Cookies Galore

July 31, 2007

strange things are afoot

if you’re  a frequent visitor here and you’re security conscious you’ll notice all of a sudden there are some statcounter cookies being deposited on your PC – please accept them I’m doing a little traffic analysis and although I can’t get the full blown package ( wordpress.com says no to JavaScript) it’s of interest to me.

if you feel like you don’t want to participate just deny the cookie.

I’ll share a few nuggets over the coming weeks – interesting already is that 5% of the visitors are using Windows Mobile

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Bloggus Interruptus

June 18, 2007

not a lot going on round here at the moment

well in the blogging world at least – there’s far too much going on in the world of work, just one long go to meetings, follow up meetings and go to more meetings. blogging is not my day job, my wife will be pleased to know  so the extra mile is that much harder to tread for now. This is a testament to how imnportant blogging has become  as I have itchy fingertips, not having posted for  five days or so.

There are a few things I need to mention but they will have to wait until a couple of projects at work have been completed.

normal service will be resumed shortly

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LiveWriter Beta 2

May 31, 2007

Windows Live Writer enters it’s 2nd Beta available NOW!

image

I’ve been using Livewriter as my blogging tool of choice for a while now, I’ve installed a couple of plug-ins, notably the insert flickr image plug-in and I had hoped to add tag4writer to manage my technorati tags which until now I’d been manually inputting but I couldn’t find a working link …. so imagine my delight to discover that Beta 2 has the functionality built right in oh and also in line spell check.

not sure if I like the fact that categories have dropped to the foot of the page but hey I’ll get used to it

by the way the existing plug-ins migrated quite nicely thanks

snag it via here  easy peasy


coming soon…..

May 29, 2007

watch this space ..awaiting some gizmos for evaluation

 I’m waiting on a couple of devices for evaluation, one for my own purposes ( the HP iPAQ 514 Voice Messenger which has been available to resellers, pre release, NFR since Friday ) I’ve talked about the UMA capabilities of this  device which is my primary interest,  however I  had discussions last week about a few of it’s other HP enhancements to Windows Mobile 6 functionality and these have quite excited me. I’ll let you know what they are if they live up to expectations later.

the other device is provided to me as as guest reviewer on another tech blog – can’t say much but more on this later but I’m looking forward to trying out a slider for a change ;).

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Using Blogging like Napster

April 17, 2007

or the power of accidental social networking

Way back  when before it became a pay to use service and Lars Ulrich and the Metallica muppets completely missed the point I  used to love Napster.

Yes I like many people stole a bit of music, well I actually used it to download most of my vinyl library as MP3s – convenience really I could rip vinyl to MP3 if I wanted to but I’m lazy when technology can help me out.

Far from Napster making me steal more  music it actually used to drive CD sales for me as when I’d downloaded a file or two I’d then make the point of browsing the users other files to glean silent recommendations for other music I might like, download a few and  then buy the CD if it was worthy of my appreciation.

I use blogging in a very similar fashion, when reading  Steve’s or Eileen’s or Jason’s  or James and Kevin’s Blogs, I’m a bit of a click bandit in that I’ll often  follow the link to a commenter’s blog.

It’s a fair bet that there’s some overlap of interest with the commenter, especially with the more specific blogs,  more often than not there’s a post worth commenting on and also there are usually other interesting parallel themes or occasionally tangential ones.

This is where tabbed browsing really comes into it’s own – if you open a link in a new tab you’ve got a history of how you got where you are right there in front of you.

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Comfortable Communications

March 13, 2007

the next generation … rule the nation … with communication

if you can name the song and artist parodied above you deserve another none existent prize :)

I am constantly amused by my wife’s reluctance to use the telephone, it stems from her family not installing one until her mid teens. blame the delightful Cumbrian habit of visiting people rather than using an apparatus to communicate.

more on my crusade for actual messaging (AM) later

I’m convinced that corporate communication media are determined by the pre vocational activities of the users. let me give you a few examples.

In my parents life before work they would have routinely written letters to friends this would be their media of choice , at work they would still write letters they  would be using the telephone but they wouldn’t trust it – everything needed to be confirmed in writing

In my life before work I would use the telephone to call friends, I was the first person in my circle of friends to own a mobile phone, consequently I prefer the telephone as an immediate form of communication.  in my early work life we had that curious diversion called fax but we only used that to confirm things or pass on details too difficult or voluminous to efficiently communicate by voice alone.

by the way In my opinion this is the way email should be used (email bombardiers take note) email tends to be the medium most other people rely on, it’s a great way for people to absolve their responsibility;  a way  for your average ctrl+F merchant to absolve themselves of duty by stating but I’ve emailed him  with that info. 

In some ways the fact that everyone knows I can get email anywhere makes things worse not better I  tend to see email abused rather than used properly,  introducing terrible inefficiently but I’ll let  Itzy provide some tips oh how to do things better and maybe grab my attention. 

