Online Workspaces for the Masses

March 10, 2008

I’ve managed to get a Beta account of Office Live Workspace. That offers free upload of files to a workspace. The GUI is well done so far, but the upload has a strong limitation: no folder structures are supported. This might be the application I’ve so long waiting for, but that limitation shows me once again the big loss when Mindquarry was closed down. Synchronize your team files including the full directory structure with one click is a feature I’m still missing so much. That was the best solution ever.


Flickr in Windows Life?

February 1, 2008

So Microsoft finally akquires Yahoo. That means my flickr account (which is now a Yahoo aaccount) becomes finally a Microsoft account. When they rise the fees, I’m leaving the service. Time to think about backups.

Products are people too

November 7, 2007

Products are people too
Originally uploaded by cvander.

Today’s most popular keynote was from Jesse James Garrett: “Delivering Rich Experiences”. Garrett, known for his naming essay about the Ajax technology, is an evangelist for simple & smart products. In the picture he’s just talking about the mannerism, that people get a familial connection to good products (“I can’t live without my new [car/phone/ipod/…]”). And products become a treatment like real persons too (“Don’t make the elevator angry, he might stop”)

I think the world still needs more products with “personality”.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Tuesday keynote: Kathy Sierra: “Creating Passionate Users”

November 6, 2007

Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

Kathy Sierra was one of the keynote speakers today, and as I think by far the most entertaining one. This might be obviously, since you read her topic, which is her mission too. On person I spoke after her keynote said, there have been no news in her presentation (to him). That might be true, but first she presents that in a really entertaining way and second, she does it in an intelligent way delivering things you already know with a new viewpoint.

One thing she was talking about, was the point how companies caring about her customers before and after they became customers. She compared for example a marketing brochure for a camera with the user manual (which is the brochure you get after you bought the camera, with your bying decision based on the reading of the marketing brochure). On the one side a delighting and inspiring artwork, on the other side a technical manual designed by an engineer for an engineer’s use. And that is really, what we mostly get. Companies woo to “strangers” and deal cumbersome to existing customers. I bet everyone has a own story to proof that! How often had you to wait in the support line? How often did you actually benefit from special offer any company (like telco’s) provide to new customers?

Kathy was asking that question:

“Can you imagine, how it would be if companies would shift the budget and the talent of people away from marketing to customer education”?

A interesting thought, isn’t it? Even when I would not agree to leave marketing without a budget, teaching the customers better to make the best use out of your product can really make the USP. And caring for customers in a way they don’t feel upset when dealing with the company.

But, as the guy said, this is all no news. But it was good to get it in those clear pictures as a packed and user friendly and entertaining message once again. I hope Kathy don’t stop to do this, even if we all know it.

Information Overload: We have met the enemy and he is us

August 15, 2007

I have read the case study: “Information Overload: We have met the enemy and he is us” from Jonathan B Spira and David Goldes, two analysts of The study is very interesting, since it targets the ongoing change of the workspace around us. According to the study, 40% of knowledge workers are already working from non traditional (non-Dilbertian-) working places such as home offices, customer locations, hotels, airport lounges and so on.

Originally uploaded by dltq.

That kind of “nomad” working style is increasing across all sizes of enterprises. For example I know a small design team which is quite successful, never than less it left it’s presentable studio halls to work further from home. They use Skype as their main communication tool and that way they always stay connected. An other example: A former colleague of mine joined a consulting group one year ago, since then he never saw the official office again, working from customer locations or from home. Years ago, when I visited IBM in Stuttgart they showed to me their empty office rooms, claiming that their employees mostly work from customer locations or home offices. Perhaps the IT and the design industries are pioneers regards the nomad way of work, but it is the way of work which will infect all industries soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Faceted Metadata Search – an new approach to user experience

August 1, 2007

Lars wrote a post about his faceted search option for Mindquarry tasks in version 1.2. By his description you may get easy a glue how it works. That seems to be a simple (but useful) step to the task feature.

But faceted search is a solution on top of technologies. Microsoft is developing that right now as a solution to compete to other search engines like Google.

Faceted search is an option to the general search dilemma, that you (the searcher) must have exact knowledge about the search content description to find exactly what you search. For example if you search a suitcase with tiger pattern you would get the operating system “tiger” (Mac OS) , the animal “tiger” and much more overwhelming information.

Even plain full text search is not a perfect solution. try to search a telephone-No, like 777-6330, you’ll get results with telephone-, article- and stock- numbers.

Faceted search is different, Read the rest of this entry »

Collaboration 2.0

July 17, 2007

I was writing some huge posts about collaboration 2.0 with Mindquarry at the Mindquarry blog. Start reading here.

First Mindquarry screen cast

June 29, 2007

Today Sando Groganz finished the first part of his Mindquarry screen cast work. Although still without sound, it looks cool and professional. Can’t wait to post this and hope to see the final version soon.

Hasso Plattner

June 26, 2007

Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

Today Hasso Plattner held his (usual) keynote speech at this years HassoPlattner Ventures/HassoPlattner Institute event, the DesignIT conference at the university campus in Potsdam. For an IT guy, his part was the most remarkable speech at the conference. Very stylish too, since everything was about design. For extreme-sport fans there was an other interesting presentation too about mountain climbing.

Mr. Plattner was lecturing about his claim: “Software is all about design and usability, even or especially in the ERP market too”. He admitted, that in the past usually software producers claimed to know all about the business process, the so called “best practice”. Users had just to learn how to use their software. Today the world is driven by a process which Gartner analysts call “consumerization“, claiming that this will be the most important trend for the next 10 years.
So even Mr. Plattner told the audience, that this world of software vendor behavior is over .Today software has to be designed according the real needs of the clients, of the consumer. And a mayor point is simplicity and ease of use.

Anyway, for such a full day conference I’d like to see at least one or two other famous speakers too. David Weinberger, who spoke recently at the Enterprise 2.0 in Boston about social software, would have nicely fit in that conference. And Mr. Plattner wouldn’t have been the only “lighthouse in a desert”. 😉

Busy @ Boston

June 20, 2007

Originally uploaded by Stephan’s Place.

Today was a really busy day, I met a lot of people, had a speech and the presentation pavilion was open to: On the picture you see lars talking to visitors. On the right is Caroline Gagnon. I highly recommend to see her famous presentation “A new way to define a productive worker“. It was a pleasure to have that bright young lady on our booth.