29/09/2009

Did You Know 4.0

Category Technology
Much of this may not be surprising to you, in fact if you've seen the Shift Happens video this will be no news (it is just an updated version for 2009). Interesting that they predict mobile will be the primary Internet connection next year!


08/07/2009

Tech Tip #3

Category Technology
Technology is supposed to help us and sometimes it does. Today I could have done with some extra software to read me emails (preferably on my BlackBerry). Speech recognition (as in dictating email messages) would have been helpful too! But today I lived my life largely offline as I traveled 350 odd kilometres in the morning, visited 2 centres, then drove the 350 kilometres back home again!

How often have you received a PDF file and wanted to make notes on it ... so printed it out and scribbled all over it? I don't do that anymore!! Skim (skim-app.sourceforge.net) does all of this ...
Add and editing notes
Highlight text
Turn the PDF into a presentation
Add your own bookmarks (for those BIG PDF files)

And it does more! So check it out here

30/06/2009

Tech Tip #2

Category Technology
GPS is the technology I'm using right now to get ro a centre I've never been to before. This is one of the best times to have a GPS, no maps, no writing directions down, no making wrong turns ... Well OK that does still happen! But it does direct me to the door really well.

Something I love about GPS (I use a TomTom) is that it tells me how long until the next 'change'. This means when I'm cruising down SH1 I know whether it is worth overtaking or not! It also let's me see how the road 'goes' ahead. This means I can see if it is still winding or if I'll have the chance to overtake.

All in all I love GPS! In many ways it perfectly matches a useful function into useable technology (it is really easy to operate)! Of course it does what my wife and a $20 book of maps has always done!

17/06/2009

mdbennett.net

Category General Technology
Did you know you can visit my blog at mdbennett.net now? Yes, I'm afraid it's all true ... I've gone completely cyber-geeky! I even got facebook.com/mdbennett over the weekend too. These are sad times I'm living in now!

14/06/2009

Does Technology Help?

Category Technology

It could be this diagram is entirely true (click on it to see a larger version). Perhaps we are using technology to try and cover for personality deficiencies or a propensity to want to destroy what makes us look bad!

12/06/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #6

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is the final installment, #6.

Apple is already dead (Nathan Myhrvold, for Microsoft CTO, 1997)

Typical Microsoft behaviour here! They had a marketing campaign for a couple of years announcing Lotus Notes was dead and yet it remains a dominant market force (this blog is actually a Lotus Notes application)! Of course Apple was up the creek without Steve Jobs!

The miraculous part of this prediction to me is how Apple became such a market force through the creation of a music player (the iPod). One could argue that their power and position within the IT industry is all based on the iPod (we'll save that arguement for another day). Whether the prediction says more about Microsoft and their inability to read the market or about Steve Jobs brilliance remains to be seen.

It feels like I should make my own foolish IT prediction to close this series, but I just can't bring myself to do it! I've predicted many things in my life and few have turned out as I thought they would. Of course this is the very nature of predictions, we're making a best guess based on what we know at the time. Many of the 6 foolish IT predictions PC World published would have seemed entirely rationale and sensible at the time. But history now tells a different story.

Prior to World War II Christians around the world were praising Hitler and Nazi Germany for restoring some morals to society and taking a stand against corruption and evil. Within a couple of years the world was at war trying to defeat a genocidal tyrant. Often the true nature of someone or something isn't apparent until we have lived with it for a while.

However, I am willing to predict that IT will continue to revolutionise the way to do business, communicate and share our lives. Brave and bold prediction huh?

11/06/2009

Tech Tip #1

Category Technology
Technology is supposed to help us. Tech Tips is a new series of posts about different technologies I use that I think are helpful. Sometimes they will be a specific application (Notes, Quickr, Twitter, etc) and other times the underlying technology (e.g. RSS, TCP/IP, CUPS, etc). Chances are (given the way technology is evolving and moving), it will be a never ending series!

The 1st Tech Tip from me is Twitter. There are many ways people use it but I find it useful. Why? Because it combines the good things about email, instant messaging, blogs, and Facebook into a single application. I'm able to be connected to people who aren't in the same office (or the same side of the world) easily. It's short nature (140 characters) means there aren't essays to read if you've been offline for a while.

In fact I find it kind of like the office water cooler (that mythical place in the office where people gather to chat and share information). Unlike the water cooler, Twitter lets you choose who you actually listen to (and it isn't as rude as just tuning them out in person)! You can talk openly (to the group) or privately (to a specific individual). It even helps me be productive. I can ask questions (which I do) and I get answers (some of them are even helpful). I also hear about things that are happening or products/upgrades I didn't know about simply, easily, and quickly (because you're limited to 140 characters).

The main tools I use to keep an eye on Twitter are Nambu (on the MacBook), UberTwitter (on the BlackBerry), and TwitterGadget (in LotusNotes). There are loads of others available and even the website (which also has a mobile option - m.twitter.com) works well and keeps in in touch.

10/06/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #5

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #5.

Almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the internet's continuing exponential growth. But I predict the internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse (Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995)

Who can honestly say that they thought the internet would be as influential as it has been? Arguably it is the internet that has changed society because without it a computer is far less useful. Yes they can do amazing things but for me the power of the computer is the ability it has (through the internet) to connect, share, and interact.

Would I journal my thoughts on my computer if it couldn't be shared with the world? Possibly yes, but it is far more interesting when a comment is made and a conversation continues. Would you publish photos and comments in a Facebook application if it didn't let you connect with friends and family where ever they are in the world?

Without the internet I don't think computers would be as pervasive or as useful as they are. Even in 1995 when the internet was in its infancy, the power of it was obvious. The potential wasn't as obvious, nor was the influence it would end up weilding of society. Perhaps this foolish IT prediction is the reason Cisco dominates interconnectivity and 3Com has faded from its once dominant position (I remember 3Com being the standard to which all other network providers made their devices comply).

08/06/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #4

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #4.

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home (Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

This prediction seems entirely reasonable to me. In 1977 who would have wanted a computer in their home? They ran business applications to balance bank accounts! I can't really see that being overly useful to me in 1977, or my parents, or anyone else except maybe a billionaire (but even that is slightly doubtful).

In 1977 computers didn't exactly entertain us, they didn't provide us with access to limitless information including the uncensored opinion of millions. They didn't help us in anyway (well not personally) and if we needed to communicate with people we would write a letter (hand write) or speak to them. None of this instant messaging, Facebook, blogs, or email faffing about we do today!

The computer is one of those odd inventions where at first their use seems limited and pointless. It wasn't like the car which had obvious benefits over a horse and carriage (although I guess that statement has the hindsight of more than a century of automotive innovation and advances). Much of the useful application of computers has come as they have evolved over time.

05/06/2009

The XT Network

Category Technology
I'm writing this blog from my phone that is on the new XT network. Performance on the XT network is supposedly to be blinding and leave the old network for dead. So far I've had mixed results. At times Internet speeds are very fast (blinding even). But sometimes they are, well, like the old network!

Maybe I expect too much some times. Maybe the XT marketing people did such a good job my expectations are too high. Or maybe, being wireless, I'm getting a great connection sometimes and an average connection other times.

Still, the new phone is better than the old one (except for battery life)! I feel a Top 10 list of IT peeves coming on!

04/06/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #3

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #3.

Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years (Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt vacuum company, 1955)

This prediction is unbelievable! Of course PC World points out that in the 1950's asbestos was safe and radium-impregnated paint was produced for glow-in-the-dark dials. The stupidity of all of this is stunning to us in the 21st century, but we didn't have any idea what we were dealing with back then.

Interesting to me is the fact I have never heard of the Lewyt Vacuum company and I am writing this blog entry on an airplane so can't check Wikipedia or the Internet to see if they still exist. Perhaps they did produce a nuclear-powered vacuum cleaner but ended up going out of business because of the wrongful death law suits that followed a year later.

02/06/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #2

Category Technology
Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of starting at a plywood box every night - Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox. 1946

Now that is a real clanger! An executive at a major film studio thinking that a morph of what he was in the business of (and quite successful business) wouldn't succeed? It seems naive to me (of course I'm speaking more than 60 years after him). Why wouldn't we want entertainment in our homes? Why would those of us who are socially challenged choose to go out in public to be entertained when it can happen in the comfort and privacy of our own homes?

Of course I struggle with the concept of TV. Mainly because it seems so dictatorial ... If you want to watch something you have to watch it when the TV channel puts it on. And then they interrupt it with all of these advertisements for products I don't need or want making inflated statements about how good they are! Yes I know, there are these devices called VCR's and even hard disk recorders (which despite 1 fatal flaw are infinitely better).

What amazes me about this foolish IT prediction is that the TV continues to be such a phenomenal success. Despite many stories and predictions that it's demise is imminent, it seems to continue going from strength to strength. I guess part of that is the social aspect of it. No it isn't very sociable to sit and watch TV, but the conversations that happen the next day about a program can be very sociable!

29/05/2009

Foolish IT Prediction #1

Category Technology
Undoubtedly you have heard foolish predictions before some more famous than others. One of my favorites is from a Far Side cartoon which pictures Colonel Custer's last stand. Standing out in the open talking to a soldier who is pointing to the enemy in the distance, Colonel Custer says, "Me get shot? Why he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from ..." Famous last words. Horrible prediction of what might happen.

