Mar 30, 2010

OfficeTalk - learning what it means

I am intrigued by Microsoft's latest offering: Office Talk developed by Office Labs - (Exploring the impact of social networking in the Enterprise) - so I am interested to read comments key punters:

  • ReadWriteWeb - "looks almost identical to Twitter" - "Microsoft is pretty late to the market with OfficeTalk. Socialtext, Socialcast, Yammer"
  • Mashable - "Put simply, the software lets company members take part in discussions relevant to the workplace. Unlike other solutions, OfficeTalk is hosted within the customer’s organization, which could be a boon for those ultra concerned about privacy."
  • CMSWire - "the service is an on-premise utility (meaning it would live on a server inside a corporate firewall, much like SharePoint) that allows co-workers and teammates to swap messages of 140 characters or less. Each user has their very own page which looks much like a Twitter user page with a personal image, title and brief bio. You can search for other users inside your company and subscribe to their messages. Also, users can view the "Company View" which shows all messages sent out throughout a company or organization. This feature might be noisy but could also spawn some fascinating conversations across business units inside the enterprise."
  • CMSWire - more on Office Talk - "“applies the base capabilities of microblogging to a business environment." It does this by "enabling employees to post their thoughts, activities, and potentially valuable information to anyone who might be interested.”
  • CMSWire - more - " attempts to squeeze in next to solutions like Twitter by allowing employees to collaborate and share their thoughts on a 140 character limit - Much like a Yammer and Twitter mashup, OfficeTalk has all the features you'd expect from such a solution: 
    • 140 character limit
    • Profiles
    • Follow option
    • Search
    • Threaded conversations



In many organisations, microblogging with Twitter or Yammer behind the firewall is just not an option. So a Microsoft microblogging option is going to be regarded with huge interest by users if not the social media Rock Star crowd - pretty much like Sharepoint as an Enterprise 2.0 /Web 2.0 offering - not for the purists - but appreciated by those of us with no options.

Posted via web from kerrieannesfridgemagnets's posterous

Mar 25, 2010

Wanderings from Beijing Hotpots to Asian Dumpling Steamboat in My Thirroul Kitchen

Our family loves Asian Hotpots, Dumpling Soups & Steamboats - whether served in a specialist restaurant in Beijing or cooked at the table of our Thirroul seaside home.

When we travelled in China it was towards the end of Winter and discovered they eat a lot dumplings in the north in the colder months, ie not just a rice based diet.

A favourite memory was definitely a Hot Pot Restaurant in Beijing where you select all your ingredients - meats, vegetables, sauces, noodles, dumplings and then steam at your table - see Pics 2 & 3. We've tried to recreate it back home in Australia for our Sunday night family dinners with Nan, who has always been adventurous with Asian foods.

Sometimes we've cooked Hot Pot at the table using our Swiss Fondue Pots - other times we've pre-steamed in a stainless stockpot on the cooktop & then transferred to the table. I generally like to use lots of Asian Greens, fresh prawns & sliced chicken with dumplings in a giant stockpot - especially in the cooler months. So plenty of leftovers later on for busy weeknights after soccer training etc.

I've been inspired by Steamboats in Charmaine Solomon's encyclopaedic "Complete Asian Cookbook" & Kylie Kwong's nostalgic "Recipes & Stories" (p 106-113) as well as "Heart and Soul" (p 180-183). Not to mention Tobie Puttock's Beijing theme in the July 2008 issue of Oz Delicious Magazine (p75) - see also his Lifestyle Channel show. Interesting as Tobie Puttock is better known for Italian cooking, and not Asian cuisine.

