As someone who has worked with computers for more than three-quarters of my life, I can say without boasting that I have a decent proficiency with them. Where I don’t know everything about every piece of hardware or software out there, I can usually get my way around with some analysis and troubleshooting.
The longstanding line, “computers are supposed to make our loves easier” seems more like a fleeting goal for many people. Due to my technical experience, I am often held in a higher regard by those who are more tech novices, namely when something they may not understand or are having trouble with comes more naturally to me.
Don’t get me wrong – ego stroking every once in a while is a good thing! But in all reality it mostly isn’t warranted. Whenever I get a large abundance of praise or witness someone denigrate themselves over their lack of technical knowledge, I usually look at them and smile, then I explain to them the reason why I am smiling.
Why? We all have our place.
My skill and ability with computers overshadow things I can’t and mostly don’t want to do. I can’t iron a shirt without making it look worse than what I started with, I can’t lay tile, I can’t bake, I can’t ice skate, I can’t use a SLR or DSLR camera… and the list goes on. But do I care about these things I can’t do? No. Why? Because others can do them, do them well and I look to them for those tasks and services.
Years ago I was at a friend’s business, an auto body shop. When I was there, he couldn’t figure out how to do something on his computer and asked for my help. I don’t recall exactly what the task was but I do recall figuring it out rather quickly. When I showed him what I did, he was flabbergasted and expressed how stupid he felt that he couldn’t have figured it out for himself.
Then it was my turn. I smiled and said something like, “dude, we all have our place. I know computers, and you know cars. You can take a twisted hunk of metal and turn it back into a Mercedes. So when you have a computer question you call me, and when I get into a car accident I call you.” He’s a smart guy and he agreed with my logic.
So the next time you feel frustrated over something you don’t know, think about what you do know and what your place is in helping others. Plus I have to admit – I get baffled with a lot of technology issues I run into and completely sympathize with you that many things are not more intuitive.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
The April 18 – 24, 2013 edition of Time Out Chicago, which unceremoniously arrived in my mailbox this past week, is apparently the last print issue of the weekly arts, food and entertainment magazine. As of this writing I haven’t heard it officially, only from other sources, including some of the majority of the staff who were just fired.
For as much as I talk of how I get most all of my news and information online, Time Out Chicago was the sole exception. It was part events calendar, part coffee table book and not to mention part great bathroom reading material. Even if I wasn’t participating in the literally hundreds to thousands of events, shows or restaurants listed, it was a convenient, well-edited and attractive print publication.
And now it’s gone.
Once partially owned by Chicago resident and Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto, it was sold back to its parent company (which published editions in other cities) and it is apparently going solely online. They already have a Web site, though I have infrequently visited it. They also have an iPod app which apparently I could have bundled with my print subscription but when I attempted to do this the last time I renewed my subscription the customer service rep was not aware of this. Though it would have been nice to have it on my iPad, I had the print version, so why would I need another format?
My Idea Too-Late But Worth Mentioning
This idea hit me when I was in a doctor’s office waiting room, looking at the magazines fanned out on a table. Among them were a copy of Time Out Chicago and StreetWise, the latter being a periodical sold on the streets of Chicago by, as described by their Web site, people “…who are facing homelessness.” The magazine is part of a larger social services agency, and you can read more about StreetWise on their Web site. Where I don’t personally know much about the larger organization , I do see the people selling copies of them on the streets of Chicago. I’ll be honest I may have maybe bought 1 or 2 copies over the years, but then again I barely pickup free copies of other periodicals also available around the city.
So do you see my idea? Why not merge or mashup the 2 publications? The much smaller StreetWise would be included in the pages of Time Out Chicago, then the street sales force would sell the combined publication.
Could it have worked? It would have been worth a try! Rather than hearing someone hawking, “Streetwise…” we could have heard “Get Time Out Chicago, with the latest going on in Chicago…” Add to it Time Out logoed-gear to wear, and it would have added more to the sales pitch. The tourists alone would have bought out every issue.
But alas, it’s not to be. With the staff cuts already made, Time Out Chicago is going digital. I don’t know how much the quality will be effected, or even if their Web site has an RSS feed, but only time will tell.
Though it’s too late, I had to share this. What do you think, could it have worked? Are there other mashup opportunities out there that could be such a win-win? Other potentials for for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations to partner? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments to this post.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
A story that received little press, even tech circles, was how a blogger was flown to Berlin, Germany to attend and objectively cover the IFA 2012 conference by technology firm Samsung. When the blogger, Clinton Jeff, arrived there from his home in India, he was told instead he was to be a rep for Samsung and demo their technology to attendees of the conference. When he refused, Samsung threatened to strand him there and would not pay for his hotel or return flight. In the end, rival mobile technology firm Nokia paid for Jeff’s stay in the German capital and his return flight home, allowing him to cover it as he saw fit. This was first reported on The Next Web in this post.