While reading NZ PC World (yes I know it's a geeky computer magazine, but it is part of my job), I came across 6 of what they believe are some of the worst predictions. Interestingly they didn't include Bill Gates quote that 640k of memory is more memory than anyone will EVER need in a personal computer (don't look at the minimum requirements for Windows 7 then Bill)! However they do have a few I hadn't previously heard which are quite stunning.

Foolish IT Prediction #1 - I think there is a world market for maybe five computers (Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943).

To me this is a classic prediction that seems to have been taken a little out of context. PC World does point out that by computer Thomas Watson was referring to a vacuum tube powered adding machine that's as big as your house. However to call this a foolish IT prediction is a little misleading. The computer Thomas Watson was referring to didn't take a hold of the world at all. It did develop and morph into what we know it to be but until these developments occurred there wasn't much demand for them.

Foolish prediction? I don't think so (at least not when taken in context). However predictions by there very nature are liable to be grossly inaccurate. Of course it was another 50 years before the computer was really starting to make a mark on the personal and professional lives of most ordinary people.

28/05/2009

BlackBerry

Category Technology
I've had a BlackBerry for going on 2 years now and have both enjoyed it immensely and also grown to loathe the device!

I love it because it makes it easy to stay on top of email when I'm out of the office ... I loathe it because while it provides some balance (I can stay at home some mornings and B1 to school) it also means I'm always on (until the phone is switched off)!

I love it because you can tell it when you want it to turn off ... I loathe it because it also turns on automatically!

I love it because I can set my out of office when I'm already out of the office ... I loathe it because that means I do other things in the office and end up scrambling to switch it on as I'm getting on a plane!

I love it because it is pretty much live synchronisation of everything ... I loathe it because actually that feature I just love!

I love it because it keeps me entertained in 'those' meetings I loathe it because it distracts me in the good meetings!

I love it because it lets me take many applications with me (the web, Air New Zealand mPass, Facebook, Flickr, my blog, Sametime, Twitter, etc) ... I loathe it because it is hard to come up with an excuse not to do things any time, any where.

The best part? Gen-i are giving me a new BlackBerry Bold as part of the XT network launch!

27/05/2009

Top 10 reasons I love IT

Category Technology Random
This list has been brewing for a while now, but an email I received last week prompted me complete and publish it. Borrowing heavily from David Letterman's Late Show Top 10 section, please imagine a drum roll, and a deep voice announcing them. It is meant to be more humorous than sarcastic or cynical and it should be read like a Tui billboard ... yeah right!

Reason #10 I love IT ... It is a glitzy and glamorous job
Reason #9 I love IT ... Short of being an astronaut it is the closest job to being on the Starship Enterprise available currently
Reason #8 I love IT ... Your life is so much more interesting than mine I had to get in a job in IT just so I could sit at my desk and read your emails all day
Reason #7 I love IT ... I don't have a life outside of my job so it is actually no problem to think of you first and make sure server outages only occur between 2am and 5am (unless you're in the US or Europe when I need to remember this and alter my schedule accordingly)
Reason #6 I love IT ... When you tell me Jill from Finance needs access to the payroll system (and get upset when I tell you I'll need a minute) I instinctively know that it is Jill Smith and not Jill Brown (I don't get time to question you because you've already stormed out of my office) and also know that when you say the payroll system you actually mean the Excel spreadsheet on Shirley's desktop
Reason #5 I love IT ... Timing is everything and we (the IT department) can conjure up anything you need in 2 minutes flat
Reason #4 I love IT ... Anyone you've ever known in you life (including that chubby kid who was neighbours with your best friend when you were at kindergarten) rings you up expecting help and a massive discount on purchase prices
Reason #3 I love IT ... You're never right! No matter what you do the IT department is always to blame for any (and I do mean ANY) business failure or mistake. Reason #2 I love IT ... My Mum doesn't call often enough so by working in IT she rings me everyday with an email issue

and the number 1 reason I love IT ...

... I'm part of a group of illustrious people well known for their startling fashion sense, sensational social skills and impeccable personal hygiene!

27/05/2009

Work Life Balance?

Category Technology
Will all the mobile technology available to us free us to have a more balanced life? Watch this video then decide!


21/05/2009

Top 10 - Technologies

Category Technology
In discussing something yesterday I started thinking about my top 5 technologies that have changed the way I work. Please forgive my loose use of the word technology, some items on my list aren't so much a technology as a product (but they use a number of technologies to deliver what I need).

#10 Email (IMAP, SMTP, POP3, etc) - While it may be dying email does still serve a useful purpose in communicating with others. I should also add though that when I think of email I include things like calendar, contacts, to do, etc. Without that complete bunch of tools email is less useful and more irritating! Email (with calendar, contacts, to do items etc) allow me to organise myself, my team, my work AND my private life!

#9 The Internet - This network allows an enormous amount of information and connectivity. From being able to access my email, calendar and contacts from anywhere it also means I can find out things and research problems from the comfort of a chair with a coffee in one hand!

#8 Social networks, mainly LinkedIN and Twitter (although Facebook deserves an honourable mention) - Twitter lets me have conversations with a group of people scattered around the world. They also ensure I stay connected with people with very little effort! Social networks have allowed me to stay in touch (loosely) with people who I only see once every couple of years (cousins, friends in other cities, etc). While misused by many (in my opinion) they have made it really easy for people to quickly share with their friends photos and recent news (no more chain letter/emails)!

#7 ADSL2 (affordable fast home Internet connections) - I should probably include mobile Internet connections here also, but I don't do as much on the go as when I'm at home. From watching videos (thankyou YouTube), to online games (PC, Play Station, Wii) to being able to post a couple of photos onto a social networking site or update this blog quickly, fast Internet connections mean less waiting and more doing!

#6 802.11 (wireless networks) - I don't have an office (or a desk) at home so my wireless network lets me operate from where ever I'm sitting (it's a convenience thing).

#5 Open source software - Building communities and value instead of captilist exploitation!

#4 Social Bookmarking - Delicious is my social bookmarking tool of choice. In addition to being able to access my bookmarks from any computer I can connect with people and see their bookmarks! This is helpful when I want to look at something specific. I know who I would talk to and now I can check out their bookmarks to see if they have any useful information saved for me (because they've probably already researched the issue for me)!

#3 Blogs - What I like most about blogs is that I can hear from people I respect or value and have a conversation with them. I can learn from people who know more than me about certain subjects or technologies.

#2 RSS - With so many websites and blogs to stay in touch with RSS means I spend as much (if not more time) in my RSS reader as I do on the Internet. Convenience!

And the number 1 technology to me ...

#1 Smartphone - Because it brings the other 9 technologies to me where ever I am (provided there is cellphone signal)!

03/05/2009

Convert!

Category Technology
I almost laughed out loud!

30/03/2009

Twitter

Category Technology
Hilarious (even N agrees)!

29/03/2009

TV Technology

Category Random Technology
I'm not a big fan of TV but I these new technological advances from LG might have me wanting to buy one!

24/03/2009

9 Reasons Email is Dead

Category Technology
I've posted previous articles about the predicted demise of email and today again stumbled upon an article predicting it. This time John C. Dvorak (the author) goes further than just predicting the end of email and actually gives 9 very good reasons why! Rather than cut & paste them into here check out this link on the PCMag.com website.

22/03/2009

Twitter

Category Technology
The following article makes an argument for Twitter. It could convince people to use it within a business or within a field of interest/work. The article demonstrates the value Twitter can offer people so check it out here.

20/03/2009

Poken Meet

Category Technology
So last night I went to a Poken Meet (I believe it was only the second one ever held in New Zealand). In addition to those in the video there was another person present who had turned up to buy herself a poken. If you're interested in meeting her check out her Twitter profile as she knows a lot of people (and I mean a lot)!

The video features @vrivett (who you can buy a Poken from and @stevekitchener who I work with. Can anyone identify the location (specifics please)?

Download File

19/03/2009

Lotusphere Comes to You 2009

Category Technology
Yesterday I attended Lotusphere comes to you. After being at the real Lotusphere earlier this year I do have to say I was impressed. Taking 5 days and 350 sessions then filtering that down to a halfday (which is free) must be difficult. In many ways all you get is a taste and a sniff of what is available. They can't give you much more in the time they have but they at least give you the highlights of the highlights!

There is still one session left to go tomorrow (Friday 20/03) so if you can make it down I would highly recommend it. In addition to a high level overview of new features in the Notes 8.5 client and server, Sametime, Quickr, and Connections feature and were my personal highlights.

18/03/2009

Smart Phones

Category Technology
Are smart phones good or evil? On the good side I'm able to process email, undertake instant message conversations, update tasks, access some business applications, and even blog when away from my laptop. This really is good because it means all my notes are centralised and accessible from multiple places. It is also good as I am in touch and able to contribute to my teams effort to achieve more for our organisation. They're also (relative to desktops or laptops) cheap to purchase, implement, and run.

On the evil side ... Wives don't like them! They're 'always on' so you can work anytime, anyplace, on any device! They're easy to lose or damage. Kids love them (sticky fingers and more drops). They are most likely a health hazzard (wives don't like them and the keyboards are too small)!

