Showing posts from May, 2008

The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

Stop sending me emails telling me how to deal with my InBox overload

As my wife says, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem" And relaaax Mike. In essence, if you have a problem then you will HAVE to think and behave differently in order to solve that problem. If you don't want to do that (for at least 1 of 50 reasons ) then don't call it a problem and just get on with it. *sheesh*

Whitireia Web Intensive Week - if we want a thriving web industry we need talent

And if we're to have web talent we need to engage with the "young 'uns", a situation most notably addressed by John over at ProjectX and the Summer of Code Another initiative you, as web/online developement companies, should look at is the Whitireia Web Intensive Week which: We can have good intentions to contribute to training for the industry, but because of work commitments and the lack of personal time, it is hard to find the time get involved with students. Especially on a regular basis. So what we are asking is, a small one off contribution of your, or a staff members time, to help us run a web intensive week at the Whitireia Community Polytechnic Faculty of Arts and Communication . Planned for the week of 20th June to the 4th July . And so all you TradeMe's, Xero's, Silverstripe's and YOU, this is a chance to make a large difference to those at the start of their careers and build a stronger web community for us all to enjoy. Get involved A little

"How to protect your IP" sends the wrong message

IP = Intellectual Property and normally refers to the knowledge (not merely information) that an organisation holds dear to its heart. For instance, Google's algorithm that determines what appears in the search results would be amongst Google's most precious IP. Today I read an article by Bernadette Cooney in the Wellington Today magazine * entitled, "How to protect your IP" which outlined the standard ways of protecting your IP - go pick up a copy of the mag for her thoughts. My initial thought however was, this whole approach is wrong. Trying to "protect your IP" instantly puts the organisation culture into a "let's stop the hordes getting in" which then normally stops anyone/anything trying to get out and we end up with organisations with fixed, impermeable and policed boundaries leading to people treating outsiders as "them". All jolly well and fine if you never want to partner with anyone, collaborate with anyone or even just ta

A full website in only 20 lines of code - how not to do it

The Fairydown Ltd home page has to be one of the smallest pieces of HTML code you've ever seen for a commercial, live and best-foot-forward website. 20 lines, and that includes the blank ones. Here it is in all it's glory: <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html xmlns=""> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /> <title>Fairydown Ltd</title> <style type="text/css"> .style1 { text-align: center; } </style> </head> <body style="background-color: #000000"> <p class="style1"><img alt="" src="image4.jpg.jpg" width="1134" height="1323" /></p> </body> </html> And that's it in all it's glory ... have you spotted how they m

Looking for New Zealand Open Source Awards Nominations

"Open" is where my principles lie be it open access to information, open use of tools and open heart with honesty. In the software industry my principles naturally gravitate towards "open source" which, here in Wellington/New Zealand, is championed by Don and the stalwarts at the NZ Open Source Awards . Here's the press release calling for nominations for each of the 7 categories : The 2008 New Zealand Open Source Awards are open for nominations until 18 July 2008. This year's Awards will focus particularly on achievements over the last twelve months and follow the successful inaugural event in 2007. The 2008 Awards introduce a new category: Open Source Use for Infrastructure. The 2008 Awards have already attracted sponsorship from Google, Internet New Zealand, the New Zealand Open Source Society and Awards organiser Catalyst IT. "There were so many strong nominations for the 2007 event," said panel chair Don Christie, "that we are keen t

Mike for hire

Email +64 (0)21-169 1359 Chat with Mike Contact Unfortunately an imminent project has been delayed due to "red tape" and that means I'm now available for your work. What will you get for hiring me? You will have a clear understanding as to why and how to implement an online collaboration environment in your organisation. Underpining this I will work with you to clearly articulate your information management and communication strategies utilising a modern technology environment . Finally you'll have a defined change management path to get you from 'now' to 'then' covering everything from training, organisational impact and technical infrastructure. Why bother? The end goal of working with me will be a learning organisation with an active knowledge sharing culture that will be more agile in meeting its defined outcomes. In other words ... To assist those that need more traditional job titles maybe this list that I have been previously labelled

What Google would look like if they followed the herd

Most sites (not all and a lot less than used to be) have screens and screens of "happy talk". You know the stuff, "Welcome to our ...", "On this page all you need to do is ...", "If you want help then please follow the ...". As Steve Krug says so aptly in his Don't Make Me Think book (still THE book for anyone thinking of putting anything onto a computer screen) - "Happy talk must die!" Comments on Rachel McAlpine's building/book posting ( my review ) has lead her to link to an over the top version of what Google would be like with "happy talk" . This is from her CONTENTED course which seems like everyone should have a go at!

