Tag Archives: experiment

Horn OK Please

No this is not about my upcoming trip to Bangalore in a few weeks but rather a very interesting project started by my friend Kartik. HORN OK PLEASE is an experiment with writing a book and all of this being done strictly using Social Media and online tools.

HOppers on the road!

This weekend Kartik begins the “off road” portion of the adventure and I’ll be following along here from Germany using various online tools in order to help them along their way and to also be able to report back to the world where they are, now one of the very interesting things they will be doing along the way is to meet up with young individuals along the way with interests in technology and talk about Social Media, Enterprise, Technology and of course Capgemini and SAP.

So here’s wishing Kartik the best and don’t worry I’ll be tracking and trying several of our BI On Demand tools to see if I can’t keep you alive :-)

Doing it for less…

Years ago it was all about how much, how big and how bright your “thing” was and money was flowing out of every IT shop in the world – it was also during this time that I was constantly looking at Open Source and any and every solution I could find to do my job that had a zero price tag on it. I was not always the most loved amongst my peer developers for that very reason – they wanted more, more and then some more. Upgrades, new licenses the newest tools.

Imagine what you can do though with so little?

“Three enterprising MIT students have successfully launched and retrieved a digital camera in order to snap photos of the earth from the upper atmosphere — and they did it all for under $150.”

(Via MIT students snap space photos of the earth with $40 Canon A470 | Digital Cameras & Camcorders | ZDNet.com.)

Or how about?

“There is, it turns out, a whole community of very smart folks out there on the internet perfecting the art of building DIY multi-touch surfaces. The process isn’t exactly simple, but the results we saw were stunning: multitouch surfaces with responsiveness rivaling Microsoft’s $12,000 offering, built in a garage on a shoestring budget. ‘Future UI article be damned,’ we thought, ‘we’ve gotta build one of these for ourselves.’”

(Via Build Your Own Multitouch Surface Computer – Page 1 | Maximum PC.)

I’m a huge fan of multi-touch surfaces and if I ever manage to find the time I’m going to try my hand at building one.

However back to my original point, creativity and freedom to be creative are the keys – enable that in your folks and there’s nothing they can’t accomplish – stifle and you stifle innovation.

I clearly remember years ago, one of my first big assignments in a company I just joined was to help the manufacturing department. They needed a database. They had no budget for it and they were not sure what exactly they needed but they needed “something” – I looked at my boss, he smiled and walked away. The other senior developers looked at me and said “welcome aboard”.

Being someone who decided that I’d rather “teach a person to fish” I thought of this brilliant scheme, err I mean plan to enable them to do their own application.

“Before I get ahead of myself let´s go back and look at each question individually. So onto the first question. ‘What is a user changeable application?’; in short this is a program that has it´s displays and functions controlled by the users who use the application. OK, before you ask is it smart to leave this in the hands of a user, let´s move on to the next two questions. ‘Why would a person want one?’; this is also answered very simply. A user wants one because they don´t have the time or money to keep a developer busy with this one application. Perhaps they need the developer to create several applications and their budget only allows them a short period for each application. All in all, everything sounds logical so far, right? Our third question, ‘Why would a developer make one?’, quite simply put, he has no choice, he is hired to do an application and therefore he has to make it. As a developer we all hate to work like that because we feel as though our experience is being pushed aside for the sake of a few dollars.”

(Via Friday Morning Report » Blog Archive » User Changeable Applications, Problems & Solutions.)

Companies like Zoho do this much better now but back then there was nothing other than Microsoft’s Access application and that didn’t work very well for them.

Had my boss never let me “go for it” I’d probably never have come up with the idea or given it a go so the next time you are thinking about something consider all your options and not just the one with the nice price tag (sometimes the one without a price tag is even nicer!)

Giving 24 hours…

It’s hard to believe that it was just 5 days ago that I sat down at my computer with 3 cameras hooked up and prepared myself to launch into a 24 hour long marathon for the Doctors without Borders. The idea spawned back in December and I finally picked a date and launched the blog and announcements on my show – I was ready!

The original goal picked was $500, and within 30 minutes $160 had been donated online and $200 offline and I had not even started the marathon yet. A few hours later I raised the goal to $2000 and decided to hope for the best. I had given myself a few weeks time from first announcement to actual live broadcast and thus began calling, im’ing, tweeting, and emailing folks to find others who might be interested in participating (to help take the load off of me and maybe give me a few minutes breaks here and there). The responses to help were immediate and the video clips and scheduling began!

It was an exciting time and many began to ask, “Why”? I did my best to answer this…

The Friday Morning Report, for it’s first ever 24 hour Marathon starting on April 23, 2009 at 15:00pm CET (Central Europe) has signed up to accept donations on behalf of Doctors without Borders. We look around the world we live in and realize that it’s not a perfect place, we know that it has problems and that we as a community need to be more aware of the problems and do what we can to help provide critical care to those living amid armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition and natural disasters around the world.

Thanks to our support, Doctors without Borders is at work right now saving the lives of women, men and children in more than 60 countries where people would otherwise not have access to medical care.

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support Doctors without Borders.

So join us during our 24 hour marathon and help make the world a little bit better and please take a moment to share your comments and thoughts of the show here for everyone to share in!

I even snagged a audio snippet sharing my thoughts as well,

Shortly before the planned event in February I suffered a back injury, yes I know many think I did it just to have a better understanding of how doctors work and all, but really it was a painful experience and was not until April that I was I able to reschedule and proceed with the marathon.