Do they result in us achieving more or are we just becoming 21st century slaves where what shackles us to our master (employer) is technology?

18/03/2009

Distributing Software from a BES

Category Technology
Finally (with some help) I've got Sametime available for distribution through a BES. I found some really good web sites telling me exactly how to do this but couldn't (like a couple of other users on the sites) get Sametime to work. It ended up being all in two small matters. The first was a typo in the intructions I was following - I got tipped off to this by a comment on the site. The second was I had downloaded the wrong client - Apparently I needed the desktop download even though I'm distributing to a BlackBerry phone!

Now that this is in and working I can't help but wonder if Lotus will add a similar software distribution feature to Traveler. In version 8.5 of Traveler there are some significant advances that make the product more useful and secure (ability to enforce a PIN on a phone, remotely erase and lock the phone to name my two personal favourites)!

10/03/2009

Reliance

Category Technology Work
Some days I'm surprised by how much I rely on technology to organise my days and achieve work tasks and personal goals. Recently I had a small challenge with synchronisation where tasks and notes weren't updating on my phone. Initially it doesn't sound like such a big deal and I wasn't too bothered.

Then I went to a meeting ... Totally carnage! I wasn't able to see my previous notes or make new notes. Arrrrrrrrgh!! Don't panic though, I'm synchronising again now!

06/03/2009

Emerging Language

Category Random Technology
In my RSS reader I have a feed from the Urban Wood of the Day site and every now and then there is a word that makes me laugh for days on end (go look up crop dusting on the site).

Recently there was an entry yellular which was one that quietly amused me (the truth is stranger than fiction)! The definition is kind of like the way when you're talking to someone and half way through they tell you they're blind - so you start talking louder!! Anyway, here is the definition of yellular:

The loudness one adopts in response to a bad cell-phone connection, in the misguided hope that talking louder will improve the connection.

"I'm so embarrassed. I went totally yellular at a restaurant last night."

26/02/2009

TNT Presentation

QuickImage Category Lotus Technology
As promised (to one person), I've uploaded my presentation from today (you'll find it in the new downloads section on the righthand side below the photo albums). Called TNT (as in Top Notes Tips) it was pulled together with the help of one colleague, a couple of team members, Alan Lepofsky (he has a similar presentation available here) and from my experience when observing people working.

What amazes me is how little some people explore the possibilities! Of course I learnt a few new things from Alan Lepofsky's presentation (which I included). However the more I use Notes, the more I find it can do for me. If you have any other tips you want to share add them as a comment or email me directly.

25/02/2009

Video Conferencing

Category Technology
I've been looking at LifeSize video conferecing equipment at work recently and today participated in a demonstration between Auckland and Wellington that used an ADSL line (similar to what an actual implementation would be).

The quality was impressive given the connection and the fact that in Auckland the vendor had simply taken a small unit into one of my team's office (so lighting and audio conditions were poor).

As part of the demonstration we included a PowerPoint presentation and again I was impressed, this time with how simple it was to include. Essentially all I had to do was plug my laptop into the system (normal VGA cable) and it all started working.

After the demonstration I was speaking with my team member and reflecting on how well everything had gone. We were also talking about the possibilities within our organisation and some of the limitations that might exist.

Then I saw this Dilbert cartoon ...



19/02/2009

The Power of the Internet

Category Technology
Humans often get caught up in justice issues and protesting. I've always enjoyed observing people when they do protest because more often than not regardless of how many of them there are the people who need to listen don't usually! This isn't to say I think it is pointless, just that it is like talking to my 6 year old some days. He just doesn't listen!

Facebook has, in my opinion, a questionable privacy policy (there are many other websites with equally as questionable (or more) privacy policies). So I was pleased to read this article here siting how people can make a difference. This isn't the first example and the most notable case I'm aware of is HSBC reversing a decision on fees because millions of people protested, online!

Of course it is easier to create a big group online as the barriers of time and money aren't so restricting in coming together. Either way the moral of the story (well for me) is that you can have a voice. You just need to choose the right place and time to use it (oh and maybe get a few million people who agree with you)!

18/02/2009

IT isn't that hard, is IT?

Category Technology
I had to spend some today sorting out an issue that was caused by someone plugging a wireless access point into the network. Personally I blame the Dick Smith and Noel Lemming type shops that sell IT equipment and tell people that they do just plug them in and presto you have a wireless network. This may not sound too bad especially if you're not technical BUT it was giving out DHCP addresses (for anyone lost by this statement just understand that it meant others couldn't use the Internet because the wireless access point was plugged in)!

Now luckily (for me) they didn't appear to have made many changes to the configuration so I was able to quickly connect to the wireless access point (thank God for default configurations) and identify the make and model (which makes it easier to hunt down). I did consider just making the changes necessary to rectify the problem BUT decided that if it was being used for something specific they could fix the configuration back to create the problem for other users. So the hunt was on for this rouge wireless access point.

Thankfully I had the help of a local who knew the most likely condidates were and the hunt began. On our second stop we found the rogue device and were able to not only resolve the issue for other users but managed to fix a problem with the person with the wireless access point. I'm not convinced I was actually looking to help but I guess sometimes that happens despite your attitude. The confusing part for me is that it seems so logical that the presence of devices like this will cause difficulties. IT isn't all that difficult (although IT isn't always logical either). Maybe it is just that I understand (some) IT matters, or maybe it is that I get called when there is a problem with IT! Either way the frustration for me (which is an internal matter for me to deal with) is that IT isn't that hard (well not in this case)!

16/02/2009

Google Adwords

Category Technology Church
Check out this article on the ChristianityToday.com website about a church that is using Google Adwords to advertise their church successfully! Interesting concept which will undoubtedly lead many other churches to follow what Radiant Church in Colorado Springs has done (after all so many churches emulate instead of innovate)!

14/02/2009

Twitter Counter

Category Technology
I found this cool site for people on Twitter, http://www.twittercounter.com It projects the number of followers you'll have (not sure it is accurate), and lets you create a badge for your blog. Kind of pointless but amusing.

13/02/2009

Notes 8.5 Client

Category Technology
I've been running the Notes 8.5 client now for several weeks (since the day it was released actually) and there are some features about it I'm really liking. The main one (that I've used several times and was just using this very minute) is in the Sametime sidebar it supports Notes groups (at least I think that is what they're called)!

Essentially I add a Notes group to my contact list and the Sametime sidebar client shows me the people in that group who are online. This really helpful when you have a group specific to a single centre, or the entire directory. What it means is I can see just how many people are online (because I have the group for our entire directory in my contact list now)!

Another feature of Sametime 8.5 I'm really enjoying, and using, is the broadcast feature. I've used this a couple of times in conjunction with the Notes group to communicate with a specific group of people.

The final cool feature (that I'm going to blog about now) are the sidebar widgets. I've added a couple so far: Google Maps, BeTwittered, and WhatIsMyIP. They're great for quickly accessing information.

12/02/2009

Food Miles

Category Random Technology
I've just been listening to the news and am intrigued by the conversations about food miles. Essentially Europe is considering the environmental impact of food that is imported. All that they're doing is attaching the distance the food has travelled to the consumer.

While that sounds reasonable it is really flawed approach. The distance something travels is not related to the carbon emmissions associated with it. Products from NZ often have a lower carbon footprint (when landed in the UK) than a similar product from the UK itself (hard to believe but true).

If we're going to try and be more green and sustainable (which I'm all for) then let's do it properly. Figure out the carbon emissions associated with it and publish that! Don't just apply a mindless number to it which conveys an untrue message!

Of course if you're more interested in buying local (which again I'm all for) then it is an absolutely brilliant scheme. I've read about the 20 mile diet (you're only allowed to eat food produced within 20 miles of your house) which has to be great for local and small business while being very anti-globalisation.

Moral of the story? By local, go green!

10/02/2009

New Zeal

Category Work Church Technology
New Zeal is approaching fast and in a conversation (a real world one) I suggested to someone that we create a blog for it and also a Twitter account. As many conversations go when it is IT related I ended up agreeing to create and manage the blog and Twitter account (nice)! However I'm not bothered by this as I'm keen to see technology being used to increase the level of engagement, facilitate on going discussion, and to enable a greater impact of this event.

The plan is to blog regularly (daily - but don't hold me to it), in the lead up to New Zeal. Speaker bio's, promos of the venue, session details, registration information, and short teasers are planned. The goal being people not only hit the ground running at New Zeal, but that they have also already connected with people and started the conversation about New Zeal, their expectations, and the way God is bringing heaven on earth through them both personally and has part of His Kingdom (aka the church)!

The blog site is https://www.sarmy.net.nz/newzeal.nsf and the Twitter account is twitter.com/newzeal Whether you're going or not check out the blog and join in the conversation (hopefully it will be a roar of comments as opposed to a quiet murmour)!

09/02/2009

ScribeFire

Category Technology
If you have a blog and you have Firefox then checkout http://www.scribefire.com This plugin lets you do far more than just blog from within Firefox. This entry was created after installing the plugin and it seems to just work (I love that kind of technology)!

