Posterous rocks!

Recently Bas pointed me to the great tool Posterous. Posterous is a blog tool where you can send an e-mail which is auto-posted to your weblog. URLs of images, youtube, vimeo, etc are automatically taken the content and show it in your blog. Files attached to the e-mail are put in your content really nice, for example images, movies, mp3, pdf, etc. But for me mail-and-it’s-posted-in-your-blog is the most important functionality.

Additional features are RSS, auto-post to twitter, facebook, wordpress, etc. etc. etc. Google analystics are integrated.

Bas showed me his site http://www.rugbynieuws.nl/ where he gathers all content in the Dutch media about rugby. He gave me the idea to do the same for Scouting. I was interested in Posterous and give it a try… and wow how incredible are the results!

I went to Posterous and 3 minutes later http://www.scoutingnieuws.nl/ (gathering local, regional and national news items in the Dutch media) was a fact (that’s not really true. it takes some time for the DNS changes are active). I’m e-mailing some news items a couple of times per day, taking me maybe 15 minutes a day. Items are auto-posted to a specific twitter account. Without promotion the twitter account is gathering new followers daily.  A couple of times per week people are e-mailing new news items to put on the site. The national organisation has asked for cooperation to get the news integrated in their site. I created a script so other people can include the news items in their website. I finished the script last week, and already a couple of sites are following.

So Posterous is a great tool for gathering information! I would encourage people to do the same and pls send me other examples of news site using posterous, maybe we can exchange some tips and tricks!

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Twitter for reporting

Until now I did not really understand the added value of Twitter. Blogging I understand. But just mentioning what you do, it sounds a bit…. irrelevant. I know a lot of people see this completely different, so probably I am wrong (so pls don’t feel offended). And I think you never know for sure if you don’t test it yourself. So I need to find a good reason to push myself in trying this.

Wednesday we started a new project, which needs to be delivered fast, so we are going to do an extreme developement project. I have the honour of managing the project. Because we all like the concept we are really focused on delivering good results. We have a capable team. So far nothing but good news 🙂 Now, the next part is reporting to my client. We are doing this project as an internal project, so my client is also internal, but always really busy. And because time is short I want to be able to give small regular updates. What I do know he is using Twitter on a regular basis.

So I decided to bring these two together, and I will use Twitter to do reporting on the project. Not the normal Highlight Report at the end of the week or an Exception Report (hopefully not needed). But just small updates, some additional small info, short questions, etc, just the type of messages Twitter is meant for.

It will be a nice test to see if Twitter works for me and if I can swift to the extremely cool 😉 people that do use Twitter. Will I like it? I will keep you posted.

O, if you are interested: http://twitter.com/tomvanlamoen

Movie editing

The last weeks I’ve been editing some video shots we took during the JOTA/JOTI Scouting weekend. It’s the first time I was working with video. It’s nice to do…. but takes so much time. Also a lot of the footage is completely useless. This is not only because some people don’t know how to use a camera (i.e. don’t turn it off and filming the floor for 10 minutes), but also because I just wanted short shots.

As I am becoming more and more just a typical end user in software, of course I just started out using Windows Movie Maker…. yes, because it’s default installed in Windows. But after not too much time I decided that (at least for me) it’s just not possible to deliver a nice result with WMM. You can’t play around with the sounds too much, too little possibilities for adding effects or transitions. It’s just too limited.

So I googled a bit and tried Pinnacle Studio. What a difference!! For each clip you can add lot’s of effects, play with the clip sound or add additional music, brighten it, etc. The user interface took about half an hour to understand (maybe because I ignored the manual :)), but then it becomes all quite clear and logical. Still it was just my first movie and I have a lot to learn. But my next project is already coming closer. Next week I can start editing the Kilimanjaro movie.

My lesson learned…. sometimes it’s worth checking out other software and not being a typical lazy end user.

O, btw… putting video’s online in Google Video (using the desptop tool for uploading 100 MB+ movies) is not working for weeks already, so I put this on Vimeo. Normally I am quite fond of Google products, but this time I was surprised in a very positive way by Vimeo. It’s really easy to use, looks nicer and (most important) the movie quality is much higher!