If you want to communicate information to the masses, blog, it’s far more efficient at the end of the day as you avoid invisible duplication of responses  

my little sister (nearly 16) uses the phone , her mobile is on all the time, she is constantly contactable by me.  but she prefers IM, she uses it on her mobile, at home in her bedroom and pretty much anywhere she can log on to it.  she uses presence information and social networking through her myspace site unconsciously, I know if I want a response to hi kidder what have you been up to? that extends beyond I dunno stuff  I have to use windows live messenger

This is her medium of choice, in a few months her generation will be working and demanding their unconscious medium be available to them.

funnily enough she’s not too comfortable with video, it’s still a conscious effort to use it, maybe we’ll have to wait another generation before we’re routinely using video communication, maybe I’ll have some grey hairs by then?


do many microbrands make a macrobrand?

March 11, 2007

could we really elevate our  company’s status through blogging?

Steve is talking about how blogging works as a marketing tool, Thomas Mahon‘s experience has become a legend of the blogosphere however he has a limited output of a very exclusive product and I’m intrigued as to how the company I work for could use blogging encourage new customers to talk to us.

Microsoft have had an enviable level of brand recognition for years some good, some bad and I genuinely believe that embracing blogging has helped Microsoft become more approachable to their ultimate customers, it means that bashing them has become less fashionable and harder to sustain and that at the end of the day a massive corporation has now earned the right and more importantly has the ability to reply directly to their detractors.

I’ve alluded to my place of employment, but you’ll not find any explicit reference to the name of the company or indeed to who I am as there is an ongoing discussion about the value of blogging which has yet to be concluded. if you know me you can probably work out who I am but this is my own personal blog and does not reflect the views of my company.

Some key managers don’t want blogging, some don’t understand it, some are keen to try it  and some want to control it, there’s a debate about how it can improve the bottom line and the idea of group blogs or controlled blogs for a limited audience of customers seems to be the most likely way forward at the moment.

I think this is a mistake, I don’t believe group blogs work well as they often lack a personality or consistent position, it’s too easy to muddle the conversation as there’s a tendency ( and perhaps a duty ) to provide a dispassionate commentary based on consensus rather than express a personal opinion.

Exclusive blogs to a carefully chosen audience  deny the power of blogging because you probably know the likely responses of your community so will either self moderate or gain no additional insight into the community’s range of opinions.

We operate in a market where there are any number of competitors that appear similar to ourselves on paper. There are a number of johnny come lately’s ( particularly coming in from the voice world ) who are acquiring paper expertise as convergence makes life really difficult for them and frankly most IT professional’s I know wouldn’t let a traditional voice company anywhere near their server environment.

I believe the reason customers deal with us and the reason they come back to us is our people, and their experience.  there are a number of people I work with who’s technological and market knowledge  is second to none.  

Our existing customers know this, at the moment our potential customers can’t possibly,  as the only access they have to our insight is through a series of carefully constructed statements and case studies on our website ( does anyone believe case studies?).

I think that a body of company associated personal blogs and the microbrands they engender will establish a blog macrobrand for our company that will elevate our position in our marketplace.

If we have half a dozen people blogging on subjects they are passionate about and we actually generate some discourse OUR google juice will improve.

Imagine  if you search for storage area network, or exchange mobility or AD migrations, or managed desktop deployments on Google and get our specialists’  blogs about the marketplace, maybe some of the troubles our customers have experienced and how we’ve used technology to solve them.  A potential customer  may see a few positive comments and endorsements by existing customers or even criticisms and a structured response and resolution to them  the chances of you as a new customer wanting to talk to us further has got to increase.

If our name appears in multiple searches you’re more likely to consider us as a serious option for a complex multidisciplinary problem or for providing a managed service  to you, if you keep seeing our name surely our kudos increases..

For our senior management to buy into this they have to see that the time spent blogging actually provides a return, and I can’t expect my colleagues to be happily blogging on a Sunday night so they have to be free to do it during time paid for by the company.

At the moment  if I spent time blogging during office hours it would take me away from tangible fee earning work which I know  would not go down well, if it contributes to the overall perception of my company it has a value albeit one difficult to quantify. if we’re all doing it the synergistic effect could be immense. Unfortunately I don’t think merely improving the perception of the company would  be so well received in the way it would if I was doing it at Microsoft.

Is my reasoning flawed?  am I looking at the blogosphere through rose tinted glasses? would this kind of exposure even happen? in a few short weeks I’m Googling highly on a few things like this (pretty specific and unrelated to my main interests I know) but is it possible that more generic business challenges can be so susceptible to SEO generated by blogs ?

I’m interested in other bloggers’ experiences – whether sanctioned or censured by your company how has blogging made a difference to you or the company you work for?