Cool discussion of Web 2.0 by ThoughtWorks crew

I spent a lot of time on the road to & from the Twin Cities in the last few weeks, so I used that chance to catch up on some old podcasts and explore some new ones. A really nifty discovery this weekend was a panel discussion on Web 2.0 by the smart folks at ThoughtWorks. The discussion is led by Martin Fowler. Fowler goes through Tim O’Reilly’s seminal “What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software” from 5 years ago, where O’Reilly lays out what he believes to be seven defining principles of Web 2.0. Fowler and the panel discusses each of these seven principles, looking at how they’ve held up over time. While the panelists didn’t think that all had held up equally well, in general O’Reilly had successfully identified many of the key trends. One might think this conversation is pretty esoteric, but I think it would be understandable and valuable to anyone looking to better understand what the web has become (and is still becoming). Definitely recommended!

It’s interesting to see in what ways various organizations do and don’t “get” these changes. Sadly, the U in general and the Morris campus in specific, for example, aren’t generally real on top of things when it comes to modern web technology. What’s particularly frustrating is the U’s unwillingness to work with and empower their users to help generate and manage content and value. Big Web 2.0 successes like Google and Amazon, Twitter and Flickr are all about leveraging user generated content. The U has its little fits in that direction (the U of M wiki, the UThink blogs), but they’re always peripheral to the life of the University, always in the back alleys instead of on the front page.

The ThoughtWorks discussion runs about an hour, and they divided it up into three chunks for podcasting. Unfortunately they haven’t released a new podcast since last July, so it appears that I’m late to the party and the party may be over. I look forward to listening to their other podcasts, and I certainly hope that they start making new episodes sometime soon.

If you’re interested you can find all their podcasts on the ThoughtWorks What We Say page through either RSS or iTunes.

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Huzzah for the mighty intarweb once again!

A simple web search saved a lot of headache in installing unnecessary software to allow Mac OS X to monitor our new APC battery backup system.

Over the holidays we bought a APC home battery backup system for our “server” iMac. This came with their PowerChute software, which allows the backup to notify the computer when the power goes out, so the computer can shut down semi-gracefully when the battery gets low during an outage.

I was debating whether to install this software (which in theory supports Mac OS X), so I did some Googling first. There wasn’t anything very concrete, but there were some suggestions that Apple had included this kind of software in OS X at some point, and that Apple’s was much better than APC’s.

So I plugged in the provided cable that ran from the battery backup to a USB port, and Lo! and Behold! it immediately recognized the battery backup and nifty new options appeared in the Energy Saver panel of System Preferences! I set it to shutdown when the battery was down to 95% of capacity, and unplugged the battery backup from the wall, and it shut down beautifully. Without APC’s software.

Problem solved!

Thanks to all those that contributed to the many technologies great and small that allowed me to figure this out quickly and without having to call people, or post questions, or any of those annoying things.

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