Sunday, December 6, 2009

Multi Media Mogul

For some time I've had a web cam and also a cannon PowerShot that also does web video recording. Sure it's fun to play around with them, but why not put them to use as a business tool? So here is a short introductory video to introduce myself and promote my software consulting business. I've also created some screen casts that demos my base library the I use when starting new projects.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hope you all have a Rockwell Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video Production Rewind

The new online video demos have gone well. Camtasia screen capture and editing software is great, it has a bunch of features yet to be tried. There are cheaper alternatives but if they are missing features or are not well documented then then savings will be lost in time costs. I do hope this effort has some benefits. One thing that is now possible is training videos instead of the traditional printed documentation that nobody reads. The experience has been very empowering, and is also a great creative outlet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Web 2.0

One of the problems to overcome when you are self-employed is that of setting direction and choosing which of those options take priority. When clients, friends and family make demand this is not a issue but in between when you have some extra time you have to choose which of a million possibilities are the most worthwhile.

Web 2.0 is exploding and now just knowing what is being offered can take a chuck out of your day. My current goal is to update the long ignored Quixor web site with a demo of some recent projects. Now in addition to traditional text with static screen shots it is possible to add audio and video to show the application in use. YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook then provide the channels to push the results into the marketplace. What works best should reveal itself over time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Straight Talk Phone Service

Monday I was able to activate my account via a phone call with few problems. My old cell number was transferred and now the only real problem is keying in my contact numbers into the new phone. Unfortunately there is no standard, automated way to do this as far as I know. The web service was able to connect but with such a small screen I'm not sure how much use it will get. But at the moment I'm happy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Straight Talk Phone Service

My experience at the Verizon store left me cold so when I found this new phone service called StraightTalk at Walmart that had one plan for $30 and another unlimited for $45 it seemed too good to be true. So far that is exactly the case. How can a world-wide retailer launch a new service with an activation web page that greets you with:

A chanel exception has occurred:
No block found given name.

The Sign In/My Account page tells me that it is still under construction, but I can activate or refill on the other pages. I might expect this from little Jimmy down the street who tries his hand at web building. Don't worry though, they also offer telephone activation. But this just provided a recording telling me no one is available and I should "check back later." Come on Walmart, this is not the way to launch a new cell phone service.

More to come when and if this is resolved.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Google Docs

Google Docs now offers a way to share folders as well as documents. This is great since it offers a free way to collaborate with anyone by offer both storage and basic applications via the web. For free!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Happens When a Town Loses Its Newspaper?

The way it looks today, the newspapers are going the way of the telegraph. As a
daily reader of the Akron Beacon Journal I'm somewhat divided about this fact. 
We need independent and accountable reporting in our cities to keep tabs on the
mob. And by mob I mean the organized crime syndicate we call government.

The Internet is certainly responsible for taking a big bite out of newspaper
circulation, but is this bad? Both printed paper and the Internet are mediums
of communication. One medium requires big printing plants, trucks, drivers,
printers and a whole bunch of dead trees. The other computers, electricity and
some wire that serves other purposes as well. Here is a quick review of these
two delivery systems.

Online Advantages:
* Online is significantly more eco-friendly than print.
* Online stories can appear in seconds, print can take up to 24 hours.
* Readers can publish editorials with print, but online offers ongoing dialogs
on a specific topic.
* Online can contain instant links to related video and audio.
* You can instantly look up a word or name that you don't recognize.
* You can read stories written by someone in Australia as easily as your home

Newsprint Advantages:
* you can read the newspaper anywhere you go, in a restaurant for example.
* Newspapers can be saved for archival purposes.
* You can use newsprint as a drop cloth or bird cage liner.
* Newspaper is good for staring wood fires.

Print clearly has the comedic advantage here, but it's actually the portability
factor that makes print still relevant to me.

Overall the writing is on the wall. Newspapers are on the way out, but not the
purpose they serve. We absolutely need local news reporting, particularly
investigative reporting of government. But still, what will I read at the
dinner table?

Here is a new media story from and old media source:,8599,1886826,00.html

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saturdays meeting of Web Development SIG was full of info about using and managing web-based social networking tools to help promote your business.  Marc Majers claims that at his  job at the  Cleveland Institute of Art he spends approximately two hours a day working managing his content.  

What was most usefull to me (althought I have not yet tried them out) was the availability of three meta tools that allow you to manage all the resources from a central site.

More after I've had a chance to try them out, Mark seemed found of

Twitter has now moved from a person-to-person contact tool to one that businesses use to publish updates to potential customers.  The important thing to remember is, that unlike email with it's huge spam problem,  anyone who abuses the people on their follow list will soon find that no one is listening.  As a business owner you had better limit your tweets and really offer something of value when you post.

Maintianing consistant periodic contact is important, otherwise you will be de-listed from the networking sites.  Two attendess also identified themselves at marketers and seemed to perk up most with regard to Twitter.    I've recently started using a new Twitter client called blu myself, but Tweetdeck seems like it would be best for maintaining huge lists of subscribed accounts. 

Like all marketing methods you have to experment to find what provides the best bang for the buck; or maybe it's just the best bang for the keystroke.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Access for the Masses

The other day a developer friend mentioned that the Access 2007 runtime is available as a free download. The last time I looked into the runtime (2003 version) it was packaged as a Visual Studio add-on and was rather pricey. The new wizard-based package builder was was simple to install and the entire process of making a deployable Access application was super-easy taking only a few minutes to create. Not all of the latest changes to Access have been to my liking, but Microsoft got this part right.