Category Archives: gradschool


My research manager told me that I've been conditionally approved for VPN access, which would allow me to access IBM resources without having to go all the way up to Markham (1-1.5 hour commute one way). This access will be revoked if they feel that I'm getting distracted by all the cool things I can do within IBM, such as organizing CASCON 2006. They asked me to promise to use the VPN only for things that are directly related to my work.

Sounds good to me. =) In fact, it sounds like exactly what I need. For the next few weeks—months, even—I'll be in heads-down single-tasking mode when it comes to IBM. I'll keep a research plan somewhere (possibly a password-protected page on this wiki) and post regular updates on my internal blog, and at all times my research managers will know what my next action is and what I'm waiting for.

I might need to give up a few things as part of scaling back my involvement in IBM. I have a lot of opportunities to help define IBM 2.0 and move it forward, but the IBM Center for Advanced Studies pays for my graduate studies, and so they have dibs on my IBM mindshare. I can think of my research as almost a contract. If they're happy with my proposal, then I can scope it, schedule it, do it, and be done.

I'm not too worried about missing out on opportunities. Evangelizing social software within IBM, supporting networking at CASCON, improving the experience of social computing: these all point to goals that I can achieve through other means at other times. When I'm ready to take advantage of these opportunities again, they'll reappear.

In the meantime, focusing on my work and treating it as a time-sensitive contract allows me to separate it and free up brainspace for a few other things I'd like to do, like writing and establishing an external reputation. This is better for me in the long run, too. That way, I finish my graduate studies ready to take on problems at different scales: from 300k-person enterprises to smaller gigs.

A minor downside is that I won't be able to claim a living allowance: it certainly adds up, particularly if you think about compounded interest over a long period of time. If I manage my time wisely, though, I might be able to make it worth it in the long run. For example, if I can convert three hours of sleepy commuting or relaxed RSS reading into three hours of focused writing time each day, that can lead to a lot of opportunities in the future. Getting rid of time constraints can also mean that I'll eat better (hello, breakfast!) and cheaper (hello, kitchen!). The opportunity to schedule coffee breaks with people here will also help me plug further into the local tech scene. I'm trading money for flexibility, and I think I can make it worth it.

As for IBM networking: I can do that through the Greater IBM initiative. They're externally hosted, so I don't need to use the VPN for that. What about the internal networking, the real-time collaboration I enjoyed and occasionally found useful? I'll just have to trust that people have a good enough sense of what I'm interested in and that I'm discoverable by people who might be interested in my research. Personal referrals will probably do the trick.

What might I miss out on? The IBM CAS experience, I suppose: chalk talks, lunches with random people, cups and cups of hot chocolate... I won't be one of their face-to-face Connectors, but that's okay; someone else can take that role. Most of the people I connect with are scattered around the world, so VPN won't make much of a difference. I can promise not to initiate conversations that aren't directly related to my research, and try to minimize unrelated conversations initiated by others.

VPN access might also include the expectation of greater availability, the way many people assume that cellphones make other people always reachable. To help assure my research manager that I won't get too distracted, I'll check my e-mail once a day and I'll resist the temptation to do anything unless I can explicity justify it. Sure, it's less value than I can provide IBM as a whole, but it protects the value I offer to CAS.

I could very well do most of my work downtown even now, although I'd still like VPN so that I can share my progress internally. I don't think I'm allowed to blog even my research proposal externally, so unfortunately I'll have to stay dark about it here. I'll try to write about other things I'm learning, though. If I omit IBM-specific information, I might be able to stay out of trouble. =)

My personal blog is my call, and as long as I follow my proposal and submit my deliverables, things should be good. I should be able to blog about cooking or tango or DemoCamp without my developer sponsor freaking out. =)

Sounds like a plan.

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Call for participation: 2006 International Symposium on Wikis

This is totally, totally, totally sweet. I _must_ get into this. Personal information management with wikis?


2006 International Symposium on Wikis (WikiSym 2006)

August 21-23, 2006, Odense, Denmark
Co-located with ACM Hypertext 2006
Sponsored by ACM SIGWEB


Research paper submission deadline: April 15, 2006


The 2006 International Symposium on Wikis brings
together wiki researchers, practitioners, and
users. The goal of the symposium is to explore
and extend our growing community. The symposium
has a rigorously reviewed research paper track as
well as plenty of space for practitioner reports,
demonstrations, and discussions. Anyone who is
involved in using, researching, or developing
wikis is invited to WikiSym 2006! To learn more
about the Wiki Symposium, feel free to browse
last year's program
(, the
(, and
its wiki ( Information
about the 2006 program will be available at

We are seeking submissions for

 - research papers
 - practitioner reports
 - demonstrations
 - workshops
 - panels

Research paper and practitioner report
submissions as well as workshop proposals are due

 - April 15, 2006

Panel and demonstration submissions are due

 - May 1, 2006

Topics of interest to the symposium include, but are not limited to:

 - wikis as social software
 - wiki user behavior, user dynamics
 - wiki user experiences, usability
 - information dynamics in wikis
 - work group processes, wiki-based collaboration
 - reputation systems, quality assurance processes
 - wiki implementation experiences and technology
 - wiki administration, processes, dealing with abuse
 - wiki scalability, social and technical
 - wikis and the semantic web/ontologies, semantic wikis
 - domain-specific/special-purpose wikis
 - wikis in education


Research papers will be reviewed by the committee
to meet rigorous academic standards of
publication. Research papers are expected to
advance the state of the art by describing
substantiated new research or novel technical
results or by reporting on significant experience
or experimentation. They are reviewed both with
respect to conceptual quality and clarity of presentation.