Where I personally don’t know Clinton Jeff, I do read his blog Unleash The Phones and follow him on Twitter, and I do know people who know him and he is well-respected in mobile tech circlers. So if he says this happened, I have to believe it. And from Samsung’s response it reinforces their blunder.
A part of the story that was barely touched on by the reports out there was how Nokia paid for his extended stay and flight home. Where some may say this was simply a smart PR move by a competitor, I agree it is. However this in line with how Nokia works with bloggers. How do I know this? Because about 2 years ago Nokia flew me to Berlin to attend a conference and cover it how I saw fit, and I had no logistics issues at all.
Nokia has a strong word-of-mouth social media marketing program called Nokia Connects, which back when I went to Berlin was called WOMWorld/Nokia. It is facilitated by Nokia and WOM agency 1000heads. The program loans new mobile devices to bloggers and others to evaluate and, if they choose, write about it. I say it this was as in all encounters with Nokia connects for over 4 years now, since I went to Nokia OpenLab, they have never even eluded slightly that I need to write something or what I should write.
If this concept is new to you, a thought going through your head may be – why? Why would a company spend money on an international flight, hotel, ground transportation food, admission to a conference for not just 1 person but 3 to cover an event without any expectation of the quality and quantity of what they write? That’s exactly the point! Granted the people they invite are people that will be writing something. But this is why Nokia’s word-of-mouth program is popular with bloggers and successful for the brand.
Diary From Berlin
To better explain, I’ll share more of the itinerary of the trip to Berlin in November 2010. I attended Microsoft TechEd, an international developers conference for those who work with Microsoft technology. Nokia was an exhibitor and had a keynote address on its collaboration with Microsoft for an Outlook/Exchange email client app on Nokia devices as well as other sync technology. Nokia invited me, Dennis Bournique and Craig Richards to cover the event. It was by no means an earth-shattering announcement, and we had no idea only a few months later Nokia would announce it was moving completely to the Microsoft Windows Phone ecosystem from its own known as Symbian. But Nokia wanted people to cover it, and we were invited.
We had a host in Rhiannon from 1000heads who coordinated travel logistics, getting around Berlin, making sure we were fed and access to Nokia staff. Never at any time were we asked to sign ANYTHING, never told or even hinted at what to do or any. In addition to the conference itself we attended a Nokia social and had a little time to see the city, and I gave a brief tour of the areas of Berlin I remembered from a vacation there a few years earlier. I’ll reiterate there was no expectation on what – and when – we wrote, and I did write a few posts including this one and this one and tweeted form the conference. And neither Nokia nor 1000heads ask me to write this – when I heard of what Samsung did, I recalled my time there and was compelled to write this on my own.
In one tech media account of the drama that Samsung put Clinton Jeff through it closed with, “basically, it's not a great idea to accept "free" trips or gifts from companies.” I disagree. First off, for decades journalists have been receiving free trips and all the trappings and still do. Of course buyer beware and know the reputation of the vendor and their consultants to determine it it’s right for you. If an invite comes to me from Nokia again, I will certainly accept it if it fits my schedule and interests.
A few weeks ago while going thru my morning routine of catching up on email and news, I noticed something on one of my sources for information, iGoogle, which is Google’s home page product. A box appeared in the header banner as shown below:
The message states, “iGoogle will not be available after November 1, 2013. Learn more.” Upon clicking the link to learn more about this, which you can view at this link, I read the following short message which I am repeating below.
What's happening to iGoogle?
iGoogle will be retired in 16 months, on November 1, 2013. The mobile version will be retired on July 31, 2012.
How did you come to this decision?
We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today's web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips. With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time, so we’ll be winding down iGoogle on November 1, 2013, giving you a full 16 months to adjust or easily export your iGoogle data.
What will happen to the data stored in my gadgets?
All of your personal data stored in other Google products will continue to be available via those products, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Finance, Google Docs (now Google Drive), Google Bookmarks, and Google Tasks. Other gadgets, like the to-do list, allow you to export your data - look for the “Download all” option under the drop-down menu tied to the title of your list. Most iGoogle gadgets are created and maintained by third-party developers. If you’d like to export your data, you should contact the gadget creator directly.
