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Showing posts from August, 2008

Kiwis Aren't Really Geared Up To Change Management And It Will Kill Your "2.0" Project

Change Management is a bit of a black art here in New Zealand and seems to be muddled through with varying levels of success which tend, unfortunately, to be towards the "it didn't really work" end. Why is this, a combination of these and probably many others: Kiwis are famous for using the number 8 wire for everything Kiwis are famous for just getting on with it Most Kiwis operate in a small environment and don't need to have a formalised Change Management approach And there's nothing wrong with the above (Kiwis really do just get things done) ... except when it doesn't work which in my experience is quite a lot of times when it comes to implementing "2.0". There is one other major issue with the way a lot of Kiwi companies approach "2.0" implementations that I have a lot of issues with - running it as an IT led project . If this is you then read this and weep: "Democratising decision-making (crowd sourcing), creating openne

1 Question, Your Thoughts - When Will "Oooh, what about Web 2.0 security??" Become A Non-Issue

We seem to be moving on from the "It can't do what my PC software can" with so much functionality now at our fingertips that it's a non-argument - in fact, here's much more because the web services living on the Internet the sharing of ideas is merely a click away; more at Google Docs ... so what - the ONE reason why you should care BUT, we still seem to have the chatter around "It's not secure to put your content on the Web" - example from today's CIO Magazine: Web 2.0 applications and sites (and security concerns) Don't get me wrong, this is a valid question for everyone to asking and the answer may be different for each person/business. However, I believe there are some fundamental human fears bubbling up when this question is asked: How can I protect myself when the data is not able to be touched? I don't really understand how this stuff is shifted around on the Internet and so I ain't comfortable! Once it's out of t

Zoho Month - All The Products, All The Reviews And All The Experiences

Google this, Google that ... let's give the other guys a chance. And the "others guys" seems to be just one - Zoho So, all through the merry month of September I'm gonna give them a solid crack of the whip (along with around 1,000,000 other users ). Zoho who? Zoho what? This is their answer : Zoho is a suite of online applications (services) that you sign up for and access from our Website. The applications are free for individuals and some have a subscription fee for organizations. Our vision is to provide our customers (individuals, students, educators, non-profits, small and medium sized businesses) with the most comprehensive set of applications available anywhere (breadth); and for those applications to have enough features (depth) to make your user experience worthwhile. I'll try out each of their products (all 18 of them) and compare them to both Google Apps and the more common of the client installed equivalents. And to prepare myself I have alrea

Two Great Events For September - Book Now

See you at both! 1: Webstock Mini and 2009 Launch ($50) Tuesday, 9 September, at the Paramount Theatre in Wellington is the place to be! We’ve got a great Webstock mini planned and will be launching Webstock 09. Speakers are Jonathan Mosen (blind accessibility advocate and much more), Jefferson Fletcher (Senior Product Manager working on Internet Explorer) and Kris Sowersby (font geek). We’ll also be announcing the speakers for Webstock 09 and giving away a free ticket to the conference. All this, plus food and drink for only $50. More information and bookings here. 2: Software Freedom Day 08 ($0) Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to be held this year on 20th September 2008 . Our goal in this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business -- in short, everywhere! The non-profit company Software Freedom International c

WTF Do You Think This Product Does?

Plain English (or local equivalent) is something that should, nay MUST be used at all times as part of making your information findable and more importantly usable . A classic example of NOT using plain English comes from this product's "key features" list - number 1 key feature is: The new Web 2.0 based user experience for [ product name ] is centered around the needs of the modern ECM knowledge worker user interface; it delivers a simplified and streamlined application which will improve usability and efficiency. This is THE number one reason you should buy this product .. so, what do you think it does? No, need more, OK let's keep on reading, feature number 2: Fourth-generation object model: Content Manager object model combines content, process and compliance resources as native capabilities that enable content to be dynamically managed and dramatically reduces development complexity. ! ... ?!? ... ??? Moving swiftly on to key feature number 3 (out of 8,

Fronde Appointed First Google Enterprise Partner For New Zealand

... ! ... top win by Fronde (my old company) and I bet 'bring in the lawyers' was brought up during negotiations and giggled over :-) I look forward to hearing/seeing some interesting things from Steve G and his team. I suspect the Google "living in the cloud" approach to life has gone down a storm with a lot of staff, *ahem* Having said, that I always knew that Steve G was heading in the right direction and I hope this big win proves him right for those few Fronde-es that aren't really up with the modern age: “With Google Security, Compliance and eDiscovery products as well as Google Apps, the software-as-a-service offering is an idea whose time has finally come. Based upon the demand from our clients, there is clearly a real market for these solutions,” concluded Steve Graham.

