Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Day: April 27, 2009

Amazon Buys Ebook Firm Lexcycle

Amazon and Lexcycle announce that Amazon has aquired Ebook Firm Lexcycle, Inc., developers of the iphone eBook reader. Both companies said there are no plans to change the development of Stanza. According to Lexcycle’s founder Marc Prud’hommeau, “We are not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition. Customers will still be able to browse, buy, and read ebooks from our many content partners. We look forward to offering future products and services that we hope will resonate with our passionate readers. We are excited to join forces with a company that has innovated on behalf of readers for over a decade and is a pioneer in ebooks. Like Amazon, we believe there is a lot of innovation ahead for ebooks and we could not think of a better company to join during this exciting time”.

The Day Lynn Turner Stopped My XBRL Speech

Lynn Turner, the outspoken and former SEC chief accountant under Arthur Levitt, is again in the news straight talking about what is wrong in the world of accounting.  His straight talk has earned him a reputation as a beacon for clear financial reporting and no non-sense.  I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Turner in 2002 while speaking as a conference at the University of Northern Colorado.  My topic, XBRL, was very new to the entire audience except for Lynn.  Then something completely unexpected happened.

In the middle of my talk, Lynn raised his hand like traffic cop and said “Stop”.
The next few words surprised me and stuck with me to this day.  Lynn said, “Neal, I’m a believer and supporter of XBRL.  In fact, I wrote the speech for Arthur Levitt when he mentioned XBRL back in 2000.  But please promise me that whenever you speak in public about XBRL remind people that you must get the accounting right first.”

When the shock of being stopped in mid-sentence by the former SEC chief accountant wore off, I thanked Lynn for his comments and continued with my talk.  Later, as I reflected upon what Mr. Turner had said, the idea of putting accounting first began to resonate.  You see, XBRL is a unique new way to tell the world about the accounting choices your company has made.  Each line item and soon, each numerical value in the footnotes to financial statements will carry additional information about the label, definition and authoritative reference associated with each value.  Never before has the accounting behind the numbers been so exposed.

Getting the accounting right will be a process that will evolve over time.  For example, I do not expect the newly released 2009 Us GAAP taxonomy to be perfect.  Each individual line will require careful review by the management team during the time-compressed close to file cycle.  Review processes will be tested and tweeked as the XBRL becomes a critical part of the correctness and timliness of the corporate SEC filing.

Problems are also likely to surface from outside filing companies.  The taxonomy will be “stress tested’ when over 500 first phase filings begin this June.  I expect to hear reports of missing elements and errors in the taxonomy.  We will also hear about cases where the use of the XBRL taxonomy exposes interesting things about corporate accounting that might not be right.  As Lynn Turner admonished over seven years ago, companies need to get the accounting right first, then correctly tag the results in XBRL.

Autonomy Delivers Cloud-Based Web Content Compliance Solution

Autonomy Corporation plc (LSE: AU.) announced a new solution that allows businesses to automatically record and archive dynamic website content. Designed to address the complex regulatory requirements for businesses presenting dynamic content on the web, the solution combines Autonomy Digital Safe with Interwoven TeamSite to form an offering for including web content in a comprehensive compliance policy. Autonomy leverages the capabilities of its Digital Safe Archive and TeamSite web content management solution to provide an automated, secure, and scalable solution that helps businesses meet the compliance requirements of the modern web. For example, an insurance company can now produce a record of the exact premiums it offered online to a particular segment of customers during a marketing campaign conducted several months ago. Digital Safe is a hosted archive service that enables customers to outsource the storage and management of email messages, rich-media files, audio files, instant messages, and all forms of web content. TeamSite’s web versioning capabilities enable businesses to capture snapshots of content delivered to customers at exact points in time, including rolling back to content delivered several months or years ago. This information can now be ingested and indexed by Digital Safe to help organizations meet strict eDiscovery and audit compliance requirements, including COBS 11.8 (Conduct of Business), SEC/FINRA regulations, and the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act. This solution is available now.

Critical mass

Every now and then the question of critical mass pops up when discussing the uses of social media in companies and organizations. “How many users should we have before social media is useful?” IMHO there is no absolute answer to the question, as it depends entirely on what you use social media for. A wiki can be very useful for a project team of 4 people to produce project documentation – especially if they happen to reside in different countries. A board of directors consisting of 6 people can save time by having agendas and and meeting minutes stored in a shared workspace and edited by all members.

Social media is inherently social, so instead of defining critical mass one could say that the minimum mass for social media is 2 people. If writing a blog saves you a couple of emails, that is already good. Now, I am not against email per se (although my inbox is a disaster, and I never remember which folder I stored that email containg a really good link). It is just that email was never intended to be either a teamwork or an information management tool, although it is often used as such.

Tomorrow I will be talking about business opportunities in multilingual social media here in Helsinki. It should be an interesting event – more about it tomorrow. As for now, I want to conclude this entry by referring to the fact that lack of time is often mentioned as one of the main obstacles to using social media. This can well be a generational issue. The younger generation uses IM and Facebook and is almost constantly online. I still seem to spend a lot of time in meetings, or writing and preparing materials, or reading and evaluating a lot of stuff. And despite of coming from the land of mobile phones I prefer calling people to sending SMS or Twitter messages. A good friend of mine has done a lot of research on learning, and has pointed out that learning requires long enough quiet time to absorb and understand new topics and ideas. In an environment with constant instant messaging, where do we find that quiet time for learning?

Vasont Releases Vasont 12.0

Vasont Systems announced the release of the next major version of their content management system, Vasont 12, that enables users to store multilingual content once for maximum reuse and delivery to multiple channels. Vasont 12 includes: Collaborative Review package provides effective virtual collaboration with colleagues. Internal and external reviewers markup content with changes and comments while seeing other reviewers’ feedback simultaneously. Accepted changes automatically update in Vasont, minimizing manual updates; Project Management tracks projects to meet publishing deadlines. The Project Management window provides overall statuses of workflow projects across multiple departments and highlights overdue projects. When needed, users can inquire for specific status information. Gantt charts provide a graphical view of project timelines; Translation package consolidates translation project information in one window. Vasont’s Translation Projects window provides tracking and status for each multi-language translation project. Translation coordinators submit projects to multiple vendors for quote or translation. Integrations with translation vendors automate content delivery and status information to/from Vasont; Preview feature provides a styled view of XML content. Vasont’s Preview displays content in a styled view to speed up editorial time by making content easy to read; Content Ownership increases content security. Specific pieces of content within a collection are restricted to alterations by its Content Owners while other users can only view it. Associate Administrators role provides flexibility to coordinate administrative responsibilities across multiple groups, and more. This release is available on May 1, 2009 for both the client/server and hosted (SaaS) models.

X1 Technologies Announces Product Releases

X1 Technologies, Inc. announced the availability of two product releases. The first is the 6.2.4 release of the X1 Professional Client which is available for immediate download. This release of the X1 Professional Client focuses on IBM Lotus Notes and Mozilla Thunderbird improvements along with general maintenance. The 1.3.1 release of the X1 Content Connector for Symantec Enterprise Vault delivers query search results that are twice as fast as the previous release when searching for email, email attachments and files that are archived within Symantec Enterprise Vault. Additional Unicode support has also been added to the 1.3.1 release. X1 delivers a combination of products that allow knowledge workers to search, preview and act upon data anywhere in the enterprise from a single,  interface. With X1, individuals and businesses can search “virtually everything” that exists on the PC and server in nearly 500 file types and applications, including email solutions such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, Microsoft SharePoint, Symantec Enterprise Vault and IBM Lotus Notes and Domino.

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