09/02/2009

Wordle

Category Technology
I came across the website wordle.net and have since learnt a bit more about what IBM are doing in the visualisation space. However I've been pointing wordle at my blog and have noticed a few changes. Here is the word picture of how it looks today (I'm sure those from America will love my spelling of traveller - I decided it is IBM's product so they can call it what they want)!

PS: If the picture is a little small for you to see it clearly, click on it to see it in 'all its original glory' (or a bigger version)!

08/02/2009

Twitter

Category Technology
I'm really into http://www.twitter.com and had some comments today at church about my Facebook status being changed many times a day. I explained about the connection I made between Facebook and Twitter. They (Twitter and Facebook) are really different services so in many ways the connection doesn't make sense. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that encourages feedback and conversations between followers. Facebook is more about me sharing stuff I'm interested in with my friends. However a lot of times what I tweet (Twitter) is exactly what I would set my status (Facebook) to. So for the most part it saves me double entry.

Both Facebook and Twitter allow me to be connected to people I don't see regularly. Both of them also allow me to have a conversation and be in touch with daily happenings in my friends lives. The question (in my mind) is do both of these technologies help me build relationships or do they allow me to withdraw from the real world (the 1st question might be what is the real world)?

05/02/2009

Traveler 8.5

Category Technology Work Lotus
Tonight I embarked on upgrading our Traveler server to 8.5 (it will be the first server in our environment to run 8.5). I'd done some reading about the matter as I had heard of some bad things happening. Turns out the problems some people are experiencing with Traveler upgrades are not problems with Traveler upgrades at all! Rather it is upgrading BES breaks Traveler. As I'm upgrading Traveler and not BES I proceeded as intended.

- The first thing was to get a good backup and download the install files.
- Next I upgraded Domino itself to 8.5 which required a system restart (these always seem to take a lot longer when you're working remotely and not in front of the server itself - and Terminal Services are the absolute last thing to start)
- Then it was what I wanted, and the install of Traveler 8.5. A little tip here - If you've customised your default Traveler web page (which is a really good idea) then you may want to take a copy of domino\html\traveler\Index.html so you can restore it after the upgrade is completed
- Another restart and a final check of everything (including the restore of my domino\html\traveler\Index.html file

Moral of the story? Upgrading Traveler is a relatively simple and painless task. Now I get to sit back and enjoy all the new features of Traveler (once I've configured them)!

04/02/2009

ISG Bowling

Category Work Technology
Hmmm, after posting a blog about mini golf, I immediately follow it with a post about bowling .... Tonight most of my team went 10 Pin Bowling. This was the final social event where Lisa would attend as an employee. It was a good evening despite the general lack of skill (speaking mostly about myself)! As always (well since I bought it) theFlip video camera was on hand to record some of the action! Creating the video took all of about 1 or 2 minutes work (no bull)! It put all the effects, transitions, and music in for me. It really is a handy little device for being able to quickly capture and publish any event!

30/01/2009

Links

Category Technology Random
While sitting at LAX with not much to do except listen to the iPod, read a book, and surf the Internet a found some interesting links, and some funny links. See for yourself just how much useful information is available to those who will seek:

A humorous look at failure
Need a green data centre? Look here
Details of a zombie attack from gizmodo
Just how popular is the iPhone? Wow!
Want to be a genius? You'll need this iPhone app
An honest kiwi saves the US here
Just how good are Apple? Decide for yourself after seeing this!

30/01/2009

Digital Cameras

Category Technology
When you're on a trip away from home you use somethings more than others, like (maybe) your digital camera. In looking for something I came across a great web page dedicated to getting the most out of your digital camera. The web site is here and there are 10 great tips. Below are edited versions of what I thought were the best 3.

Tip #1- This Camera Belongs To
Digital cameras are just the right size to slip out of your pocket. Maybe the person who finds is an honest person who wants to get it back to it's owner. Take a photo of a note with your name and phone number on it. Then set that the splash screen (the photo that is displayed on the screen when you turn the camera on).

Tip #2- Car Park
Okay this isn't going to be all that helpful in NZ, but I'm writing this in America where the carparks are so big you could run a marathon through them without passing the some point twice. They have helpful names like 42H, or 94J, which readily stick in my mind (well for the length of time it takes for the sign to disappear from view)! A picture of the sign for your block will help you get back to your car after a long day.

Tip #3- Yellow Pages
Rather than tearing a page out of a phone book, take a picture of the page (or pages) you're interested in! Of course many of us have phones that can access the Internet wherever there is cellphone coverage. However I haven't been using that feature too much while in the USA because of exhorbitant roaming data charges. Back in NZ I'f just use my phone. But if I didn't have one ...

There were 7 other ideas for using your camera at the website if you're interested.

29/01/2009

BlackBerry Prayers

Category Technology
It would seem that the group of people at ITX (and for that matter Lotusphere) are very in touch with their gods and pray regularly. From the Urban Dictionary website comes the term BlackBerry Prayer. It is described as the supplicating position one assumes when grasping the popular six-ounce wireless combination e-mailer/phone known as the BlackBerry between your palms and thumb-tapping messages on its QWERTY keyboard.

Everyday I am surrounded by people doing their Blackberry Prayer rituals!

28/01/2009

ITX7 #5

Category Work Technology
The show and tell session at ITX has been useful (as it always is). There are (again) examples of Territories solving problems using technology in both creative and effective ways. I can't help but think that a more regular session like this would be helpful. Technology is bringing us closely together and we (in IT departments) seem to have similar pain points and challenges to overcome.

A regular sharing session (remotely using web technologies) where a couple of territories share solutions to problems they've implemented, or projects they're in the middle of. It would be beneficial to me and (IMHO) many others.

28/01/2009

Xtranormal.com

Category Technology
I was introduced to some cool technology which could be used fairly extensively by creative and not-so-creative people also. The tag phrase is if you can type, you can make movies. Text-to-movie. Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com) is available to anyone currently. If you're interested in trying it have a look. But read the license agreement carefully. There are some unusual things you're agreeing to including any link to the site being to the www.xtranormal.com and not any underlying page. Bizarre!

Anyway, have a look at what you can create in under half an hour. I imagine you could spend another 30-60 minutes playing around with camera angles and expressions to punctuate your speech. For my movie (see below) I didn't bother as it was after midnight when I started playing around.

27/01/2009

Ubuntu and Lotus

Category Technology
In preparation for a presentation I've put together a virtual instance of an alternate operating system (Ubuntu) and an alternate office productivity suite (Lotus Symphony). This exercise was simple and painless. Ubuntu is simple to install, has a clean interface, is intuitive to use, and just works (well on my hardware)! Adding Lotus Symphony (and also Lotus Notes) was again a simple and painless exercise. Time from go to whoa (or wow) was probably around an hour.

25/01/2009

ITX7 #2

Category Technology Work
So day 1 of ITX7 has finished and I've just spent an hour mucking around with The Flip a little flash based video camera I purchased. It is a pretty cool little gadget and only time will tell just how useful it is. Here are some selected shots from day 1 at ITX7.

25/01/2009

ITX7 #1

Category Technology Work
As ITX7 starts I'm already intrigued by the different personalities, experiences, knowledge, and opinions present. It makes presentating and contributing challenging as everyone responds differently and the cultural context of language introduces further vaguaries. The most fascinating aspect of this is that TSA is one organisation worldwide with one mission. And yet every one of us present at ITX7 interprets or engages with the mission differently.

24/01/2009

iCalendar Files

Category Technology
As ITX7 starts tomorrow I was looking at the calendar which is stored in an Excel file. While it is easy to view and understand it isn't on my BlackBerry and there isn't really an easy to way to get the events onto my calenday (other than 1 by 1 manually either on the BB or from my laptop).

I figured there must be an easier way so looked up how to create an iCalendar file. Once I understood that (ICS files are plain text) I created one with all of the day 1 events in. The plain text format of the file makes it easy to open, understand and manipulate. If you want multiple calendar entries in a single file just cut and paste the code (changing the DTSTART, DTEND, SUMMARY, LOCATION, etc parameters). If you're interested in the iCalendar format, here is a sample event:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:1.0
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20090124T130000
DTEND:20090124T133000
SUMMARY:Lunch
LOCATION:Dining Room
DESCRIPTION:Lunch will be served to you at your table so find a seat upon arrival
PRIORITY:3
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

I learnt this in about 1 minute from www.pratie.com

23/01/2009

ls09 #13

Category Technology Work
What makes a conference successful? Well I'm sure most people have a thought on that, and most would probably focus on the event and the quality of the facilities, presenters, and material. Others might suggest longevity (if the conference keeps running year after year it must be successful). Now all of these are obviously important, vital towards success but I think the real proof of a successful conference is what happens afterwards.

If things change or progress as a result of the conference then it is a success. If skills and knowledge learnt at the conference makes a difference to my day to day life (positively) then it has been a success.

Only time will tell if Lotusphere has been a success for me. However it would seem it is a success for others as so many return each year (it has been running for 16 years) and their businesses appear to be successful.

23/01/2009

ls09 #12

Category Technology Work
It would seem that attendence at sessions is waning. This could be too many late nights (and alcohol for some) but I suspect (as is the case for me), that I've taken on board so much information it is hard to keep taking anymore on! I'm still in a session and there are more to go but am super happy that the presentations can be downloaded. The content is great but my brain is starting to fight against assimilating more information!

