Sunday, March 26, 2006

I love wikis

It's been a long time...

I am having a bucket of fun at work with the perspective wiki engine. For those that don't already know, a wiki is a website that you can edit right from within your browser, without the need for any special software, knowledge, or permissions. The most famous wiki is of course the wikipedia.

We put up a few instances to play with--one hosting local restaurant reviews (this will be for consumption by the general membership of my employer--the Center for Health Studies) and another for storing data documentation. It took me just a little bit of work to get it to read user information out of our Active Directory, but it works really slickly. It uses integrated windows authentication so users don't have to log in, and it creates new wiki user accounts (pages) automatically the first time someone visits the site.

It is such a breath of fresh air to work with this thing relative to pretty much any other method I've used for putting information on the web. It's even easier than this blog I think. Formatting is not the forte with this thing, but you can spew information onto pages in no time flat. Very no-nonsense. Highly highly recommended for any place that wants collaboratively maintained web based information.

This weekend Laurel & I both watched Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I also watched Lord of War by myself. The Enron movie was a tad confusing at the start, as it wasn't really made clear exactly how these guys perpetrated the monstrous fraud that they did. I get that they were (for some reason) allowed to use this crazy method of accounting whereby they could 'count their chicks before they are hatched', and that allowed them to pretty much make up whatever crazy figures they wanted for the analysts. But the whole Jeff Skilling incestuous-phantom-corporation business remains cloudy to me. I suppose I'll have to read the book if I really want to know.

Good flick though. Completely enraging, as you might expect, but still a good watch. I'd forgotten that there was a period at the end where the rank-and-file were prevented from trading their Enron shares, while the uberclassmen were ditching it like the garbage they knew it to be. I'm kind of amazed nobody has Jack Ruby'd these guys yet.

Lord of War was excellent. Really poignant story of a man who has lost his soul. Kind of reminiscient of Goodfellas, in that it had very active narration, and was a story about organized crime. It's almost as good as Goodfellas too. Nicholas Cage like a mofo!