Podwalking

After Soho to Westminster proved popular yesterday, I did another, shorter, walk today from London Waterloo, across Hungerford Bridge to Charing Cross, chatting to myself as I went.

I’m experimenting with taking pictures as I go – particularly to find the best way of sharing them. I’ve put them up on flickr with the first picture taken at 4 minutes into the audio and you can click along if you’re at your computer or check them out at another time if you’re listening while on the move yourself.

I’d like to know if this works, and if not where it falls down.

I’ve also put the photos in a flickr set that points back here.

Didn’t someone think to bring a toBLOGgan?

Great pictures on AKMA’s flickr stream of the fun today in Chicago – I miss having enough snow here for snowballing.

Two aspects obviously differentiate the Chicago event from the European predecessors that I’m sure will have affected the conversation subtly – fewer women (Lilia, I think was the only one!) and a higher proportion of native English speakers (I’m not as sure on this one, but I’d guess Lilia again might have been the only non-native anglophone).

One post-it I noticed on the window-wiki said “How do you force people to blog?” My glib answer: “The same way we ‘forced’ them to type their own letters”

I’m looking forward to other perspectives as they come up – I’m sure Lilia drummed into them the importance of pinging the topic exchange channel.

Grrrr…

I saw weird stuff in my search query logs today – at first I thought it was funny and a bit crazy that people were finding me through “beastiality”. I tried to think where I’d mentioned (and mispelled) such practices. Then, I happened to look back at an archive post and realised why – although I’ve managed to throttle (I love that word) the comment spammers with Chad Everett’s MT-Approval (Now v1.0!) btw they don’t seem to be at all discouraged and keep trying to post away.

Anyway it turns out that now I’m getting trackback spam and had been pinged about sixty times in the last fortnight with really nasty stuff. I’ve cleared it all out but it does make me mad – I don’t want to put anything in the way of people pinging me, but I don’t know what else to do – I’ve set MT to e-mail me when I get pinged.

Grrrr….

Sound-seeing Soho to Westminster

So yesterday I was going from my office in Soho down to a meeting in Westminster, and rather than a boring bus trip or complicated tube journey, I gave myself a little extra time and walked down Dean St, turning left into Old Compton St, through Moor St and over Cambridge Circus, down Charing Cross Road, through St Martin’s Place into Trafalgar Square, down into Whitehall, right through Parliament Square to my destination in Victoria St.

Hey, but why have I told you all that, you can listen to it in glorious, if traffic-noisy mp3 right here: Soho to Westminster

Though of course if you’re really smart, you’ll already have got it through RSS 2.0 *with Enclosures*

[update]… or not, there seems to be some plugin conflict going on and my rss2.0 feed isn’t rebuilding. investigating, but it’s saturday so may have to wait.
[later]OK, found a workaround, should be ok now.

Corporate Podcasting

This morning my ipodder brought me three minutes of excitement and inspiration.

Gerald Buckley works for AAPG the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and he’s put together a kind of internal communication/diary announcement podcast for them. The combination of heavy technical oil speak and the funky backing track he uses can get a bit surreal, but it’s a great example of what can be done – just 3 minutes of content that (I presume) is totally tailored to the client’s need. Gerald sees it like HTML in 1995, it’s the kind of stuff that anyone could do, but people will pay to have it done for them, at least for now.

This might add some flavour to the Chicago Blogwalk discussion that’s happening in the next couple of days on blogging in corporate settings. I think it’s an interesting example of the way we might go so I’m pinging the topic exchange site to let them know.

Perseverence and Perspective

Day 2 (of about 50 over the next three months) of my time with Newham Social Services, leading the Performance Team (the guys who collect performance information about services and report it to senior management) while a permanent person is recruited.

Getting some sense of perspective today of what’s actually possible in 3 months and accepting that if the client says what they want is a maintenance job then what I should give them is a maintenance job. However, I think maintaining the team’s outputs without the previous team manager is going to be difficult without changing how things get done. He clearly had a lot of knowledge of how reports were generated and carried a lot of the analysis himself. This isn’t something that you can just pick up in three months – even if you’re me ;-) The systems for collecting the data are just too complex to get your head around well enough.

I think the best thing I can do is help them to spread some of the knowledge around, document what’s possible to document and do something about some of the obvious errors in some of the reports.

Something fell into place for me today. In management reporting we often talk about “just getting this report at the click of a button”. But it’s rarely that simple because the information people carry the complexity of matching the reporting requirements to the data that’s available.

I do think that many senior or service-side folk think that all we have to do is click a button and get it and because we want to look cool and keen and effective we often let them continue to believe that (and then go away muttering because they don’t appreciate the complexity of what needs to be done to get decent management reports from a system that’s been designed with user requirements pretty much restricted to data-entry tasks). So when we make them wait for something, they think we’re pissing around because surely all you have to do is “click a few buttons”.