Evolving the ACT

It is now two weeks in to my new digs at Evolution Marketing – and it sure is fun.

Primarily I’ve been learning how to drive ACT!, software to take care of your contact management. Yesterday and today I’ve been playing with custom tables in the ACT! MS-SQL database. While ACT! looks after contacts and tasks, meetings & calls to do with your contacts really well, some clients would like to be able to do even more, like handle job sheets etc. Which is the reason for the custom tables. These allow us to track all sorts of other information and connect them to contacts & companies.

I’ve also setup a Blackberry Bold simulator and a Windows Mobile 6 Emulator, this allows me to experience the same things as our clients, notably HandHeldContact, which allows you to sync multiple calenders, notes, histories etc to your phone – loads more than MS Exchange alone allows.

To paraphrase the paragraphs above, I’m having fun learning new stuff!

The other staff at Evolution are great to work with, the coffee is good and all the tech toys I’ve asked for have been delivered, with the exception of the telephone headset, but it is on the way so they’re forgiven ;-). Woot!

Update 20th Oct: Got the telephone headset on Friday afternoon. Cool.

All aboard!

All passengers aboard now! This train is leaving the station.

Yup, some who read this will immediately have a chuckle (there is an ‘in’ joke above).

The news is this, I’ve left my good friends at Dolphin Technology Group and moved to a smaller firm on the south-side of Brisbane.

Why the move? Well after spending nearly two and a half years supporting MYOB AE, HandiSoft and a bunch of other Accounting Industry products up and down the eastern coast, I got tired of the traveling and being away from home. The new job has no travel. So I guess the ‘train’ I’ve just caught isn’t leaving the station after all. Perhaps I’m really standing on the platform, waving goodbye to those still on the train?

Who is the new firm? Evolution Marketing – who specialise in ACT! and Sage CRM.

Yesterday was my first day – after the induction it was straight into ‘sponge’ mode. Training began. More today. And tomorrow. Yippie. This is fun ;-).

Stupid security

This sort of thing REALLY annoys me. Security through obscurity is a FEATURE of this product, the Wyse V10L thin client.

To quote:

And, with an unpublished API, Wyse Thin OS is one of the most secure operating systems on the market.

What rot. What that means translated is “not many people know how our stuff works, so therefore not many people can exploit it”.

And, yes, this may truly mean that it isn’t often exploited. But at some point it will be. Far better to be secure by design than by lack of being a target.

Links of interest

Here is a list of just a few tabs currently open in my browser:

;-) I don’t want to lose track of these…

PS: I’d forgotten how fun it can be to just spend an hour or so just ‘surfin the web…

Comprehension is king

When I was doing web development work, we oft liked to say “Content is king” it is vital for search engine optimization.

My point of view on this has changed today: Content is not and never has been king.

My new point of view is this: Comprehension is king.

This is because you can have all the content you want, if the reader of your content, your client, does not comprehend it, then what was the point?

Content must be comprehended by your intended readers.

Is content any less important. No, simply that comprehension is MORE important and the structure of that content aids or hinders comprehension.

It also made me realise that most of what I post here has been primarily for one of two reasons:

  1. My comprehension – so I don’t forget what it is or where it is
  2. For one of my clients comprehension – so they can have a reference point to an issue

At lunch talking with an associate it was one of those little ‘light bulb’ moments for me – that Comprehension is king and that this is why I post on my blog.

PuTTY fills the gaps

Yup, PuTTY has saved the day again!

No it hasn’t actually filled any gap, but tonight I needed to restart the named service on a server, not being at my own computer (yes, I actually have a life occasionally), a quick google for PuTTY pointed to it, downloaded and mere seconds later logged in and service named restart had web URLs resolving once again.

OT: Mount Barney hike photo

For the extended family and friends, here is one of the photos from last months hike up the South East Ridge at Mount Barney.

This link shows a photo that one of the kids took while we while we were breaking camp Sunday morning. Essentially it was a small ledge approx 1.5m one end and 2m the other end. We fit 5 kids (ages 10-15) and three adults on this ledge.

All in all a fantastic weekend ;-)

A card by any other name is still a card

I just saw Dan York (via twitter) point to a Fast Company article about “The Ultimate Calling Card” – which I found interesting – nothing really new but worth pointing to anyhow.

I’ve often thought of writting a book, but finding the time, or more precisely, taking time away from other activities, is the most difficult part of the equation. Perhaps I should take the advice I heard some time ago: “15 minutes per day, every day”. Hmmm….

Moving computers around OUs

I’ve had this snippet hanging around as a draft for some time, here it is.

Moving comptuers around OUs (Organisational Units) can be a pain if you can’t find the computer you want.

To find a wayward computer open up Active Directory, right click on your local domain name, select find, change the scope to show computers, type in the name you are looking for and bingo, you’ve found it.

From here you can right click the computer name and move it to the OU you want it in.

The key to “True Fans”

Reading the post over The Technium about True Fans and it made me think (and I’m taking a personal approach here):

EVERY business needs fans.

The key to my business is how well we treat our fans.

Then they either become non-fans, or they become true-fans.

In this context, the words fans and clients are inter-changeable.

Kevin talks about artists, and the concept (reality) that each artist can survive with a limited number of fans, different for each artist, but nominally pegged at 1000 true fans per artist. Obviously you need fewer true fans if your making more dollars from each one, more if you make less from each.

Now artists may be creative types, but business people like to eat something other than chicken soup too. It makes me think about the equations used to determine pricing, levels of service and how many clients are needed. As Kevin puts it “The processes you develop to feed your True Fans will also nurture Lesser Fans.

I don’t think there is one right answer, one size fits all approach. But I do believe that this thinking can be applied to more than just artists.

Crises conceal opportunities

Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity.” – Joe Sugarman

I was sent this quote Tuesday this week. It is appropriate on many levels, but particularly so with regard to this web site.

You see, my database, which contains all my blog posts since I can’t remember when was miraculously destroyed. Along with it’s backups. That to me is a CRISIS.

Note to self: paranoia is healthy.

I first began blogging shortly after Chris Pirillo recommended using ‘BLOG’, a windows app that would do scheduled ftp uploads to a web site. I became a Textpattern fan, then switched to WordPress. My database contained all my posts from Textpattern and WordPress, and a whole bunch more.

But as the quote (and title) suggest, crises conceal opportunities. The opportunity here is a fresh start. No ties. A new commitment.

So, here begins not a new chapter, but a new book, the old one is no longer in print.