Why iPhone OS (iPad) is ECM…

I like Twitter. It exposes me for a lot of interesting thoughts from interesting and smart people that I follow. Today I read a post called  Why the iPad Matters – Its the Beginning of the End by Carl Frappaolo. It talkes a lot of why the iPad brings a new promise for content delivery – a complete digital chain. It made me think about one of the things which is unique with the iPod/iPhone/iPad – it is the lack of a folder-based file system exposed to users. Surprisingly (maybe) it is the lack of it that makes the whole user experience much better.

So how does this relate to ECM then? Well, I guess many of us ECM-evangelists (or ”Ninjas” I heard today) have been in endless meetings and briefings explaining the value of metadata and the whole ”context-infrastructure” around each object in an ECM-system that can hold fine-grained permissions, lifecycles, processess, renditions and so forth. I have even found myself explaining the ECM concept using the iTunes as an analogue. You tag the songs with metadata and access them through playlists which is in essence virtual folders where each song can be viewable in many playlists. That is the same concept as the ”Show in folder” flag in Documentum. Metadata can even power Smart Playlists which in essence is just a saved search query – something we have added as a customization in Documentum Digital Asset Manager (DAM). So in essence the iTunes Library (should be call it a repository 🙂 is a lightversion of an ECM-system. Before continuing I really wonder why I have to customize Documentum to get the GUI-features that iTunes provide…?

So iTunes abstracts away the folder-based file system on a Mac or Windows PC but as long as you are using Mac OS X or Windows the file system is still there right. Some people even get really frustrated by iTunes and just can’t get around their head that there is no need to move files around manually when synching them to iPhone OS-powered devices. And here comes the beauty, in these devices there are no folder-based file system to access. Just the iPod App for music, the Photos App for photos and so forth. All your content is suddenly displayed in context and filtered out based on metadata and that App’s specific usage.

To some degree that means that the whole concept of iPhone OS-based devices not only can make content delivery digital but it can provide a much better user interface that is powered by all these ECM-features that we love (and have a hard time explaining). Suddenly we have an information flow entirely based on metadata instead of folder names and file names. Maybe that will make ECM not only fun but also able to much more quickly explain the dreaded ”What’s in it for me question?”.

Now, can someone quickly write an iPad App for Documentum so I can make my point 🙂 It will be a killer app, believe me!

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iPhone

The product that so many Mac-users have been waiting for has now been launched and what a launch it was. I especially like the story about Steve Wozniak waiting in line with a specially designed t-shirt stating ”the line starts here”. However, it is again very interesting to listen to people and media trying do their best of making the iPhone an irrelevant ”hype thing”. There seem to be an almost Microsoft-like incentive to crack down on anything Apple is doing today with some simple arguments around ”what’s new, actually, it is not exactly the first phone around”. To me that is just missing the point or perhaps a blindness of abvious flaws of current products in the market. I own a Sony Ericsson P990i and it is a phone that have all the features when reading the specifications. Fine, but it is a terrible user experience. There seem to have been little or no usability testing and the updates they send out does not seem to fix anything. To me that counts and that is what Apple seem to have a good job fixing. Just as it is a bit more fun and easy to use a Mac, I believe it is more fun and easy to use an iPhone. Apple IS good at creating a spin and a hype but unlike Microsoft the actual products they sell are great and not full of bugs. The reason for that is that Steve Jobs strive for perfection and that kind of corporate culture do count in the long run.

As a sidenote, if you want to have a look at Alfresco on the iPhone have a look here

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The Apple TV isn’t so bad after all…

I recently decided to buy an Apple TV to use together with my LCD projector. I had gotten tired of using my laptop as the playback device since I always had to move cables around. Thought it would be good to have everything permanently setup for once. Earlier I had some doubts about the Apple TV since it is a bit crippled compared to other solutions out there including using an old Xbox with the hacked media center application. But buying something from Microsoft to my home seemed a little bit too much for a Mac-person like me. The main drawback of the Apple TV is of course the limited set of codecs it supports. However, that turned out to not be a big factor when I discovered VisualHub which is a great media transcoding application. It eats a lot of useful formats and has presets for converting to the Apple TV or an iPod and even adds the content to the iTunes library. So when everything is converted it is automagically synched to the harddrive of my Apple TV and is ready to watch.

The image quality is great even on my big screen. I use component cables now and the 720p PAL resolution and for HD-encoded clips it looks just great. The interface is very good looking and it show it comes from Apple which I really like. The recent updates also adds content from YouTube and it also works just fine. Even there the image quality surprised me. Not as good as the HD-clips I have of course but not that much worse than standard resolution TV sometimes.