Again the excitement starting to grow, I mean just the idea of putting so much of yourself into any single event can be overwhelming as well as breathtaking. On top of that add the total support of family and friends, especially my wife, a huge thank you goes to my wife for supporting me and helping me make this happen. We discussed it for a long time, should I do it? Was giving money every year enough? What can we do more and how can we set a positive example for our growing children? Our final decision was for me to do what I spend so much time doing anyway, be online and do it for a good reason something more than my hobby, interest and career but to help those who are helping others.

The marathon I associated with my Friday Morning Report show, an experiment in technology and social networking in itself I’ve become very fond of doing the show and so it made sense to associate the two together.

The program developed as such,

15:00 – 15:30 Kicking it off and tuning in
15:30 – 16:00 Laying out the program and activities for the remaining 23 hours
16:00 – 17:00 Doctors without Borders, Who they are and what they do.
17:00 – 18:00 Girls Day
18:00 – 19:00 Sneak Peek – FlyCam
19:00 – 20:00 ASUG Simulcast – Community, CSR
20:00 – 21:00 smeepe
21:00 – 22:00 The Day of German Beer
22:00 – 23:00 Tom Raftery, GreenMonk, Sustainablity
23:00 – 00:00 Product Review: LiveScribe
00:00 – 01:00 Doctors without Borders, Who they are and what they do.
01:00 – 02:00 Earth Day 2009
02:00 – 03:00 ITSInsider interviews Tina Williamson – Women Worldwide
03:00 – 04:00 Product Review: Acer One Netbook
04:00 – 05:00 Geeks and all nighters
05:00 – 06:00 Doctors without Borders, Who they are and what they do.
06:00 – 07:00 Ginger Gatling, Our book and Doctors without Borders
07:00 – 08:00 Starting your day off positively
08:00 – 09:00 Using Tech to optimize your day
09:00 – 10:00 Homecamp crowd
10:00 – 11:00 Doctors without Borders, Who they are and what they do.
11:00 – 12:00
12:00 – 13:00
13:00 – 14:00
14:00 – 15:00 Where we stand, what we learned and who we meet!
15:00 Say goodnight!

I did my best to record each hour and capture it as we proceeded, however there were unfortunately a couple of times where the recording simply did not work but for the most part I managed to capture 23 hours of show, if anyone actually watches all 23 hours I’d love to hear how long it took you and what you thought.

Throughout the show I shared several links, videos and had several join me via remote video calls.

Almost becoming our official commercial during the show was this little piece from Jim Spath.

Of course what action would be complete without having it’s very own cartoon made about it? Thank you Blag!

Also throughout the show I made the point that if silly, irrelevant or even crass things can reach such unexpected heights within the various “social” tools we have available today why can things that need to be share not reach the same heights? Therefore we tried a little experiment, around 6pm (about 3 hours into the show) we picked a video from the Doctors without Borders from their YouTube site that had around 70’s, when then encouraged everyone to “tweet” about it and ask others to retweet it. As of writing this post it’s about doubled the number of views.

I also had two other videos made, both having made big impacts on the audience. The first was from Ginger Gatling about a new SAP book where each author has decided that all proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Doctors without Borders and the second was from Susan Scrupski and an interview she did with Tina Williamson from Women Worldwide (see Part 11).

Some of those that joined me via remote video were Abesh, Graham, Marilyn, Tom, James, Dennis, Chris, Andy and many many more! Some even wrote about my little adventure afterwards like Eddy. Many many more shared their thoughts on Twitter which @eventtrack tracked beautifully (it helped of course that I encouraged the use of the tag “fmr24”)!

In particular Jim (mentioned above) also organized a “simulcast” through ASUG which had roughly 40 participants. The setup was quite straightforward yet complex. My camera was pointed at my monitor which was logged into a remote session with Jim and I was dialed in via voice to his session as well. The end result was that both audiences were seeing the same presentation from Jim and both were hearing both myself and Jim – it was quite interesting and worked very well.

Broadcasting, as I mentioned earlier went very well, there were only 3 specific times that I had to break the “endless” broadcast and restart a process or two as my system got overloaded so viewing the stats of the show proved quite easy.

6:00am on Apr 23, 2009 until 9:14am on Apr 23, 2009
Broadcast Length: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Viewer Hours: 48 hours, 9 minutes
Unique Viwers: 82
Total Viewers: 172
Avg Viewers: 15.2

9:57am on Apr 23, 2009 until 8:53pm on Apr 23, 2009
Broadcast Length: 10 hours, 53 minutes
Viewer Hours: 195 hours, 32 minutes
Unique Viewers: 180
Total Viewers: 410
Avg Viewers: 18

8:59pm on Apr 23, 2009 until 6:04am on Apr 24, 2009
Broadcast Length: 9 hours, 1 minute
Viewer Hours: 182 hours, 33 minutes
Unique Viewers: 161
Total Viewers: 311
Avg. Viewers: 20.2

All of these activities generated (as of time of writing) $4,400.10 with many more offline donations I’ve yet to totally calculate. Not to mention how many actually took my show challenge and “dropped a coin” after each hour of watching?

The question that became apparent after spending the weekend offline and relaxing and recovering was, “did I achieve something?”, and I have to say that I achieved several things. I learned something about the technology I use, I learned something about people, about friends and associates, I learned something about my family and I certainly learned a lot about myself and at the same time I learned a lot about the world out there that I am often shielded from.

The question also arose on whether I and the Friday Morning Report would do this again, the answer is a clear and definite YES (just not so soon).

My plea from throughout the show as well as now is that everyone please take a few minutes from your day, week and/or month and share a story, link, video, etc. from a group or organization that is doing good in this world and share it with your own social networks.