Showing posts with label Profiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Profiles. Show all posts

February 15, 2013

The Counterterrorism Calendar


The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) "leads our nations efforts to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort."  The NCTC is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). 

Not since the playing cards used in the 2003 Iraqi invasion with the most-wanted identified on the cards have I seen the employ of such a common tool for sharing such important information--until now with the development by the NCTC of a Counterterrorism Calendar

Typically, pin-up calendars have been devoted to beautiful models, Dilbert cartoons, and areas of personal interests and hobbies--such as cars, sports, aircraft, boats, or whatever.

I was impressed to see this concept used for sharing counterterrorism information; really, this is something that we should be mindful of every day--it's about our safety and national security.

The counterterrorism calendar has both a website and a PDF download

The website has an interactive timeline, map, and terrorist profiles--so you can learn about terrorism by time and space and those who commit the atrocities. 

Timeline--you can view by month and day the major terrorist acts that have occurred--and many days have more than one terrorist act associated with it--and only seven days out of the whole calendar year have no terrorist acts listed--so for those who are focused on just 9/11, there is a whole calendar waiting for you to view. 

Map--the map allows you to see the home base and geographical sphere of influence of many terrorist organizations--17 of them--along with a profile of each of those terrorist groups. There is also a button on the bottom of the page to see all the countries impacted with victims from 9/11--there are 91 countries shown with victims from this single catastrophic event alone.

Terrorists--the site has a list of terrorists with their profiles, identifying information, what they are wanted for, and amount of reward offered, or whether they have already been captured or killed. There is also a list of the 10 most wanted off to the right side of the page--with a rewards of $25 million listed for the #1 spot for Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The downloadable calendar has this information in a 160 page color-calendar--with a wealth of information for a calendar format like this--it is so large, I don't think you could actually hang this calendar because no regular push pins could actually hold it.

So if you can pull yourself away from the stereotypical Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, then you may actually be able to learn a lot about what our counterterrorism efforts are all about. ;-)

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August 12, 2011

To Follow Or Not To Follow

Theskystallione

Twitter is a great streaming feed for news and information, but what you get depends on who you follow.

While Twitter does provide suggestions based on whether they are "promoted" or who you already follow (i.e. follow Joe because they are "followed by" Julia), it doesn't tell you a lot of information about them except their Twitter handle, short profile, location, basic stats, etc.

A new service called Twtrland helps you decide who to follow by providing lot's more information and displaying it in an organized fashion--simply plug in the Twitter handle you are interested in knowing more about and you get the following:

1) Basic Info--Picture, profile, stats on follow/follower/tweets

2) Top Followers--Let's you know who else (from the who's who) is following this person.

3) Advanced Stats--Provides measures on how often he/she gets retweeted, tweets per day, retweets, etc.

4) Graph of Content Type--Displays in pie chart format the type of content the person puts out there: plain tweets, links, pictures, retweets, replies and more.

5) Samples of Content by Category--Examples of this persons tweets are provided by category such as: famous words, plains tweets, pictures, links, retweets, and mentions.

I like the concept and execution of Twtrland in organizing and displaying tweeters information. However, I cannot really see people routinely taking the time to put in each Twitter handle to get this information. Making a decision a who to follow is not generally a research before you follow event. The cost-benefit equation doesn't really make sense, since it doesn't cost you anything to follow someone and if you don't like their tweets, you can always change your mind later and unfollow them if you want.

Overall, I see Twtrland more as a profiling tool (for research or interest) by getting a handy snapshot of what people are doing/saying online in the world of micro-blogging, rather than a decision support system for whether I should add someone to my follow list or not.

(Source Photo: Twtrland Profile of Sylvester Stallone, Rocky!)

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July 15, 2011

An Infographics Treasure Trove

There is an amazing web site for creating, sharing, and exploring information visualizations (a.k.a. infographics)--it is called Visual.ly
There are currently more than 2,000 infographics at this site; this is a true online treasure trove for those who like to learn visually.
The infographics are categorized in about 21 areas including technology, science, business, the economy, the environment, entertainment, politics, and more.
I've included an example, from the Social Media category, of an infographic called The Conversation Prism developed by creative agency, JESS3.
As you can see this infographic displays the spectrum of social media from blogs and wikis to Q&A and DIY sites--it is a virtual index of social media today.
What I really love about infographics is that they can convey such a wealth of information in creative and memorable ways.
Moreover, there is such a variety of infographics out there--basically these are limited only by the imagination of the person sharing their point of view and their talents in conveying that information to the reader.
As someone who is very visual in nature, I appreciate when the content is rich (but not jumbled and overwhelming), and when it is logically depicted, so that it is quick and easy to find information.
In the example of The Conversation Prism, I like how it comprehensively captures all the various types of social media by category, color codes it, and visualizes it as part of a overall communications pie (or strategy).
To me, a good infographic is something you can relate to--there is a aha! moment with it.
And like a great work of art--there is the opportunity to get a deeper meaning from the visual and words together then from the words alone.
The shapes and dimensions and connections and distances and colors and sizes--it all adds meaning (lots and lots of context)--I love it!
I could spend hours at a site like visual.ly learning about all the different topics, marveling at the creativity and meaning of the information being conveyed, and never getting bored for a second.