23/01/2009

IM is dead!!?!!

Category Technology
From the blog of Chris Sparshott comes the revelation that IM (instant messaging) is dead. For some IM still doesn't exist so for it to be dead won't cause any concerns. However the death of a specific technology should come as no surprise really. All of them seem to have a limited life before something new supercedes them. And if email is dead (according to Gartner), then it stands to reason that IM would follow shortly after.

22/01/2009

ls09 #11

Category Technology Work
Today was another full on day. I've just got back to my hotel room and it is 11:30pm and I need to be somewhere again by 7:30am! The good news is I'm sleeping fairly well now. Tomorrow is the final day of Lotusphere and there are some more sessions I'm really keen to attend. One is about building a development/sandbox environment for Domino and the other is about maximising the new Notes 8.5 client (plan is to roll that out during the 1st half of this year).

I've uploaded some more photos including some that may require some explanation! The Cast Only signs are everywhere and are instead of Staff Only. It is a little quirky but mildly entertaining. What was hilarious though was my wake up call. I'm sure you remember be having a bit of a giggle about everything on the bus (sorry I mean magical express) to the hotel being magical? Then you checkin and they say have a magical stay? Well I rang up to set up a wake call (which was 10 minutes early). When I'd finished setting it up (it is an auto-phone-attendant), the voice said have magical dreams!

22/01/2009

ls09 #10

Category Technology Work
It is kind of surprising how diverse the attendees at Lotusphere are. There is a great blend of females, ages (yes I mean old people) and countries. It is great hearing European accents again (I still can't differentiate between them).

Lotusphere really is an international event that provides significant value to anyone involved in implementing or supporting Lotus applications. If go even further and suggest that many executive leaders could benefit from some of the sessions.

22/01/2009

ls09 #9

Category Technology Work
The size of Lotusphere is difficult to describe. It is between 2 venues, both of which are larger than any venue I can think of in NZ. Walking between the venues takes at least 5 mins so I'm getting a reasonable amount of exercise (albeit stretched out over the day). I heard someone say they bought a pedometer last year and in one day covered 7 miles. I don't think I'm walking that far but am covering more distance on my feet than usual (which is good because it wakes me up)!

22/01/2009

ls09 #8

Category Technology Work
One of the massive areas being pushed and focused on at Lotusphere is social software. IBM really believe that the future of IT systems is in the collaboration area that crosses organisational boundaries.

In addition to software able for purchase IBM have developed a cloud service, www.LotusLive.com to make social software features across companies. I've signed up for the service and the potential of it is fairly limitless. In addition to bring able to work with people outside your organisation considerable effort is being out into integrating it with other Lotus products. This means internal Quickr and Connections installations will seamlessly work with LotusLive. That makes working with internal users and external companies effortless!

If you do signup at www.LotusLive.com (formerly called Bluehouse) look for me and add me as a connection.

21/01/2009

ls09 #7

Category Technology Work
There really is so much information here that it is difficult to take it all in. I heard it said there are over 100 sessions scheduled as part as Lotusphere and the most you can get to is 25. So many times there is the tension of having to choose between 2 (and sometimes 3) different sessions (luckily some repeat). I've been out of the hotel for 15 hours today and it sounds as though tomorrow will be even longer (although there is a party of some sort tomorrow night)!

Lotus Traveler in Domnio 8.5 has some really significant advances. You will be able to control the configuration of the Traveller client on phones, require devices to have a PIN, and even remotely erase a device (which has to be the best feature addition in my mind). In the session I went to on Traveller they installed and configured a server during the session (they're an hour long). It is surprising simple and intended to work with your existing implementation. I think that I will be upgrading our Traveller server as soon as I get back into the office!

Paul Mooney presented it (along with another superb session - the 11 commandments which I'll blog about when I get a chance) and he is obviously incredibly knowledgable about Domino, and also a very humorous presenter. I'm going to upload a few more photos shortly so keep an eye on the photo album section.

If you're wondering about the photo, it was from the Lotusphere Idol session. Essentially you can apply to be in the contest and you get 5 minutes to do a presentation in front of a crowded room (2-300 people) and a panel of judges. The winner gets to give their full presentation (1 hour) on Thursday. My favorite was a guy (I think it was a jack up) who did a session on Locust Fear!! In the photo (on the left) is Ed Brill (quite famous in the Lotus world).

21/01/2009

ls09 #6

Category Technology Work
If there is one thing I've come to realise while here at Lotusphere is that mobile solutions (i.e. BlackBerry and amet phones etc) must have a dedicated client. Web access just doesn't cut it at times.

If you consider Brightkite it is a very good concept. However the lack of a client for the BlackBerry means in order to use it I need to use a web browser. Compare this with Twitter (which does have a BlackBerry client) and the ease of use with a client is incomparable.

The point of this? We can't really rely on a web solution when we're expecting people to actually use the solution!

20/01/2009

ls09 #5

Category Technology Work
Well day 2 has come to an end and even though it is 11pm here (only 5pm NZ time) I've just been online talking to N & the boys as well as having a few Sametime conversations and sending some emails (much easier from the laptop)!

Dinner tonight was at Downtown Disney ... Think of the Main Street at any amusement park you've every been to and that is pretty much what it was like (only bigger)!! There was a totally cool Lego shop there that may get another visit from me.

Finally by popular demand (well 1 person asked), I've uploaded a couple of photos! Check in the work photo albums for ls09. I will endevour to add some more photos as we go. I did have a few more but the quality wasn't very good (I've been using the BB and I don't think I'm holding still enough for it)!

20/01/2009

ls09 #4

Category Technology Work
It is difficult to describe today and it hasn't even finished yet! My sleep challenges have had an impact but the buzz around the place is incredible and for good reason! I (though the wonders of YouTube) managed to find a different performance by the Blue Man Group piece they performed at the opening this morning. I'm not sure the video quite captures how good it was live (although I thought they could have cranked the volume even more)!

20/01/2009

ls09 #3

Category Technology Work
The Opening General Session was pretty interesting. Some of it wasn't of that much use to me and what I'm trying to achieve in my role, however it is always good to hear what else is available and where products are heading.

If you're interested in a better review of the Opening General Session read Ed Brill's blog. I will say that the Blue Man Group were very good and entertaining.

20/01/2009

ls09 #2

Category Technology Work
Hmmm, a rough start to the day after a very broken sleep. I had a couple of hours before about 2am when I found myself wide awake! Finally around 3:30/4am'ish (which is 9:30/10pm in NZ) I fell asleep. Then I was rudely awoken by my alarm at 7am (1am NZ time) so I could head off to breakfast and the opening session of Lotusphere.

Coffee always was my friend ... today it is more like a wheelchair and I'm keen to locate a source of Red Bull!

19/01/2009

ls09 #1

Category Technology Work
So day 1 of ls09 has come to an end. Already I've learnt things and enjoyed myself and yet there are still another 4 days to go. I suspect given the buzz around the place it will all go quickly and I'll end up with more information being taken on than I can actually use in the weeks (and months) after I'm back at work.

Day 1 Highlights
A Lotus Domino Administrator overview - Fairly basic but for someone like me who doesn't spend all that much time in Administrator (this wasn't supposed to be a confession post) it was a really good session. I came away feeling comforted that I was 'doing things correctly' and enlightened as to how I could do other things I wasn't aware of (like figure out how to get rid of an old administrators account!

The Lotus Quickr session - Again fairly basic and light but it gave me a new appreciation of the possibilities with Quickr and a view of where the product is heading (far more 'social' based). This is a great product with some great potential and as with most products one of the main limits is the imagination of people using it and the control exerted upon it!

The pool party (just to make some people jealous - Vaughan you're not in Orlando so don't try and fool us in Brightkite)! Apart from great food (and it was very good) there was some good live music. There was also some odd ladies dancing - The IHQ guys were rather taken with them!

19/01/2009

Lotusphere 2009

Category Technology
Over the next couple of weeks I think the majority of blog entries will have a technology focus. That is because I'm at ls09 (Lotusphere 2009) along with more than 20000 (no that isn't a typo) other people.

I've already attended a couple of sessions and am sitting in another now sipping a coffee waiting for another to start! So far a couple of things that stick out:

1> Everything here is on an enormous scale! The hotels, roads, cars, some of the people - way bigger than what we have and very different to the UK

2> There are a lot more females involved in IT here than I've observed elsewhere (and I've been to TechEd and uForum) - that has to be positive

3> Technology is helpful. Most aspects and material related to this conference is online (which is very helpful) - I'm checking the schedule from my BlackBerry

All of this is positive and there is a real buzz around the place (or maybe that is the coffee talking considering the jet lag and the hour (1am NZ time) I got up this morning (one of the handful of times in my life I've been up in the morning before my father - and I'm cheating by being in a different time zone)!

15/01/2009

Brightkite

Category Technology
Just this week a work colleague, (Mark, introduced me to Brightkite.com. It is similar to Twitter (which is a micro-blogging service) only location aware. What this means is as you create a list of 'friends' and in addition to seeing your 'micro-blogs' they are able to see your location (you can control how accurate your location is published as).