I really like iGoogle -- are there any other alternatives?
On your mobile device, Google Play offers applications ranging from games to news readers to home screen widgets.
If you’re a fan of Google Chrome, the Chrome Web Store provides a similar range of options like productivity tools and applications to check the weather. In addition, just like iGoogle, you can personalize Chrome with a theme.
Following the Google Product Playbook
This decision by Google, while not initially welcome by me, is not all surprising either. Google is a company that encourages its employees to work on side projects and some of them have become products or services they have publicly offered. However, they have also been quick to shutdown non-performing services or those which don’t have an enormous impact on the enormous company. Compound all of this with their practice of buying companies for people or pieces of their technology then shutting them down, and this move to end iGoogle is in line with how they play – and win - the game on a daily basis.
After reading this short but to the point support document, I had to agree with them – the marketplace has changed, not to mention the types of devices people use. The large-format Web browser home page isn’t as popular as it used to be, especially with mobile and tablet devices, and I have to add myself into that category of someone looking elsewhere for content, as I did say above iGoogle was only “one” place I looked for information.
Say Goodbye To The Web Browser Personalized Home Page
I will go out on a limb and say this is the first of many rings of the death knell for this format of information delivery. The originator of this, Yahoo, is in a new reign of leadership with Marissa Mayer, who after joining them from Google probably has some insight into the business model of this type of product. There are also fewer services out there offering this, as I talked about several years ago when I lamented at the lack of innovation from MyWay.com which looks the same as the last time I saw it back in 2008. I predict the personalized home page sector will end within the next few years.
The idea of the portal home page today may work within a company, but for those of us on the go or using multiple hardware devices – from notebooks to phones to tablets to whatever is next – having one source is a good idea, but it is also easy enough to configure widgets on a smartphone screen to show links or feeds or email messages. But with so much choice for consumers, the ability to get the weather, stock quotes and sports scores easily trumps the desire to get them from one single source, especially when there really isn’t one true cross-platform choice.
It’s been real, and it’s been fun, but it’s time to move on from the personalized home page to the next new thing, whatever that may be. I don’t know for sure, but I will write about it when I come up with it!
RSS To The Rescue
As I said I get my news and information from multiple sources, and their common denominator is RSS, or Real Simple Syndication. If you have ever seen the orange icon to the right, then the content on that Web page can be “aggregated” with other content which offers this same ability using RSS aggregator and subscribing to the “feed” of the content. I use Fever, an extremely robust commercial self-hosted RSS aggregator application by Shaun Inman. Fever replaced Google Reader for me, as I didn’t want the search giant knowing everything I read! There are other feed aggregators out there, including most Web browsers as well as mobile apps.
With Fever, I subscribe to over 200 feeds across all categories, from personal to business and beyond. There is no way I can read everything, and typically scan the headlines to get the gist of what is happening, clicking the occasional article for depth on a topic. I am always trying feeds from media outlets, companies, associations and bloggers, in some cases dropping other feeds when I find a new or better one to replace it. Where it’s not the same layout for me, it brings the content together and I can still pick and choose what to scan and what to read.
So do you agree with me, is the personal home page dead? Do you use iGoogle and will you miss it? Or simply how do you keep up with news and information on the go? I welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
At Dunkirk Systems, LLC we have decided to shutdown our Facebook page. We have recently changed our photo and cover to the following image and will shut it down within the next week.
Why are we doing this? After much thought, many reasons surfaced which led to this decision. The following is what I posted on the page.
Thank you for your “like” and support of Dunkirk Systems, LLC. We have decided to shutdown our Facebook page and will do so within the week. As someone who has expressed interest in us in the past, we wanted to let you know this and the reasoning behind it.
Like many businesses, when Facebook started allowing business pages we created one. And like many businesses we did not have a plan for this. As much as we have consulted our clients on social media, we followed the cliché of the cobbler’s kids having the worst shoes and did not put in place and execute a plan for managing the site. So there it sat.
As we are continuously rethinking our business, this page came to the forefront. As a B2B business, we are not reaching out to consumers. We have never received business through the page, and as we look forward we do not see this as a place to solicit business. We also do not have the continuous volume of original content that will allow Dunkirk to be omnipresent in the changing timeline structure of Facebook. And we would not be thorough without taking into consideration our general concern for privacy and security which are frequently coming to the surface within the Facebook walled-garden ecosystem.
