It's all spinning wheels and self-doubt until the first pot of coffee.

Onto the next day job subversion: K-Logging

Speaking of software I want to get deployed at work (ie. time tracking), another thing I want to take the plunge with is k-logging. Basically, I want some software to give every person here an internal blog or journal. Immediately, I want this to capture internal narrative. A future subversive idea I have for it is to eventually pipe some of these internal entries out to our public company website. (Yes, I'm reading The Cluetrain Manifesto again.)

I've gotten almost everyone here on the wiki bandwagon, and we're using it regularly as a knowledge capture and collaboration tool. So, they're used to me throwing odd new tech at them. Unfortunately, the wiki isn't precisely suitable to what I want for the k-logs. These are my requirements so far:

  • Must be dead simple to use in all aspects, so that it sits far below the laziness threshold it takes to record an idea or narrative as it occurs.
  • Rich set of categories and metadata by which an entry can be tagged. (ie. On what project were you working? On what project task? With what products? How much time did you spend?)
  • Arbitrary views on weblog entries, querying on category and metadata, maybe even on full-text search. I want to be able to weave together, on the fly, the narrative of any person, project, product, or any other topic.

I'm looking, hopefully, for something free. At the moment, I'd have a hard time campaigning for the purchase of a fleet of Radio UserLand subscriptions for all of us, unfortunately. Someday, perhaps. (I could just imagine the insane possibilities of a Radio on every employee's desktop.) But, is there anything out there like this now? It's simple enough that I could probably roll my own in a weekend or less, but it'd be nice to jump on the bandwagon of an established k-log tool.

Also really looking at more ways to lower the laziness threshold. We just converted the entire company over to using Jabber as our official instant messaging platform, so I thought it'd be pretty keen to have the k-log system establish a presence to receive IM'ed journal entries. Along the lines of the wiki adoption, I'd probably have to get everyone to embed a certain style of keywords or some other convention to get the k-log system to pick up categories.

Or, to make it even lazier, could I get the k-log system to automatically discover categories by the mention of keywords? Hmm, this could be fun.

Anyone out there working at a k-logged company?


Archived Comments

  • You could borrow from the The Daily Chump to hook IM up to a blog/wiki. Chump works especially well from a group chat/channel where people say, "yah, throw that in the churn" and can add comments. The RDFig and MonkeyFist Daily Churn are playing around with additional metadata with entries (for where you're talking about projects, products, and time). The Daily Chump is from the original idea by Bijan Parsia @ MonkeyFist.
  • What's not working with wiki for this? The laziness thing? (In adding new content? In categorizing?) The aggregation thing, if you actually make a separate wiki for each person? Or something else?
  • I bet you could easily code a gateway so that a person would start from an HTML form, pick a bunch of categories and objectIDs from picklists, and have it generate a new-node form (for either a wiki *or* weblog) including the appropriate bits in the textarea. Then the person would just enter the "real" message around those keywords...
  • Something else you might want to consider to get around the laziness, is to choose or code a system that would support email. Since I'm sure everybody has email and uses it, the subject could be the categories seperated by commas, and the body could be auto posted. Nothing new to learn there. Of course the killer will be spelling differences and such. Some systems like PostNuke at sourceforge, is open source and easy to work with. It supports categories, search and tracking articles by author. Is easy to setup and maintain and hack. I'm pretty sure its supports the BloggerAPI, but could probably be extened to support the metablogAPI (or whatever its called) that has support for multiple categories so i would work with mail in systems or IM in systems.
  • PostNuke is great, I have it deployed for something resemlbing your purposes here in my department in Earthlink. I'll preface my prasie by saying I'm a contributing developer to this open source project, so I have a minor stake in it. It does support the blogger API, and well. It also supports generic XML-RPC and templating, meaning you could pretty painlessly make it support other APIs (it's just adding a template file). It's also modular, pluggable, and extensible. Modules already exist for it in terms of project management and collaberation. To support this it has a granular and adaptable security architecture. The laziness threshold is insane. If you wanted to you could have the site up with a 'tar xzvf', a mysqladmin command, and clicking through the install.php script. I reviewed a wide scope of content management systems, and even among non-free options, PostNuke is best of breed.
  • Nice idea! It makes me think of BlogFace, which is mentioned here and here. Using Zope's cataloging mechanism, the blog is just a dynamic query of a part of the site (a wiki, perhaps? ;), date-organized. You can look for metadata, full-text matching, anything you want. This would be server-side, however; Zope might be a bit heavy as a client.
  • Well, I work at a k-logged company, but then, we're also working on a k-logging tool... http://www.mygroupservices.com/ It covers the "dead simple" part. Regarding metadata, since most people ignore it (see Word's Properties window for an example), our solution is to let people create all the weblogs and groups they want, then flow all the recent events in the person's groups into a "What's New" page.