It is kind of cool (mainly because it updates Twitter for me). However I'm keen to see whether or not it can help while at Lotusphere 2009. Having not been to Lotusphere previously I'm not sure what to expect. Although I understand it will be huge (20000+ people attending). The hope (from my work colleague) is that those of us using it will be able to 'find' each other without resorting to expensive roaming text messages or exhorbitant roaming phone call costs!! Watch this space for an update on Brightkite.com as well as infromation, photos, and thoughts from Lotusphere and ITX7!

14/01/2009

Quitting?

Category Random Technology
From the 'seemed like a good idea at the time' or 'short sighted action' file comes a website dedicated to potentially destroying your future. Quitinstyle.com chronicles the limitless ways that the Internet is serving a useful purpose. I say useful as many of these seem like fanciful dreams as opposed to actual events (although maybe I'm just wanting to believe that)!!

13/01/2009

Facebook

Category Technology
Following on from my blog yesterday about social networking, Facebook made the news (again) today. Queenstown Police have setup a Facebook page to help solve crimes. If they have photos of someone committing a crime they post them online in their Facebook profile to assist in identifying the suspect. For the news article about it click here.

I guess this answers my question as to whether social networking can serve any work purpose! It would seem the limit is our creativity and willingness to embrace new ways of doing things.

12/01/2009

Social Networking

Category Technology
It is nearly time for an International IT conference for the organisation I work for and I was asked (very last minute) to prepare a couple of presentations. One is to be called Exploring Social Networking. It is an intriguing subject and directly eliciting thoughts from some people on the matter. Social Networking would include (but isn't limited to) websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn, etc.

There are a couple of questions in my mind about social networking.
1> Can they actually help us do business (whatever our business is)?
2> Could they help build the kingdom of God?
3> What (if any) are the risks?

While I have answers in my mind they're my answers and I'm wondering what others think about social networking (or perhaps IF they think about it)!

09/01/2009

Twitter Song

Category Technology
Some people either have too much time or they're hoping to make a career out of mocking culture ... Funny!

07/01/2009

Mr. T

Category Technology
"I'm gonna virtualise you suckas!"

01/01/2009

Technology

Category Technology Work
After two days with the BlackBerry out of action everything is working again now. It is amazing how often you use something and how little you realise you 'depend' on it.

I say 'depend' as my life continued happily without it (N was probably very pleased it stopped beeping and buzzing for 2 whole days)!

Without it I was a little more stressed (work wise) as I wasn't as in touch. I also wasn't able to check out addresses, phone numbers, websites, and all the other little things I do from time to time on the move away from my laptop.

The point? I think I'm addicted to my BlackBerry! It keeps me in touch (with something I possibly shouldn't be in touch with) and let's me access useful information! Is that good?

07/12/2008

Maybe

QuickImage Category Random Technology
Maybe I'm easily impressed, or maybe I love gadgets. Maybe little things amuse little minds or maybe I'm becoming increasingly paranoid about the possibility of a natural disaster. Maybe all these things are the case ... either way I purchased a new gadget yesterday and I'm loving it (N was sick of me talking about it within about 90 minutes of me getting home with it and E was threatening to hide it by tea time)!

The radio is 'self-powered' by a little winder and lasted for more than 7 hours before N turned it off! In addition to an AM/FM radio it has an LED light as it is designed for an emergency. Check out all the details on the Sony website.

05/12/2008

Technology

Category Technology Work
I'm not really one for outsourcing for solutions or support. While I do use some level of this I believe that in order to achieve the best results for your business it is vital that internal employees who know the organisation and live with it day in and day out be involved. After all they understand what the organisation is like to live with and how it reacts to change, what the politics are like, and how the strategic plan is being implemented.

However I'm wondering if there is a solution I should consider. IBM look like they have a solution that is right up the alley I was investigating and looking to trial sometime in 2009 (all going to plan). The solution that IBM have worked with Canonical software on can be found here.

Food for thought as we head into uncertain economic times and need to get more out of IT without putting any more money into it. I suspect the challenge will be in selling the solution so that people understand why it is good for them, how they will benefit from it, what gains they will experience, and why it isn't just an IT department scheme to save money! After all IT is about enabling a company to achieve their strategic plans.

07/11/2008

VirtualBox

Category Technology
At the risk of being considered a geek, I have to say that being able to run virtual machines on my desktop is a real life saver! No longer to I worry about installing software or having a machine that runs slowly. I simply use a fresh virtual machine and do what I want to do without any impact to my normal environment!

Now this isn't anything new, (me using virtual machines instead of my physical machine). It is really coming into it's own as I increasingly seem to have to install a piece of software for one small job. The best part? The virtual machines are portable to other peoples machines! This means when I've tested and proved something I can show people. All this without changing the configuration of the machine I use day and night for communication, reporting and business critical applications.

04/11/2008

Balance in IT

Category Technology Random
I often lament the way IT is always at blame regardless of circumstances. IT is highly visible and often misunderstood and generall the first and last thing to be blamed when something goes wrong.

However yesterday I had a balanced day ... In one conversation both praise and criticism came forward. The praise was immensely satisfying as what started as a disaster that was being blamed on IT turned it a huge success. The success wasn't without considerable time and personal cost but nevertheless it was a significant success at a high level. The criticism while to a certain degree deserved, came through a circutous route that made additional work (by IT) necessary.

Maybe one day there will be a perfect (IT) day at work ... I strive for it (perfectionism isn't a character flaw) and believe it will happen (idealism isn't a character flaw either)!

28/10/2008

faceyourmanga

QuickImage Category Technology
I was directed to www.faceyourmanga.com be a friend who I thought had a very cool profile picture. I figured you would need to upload a photo and it would transform it using modern technology. How wrong I was! Turns out it is very similar to the Nintendo Wii, Mii creation application.

I guess one positive of using www.faceyourmanga.com is that you get to create a pictorial reference of how you see yourself. Or perhaps if you're a little more insecure, how you would like to see yourself! Either way it was quite fun creating an image (just like on the Wii)!! You'll see my impression of myself on the right.

PS: For more information about the Nintendo Wii (which is a lot of fun) look here

13/10/2008

The 10 Blogging Commandments

Category Technology
Through the blog of Captain Collo I was directed to the 10 Blogging Commandments. I was not aware of the Godblog day or an Evangelical Alliance!

1. You shall not put your blog before your integrity
2. You shall not make an idol of your blog
3. You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin
4. Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog
5. Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes
6. You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings
7. You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind
8. You shall not steal another person’s content
9. You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger
10. You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content

Is this stealling (blog commandment 8) when I've quoted both of my sources?

09/10/2008

Reading

Category Random Technology Work
I'm constantly amazed at how bad we are at reading and comprehension. Sometimes I wonder if it is literally busyness, other times I think it is laziness.

This morning I caught myself out because I hadn't read an email correctly! I didn't read the entire email so turned up to the wrong location. Actually it was the right location but I was in the wrong room!

This happened because the email contained multiple locations and I didn't take the time to fully digest the email.

Why don't we take the time to digest information fully? Is it because we don't take the time to format and present information logically in emails? Or are we just lazy?

04/10/2008

eDay

Category Technology
On Saturday I got N and the boys into the car and we headed into work. There, with considerable help from a friend and my Dad, we proceeded to get all of the old computer equipment from the store room into the back of a small truck (thanks to the Tawa Family Store for loaning us the truck)! We then proceeded down to the stadium to have the equipment recycled at the eDay.

Upon arrival we struck a rather large challenge ... the truck wouldn't fit under the stadium! Luckily our Dell account manager (Dell sponsor the event), had rung ahead and sorted everything out. We were redirected to a large store where all the equipment was actually going and got to unload there! It is surprising how much power the very mention of someone's name can have (sermon anyone?)!!

Check out all the photos from eday in the photo album.

02/10/2008

Open Source

Category Technology
If you've spoken to me recently you would know I've moved from just saying Open Source is a good idea to actually using it (Ubuntu) as my operating system of choice. I'm also looking for the organisation I work for to embrace open standards as the way forward.

Someone sent me the following link which makes a very good read.There are some compelling reasons but I'm sure we could take the case for open source to an even higher level!

01/10/2008

Hooray Telecom!

Category Technology
It isn't often that I cheer for Telecom! In fact there have probably only been a few cases in recent time. In saying that they have continued to be generous with TSA and we have achieved some substantial savings by working with them.

However I'm cheering for them because they're increasing the speed and the data speeds for ADSL users at no extra cost! You can find out more here. Just to help out they've also included a tool to check if ADSL2 is available for you!

30/09/2008

Ubuntu

Category Technology
So I've got Vaughan in town at the moment doing some work for me and I've got to say I'm impressed with his laptop. It is an old IBM that in the last 2 or 3 weeks he has converted to run on Ubuntu. He is runing almost everything in Ubuntu without any issues (well none he wanted to tell me about)! The only piece of th puzzle missing for Vaughan (and me) is the Notes Admin client.

29/09/2008

A Useful App...

Category Technology
I've just seen a really useful app that could be something the Green Party here want to get a hold of. It is a Google App (no surprise there that they're innovating in this way) and available online. Have a look at http://www.google.com/transit to see what they've done. Then immediately notice that it doesn't have New Zealand public transport (many would say there isn't any public transport in NZ)!

