The July meetup of Atl Web Entrepreneurs was quite an event with around 110 attendees stuffed into the Hodges room in the Centergy Building at Tech Square. With so many warm bodies the Hodges room heated up to uncomfortable levels…which is another story in itself. The subject of the meetup was How Google Wave Changes Everything (or not).” In spite of the large crowd I managed to snag a great seat in the back next to a wall plug for my power cord. I spent my time divided between listening to presentations and following #awe posts on twitter. We saw a short demo of Wave, several presentations, and heard lively discussion about what wave is and isn’t which I believe is yet to be determined. An unforgettable moment occurred half way through the meeting when @stephenfleming the new Vice Provost of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute showed up in shorts and t-shirt with fans from his garage to help cool down the room. Overall was a great meeting and I’m looking forward to the August meetup. July will be hard to beat.
I’m having a problem. I keep running into people who just don’t have time to adopt new technology innovations like social media. I recall years past when I was selling the idea of preventative maintenance systems to plant maintenance managers. Often they would listen to my pitch then say something like, “Well that all sounds good except I’m just too busy putting out fires every day to find time for implementing a PM system.” I can’t count how often I’ve heard those words. To their way of thinking it was simply a catch 22 situation where there’s no time to prevent future fires while today’s fires are burning. But then sometimes I would come across a plant maintenance manager who whole heartily adopted a PM strategy and system. Faced with the same daily fires they somehow found the time and energy to adopt the new technology and often came out looking like heroes as a result. I have often asked these “hero” maintenance managers how they found the time to adopt and implement PM and the answer I heard most often was “I didn’t have the time NOT to adopt a PM program.” How can this completely opposite viewpoint be explained? And it’s not that the managers who couldn’t imagine having time to adopt new ways of working and managing were lazy. Most were very hard working and put in far more than 40 hours each week just trying to keep their heads above water. I can understand why the idea of piling something else onto their plate seemed insane from that perspective. But then how to explain the maintenance managers who had the opposite view, successfully adopted the new PM system and revolutionized how their organization operated?
I’ve been trying out Microsoft’s new quietly announced search engine, Bing, since it’s release yesterday. As an avid Google user I have to say I’m impressed. I’m getting very good search results that seem to return super fast. I’m really starting to like the maps feature especially. Oh and check out the extras drop down menu in the right hand side of the tool bar especially the webmaster and developer centers…really nice features. So far I’m very impressed with Bing (But It’s Not Google). I love the competition this will create which can only be a good thing for the search industry. Way to go Microsoft!
Today I attended the June 2009 Southern Fried Roadshow at Microsoft Southeast Division Offices in Alpharetta, GA. This 1/2 day event (1-5pm) covered highlights from MIX, Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 3 and Windows Azure. I really wanted to see the Azure material but alas I couldn’t make it through the prelims. Like most good productions they saved the sexy information (Azure) until the last part of the day. I was sitting there listening to a presentation on programming power settings in Windows 7…and decided to call it a day. I felt a little guilty getting up to leave early but when I turned around the guy sitting behind me was sound asleep 🙂 Sure wish I could have heard the 411 on Azure…oh well. One day I’m sure Microsoft will catch up with Starbucks, Curry Honda customer service waiting room, and the store where I always buy tires (Midtown Tire on Ponce)…and provide WiFi to visitors!!!!! With a little WiFi I would have easily waited until the Azure presentation started…but sitting there without access to the Internet is truely unbearable…sorry I’m just being honest.
A Health IT TAG (Technology Association of Georgia) event was held on Thursday March 12th 7:30am until 9am and was well worth the $20 admission price. A panel of experts provided insight into the stimulus and issues associated with Health IT. On the previous day (March 11th) I also attended a private lecture by a top Georgia Tech professor on the topic of Health care, Health IT, and specifically electronic medical records. These two meetings were both revelations to me that drove home the urgency of why we have to gain control over health care costs in the US and why it has to happen right now and the role played by health IT in our health care system.
Salesforce held the first 2009 CloudForce seminar in Atlanta at the Intercontential Hotel Buckhead on March 5th from 2:30 until 5pm with a reception from 5 until 6. I always enjoy catching up on the latest salesforce features and success stories as I’m a big admirer of Salesforce as an early entry into cloud computing and the success they have had. At this event I didn’t really hear alot of new information. It was more of a refresher to remind Atlanta customers and potential customers of the value and opportunities available from the Salesforce platform. I get very excited about Force.com as a development platform along with appexchange to provide an easy vehicle for commericalizing applications.
(1) Tight budgets in the ressession will accelerate the adoption of Cloud computing
IT departments have historically seen themselves as the guardians of the computer network and the protectors of the company’s data and technology assets. In relation to users, IT has often believed that the primary mission is to protect them and the network from themselves. This approach has been called “playing god on the network” or “culture of no” philosophy and while it may have served a purpose in the past, nowadays more forward thinking IT organizations have began to realize that they need to fundamentally change their approach. The best IT leaders are turning their departments into service organizations that are focused on using technology as a business enabler, super-serving and partnering with end users, and educating users about new technology as it emerges onto the business landscape.
Python Atlanta (PyAtl) got off to a great start in 2009 with their January meeting. Steve Holden, chairman of the Python Software Foundationand the author of the book “Python Web Programming“, gave an informative and entertaining talk on the state of the Python community along with some good insight into the workings and objectives of the PSF. As an amusing sidenote Steve mentioned the reason he’s in Atlanta this week teaching a workshop on Microsoft Sharepoint. Another great presentation was given by Chris Johnson, owner of Atlanta business ifPeople, on the Plone content-managment system. Plone is a python based CMS built on top of the Zope application server. As usual the pyatl meeting started at 7:30pm and was over by around 9:30pm. The meeting is held in a convenient venue the GTRI Food Processing Technology building on the edge of the Georgia Tech campus.
Yesterday I attended a 1/2 day seminar on a new subject for me called eDiscovery. The event was located in the Westen Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta. The speaker was Randy Kahn, an author and consultant specializing in legal and compliance issues of information technology. It wasn’t a fun event but I did learn a couple of things in this area. Probably the most important was that unless you are a brokerage company then you have no legal requirement to retain email records of employees….which was news to me. Legal problems around email can arise if a lawsuit is filed against your company and past emails exist either in backups or retention systems. Lawyers can request access to those emails and if the old emails are subsequently deleted in the normal course of backup cycling for example the company can be charged with destruction of evidence. So the key points here are that the emails EXIST and a lawsuit has started. If the emails don’t exist then there’s not a problem. Of course the company may loose a case where the emails would have provided evidence in it’s favor. But my point is the IT manager isn’t legally responsible for emails that have been deleted in the normal course of doing business. Good to know. Another thing I learned is it’s important for a company to have a record retention policy in place the defines what kind of documents (contracts for example) will be retained for how long and making sure employees have read the policy. And finally one thing Mr Kahn stressed over and over so I think we all got it was that record retention is NOT backups…which is how most companies handle record retention. Hopefully I won’t ever have to be involved in eDiscovery, which is going back through electronic records to recover information that pertains to a lawsuit. If I do then I hope my company employs a real record retention system versus relying on backup tapes. Next subject!