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June 8, 2008

Cognitive Styles and Enterprise Architecture

We are all familiar with personalizing websites like Yahoo.com to make them more appealing, functional, and easy to navigate.

Now, according to MIT Technology Review, 9 June 2008, websites are being personalized not by the person, but rather by systems “that detect a user’s cognitive style” and changes the website accordingly

What is cognitive style?

Cognitive style is how a person thinks. Some people are more simplistic, others more detail-oriented, some like charts and graphs, and some like to be able to see and get to peer advice.

Why is cognitive style important?

Well, if we can figure out a person’s way of thinking and what appeals to them, then we can tailor websites to them and make them more useful, useable, and more effective at selling to them.

“Initial studies show that morphing a website to suit different types of visitors could increase the site’s sales by about 20 percent.”

So what’s new about this, haven’t sites like Amazon been tailoring their offering to users for quite some time?

Amazon and other sites “offer personalized features…drawing from user profiles, stored cookies, or long questionnaires.” The new method is based instead on system adaptation “within the first few clicks on the website by analyzing each user’s patterns of clicks.”

With cognitive style adaptation, “suddenly, you’re finding the website is easy to navigate, more comfortable, and it gives you the information you need.” Yet, the user may not even realize the website has been personalized to him.

“In addition to guessing each user’s cognitive style by analyzing that person’s pattern of clicks, the system would track data over time to see which versions of the website work most effectively for which cognitive style.” So there is learning going on by the system and the system gets better at matching sites to user types over time!

If we overlay the psychological dimension such as personality types and cognitive styles to web design and web adaptation, then we can individuate and improve websites for the end-user and for the site owner who is trying to get information or services out there.

Using cognitive styles to enhance website effectiveness is right in line with User-centric Enterprise Architecture that seeks to provide useful and usable EA products and services. Moreover, EA must learn to appreciate and recognize different cognitive styles of its users, and adapt its information presentation accordingly. This is done, for example, in providing three levels of EA detail for different types of end-users, such as profiles for executives, models for mid-level managers, and inventories for analysts. This concept could be further developed to actually modify EA products for the specific end-user cognitive styles. While this could be considerable work and must be balanced against the expected return, it really comes down to tailoring your product to your audience and that is nothing new.


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March 26, 2008

The Enterprise is Unwieldy and Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture develops the architecture for the enterprise, right? You’d think that’s a no-brainer. Except what happens when the enterprise is so large and complex that it defies the efforts to architect it?

Federal Computer Week (FCW), 24 March 2008 reports that Dennis Wisnosky, the chief architect and chief technical officer for DoD’s Business Mission Areas states that “the Department [of Defense (DoD)] is too large an organization to attempt to encompass all of its activities in a single enterprise architecture.”

Similarly, FCW, 26 November 2007, reported that “the size of the Navy Department and the diversity of its missions make it impossible to describe the service in a single integrated architecture.”

Dennis Wisnosky goes on to say that “DoD must achieve business transformation by breaking off manageable components of an enterprise architecture rather than trying to cover everything at once…[this is how we will achieve] the goal of an enterprise architecture [which] is to guide future acquisition and implementation.”

Richard Burk, former chief architect of the Federal EA (FEA) at OMB states: “there is no practical way to create a useful architecture for a large organization. You can get an overall picture of an agency using an [enterprise architecture] of everything the agency does, but when you get down to making it operational, at that point you really need to break it down into segments, into the lines of business.”

The Navy is using the concept of segment architecture, but is calling it “architecture federation.”

Michael Jacob, the Navy’s chief technology officer, “compared the architecture effort to the development of a city plan, in which multiple buildings are built separately, but to the same set of standards and inspection criteria.”

Mr. Jacob continues that “our effort will allow common core architecture elements [technical standards, mission areas, business processes, and data taxonomies] to be identified so that architecture efforts can be aligned to those same standards.”

I believe that every level of an organization, including the highest level, can have a architecture, no matter what the size, and that we should tailor that architecture to the scope of the organization involved. So for an organization the mega-size of DoD, you would have very little detail in at the highest level, EA (like the FEA Practice Guidance demonstrates), but that the detail would build as you decompose to subsequent layers.

For any organization, no matter its size, every level of the architecture is important.

Within the enterprise architecture itself we need multiple views of detail. For example, from an executive view, we want and need to be able to roll up organizational information into summary “profiles” that executives can quickly digest and use to hit core decision points. At the same, time, from a mid-level manager or analyst view, we want and need to be able to drill down on information—to decompose it into models and inventory views--so that we can analyze it and get the details we need to make a rational decision.

