Category Archives: Business / Technology

WordPress Reader: A favorite mobile app for grown-ups

WordPress Reader is a better choice for browsing a content news feed that matches one’s subject-matter interests.

Screen capture of the WordPress Reader application as presented on the desktop
Screen capture of the WordPress Reader application as presented on the desktop

I wasn’t alive during the time of prohibition, but I’m led to believe there were instances where the sign above the door didn’t necessarily jibe with the activities taking place inside the building. The WordPress mobile app and desktop website hide a similar secret.

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Coding text-based MMOG games in PHP and MySQL

I’m out of the professional coding world for ten years, but it hasn’t stopped me from creating a BBS-style online text adventure game in the spirit of TradeWars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon using PHP and MySQL.

Screen capture of a text-based, space exploration MMOG built using PHP and MySQL.
Screen capture of a text-based, space exploration MMOG built using PHP and MySQL.

I remember well the specs of my first brand-new PC in the fall of 1993 that cost me $3,000: an Intel 486DX processor with 8MB RAM, 340MB hard-drive, and a USRobotics 14.4K modem. With that PC came the joy of exploring local dial-up BBS systems, namely the Trenton NJ area It’s All Rock ‘N Roll and the online text adventure games the SysOp offered his members.

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Is SEO to blame for the recent trend of poor article substance?

I must have missed the memo informing writers that the tried and true adage, Write what you know was replaced in the last decade by Write to achieve SEO criteria. As a result, readers interested in learning more about a topic unknowingly consume watered-down content that lacks nuance, entertainment factor, and author’s voice in exchange for a few upticks in search engine rank.

Charcoal grill by Joery Bruijntjes is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Charcoal grill by Joery Bruijntjes is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, is basically about crafting a website’s content in a way that emphasizes the subject topic so that it appears higher in a search engine’s results, thereby increasing the probability the content will be found by readers.

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Disney or DMV: Our colleagues view us as a brand

Like it or not, our colleagues view their daily interactions with us similar to a corporate brand.  Here are five intentional behaviors I use to actively manage my personal brand.

Do you actively manage the brand you project? Plan Ahead by Oregon Department of Transportation is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Plan Ahead by Oregon Department of Transportation is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Several weeks ago I participated in multiple concurrent assignments where none ran smoothly according to my standards. I found myself frustrated with what was shaping up to be my new normal—my days consisting largely of redundant throwaway work and a greatly reduced operating efficiency.

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Goals and objectives can be strengthened with cross-functional peer reviews

The yearly goals and objectives (G&O) process in most organizations is often perceived by staff as a mundane HR activity required solely to support year-end performance appraisals. Here’s my thoughts as to how directors and managers can strengthen the process with cross-functional peer reviews.

Goals and Objectives. Climbers by Jaroslav Kuba is licenses under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Climbers by Jaroslav Kuba is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic

In my experience, the goals and objectives process is typically structured and communicated as a vertically-siloed exercise held between a supervisor and employee. Staff are asked to create tactical objectives to help achieve broader goals that cascade down from executives within a single department like I.T. or Finance.

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It’s possible to purchase 1 terabyte of online backup for $20

By no means am I a data pack-rat requiring vast needs of online backup. I’ve accumulated only 600 gigabytes of data over the past twenty years that consists mostly of photographs, edited home video projects, and miscellaneous Microsoft Office documents.

Blank USB Thumbdrives by Matt Robb is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Blank USB Thumbdrives by Matt Robb is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For years I shuffled these digital assets across multiple storage devices in my home. At some point I started to wonder, “What happens if my home catches fire or my external drive fails? This data is surely gone forever.  Should I investigate an online backup subscription?”

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Frequent Agile SaaS deployments are disrupting end-user value

Like most, I spent the recent year-end holidays reconnecting with family and friends over a tin of homemade Toll House chocolate chip cookies and non-fat cappuccinos. We laughed. We cried. We debated the merits of Agile SaaS deployments and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) delivery.

Agile SaaS Deployments. SML Books by See-ming Lee is licenses under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
SML Books by See-ming Lee is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

It began as an innocuous statement:

“Drive-thru windows at coffee shops. Call-ahead seating at chain restaurants. Online order pickup at big-box stores. Clearly we’re an impatient society. We know what we want. And even if we don’t, we want it now, anyway.”

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Change Management Training: Selecting the right employees to attend

Not every employee is the ideal candidate to attend formal change management training. This article presents a few considerations organized by role.

Change Management Training. Change by Conal Gallagher is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic
Change by Conal Gallagher is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ll always remember my first experience being on the receiving end of an enterprise software replacement project that occurred without a formal change management strategy. I had just returned from a week’s vacation and discovered the introduction, rollout, and three (and only three) software training sessions for the new system all occurred the week I was away. The system adoption results were abysmal.

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Calling Web Services within Microsoft Office via the SOAP protocol in the year 2013

In the early to mid-2000s Microsoft Corp. painted the world a beautiful picture of the ease at which one could exchange information across disparate systems, whether across the LAN or across the Internet.  The company simultaneously eased both Office users and professional developers into unfamiliar terminology like Web Services, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and XML.

A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Don’t worry about the new terminology, Microsoft told Office users (paraphrased).  With a few drag-and-drops and mouse clicks, we made it simple for you to call a web service with little to no coding experience.  You’re going to love how easy it is to push and pull data using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) within your Office files—namely Excel (paraphrased).

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Project labor demand prioritization in the PMO

Executive leadership just gave the go ahead for the PMO to  fire-up another project but it feels like staff is already over-capacity to take on more work.  Here’s how I built a lightweight, easy-to-sustain project labor demand solution using SharePoint and Excel to measure and prioritize project labor demand.

Drilldown project labor demand chart
Drilldown project labor demand chart

Does this sound familiar?

Let me take a shot at reading your mind:

Your executive leadership team just gave the go ahead to fire-up another project but it feels like your staff is already over-capacity to take on more work. That’s right—feels—a squishy, subjective term. The reality is you don’t currently have a compelling way to show leadership your project labor demand. You’d prefer to wait two months (or more) before taking on more projects but that pushback won’t fly without hard facts.

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