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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Some quick work with the sharp knife and a pumpkin is now a Jack'o Lantern.
With both girls away this year at college, I get to have first crack at the pumpkin seeds.
Wishing a safe and fun Halloween to all with plenty of treats and no tricks.
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Vox - Private Conversations

Isn't this a bit of a contradiction?

Publishing a private conversation.

What is the advantage of this versus any number of email newsletter type options?

I don't quite get it but if I have some time, I will probably will get an account and see if it is any easier to use than Blogger given the stability issues recently. This may provide an alternative plan.

Has anyone used it? What do you think about it?

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Train Engineer Credited

As mentioned here, the train engineer has been given kudos for his quick thinking to minimize the severity of the accident that occurred last Monday.
The Boston Globe has an article today including an interview with Jeffrey Constantineau.
Maybe the MBTA will get around to acknowledging his efforts.
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Friday, October 27, 2006

We are Smarter Than Me

Interesting find today: We Are Smarter Than Me from the front page:
Be a part of a publishing revolution. Join thousands of professionals to co-author a book on the future rules of business based on the emergence of community and social networks.

A few books have recently been written on this topic, but they all fail to confront one central paradox. While they extol the power of communities, they were each written by only one person.

We're putting this paradox to the test by inviting hundreds of thousands of authors to contribute to this "network book" using today's technologies.

The book will be published by Pearson, and each contributor will be listed as an author of the book. All authors will will receive an equal vote on the distribution of book royalties to charity.

We're seeking from our authors real examples of companies who are trying — successfully, or unsuccessfully — to harness the power of "community." And we're looking to develop and share insights about why these approaches work or don't work; and what companies have to do to make them work better.

I think I'll keep an eye on this one. I did go and look at the registration page but they require more information than I would like to provide. For example, I would participate in this as an individual person and not as a representative of my company and yet company name is required.


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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Swing and a miss

Recall the accident on the Franklin commuter rail line that occurred on Monday . I happened to be working from home Tuesday and at another site on Wednesday, so when I sat down on the train today I was a little surprised to see the "standard" notification from MBCR. It took them two days to put this together. It looks like it could have been done in minutes. And yet it is missing two things I think a good customer service oriented organization would have.
For example, it does acknowledge the incident and says: "thank you for your patience and cooperation while we worked to meet your needs and to restart service for the evening." It also thanks the emergency responders and other organizations that helped during this time.
Curiously, it then says: "After the disruption to service, staff worked to remove the affected equipment from the scene, perform track repairs and replaced damaged signal equipment."
That's all - "staff"
Not, "our staff"
Not, "your dedicated staff"
Not, "any of the fill in the blank descriptive adjectives staff"
Just "staff".
And at least according to the published report (in the Boston Globe) and then the comments from commuters on the train (found on the Boston Globe web site ), the conductors and train engineer were remarkable in preventing more of an incident than it turned out to be. Oh, the train car itself was totaled but there were only 18 people with minor injuries.
One would think there might have been something said to these fine folks for their efforts in this incident.
But no.
Just the reference to the "staff" who cleaned up afterwards.
What do you think about this?
I think the MBTA missed a golden opportunity.
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Franklin Train Accident

This picture from Boston.com shows what happens when a flatbed truck gets stuck in the train crossing and a commuter rail train can't stop in time.

The road crests as the tracks cross it and the truck rode to low to the ground to clear the tracks without getting hung up. Once hung up, the train approaching around a curve had insufficient warning to stop.

Fortunately, the 18 injuries that occured were reported to be minor.

The Boston.com article can be found here.

I ride this line but was already in Boston at the time of this incident.

What I was surprised to see (well not really) is what the MBTA chose to put on their web site about this:

Forge Park/Franklin Line:
A bus shuttle is running between Forge Park and Franklin due to a medical emergency/police action in Franklin. Investigation is ongoing, please allow extra time for your commute or seek commuting options. This busing operation will continue through the evening rush hour on Monday.

All other Commuter Rail service is on or near schedule.

Strictly speaking this was a medical emergency with police action but come on, why can't you say what it really was? An accident that derailed a train!

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blue Blaze

Blue Blaze
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Managed to get out with Dolores for a hike in the woods last Sunday at a local state park. We followed the blue blaze, some material tied around the tree in this case. A blue triangle, pointing in the direction of travel in other cases. The trail was well marked and well worn. The leaves have not fallen such to cover it and make the ground all the same sheet so you could not figure out where to go.

