Master Data Management links: March

It’s been a while since I last pulled together a few MDM related links, and I haven’t done it in March before, so here are a few sites I’ve been keeping an eye on lately. There’s a loose theme this month as well; these are a few of the MDM communities that are out there.

First up is a brand new group on LinkedIn. Created by Henrik at the end of February, this group already has 125 members and has immediately sparked some interesting discussions. (The group may be new but Henrik has been blogging for a while.)

There are plenty of other MDM groups on LinkedIn, and I’m a member of a few others, but so far none have really stood out. I’m hoping Multi-Domain MDM maintains momentum after it’s good start.

The next link is a community I’ve been a member of for a bit longer, in fact it featured in my first MDM links post! Dan was one of the earliest MDM bloggers I discovered, and is still posting on the Hub Designs Blog, so I’m not surprised this community is still going strong.

Blogging provided strong foundations for both these communities, and in some respects you don’t really need a purpose built ‘community’ site. An active blog with plenty of posts and discussions is just as good, and I’ve recently been enjoying this one:

And finally, communities are all about people, and that’s what twitter is good at. Lists make it easy to share people worth following and luckily Dan has one already, which saved me creating one myself!

Are there any other MDM communities you’d recommend?


Big box of blogs

Just a quick post to end the year/decade; not a review of the past, or predictions for the future, but a few weblogs you might be interested in taking a look at after the hangover. I’ve been meaning to sort out a proper blogroll since I gave up using Technorati to keep track of my favourites. It was tricky to come up with a short list and there are plenty of other excellent blogs in my feed reader which didn’t quite make it this time round, some just because they’ve gone quiet. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my blogroll of 2009:

diamond geezer

This isn’t just some amateur blog like the one you’re reading, it’s a London finest blog. Regular features, cutting wit, days out by proxy, the underground and an all round great read.

Alex Bowyer

Canada is probably the only country I’d consider emigrating to* so it’s a fascinating perspective on a country I’ve only visited a couple of times. (* Still pretty unlikely so don’t panic if you live there!) Plus there’s technology and, apparently, life after IBM!


Wonderfully eclectic. Pft.

Hub Solution Designs

A brief detour into work related territory. This is still the most interesting master data management blog I’ve found, confirmed by Dan’s most recent “Hidden Costs of Duplicate Customer Data” post. I guess MDM might be a bit niche, so moving swiftly on…

Staring At Empty Pages

Has certain similarities with diamond geezer with “On highway exit numbering”, “Clumping, and throughput in public transportation” and a “Faulty logic” series, but not from London. A trip to Japan was a bit excessive in comparison to diamond geezer’s local jaunts though!!

Strange Maps

Some brilliant maps. Some… not so good, but still worth a look if you like maps.

Sustainable Suburbia

Probably the most geeky on the list, and it should be familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to Homecamp. Read this one for arduino, gas monitoring, boiler control and RF electronics, although it’s the Lister engine I really like… just don’t tell Jo!!

That’s all for this year. Hope you have a very happy 2010.

First Century

Almost by coincidence (i.e. only slightly contrived after I noticed how close it was) this is the first anniversary of Notes from a small field and the 100th post! If you don’t like blog posts about blog stats, look away now!

  • First post: Hello world! on 19 September 2007, and I didn’t even write it!
  • Least popular post (not including this one!): Perranporth, Cornwall with 3 hits, which is a shame because the Ordnance Survey still do nice wallpaper pics
  • Most popular search term: “low power home server” 112 times
  • Busiest day: Thursday, July 31, 2008 with 306 hits
  • Total views: 8,994
  • Spam: 2,763 (all caught thanks to Akismet)

Luckily it’s not all numbers. Here’s my roundup from the past year/99 posts:

  • Favourite comment: if I’d have started this blog sooner, there would have been a lot of posts about fitting the kitchen!
  • Most useless post: iPhone accessibility (nobody seems interested, which is a shame- must try and catch up with Andy about trying it out on the touch screen kiosk in the ETS lab instead)

If you got this far, well done! If all goes to plan, I’ll have some cakes at my desk in Hursley to celebrate.

P.S. Aarrr!

