|Well, I haven't been much of a blogger lately, what with how busy it's gotten around the office this month. And tomorrow I'm off for one of my favorite weeks of the year - Southern Week at Ashokan. Here's a fantastic set of pics from last year, taken by George Touchstone, another software developer/fiddler, just to let you know what you're missing. And what's best, Ashokan is located in a valley that is a complete wireless blindspot - so if you need assistance on your project next week, don't call me! Ring the office and Sharon will make sure you are taken care of. Have a great week!|
I found this buried among Kerri Karvetski's round-up of links yesterday: Building a Better Business Card. Marketing guru Harry Joiner suggests that a business card be thought of as a special-purpose tool. With the cost of printing as low as it is, why not print a new card for each conference you attend, or each time you write a new article? He urges you to think about what action you are going to want the recipient of the card to take, and build the card to encourage that action. I picture it like this: in the weeks before your big fundraising event, feature the fundraiser on your card. At the fundraiser, you'll want a new card, with a new action step emphasized. I have to admit I've never considered this approach, and I like it.
15 Minute XP Tune-up
Here's a nice resource for the accidental techy - a brief course in "cleaning up" your user's pcs to improve performance. I found it through the always useful Geeks are Sexy site. This site also in recent days pointed out a new stage for malware - malicious Firefox extensions. So download with care!
If you develop software applications, or contract with developers, I hope you are familar with the Creating Passionate Users blog. It's a blog that deals with the human and organizational side of creating applications that get users excited. Last week, Kathy Sierra posted an article on why users can so often use only a fraction of an application. Making an analogy to her digital SLR camera that she has never taken out of automatic mode, she says:
The camera manuals describe precisely how to turn the dials and push the buttons, but never tell us why we'd want to. They focus on the tool rather than the thing the tool enables (taking pictures). What good does it do to master a tool if we haven't understood (let alone mastered) the thing we're using the tool for?This implies that the developers should not be documenting alone - your training materials need to be built in conjunction with operations staff who understand the actual tasks involved. A developer-written helpfile may miss the point entirely.
Wikipedia takes center stage
Nicholas Carr has been bemused for a good while now by the growing popularity of the publically editied Internet knowledge compendium Wikipedia. In a posting a few days ago, he points out the seriousness of his concerns - Wikipedia is quickly gaining the highest page rank for any number of google search terms. It's becoming, in other words, the first place net users get their information. Nick pointed out it was the #1 page for World War II and Israel. I found it was the Number 2 rank for Islam , and #3 for George W Bush, right after two White House sites. It's hard to find a topic where the Wikipedia entry is not among the top 10! (well, not that hard: for "non-profit", it came it at 11.) Nick says
That's pretty striking, and I bet that most Wikipedia entries are continuing to move upward - and many will, like "World War II," come to reach the top spot. In the not too distant future, we may be living in a world where the default source of information about, well, pretty much everything will be a single and not altogether reliable amateur reference work.[See the first comment below, which came in shortly after my posting, for the opposing view.]