Talking about Technology

Susan Ellsworth

Susan Ellsworth

As the 2013 year winds down, I find myself musing about the language we use to talk about technology. As a friend of mine observed a while back, every time the online technology comes up with a new feature/experience, the technologists and their marketers struggle to find the right words to describe that experience and its unique selling proposition.

Many of a certain age will remember when “hanging out” was a bad thing tinged with the suggestion of juvenile delinquency. Not since Google brought out Google + Hangouts.  I participate with a group that recently struggled with whether to call itself online  or virtual. Gone are the days when a cloud was simply a fluffy vision in the sky. Now it’s a fluffy way to tell end users that the computer they are using to communicate with others is not in the same facility they are.  Just as there are hybrid cars, there are hybrid clouds, which the Webopedia says is a ” combined form of private clouds and public clouds in which some critical data resides in the enterprise’s private cloud while other data is stored in and accessible from a public cloud. Hybrid clouds seek to deliver the advantages of scalability, reliability, rapid deployment and potential cost savings of public clouds with the security and increased control and management of private clouds.Really old-timers still think of a tweet as a sound made by a bird. Avatar spawned the word Gravitar for WordPress users. Bitcoin has been around for a while, and now has been entered into the Webopedia.  My picture in this blog is a selfie—a picture I took of myself. Then there is BYOD —Bring Your Own Device, a concept that used to scare corporate systems managers into hiding. The phrase Software As A Service is a yawner from yesterday. Now we have Anything As a Service and Everything as a Service, both of which are abbreviated as XaaS. Now that’s just plain weird. I think I’ll go have an eggnog and wish all of you a happy holiday and a great new MMXIV.

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Susan Ellsworth

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Figuring Technical Stuff Out..Part 2

Before I joined Pequod Systems, I worked as a contractor for on several different contracts. Inevitably, some situation would arise in which I had to use a customer’s fax machine. (Remember those?) More often than not,  access to those fax machines was ruled by a Queen Bee who had programmed specific codes into the machine so that only faxes from her boss could be sent to specific recipients, whose fax numbers were also hard-wired into the fax machines. Only by talking to a more experienced fellow contractor (who might or might not be present when one needed to send a fax) could one discover the one remaining set of magical codes with which one could send a weekly status report to one’s offsite project manager. I began to hate faxing and loathe the Queen Bees. Today I am grateful for the pending total demise of fax as the Queen Bees managed it. 

Fast forward to a recent blog by my friend Ann Bevans. She says that “in programming (and I would argue, in any job), you can’t know everything you may one day have to know.  You have to be able to figure it out on the fly.” She goes on to say that My first year in business, some of my former colleagues had spun off from that company and asked me if I could build a system like that for them.
I said “YES!”
Then I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book called Data-Driven Websites or something like that.
When you have the ability to figure shit out, you can do that and get away with it.
You’re not a fraud.

I have many friends who are entrepreneurs of all stripes, and they ALL say the same thing.
When somebody asks if you can do a thing, you say “Yes!” And then you go figure it out.
These days, the interwebs being what they are, it’s a lot easier to figure stuff out on the fly. Use that.”  

We have a wide range of customers. Some of them are like the end user who, at the age of 50 and with no training whatsoever, was suddenly placed in front of a modern computer for the first time. Others are application programmers with a lot of courage and confidence—and thankfully, enough sense to know when not to go voyaging so far into computer systems that they get into trouble they can’t get out of. In each case, we look for ways to help folks figure things out. We act on the value that one size does not fit all. We educate you and learn from you. There are no Queen Bees at Pequod Systems. And no old-fashioned fax machines.
No_ Fax_MachineContact us for respectful and personalized technical support. And to tell us if we are really educating you—and learning from you at the same time.

Susan Ellsworth

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Which comes first: the Word or the Attitude?

Recently I saw Michael Hyatt’s blog about how our words impact others. How true that is. When I was a young adolescent, my mother told me in a rather condescending tone that I would have a very hard time in school with math and sciences. Dutifully, I had a hard time with math and sciences. Except for geometry—-which, thankfully,neither my mother nor my father had mentioned. Fortunately, I married someone who had and still has different words that also impact me. With his words, I learned how to build and manage a computer. With his words, I studied for and passed systems management exams that would have blown my parents away. With the words of friends, I plunged into technical platforms I had never visited before. It was all because they believed in me…and said so.

