Archive for April, 2008

Apr27

’2.0′ doesn’t always work…so stop

Ok, this is more of a rant than a real post but there are times the ’2.0′ moniker just doesn’t work! Stop the madness!! I was in Hallmark this afternoon picking out mother’s day cards and just happened to notice a stand of ‘treasures’ (aka, mostly useless crap). I don’t think I normally would have noticed except there was glitter all over the place so it caught my attention…I guess that marketing ploy worked.

Anyways, I look at the ‘TY’ tag and notice they’ve added ’2.0′ to Beanie Babies. Really?!? You think this is your second coming?!? Adding 2.0 to something doesn’t just make it the new buzzword and give your business a new chance.

I’ve heard of business 2.0 and web 2.0 and agree with the new name. I mean, 2.0 in both of these cases means the rules of the game have completely changed. The way business is done and sales are made has changed. The web is now social and it’s getting even more so every day. But how does Beanie Babies 2.0 work?

Did you completely change how Beanie Babies function? Didn’t look like it to me…same old fabric animals stuffed with tiny beans. Do they interact with a website? Is this your answer to Webkinz? This sounds like a last-ditch effort to me and I thought it was pretty lame.

Beanie Babies Second Coming?

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Apr17

Google and Salesforce join forces

Google and Salesforce announced a partnership the other day that will bring a combined Google/Salesforce business suite to it’s users. The service is called “Salesforce for Google Apps” and touts “powerful yet easy-to-use productivity tools for smarter management of customers, sales and marketing.”

There is the obviously emphasis on collaboration and communication between team/project members. My ‘sales’ experience is relatively limited – I managed a newspaper in college and filling in for the occasional employee is about the extent of it – but the functionality seems practical.

One key feature I liked is the fact that email being sent (from the Gmail interface) can automatically be sent to a customers CRM account. This provides you with a worry-free audit trail and allows your boss or someone covering for you (if you’re out sick or something) to quickly pick up where you left off. Likewise, you can send customer emails directly within Salesforce. I also liked the fact that you can attach/create Google Docs directly from Salesforce. The uses for this are obvious and I think it will really be able to help the sales process. Everything from quote notes, sales presentations and final contracts can be created directly from the Salesforce interface.

It didn’t look like the interface was the same between the two systems which is disappointing but I haven’t signed up for a test account yet so that’s just speculation based on the tour. I think that offering a consistent interface between Google and Salesforce is a must and could help adoption among small businesses.

I don’t know much about Salesforce’s push for mobile but Google has mobile versions of Gmail and Docs and continues to improve them. I’m curious to see what kind of mobile sales/business applications they make available to their users. Anything less than full functionality is unacceptable, but that would be a pretty major project.  I’d also like to get some information on what the security architecture looks like.  ZOHO just announced an enhanced architecture as part of it’s enterprise CRM which is a little more inline with what I see as an SAP consultant.

Simply put, the decision makes sense – Google is trying to break into enterprise business, Salesforce has a great customer base (and from what I read a decent set of applications) and both are competing with Microsoft in some fashion. The partnership allows them to put the full-court press on Microsoft who has been slow to adopt a web-based business model.

It will obviously take time for larger corporations to make the move given the obvious security concerns (mostly on the Google front) and the fact that the majority of business users are still not comfortable with online applications. One thing that could help Google’s case for enterprise applications is the fact that Vista has had so many bumps along the way. The rate at which corporations have been moving to Vista has been slow at best. I work for a technology company and we haven’t even heard rumor’s of a potential migration.

Here’s a quick video tour of Salesforce for Google Apps:

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Apr12

WM6 Type-ahead Delay

I recently upgraded to WM6 and am slowly getting things working the way I like. Throughout the upgrade and re-setup process I’ve found a couple pretty odd settings. One of those pesky settings has been the type-ahead feature. Similar to most type-ahead features you’ve probably seen around the web, after you type a couple characters it suggests words so you don’t have to type them out.

It’s a great feature but the default configuration has it suggesting words after the first character which taxes the system (very noticeable delays) and just doesn’t make sense. If I’m typing the word ‘the’, I don’t need the computer to suggest the word for me. I’m pretty sure I’m not that poor of a speller. So, for those of you who have also become frustrated by the ridiculous type-ahead settings here’s a quick fix. Nothing mind boggling…just felt it should be documented.

