Introducing Knowtons - Particles of Knowledge

Evidently, Google has recently released a new service called Knols. It defines a "knol" as a unit of knowledge. The Knols service has similarities to a wiki, but some significant differences, too.

I prefer a term of my own creation: "knowton" (rhymes with "proton"). You can think of it as a particle (or yes, unit) of knowledge, or something knowable.

What is the essence of a knowton?

  • It is something describable or expressible.
  • It is usually something nameable or identifiable.

What are some characteristics of knowtons?

  • They can be related to other knowtons
  • They can often be broken down into other knowtons

Examples of knowtons:

  • words
  • people
  • places
  • things
  • concepts

A knowton is something you could ask a question about:

  • "What is 'that'?"
  • "Who is 'that'?"
  • "Where is 'that'?"
  • "What does 'that' mean?"

Information devices that contain knowtons include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • glossaries or dictionaries
  • indexes
  • newspapers
  • encyclopedias
  • wiki pages
  • credits in a movie
  • books
  • high school yearbooks (people)
  • phonebooks (people and businesses)
  • web pages
  • radio and television programs
  • or basically, any source of information with identifiable units of "askability"

When expressed in electronic systems, a knowton can have attributes:

  • identifiers
    • numbers or codes
    • names
    • aliases
    • URIs
  • description
  • location
    • Example: geocoding (latitude and longitude)
    • URLs (similar to URIs)

Challenge: Spread the Meme!

What do you think? Do you like the term "knowton?"

If you think the term "knowton" is cool, usable, or meaningful, try using it in a conversation today, and see what kind of questions or reactions you get.

Hacking Google Calendar Using jQuery

I did a pretty cool hack using jQuery yesterday. It took me a couple of hours, but I finally figured out how to make it work.

CompanionLink Task Synchronization Gone Awry

I use a product from CompanionLink Software to synchonrize my Outlook 2007 calendar with Google Calendar. I recently upgraded my version of CompanionLink for Google Calendar to CompanionLink for Google, which includes new synchronization features for Outlook Contacts and Tasks, as well as support for Google Apps.

The Outlook Task synchronization "feature" caused me a lot of grief by uploading all of my tasks (including completed ones for the past several years) into my calendar as events. In addition, any tasks that did not have a due date were added as events on the day that I first tried the sync feature. In other words, I had hundreds of tasks loaded as events for April 13th, 2008.

I was not happy. Needless to say, I immediately deactivated the task synchronization portion of the application and stuck with calendar only. Unfortunately, I was left with the task of cleaning the "task events" out of my Google Calendar. The problem is that there's no quick way to do this in Google Calendar's interface.

Google Reader bookmarklets (using jQuery)

I've always been annoyed that Google Reader chops off the names of my RSS feed folders in the left-hand navigation pane. At the very least, they should give you a horizontal scrollbar. And all of these titles with "..." in them to save space are also annoying.

Here's what I did to fix that (requires running the jQuery bookmarklet first):

  • Prerequisite: Append jQuery to current page
  • <a href='javascript:void(function(){$("#sub-tree").css("overflow", "auto");$("#sub-tree-item-0-main").css("width","500px");}());'>GReader Tree Scroll - adds a horizontal scrollbar to the list of folders/feeds.



Both bookmarklets above use jQuery to make the magic happen, so you'll need to run the "Append jQuery to current page" bookmarklet before you run either of the above bookmarklets.

Tell me what you think!

Google@Work seminar, JotSpot, and Wikis

Google continues on its "parallel-universe" path to (friendly--not evil) world domination (parallel to Microsoft's attempts, that is) by expanding its reach into the Enterprise application space.  In a recent free seminar held in Columbus, Google demonstrated some of its offerings in the enterprise, including:

  • Google Maps for Enterprises - Provide the power and functionality of Google's web-based mapping technologies in internal websites and critical applications that require support. With Google Maps for Enterprise, organizations of all types can integrate data and seamlessly create a high performance web-based mapping experience.

    Ideal for applications such as workforce management, operations/logistics and CRM, Google Maps for Enterprise provides fast performance through the Google Maps API which is recognized for helping spur the web mashup phenomenon. Users benefit from the ease of use that people love about the consumer Google Maps offering, and satellite imagery provides detailed views of the Earth. Google Maps for Enterprise also features enterprise-grade support and service.

  • Google Earth for Enterprises - Explore geographic information with the power of Google Earth Enterprise, a 3D visualization of the earth that integrates, organizes and publishes your enterprise's location data.  Host your data locally and then overlay it on top of Google's.  Your employees use a specialized Google Earth client to access your local datasets and study them through Google Earth's fluid 3D interface.
  • Google Apps for Enterprises - includes Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  • Syndicate content