It really is a clever take on their really well executed Google Maps application and has enormous potential to make travel on public transport a lot simpler. Having lived in London for years and relying on public transport Google Transit would have made travelling anywhere out of the ordinary as simple as a couple of clicks (as opposed to time spent staring at a Tube map, an A-Z street map and finding (if necessary) bus routes and timetables.

Maybe one day soon NZ will mature in its use of public transport and harness this fantastic application.

22/09/2008

iPod

Category Technology
I've just received my new iPod (am expecting the Mini Mac tomorrow. All I can say at the moment is WOW!

Wow it is beautifully packaged ...
Wow it is tiny...
Wow it is ultra thin...
Wow it can store 16GB...
Wow it is so intuitive..
Wow it is so WOW!

The rest of the world that makes product could learn a lot from Apple about how to wow customers. It's like they know we're going to be excited about opening it so they pay attention to ever tiny detail, even the stickers that hold it closed and the documentation are not only beautifully presented but also put in where (and when) you'd look for them.

19/09/2008

Open Office

QuickImage Category Technology
I've previously blogged about Symphony, IBM's Microsoft Office challenger. It is based on Open Office and as part of my Ubuntu experiment I've been using Open Office. The best thing about it is that the transition from Microsoft Office to Open Office is really easy.

The transition to IBM Symphony isn't quite as easy although if you're a Lotus Notes user it is very similar to that.

So what is it going to be? Symphony? Or Open Office?

18/09/2008

RSS Feeds

Category Technology
I was talking with a couple of people about RSS (really simple syndication) and remember having a similar attitude to them once upon a time. They failed to see how RSS could be of any use to them as it was simple enough to just surf to a website and check for updates.

The beauty of RSS is that I'm not only automatically updated but I can also see what is new since I last looked this helps make sure I don't miss anything and still allows me to skim read!

17/09/2008

Ubuntu day 2

QuickImage Category Technology
Today I have sat in front of my new Ubuntu build the whole day (so far). While my Windows machine is to the side I have largely been able to complete all my tasks without any major problems. I haven't quite got the networking right on the domain but I'm not too worried yet. What I have proven to myself is that leaving Windows behind isn't necessarily going to be a major ordeal.

16/09/2008

Ubuntu

QuickImage Category Technology
So after 1 build, 1 rebuild and a bit of playing around this post is being written on a Ubuntu machine with a beta version of Lotus Notes 8.5! The move to Linux has begun and it will be interesting to see how it goes compared with the Windows Vista experiment earlier this year.

11/09/2008

TTX08 #4

Category Technology Work
The Dell session at TTX was great. It wasn't the best start as they went through their product lineup and road map but was followed by a session on services. Dell do a lot in this space that I wasn't aware of and am keen to learn more about. It seems they're really trying to position themselves as a company who can be your sole IT provider. They definately have a great service offering and it will be interesting to speak further with dell about the possibility to utilise some of them.

04/09/2008

Killer App

Category Technology
If ever there was one application I would struggle to operate without it has to be Lotus Notes. From my calendar & contacts through to my meeting minder, journal, staff manager and blog applications I'm finding more reasons to operate in Notes than ever before!

Then there are the other core business applications that operate in Notes, the bulletin board, international news, Job Track, manual db, centre db, documentation db ....

Lotus Notes is the centre of my digital work life and I keep finding new reasons to love it and use it further!

01/09/2008

Sametime another time!

Category Technology
I can't help but continue ranting about how great Sametime (instant messaging is). Presence awareness (setting whether I'm at my desk, away from my desk, in a meeting etc) lets me communicate to people I don't even know may want to be getting hold of me. Late last week I was contacted on Sametime to see if it was possible to take a call. This is one (of many) great use of Sametime and lets us all get on with getting on! I couldn't help but almost hope that people will use it more each week to enable better communication. Let's communicate in the most appropriate means for the message we have and the urgency of it.

28/08/2008

Sametime everytime!

Category Technology
I really like Sametime (our corporate Instant Messaging system). It is a great way of communicating when you want a quick response so email isn't appropriate and is less intrusive than a phone call.

This week I've had a couple of people surprise me by using Sametime to contact me and within a minute we've sorted out the problem or arranged our calendars. This might not sound that impressive but it is all happening while I continue talking on the phone or writing a different document!

26/08/2008

Working Together

Category Random Technology
In my job I spend quite a lot of time answering questions in order to help. Some people ask for advice, others for ratification of their thinking.

It is always a pleasant surprise to not only have a conversation with someone but then to also work with them to achieve the goal. This has been the case with a centre I've been at this today and it looks likely that the cooperation will continue as we discussed the way forward over coffee. A very rewarding experience!

22/08/2008

Lotus Symphony

QuickImage Category Technology
I think that IBM have caught up with the Microsoft marketing machine. If you're not aware there are several free and high quality alternatives to Microsoft Office. The one I've been most interested in recently is Lotus Symphony. It has been officially released (http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/home) and via the blog of Ed Brill (http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf) I saw the following advertisement (http://symphony.lotus.com/idcontents/demo_web/shell_popup.html)

21/08/2008

Linux Part 2

QuickImage Category Technology
Despite an early post I haven't yet converted to Linux! I had a run with Ubuntu 8 this week but as I can't load Lotus Notes or Symphony I dumped it favour of my first choice (SUSE). The thing I liked about Ubuntu is that it combined great features from both Windows and Max OS X. I have gone back to SUSE and hope to get Lotus Notes and Symphony onto my laptop next week.

19/08/2008

Quickr

QuickImage Category Technology
So I've managed to (finally) get our Quickr server in and running. While this is great it is a little frustrating to be having to fumble my way around a new version of a product where things have moved and I can't quickly do what previously was so easy! In saying this it will only be a short time before I feel confident enough whizzing around, I just think I've managed to uncover a couple of configuration errors stopping me doing what I want (grrrrrr)!

18/08/2008

They're Watching Us

QuickImage Category Technology
At an IBM Forum 08 break out session I learned a little about an IBM project called Cobra. Essentially it just indexes and categorises the entire web (yes that is right the whole world wide web). This has amazing power and potential for brands (amoung other things). The example shared was related to Kraft and the product Vegemite. Kraft had noticed a massive drop in sales in North America and whil they suspected they knew why they wanted to be sure. So they worked with IBM and the Cobra project to analyse what had happened. They searched for the words Vegemite when mentioned with other words Kraft would consider bad (i.e. banned, dangerous etc). In doing this they were able to buld a timeline of events that showed the following ...

14/08/2008

IBM Forum 08 #3

Category Technology
I'm sitting in a Cisco presentation about the power of seeing. While there are aome interesting points they're making the presenter is really a video conferencing evangelist. His biggest point is that pre-1876 (when the telephone was invented) pretty much all communication was face to face (not sure if he realises that people have been writing notes long before that). He talked about how we're communicating worse with telephones (1876), email (1984) and SMS. Technology has provided us with tools that have actually increasingly limited our level and ability for us to communicate.

His argument is that video technology (specifically Cisco products) is going to take us back to face to face communication! Compelling argument which is further backed up with the cost of travel!

14/08/2008

IBM Forum 08 #2

Category Technology
It amazes me how some of the most facinating matters can put you to sleep through the (lack of) quality of the presenter. It isn't the first time I've sat through speakers who I don't respond to (note others may well respond well to them). It isn't the subject matter, that is rivetting! It isn't the material, again that is stimulating and has the potential to psotively impact individuals and organisations.

In this case it is just the speaker whose style, tone, humour and body language just doesnt evoke a response from me. This is more of a reflection on me than the speaker and (like I've repeatedly said) what I respond to.

14/08/2008

IBM Forum 08

Category Technology
Here I am at IBM Forum 08. The whole is a collection of keynote speaches and breakout sessions around IT innovations and directions. There is a big focus on being green but not only saving the planet but saving communities at the same time. The key note speaker coming up is Ray Avery who is pretty much single handedly saving the world (well he is collaborating with people to achieve this)!

Today will be interesting and a day, I imagine, with lots of blogging!

11/08/2008

Change

QuickImage Category Technology
So change is normally a galvanising topic of conversation especially when the context affects both parties. For those who don't know, we have partnered with Dell for desktop and laptops. What you want be aware of is we have recently had a change of account manager. Now the change occured as our previous account manager moved to Australia (much to our disappointment as they were pretty responsive to our needs). Many of you may know some of the stories since the change of account manager.

So what is this blog entry about? I haven't really decided to tell the truth but I can't help but be amazed at the different styles and approaches of the two account managers. I also am wondering how this change (something I'm pretty hot on) is affecting me. Is it or isn't it? Perhaps I'm in denial about the affect either way! What is interesting is how what seems like the smallest most innocuous change can actually have such a large impact (positive or negative)! It is also an opportunity to try and look at the change from both my perspective and theirs to see what our expactations were and what has actually happened.

