Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Keeping Up With Custom News Feeds

By Dennis D. McDonald

On my FireFox browser (version 1.0.6) I have switched from “Sage” to “Wizz RSS” as my newsfeed aggregator. Wizz lets me easily manage multiple news feeds including the major categorization of feeds into “public” (managed by Wizz) and private (which I set up and maintain myself).

Periodically I check into these “feeds” and invariably I find something useful or interesting. There’s also a lot of uninteresting stuff dredged up, as well, so I’m continuing to refine.

So far I’ve established a number of categorized feeds:

  1. Intellectual Property
  2. Personal Data
  3. Privacy
  4. Project Management
Intellectual Property covers topics like DRM, copy protection, digital rights, and enterprise rights management. This reflects my interest in intellectual property protection that dates back to my involvement in research into copyright and publishing, photocopying, motion picture registration, and international sharing of electronic bibliographic data. I’m currently following some of the ways DRM is impacting the online market for music CD’s.

Personal Data reflects my interest in how individuals and society control access to personal information. I’ve been working through my own thoughts on this and have published some of theme here on this blog.

At one time I thought one interesting idea was to explicitly recognize that individuals “own” certain types of data about them and that they should be able to opt in or opt out of systems (such as licensing schemes) that they would authorize for making selected personal information commercially and publicly available. (Initially this was based on the idea that, if you want to make money buying and selling information about me and my behavior, you should be willing to pay for the privilege. In return, I’ll help make sure that the information is complete, accurate, and timely.)

Privacy is a subset of “Personal Data” and reflects an interest in laws, regulations, and systems that need to be in place to protect certain types of private data. Companies (and government regulators) are paying more attention to the unintended divulging of private data (e.g., private customer records) and I’m interested not just in the technology but the processes that need to be established in connection with this. Some of my writing on this topic is here.

Project Management reflects my membership in the Project Management Institute (PMI) and what one must do on a day to day basis to plan and manage resources to get a complex job done. There are many tools available to help manage projects but, fundamentally, tools are secondary to being able and willing to provide leadership and straightforwardly tell people what they need to do and when they need to do it.


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