» Archive for the 'David M. Goldes' Category

Enjoy It While It Lasts: E-mail Overload to Resume Next Week

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 by David Goldes

Traffic resumes next week

In the last week of August, nothing seems to get done.  E-mail goes unanswered, meetings are rescheduled, even my local favorite coffee shop is empty as people sneak away for their vacations.

Indeed, last week, Jonathan Spira’s commentary in this space was a mere 83 words long as he rushed out for a holiday trip.

I enjoy this time of year, but therein lies the rub.  Starting next week, all those same people will be back at work and back in their inboxes, refreshed and flush with a sense of false urgency.

But do we really need to bring those stress levels back to normal?

While you think about it, I’m outta here…

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

What are the leading sources of Information Overload?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by David Goldes

Information Overload impacts us all, both on a personal level and on an organizational level.  However, all is not lost.  Knowledge workers are a resourceful bunch and have addressed the problem in multiple and often very creative ways.

Is it too much yet?

To find out what you consider to be the greatest sources of Information Overload, both for you individually and for your organization, as well as to understand how these challenges are being addressed, we’ve developed a survey that asks you to share your thoughts on this topic.

Please click here to take the survey.

Participants will receive an Executive Summary of the survey’s findings and can also enter a drawing to win a set of Dilbert CubeGuard information overload blockers (three sets will be awarded).  Please share the survey link with colleagues or in forums where knowledge workers congregate; the more people participating in the survey, the better we will be able take steps to reduce Information Overload for yourself and your team.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Information Overload Strikes Again – The Movie

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 by David Goldes

INFORMATION OVERLOAD STRIKES AGAIN – THE MOVIE

Find out how James lost a multi-million dollar contract – because he didn’t see an important e-mail from a customer.

James gets 500 e-mail messages each day – and his manager gets even more.

Watch this brief video to see how James handles the situation.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Good-bye Windows 2000 and XP SP2 – Hello Windows 7

Thursday, July 15th, 2010 by David Goldes

Time to say good-bye

Believe it or not, until Tuesday, Windows 2000 was still a supported operating system as far as Microsoft was concerned.  Starting yesterday, however, Windows 2000 and Windows XP Service Pack 2 officially got dragged into the recycle bin as Microsoft ended support.  What this means is that the company will no longer provide new security fixes or provide any technical support.  If you do want to keep using one of these operating systems, you are on your own.

If you are still using Windows 2000, you might want to consider that it looked obsolete as long as five years ago.  As for Windows XP SP2 (the service pack update Microsoft issued in 2004), keep in mind that Microsoft released XP SP3 a little over two years ago and will only continue to support it under what the company calls “extended support” (patches for vulnerabilities) through April 2014.

It may be time for a change.

If you’re hiding in the shadows, still on Windows 2000 or even on XP because you were dreading Windows Vista, it’s now safe to come out.  We’ve been running Windows 7 on multiple machines here since its launch and it’s an entirely different breed of operating system.  While we’ve come up with a few things that won’t work (XP Power Toys for one), those are the exceptions, not the rule.  We’ve found Windows 7 very user friendly, easy to use and manage, and a worthy successor to the venerable Windows XP platform.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

The Productivity Conundrum – Dilbert Is Currently Busy

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 by David Goldes

How we, as knowledge workers, spend our day is something that we ourselves tend to not fully understand. 

Dilbert is currently busy...

Our impressions of what we have done in the course of a day are frequently far different than what really took place.  Dilbert famously noted that “Mondays are not part of the productive work week” and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To find out a bit more about how we work, we’ve launched a brief survey that asks you to look at your most recent full day at work and answer a few questions.

Please click here to take the survey.

Participants will receive an Executive Summary of the survey’s findings and can also enter a drawing to win a set of Dilbert CubeGuard information overload blockers (three sets will be awarded).  After you complete the survey, please share the survey link with colleagues or in forums where knowledge workers congregate; the more people participating in the survey, the better we will be able to take the first steps to increasing our own productivity.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

RIM’s Foleo

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by David Goldes

Research in Motion, a mobile device company, will reportedly introduce a new BlackBerry with a slide-out keyboard as well as a large-screen tablet that will serve as a companion device to its smartphones later this year.  If the latter sounds familiar, there’s a reason why it does.  Not too long ago, back in May 2007, Palm introduced the Foleo, a laptop that included a paradox at no extra charge.

Palm Foleo ca. 2007

Palm billed the Foleo as a “smartphone companion.”  Indeed, at its launch, Palm co-founder Jeff Hawkins explicitly acknowledged the shortcomings of the smartphone form factor for doing intensive e-mail.  With a 10.2″ color screen and full-sized keyboard, the Foleo would allow mobile knowledge workers to edit and view e-mail and Microsoft Office documents accessible on a smartphone (and eventually on non-Palm devices).  The Foleo would offer built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless support, making it capable of accessing the Web (without a Palm) as well as browser-based e-mail.

A few months later, Palm announced it was pulling the plug on the project – at a point where the company was nearly ready to ship the product.