Continuing along, I read another Hyatt blog. That one had everything to do with how a shift in one’s vocabulary could change one’s attitude.

Wait a minute! I thought. Isn’t that a bit backwards? Change in attitude is what changes one’s vocabulary, right? Not exactly. Consider the number of social media posts that simply copy what someone else has already said. Consider the number of posts that make you say “Hmm..when is the last time I heard that person use that word before?”

I’m inclined to think that associating with positive-thinking people who are open to ideas not necessarily their own and spending just a few minutes a day checking an online dictionary or thesaurus can grow the language we need to express a change in attitude. The two things—-attitude shift and change in vocabulary—work together. And that taken together, these two elements can make a huge difference in all aspects of our lives.

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Spokeo gets an “Unlike”

Susan EllsworthA while back, a very good friend said
“Just because some website could be built doesn’t mean it should. TAKE NOTE: There is a site called spokeo.com that is a new online USA phone book w/ personal information: everything from pics you’ve posted on Facebook or web (depending on privacy settings), your approx credit score, home value, income, age.

Today most websites declare that they do not release your personal data without asking. Spokeo does just the opposite: It collects data about you from wherever it can find it, compiles it and offers it for sale at $4.95 a month if you sign up for three months or $3.95 a month if you sign up for six months. All without a word to you.

Thumbs Down

Here is how to get your personal data removed from SPOKEO.

Go to http://www.spokeo.com. (DO NOT LOG IN.) That’s for the people who want to sell your data.

Enter your first and last name in the dialog box below the word “spokeo” and above the “Not your grandma’s phone book” tagline. Click the green Search button.

A map of the United States will appear. To the left of the map, you will see a list of States in which people with your name appears.

Click on the appropriate State. (There may be several people with your name in your State.)

A list of cities and/or towns will appear. Click on the appropriate jurisdiction.

A listing showing your sex, approximate age, abbreviated home phone number, abbreviated eMail address, abbreviated current street address, city and State, a clickable list of family members, and a list of Marital Status, Occupation and Education with the clickable notation of “See Available Results” comes up.

Below that is a map showing the history of places you have lived. Further down is a map showing homes in your neighborhood and presumably their estimated worth.

Once you are confident that you are the person Spokeo has listed, look slightly above the website itself. You will see the website URL where your information is referred to. For example:
http://www.spokeo.com/search?q=Smith%20Sample#Sample:12345678”

Capture the whole URL of your profile.
Go to http://www.spokeo.com/privacy

The PRIVACY page will come up. Scroll down.

Copy and paste the URL of your profile in the first dialog box.
Enter your eMail address in the second dialog box.
Enter the  captcha letters you see into the third dialog box.

Click REMOVE THIS LISTING.
You should receive an eMail from Spokeo to confirm that you want to have your listing removed.
To complete the removal process, click on the new URL (included in the eMail to you) or paste it into your browser.

Press [return] and you are done….but only if Spokeo had only one listing for you. If  Spokeo had more than one listing for you, you will have to repeat this process for each listing Spokeo has for you. Happy de-listing!

Get out of Spokeo

Susan Ellsworth

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Of Teeth and Technology

Susan EllsworthSeveral years ago, I was visiting family members in Pittsburgh. One evening, my upper left jaw began to bother me–seriously. I took an over-the-counter pain killer and thought no more about it. But by the next morning, I was in horrible pain.

The trip home was a nightmare. At the time, I did not have a regular dentist, and had not seen one for many years. I arrived home late in the afternoon. As luck would have it, an ad for a dentist was in the stack of mail that had accumulated while I was out of town. I called the number on the ad. It was a wrong number. In desperation, I called the emergency number for a different dentist listed in the phone book and got an appointment for the next morning. Long story short, I lost a molar because I had not paid attention to my teeth. Not long thereafter, I went through more expensive dental surgery. Lesson learned: Take care of my teeth!

