mm492: Blast from the Past! No. 49 – Blogging – NSFW?

September 7, 2008
© Carbouval | Dreamstime.com

© Carbouval | Dreamstime.com

In a serious creative slump here folks, battered by events as we are, but hey, recycling is IN, right?

We’re all about doing the right thing here at Left-Handed Complement, and in that spirit we’re recycling some of yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s favorite electrons. And, with nearly 470 fresh daily posts in the past 16+ months, the recycling process has an exceptionally rich vein to mine.

I hereby stop apologizing for observing the prime directive of blogging: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

And, I’m guessing that most of you weren’t here nine months ago. As one of my favorite paper publications used to say as they flogged unsold back issues: “If you haven’t read it yet, it’s new for you!”

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last fall, originally posted in two sections, November 7-8, 2007, and titled “mm187-8: Blogging — NSFW?”

MUDGE’S Musings

From the first, hesitant attempts at this newfangled hobby-thing called blogging, MUDGE has been very concerned about how any employee’s blog would be received by his specific employer.

We’ve tried to err on the side of… circumspection. Thus, the pseudonym, both for this writer, and for the occasional references to that employer in basically general, not to speak of generic terms: HCA, the Heart of Corporate America.

There’s bad and good to pseudonomity [did we just coin a new term? or just misspell an old one?].

The bad: as MUDGE, I lack a certain amount of credibility, especially when I write on the topic of web conferencing, one that I would like to be perceived as owning some expertise.

The good: as of this writing, I still have a job at HCA.

Which brings us to the cautionary tale of John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. You might remember the story: during a turbulent acquisition of Whole Foods competitor Wild Oats, Mackey was exposed as having blogged anonymously, denigrating Wild Oats management and talking up his own company’s stock.

So one guesses that Mackey violated protocol: one supposes that it’s okay to do the above as a third party, unaffiliated with either entity, but it’s entirely too self-serving to do so when one is the CEO of one of the principals in the transaction.

And of course, Mackey violated the first rule of miscreancy [did we just coin a new term? or just misspell an old one?]: don’t get caught.

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mm452: Well, it’s been a long day

July 29, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Well, it’s been a long, been a long, been a long, been a long day.

Moderated a meeting on location first thing this morning, which was routine except for the web conference participation: Ireland, Argentina, Japan, the Netherlands, and most places between. Oh, yes, and one of the speakers was connecting from just outside Rome.

Sometimes I really, really like my job.

This afternoon, performed another one of MUDGE’s rare personal appearances: a training class on-site, rather than behind the protection of a telephone call and a web conference. Fortunately, it was an easy audience, and turned out to be quite well received.

Then, after the usual hour-long commute, broken up today by a succession of phone calls (hands-free, of course), arrived home to make silly faces at the neighbor’s toddler grandson, passing by in this generation’s version of a “Daddy Blue Car.”

And then, after a quick change to leisure clothes, off to the lakefront, for a picnic with close friends, and a free evening concert by the lagoon.

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WcW012: A rare public appearance

June 24, 2008

wcw1

Web Conferencing Week

Once again, this occasional series has failed in its nominal attempt to appear on any kind of regular basis. Not so much a lack of enthusiasm as simply a lack of news.

I’ve been working with the team that is preparing to roll out the latest and greatest version of our software, IBM Lotus Sametime, testing, preparing the teaching curriculum, and generally filling the gaps in a very extensive task list. The effort has been lengthy, not least because of its magnitude, especially when measured against the minute size of the team. Really, there are just two people in the enterprise with full time responsibilities for the Sametime collaboration tools; thankfully the other is a tremendously gifted, spirited and hard-working technical architect who works out of his home office in Colorado.

Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel has resolved itself: it’s NOT an oncoming train, and we believe we’re mere weeks away from D-Day.

It’s been a time.

Meanwhile, I’ve suspended my classes in preparation for an entirely new approach to the educational process; after more than 650 of them in the past 5-1/2 years, for nearly 4,000 students, management has decided to turn over training responsibilities to our division’s Learning & Development group. I have mixed feelings about this, as I’ve grown rather fond of the process of teaching (NOT fond enough to follow the curriculum to that particular group!); 650 one-to-two-hour classes is probably more than enough for a while.

You may recall that this teaching is all conducted on-line, using Sametime web conference technology, together with a telephone conference call. Such remote teaching has its own challenges; there is much reduced feedback available, since there are no faces nor body language to read.