O, and of course the end result: 

Bad software

Next year Metallica and Machinehead are coming to the Netherlands. Reason enough to buy a ticket.

So there I was, on a Saturday morning, a bit before 10, behind my laptop (yes, that early). Tickets could only be bought via Livenation, because they try stop illegal tickets on the black market and to give everybody a fair chance for buying tickets.

When it’s almost ten I use the F5 button a couple of times, and indeed at exaclty ten the “buy tickets” button appears. Clicking that opens a pop-up with a progress bar. There is a waiting line because a lot of people want to buy tickets. OK, nothing wrong so far. But it gets a bit frustrating if the progress bar jumps back and forward between almost full, to almost empy, slowly full again, back to half full, back to almost empty, etc. And this goes on for a complete hour. Yes, that long. Then all of a sudden a screen pops up telling me my browser settings are not correct. And if that would be true it would surprise me. Should I set my security settings so low all viruses and spyware from all over the internet are automatically redirected to my laptop? I don’t think so. But it’s not even true, because for other concert tickets this strange screen does not appear (I tried). Going again to the “buy tickets” button is not possible anymore…. all tickets are sold out.

And OK, I am in favor of buying stuff online…. but if you want to offer that as a company, you need software that is capable of that. At Livenation some people did something terribly wrong. The people who designed and build the system did not do a good job, it’s not capable of handling huge visitors at the same time. Besides somebody decide to exclusively sell tickets via livenation and to also promote that, so everybody would be online at the same time.

So Livenation sucks.

Gmail Goggles

I just read that Gmail has a new feature to prevent mail from being send when you are drunk or otherwise ‘instable’. It’s called Goggles. Once you turn it on you can set when you want it to work. When it’s working you have to fill in simple math problems before you can send the e-mail.

How stupid does Google think we are? Even if I head a couple of beers I am quite capable of doing some simple calculations, so this won’t work. Besides that… who only has one e-mail account? So if for some reason you can’t send the e-mail, you will use another account or send an SMS, etc.

What’s strange about this is the idea that Gmail is blocking people to send e-mails…. the main goal of using Gmail. So just stick to the main functionality and improve that. It would be the same as a bag of potato chips that won’t open around dinner time or a bar owner that kicks you because you have to go to work tomorrow…. Where is the personal responsibility in this case? A product that takes over responsibilty? So next year there will be somebody sueing Google, because the Goggles was not turned on while he was drunk. If you do something you are not happy with… just deal with it.

But I guess the main question is:
Why does Google want to know when people drink alcohol?

Single mobile calendar sucks

We moved to Exchange with all our mail accounts, calendars, etc in the Componence office. The main goal is to have one integrated solution (before we used thunderbird, outlook, gmail, intranet calendar, outlook calendar, etc) that’s also available on mobile.

And for mail… it works. It syncs very nice with my mobile (HP iPaq hw6915). I can really define which mails to download or not and how much to download. Also when to download, even schedule that. So that works as it’s supposed to.

For the calendar it works… but limited. In outlook you can create multiple calendars, which is nice, because I also have multiple calendars in google calendar, which I might want to move to outlook. But unfortunately only my main calendar can be synced to my mobile…. aaarghhhh (frustration). How hard can it be for Microsoft to support their own products????

My current solution:
Use google calendar which syncs my work calendar with exchange.
Use outlook for sending/receiving work related invites.

Wiki for documentation

The concept of Enterprise 2.0 is for a lot of people still difficult to grasp. The easiest way is by (keep on) giving examples. A nice example where Web 2.0 can be used in a business environment is the wiki.

Within Componence our product development isof course documenting Portletsuite. As a collaboration tool (our internal) wiki is used. Yesterday I heared about the decision to also grant access to some of our clients to this documentation in wiki. This means they will always be able to access the most up-to-date version without our people having to mail new documents each time there is an update.

It sounds so logical…. and it is.