A great way of thinking about your website and make it useful

Many people think that having a website is merely about putting up the information and the job is done. Wrong. Having good information means it is available, findable and usable . The first is easy - stick it up! The second takes thought - navigation, will the info be found by searches (real searches by real people) ... The third is usually in the too had basket Rachel of the Contented blog (a 'must read/subscribe to' if you ever write for online readers) has a cracking posting about how websites should be like buildings and not books - in this case the still being built Wellington Hospital. For me Rachel sums up what a good website should do by comparing her actual experience on entering the still slightly chaotic site: “Can I help?” his manner said. I don’t think he even uttered the words. “I need to find Ward 17,” said I. “That’s in the Grace Neill block,” said NYM, and led me to the building, the lobby, the lift, the board that said Ward 17 was on Floor M. Brilliant. H

Event: Web 2.0 and Knowledge Management: Making Knowledge Work

This from the fine New Zealand Knowledge Management Network (NZKM) - for which I will soon be the official "online community wrangler": Hello, just a reminder that this Thursday's NZKM Wellington event; 'Web 2.0 and Knowledge Management: Making Knowledge Work' (Tim Barrable, CIO at the Ministry for Culture & Heritage) is being run. No need to RSVP - just turn up on the day to Archives New Zealand, 10 Mulgrave Street at 12noon. Utilising Web 2.0 tools in the Enterprise to make Knowledge Management a reality. The Ministry for Culture & Heritage have recently launched their new Web 2.0 Intranet built using DRUPL open source CMS and utilising a number of Web 2.0 tools. They have also started making some changes to their public sites Te Ara:Encyclopedia of New Zealand, and NZHistory .net that utilise some of the same community building tools. Tim is a former CIO at The New Zealand Herald and IT Director of Ask Jeeves UK; the internet search engine,

Collaboration the wiki way or the email way - in diagram form

An excellent diagram found, via Howard Lenos' Living by Design blog, off the Wikinomics blog that supports the book of the same name. (click for bigness) Original diagram by US Central Command analyst Manny Wilson

Agile bar meetups

Not "barcamp" this time but a real honest and down to the earth meeting in a bar - Molley Malones on the corner of Taranaki and Courtenay Place [ Google Map | Zoomin map ] The Wellington Agile 'community' is keen to have any and all along to Molleys every 5pm on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month . Inaugural kick-off is next Thursday, 22nd. See everyone there!

Wellington Barcamps - do we need an "overseer"?

It's been posed to me a few times from differing sources that maybe the "Wellington Barcamp scene" (for want of a better phrase) should have a sort of "committee" or "go-to gang" that can assist those wanting to run a Barcamp. I have to say I'm not really for the idea. I believe the community (i.e., you and your mates) should get amongst it and arrange the Barcamp as they see fit in the manner they are comfortable with and no 'overseeing' committee dicating "best practice" or "standard process" [shudder]. Also, the coordination and "getting the word" out was partly addressed by the site ... wasn't it? Having said that, if the "go-to gang" has the focussed energy they could help with: finances - holding and passing on of profits maintain a list of venues - the sticking block for many Buzzy Bee sponsorship - can be lengthy and frustrating. Then again, you don't need it! &q

Whoever pays for your information, owns it

Walking into a bookseller and handing over cash for a book would, to most, make me the owner of that book. I can do what I like with that book ... within certain boundaries. The "intellectual rights" contained within that book are not mine, they are still the authors. This is well understood by most. However, the very fact that, at some point, someone other than the author is going to own the book has a very large effect on that book. The cover is designed to stimulate certain potential book owners, the price is set at a level that potential book owners can afford and the books are placed in surroundings that potential book owners frequent are in the frame of mind to purchase (we call them "book shops"). Another more subtle effect is upon the author. The author can, of course write whatever they like, however they like and some indeed do . The majority of authors maintain a very focussed eye upon the potential book owner and are writing for them. They wil

