December 31, 2008
It’s New Year’s Eve, and AxisPortals is celebrating with very dry champagne, a silly hat (here at AxisPortals, we highly approve of silly hats, especially if they involve glittery, sparkly stuff, as this one does), a brand spankin’ new Vaio, and very warm wishes for friends and colleagues.
The Vaio has a built in web cam, so expect video blog entries in the near future.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Life’s short. Wear the sparkly, glittery stuff whenever you get the chance. The world needs more benign silliness.
Happy New Year!
December 29, 2008
Remember when New Year’s resolutions always had to do with dropping a few pounds, jogging, or blowing the dust of the exercise bike?
Technology plays such a large role in our personal and corporate identities now that the “tech resolution” is widespread.
Here are few worth pondering, borrowing, or recognizing with a wry grin.
- Law Technology News: A great collection of lawyers’ personal and professional technology goals. Favorite excerpt: “To work hard to use technology to maximize the quality of my life.” Amen.
- CIO Resolutions: Practical advice for decision makers. Best of the bunch: “Manage people as well as tech.”
- DataMotion’s Resolutions for CIO’s: More practical advice. “Get ahead of the curve and implement efficient technologies that empower your employees to work remotely and securely” gets AxisPortals “that’s my favorite” vote . Yes. It’s far past time for all of us to embrace the ROWE!
- Spark Readers’ Resolutions: Off-the-cuff contributions from blog readers. Spending less time with technology is a common theme, here. AxisPortals can relate, but thinks “spending technology time more wisely” is a better approach. Still, if you aren’t sure what that big orange thing in the sky might be, or you find yourself texting your family members while you’re all in the same house, it might be time to holster the cell phone, drop the mouse, and back slowly away from your laptop.
AxisPortals Aphorism: You should be able to access your tech at the pool or at the beach, but sometimes often it’s healthier to unplug and dive into the pool or walk barefoot along the shore, savoring the moment.
December 29, 2008
Try not to be deadly serious about all things technological. Play, as noted earlier, is the best way to learn. Besides, play is fun, and people who are always up to their eyeballs in making smart technological decisions really need some healthy play to keep their lives in balance.
AxisPortals realizes that some folks just can’t stand not having a real goal or task, though, so here’s the “resolution schmesolution” assigment: make a Wordle.
A wordle can actually be a very good brainstorming and planning tool, as well, so this is play with a purpose. No guilt allowed. Besides, if you’re the competitive sort, you’ll not want to be the only one left in the whole wide world who hasn’t yet created at least one wordle.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Play is its own reward.
December 29, 2008
Sometimes, we all lean just a little too hard on our computers, relying on them to function flawlessly no matter how hard we use them. Usually, this works out just fine, but every now and then, things do fall spectacularly apart. This year, make it a priority to back up your crucial documents. There’s nothing worse than losing that one precious, irreplaceable picture, or trying to rewrite a long and complicated report from scratch. With a solid backup to turn to in emergencies, you’ll always have peace of mind.
Carbonite, Symantec, and others offer inexpensive online backup packages that are worth exploring for personal documents. For SMB corporate documents, consider exploring online office and document portal solutions that include automatic backup programs.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Lean on Backups
December 29, 2008
Take advantage of free online opportunities to learn, and to share what you’ve learned with others. CommonCraft’s series of “In Plain English” videos are a particularly terrific example of granular, just-in-time learning in action. The videos are clear, clever, and brief. They make learning both accessible and fun. Here’s one example.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Click and learn.
Lifelong learning is literally at your fingertips!
December 28, 2008
In 2009, resolve to learn something new about technology, or to experiment with something that isn’t exactly new, but is new to you.
Here are some possibilities:
- Participate in a professional network such as LinkedIn or Spoke. If you already belong to such a network, try upping your level of participation: ask and answer questions, join special interest groups, make new connections, expand your network.
- Read a key text about the role of technology in business and culture. Interesting places to begin include
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, Clay Shirky
- The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yochai Benkler
- Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Change Everything, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
- The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson.
- Master one small but essential technological task that you usually rely on others to do. For instance, learn to make a .pdf of a document, learn to download or upload a video, learn to edit a photograph, learn to run your email to you cell phone, or learn to scan an image and embed it in a document. An amazing number of business leaders who make key purchasing decisions about technology routinely rely on others to complete such simple tasks for them. Knowledge is power. If you build your familiarity with technology, and gradually add to your mastery of it, your decisions will flow from experience and understanding, and will be the better for it.
- Launch or participate in building a blog or a wiki. Of course, there are already countless blogs and wikis in the world, and a good case could be made for being reluctant to add to the cacophony. However, if you don’t have some hands on experience with “Web 2.0” technologies, you severely limit your understanding of how to employ these technologies to enrich your personal and professional life. Intimidated? Start small! Try visiting the Wikipedia entry about an area in which you are knowledgeable. If you see errors or omissions there, correct them. Even something that simple will give you insight that most who read about these things from a distance lack.
- Create and upload a YouTube video. If you have a computer with an attached video camera, then you are a potential video producer. Whether you create a serious instructional video or just record your thoughts on a given issue, the act of creating and uploading a video will sharpen your insight into the phenomenon of user created content.
- Build your social proprioception. All around you, people are texting, twittering, and plurking. Collectively, these folks–many of them young, educated, and generally in key consumer demographics–are changing the face of branding and marketing. If you don’t at least experiment with these “always on” communication tools, you’ll never have a truly firm grasp of their possibilities. There’s no time like 2009 for diving in.
Learning in the realm of technology is all about hands-on exploration and play. Do read, but don’t let your reading take place in a vacuum. When you build your experience, you put yourself in a good position to discern which theories of modern communication are best suited for putting into action.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Ignorance is vulnerability. Lifelong learning is the best, most fulfilling path to technological confidence.
December 26, 2008
The first of AxisPortals’ technology oriented resolutions for the New Year is a very early Valentine for the Small to Medium Business.
Resolution One: SMB’s understand that technology plays an increasingly central role in the success of their business, but too often aren’t sure exactly which resources they need. This can lead to both technological and economic vulnerability. If you want to avoid becoming the proud new owner of an enormous (and enormously expensive) new dedicated server whose power your company requires only the tiniest fraction of, then embrace and celebrate your SMB-ness. This entails recognizing that the best technology solution for you should both meet your current needs and have the capacity to grow and evolve along with your business. Conversely, this also entails recognizing that you should not purchase resources that you do not need, that you are not likely to need in the foreseeable future, and that will only confuse and complicate your work processes and procedures. You’ve lovingly built your company. You work hard to service your clients, support your employees, and turn a healthy profit. Don’t let IT vulnerability compromise your success. When you are looking for IT services of any sort–website design, website hosting, email management, document sharing, database deployment, etc.–be sure to gather many quotes and proposals. Compare these carefully. Don’t forget to ask plenty of questions, and to request examples and hands-on demos whenever possible. Be sure to include maintenance and support costs in your projected expenditures. Seek out input from from your partners and employees so that your technology needs are clear, and draw upon the wisdom of colleagues who are particularly knowledgeable and experienced in this sphere. Most importantly, keep in mind that excellent and affordable technological resources are available for the SMB.
AxisPortals Aphorism: Embrace Your SMB-ness