with specific expertise.
Seen Recently...
"Cloud computing represents one of the most misunderstood, yet valuable innovations, in current IT and business strategies."
-- Darryl Plummer, VP and Gartner Fellow,
making a valid if not quite original point
"People use statistics as a drunk uses a lamppost -- for support rather than illumination."
-- E. Houseman (1903), quoted by Christian Reilly, @reillyusa,
VP Global Product and Technology Strategy at Citrix
""Digital Transformation starts and ends with people. Tech should be used to enable great experiences in a 'people first' world!"
-- Daniel Newman, @DanielNewmanUV,
Principal Analyst at Futurum