I experimented with Kylie Kwong's Steamboat from ABC, as well as, Ho Mai's & Australian Better Homes & Gardens suggestions....

in the end I developed my own Steamboat Stock

2 litres chicken stock
1 shallot sliced finely
1 tablespoon finely sliced lemon grass
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (crushed)
2 teaspoons garlic (crushed)
4 dried Chinese Mushrooms
shake of salt
6 Szechuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce - more if you prefer
1 tablespoon Mirin
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 to 2 teaspoons Maggi Seasoning - Kylie Kwong's "magic ingredient in her Delicious Fried Rice"

Add all of the above to large stockpot & heat till boiling

Add your choice of sliced vegetables - fresh - nb canned Chinese Vegetables will help with unexpected visitors
fresh prawns - peeled, deveined and chopped into 2 to 3 pieces
thinly sliced chicken breast or beef fillet steak
dim sum / dumplings

Do not overcook - especially the veges and prawns

Usually we serve from the stainless stockpot at table & ladle into Chinese Rice/Noodle Bowls

When reheating for midweek meals - I ladle into a pot on the stove top & add sliced fresh bok choy and sometimes additional fresh prawns before heating gently until hot but not "stewed".

Too easy after a busy day followed by soccer, Girl Guides (Scouts) !


Posted via email from KerrieAnne's Kitchen

Mar 12, 2010

Wikis as Mosaics - Social Capital - Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody - Ch 5


Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger's Wikipedia morphed out of their original 2001 idea - Nupedia - which had a amazingly bureaucratic process of vetting & approvals before content could be published - if you ever been on a standards writing committee you will know what it feels like... it was overtaken by its offshoot Wikipedia .. "a hybrid of tool and community" p 136

However it actually followed the first user-editable Wiki was developed by Ward Cunningham in 1996 predicated on the then radical assumption "groups of people who want to collaborate also tend to trust one another. If this was true, then a small group could work on a shared writing effort without needing formal management or process" p 111.

Interestingly Wikipedia was conceived as an open encyclopedia .. becoming "a general-purpose tool for gathering and distributing information quickly, a use that further cemented Wikipedia in people's mind as a useful reference work"  p 117

I find it intriguing when fellow techo professionals pronounce that one shouldn't use Wikipedia as a professional resource let alone cite it - personally I choose to do so - as a first pass - Dummy's entry point if I have to learn something new - like Non Tariff  - Technical Barriers to Trade at the World Trade Organization. It's easy to read - commonsense approach helped me enormously to get started as I tried to navigate the WTO & EU web sites - ultimately I created a wiki in Sharepoint - like a breadcrumb trail to find my way in and out of these seemingly impenetrable maze-like sites.

And my Teen finds the same works for her - she really likes Wikipedia but knows that she needs to cite other more acceptable & reputable sources !

The driver for me in creating wiki pages in Sharepoint was just as Shirky described for Wikipedia ...

"Someone decides that an article .... should exist and creates it. The article's creator doesn't need to know everything ... Once an article exists, it starts to get readers. Soon a self selecting group of those readers decide to become contributors. Some of them add new text, edit the existing article, some add references to other articles or external sources, and some fix typos.. No one person was responsible for doing or even managing the work "  p118-119 . Shirky describes the wiki format as a form of "publish-then filter". - p 135

And so the wiki and its wiki pages becoming a fascinating & evolving series of mosaics - sometimes you can't see the whole immediately.

In fact I find with my org's Sharepoint pages that not everyone wants to edit online but they may tell you verbally or email you suggestions. It seems that many struggle with the concept of "publish-then filter" - preferring to edit repeatedly before publishing. I recall attending a Knowledge Management Round Table where attendees at my table felt too afraid to embrace the "publish-then filter" approach.

This seems to align with Shirky who describes participation in Wiki activities as following a power law distribution - others call it the 90-9-1 Law - ie 1% of folks will initiate content, 9% may comment or amend it and 90% (sometimes called the Lurkers) will only read it but not initiate nor amend. Similarly - this probably reflects public involvement in government consultation initiatives - how some government bureaucrats bewail the "self-selected".

And it explains why Twitter remains highly successful - even if most users don't tweet - they may still value reading the tweets of others they respect. Same effect showed up when my org's ICT surveyed users about one of our Communities of Practice - more folks liked to read, even if they didn't contribute themselves. I shared this with my Management Team yesterday when we began reviewing the state of our Knowledge Sharing programme

"you can't look for a representative contributor, because none exists. Instead, you have to change your focus, to concentrate not on the individual users but on the behaviour of the collective" p 128

Shirky also suggests that this power law effect is what lies behind Chris Anderson's Long Tail. Reflecting further he distinguishes between tightly connected small groups and those larger ones with weak ties drawing the wedding reception analogy where the bride and groom can only "talk to most of the guests for just a few minutes" - p 130.

