May 2011 Archives

Marketers goes where the eyeballs are. We look at "social" media, so how can we be surprised by the invasion? But I'm still disappointed when I encounter blatant gaming of the channels that supposedly are trusted sources of information from "people" like us.

L7sWA[1].jpgLet me introduce you to Anne Waterhouse. She lives in New York, and judging by her photo, she's a lovely mix of saucy and innocent (who isn't drawn by that?), and she is of modest means (just like the rest of us!). She tweets as @annewaterhouse about things that interest her nearly 2000 followers. It's good content. Funny posts from Failblog, smart content from Alltop, tech goodness from Mashable, and helpful tips from Lifehacker.

The problem is she isn't real.

I met Anne because yesterday she tweeted about a short video that my cycling buddy made. She picked it up from thought-leader Guy Kawasaki's blog. "How to make better presentations in 2:53 " she said.

Cool! Kawasaki likes Marc's video, and someone shared it on Twitter. When I looked at her Twitter page, I was surprised by the pace at which she posted. How could she consume so much web content? Who was she? Her profile revealed little. I scanned the timestamps, and I realized she had posted in each of the preceding 24 hours. Ah, she's superhuman and doesn't need sleep?

The constantly changing Twitter API now allows you to access the latest 200 tweets from a person using URLs like this: I grabbed her tweets and extracted the timestamps using this:

grep -i pubdate tweets.xml | sed s/".*<pubDate>"//g | sed s/"<\/pubDate>"//g > timestamps.xml

I then brought those into Excel and made histograms by day, then combined them to show all three days overlapping. This amazing woman tweeted 200 times in the past 37 hours. Check it out (or download spreadsheet):

Okay, fine, she has some automated tool that retweets the RSS feeds from her favorite sites. Some of her tweets like this one are generated by That doesn't mean she's not real. Is a real person behind these? Maybe she talks with her friends too? Well, no. In these 200 tweets, I used grep -v to filter out messages that didn't include a link as would come from the RSS feeds, and there was nothing left. I filtered for "@" mentions of other users and found none.

Who set this up? Is this the creation of one of the websites that she links back to? Are they trying to drive their own traffic? The idea is clearly a good one, based on the thousands of people following these garbage tweets. Is there a marketer/exploiter out there who discreetly sells this to websites? "Give me $500 for your own @annewaterhouse. I guarantee she'll share interesting content and garner a following, and this will drive traffic to your site." Does that exploiter use the metrics available from URL shortener sites that generate the links to then charge its customers advertising? "Give me two cents per click into your site." Do they go to the trouble of using so many URL shortener services to make it look less automated?

And to think my friend and I were pleased that she shared a link to his video. Well, I guarantee Guy Kawasaki is real, and he's the one whose opinion matters. Now let's stop thinking about social media and learn how to give better presentations when we're dealing with real people:

How To: Bulk download from Sharepoint

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This post goes in the "Why wasn't I able to Google that?" category. Remember this old comic?

It turns out things that seem like they should be easily Googleable aren't. Maybe this post will be helpful to someone else out there.

I've been helping a small business migrate off Sharepoint and onto a local NAS device (Dlink DNS-323). They have about 4000 documents in 300 folders on Sharepoint hosted by Microsoft Online. How to do a bulk download? The Sharepoint UI (that they hated so much that they asked me if I could migrate them off it) gives no clues. I did searches for these without turning up anything good:

sharepoint "bulk download" "microsoft online"
bulk download
sharepoint server 2007 bulk download

Many people offer bulk upload tools, but what about bulk download? Certainly people want to change technologies now and again. I saw one discussion thread that vaguely mentioned WebDAV, but I found nothing about it in the online help, and I found very little for this Google search:

 "microsoft online services" webdav sharepoint

Finally I just gave it my best shot. If it does support WebDAV, which the web hasn't confirmed for me, then how would I go about it?

network-places_smallco.jpgMy laptop runs XP (still my favorite environment), so I used these steps:

  1. My Network Places
  2. Add Network Place
  3. Next
  4. Choose another network location
  5. Enter URL to Sharepoint site:
  6. Give same credentials used to log into Sharepoint

The laptop of the person for whom I was doing this migration runs Vista, so the process is a little different there. I connected them using notes from a forum:

  1. Hit start menu and go to "Network"
  2. Hit Alt-button to get the tools-menu.
  3. Go to Tools -> Map Network Drive
  4. Click on the link on the bottom that says "Connect to a website that you can use to store your documents and pictures"
  5. Hit Next
  6. Choose "Choose a custom network location" and hit Next.
  7. Enter your url location...