But, this has worked for me, since, as anyone can tell from the likeness published at the top of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©, I’ve a great face for radio. So, a form of radio such teaching is. And, without a live audience (the great old radio series seem to have had live audiences), without that rich feedback, it’s quite hard work.

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mm408: Boston, Day 3, concluded; and Day 4, last day!

June 12, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Day 3, concluded

We ran out of words, and steam, last evening, having only covered the morning sessions of the Enterprise 2.0 conference from Boston Day 3. We’ll try to catch up here.

20. Mash-Ups: Are they the killer app for Enterprise 2.0? David Berlind, moderator

Panelists were Charlotte Goldsbery, Denodo Technologies, Lauren Cooney, Microsoft, Nicole Carrier, IBM, and Michaline Todd, Serena Software.

Berlind introduced the concept of mash-ups, a means of knocking together disparate elements and applets into a web page. Advantage: build it in hours. Risk: brittle, as they depend on outside service providers who may have reliability issues.

A useful distinction was made later. Portals and dashboards also build from disparate elements, but their elements only report and do not interact with each other. That interactivity is what distinguishes a mash-up.

All of the speakers have stakes in this field, IBM’s Mash-up Center, Denodo, Serena Business Mash-ups and Microsoft, who has had a consumer version, Popfly available and who apparently plans a commercial tool soon.

Challenge to enterprise IT: what kind of data can we deliver to the business in a safe way: rules, privileges, policies.

Panel believes that it will be 6-months to a year before business users will be able to build their own. A sample of what’s available on the web right now is Yahoo Pipes.

Examples of business related mash-ups:

  • event registration: showing hotel, map, photo from Flickr, weather
  • emergency response organizations: counter-terrorism situational awareness
  • retailer: an inbound shipment monitoring dashboard (weather, piracy)
  • avian flue data pushed onto remote devices
  • a customer visit: weather, golf-courses, Eventful.com, restaurants
  • HR: applicant search on Facebook, MySpace, etc.

Application enrichment, but it’s brittle.

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mm407: Boston, Day 3

June 11, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

So this is the third episode of what has turned out to be a quadruple-duty blog post.

1. I endeavor, as always, to edify faithful reader of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© on a daily basis. I take very seriously the blogger’s Prime Directive: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

2. The event at which I am attending, the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, Massachusetts, eats its own dog food in the sense that it provides space for participants to blog, contribute to a wiki, etc. So, I am posting these efforts in the blog space, although I am certain that for most participants, after a day filled with conference activities, and an evening filled with beyond the venue dining and/or entertainment (conjecturing about them, not describing your diligent and well behaved correspondent), the idea of writing, much less reading other people’s blogs in whatever time remains is probably far-fetched.

3. I am also posting these efforts on one of our fledgling blogs at the Heart of Corporate America, where, as I’ve mentioned, I am working with the technical review board considering which of the tools in this evolving market we should be adopting. I naturally gravitated to that space during the time I have worked with the team, and probably have been as active blogging in their test spaces as anyone (read: not very). The overall effort is crying out for a user champion who does more than attend meetings; so far we haven’t much evidence of one.

4. As a business traveler, I have what apparently is an old-fashioned self-impetus to file a trip report for management. I say old fashioned, because when I sent my department head last year’s report (I don’t get out very much) apologizing for it taking about a week after I returned, she replied that so far, of the more than half-dozen people from the department that had attended the event, mine was the only such report thus far received. Under those circumstances, I hereby declare that these several days’ efforts will serve for that report.

Once again, I recorded six hand-printed (as a left-handed person — the title of the blog, after all! — I gave up cursive writing as soon as I could get away with it) for the day’s lengthy sessions. As I begin to write this, at 5:00pmEDT, there is still one final session to go before the day is over, although as it is scheduled for one of the break-out rooms, and is likely to be oversubscribed, a pretty common occurrence this week, I may break to attend, and promptly return after being shut out. Not a total disappointment for a person who’s been sitting in sessions since 8:00am….

Okay, now it’s well after 8:30pm, and I’ve added more than another full page of notes from the final session. Whew! Hope my stamina is up to the challenge!