So the tool is there with Wikipedia & other wikis  - but why do people bother - when there are no financial incentives ? But then why do some folks volunteer to coach kids sporting teams or in Australia deliver "Meals on Wheels " to older frail folks ?

Shirky suggests 3 reasons : to use some unused capabilities, vanity and to do a good thing. He also argues that "Wikipedia exists because enough people love it" p 141

And the nagging question - does anyone care about the wiki contributions anyway ? According to Shirky "Wikis reward those who invest in improving them. This explains why both experts and amateurs are willing to contribute" p 135

His final words in this chapter ...

"When people care enough, they can come together and accomplish things of a scope and longevity that were previously impossible; they can do big things for love .. " p 142 -  in this case for the concept of what Wikipedia means.


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Mar 7, 2010

Why we need to record - Mrs Joan Adams's Devilled Sausages - a childhood memory inspired by Kylie Kwong

Sunday night - for the last 15 years it has been an Aussie family get together night - I cook Mains and my Mum does the Desserts. And so my 16 year old, Kat, has experienced some very traditional Desserts as well as her Nan's latest experiments ....

Joyously, Kat is now emerging as a Foodie in her own right .... Japanese is her specialty, along with Cambodian dishes, Profiteroles & White Chocolate Mud Cakes... 

Tonight it was another of our traditional Aussie Sunday nights - a sort of comfort food theme - a left over night from Kat's 16th Birthday Party (a Disney Princess Party - and that's another story ... ).

We had heaps of leftover sausages (uncooked) & cubed cheese from for Kat's birthday party. David had done his always absolutely superb Indonesian Chicken Sate in Peanut Sauce to complement my Delicious Fried Rice (another Kylie Kwong gem featured in Delicious Magazine a few years back) - hardly surprising that sausages were not going to be much in demand at the birthday party!

So for our Sunday night dinner I decided to cook my Mum's Devilled Sausages - partly from my childhood memory and part from Kylie Kwong's "Recipes and Stories" p 40-41 : "Mrs Adams's Savoury Sausages & Mashed Potatoes". Coincidentally my Mum is another Mrs Adams!

(And on this occasion I supplied the Dessert - more leftovers : Aussie Kids Party fav : "Frogs in the Pond" aka Chocolate Freddo Frogs in Green Lime Jelly (Jello). )

I had previously scoured Mum's decades old recipe clippings, but had not located her "Devilled Sausages" recipe, and so I was hoping that when Mum tasted my improvisation, that she might be able to shed some light on any specific ingredients that I had missed.

Over dinner, Mum admitted that she certainly recalled the dish, and thought my improvisation was fairly close - but sadly explained that although she had been searching her recipe clippings collection, so far she had not found her original recipe.

How many family treasures could that scenario apply to ?

So important to document them isn't it ?

Otherwise lost forever...Records matter ... otherwise knowledge sharing can be limited

PS ...

Sausages are fairly basic, traditional family fare - although it is easy to pimp them with trimmings. 

One of my fav memories is the trimmings used by my friend & caterer, Irene Tognetti, and also mother of one of Australian's Living Treasures : Australian Chamber Orchestra's Richard Tognetti.

It was local government election time, where Irene was doing the catering for 100+ folk at a Trivia Night fundraiser. Although I was fairly distracted being both a candidate & the campaign director, I was still so impressed with how Irene transformed what could have been just another mundane sausage sizzle.

How ? So easy really - with generous sprays of Rosemary on the platters of sausages for each table - so simple and so effective.

KerrieAnne's Devilled Sausages Recipe

- 10 sausages (ours come from our local Harvey's Gourmet Butchers in the NSW South Coast seaside village of Thirroul - their meat is so absolutely superb! )
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (sliced or grated or finely chopped - I used finely chopped from the excess I had prepared for the birthday party)
- Worcestershire Sauce (I use Lea & Perrins which is quite runny and not as thick as some brands)
- 4-6 Basil leaves (I used fresh from our Vege Patch - David is amazed how big the Basil leaves are this year - with all the warmth, rain & humidity ! )

- 1/3 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup brown vinegar
- 3 tbspns brown sugar
- 2 tspsns Keens Mustard Powder

1. Preheat oven to 190oC
2. Grease rectangular baking dish
3. Combine sauce ingredients
4. Slit sausages lengthwise - but do not cut all the way through - then place them in baking dish
5. Spoon mixed sauce ingredients into slits in sausages
6. Arrange cheese (slices - grated or finely chopped) over the sauce filled slits in sausages
7. Sprinkle Worcestershire Sauce over the cheese - but do not be heavy handed
8. Bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes
9. Remove from oven - lift with egg slice or BarbieMate tool.

