Monthly Archives: February 2006

Corporate Site Visits – How to do it right

I’m on my second Corporate Site Visit (CVS) in recent months. Corporate Site Visits (or from the companies viewpoint Customer Site Visits) are when a bunch of people from a customer’s shop come to visit the company usually to talk deeper technical talk than they can get from the sales reps.

These visits cost us something on the order $20K to 25K (for 7 people to miss 3 days of work, fly, hotel etc). Corporations: You need to work to make sure that our visit is worth $20K.

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Collaboration Channels – I don’t want to think about protocols

Burton Group talks about the distinction between Channels and Workspaces in Collaboration. Channels are routes where information flows. Workspaces are areas where collaborators gather. Examples of Workspaces are Wikis, shared document repositories, group calendar software.

Channels are things like email, chat, VoIP, video conferencing and telephony. The problem with Channels is that we have to be protocol centric. We have to think – I want to communicate with Keith. Let see if the Chat protocol will work (e.g. is he on-line in chat?) if not I’ll send an email but maybe I’ll call too. I want to be person centric: I want to communicate with Keith.

In my ideal scenario, I would select Keith as a contact and I would then see communication options TEXT, VOICE, VIDEO. I could then select that I want to do VOICE. I would pick up my headset and my computer would establish a connection. On Keith’s end, he would choose to have VOICE channeled to Skype or iChatAV or to his cell phone or home phone number. He might even have a priority list (if Skype is running, use Skype otherwise send to Cell Phone). He might send VOICE directly to an MP3 (to voicemail) that he can listen to later.

On the TEXT side, I would select TEXT and either be connected to IM or asked to form an email depending on KEITH’s availability setting in IM.

The IM logs should flow into a repository that is similar to my (if not the same as my) email repository.

There are times when I would like to pick the protocol, when I would send and email even though Keith is on IM.

On the receiver end, I would need better presence management. I would need a unified presence control – a central place where I could manage the flow of information into my channels. I would have to swap managing protocols for managing presence.

20 years without McDonalds

I just realized that 20 years ago I swore off McDonalds (and Burger King et al). It has now officially been 2 decades without a Big Mac or anything like that. I only stop at McDonalds to pee on road trips because you can go in the side door, take a left and the Men’s room in on your right (usually).

Happy 20th Anniversary of sans Mickey Dees.

Google School Rankings

A graduate student at Stanford – Mike Tung – put together a suite of scripts and tools to generate College rankings based on Google searches. He didn’t want to pay for the USNews’ Annual America’s Best Colleges report. Though his work is quite technical, I imagine that it will be simplified into a web app that any student can use at any point in time. “What are the College rankings now?” click…

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Making a living in a virtual world

Wire News has a story about Making a Living in Second Life.  Second Life is a virtual world were you can live out the life of your avitar. 

Within a month, Grinnell was making more in Second Life than in her real-world job as a dispatcher. And after three months she realized she could quit her day job altogether.

Now Second Life is her primary source of income, and Grinnell, whose avatar answers to the name Janie Marlowe, claims she earns more than four times her previous salary.

One person makes $150,000 a year (in real $US money) renting virtual land to other people. I must say that I’m not really sure what to make of it. Who would spend this kind of money to own and maintain a virtual island?

Islands are priced at US$1,250 for 16 acres. Monthly land fees for maintenance are US$195.

What if the server crashes? Is it obsession? Is “real life” too boring? Do they have too much money?

Yet more calendar requirements

Ben Teitelbaum of Internet2 pushes his availability to his web site from his calendar application. He “takes Apple iCal’s iCalendar file and strips out the subject, location and agenda for each item, leaving only an availability mask” which he feeds to PHP iCalendar. This makes scheduling time for a phone call with Ben very easy.

Calendar applications should provide a configurable feed for this data that could easily be picked up by another person or by a blog plugin to do what Ben has done with slick scripts.

Oracle Calendar allows for searching of resources and people but you have to anchor the search with the correct starting characters. Example: I can search for the DoIT ARCH LCD PROJECTOR with DoIT ARCH and find the item but not with ARCH LCD PROJECTOR.

Name aliases: Oracle Calendar doesn’t understand (in LDAP lookups as we have it configured at least) that Jim might equal James.