Update: If you were working at home today/don’t work in Hursley, you missed out… yum…



The global kitchen

I recently compared virtual worlds to a global shed so I thought I’d try another house related analogy…

After a few discussions with Andy recently I’m toying with the idea that social software is like a global kitchen. A kitchen is a good place for a nice cup of tea and a sit down when friends or neighbours pop round, and it’s where a large proportion of the guests are likely to be found at a party (and coincidentally where all the alcohol is). Like the kitchen, Weblogs, Dopplr, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and (insert your favourite here) all provide a sociable place you can connect to people through. Unlike the kitchen, the people can be from anywhere, and they can stop by at any time to leave a note on your fridge, even if you aren’t in.

I find it fascinating how people are connected; for example, Andy and I connected a contact he has made online with someone I know in person (and only recently discovered has a blog, through Facebook!) in one degree of blogroll. It seems to me that the people you meet in person and those you meet online are no different, and there’s quite an overlap anyway: people you meet in person move away, and you can meet people in person that began as virtual friendships (Dopplr perhaps makes that more likely). I often struggle to remember when, or how, I first met someone but the process seems to be similar whether in person or through social software. You can be introduced to a friend of a friend in person or on LinkedIn, and you can bump into someone randomly on the way to the fridge or stumble upon their weblog by chance.

One thing that I do find odd is that, despite their primary purpose, sites that record your network of contacts don’t seem to help making those contacts in the first place. At least in my experience, I have only ever added someone to my Facebook or LinkedIn network after meeting them elsewhere.

For slightly more coherent thoughts on the subject, with no mention of kitchens, here are the blog posts Andy pointed me at in the first place:

What the heck is a non-meta friend anyway?

Christine Rosen on Virtual Friendships And The New Narcissism

Letting the categories out of the bag

I seem to have been creating a new category for every new post until now, so before it’s too late, I’ve had a bit of a rethink; from now on I’m aiming for less categories and more tags. Introducing the plan B list of categories:

  • Life, the Universe, and Everything
    • Grumpy Old Man
    • Local
  • Ones and Zeros
    • VU

That should cover everything, although I still might tweak the names and abandon having sub-categories. So that’s the blog all nicely refiled, now back to trying to file all the paperwork strewn across the floor…

Would the real James Taylor please stand up

I had a bit of a tour of mail rooms in Hursley on my way out of work today. For a brief moment I thought I had received my first real post, delivered directly to my mail point, in about two years but then I spotted it had been via my old mail point. As it turns out, it had been to the right mail point in the first place… for one of the three other James Taylors in Hursley! Unlike a few bits of post I’m still waiting for (I hope the Moo cards arrive at the right place!) the right James Taylor should pick up his letter on Monday.

Having a common popular name can be interesting. As well as the three James Taylors at the same site, there are plenty more in the same company. Makes for some entertaining email exchanges. Not only that, but I quite often have lunch with one of the James Taylors… and he lives in the same village!

Then there’s the internet. Talk of googling yourself always makes me chuckle- try finding me! Since starting this blog I’ve been taking more of an interest in Technorati and it looks like us James Taylors are keen bloggers as well!

Third post : Third blog

I guess the comments on the default ‘Hello world!’ post are a bit of a giveaway that this is not my first blog. I have blogged from a few holidays to avoid messing about with postcards but, before that, I have been blogging behind the firewall in IBM since 17 May 2005, starting with an optimistic first post:

“…it’s unlikely I’ll have time for any more entries and even less chance any of them would be useful anyway!

Good luck to all the other new bloggers though.”

Well, it wasn’t the last post and I have learned a lot about blogging since then. If nothing else, it’s been useful for me to look back on where all the time went, which is a huge plus when you have a goldfish memory! It has also enabled me to connect to some amazing people inside IBM and beyond. Plus I hope at least one of the posts has been at least vaguely useful to someone as well! I know I have found huge value in reading other people’s blogs, from shared experiences, to things more technical.

The biggest lesson though is probably that, instead of believing I wouldn’t have time to blog, it actually saves me time. Instead of sending an email to a closed group of people, blogging allows anyone else who might need the information later to find it. Instead, of struggling to find someone to contact, I now have a much bigger network to annoy help me! Last, but not least, Andy is a walking encyclopedia!

And finally, a small disclaimer:

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.