Collaboration Is A Human Endeavour Using More And More Sophisticated Tools

Whilst I have advocated getting away from the computer and using whiteboards for collaboration previously I am also keenly aware that many tools (incl. the whiteboard) can assist .. which is just as well as it is my business. Technology that supports this human endeavour is becomming more and more sophisticated and, due to the consumer nature, the "Web 2.0" approach has seen great leaps forward for us all. However, it won't be until we have fully emersive technologies widely available will it achieve it's goal of becomming invisible and truly useful . Web Worker Daily (one of the blogs I reference on a daily basis) has posted Is Nortel’s Next-Gen Collaboration App Too Ambitious? which talks about a "Second Life"* approach to on-line collaboration. I suspect this is also why Google is playing with Lively . Watch a version of the future that is coming within 5-10 years and wonder how old and fuddy duddy our use of blogs, wikis and the like will seem:

New Zealand Creative Commons [Press Release]

In my view licensing of content is not about locking the words down with DRM*, copyrights or patents (as we know " words want to be free "). It should be about letting people use your content in as many ways as you allow. The Creative Commons licenses are about letting people know HOW they can use your content - see mine Creative Commons was originally based in the USofA and so it held little actual bite here in New Zealand. Also, it wasn't exactly plain English. And so a bunch of fine people have created the New Zealand release of Creative Commons - here is a their press release from a week or so ago (apologies for sitting on it for a while, busy, busy, busy) Press Release New Zealanders forgo full copyright with Creative Commons Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand has just launched a dynamic web project that offers a new approach to copyright. The CCANZ website allows New Zealanders to choose “some rights reserved” copyright for their own creative works. The

PRA Myth Busters

The New Zealand Public Records Act (known by all who care as the PRA) has a lot of good things going for it but it is being abused by some vendors into "scaring the willies" out of organisations. Think Y2K all over again! However there are some willing to call them up on this and I would start with the excellent posting from Sarah Heal (herself a vendor of "content management services") - PRA Myths - Beware the Scaremongers She highlights a few PRA myths and asks for your input as well. Local authorities willbe audited under the Public Records Act. “XYZ system is compliant with the Public Records Act” “All emails must be kept” “We will be audited in 2010”

Welcome To New Readers ... Especiallly Those From The Ballroom Of The Duxton Hotel

A number of you have popped into this blog because I shamelessly promoted it at the Intranet Summit in Wellington (NZ) and are looking for the goodies - here they are: Presentation Notes Resources, links and good stuff Top blogs, resources and postings also to be found at: "fundamentals" postings "collaboration" postings "techniques" postings   Read the latest postings from "Enterprise 2.0" sites that Mike follows http://www.google.com/reader/shared/user/05619524859777690770/label/Enterprise%202.0 But if you want to find all the notes from the speakers (except "open source") check out Michael Sampson's blog (he's famous for writing it all up for everyone ;-) Thursday's presenters: Dorje: http://dorjem.blogspot.com   Hayden: http://www.leftfieldinteractive.com Cairo: http://cairowalker.wordpress.com Dave: http://egressive.com Grant: http://www.informationleadership.com Michael: http://www.michaelsamp

GMail Keeps 74% Of Email Sent To You Hidden

As GMail has a totally superb spam filtering system I am saved from the astonishing flood of spam reported - 74% of all e-mail in Q2 2008 was spam Didn't a certain Mr B Gates promise, back in February 2004, that spam would be eradicated : "Spam is our e-mail customers' No. 1 complaint today, and Microsoft is innovating on many different fronts to eradicate it," Gates said. "We believe that Caller ID for E-Mail and the Coordinated Spam Reduction Initiative will help change the economic model for sending spam and put spammers out of business." Don't get me wrong, his heart was in the right place and he was totally onto it regarding the problem. Unfortunately the solution hasn't appeared except maybe to have top notch filters that just keep it out of our sight. And once the spammers realise that they are very unlikely to have things appear in my InBox (and yours if you use GMail) then perhaps the reason for sending will go away ... maybe.