What is your trail?
Do you have logical markers for where you are headed?

Or are you out there just blazing a new trail on your own?

Quote on Trust

From starbucker's Ramblings from a Glass Half Full comes this gem:
I should probably go back and count the number of times I've cited trust as an important element of leadership and life - I probably sound like a broken record. Nevertheless, that atmosphere I spoke of where fear is out of the room and honesty abounds is exactly the world I want to live in.

Read the full post and find "The Seven most Important Words"

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"... the only medium that can make you blush in the dark ..."

And what might that be?
Come on, use your thinking cap!
Oh, yea - radio!
Check out Herny Jenkins post on this. It is part of an interview with Sean Cole.
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Innovation more than ideas!

The problem with innovation is rarely finding ideas: ideas are easy. Instead its finding someone in power with the conviction to take risks and empower creative teams.
Read the full posting on Why Innovations Fail?
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Milford Regional Medical Center impresses

So often one only hears of the bad service events. I had a good one today and want to share it.

If you have been following my running, you know that I have developed something of a knee problem. It actually started when kneeling at church (of all places) and not running but it still is a problem that I am having checked out. I called my physician last week to get the name of someone to see. The doctor is in sports medicine so that is good. He requires x-rays before the visit which makes sense so I called the local hospital "pre-registration" line today.

Their database is good and quick. She validated some information, confirmed I had not been there for almost two years, and applauded that. She said I must be doing something right.


Then she asked when it would be convenient to come in and mentioned their hours. They are open until 9:00 PM each night so rather than wait any longer I said let's do it tonight.

I went there arriving just after 7:00 PM. Check in was easy. She found my records in the system, printed out a disclosure form to sign and that was it for the paper work. Take a seat please.

Good Eats was on the TV in the waiting room so I did not bother to crack the book I had brought. It finished and UnWrapped just about got into some Italian foods when I got called to go in. A few minutes later the x-rays are done and I am walking out. I drove home and arrived about 90 minutes total round trip. I spent more time on the drive each way than I did in the waiting room and x-ray table combined.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Franklin color

Franklin color
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Some of the spectacular New England foliage color can be found in your own backyard.

These houses along Union Avenue in Franklin are the case in point this weekend.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

PodCamp video made it to ze frank

All the sports racers got to see the output of the Steve Garfield PodCamp session when it was used as the second clip to start the ze frank show on Friday.
Oh, yea, you might recognize the crazy guy in the white shirt, back left, as part of the wings!
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Friday, October 13, 2006

ze frank rocks!

Yes, in more ways than one! Check out Thursday's episode and you find a cute parody of the current political landscape done with rocks on the seashore.
Yes, ze rocks!
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dilbert on Failure

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert writes about failure:

I heard a useful rule about predicting success during my (failed) attempt at creating a hit Dilbert animated TV show. While watching the Dilbert pilot being tested on a focus group, an experienced executive explained to me the most non-intuitive way to predict success. Since then I’ve observed it to be true a number of times. It goes like this:

If everyone exposed to a product likes it, the product will not succeed.

Think about that for a minute before I explain why everyone liking something predicts failure. If you get this answer right, I’m guessing that you are already successful yourself. Tell me in the comments if I’m right about that.

Read the full posting by Scott.

It may help you be successful!


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DiVita & Peters: Together on Women Marketing Power

Yvonne DiVita writes an open note to Fortune magazine about an article of theirs that hypes women making inroads in major corporations but missing the many women at the smaller companies who make in fact be making more of an impact.

As far as I can see, you're trying to play nice in an area that is growing exponentially - the small business arena for women. But, the real small business owners aren't there. Certainly, not the ones I know - and I know a lot of them. I wanted to participate but... I can't even get anyone at Fortune to answer my emails. Hundreds, no, thousands, of women like me would LOVE to converge on Las Vegas or Houston or NYC to attend a business conference that addresses OUR issues. We aren't doing it because - you aren't including us in your plans or vision. You're into this global thing - which is good - but, you're ignoring a vast resource right here at home.

Be sure to read the full posting, she gets going in this excerpt but doesn't stop just yet.

Tom Peters writes

I insisted that anything short of Fundamental Strategic Re-alignment around the women-boomer-geezer opportunity was, well, stupid. Stupid. Negligent. Whatever.

I've changed my "women's thing" lately—added a third leg to my argument's stool. In the past I've featured (1) women's purchasing power and (2) the attendant need for women's increased leadership role.  ... Hence the "third leg" of my stool is rapidly growing Women's Control of the World Economy.

