For those of you only follow my blog and don’t follow me on Twitter, I haven’t been saying much here. You might say my attention has been focused elsewhere. I still don’t know who my new employer will be. It is outside of my circle of influence, so I’ve dove head-first into a project related to the divestiture. This is clearly inside my circle of influence, and I’ve made serious headway on it. I may even finish it before whatever deal Nokia makes with the third party closes!
Meanwhile, I just have been completely uninspired in the blogging realm. I read the stuff that comes across my social networks–I haven’t bothered to look in Google Reader for at least a month–and it just seems like more of the same. How many of us are saying the same stuff?
Other stuff of interest I’ve run across includes the new Nokia Messaging client (formerly Nokia Email). It’s finally usable now that they’ve made it so the client doesn’t jump in your face on startup. It also just seems more polished as well. Runs nice alongside RoadSync on my E71, which I’ve been trying out as well.
RoadSync provides a slightly nicer email interface inside the standard S60 mail interface. I’ve paired it up with the company directory only version of Mail for Exchange, which RoadSync seems to leave out. You have access to the Global Address List inside RoadSync when sending email, but I don’t see a way to search in the Global Address List and add any conatcts found to your phone as a contact.
Finally, of more immediate concern to me is our crazy winter weather here in the Pacific Northwest. After a relatively mild autumn, we started our descent into snowmageddon nearly a week ago. Temps dipped below freezing last weekend and have mostly remained there since. Precipitation has been in the form of snow–something we get around these parts around this time every year, but not to the point where we need roads plowed and sanded. Our municipalities are ill-equipped for this kind of weather, as are local drivers.
Hopefully, I won’t have to go out into the snow on Sunday, as it’s looking like it’s gonna be another nasty day, complete with snow and possibly ice. Depends on what the temperatures end up being, of course.
Both my kids have been in front of computers ever since they had enough of an attention span. I don’t know that they will have any exceptional aptitude at this, but if they ever want to practice their IT skills, I’ve got the equipment here at home they can practice on.
The scary thing is, this will likely be the most useful part of Jon Penn’s education he will receive. Certainly was for me in college when I was one of a couple of students helping to maintain the main engineering computing lab. Hopefully, he will continue to hone his IT skills and become certified. I bet he’ll make a mint at it, too.
Let’s face it, I am probably more accessible than most people that work in my team, despite working out of my home office. My phone is on all the time. I am regularly checking–and responding to–email. I use IM. I work unusual hours. The people who work the overnight shift in our support team really like it that they can reach me–if needed–on IM during a good chunk of their shift.
And while all that connectivity is wonderful, when it comes right down to it, the near constant connectivity seems to demand actually knowing people–in person. Sure, you get to know people over the interwebs, but when it comes down to it, having at least some intimate knowledge of the person in meatspace seems to be key to getting things done–particularly when the going gets tough.
Email doesn’t stop you from wanting facetime, too. Just the opposite: By enabling us to maintain productive business relationships with more people, it encourages more face-to-face contact. Have you noticed business travel dying out? Neither have I. Air travel is at record highs.
One day, perhaps, virtual communication will become so good we’ll no longer feel the need to shake hands with a new collaborator or brainstorm in the same room. But for now, the world seems to be changing in a way that actually demands more meetings. Business is more innovative, and its processes more complex. That demands tacit knowledge, collaboration, and trust — all things that seem to follow best from person-to-person meetings. “Ideas are more important than ever,” Glaeser says, “and the most important ideas are communicated face-to-face.”
This is something I need to spend some time convincing my wife about. It’s this facetime I get by going down to the office and simply “hanging out” that allows me to continue to be successful as someone who works from home most of the time. The last trips I’ve made up to our Ottawa office have made a huge difference in my ability to get things done with people in that office.
What do you think? Does all this “connecting technology” increase the demand for facetime?