There were several reasons why this happened and hopefully the executives in Waterloo are reading this and paying attention.

First, the reaction to the Foleo’s launch in many quarters was a collective yawn.  There was much that was good about the machine (incredible industrial design according to Jonathan Spira, who had a brief opportunity to use one, plus a lightweight, perfect form factor for working on a plane in tight quarters).

There was also much that the Foleo was not.  It was not particularly fast and its functionality was limited due to Palm’s emphasis on making it a peripheral first and networked computer second.

Finally, Palm never anticipated the advent of netbooks, which were then making their first appearance.  Today’s netbooks, available (with mobile broadband contracts) for as little as $49, come without the limitations of the Foleo and were not designed as somewhat crippled peripheral devices.

Palm CEO Ed Colligan, in a message announcing the company’s decision, wrote: “Our own evaluation and early market feedback were telling us that we still have a number of improvements to make Foleo a world-class product, and we can not afford to make those improvements on a platform that is not central to our core focus.” Palm is “working hard” on its next generation software platform and the Foleo was based on a second platform and separate design environment.

Back in 2007 I wrote that the Foleo did indeed demonstrate the potential of the ultra lightweight diskless portable and I hoped that someone would take notice.  Perhaps RIM has.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Plato Turns 50

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 by David Goldes

Imagine a world without the collaborative tools we take for granted today. Decades before the emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web, computer pioneers were building Plato, a system that pioneered chat rooms, e-mail, instant messaging, online forums and message boards, and remote screen sharing. 

When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself. -Plato

Plato (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) was the world’s first computer-aided teaching system and it was built in 1960 at Computer-based Education Research Lab (CERL) at the University of Illinois and eventually comprised over 1,000 workstations worldwide. It was in existence for forty years and offered coursework ranging from elementary school to university-level.  

Social computing and collaboration began on Plato in 1973. That year, Plato got Plato Notes (message forums), Talk-o-matic (chatrooms), and Term-talk (instant messaging).  

Plato was also a breeding ground for today’s technology innovators. Ray Ozzie, the creator of Lotus Notes and Microsoft’s chief software architect, worked on the Plato system in the 1970s as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Many others including Dave Woolley, who wrote Plato Notes at the age of 17, Kim Mast, who wrote Personal Notes (the e-mail system) in 1974 at the age of 18, and Doug Brown, creator of Talk-o-matic, continued to develop collaborative technologies in their careers.  

Don Bitzer, credited by many as the “father of Plato,” is the co-inventor of the plasma display and has spent his career focusing on collaborative technologies for use in the classroom.  

This week we celebrate Plato’s 50th anniversary. Why a week and not a day? I spoke with Brian Dear, whose book on Plato (The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the Plato System and the Dawn of Cyberculture) will be published later this year,told me “[I]t’s hard to pin down an exact date, due to a) it being open to interpretation as to what qualifies as the first day — when the project got green-lighted? when they started designing it? when a system was actually up and running? when they did the first demo? — and b) there’s little lasting documentary evidence from those earliest weeks.”  

“May 1960 was when Daniel Alpert’s interdisciplinary group that had held meetings for weeks about the feasibility of the lab embarking on an automated teaching project, finally submitted its report to Alpert. He read it, thought about it, and decided to ignore the group’s recommendation to not proceed. Instead he asked if a 26-year-old PhD named Don Bitzer wanted to have a go at it, and Bitzer agreed. Consequently, on June 3, Alpert wrote up his own report to the Dean of the Engineering School, which instead of reiterating his group’s recommendation to not go forward with a computer education project, stated that they were indeed going forward. Bitzer went right to work on it, brought in others to help with the hardware and software, and they had a prototype up and running pretty quickly that summer. The rest is history.”  

 

   

 

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Office Suites…

Thursday, May 20th, 2010 by David Goldes

…But Were Afraid to Ask

We’re pleased to announce two reports focusing on the office suite and desktop productivity market, coinciding with Microsoft’s launch of Office 2010.

Which suite should I use now?

The reports, “Three Variations on a Theme: An In-Depth Analysis of Office Suites from Google, Microsoft, and OpenOffice.org” and “What’s New in Microsoft Office 2010,”  are intended for the manager who wants to understand the dramatic changes in the office suite market.

The two reports analyze the important new and updated features of Microsoft Office 2010, and compare the suite of applications to Google Apps Premier Edition and the OpenOffice.org Productivity Suite.

The report, What’s new in Microsoft Office 2010, is the industry’s first in-depth look at the new Microsoft Office 2010 suite, which consists of updated and redesigned applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, e-mail, mobile work, meetings, and collaborative workspaces.

Three Variations on a Theme: An In-Depth Analysis of Office Suites from Google, Microsoft, and OpenOffice.org, is a complementary report that takes an exhaustive look at these offerings and judges them based on their ability to form the foundations of a Collaborative Business Environment.

We were admittedly hesitant about recommending an upgrade from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2007 due to high training costs and a lack of a consistent interface and told many companies to skip Office 2007 entirely.