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Enterprise Content Management on Mac OS X Server

Today I have an article posted on a Swedish Macsite called www.macpro.se which focuses on professional Mac-users. It explores the concept of ECM and points out the open-source solution Alfresco as a good alternative for Mac-users. Unfortunately the big ECM-vendors in the market do not support Mac OS X on the serverside.

Idag har jag artikel om avancerade dokumenthantering publicerad på sajten www.macpro.se

Alternativen för ECM på Mac OS X Server är tyvärr inte jättemånga. Dock börjar förutsättningarna för detta komma i och med att Apple anammar fler och fler standarder. Idag går det t.ex. att köra såväl Oracle som Sybase som databasmotor och som applikationsserver för J2EE fungerar t.ex. JBoss bra. Med Apples Unix-baserade operativsystem är Macen igen aktuell även för affärskritiska lösningar som jag ser det. XServe är också klart konkurrenskraftig vad gäller pris och prestanda jämfört med t.ex. motsvarande server från Dell. Open source-plattformen Alfresco är idag ett mycket bra alternativ för de som vill ha en ECM-plattform med officiellt stöd för Mac OS X Server.

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5th Avenue Apple Store

Alexandra outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York City

Today we arrived in New York and the weather was just great. The sun was shining and the temperature was rather warm, like an early summer day in Sweden. We decided to take a walk in Central Park and everywhere people were relaxing and sun-bathing on the green lawns. After the park we ended up in corner at the 5th Avenue Apple Store, you know the one with just a big glass-cube with the Apple logo in it. The actual store is below the street level. It was wonderful to see the stream of people going down the glass staircase. Apple products are really popular.

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Mac Pro…for me!

I have been waiting for a couple of years now. I sometimes do some small film projects like documentaries and similar movies and I do want to use the new cool features of Final Cut Studio. However, my PowerMac 867 that I bought in 2002 have really become too slow for that. So I have been longing for a new Mac with multiple processors and today I bought it. I settled for a Mac Pro with Dual Duo-core Xeon 2.66 Ghz processors with 5 Gb RAM and dual Samsung displays. I felt really good to be back on top of the required specs for the software again. I can´t wait to start playing around in Motion to create some stunning graphics.

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Apple best in test!

Today, one of Sweden´s biggest newspaper reports that in an independant test of laptop computers, Apple´s MacBook got rated best in test. It included parameters such as battery life, light intensity of the display and not the least a drop test where the MacBook was the only computer completely unharmed. Another good reason to swtich to a Mac.

DN: Apple bäst i test (in Swedish)

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Alfresco 2.0 Released

Alfresco Logo

Alfresco is an open-source solution for Enterprise Content Management (ECM). It competes with products like EMC Documentum, IBM Document Manager/FileNet, OpenText/Hummingbird and many others. The idea is to focus on the content (and not projects or something else) within organizations and that means all kind of documents like Word, PowerPoint, PDFs but more and more also images, sounds and video as well. Increasingly these platforms also set out to handle structured content within databases. My experience is that employing a good information model for the content with an organization is the only way to start bringing some order to all the documents found on file servers.

Anyway, Alfresco is a really interesting open-source alternative to this. It has been designed from the bottom up by the same team that developed Documentum years ago. It features versioning, metadata support, free text searching, workflow management as well as a special web content management addition. The list of open standards it supports is very long and I think that is the right way to go. With some help from my friend Martin I installed it on a Apple XServe running Mac OS X Server 10.4.8 and it looked really nice with some new AJAX-powered user interfaces.

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Web 2.0

Maybe you have heard about Web 2.0 or the next generation of Internet but wonder what the fuss really was all about. In essence it is not a single thing but a concept made possible by a few different technologies. The thing is though, that it is not so much about technology as it is about changing the way we do business, interact and collaborate. I think just a superficial understandning of these concepts makes it much easier to envision new ideas of how to create (IT-based) service that help us all do amazing things. Someone have put together a very nice video which does a good job of explaining this I think

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

It is just 4 min and 31 sec and it is well worth it – especially if you are not a technology kind of person.

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Mac OS X Tech Talk

A couple of years ago I attended a lot of Apple events here in Sweden and I enjoyed it very much. It is somehow very nice to be around other Mac users and see the glowing Apple everywhere you look. To me all these events also were some kind of a water hole for me because I could go there as a woman. I guess I tested the waters a bit there and it was always very nice days. This Friday it was time again but now the main reason was of course to listen to rather advanced presentations about the development frameworks of the upcoming Mac OS 10.5 Leopard operating system. There were people brought in from abroad to give very detailed presentations about the new exciting API Core Animation as well as Open GL, XCode 3.0 and other new stuff. I can´t tell you more because we signed an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to go there but I can tell you the future for Cocoa developers looks promising!

A little more info is available here: Tech Talk Sessions

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