The SCP Support Standard provides clear guidelines that enable world-class support organizations to:
Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty through improvements in operational effectiveness and staff productivity
Implement a continuous improvement program that enables them to provide world-class service to their customers
Benchmark their support operations against best in class organizations and best practices to further enhance performance
The standards defined in the SCP program represent the broad scope of business practices necessary to deliver the highest quality technology support. Companies that execute well in all of these areas will ensure they are maximizing their capabilities and have optimized business processes to drive higher levels of operational performance, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
Back when we were initially working towards SCP certification, the group I worked with was considered a TAC, thus we had to go through the audit process. Since I was involved with our Knowledge Base and the processes around it even back in 2002, I got to put together some of the material we submitted as part of the audit.
Each year since 2002, I have continued to play some role in the SCP certification process, though my role has greatly diminished over time. Other people are now responsible for this audit, though even this year, I was asked to assist on something related to the SCP audit.
In any case, this is quite an achievement for this group, whom I’ve been working with for the better part of 9 years now. Bravo!
Dopplr is an interesting service. In short, it’s a way to share your travel schedule with others and possibly “hook up” with people when you’re someplace.
While I’m not sure where the monetization opportunities are for this service, they did receive some funding recently. Good for them. I hope they develop this idea further, but do me a favor: keep it simple.
This video gives a good description of the Dopplr functionality.
One of my favorite applications on my Nokia N95 just got better!
Mail for Exchange (MfE) is an application that lets you synchronize your Nokia Eseries and selected Nokia Nseries devices with an Exchange server using the ActiveSync protocol. A number of improvements are available in this release.
The most important from my perspective is the ability to look up people in the company directory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to send email from my N95 and been stymied by the lack of ability to look up someone’s name to ensure I’ve got the right email address. Now MfE’s got it, not only when you’re sending messages, but as a separate application you can run. Anyone you look up can also be added to your mobile phonebook as well!
To show this feature off, I took a couple of N95 screenshots showing how this works. I looked myself up in the Nokia Corporate Directory:
The next cool feature is the ability to respond to meeting requests from your mobile phone. You were not able to do that before. Now you can.
Tasks are also synchronized, which is quite cool. My boss showed me how to use Tasks more effectively in Outlook. I liked his method, so I adopted it for the time being. And now I get nagged repeatedly to do stuff I know I should.
The MfE product is moving forward. I saw an internal roadmap for the MfE product and I was suitably impressed with the new features. The lightweight nature of the application makes it a clear winner for me. The new functionality in the 2.0 release was enough to push me over the edge to switch from Intellisync Mobile Suite on my main email device–the Nokia E61.
If you use Exchange and Nokia Eseries devices (or the Nokia N73, N76, or N95), then have a look at Mail for Exchange.
Thursday, I had a chance to talk to Peter Csathy, SightSpeed‘s CEO. The main reason I called him was to find out how much more traffic he was getting thanks to the Skype problems, but I also took the opportunity to ask him about the SMB product he recently mentioned in a video email update he mailed me.
The main reason they are attacking this space is because there is a huge hole between the Cisco CallManager-type installations–i.e. really huge and expensive systems–and the current consumer-focused SightSpeed application. Businesses that have more needs than the average consumer, but don’t have the money or the desire for the kind of overhead that a large Enterprise solution entails.
Their new SMB product will support a completely different user interface. Yes, this means a new application. It will support all of the following features:
Multipary calling enhancements
Call Transfer/Hunt Groups
Video Mail Enhancements
Included Phone Out minutes
An administrator console to control the above features
One other thing to note is the “Community” calling feature present in the current client will not be part of the SMB client.
Peter wasn’t ready to share the price of this package with the world just yet. However, he privately told me what the price point for this is. Trust me when I say it will be extremely affordable and that I am likely to be signing up for this service.
Unfortunately, the only date he was willing to share for availability for this product was “soon.” Which I can totally understand. It will be worth the wait, though.