Now we need to examine the move to Office 2010 in an entirely different light.

A few issues managers should consider include:
- What’s really new in Microsoft Office 2010?
- How do the tools found in office suites enhance organization-wide productivity?
- What are the differentiators between the offerings and how will they lower costs, speed time to market, and increase your productivity?
- What are the strengths and weakness of the three office suite offerings?
- Fundamentally, which office suite offering is right for your company?

These two reports are available online to Basex:TechWatch readers at the special introductory price of $299 for the set.  A free executive summary is also available.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Welcome to the Information Age

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 by Jonathan Spira

The Information Age had its start in the early 1980s with the break-up of the Bell System and AT&T, a move that led to a competitive telecoms environment that was able to build the commercial Internet that is somewhat taken for granted today.

This communications revolution has brought with it myriad changes in how work is done.  While as recently as five years ago, much knowledge work was relatively solitary, today knowledge workers expect to be able to tap into a variety of resources – be they people, information, tools, or the collective knowledge of an organization – when doing their work.

One thing that has changed is the recognition that knowledge workers (sometimes referred to as information workers) are the lynchpins of the Information Age.  Ironically, many of the tools that support knowledge work, while having acquired significant functionality, haven’t changed to better support new ways of working.  What has to happen is nothing less than revolutionary; software needs to adapt to the new way of working collaboratively and software development needs to support this paradigm from the ground up.

In part, little has changed within the enterprise because we have yet to develop a management science for the knowledge economy that managers can apply in crafting strategy, designing products, managing people, and leveraging technology.  It took a good 150 years from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution until the beginnings of a management science began to take shape.  Today, we are in the first quarter century of the knowledge economy and all we can do is borrow the management science from the previous epoch and try to adapt it, an action somewhat akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and one resulting in great inefficiencies.

Taylorism, the management science of the industrial age first enunciated by Frederick Winslow Taylor, included standardizing work or replacing humans with machines and finding the “one best way” to perform tasks.  Indeed, a 1974 article in the New York Times discussed how companies were following this course and turning offices into factories by splitting the traditional secretary’s job into two parts and sending some secretaries off to word processing centers to type documents and others to administrative support stations to file papers and answer phones.

It is clear today that such “improvements” were not appropriate for knowledge work and such attempts exemplify the fact that we still have a long way to go.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

Google Shifts Gears: New Version of Google Docs Launched

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 by David Goldes

This week Google announced the preview release of an enhanced Google Docs offering.  The latest version introduces new collaborative functionality, enhancements to the basic document and spreadsheet applications, and a new standalone diagram and drawing tool.  It is currently available to current users on an opt-in basis.

There are two aspects to the new release, 1.) collaboration tools that are unique to Google Docs, and 2.) enhancements to the applications that improve its competitiveness with other office productivity applications by adding missing features.

Google has added real-time collaboration functionality, similar in some respects to what is found in Google Wave, for the joint editing of documents and spreadsheets.  Other users (up to 50) are visible via a colored flag attached to the cursor that shows their position in the text within the document editor, or a color-coded outline of the cell selected in the spreadsheet editor.  Changes made by others are visible in real-time, with no need to refresh the document to update it.

It might be slightly uncomfortable for some knowledge workers to have their typos and not-ready-for-prime-time thoughts visible to colleagues, but the benefit of eliminating potential document conflicts may compensate in most cases.  This way of working may not be for everyone, but in certain scenarios it may make eminent sense, such as when collaborating to fill in a spreadsheet or jointly editing a document.

The document editor has been enhanced with some new functionality, including commenting, support for floating images in documents, as-you-type spell check, and the ability to set tabs with a ruler interface at the top of the screen.  The spreadsheet tool has also been enhanced with cell auto complete, a formula editing bar, and the ability to drag-and-drop columns.

The new release also includes a standalone diagram and flow chart editor.  The application enables users to create drawings and export them in PNG, JPG, SVG, and PDF file formats.  It is aimed at business use and appears best suited for flow charts and organizational diagrams.  Just as the document and spreadsheet editors, real-time collaborative editing is supported, as is the ability to start a chat session with coauthors.

Under the hood, Google Docs is also much faster, thanks to a new JavaScript layout engine and the use of HTML5.  The trade off, however, is steep as off-line use of Google Docs will disappear.  On May 3, Google will discontinue support of the previous version of Google Docs, which had allowed for offline access to documents via the Google Gears browser extension.  The company has stated that it intends to replicate the functionality with HTML5, but has not announced any specifics or a time frame.

This leaves the many users of Google Docs who require offline access in a bind.  Internet access is far from ubiquitous and there are still many places, such as most aircraft or mountain retreats, which the Internet does not reach.  The new release of Google Docs does add very appealing functionality but it comes at a significant cost.

Google’s move comes at a time when Microsoft is about to release Office 2010, which includes online access to documents and a fairly robust feature set in addition to the Office rich client, which does not require an Internet connection to work.  Organizations that want to ensure zero downtime when it comes to desktop productivity should steer clear of Google Docs until this issue has been resolved.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.


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