Recently, two different customers we had not heard from in over a year called us in a panic. Each had a serious problem with a server. One of them had not backed up user data in over a year and a half. Both of them had tuned out our repeated generous offers of remote monitoring of their systems. In each case, monitoring of systems had been sporadic and questionable at best.  In one case, the business owner had been raised on the philosophy that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He had applied that philosophy to the systems he had invested in and was ultimately responsible for. So now he had a downed server, which translated to downtime for himself and his staff.  Ultimately, he ended up purchasing a new server and new workstations. All of which could have been a lot less painful for everyone had he had regular checkups through regular remote monitoring of his systems.

Watching 24 x 7 x 365

All of which, good friends, is why your teeth are like your technology: ignore them and they will go away.

Cheers, all!

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A word from a Hero

Jon Ferrara, the CEO of Nimble, may not know that he is one of my corporate heroes.  (Hi, Jon!)

This morning Jon sent out the message that Nimble partners have been waiting to see.  Here is what Jon said.
=====================
As we approach the one-year anniversary of releasing our Nimble beta, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting our company. I am humbled that more than 15,000 users have signed up over the last nine months with thousands spending almost four hours a day managing their social relationships and growing their businesses with Nimble. I knew it was going to be an enormous challenge when we set out to create a new paradigm for CRM in 2010. We wanted to enable businesses to manage Relationships & Social Engagement in a simple and elegant way. I am excited to tell you that we are weeks away from being “core vision complete” and will be releasing a major new version of Nimble in January 2012 that we are testing with select users today.
As you know, Nimble has been free during our testing phase. We wanted to wait until Nimble was something worth paying for…something truely helpful in growing a business. I am proud to say that Nimble is now ready to help you Turn Your Social Communities into Customers for Life. With our upcoming new product launch this January, we will start charging for Nimble. A free single-user version of Nimble for basic Social Relationship Management will still be available. For business users who utilize Nimble as a team and need more professional functionality, we will be charging $15 per user per month. As a special thank you to everyone who has been a Nimble user prior to enacting this change, I would like to extend a 90-day free period on their Business accounts applicable once we intiate charging. More details on pricing here.

It would be wonderful if we could offer Nimble for free for everyone forever; however, I know you can understand that to continue to grow and meet the needs of our users, and to continue providing super cool new technologies, it is necessary to monetize our platform. Speaking of super cool new technology, please join me for a webinar this week to see the new Nimble features planned for our January 2012 release.

===

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Jon Ferrara

“Bring Your Own Computer to Work” Day

Recently Karen Goulart, Features writer for SearchCIO-Midmarket, wrote an interesting article called “Forget flex spending, Millennials want a flexible mobile device policy.” Based in large part on an annual study by Cisco Systems , her article raised some interesting and alarming (to traditional IT managers at least) viewpoints.

Basically, Goulart talked about the Millennial Generation of computer users who bring their own computing devices to work and who are not at all afraid to sidestep a mobile device policy in their quest to use them. First as a helpdesk operator and later as a systems manager, I realized that some years back, such a scenario would have been met with comments like “We did not authorize the use of that device and we do not support it” and “Sorry, it’s not standard within the company…if you have a problem with it, go elsewhere to get technical support.”

That was then. This is now.

Nevertheless, other than IT managers fearing loss of control of hardware they could be expected to support,  there are some potential downsides to bringing your own computer to work.  Some legacy applications may still be  hardware-sensitive and not friendly to your own computing platform.  Also, not every application used by companies today are “in The Cloud, ” where many, if not most Millennials have no clue as to exactly where their apps and/or data exist.  Apps and data in “the Cloud” may in fact not be on a server in the USA. Does it make a difference? Perhaps and perhaps not.  In any case, IT managers who may not be in the Millennial generation do have a lot to think about and communicate with those who bring their own technology to work.

Word for the Day: Fail Whale

While we all know the Fail Whale from Twitter, it appears that there is an interesting history behind the word. Read and enjoy!