To serve :  Garnish with fresh Basil leaves & serve with potato mash & steamed vegetables 


- Kylie Kwong's "Recipes & Stories" p 40-41 version has a Bacon slice placed over the sauce on each sausage, before the cheese is added - and did not have the Worcestershire Sauce sprinkling

- my Mum doesn't recall using Bacon in her version but reckons it would work quite well
- also, neither Kylie Kwong's nor my Mum's had the Basil leaves)

Posted via email from KerrieAnne's Kitchen

Mar 3, 2010

I write - You write - Therefore We Are - Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody - Ch 4

Ch.4 : More great Shirky quotes  as I continue with my personal learning journey on Here Comes Everybody  ....

"When people talk about user-generated content, they are describing the ways that users create and share media with one another, with no professionals anywhere in sight  ...

It's easy to see this as a kind of failure. Who would want to be a publisher with only a dozen readers ?  ...

It's simple. They're not talking to you.  

The bloggers and social network users operating in small groups are part of a community,

... and they are enjoying something analogous to the privacy of the mall" p 83-85. 

Just like the sporting community folks at the Vietnamese restaurant last Sunday night .... a couple of really loud raucous tables sharing the conversations of their community with the rest of us, their accidental audience  .. and they not caring a hoot what we heard.

Shirky observes the difference between audiences and communities :

"An audience isn't just a big community; it can be more anonymous, with many fewer ties among users"  p 85

"A community isn't just a small audience either; it has a social density that audiences lack"  p 85

In fact Shirky argues "people are all talking to one another in these small clusters also explains why bloggers with a dozen readers don't have a small audience :

they don't have an audience at all, they just have friends.... most of what gets published is public  but not for the public " p 80 - 90

Further the self-actualization thing .. "Writing things for your friends to read and reading what your friends write creates a different kind of pleasure than writing for an audience" p 90

And "if people can share their work in an environment where they can also converse with one another, they will begin talking about the things they have shared  

... conversation is king

... content is just something to talk about " p 99 - ever been at a party with school teachers or IT geeks ?

Shirky describes an evolution to a community of practice - where the conversation becomes

... "how did you do that ?

 ... trading tips abut certain kinds of repairs, thus educating each other in the lore not covered in the manuals

... there are thousands of examples of communities of practice  

.. Gaia Online is a community for teenage fans of anime and manga

... like how to draw girls with really big eyes ..." (followers include my Teen - but to me Gaia had been the all encompassing Mother Earth Environment concept ! ) p 100-101

Recently Stan Garfield's Communities Manifesto (nb not to be confused with the Cluetrain Manifesto) has reached almost iconic status

eg see one of many bloggers' posts  it's generated.

But regardless, there's still Dunbar's number - how many people can you really effectively interact with ?

"No matter who you are, you can only read so many weblogs, can trade email with only so many people

... someone writing for thousands of people, though, or millions, has to start choosing who to respond to and who to ignore, and over time, ignore becomes the default choice. " p 91

Maybe it sounds like how some politicians deal with particularly persistent & pesky constituents ?

"Every webpage is a latent community.... In almost all cases the community will remain latent, either because the ties are too weak

... or because the people looking at the page are separated by too wide a gulf or time, and so on " p 102

Perhaps the above challenges have been, in part, the basis of Twitter's success - you can scan "sound bite sized chunks" of more folks, even more so with Twitter lists, and then choose which of their blogs to click through, to read the full content ?