There are other ways to keep up with Dunkirk and get in touch with us, including Twitter @dunkirk, our Web site at DunkirkSystems.com and my blog, TheHotIron.com. We of course welcome your thoughts and opinion on this, and as the page is going away feel free to comment on it on the accompanying blog post at TheHotIron.com.
Founder and President, Dunkirk Systems, LLC
What do you think? Am I crazy, spot on, or do you even care? Your comments are very welcome.
Have you ever removed someone as a LinkedIn connection?
The thought came to mind recently as a former colleague came to mind, and when I went into LinkedIn to look up their profile to see where they were working, I saw they were no longer a connection. Not only did they cut ties with me, but several other colleagues who I would go as far as saying were part of a circle of friends. Yes, there was some falling out there, but nothing anyone else would care about!
You Can Remove Someone as a Connection?
Yes, you can remove LinkedIn connections. I know this as I have removed a grand total of 2 people as connections over the years. You have to go out of your way to do so, and I found the link to remove connections through the LinkedIn Help Center. There is no remove link on a profile page similar to the unfriend or unlike options on Facebook. In the image above you can choose from all of your contacts who you want to remove, and as the second image says, it adds those removed connections to your contacts. Many people of course don’t know they have a contacts list either – if you ever sent a connection request and they did not respond, you can find those people there.
Why Would You Do That?
As a wise man once told me, nothing is forever. The 2 people I removed as contacts were a married couple (and they still may be) and I used to work with one of them. I did some Web consulting for the other, and in short, both of them treated me like dirt. I was so appalled at the experience that I never spoke with either of them again, and subsequently removed them as connections. Interestingly, LinkedIn kept the recommendation one of them gave me for when we worked together – it is still hidden, and there is no way of removing it.
As the whole idea of LinkedIn is business connections, ideally you’d want to keep them. I have over 700 connections (or as LinkedIn calls it, 500+) and most of them are people I know of recall. There are a good number whom I don’t though, and would have to rack my brain to figure who they are. That being said, I don’t have any reason to remove them as a connection.
My philosophy for managing LinkedIn connections differs from how I manage the people I am connected with across other social media platforms. As I use Facebook for personal and not for business, I have unfriended people who are purely business contacts over the years. Though I have recently signed up for BranchOut as a Facebook app, the jury’s still out as to how I will use it. Twitter followers is even different for me, as I have unfollowed people before for varying reasons, namely excessive tweet volume and non-stop self-promotion.
So I ask again, have you ever removed someone as a LinkedIn connection? Do you do it often, or not at all? I welcome your thoughts and insights on it in the comments for this post.
On December 30, 2011, with no fanfare, this blog – thehotiron.com – turned 5.
As I write this it is almost 2 weeks later, and only fits with how the year was for the blog. Where I had high hopes in the beginning of the year 2011 was an interesting year to say the least. Where it had tremendous highs for me, it also presented many challenges that, in the end, affected the quality of The Hot Iron.
For 2012 I will not make such grandiose predictions so not to promise what I can’t deliver. I am taking a more grounded approach, going back to the “roots” of what The Hot Iron has been – tech, business and a few diversions – and using it as a medium to share my background and experience, as a way to let people learn more about me as I go forward in my career.
Recently the folks at Dell sought out “trade secrets” from small and medium-sized businesses to ensure on-the-job reliability. This campaign coincided with the launch of their E series for their Latitude line, which the E6320 notebook I received from them is a member of.
Ask anyone and I always have some advice to give, so I shared this, one which always creates a win-win situation when in a busy airport terminal or one without enough power outlets. It was chosen for the new Dell Trade Secrets 2 – Reliability eBook which is available for free on SlideShare.
For those of you with your images turned off or using a screen reader, it reads:
When I fly, I always bring an extension cord with multiple outlets on the end. Most always, if there is an outlet, it is nowhere near where you can find a seat. And when you do find one, it is most always taken. This way, you can politely ask if you can plug in, have them tap off of you, and you still have an outlet or 2 to share with someone else!
Mike Maddaloni | thehotiron.com
Though I may get funny looks at first, people realize I am sincere, especially when I show there are open outlets on the end of the extension cord. Thus I believe the merits of it alone were why it was chosen and put on page 10, and not because I am using their notebook. And from what little bit I have written so far can back that up, but I digress.
The Dell Trade Secrets 2 – Reliability eBook showcases some great advice from some other great business experts, such as Barry Moltz and Carol Roth. Feel free to read the SlideShare presentation on their site or embedded below, and if you have a SlideShare account you can download a copy of this eBook.