Accepted research papers will be provided as part
of the conference proceedings. They will be put
into the ACM Digital Library and can be
referenced as papers that appeared in the
Proceedings of the 2006 International Symposium
on Wikis. At the symposium, the presenter will be
given a 25min + 5min Q&A presentation slot.
Research papers should not be longer than 10000
words and 20 pages and should meet the ACM SIG
Proceedings Format, see

Practitioner reports will be reviewed for
suitability of presentation to the community. The
primary evaluation criterion is the interest to
the community. Practitioner reports will be
provided as part of the conference proceedings
handed out at the symposium and can be referenced
as papers that appeared in the Proceedings of the
2006 International Symposium on Wikis as well.
Practitioner reports should not be longer than
6000 words and 12 pages and should meet the ACM SIG
Proceedings Format.

Demonstration, workshop, and panel submissions
will be reviewed for their interest to the
community. A submission should consist of two
pages describing what you intend to do and how
you meet this criterion. It should include a
100-word abstract and one-paragraph bios of all
people relevant to the submission. Demonstrations
will be presented in a joint demonstration
session, workshops will get a half-day or a
full-day and a room of their own (depending on
your request), and panels will get a 90min slot at the symposium.

Please submit your papers or proposals in PDF
format by the respective deadline through our
submission system, which will be available
through the WikiSym website. Questions should be
directed respectively at [email protected]
(research papers and practitioner reports),
[email protected] (workshops),
[email protected] (panels), or [email protected] (demonstrations).


The 2006 International Symposium on Wikis will be
held at the Radisson SAS H.C. Andersen Hotel in
Odense, Denmark, August 21-23, 2006. A special
(reduced) hotel rate has been negotiated. WikiSym
2006 will be co-located with the ACM Hypertext
2006 conference (back-to-back), and participants
may register for the symposium alone, or may
jointly register for WikiSym and Hypertext 2006.
Registration is handled through the ACM Hypertext website.

If you have any questions, please contact Dirk
Riehle through [email protected]


Dirk Riehle, Bayave Software GmbH, Germany (Symposium Chair)

Ward Cunningham, Eclipse Foundation, U.S.A.
Kouichirou Eto, AIST, Japan (Publicity Co-Chair)
Richard P. Gabriel, Sun Microsystems, U.S.A.
Beat Doebeli Honegger, UAS Northwestern Switzerland (Workshop
Chair) Matthias L. Jugel, Fraunhofer FIRST, Germany (Panel
Chair) Samuel J. Klein, Harvard University, U.S.A. Helmut
Leitner, HLS Software, Austria (Publicity Co-Chair) James
Noble, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
(Program Chair) Sebastien Paquet, Socialtext, U.S.A.
(Demonstrations Chair) Sunir Shah, University of Toronto,
Canada (Publicity Co-Chair)


James Noble, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
(Program Chair)

Ademar Aguiar, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Robert Biddle, Carleton University, Canada
Amy Bruckman, Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A.
Alain Désilet, NRC, CNRC, Canada
Ann Majchrzak, University of Southern California, U.S.A.
Frank Fuchs-Kittowski, Fraunhofer ISST, Germany
Mark Guzdial, Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A.
Dirk Riehle, Bayave Software GmbH, Germany
Robert Tolksdorf, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

E-Mail from Mark Chignell

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Interesting clubs

Won't join all of them, but these look interesting





もしコンピューターがなければ、私たちの生活はどんなに不便だろう。 If it were not for the computer, how inconvenient our lives would be!

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You know you’re done packing when…

... you're sick and tired of figuring out better space usage and decide that a few cubic inches of wasted space is not going to kill you.

コンピュータのキーボードの操作は、手動タイプライターほど努力を要しない。 The operation of a computer keyboard requires less effort than that of a manual typewriter.

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GOT MY VISA! Despedida details

The Canadian Embassy approved my student visa! I'm really going to go to Canada on July 15, 2005! Yay!

I'll be holding my despedida and advanced birthday party on July 9, 2005 (Saturday). Sorry about the short notice, but it was so hard to plan anything not knowing if I'd actually be leaving.

Sacha's 22nd birthday party and 2nd despedida

Date July 9, 2005
Time 1 - 5 PM, program starts at 3
Place See map below, or go to my house first for directions
Attire Casual. Geeky, if you can manage it

Don't bring gifts. My baggage allowance is too small. ;) I would, however, really really appreciate it if you could write me a letter telling me what you've been up to this last year (or last N years, depending on when we last talked). We're also going to talk about our plans for the next two years, so spend some time thinking about your two-year plan (what you want to do) and be prepared to share it with everyone in a speech of maybe a minute or two.

Come and hang out. I want to know what you're interested in, and I want you to get to meet other people I know just in case you find that you've got similar interests and goals.

Light snacks will be served.

This is pretty much an open party, so if you know people who know me and don't mind talking about their goals and giving advice or whatever for about a minute or two, drag them along. =)


そのコンピュータは最新式だ。 The computer is up to date.

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