Zoho's CEO Answers The Question, "Why compete with Google?"

Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho, has posted a fascinating insight into the perceived strategy of Google that includes some astounding financial facts such as: Google makes nearly as much in profit per employee as SAP or Oracle Salesforce make in revenue per employee He concludes his thinking with: It is fairly obvious they [ Google ] are in it to put Microsoft on the defensive on its home turf, so that Microsoft’s offensive capability in the internet is diminished. It is also perfectly clear why Microsoft wants to be an internet player - as Google has shown, it is a higher margin business even than its monopoly-profit core business. I suspect there are two other reasons Firstly , Google is a business like any other and has the same computing needs as all companies (word processing, sharing information yada yada yada) and there was NO WAY they were going to let a ("the") major competitor be the vendor for the IT solutions. And so they bought/built their own. Once they were

Useful - The Only Criteria Software Should Be Measured Against

I have been espousing this idea for a very long time and it's awesome to see, according to the Sydney-based Google Maps lead , that Google have also taken this on-board: The primary driver to obtaining resources is somewhat unique at Google--the bottom line is whether users will find its projects useful or otherwise, Rasmussen said. All computer stuff (equipment and applications) are just tools and they don't exist for any other reason than to be used. To be 'used' it has to be 'useful'. And that's it. What makes software useful ... to be fair, no-one knows except the person using the software at that particular moment. The UI can have an impact , the response can have an impact, the actual job to be done of course has a huge impact. Also software can be useful for things that people who designed them had no concept of - using a spreadsheet to run a project was probably not how the originators of Lotus 1-2-3 (grandad of Excel) envisioned it. If usefuln

1 Reason Businesses Must Engage On-Line

There is talk over on Geekzone* around Telstra in HD (High Definition). After some discussion about what will, could and should happen with some annoyance from a few of the posters Jeff Doyle (Market Manager - InHome Services, TelstraClear) came on and left a reasoned and detailed comment . Top work. However it was the comment directly following Jeff's that caught my eye: That's great to hear! I'm on Telstra Triple play and was considering dumping Telstra TV in favour of SKY HDi but I think I'll hold off. ... And that's a perfect of example of why businesses should engage with customers using on-line communities You keep your customers And you do it by talking to them in their space and not forcing them to come to you! * one of the most active on-line communities in New Zealand, and here's why

Google Is A Faceless Machine

Being a faceless machine brings with it some comfort, a human is not interfering in your emails, someone isn't reading your documents and a person doesn't check your calendar. However, there is a dark side to being a machine. It devolves you of having human traits such as compassion, awareness and a sense of justice. Google isn't alone in this, Microsoft have for years been seen as a closed software factory and that you were either on the "inside" or you were on the "outside". Yahoo! has also suffered but not to such a large extent. In fact, Yahoo!'s purchase of Flickr meant they had bought the poster boy of "being human" where you can, to paraphrase Nat Torkington, "Feel the humanity front and centre". I s'pose it's hard to be a machine when all you deal with is photos as cute as this . (on a side note, I'm still unconvinced which way the new Delicious has movbed - machine or human?) Google, however, is most defin

Engage Your Community Conference Agenda

Here's Google Calendar version of the Wellington conference agenda so you can add it to your own calendar using it's iCal feed To learn how to create your own public Google Calendar showcasing your own events read our guide: Make Your Public Event Calendar Usable To All What's the conference about - this: This is a conference pitched at an introductory level. If you've ever wondered how the web could be better used by your organisation; or know what a blog is, but not how it could be useful; or are a little nervous about opening a Facebook account, then this is a conference for you. If you think the internet is for geeks, or young people, or those with nothing better to do with their time, then this is a conference for you. And if you want to move beyond using email and having a simple website, then this is a conference for you.