Be sure to read the rest of Tom's post he is not yet done!

They must be on to something!

What are you doing in your marketing arena? Are you engaging women appropriately?


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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

10, 10, 10, rates an 11!

Greg Balanko-Dickson writes today, on the 10th day, of the 10th month, about 10 things he learned in September.

He incorporates some podcasts into the posting that make the reading all the more rich and wonderful. He also has some music as part of his podcasts. Nothing like a little piano; the image of the pianist, caressing the keys to help the words find their place within ourselves as we digest the material.

Read (and listen) to Greg today!

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Monday, October 09, 2006

You can't

That is right. "You can't." Harsh words for a democratic society to adjust to but the stats tell the story.
What stats?
Jakob Nielsen publishes the Alertbox weekly with his insights on usability. This week's headline reads:
His summary states:
In most online systems, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.
Less than 1%!
You'll need to read the full posting to get the real details. But yes, as bad as that is it gets worse.
How can it get worse?
You can not overcome participation inequality! You can't.

The first step to dealing with participation inequality is to recognize that it will always be with us. It's existed in every online community and multi-user service that has ever been studied.

Your only real choice here is in how you shape the inequality curve's angle.

Pretty harsh. I need to re-read his message a few times.

What do you think?


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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Podcasting Jobs

Yes, podcasting seems to be a hot market! Leesa Barnes, in Toronto, who came down to PodCamp Boston is looking for help.

If you have the skills, this may be the door for you!

Check out her posting at Podonomics.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

See you can do it!

As part of the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network (JJLN), that was just launched this month I posted a pair of entries; one written and one audio. I created them Monday night and actually pushed them to production early Tuesday morning before going to work. At work that morning, going through email, I come upon this item in the IWDaily newsletter:

Tom Olzak is unusual among today's 390,000 IT managers in the United States. The director of IT security at HCR Manor Care goes out of his way to share his knowledge about IT security to anyone who'll listen. Olzak blogs, writes security technical papers, podcasts, and earlier this year self-published a book, Just Enough Security: Information Security for Business Managers.

Olzak's outreach crusade, in turn, puts him in touch with others in his field who share their insights on IT security. "One of the most valuable things I get is those interactions I have with people who respond to something I've written," Olzak says. "Maybe I didn't think of something, or maybe I didn't see it the same way they did. That helps to enrich my knowledge about whatever I wrote about."

Olzak is taking charge of his own career in a changing business environment. As described in our lead feature coming up on Monday, IT management positions are replacing staff jobs. IT managers are spending more time managing projects and other people, and less time managing technology. IT management jobs in the U.S. have jumped 44% since 2001, while programming and support jobs have declined 19%.

Yes, this is one of the prime reasons behind my involvement in the JJLN effort. I have for the past 25 years worked in IT in one role or another. I have no desire for a book. I would prefer to collaborate, creating a sharing and learning environment. There is so much that each of us can bring to the table. We need to be able to feel comfortable in sharing. We need to be willing to learn. Creating that kind of environment is what I'd like to help do with JJLN.

Oh, and apparently one of the side benefits is (bold for my emphasis):

Sharing information with others is a key technique to advance an IT managerial career, says Gerry Crispin, principal of career management firm CareerXroads. It's a sign of a leader.

Read the full IW posting by Eric Chabrow here.

Then come on over and join us at JJLN!

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Side View

DodgePoetry_Day4 024
Originally uploaded by

I caught up to the rain on the northeast side of Hartford along Interstate 84.

I had loaded the passenger seat with instrumental CD's to play on the way.

The drive was relatively easy. No traffic to speak off until I hit the toll booths at the MA Turnpike. It was slow going until after the Route 290 exit when the traffic finally sorted itself out and began moving at something close to the speed limit.

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Approaching the Tappan Zee

DodgePoetry_Day4 022
Originally uploaded by

The clouds ahead were magnificent. Multiple layers. They had cleared out of NJ and were racing through NY headed to CT and MA.

I was up early to catch the Coleman Barks/Robert Bly "Early Morning Rumi", followed by "East/West Rumi" sessions in the morning.

Coleman and Robert were accompanied by David Dahling (cello), Steve Gorn (flutes) and Glen Velez (percussion).

After the levels of ecstasy reached within the tent, it was only fitting to see sunlight outside.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

There is something wrong here

It says "Wear elastic waist pants"

No wonder we have a problem with weight!

Bill board seen along Route 91 northbound to Harford, CT. today.