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We are Moving on…a new Look and Feel

Effective now, you will find this blog at http://blog.pequodsystems.com. We believe this change will make us easier to find. We also decided to give ourselves a new look.  We also changed so that our friends using mobile devices such as an iPad can read this blog while you are on the road. Over the next month or so, you will also see some changes at our website.   Our vision, values and mission will remain the same. Our products and services are evolving. We are still enthusiastic Nimble partners.  As always, you will find us on FaceBook, in LinkedIn, Twitter and even in Google+ .

THIS AND THAT

Word for the Day: (An oldie but goodie) Mashup.
Music,  Slang . a recording that combines vocal and instrumental tracks from two or more recordings. a piece of recorded or live music in which a producer or DJ blends together two or more tracks, often of contrasting genres .
…a hybrid website that collates and displays information taken from various other online sources …

Not to be confused with enabling Nimble to talk with your Google Apps. 
Cheers!

//
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Squish those BUGS!

I hate bugs. I especially despise stink bugs. They stink if you squish them. They fly into my Honda and crawl up the inside of my windshield just as I am sitting in rush hour traffic. They land in my lemonade.There seems to have been very little federal effort to control them or get them out of our lives. Evidently they do not do enough damage to crops and animals to warrant serious investment in their control.
On the other hand, there are software bugs—the kind that show up when you aren’t looking and irritate you just when you are on a deadline and muttering four-letter words under your breath. The team at Nimble has been squishing software bugs, much to my delight.

The bug-squish report in the latest Nimble Partner Newletter was a delight to read.  Several Nimble bugs that had crept into the earlier beta versions and evidently not quite put under control have now been squished. All this activity is thanks to an active Nimble communitysubmitting support tickets and some hard-working programmers. The open Nimble community conversation with beta testers, current users and Nimble staff keeps everyone aware of what changes are needed and why. Recent squished bugs related to Twitter, the Auto-Suggestion Box , the Activities Tab and the Deals tab. I am glad to be part of that community.

Good News
You can Add Users to your Nimble account. Here are the Directions.
Better News

Now you can register for Nimble directly at our Nimble partner website.
Best News
The single user version is free and will remain free. The multi-user version is currently free but in the near future, the cost will be about $10/user/month in a team account.  Join the community dedicated to and enjoying the benefits of the bug-squishers now bringing more new features and benefits to Nimble.
Got good news? Comment here by replying to this blog.
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Nimble: Love that Revolutionary Leadership!

It’s finally happening!

A hosted fun, friendly Social Customer Relationship Management solution that a small business  can actually afford.  For those who just came into this virtual room, a quick note to explain SCRM. It’s not simply adding FaceBook, LinkedIn or other social networking services to traditional Customer Relationship Management.

In her February 23 blog, Ann All says that

In perhaps the best definition of SCRM I’ve seen yet,  [Bertrand] Duperrin  says SCRM shifts the focus from the “management” aspect of CRM to the “relationship” aspect….As Duperrin writes, it’s “moving from ‘buy my product, it’s the best’ to ‘How can I help you.’” And follow-up gets more emphasis in SCRM, sometimes with a dedicated customer care channel on social media or a “peer care” platform where customers can help each other.

So why am I so excited about the rollout of Nimble Contact? Back on April 11, 2009,   I had reported the results of my advocacy that GoldMine from FrontRange stop ignoring the reality of social networking as it applies to business development. And that FrontRange should begin development along those lines. The result?  Comments from well-known FrontRange GoldMine partner technical “experts” who said things like ” I don’t see how social networking fits into the realm of GoldMine. ” A recent Tweet from FrontRange indicated the company had just joined a LinkedIn cloud computing community.

Fast forward to February 2010. Who contacted us to let us know he had started the Nimble Contact revolution? None other than Jon Ferrara, who also had inspired and led the development of  the original GoldMine customer relationship management product that many small businesses had invested in.  We signed up for the Nimble Contact beta testing and development, and have been following the progress of Nimble Contact for a full year now.  By the time you read this blog, Nimble Contacta software solution for businesses that have chosen applications in the cloudwill have been rolled out.  Here is the demo Ferrera gave today.

Usually, you see the picture of the watchful eye at the end of my blogs. Today, I am happy to say that we are partnering with Nimble, and you will now see the Nimble logo not only here but also on our Nimble Partner Website and on our Pequod Systems website as well.


Welcome, Nimble Contact !

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