October 1, 2007

Bulk view

Reading about Enterprise 2.0

Nearly forgot to mention that Google Reader is my new favorite RSS reader and that I had a lot of fun dipping my toes back into the Enterprise 2.0 blogosphere. It isn’t hard. Start with a few favorite blogs like Luis Suarez: elsua, follow a couple of links, subscribe, follow a couple of links, subscribe… I look forward to getting back into that space, and might look into finding a way to categorize my posts. =)

By the way, does anyone know how to get Feedburner to forget your
default feed reader when reading a SmartFeed feed? Right now, it
automatically tries to add stuff to Bloglines. Old habits…

Random Emacs symbol: nntp-wait-for-string – Function: Wait until string arrives in the buffer.

Wow. Lots of stuff done today.

I really enjoy looking back on a day and saying, “That was a day well
spent.” You can do a surprising amount of stuff in a day, home-cooked
meals and all.

Today’s big rock was the interviewbot I’m building for Stephen
Perelgut. I not only put together a decent proof of concept (“It’s
more than enough”, according to Stephen), but I also implemented a
number of features that I thought would take me much longer to do. I
gave him a full-perms copy of the scripted object so that he can show
it around. I have a couple of other feature requests I can work on
while waiting for feedback. It’s coming along nicely, and I wonder if
it’s something that we can even release as IBM in order to get more
brownie points. ;) (Either that or I figure out how to sell it, etc.)

Building that interviewbot in Second Life showed me that I’m still
good at picking up new languages quickly and exploring what they can
do. The limits were a little frustrating, but knowing what features
were important to my target user made it easier for me to figure out
the simplest thing that would work instead of getting caught up in
shiny, new, complicated procedures.

Building the command language for my interviewbot reminded me of the
shells I’d worked on for embedded programming projects. I added tab
completion and a simplified help structure to the Compaq iPaq Linux
bootloader, the first open source project I ever had commit access to.
I chose that project because working so closely with hardware
terrified me. What better way to learn than to work with code that
could turn my shiny new PDA into a brick if I made a mistake? (And I
did. Compaq sent me a better model because I’d been so helpful.) I
learned a lot while improving the user interface for something with
limited memory and input capabilities (just a serial terminal for the
bootloader). Several years later, when a friend asked me if I could
recommend anyone with experience in both embedded programming and
Flex/Bison (high-level tools for designing and interpreting new
grammar), I took a look at the requirements and realized that many of
the same techniques I used in my first project also applied. I fixed
the problem in their code, wrote a cleaner solution in C, and sent it
to my friend for free. And now I’ve done it again—had lots of fun
writing a little command-line interface. I seem to like working with
these interface constraints.

I am geek. Hear me roar!

So yes, I’m very happy about that. =)

I’m also happy about the book that I’ve just finished reading: “Make
Your Contacts Count”, by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon. Most networking
books read alike, but this one made me stop and take pages of notes.
It’s worth adding to my collection of favorite networking books, along
with “How to Talk to Anyone”, “Love is the Killer App”, “Work the
Pond”, “Never Eat Alone”, and the classic “How to Win Friends and
Influence People.” I’ll write more about this book over the next few
days. Great find. Written in 2002 and not the least bit dated. I
wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t requested practically every
networking book in the Toronto Public Library as part of my goal to
deepen my knowledge of professional networking. I’ve read extensively
about professional networking, but that doesn’t mean I’ve learned
everything there is to know.

One of the things I love about reading all these books is recognizing
things I’m doing or want to do. For example, “Make Your Contacts
Count” suggests organizing your own lunches or dinners with
interesting people at conventions. Hey, I’ve done that! It also
suggests volunteering, and I know how much that pays off. There are a
lot of articles I can write based on the notes that I’ve taken and the
experiences I’ve had, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts
and learning from others.

I’m learning a lot on the home front, too. W-, J- and I had a lot of
fun learning about Siamese fighting fish (bettas) for J-‘s science
homework. We enjoyed another perfect melon while watching Discovery
Channel’s How It’s Made (fishing reels, doll houses, kitchen mixers…
cool)! We’ve decided that this week is Halloween crafts week, and I’m
looking forward to decorating. =) Life is good.

PCFinancial raised its savings rate to 4.25%, which further supports
my decision to move the bulk of my savings to PCFinancial from TD.
I’ll still keep my accounts at TD for flexibility, but I’d rather park
my money in PCFinancial for now. I know it’s relatively easy to move
things around, anyway.

And to think that it’s only 10:30. I wonder what tomorrow will be like!

Tomorrow I have a few errands, including depositing some checks and
renewing my social insurance number. I’d like to focus on
WickedCoolEmacs in the morning, and maybe tinker around with my bot a
little bit before taking off for errands.

I’ll be taking trapeze classes in the evening, too. $15 for a drop-in
class on Queen and Bathurst at 7:30 PM. Want to join me? E-mail or
call for more details.

Life is good.

Random Emacs symbol: ido-complete-space – Command: Try completion unless inserting the space makes sense.

Meet Enterprise 2.0

Here are some great presentations on what people who use Enterprise 2.0 look like. =)

Someday I’m going to make slides like that.

Thanks to The Shed 2.0 for pointing me to this group of Slideshare presentations.

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: set-file-times – Function: Set times of file FILENAME to TIME.

The return on investment of social computing

Luis Suarez has another good post on Making the Business Case for Social Computing. He realized that the arguments for informal learning are the same for social computing: the intangible can make a big difference, and these initiatives should be measured the way you measure other changes in the organizations—by the overall outcomes.

The most common objection I hear after my presentations on Enterprise
2.0 is, “I don’t have the time to blog.” The underlying questions are,
“What’s in it for me? What can I expect to get out of blogging? What’s
the return on investment on my time?” It’s hard to give a dollar
amount (“You will earn XXX more”) or a firm idea of time savings
(“You’ll save YYY minutes every week”). I’m still trying to figure out
how to explain the intangible benefits of better connection and
collaboration to people who already think they’re maxed out. Maybe
learning more about how to establish the business case for informal
learning and related concepts will allow me to be more effective at
evangelizing Enterprise 2.0.

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: nlistp – Function: Return t if OBJECT is not a list. Lists include nil.

Chapter outline draft: Planning your day in Emacs

The first chapter I’m working on is about planning your schedule in
Emacs. Here’s my draft outline. I’m targetting 20 pages. The chapter
before this is about managing tasks (35 pages). The Org and Planner
sections in this chapter will build on the previous chapter, which I
haven’t written yet.

  - do not keep track of schedule at all
  - track schedule using Outlook, Notes, or some other program
  - track schedule using PDA
  - track schedule using Filofax or other paper planner
  - already use Emacs and want to learn more tips

Why run your life in Emacs
Overview of methods
The basics
   Setting up Diary
   Getting reminders for appointments
   Importing an event
   Importing a calendar
   Exporting your calendar
   Publishing your calendar
Using Org
Using Planner
   Including Diary events
   Using tasks as appointments
      Sorting tasks by time
      Automatically updating a Diary section
      Keeping private Notes
   Publishing your schedule
Tracking Time

Can you think of anything else that should go into it?

Random Emacs symbol: eshell-script-load-hook – Variable: *A list of functions to call when loading `eshell-script’.