News for January 2012

To build a tool or not to..

This week a colleague send our team a mail with a system he build on Sharepoint for us to share knowledge, skills and favors within our team. The tool looked like a lot of work he really thought it through. You can connect the tool to Outlook so you can see all the new requests automatically or connect it to your RSS reader if that is the way you gather information.

It is to bad this tool will never be used.

This is an example of over tooling. I’ve seen this so often. There is an idea about sharing information and the first thing that is done is build a tool for it. The problem with this tool is that it isn’t there to make a going process easier but to start a process and this will never work. If you want to start a process in a team start that process with whatever means that are already used by the team of people and create behavior. If this behavior is there and people are complaining that the process is cumbersome because there is no tool for it. Only. Then and only then you should build a tool. Until that is the case use your energy on getting the behavior going.

Posted: January 17th, 2012
Categories: Private, Technology
Comments: No Comments.

The photo problem or technology vs policy

In the old days my mother used to take pictures until her roll was full. Then she would take the filled roll to the photo shop where they printed the pictures. Once per year she took all photos and created one or more albums out of them. Those albums are chronical and physical artifacts that contain the images of her life.
Easy peasy the only thing was a fire or flood that could wipe them out which luckily never happened (knock on wood).

Enter digital photography. Basically the same principle applied. My mother takes pictures until her sd card is full. In stead of going to the shop she could put the pictures on her (single) pc. She stopped creating albums and we create a backup every once in a while which mitigates the risk of fire and floods.

Life was pretty simple so far. Then multiple PC’s started to appear. Where before all photo’s were on the same machine now the pictures are scattered between them because sometimes it is more convenient to import your pictures on your laptop and sometimes it’s convenient to import them on your PC.

Can you guess the next complicator? … Exactly more camera’s and camera’s in phones.

By this time the whole photo issue comes down to policy and all the technology in the world cannot bring this all together.

1. Always use the same convention when importing photos.
2. Copy the photos to the same location.
3. Think about automatic backup strategy
4. How can you access your photos from anywhere in the world (I use and am really happy with Carbonite)

It would be really cool if a platform takes over this hassle. The caveat, it must be multiplatform and it must be easy to add new sources of pictures and new storage locations. All known platforms lacks at least one of the above.

If you know of such a platform please let me know.

Posted: January 4th, 2012
Categories: Private, Technology
Comments: No Comments.

Why every service should be like Kindle

I always read on my Kindle device before I go to sleep. The next day I commute to work using public transportation. When I open Kindle on my mobile phone it asks me if I want to continue where I left off before I dozed of. When I return home I usually catch up on industry world news on my iPad. After I’ve done that I often times open the iPad Kindle app and I can continue reading where I stopped when I arrived at the station.

I really love the way I get a continuous experience regardless of the device I use. Why are there so many services that don’t do this.

  • Why doesn’t Twitter (or tweetdeck) sync the furthest read tweet so I have to scroll through my timeline when I move from my phone to my laptop.
  • Why doesn’t Spotify load the queue I was listening on my phone when I start Spotify on my desktop (I know they know when I switch between the desktop app and my mobile device)?
  • Why does Zite keep showing me stuff I’ve already seen?
  • Why doesn’t Facebook keep track what items I have and haven’t read?

Some services do get it.

  • Exchange syncs my read and unread mails between phone, pc, tablet, web and more.
  • ….
  • ….
  • I honestly can’t think of a third one.

I’m calling on everyone who is planning to build a service to keep multiple devices in mind when architecting it.

P.S. Don’t you love my new theme? Minimalism is the new new black.

Posted: January 3rd, 2012
Categories: Technology
Comments: No Comments.