Fixing:

  1. Go to the ‘Start’ menu and enter the Settings
  2. Select the Input option (looks like a small keyboard)
  3. Choose the ‘Word Completion’ tab at the bottom of the screen
  4. You can now turn it off completely or just set it up to only trigger when you really need it. Mine is configured to suggest 4 words after I type 4 letters

Hope this helps someone else out!!

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Apr08

Save as PowerPoint (PPT) in Google Docs

Google Docs rolled out a pretty necessary feature today if they intend to get people using their presentation tool. They rolled out the ability to save your Google Presentations as PowerPoint (PPT) files. Honestly, I’m a disappointed it took so long but I understand their quest to take over the world and keep people inside their applications.

Like it or not, Microsoft still commands a huge share of the presentation software market with it’s PowerPoint product. In order for Google, or any of the other start-ups, to ease the transition for users it’s imperative they allow users to save in the traditional PPT format. If users know they won’t impact how other people have to view something, they’ll be a little more likely to make the move from desktop to webtop.

I personally like the online collaboration features that Google has built into the ‘Docs’ application but not many of my friends and family are into it. And for those of you that work in large corporations, let’s be honest, you’ll be sending out presentations as attachments for a while longer.

Good job Google, keep ‘em coming!

Export Google Presentations to PowerPoint

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Apr07

First a Twitter Proposal, next a millionaire?

I’m relatively new to Twitter, I just signed up a couple weeks ago but I’ve already started realizing its potential. I’ve used it to give TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington a heads up that the Google April Fools jokes were being rolled out and I get updates when friends post messages. It’s great, I can update it from the web or via text message.

Almost a month ago Mashable covered what seemed to be a marriage proposal on Twitter. I obviously don’t know the couple, but after poking around their twitter profiles it seems rather fitting. Shortly after that I figured I should sign up and see what all the hype was about.

That, and I was on a quest to stop developing solutions and start using readily available methods for ‘status updates’. Some of you may have noticed on the old version of my blog I had a status section. I’ve since discontinued that custom work and I’m working to integrate my Twitter updates into the blog.

My Twitter activity has taken off relatively slow but I get the random ‘xyz is following you’ emails where someone has elected to follow my updates. This means they get to view my updates in their feeds and keep up with what I’m saying. After browsing profiles of some of the people that have decided to follow me, I noticed that they’re on a quest to grow their Twitter network and become wealthy (as stated in their bio’s at the time).

While I admire their goals, I question how they’ll reach them on Twitter. To my knowledge, Twitter doesn’t have any kind of revenue sharing model for the people that visit your feed. I guess they could build their network and hope for TV and product success like Tila Tequila from MySpace but that’s a 1 in 100,000,000 chance (or 1 in however many users MySpace has). Without underlying content to distribute through a blog or products to push through an online store I don’t think a large Twitter network will bring wealth.

It’s a great service and is a nice utility making and maintaining connections and finding/announcing breaking news but without a foundation of products or content I don’t see the wealth accumulating.

What are your thoughts? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments!

Update: See the comments for further discussion.  Warren suggested I expand a little on my thoughts of how millionaires can be made.

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Apr01

AdSense to Monetize Daily Conversations

In a bold move, Google is planning to roll out AdSense for conversations to help you monetize your daily interactions with…well…everyone. The new AdSense system displays contextual advertising on an “unobtrusive screen” (below) mounted to your head. Apparently, when you sign up for the service they’ll send you an adjustable screen that you can customize.

If there aren’t any relevant ads displayed, they suggest repeating yourself or to continue rambling on until the system picks up your conversation. They’ve implemented a pretty neat click process – they transport you directly to the site with their Teleportation Technology. They also mention that you can opt to have the product placed directly in your hands, though they are not clear what kind of setup configuration is required for this.

I think AdSense for Conversations is by far the best April Fools joke Google managed today. However, I will admit that I enjoyed the fact that they admitted to using the e-flux capacitor to solve causality issues in Gmail Custom Time.

AdSense for Conversations

(photo credit: AdSense blog)

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