09/08/2008

Linux

QuickImage Category Technology
I've given up considering what life without Windows could be like and are in the process of building myself a Linux machine. While this blog is being written from the relativecomfort of a Windows machine (if I'm honest Windows has been the main stay of my computing life for 15 years), I'm just attempting to join my Linux machine to the network so I get access to all my files. Okay that may be a small cop out but there are some critical steps in changing a machine (even from one Windows machine to another). Most paramount (in my mind) is your data! My digital life depends upon having access to all the files that hold relevant information that enable me to do my job and keep track of personal matters. However data is useless without applications to view and manipulate it. With Lotus Symphony (or Open Office) and Lotus Notes available for Linux I get access to nearly all my data. The remaining pieces can be accessed through one of the plethora of applications available for Linux. All I need to do is decide which application will suit my needs!

05/08/2008

Lotus Notes

QuickImage Category Technology
A search of the Google News service for Lotus Notes shows Lotus software countering the 'propaganda' Microsoft has purported over the years! It isn't that I'm trying to beat up Microsoft in this post, rather I'm wanting to put forward the reality of Lotus software being world class and leading the bunch! See for yourself by either searching for Lotus Notes at www.google.co.nz/news ot using this link http://www.google.co.nz/news?q=Lotus+Notes&ie=UTF-8

01/07/2008

Remember the days

Category Technology
Of the floppy disk? I'm just copying some data around that I had to get off a machine without a network connection, Internet access or USB support for a memory stick! I had to laugh as I copied the data onto the floppy disk and I'm enjoying another nostalgic moment right now as the buzzing and humming of the floppy disk brings back years of memories from my early days working in IT!

27/06/2008

No Thanks

Category Random Technology
Why is it so hard to politely decline an invitation? What is it that makes me feel compelled to say yes more often than no (unless I'm talking to my boys!)? Is it more polite to just grudgingly do something? I'm caught in a dilema after being invited out with a friend. On the one hand I'd like to go (given some recent rough experiences they've had) yet on the other hand I want to just chill out at home! Is it possible to say no without causing offence or seeming like you just don't care?
On an almost related matter ... Intel don't think to be thinking twice about saying no to Vista! When asked if they were going to upgrade from Windows XP to Vista they replied "No thanks"!For the whole story go here: http://www.itwire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19056&Itemid=53

23/06/2008

Firefox 3

Category Technology
I'm LOVING it! It isn't just because it is slicker (which it is), it is the little things which are making it easier to use ... The smart location bar is one of my favourites (after a brief time with the new version). Auto completion that considers bookmarks and known web sites - Simple but something that makes getting where I want to go easier. If you want to check it out in detail go here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/

17/06/2008

Females in IT

Category Technology
For quite some time commentators have questioned why females aren't very well represented in the field of technology (particularly ICT). This morning I attended a Unified Communications seminar (hosted by Gen-i) and noticed that 2 of the 6 tables were full of women!

11/06/2008

Tomtom Update #3

Category Technology
On a trip with the Tomtom I (again) deliberately tried to make wrong turns. Everytime I detoured from the suggested route the Tomtom very quickly recalculated a new path to my destination. It didn't always choose the best route (at least not in my opinion) but they were always using main thoroughfares. I would also say that the initial path the Tomtom plots to my destination looks like the quickest and simplest.

11/06/2008

Tomtom Day 2

Category Technology
This morning started by leaving home at 5:30 to drop a team member to the airport. I hadn't been to their house before and it was in a suburb I've been to once about 12 years ago. So I entered the address and started driving. Amazingly it not only directed me perfectly but also told me I had arrived when I was at the right driveway. This is proving to be a very handy device. However I suspect the real test will be when I'm in a city I don't know very well at all going somewhere I've never been!

10/06/2008

TOMTOM GO 720

Category Technology
I was instructed to search a GPS device suitable for someone coming to NZ from the US. So after a bit of reading, website searching, talking with a couple of people I went and purchased a TOMTOM GO 720. I would say I was definitely influenced when actually in the store and seeing/touching them. It had the cleanest layout (subjective opinion) and was the easiest to operate (again a subjective conclusion based upon the instore play).

I had to head out this afternoon to see a vendor so I plugged in the device and tried it out. It was very simple and managed to direct me to where I was going despite numerous efforts of mine to take wrong turns and deliberately use different roads. It responded really quickly and kept me on the right track. I found the instructions it gave at roundabouts a little confusing, but a quick glance at the screen meant I could find my way without any problem. So far I'm impressed and have yet to really test it (by going somewhere I don't know) and haven't used some of the extra features (automatice mileage log book etc). Watch this space for more details! Alternatively tell me about your GPS experiences.

06/06/2008

It is no secret

Category Technology
It's no secret that I'm not particularly fond of Microsoft software (he says while typing on a computer running Windows)! However I really liked the headline of a news article about the release of Lotus Symphony (a product competing directly with Microsoft Office) ... IBM releases ODF-based Office killer This was the headline not an and IBM or anti-Microsoft site BUT a technology news site!

28/05/2008

Linux is on the Rise

Category Technology
There has been a lot of talk in the IT industry over the last 10 years about Linux. My observations have been that while there are a number of merits for it (not least the Open Source license), there hasn't been an awful lot of traction on it. Microsoft actively campaigned against it and many organisations couldn't quite see how it would fit into their infrastructure.

Has the tide turned? Right now IBM, HP, Dell & Lenovo are all buying Linux desktop distros to bundle with desktops they sell. Microsoft, SAP, Capgemini & accenture are all huge businesses that have Linux based solutions they sell and support.

It would seem that there are serious alternatives to Microsoft solutions. Many organisations have already moved 10's of thousands of desktops and laptops to Linux (and this doesn't factor in the resurgence of Apple equipment).

22/05/2008

GodTube

Category Movie Random Technology
From the blog of Captain Collo (http://captaincollo.blogspot.com/2008/05/godtube.html)... GodTube, the YouTube for the religious, has raised $30 million at a $150 million valuation, according to Rafat Ali. The funding comes from GLG Partners, a hedge fund. What’s interesting about GodTube is not so much the technology – as Pete wrote in his initial review, “put bluntly … it was crap” – but how it’s little more than an existing concept catered to a very specific yet very huge audience. Christian television is enormous in the US, and GodTube has been able to capitalize on people’s desire for religious programming by taking a proven concept (video sharing), a brand name clearly inspired (some would say stolen) by a market leader, and industry best practices to become a big business. As Pete noted in August, the site actually got its start running on a $300 script. It simply exploded from there, entering the top 1000 web sites in September and never looking back.

22/05/2008

A Sign of the Times

Category Random Technology

A picture named M2

21/05/2008

Technology

Category Technology
What is it that makes us get so caught up with a particular technology or application? At times we become so obsessed with the tool being used we lose our focus on the task we're doing! Maybe I'm abnormal (actually no maybe about that), but surely the tools we're using need to be effective in helping us to our job. Whether the tool is a colour we like or organised in a way find attractive is (I think) irrelevant. What matters is that the job is being done in a reasonably efficient manner!

19/05/2008

Lotus Video

Category Technology
I thought that the following video was an ad for some Lotus software I've been looking at assessing. Turns out I was wrong even though the Lotus software I'm thinking of was described perfectly in the video (maybe that is the point of the video)! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4XojLgtRto&feature=related

20/12/2007

Innovation #4 the Church Should Embrace

Category Technology Church
Viral Video - Get Contagious Quickly! This is a big one and we're probably all aware of the power of the Internet as a communication tool now. On the news last night was the story of a rude email gone wrong and being seen all over the world. Here is someone with their 15 minutes of fame and it is for all the wrong reasons! There are many great examples of good publicity on the Internet. The recent Australian elections saw Kevin Rudd use youtube and the Internet to get his message out into the public. This is where the Internet becomes really and I do mean REALLY powerful.

12/12/2007

Innovation #3 the Church Should Embrace

Category Technology Church

Video Technologies - postmodern stained glass
The medieval church used stained glass to tell the gospel story in pictures. We’re using screens to tell the gospel story in moving pictures. Jesus isn’t just the Word of God. He is also the Image of God. The Church needs to communicate in images!

With the progress of technology creating videos is very easy, very cheap but often time consuming. Of course to make it look good some planning, thought and creativeness needs to be invovled. Undoubtedly for some this is natural and they will be able to effortlessly create short videos that communicate with humour, sincerity through a medium that connects across generations.

27/11/2007

Web Poll #1

Category Technology
With the start of a focus on technology in churches, the following poll seemed apt:

27/11/2007

Innovation #2 the Church Should Embrace

Category Technology Church

Podcasting - circuit riding at the speed of light! In addition to your weekly messages, how about spicing it up with special editions? Try doing interviews with church neighbors, the mayor, volunteers, staff intros., etc. If it’s worth preaching it’s worth podcasting. Any church of any size can exponentially increase its impact via MP3 technology.

22/11/2007

Innovation #1 the Church Should Embrace

Category Technology Church
I came across a Willow magazine when seeing someone and stumbled upon an article with the title, "15 Innovations the Church Should Embrace Now!" Rather than post all 15 as per the article I thought I would post them one at a time with some text of my on reflecting on how TSA could harness these innovations to connect with not only the existing church congregation but the whosoever! Innovation #1 the Church Should Embrace - BLOGGING! The Willow magazine article says: Don’t blog for an audience, blog for you. The more you write about what’s on your head and heart, the more people will respond. Blogging increases your bandwidth and allows you to digitally disciple just about anybody, anywhere, anytime.

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