Monthly Archive: April 2005

The business case for wireless PDAs and Smart Phones

ImateYesterday I was working on the business case for wireless PDAs and Smart Phones for my companies senior exec’s, probably VPs and above.  I found it pretty enlightening.  I am not going to share the business case, but I did have a few interesting observations to share:

  • The incredible ROI you get if you can allow and executive to release time during the core working day, by using otherwise unproductive time to process emails.  (the business case identified may more benefits)
  • The risks that a always on device brings in terms of Work Life Balance
  • The risks that information overload and constant interrupts can have on mental health.

Whilst I think there is a good business case I included this caution after presenting the ROI:

However, there are some cautions that also apply to the analysis:

  • It will take several weeks for executives to attain the levels of improvement described and for an effective usage culture to develop
  • The case partially depends on the availability of otherwise “unproductive time”
  • Whilst such time exists, there are alternative uses for this time for example networking before meetings, making phone calls, thinking etc.  These activities may have as much or greater value.  The spreadsheet …

HotRecorder, Skype and My Life Bits

HotrecorderInspired by listening to talks about the Microsoft Research project, My Life Bits, I decided it would be a good idea to record my telephone conversations when I can. Fortunately it turns out to be really easy if you use Skype and the free program HotRecorder.  The product is not the prettiest I have ever used, and the UI is a bit quirky but it gets the job done.  Recording quality is good, and you can add key words and the name of the person you called to each recording making retrieval easy.  The ad-supported version is free and the premium version is only $14.95.  Well worth trying out, if only to listen to the different responses you get when you tell people you are recording the call, from the slightly guarded/worried to the “where can I get a copy”, so far!

If you want to get up-to speed on My Life Bits I recommend the recording on IT conversations, which I listened to on my Treo while walking along the beach last week.

My Life Bits progress so far:

  • Photo’s
  • Emails
  • Web pages
  • Documents read
  • Documents reviewed
  • Audio listened to
  • Contacts talked to, or want to talk …

Windows 2003 SP1 and Skype

SkypeerrorI have just upgraded all of my servers and everything seems to be working fine except for skype.  When I click on the Contacts Tab the contact list is not reliably displayed.  If I close skype and then open it again then it is displayed once,  but from then on the tab changes to show focus,  but the actual contact list area continues to show the content of the previous tab (whatever that was).  In the screen shot I have attached you can see that contacts tab has focus, but the start screen is displayed.

St Annes on the Sea celebrates

Picture034_02Apr05Today in our little town we were celebrating the fact that after much campaigning we now have our own town council which gives us a more effective voice at the Borough Council,  celebrations were mainly of a musical nature, and this picture is of one of the local bands.  The town was buzzing, helped by the fact that its was a gloriously sunny day.  We walked home along the beach playing football, which regular readers will know means that physically I am on pretty good form today.

As a small town we face many challenges and difficult decisions concerning for example striking a balance between development, especially Tourist development, and maintaining the spirit of “The garden by the sea”, which was how the town was known in Victorian times. 

Picture028_27Mar05In recent years we have seen a lot of money spent on appropriate development, which has successful regenerated the town centre and this year we are hoping to see further investment in our promenade gardens and in our town centre park.  This picture is of my mum and the kids in one of the beach side cafes.