Online chat with Mike Riversdale

I am an extensive Google user (Gmail, Google Apps and the like) and therefore tend to be sitting in one of their products whenever I am online. This means that Google Chat knows I'm here to be chatted with. And so I've added "Chat with Mike" to the right-hand menu . It'll have a green indicator to say when I'm actually here and just click to start chatting. You can do the same - Create a Google Talk chatback badge

5 survival tips to the information avalanche

Subtitle: So much Mike, so little time - how to get the best for you Information overload is everywhere ... and you're not helping. Ok, I'm not helping - as my wife said yesterday, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem". Using my own manner of tracking information I give you this is a guide to get the most relevant parts of / Mike Riversdal e whilst avoiding the avalanche of information. Apply it to all your subscribing/following/friending activities. Tip #1: You don't have to read everything You don't have to read everything that is posted on every website and certainly not everything I post online - you would be crazy to attempt it. Having said that, don't hold back if that's what you want to know the intimate details of my online life, just be aware it can be an tidal wave of content. The simplest is using my FriendFeed (my "everything" feed, also called a 'life feed / life stream'

Help me as I don't understand ... why pay for free stuff?

Ok, you're gonna have to help me out here. It's a very simple question. Why, as an organisation, would you pay for software you can get for free? That's it, that's the whole question - why pay? Why would you pay for Microsoft Office when you can use OpenOffice? Why would you pay for Oracle database when you can use MySQL? Why would you pay for Microsoft Windows when you can use Ubuntu? I genuinely, honestly and openly want to know - what have I missed? Why is your organisation paying for software when it doesn't have to? Leave a comment. Or, if you prefer, drop me an email at

Why Apple iPhone coming to Vodafone NZ matters to IT Departments

Whilst this news from Mauricio at Geekzone might not seem relevant to this blog believe me it is. Why do I think that? Because it will bring the world of the web that much closer to everyone. All the smart people, gadget geeks and techocrats (I'm looking at you Adam), all the movers and shakers and all those that buy your IT hardware/software will want to play with one. And when they do they will get Google first and not Microsoft. They will get the Web and not discrete downloadable software. They will get a reason to start thinking across the corporate wall. And they won't be quiet about it. If you work in IT ... prepare for a tough old time explaining why, "No" is a valid response. When will it happen - "later this year" More links to prepare yourself: Apple takes iPhone corporate in a big way The Coming Battle: Apple's iPhone vs. Corporate IT Departments What the iPhone can — and can't — provide enterprise users Setting up a corporate email serve

Omnidrive ... gone!

It's all well and good having your stuff stored in the cloud but if the service just ups and goes then what? You're stuffed. I was using Omnidrive for storing some files I couldn't get into Google Apps. Mostly these were pdfs and the like and I do have backups of them (somewhere). However the most important file stored in Omnidrive was my favicon.ico ( Wikipedia ) used by this and my personal blog . I'd noticed for quite some time that the favicon wasn't showing up in the browser address bar (check it out in your browser, to the left of the web address - it's probably the orange Blogger icon eh?). Luckily I got a copy down onto the desktop in order to move it somewhere else - at somepoint. And today ... Omnidrive is gone. I feel for those Zoho users that were using it as their main storage facility ... ick! Lesson - go with the big boys and girls and spread the load (not that I do) with copies in multiple services whcih could (if you want) be your own computer.

Calling all Kiwi Geek Girls - Googles wants to sponsor YOU

Google is happy to announce that applications are now open for the 3rd annual Google Anita Borg Scholarship . The scholarship is open to female university students in Australia or New Zealand who are studying computer science, or closely related technical fields. Scholars are selected on the basis of academic strength, demonstrated leadership and community involvement. ... More at Google's "Calling all geek girls" post ...

Thank you for reading

Whilst it takes time to write this blog it also takes time for you to read it and I appreciate you doing it. Thanks.