Well, the instructions from here weren't a perfect fit, but on Vista, basically, enter the URL to Sharepoint, then the credentials, then maybe select the drive this will map to.

After connecting by WebDAV, I was able to access the entire Sharepoint site as a folder in Windows Explorer, and I could then open that folder and copy its entire contents to a local disk drive. I brought it to the laptop first, then I copied it onto the NAS drive.

At this point, the folks I'm helping out were able to disable Sharepoint logins for everyone but the administrator. They'll let their Sharepoint subscription lapse at the end of the month, which they're very happy about.

By the way, the DNS-323 that I wrote about and to which I gave a glowing review? It has extraordinarily frustrating user and group management through the web interface. Users can only belong to a single group. So if you want to have a group for managers who would access the /managers share, then a group for accounting who would access the /accounting share? You can't do it with the standard UI. As soon as you add the manager Adam to the accounting group, he is taken out of the manager group. I wound up having to telnet into the server to edit the undocumented, non-standard config file (/mnt/HD_a4/.systemfile/ I don't recommend this NAS for use outside the home.
spy-display.jpgDo you work with people who need to analyze PTspy logs on their desktop but who don't have the Spy reader available to get those logs into an easy-to-read format?

Back in the day, BEA put out an installer called LoggingUtilities_PTspy with the executable file  ALILoggingUtilities_v1-1_MP1.exe. If you still can find that installer, you can use it to install the Spy reader. The format of .spy logs hasn't changed, so that old reader works for the latest and greatest (or worst) logs.

But that installer was only for 32-bit machines. If you're working with Windows 7, then you need another approach. My recommendation is that you use the regular (and unfortunately huge) component installer, install something that includes the Spy reader, then delete the components you didn't want. The steps I used to do so follow.

Run the WebCenterInteraction_10. installer. At the prompts, enter the following:


Installation folder: (your choice. i'm choosing c:\apps\plumtree).

Choose components: Check ONLY Automation Service.

If you get a Dependency Warning about Microsoft Visual C++, then "Yes, launch the installer."

Configuration Manager - Port and Password: Accept the default port of 12345 and leave the password blank.

Password inconsistency: Click "Continue" to keep the blank password.

Pre-Installation Summary: Click install.

Launch Configuration Manager: Just click next.

Application Settings Confirmation: Select "No, configure later," then click next.

Install Complete: Select "No, I will restart my system myself," then click done.


PTSpy is now available on your machine. You don't need to reboot.

run-cmd-as-admin.jpgHowever, your computer also has three services installed that you probably don't want. To remove them, you need to run commands in a command prompt that runs with elevated administrator privileges. To get that command prompt, click the start button and type "cmd" into the search box. You'll see cmd.exe is one of the search results.
Right click on it, then select "run as administrator."

cmd-paste.jpgNow in that prompt, paste in the following commands (to paste, right-click the title bar, click edit, click paste). You can paste these all in at the same time:

@rem -- make sure all services are stopped
sc stop "oracle wci logger"
sc stop ConfigurationManager12345
sc stop ptautomationserver

@rem -- now delete them
sc delete "oracle wci logger"
sc delete ConfigurationManager12345
sc delete ptautomationserver

That should do it. You should see output like this:

C:\Windows\system32>sc delete "oracle wci logger"
[SC] DeleteService SUCCESS

C:\Windows\system32>sc delete ConfigurationManager12345
[SC] DeleteService SUCCESS

C:\Windows\system32>sc delete ptautomationserver
[SC] DeleteService SUCCESS

The install put just over 800mb of files on your machine, but most of those are not related to ptspy. You can delete about 600mb of these by deleting unnecessary files and folders.

Open the folder C:\apps\plumtree\common and delete these:


Then open the folder C:\apps\plumtree and delete these:


Now on to analyzing spy files!

What Oracle engineering should do though is put an option in the WCI installer for just the Spy logging toolkit (it won't be in WCI 10.3.3). Maybe some day...