A Scrap Piece Of (e)Paper To Remember Your Web Journey

When you're on-line and found that great article that you know you'll definitely/probably need again tomorrow/next year what do you do? You can save it to your browser bookmarks/favourites ... and lose it in the swamp that is everything you've ever thought you'd want but never actually did. You can use an on-line social bookmarking site such as Delicious ... and hope you remember what you tagged it as. Or you can do what most people do, pretend you'll remember the site name and then pray to all things saintly that you find it in the next 5 hours by dredging through every Google search you've ever done and some you've just made up to see if they work. How about using a wee on-line Notebook? Google Notebook to be precise. I have to say it's not one of the Google services I am that familiar with but over the past few weeks I have met more and more people that swear by it. What does it do - this from their FAQ : With Google Notebook, you can browse, clip

New Zealand Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) - Heard Of It?

Using cloud computing does imply a level of "openness" and "freedom" that may be something we take for granted at the moment but my son and daughter may look back in amazement and with a lot of envy on how we can go anywhere on-line. Check out my personal blog posting regarding the New Zealand Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Engage Your Community Conference - The Wellington Gig

Following on from the hugely successful Hamilton Engage Your Community conference I am happy to let tell you that a similar event is to be held here in Wellington on 4th September at Massey University : This is a conference pitched at an introductory level. If you've ever wondered how the web could be better used by your organisation; or know what a blog is, but not how it could be useful; or are a little nervous about opening a Facebook account, then this is a conference for you. If you think the internet is for geeks, or young people, or those with nothing better to do with their time, then this is a conference for you. And if you want to move beyond using email and having a simple website, then this is a conference for you. Check out their website for all the details: http://eyc.org.nz And I am running the following session (twice): Web office applications: word processing, spreadsheets, email and calendars without installing one bit of software! Using Google Appl

10 Ways To Explain Things More Effectively

I love IT Departments, no really, I do - they are normally filled with passionate people playing with shiny toys that get information out and about. However, they also need a lot of help talking with the real world because they are mostly male. TechRepublic has come up with 10 awesome reminders of how to communicate with real people which I will now be printing and giving to every IT geek I work with* :-) - 10 ways to explain things more effectively But why use it - let me explain ... #1: Keep in mind others’ point of view IT Department - without the business to service you are nothing, try and work out where they are coming from as this is about job survival. (business - ditto, without technology I bet you'd be dead on your feet within a week.) #2: Listen and respond to questions People want to use the tools the best they can but without asking the "stupid questions" they can never learn to. And remember, there are NEVER stupid questions, just useless/irrelevant a

Google Sites To Be Merged with Google Groups + 9 Other Learnings

10 things I learned from attending the "Google in the Public Sector" session a while ago: Google Sites and Google Groups are set to merge - yaay! Google's "secret sauce" involves the number of data centres it has (700-800+) Google positions its advertising service as another way to connect your content with your audience Google Earth in a browser is a major aim of Google (ie, Google Earth merging with Google Maps). I think this might be one of those things Google has to wait for web technology to catch-up on Google Earth is being used (a lot) inside organisations There is a LOT of interest in Google's offerings NZ Governments issue of having to store content within NZ geographical boundary is being tackled by Google as a cost/risk exercise Google plays at the national level Most people still think Google is just a search page!? People use Google Apps/Docs because it is soooooooo easy

NZ Government 2.0 ... Where Is It? [Updated]

We're approaching the one year anniversary of Welington's eGovernment Barcamp and I'd like to know two things: Will there be another? Wat has the "government" done? On the first I have heard rumblings but I suspect it needs a committed bunch of people to demand that it happens - get over to the mailing list and make your voice heard . As to the second, I read with great heart that the conversation is starting to happen. Laurence Millar's* posting, What does Web 2.0 mean for government? , is a great start and raises a fundamental hurdle that government agencies need to address, set the data free! I am a little perturbed by the comments left as it seems that there is a desire to "talk" more ... NO!!! Talk some but DO more. This is not rocket science, there are companies larger than the NZ Government doing it, there are organisations with more at stake that the NZ Government doing it ... so why aren't they doing it? My opinion? Outside the wa

FREE: One Ticket To Webstock 2009

No, I don't actually have a ticket to give away ... but you can win one. How - Guess the speakers That's it, email them ( competitions@webstock.org.nz ) a list of up to 12 people you think will be speaking at Webstock 09. The person with the highest number of correct speakers when we launch the conference on 11 August will win a ticket to Webstock in February 09. Mike, Tash and the team have left a few clues: There'll be some speakers who've been to Webstock before There'll be some speakers who haven't There'll be some speakers you'll never, ever, guess Have at it!!! - competitions@webstock.org.nz