Similarly, within the overall architecture, we need the various views of enterprise, segment, and solutions architecture. The enterprise view is looking at strategic outcomes for the overall enterprise; the segment view decomposes this into actionable architectures for the lines of business; and the solutions architecture “brings it all home” and operationalizes the architectures into actual solutions.

Just like with the profiles, models, and inventories of enterprise architecture where we can roll-up or down, the key with these various architectural levels is that there is line-of-sight from the enterprise to the segment and to the solution. The lower levels must align to and comply with the levels above. This is how we achieve integration, interoperability, standardization, and modernization.


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January 23, 2008

Mind Mapping, Social Graphing, and Enterprise Architecture

User-centric EA uses visualization techniques like mind mapping to brainstorm and develop information products that are useful and useable to the end user.

Mind map—“a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. It is an image-centered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a brainstorming approach to any given organizational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within…The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organized into groupings, branches, or areas. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories.” (Wikiepdia)

Mind maps are all about linking information and portraying it in a simple, clear, and easy-to-read way for people to understand and use.

Similar to a Mind Map that visualizes linked items to a central idea, the Social Graph is “an image of a person's connections to friends, family, and colleagues,” where the person is in the center and his connections (or links) span outward.

MIT Technology Review, on 28 December 2007 reports in “Mapping Professional Networks” that “IBM's Atlas tool aims to help businesses visualize connections between colleagues…[it] works in conjunction with its Connections software, [and] aims to help professionals network more efficiently within large companies. Its My Net component helps people visualize how closely they’re staying in touch with professional contacts. The closer a contact is to the center of the circle, the more frequently the user communicates with her.

The Atlas tool “collects information about professional relationships based not only on job descriptions and information readily available through the corporate directory, but also through blog tags, bookmarks, and group membership. Atlas can be configured to look at e-mail and instant-message patterns, and to weigh different types of information more or less heavily.”

“Atlas's four features are Find, Reach, Net, and My Net. Find and Reach are both focused on finding experts in particular fields. Through Find, a user enters search terms and receives a list of experts, ranked based on information gleaned from social data, the level of the expert's activity in the community, and any connections he may have to trusted associates of the user. Reach then helps the user plot the shortest path to make the connection, suggesting people the user already knows who could put him in touch with an expert. Net and My Net are primarily meant to help people analyze their existing networks. Net shows patterns of relationships within particular topic areas at a company-wide level. For example, it might analyze data on people interested in social computing and produce a map of how those people connect with each other through blog readership and community involvement. My Net allows individuals to analyze their own networks, showing them who they are connected to and how frequently they stay in touch with those people.”

The Atlas tool is a cool visualization technique that organizations can use, for example, after a merger or acquisition to see how well two organizations are integrating or that an individual in the organization can use to locate and stay connected with the subject matter experts they need to do their jobs.

Mind maps and social graphs are two interesting examples of how information visualization can be used to enable better organizational information understanding, analysis, and decision-making. User-centric EA maximizes the use of information visualization to communicate effectively. This is especially true when it comes to senior executives in the organization, who with their busy schedules, frequently look for a quick snapshot of actionable information, which summarizes lots of information for them, and helps them hone in on problems areas or opportunities, and options and recommendations for addressing these. In User-centric EA, Profiles (like mind maps or social graphs) are the high level products that portray a satellite view of information. Profiles capture a broad, strategic view of information and visualize it for executive consumption and decision-making. Further, user-centric EA links profile-level products to more detailed information products in the architecture, like models and inventories, so users can easily navigate up or down the hierarchy of information to get to what they need. Similarly, a mind map or social graph could also be a navigation mechanism to get to more detailed information on the objects or people linked to those products.


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July 24, 2007

Separate Forest From Trees - Rule of Thumb #4

Rule #4 is separate the forest from the trees.

What this means is that we provide the users EA information in various levels of detail that is tailored to their particular needs in the organization. Moreover, each level of information is drillable (or clickable) to the next, so that user can navigate between information views.

For example, in our agency, we use a three level metamodel representing high, medium, and low, or what we call, profiles, models, and inventories.

  • Profiles are high-level, big-picture strategic views of the information; it’s the satellite view from 30,000 miles up, providing information to the executive in a quick, condensed format, usually a graphic.
  • Inventories (or catalogues) are the detailed views of information usually in database or spreadsheet format, that is typically used by the analyst. It’s the trees versus the forest; the distinct configuration items with lots of information about each one.
  • Models are the connection between the forests; they illuminate relationships between information that is especially useful to the mid-level manager working with his/her peers. These relationships include those that show how processes work, how information is exchanged between entities, or how systems interoperate.
In user-centric EA, it's not one size fits all!

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