Monthly Archives: July 2009

There are two kinds of people in the world – yes there really are

People believe either one of two things about intelligence and talent – either they are fixed traits – “it’s just the way someone is” – “God or genetics blessed or cursed them” – or they are something that is malleable and can be developed over time – with play, practice, and effort.

Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist, has been studying these beliefs and their effects for a major part of her career. She’s the author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” and her work has influenced that of David Shenk, Malcolm Gladwell and others.

To determine your mindset, when you look at someone who has accomplished something, do you immediately attribute it entirely to something innate like talent, or do you admire the work and play (CNN Money) they put into it to make it happen?

Where you stand determines much. It effects everything from dealing with grades (NPR) to our children’s drive to try and try again (New York Magazine) to our capability to face our weaknesses head on with honesty (Malcolm Gladwell: “The Talent Myth”) or to deny we have any fiat over them.

Don’t think that those with high self esteem or low self esteem automatically fall into one mindset or the other. It’s not that simple (New York Magazine) or intuitive. Far from it (ScienceBlogs: Jonah Lehrer: Self-Esteem). .

I’m preaching to the choir in regards to many who read this blog, in particular musicians or programmers. We *exist* within a culture of learning and trumpet hard work to each other.

Observers of musicians or programmers however, routinely attribute what we do to innate ‘talent’ or ‘intelligence’ – when we know otherwise.

I’ve long had the following Calvin Coolidge quote on a page here:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

And lately, with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 program’s success, I reflected a bit on it.

It was Apollo 11. Not Apollo 1, that made it to the Moon. Not to dismiss the intelligence and resources of those assembled to make it happen, but Apollo 11 rested on the shoulders of at least 10 iterations of the Apollo program and the prior NASA program as a whole. Along the way there were lessons learned *while doing*. *While practicing*. While experimenting. These lessons did not come whole cloth out of the minds of those involved. In fact there was great tragedy and sacrifice along the way. Lives were lost.

Starting points do count of course. Context does count. The resources behind NASA were those of the country. The politics at the time were favorable. We can go on and on about that. And like persistence and grit, they are factors that get swept under the rug in a culture that likes to emphasize ‘great people’. But that’s a post for another day.

We were left inspired. And sometimes I think we fail to grasp what we should have been inspired of.

After all, for sure we can’t really control the cards we are dealt – but we can how we play them.

A Reading List: High Availability for Alfresco ECM

Start with watching the Alfresco hosted webinar: High Availability Clustering with Alfresco to get a high level overview.

Then read thru rivetlogic’s comprehensive page that includes notes on disaster recovery: Deploying HA Alfresco on Linux. This is mirrored on the AlfrescoWiki. Not sure which wiki page is definitive.

Finally, put it into practice with a working example by following Jeff Potts’s walk-thru of a simple set up to get a feel for it: Alfresco 3.1 clustering easier with JGroups.

Reference details:

AlfrescoWiki: Configuring JGroups and Alfresco Clusters

AlfrescoWiki: Cluster Configuration V2.1.3 and Later

Alfresco Webinar: High Scalability with Alfresco WCM (great information about various options)

Special thanks to Jeff Potts who answered a related query of mine on Twitter.

I’ll be sure to post progress here once I’ve a few working examples.

Notes on the Alfresco Web Content Management Evaluation Guide

This walk-thru requires 3.1 Enterprise or 3.2 Community as a prerequisite. Clean install of Alfresco seems a must. Network connection is required! Sometimes you need
to restart your machine (if you see a deploy or preview task ‘freeze up’ for
example). Note: this tutorial is far more comprehensive (and usable) than the WCM Forms Quick Tutorial posted to the Wiki. I wouldn’t waste your time with that.

  1. Download the Web Content Management Evaluation Guide from:
    http://www.alfresco.com/products/ecm/enttrial/files/getting_started_with_wcm_for_enterprise3_1.pdf
  2. Add sample website to hosts file

    127.0.0.1 admin.alfrescosample.www--sandbox.127-0-0-1.ip.alfrescodemo.net
  3. Start Alfresco and virtual alfresco server
    $ ./virtual_start.sh start
    $ ./alf_start.sh start
  4. All files required for evaluation guide are under ${ALFRESCO INSTALL DIRECTORY}/extras/wcm

Installing Alfresco on OSX – quick and dirty

Note: These are terrible instructions – no security or any set up in regards to
making upgrades easy. But this gets you up and running fast.

  1. Prerequisites: JDK 5.x, MySQL 5.x
  2. First, insure there is no pre-existing alfresco database

    $ mysql -u root -p <ENTER> <ENTER>
    mysql> drop database alfresco;
    mysql> exit
    $ sudo /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM stop {Enter OSX admin password} <ENTER>
    $ sudo /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM start
  3. Create the directory you are going to install alfresco into

    $ mkdir /opt/alfresco
  4. Download and extract Alfresco-Community-3.2-MacOSXInstall.tar.gz from Alfresco

    $ tar xvf Alfresco-Community-3.2-MacOSXInstall.tar.gz 
  5. Run the installer

    $ ./Alfresco-Community-3.2-MacOSXInstall
  6. Choose defaults until destination folder. Override that and select /opt/alfresco
  7. When dialog asks for root password, leave blank, it is referring to MySQL
    root password. When you click Next it will inform you that database
    creation was successful.
  8. After finishing, using terminal cd to the directory Alfresco was installed into:

    $ cd /opt/alfresco
  9. Fire it up:

    $ ./alf_start.sh start
  10. Fire up the virtual server

    $./virtual_start.sh
  11. First time start up can take up to 5 minutes. Give it time. Refresh
    http://localhost:8080/alfresco/ every minute or so and then you should get the
    default dashboard. Username/password admin/admin.
  12. When finished, shut ‘er down.

    $ ./alf_stop.sh
  13. The virtual server too

    $./virtual_stop.sh

Four Videos on Changing Our Notions About Education

Dr. Tae: “Building A New Culture Of Teaching And Learning”:


TED.com: “Dave Eggers’ wish: Once Upon A School”


TED.com: “Alan Kay shares a powerful idea about ideas”:


TED.com: “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity”:

Metafilter Thread: Scratch, a beginner’s programming language

Shamus Young: Scratch

How does news spread?

Researchers at Cornell have published a paper titled “Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle” that I need to dig into. They’ve published visualizations of their research at a NYTimes piece on the study says, “This is a landmark piece of work on the flow of news through the world… And the study shows how Web-scale analytics can serve as powerful sociological laboratories.”

Chris Anderson, who in May presented his own research into this to the International Communications Association (ICA) posted his reflections on that research and how it relates: Another Perspective on How “News” “Diffuses”: The Francisville 4 from Inside the Newsroom

Scott Rosenberg shares some criticisms in: “Newsies beat bloggers? Some caveats on memetracker study”.

Nieman Journalism Lab’s Zachary M. Seward summarizes it up: In the news cycle, memes spread more like a heartbeat than a virus.