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March 5, 2010

EBS Has Left The Building

Even in a sequined jumpsuit, a skeleton is still dead.

Instead of my typically convoluted Funcave windup involving some theoretical physics, Bluetooth and comic book lore a la “The Big Bang Theory,” I’ll just come right out and say what’s up this time:

Essential Business Server = DEAD

That’s officially official as of right now, which should be 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard time on March 5th, 2010. So what does that really mean?

In the immediate term, it means there will be no v2 of Essential Business Server. Not ever. Which is a damned shame, because v2 was looking completely and totally badass.

Keep reading!

|| posted by chris under beta, business, clueless, hardware, it pro, kma, mid-market it, migration, nostalgia, opinion, rant, rx, shoutout, thumbs down, thumbs up, time, travel, virtualization, webcast || comments (2) || ||

May 16, 2008

Tech Community ISO Leadership. Must Be Glutton For Punishment.

Have fun working with the community. You won't be able to sit down for a year.

Everyone in New Orleans last weekend who was in the final session about the community prolly heard me talk about the very real side that most people don’t want to hear about.

All most people ever hear about is how great, grand, and wonderful the community is.

And you know what? That can be true. It really can.

But in most cases, the wonderfulness occurs on a one-to-one basis. Direct interactions between 2 folks who have discovered, through some connection they have in common, that they can help each other out.

That is how business is done, folks. That’s exactly how you and your customers interact successfully. That’s how ANY successful business interacts with its customers.

Unfortunately, that is NOT how the community works. Or at least, not how it thinks it should be working.

Which, in my opinion, is where it stumbles, badly.

A whole lot of folks are spending a WHOLE lot of time, money, energy, and hair follicles figuring out how to get EVERYONE in lockstep.


That’s a crock.

The secret to leadership? it’s so freaking simple people.

You decide what, generally, you want to happen. A goal.

You put together a kickass and diverse team with the skills to make that happen.

You give them the tools/funding/support they need to make things happen.

Then you get the H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICK out of their way. You stand back and see how they are doing. If someone’s kicking ass, YOU TELL THEM THAT, AND OTHERS TOO!

If someone is struggling, you find out why. Get them the help they need, remove an obstacle, whatever.

And you do your primary job. Which is both super simple, and difficult beyond belief

Tell the story. Get the word out. Get NEW BLOOD excited and fired up about what you are doing! Doggedly. Persistently. Continually.

No matter who ridicules you or tries to tear you down. Because it will happen. Especially in our community, if you are in the US.

Despite whatever jealousy or spite or elitism you will encounter. Even to the point of people trying to steal or take over what your team is trying to accomplish. Because it will happen. I can tell you that from personal experience, ESPECIALLY in our community.

I can tell you…

Looking around our little biosphere that so many folks think is so all-mighty and all-important (which is also a crock) for some real leadership?

I’m not seeing any worth having.

None at all.

Despite that, during that session I pledged to resurrect Alabama SMB, which died a slow, horrible death thanks completely to my missteps at the helm.

I plan to keep that promise, but not steering the ship myself.

So this is also a call to IT Professionals in the state of Alabama. If you want to try to create something that will help you, and that you can be proud of, then you need to ping me within the next 2 weeks.

If no one shows up, ready to either lead or help, there will be no second chance.

And Alabama SMB will be fully dead and buried.

|| posted by chris under clueless, community, rant, rx || comments (16) || ||

February 2, 2008

The Segway Of Software

Let me be utterly clear about this, so there is no lingering confusion in anyone’s mind…

Groove has to be the worst software I’ve ever used in my life.

For something else that was breathlessly touted as a revolution with no downside for so long, I’m amazed that I haven’t yet put my fist through the screen when using it.

Forget the performance hit on an individual machine…

Forget the laggy response…

Groove has the most idiotic user interface seen since cc:Mail.

To top it off, this supposed wunderkind of collaboration, this pinnacle of a more modern way to get stuff done, this enabler of all things great and integrated…

This thing totally sucks at handling the group part of collaboration. Which is the only part of collaboration that makes it collaborative, to be quite honest.

Hey, got 2 folks with similar names? You gotta resolve the conflict manually! How do you do that? Your guess is as good as mine. Which is about the extent of what Groove can explain you need to do.

You want to know who raves about Groove?

Microsofties. And ‘softie wannabes, hangers-on, and nearly everything in-between.

But the fact is that Groove is like the autistic cousin of SharePoint. Now, this is not to insult folks who have autism at all.

Groove’s interface imposes these totally random and arbitrary restrictions on collaboration and communication because you can’t see what’s going on in ways that would actually be helpful, but you can see things that are totally useless. That’s the closest analogy to autism I can think of. Maybe MS should use Groove as a training tool, to drive funding for autism research.

Why do I care where people are at any given time in Groove? This isn’t kindergarten. We don’t have to get in a line and all walk to the bathroom at the same time any more.

While working in Groove, I find myself having to make a conscious decision to ignore all the stuff that is going on in a Groove workspace. That’s not productivity, folks. That’s schizophrenia.

So why does Groove put such an emphasis on what someone else is doing?

I’ll tell you why.

For all its touted collaborative prowess…that’s the one thing above all else Groove stinks at most. Groove’s basically the unholy offspring of a crappy chat client that mated with a P2P transfer engine created by someone with the last name of Frankenstein.