"It is easier to ask a question than to answer it, we get the curious effect of a group of people  all able to overwhelm one another by asking, cumulatively, more questions than they can cumulatively answer

... The limiting effect of scale on interaction is bad news for people hoping for the dawning of an egalitarian age ushered in by our social tools " p 94-95


... perhaps in this there is a warning from Shirky, to be heeded by the prophets of Government 2.0 ? 


Back to : Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3

Forward to : Chapter 5 / Chapter 6/ Chapter 7 / Chapter 8 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 10 / Chapter 11 / Epilogue


Posted via web from kerrieannesfridgemagnets's posterous

Mar 2, 2010

Elies se Armi - Greek Pickled Olives from my Thirroul Seaside Garden - Global Wanderings in My Kitchen

I've been to Greece  a few times and just loved the food, Spanokopita. Tiropitakia, Dolmades, Tzatziki, Taramasalata, Souvlaki, Greek Roasted Leg of Lamb, Cheeses (Feta & Haloumi), Saganaki, Garithes me Feta (Garlic Prawns cooked in Tomato & Feta Sauce), Baklava & of course the Olives.

Now our local Thirroul Bowlo Club eatery has turned Greek, run by the husband of one my old school mates, Efti, one of the few Greeks in Thirroul in those days. We'd celebrated our wedding anniversary at their inaugural Greek Bazouki & Belly Dancing Night. It was a great night with Greek dancing, even more so to find that some of our old workmates, who are members of the Illawarra Greek community, as well as being friends of friends of Efti's husband, had wandered up to Thirroul to help kick it off.

So enthused by Greek foods, about 10 years ago, I'd planted an olive tree in the front garden of our seaside home on the NSW South Coast. We have a southerly exposure to salt laden winds so everything takes ages to grow - if they survive at all. The olive tree grew & grew - competing with the banksia's that attract Sulphur Crested Black Cockatoos.

We didn't get any olives for a long, long time. And even if we had, I recalled the label on the little bush I'd bought said something about a caustic soda pickling method - surely there was something less nasty ? But most stories I'd heard mentioned the caustic soda method - really offputting.

Finally, 3 years ago we had lots of olives - not enough to press our own oil - but enough to bottle the olives themselves. By then I'd read a few more of my Greek cookbooks, and discovered caustic soda wasn't necessary at all.

So I used Elies se Armi, aka Pickled Olives, pp18-19 from the AWW Easy Greek Style Cookery book - similar to Tess Mallos's Greek Cookbook p98,Angeline Kapsaskis's Greek Commonsense Cookbook p16 & Bourke's Backyard Factsheet - ( full instruction details here ).

The tedious part is making the 2 lengthwise cuts to the stone in each olive, gloves are recommended if you don't want your hands dyed a burgundy-purplish shade. I mentioned the olive slitting to an ABL (Australian Born Lebanese) work mate and she muttered about her father's bottling of olives - not something she wanted to do again too often. Another Macedonian workmate confirmed that the brine pickling was definitely the way to do olives & mentioned that it is common to not get a good crop every year.

Altogether, it really is too easy - all you need is olives, water, salt and, at the end, olive oil. Change the water every day for 5-10 days, depending on whose recipe you follow, then leave them in the dark. I leave them for months, rather than opening after 5 weeks as some recipes indicate. Contributions to the Manisa Turkish website tend to agree - some suggesting keeping them in the dark for 6 months before opening.

My husband's bottled olives from last year's crop were checked by our nephew James, the Apprentice Chef, & he was very impressed that we bottled our own. James liked their flavour too. We'd emailed a copy of the technique to cousins down on their farm in Oaklands, near Corowa in southern NSW. Ann had been a high school cooking teacher, but had left to manage the farm finances. She is deadly with removing avocado stones with quick knife stab - but hadn't worked out how to pickle the many olives growing on their trees in the Home Paddock kitchen garden. But she was very keen to try it out.

So we're finding that we get reasonable crop every second year - depending on how many we lose to storms and alas, the sulphur crested black cockatoos & galahs who seemed to have enjoyed this year's crop. 


Pics :
1.Waterfront in Mykonos  2. & 3. : Santorini  4.& 5. Mykonos Restaurant with young Olive Trees on tables 6. & 7. My Olive Tree 8. Pickled Olives from our Tree


Posted via email from KerrieAnne's Kitchen