13. Enterprise 2.0 Tools: A Critical Evaluation: Tony Byrne, CMS Watch

CMS Watch is a software rating consultancy, and Tony Berne, its founder spoke quite eloquently despite the 8:00am starting time. Some of my fellow attendees, coming off a conference evening that might not have been as boring as mine (although, rest assured faithful reader, that I am always inspired and energized blogging for you!), questioned the necessity, not to say appropriateness of an 8am start time. This was just one element of a logistics topic that there will perhaps be an appropriate time to consider.

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mm406: Boston, Day 2

June 10, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Quite a bit earlier in the day, as I summarize today’s sessions at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.

Another interesting and useful day, with lots of new and or interesting information, and one really dazzling presentation. Overnight, my lap didn’t get any bigger, and still doesn’t accommodate my laptop computer. Sigh.

Once again, I have six pages of handwritten notes, and I went through two pens! We pick up where we left off yesterday.

4. Keynote: Rob Carter, FedEx

Mr. Carter, the CIO, was a very polished and graceful speaker. FedEx is one of the great innovative companies of the past 35 years, and we didn’t need Rob Carter to remind us. They invented the concept of overnight delivery of small packages, realized with a small fleet of Learjets flying out of their Memphis hub. And now look at them. Although Carter couldn’t help but show us an FAA model of recent overnight traffic at Memphis airport, together with the all too true admonition regarding staying at the airport hotel.

FedEx innovations have been just as paradigm shifting in the information area, as they were one of the first organizations to realize that their true product, not just their tools, was information. In that light, Carter showed us the first true Internet application, the 1994 page that let consumers and business track a shipment without telephoning. Lately, such marketing tools as the playful “Launch a Package,” a Facebook application, keeps the FedEx name and message in front of the next generation of shippers. His message: enterprise walls are coming down, to make way for customer connections.

5. From the Bottom-Up: Building the 21st Century Intelligence Community, Don Burke and Sean Dennehy, Central Intelligence Agency.

Yup, the CIA has gone all social media on us. The Intellipedia, built on Wikipedia but with some security enhancements, is the product for which both are the technical evangelists. They set the tone for the process-altering nature of their tool by displaying their presentation via Intellipedia pages, rather than the more usual PowerPoint.

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mm405: Boston, Day 1

June 9, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Whew!

Just finished a very long day, the first day attending the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.

I don’t go to so many conferences. In fact, in the nearly four years of employment at the Heart of Corporate America (not its real name), as well as the three years of contractor status that it, this is only the second conference that I have attended under the HCA aegis. How ironic that it is also located in Boston, the site of the event that I attended last summer. Of all the towns in the world…

But, I do like Boston, even though, as alluded to last post, I feel stranded in the middle of a desert, located as we are in a concrete jungle of a redeveloped industrial district. Boston is a wonderful town in which to be a pedestrian — but not in this corner, not that I could pedestre very well anyway. [Looks like I may have coined another word — the ‘r’ is silent; but it does sort of look like pederast, doesn’t it. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.]

Although I title this Day 1, the event’s organizers, as is often done apparently, treated today as Day 0, Monday being the more popular business travel day than Sunday. The sessions today were lengthy tutorials. A choice of two each, morning and afternoon. 9am to 12:30pm; then 1:30pm to 4:45pm. Then a further two hour panel discussion that finally ended at 7:30pm. The real action starts tomorrow. I’m already worn out.

I do take copious notes. Now, many of my fellow attendees today, perhaps most of them, brought their laptops to the sessions. There were even power strips scattered along the floor, for the first half-dozen lucky people each who got to them.

Now, yr (justifiably) humble svt would have been happy enough to note take via laptop, but as there were no tables, just rows of chairs, and as I, uh, don’t have a lap for said laptop, just a short slippery slope as it were, that might result in a potentially lethal slide for same, I took my notes the old fashioned way, pen on notebook page, six tightly printed pages to be exact. I have a lot to show for 8-3/4 hours of conference. But it all has to be transcribed.

I wanted to keep up with this daily; perhaps even transfer some of this post into the event’s blog that I’ve heard exists although I haven’t found it. But, as I type this it’s already 10pm; had too much to eat at the hotel’s surprisingly good restaurant (surprising mainly because they have no competition for at least the half-mile radius until another hotel appears in this wasteland called the Seaport neighborhood); and I was up early. Never sleep well in anyone else’s bed except my own, and the hotel is justifiably proud of its comfortable bed. I’m just a crotchety old curmudgeon.

Anyway, there are six pages. Let’s see if I can summarize, while it’s all still fresh.

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