If you don’t know what other people are doing in a Groove workspace, then you don’t know what you have to avoid opening, for fear of your changes getting lost, or split, when a document is open by more than 1 person at a time.

But the final nails in Groove’s coffin should be these 2 simple facts…

  • Groove offers no mobile client whatsoever
  • Groove offers no connectivity/sychronization with Outlook

Because of those unforgiveable omissions, except for a very very narrow subset of the populace whose paychecks come from Redmond, Groove is totally unusable for anything meaningful. And even then, there are much better alternatives. Stuff that actually lets you get things done.

I’m surprised at the number of folks who, as professionals, should care about the simple and crucial idea of productivity being at the heart of system design…

But in the name of tech-machismo, ignore it anyway.

|| posted by chris under clueless, kma, opinion, rant, thumbs down || comments (8) || ||

January 9, 2008

C’Mon In And Hover Me

You really didn't think I'd pass up an opportunity to include a hovercar pic, did you? Notice the superfuture with the hovercars, but the dude is still using paper? How quaint.

So Nathan, better known as the dude who ripped the covers off Windows Mobile 7 AKA Photon recently, asked…

I love the hover comments you put on links! Is that a plugin, and where can I get it?

I’ve heard from folks before that they dig the hover comments too, which also appear on pictures as well. I thought it was a good qestion, and that other folks might be interested in the answer.

Firstly, there’s no plugin required.

Secondly, the actual text of the hover comments for both pictures and links come from the ol’ noggin of yours truly. So the text isn’t auto-generated. That level of wiseacre is 100% natural.

Thirdly, it’s a very simple bit of HTML code. For each link, I add a title attribute, which comprises the text of the hover comment. It only works that way because most browsers render the title attribute on mouseover as a hover.

Fourthly, BlogJet AKA The Parliamentary Funkadelic of Blogging Tools makes it dead simple to add the title attribute because, well…it’s right there in the box when adding a new link. Check it out…

I’m a sucker for an empty field. Give me a data field, and I have to fill it. I'd almost go as far as to say I wanna fill every data field I see. But then RA would kick MY ass.

Fifthly, for pictures it’s a bit different. Rather than using the title attribute, BlogJet embeds the alt attribute.

Again...datafieldmania in action. Should I seek professional help?

This makes a whole lot of sense, because alt specifies text that shows in place of actual graphics if the browser can’t or won’t support rendering them. If it does render the graphics, then the alt text hovers on mouseover the same way as the title attribute for links. Sexxay, huh?

Sixthly, here’s the actual HTML from a couple of examples in this very post. Here’s a link…

<a title=”Yo Nathan! This link’s for you, bud…” href=”” target=”_blank”>

And here’s a pic…

 <img alt=”You really didn’t think I’d pass up an opportunity to include a hovercar pic, did you? Notice the superfuture with the hovercars, but the dude is still using paper? How quaint.” src=”” border=”0″ />

Seventhly, some audio assist browsers and enhancements will actually read the title attribute aloud while rendering the page. Which rocks! And encourages me to become even more smart-aleck.

Eighthly, it seems to me that it would be even more helpful for the alt attribute to be read aloud. Well, maybe not my comments. I’m not sure they would adequately describe a graphic well enough to be of much help.

Ninthly, did I mention yet how I prolly wouldn’t have started doing this without the hypersonic assist from BlogJet?

|| posted by chris under freebie, opinion, rant, utility belt, wordpress || comments (1) || ||

October 18, 2007



All Your Base Are Belong To SIMSOC

We are the SIMSOC. Resistance is futile.

Sweet mother of Moses!

As fantastic as Leadership Tuscaloosa has been already, our second session was, quite frankly…

Nothing short of amazing, bordering on spectacular.

This week, for 3 hours on Tuesday night and 8 hours yesterday, we participated in a session of SIMSOC AKA Simulated Society, a free-form live-action sociology game which was first created 41 years ago by Dr. William A. Gamson. And it is definitely the pioneering work to which every RPG (think D&D) and every LARP in the world should pay homage.

Honestly, if you’ve never participated in a SIMSOC…you should.

There are public SIMSOCs available from time to time. I know there was one held in San Diego earlier this year.

I feel very fortunate to have been a participant, mainly because of how eerily accurate it all was. How certain situations arose, almost of their own accord, that were spooky-real.

Most of all, I think it taught me a lot about myself, and how certain things I think, say and do…could stand a good bit of working on.

If you are a former SIMSOC participant, it’d be great if you posted a shoutout here at the Funcave.

I think of SIMSOC like a live-action “Choose Your Own Adventure” movie, in which you are a cast member. Because that’s kind of what it is.

But talking about SIMSOC with someone who’s never participated…would be worse than telling them most awful kind of spoiler about a movie they have been dying to see.

So…any comments posted might be edited to keep the asskickingness of SIMSOC a secret for those who haven’t yet been through one.

If there are enough former SIMSOC participants who respond…I might just be convinced to set up a private SIMSOC discussion lounge over at the Funboard.

And, in case you missed it, here’s the classic web meme AYBABTU, one simple click away…

SIMSOC will get inside your head, just like that classic mashup.

Enjoy the mental flossing!

|| posted by chris under business, community, epiphany, game, media, nostalgia, opinion, rant, rx, shoutout, time, virtualization || comments (0) || ||

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