AAMC's MedEdPORTAL running on CoreMedia CMS

CoreMedia LogoCoreMedia announced today that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has launched a sophisticated interactive content portal powered by CoreMedia’s CMS that harnesses the power of social media. The name of AAMC's new site is MedEdPortal.

“AAMC’s desire to create an interactive medical community that facilitates the exchange of educational content is a project that CoreMedia was excited about and well suited to enable,” said René Hermes, VP Marketing of CoreMedia. “The combination of our market leading CMS and extensible social software features made CoreMedia the obvious choice for AAMC.”

AAMC’s MedEdPORTAL is a free online peer-reviewed publication service provided in partnership with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). MedEdPORTAL was designed to promote educational collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed teaching resources such as tutorials, virtual patients, simulation cases, lab guides, videos, podcasts, and assessment tools. While MedEdPORTAL's primary audience includes medical professionals, health educators and learners around the globe, it is also freely accessible to the general public.

Working Knowledge: Microsoft vs. Open Source

I forgot who sent the tweet on Twitter but I was pointed to some very interesting research (2005) posted at the Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge site.

Microsoft vs. Open Source: Who Will Win?

Using formal economic modelling, professors Pankaj Ghemawat and Ramon Casadesus-Masanell consider the competitive dynamics of the software wars between Microsoft and open source.

Citizen Spies

I just finished reading an article from last Friday's Wall Street Journal, Gulags, Nukes and a Water Slide: Citizen Spies Lift North Korea's Veil. The article discusses how collaboration and tools on the Internet allows ordinary citizens to uncover secrets governments wish others not to see. In this case, using collaborated information and satellite images to uncover North Korea's infrastructure.

In the propaganda blitz that followed North Korea's missile launch last month, the country's state media released photos of leader Kim Jong Il visiting a hydroelectric dam and power station.

Images from the report showed two large pipes descending a hillside. That was enough to allow Curtis Melvin, a doctoral candidate at George Mason University in suburban Virginia, to pinpoint the installation on his online map of North Korea.

Mr. Melvin is at the center of a dozen or so citizen snoops who have spent the past two years filling in the blanks on the map of one of the world's most secretive countries. Seeking clues in photos, news reports and eyewitness accounts, they affix labels to North Korean structures and landscapes captured by Google Earth, an online service that stitches satellite pictures into a virtual globe. The result is an annotated North Korea of rocket-launch sites, prison camps and elite palaces on white-sand beaches.

This is a fascinating article from the WSJ and I'm sure this type of tech empowerment has both positive and negative consequences for our world. Having some background in remote sensing, I recall a conversation I had with a landsat specialist several years ago. During the conversation he mentioned the recent launch of some cheap satellites with 1 km resolution to be used for non-military geological surveys. I asked the question, "if a cheap satellite can produce 1 km resolution what resolutions can an expensive landsat satellite produce?". He replied such information was classified. As I said before, that conversation took place several years ago and I can only imagine how much the technology has changed since then.

Quoting: Committees and Group Decisions

"All too often, however, committees don't work well at all -- resulting in a relentlessly short-term outlook, an inability to stick to strategic plans, a slapdash pursuit of the latest fad and a tendency to blame mistakes on somebody else."

-Jason Zweig, "The Intelligent Investor: How Group Decisions End Up Wrong-Footed", The Wall Street Journal, April 25-26, 2009

Reflecting on SharePoint vs. Alfresco article

I finally got a chance to read CMS Wire's article, SharePoint vs Alfresco: A Platform Perspective. Nothing too surprising in the article as it shows that both SharePoint and Alfresco can stand on their own.

While we believe the comparison was fair, we also agree that there's more to SharePoint than immediately meets the eye. By the same token, there's more to Alfresco than just Share, much of which we eluded to in the article.

Expect significant usability improvements in Drupal 7

When I recommend to someone that they should use Drupal for a project it is not uncommon for them to question my wisdom on the subject. Those new to Drupal are often shocked by Drupal's initial learning curve, no rich text editor in the core, and a user interface with a longer workflow than it really should be. As powerful and functional as Drupal can be it historically has had usability issues.

Charging for online news doomed to fail

There has been a lot of articles written lately on Rupert Murdoch's latest comments regarding the need to charge online readers for the content they access to the business model The Wall Street Journal utilizes. Murdoch recently announced that additional News Corp's newspapers would be charging users access to their online content.

Speaking on a conference call as News Corporation announced a 47 percent slide in quarterly profits to $755 million, Murdoch said the current free access business model favored by most content providers was flawed.

"We are now in the midst of an epochal debate over the value of content and it is clear to many newspapers that the current model is malfunctioning," the News Corp. Chairman and CEO said.

"We have been at the forefront of that debate and you can confidently presume that we are leading the way in finding a model that maximizes revenues in return for our shareholders... The current days of the Internet will soon be over."

That pay for content business model that Murdoch wishes to spread to the the rest of the News Corp holdings has worked pretty well for the WSJ. Yearly subscription to WSJ.com is around $100 and the business news site recently introduced a cheaper micro-payment system. Deane Barker recently pointed out this story on his Gadgetopia blog. Barker points out that this business model could possibly work for additional online news sources, but Murdoch needs "another big player on the bandwagon, and he might kick the snowball off the hill. Gannet? New York Times Company?". Barker's point is that for News Corp's subscription model to work, access to news content needs to be limited at other places online too. In my opinion, a fight against free online content is a war that has already been lost.

As a subscriber to the WSJ in both print and online content, I do see paid online subscriptions working for niche news sites. I however have serious doubts that the model can work for general news. People are willing to pay and only pay for content they can get nowhere else online. The news articles found in the WSJ is unique content and since its also content of value, I'm willing to pay for it. However, reporting general news is a much different game. Even if the majority of newspapers started charging access to their content it only takes one newspaper willing to offer that same story for free to break the pay for access model.