Social Media Week was a series of events in and around social media in a dozen cities around the world, which took place last week, September 19-23, 2011. Chicago was one of those cities, and there were many panels, events and parties taking place throughout the city.
Rather than taking notes, I tweeted thoughts and takeaways on Twitter, both as a way of compiling my thoughts digitally and to share them with anyone who would like to see them. All tweets had both the #smwgovernance hashtag for the panel as well as #smwchicago for the overall event.
Here are my tweets, as well as comments and thoughts expanding on them.
RT @sanjayakrishna: Why do cars have brakes? So they can SAFELY go FASTER. Governance is an enabler not a barrier. Social Media is no different - This is a retweet of something Sanjaya posted prior to the panel, and I couldn’t agree more. In many organizations governance or risk management is brought after something bad happens, rather than being part of the solution from the beginning, where it should be.
Risk management should be a partner - via me! - This was an initial thought I had as the panel began, building on the previous retweet. Ideally, everyone in the company or organization should be on-board and supportive of social media activities, but sadly this is not always the case.
Sentiment analysis as part of social risk management - An example of a “sentiment map” called Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day inferred from Twitter where social media activity was analyzed and shown as a heat map was presented. Tracking sentiment of your company, brand and products and services should be a part of your overall social media risk assessments.
Competitors are driving social adoption, but why? - Many times a firm will venture into social media without a net or plan, driven solely by the fact their competitors are out there. Like anything, without a plan, vision or direction, you will not be able to truly leverage your energy asserted.
Do you have a social media policy? - Many companies do not have one in any way, shape or form. Like any plan, they can be as simple as a bulleted list or an extensive document, but you should have one.
Unintended leakage - updating your LinkedIn profile with info not otherwise disclosed - An example was sighted where someone wrote on their LinkedIn profile they working with X technology at their employer, a fact that was supposed to be confidential. As most all LinkedIn profiles have a public element to them, this was picked up my the media. I too have found out about colleagues and friends changing jobs via LinkedIn before they announce it, as they decided to update their profile first, then query me puzzled how I knew before they told anyone.
Ask yourself, what is your risk tolerance? - The term is risk “management” not aversion or avoidance. You should have some tolerance as to what amount of risk is acceptable, something ideally part of your social media plan.
Social media governance is not a green field - in many cases it builds on policy you already have - As most companies have been on the Internet in some form for at least the last decade, they should have some plans and risk governance in place for that activity. Social media governance isn’t then starting from scratch, rather building upon what is already in place.
People are mining your digital residue - Wherever you go online, from using Facebook and Twitter to signing up for services, you are leaving a digital trail behind you. Firms and marketers are gathering this information and using it to make offers to you. Where this is hard to completely avoid, it is something you should be aware of whenever you share information.
Set measurable objectives - more than likes and followers - When putting together your social media plan, you should have real, measurable objectives that actually mean something. Having a zillion followers doesn’t mean anything if you have no engagement with them.
Think about crisis communication before you get into one - part of your social policies - Many companies have crisis communications plans in place, and building on them to address a crisis which is played out over social media is a logical progression for those plans.
Staff social media properly - policy, people, monitoring - If you’re going to do anything in a business, do it right, and if you don’t do it fully, have the plan in place to expand it.
Hot topic after #smwgovernance - Manager Resigns Over a Nokia Windows Phone Tweet? http://t.co/eELUcO9X via @thenokiablog #smwchicago - This article came out shortly after the panel where a Microsoft manager resigned after he talked about an unreleased Nokia mobile device running the Windows Mobile 7 operating system, which was a violation of confidentiality policy, something he could have been fired over. An unfortunate example building upon the topic of this panel.
I welcome your thoughts and opinions on this panel in the comments.
Rather than create the “same old” unboxing video, where I go to a quiet corner of my office and unwrap the package and give my first impressions of the device on video, I decided to go “on location” this time. I chose to film it in front of the Cloud Gate artwork (better known as “the Bean”) at Millennium Park in Chicago.
As I was making the video, both the E7 and my trust workhorse the E72 came to mind. Though the C7 has a little smaller screen than the E7, it also has a much smaller price – it has been as low as free when renewing a contract with T-Mobile. I know this, as this is how I got a C7 of my own after I sent back the evaluation device. Where it is a safe assumption I like the C7 as I acquired one, I don’t want to get too far into the evaluation than this video. Currently I swap between the C7 and the E72 as needed.
I welcome your comments – positive and snarky – on the video, and the device as well. And let me know how obvious it is that I was interrupted by a panhandler when I was making the video! Your comments are welcome here on The Hot Iron as well as on YouTube.