In Theres no such thing as the one-hour meeting, Jason Fried points out that a meeting of one hour with 5 people is a five hour meeting. I've had my share of frustrating time-wasting meetings, but there also are colleagues I'll meet with gladly because I know that we'll be productive.
In the MLP magazine FORUM, I found some basic hints how to make meetings successful. I wish everyone inviting me to meetings would have read them.
Preparation: Make clear the goal of the meeting. Define date and participants. Invite timely in writing. Prepare the room and visualization tools (e.g., flipchart).
Goal: Express goal and agenda clearly. Prioritize agenda items.
Time frame: Start punctual presenting the agenda. If the participants don't know each other, include an introduction round.
Participants: Define who has to participate necessarily and for whom a copy of the minutes suffices. Inform the participants in writing.
Moderation: The meeting leader takes on the moderation: he/she guides verbal contributions, attends to the time and structures the meeting.
Visualization: Use a flipchart to visualize the most important issues. That way, the course of the meeting can be followed.
Pauses: Long meetings need periodic pauses (at the latest after 90 or 120 minutes).
Disturbances: Switch off mobile phones. The meeting leader has to firmly moderate distinguishing behaviour. Trouble makers should be addressed directly without marginalizing them.
Summary: The meeting leader should summarize the results regularly, thus preventing misunderstandings.
Minutes: As soon as possible, participants should get copies of the meeting minutes including an exact action plan: Who is supposed to do what until when?
The Germans obviously are good in organizing and participating in the football Worldcup. But they suck in designing for it. At least, that's the opinion of Erik Spiekermann, one of Germany's most respected designers.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle,2144,2049898,00.html, he stated that both the mascot and the logo are a poor result typical for "too many cooks in the kitchen".
It's a shame because when people come in from the outside world they think this is how German designers are and for me, it's personally embarrassing. I want to go away and hide and pretend I'm a brain surgeon or something.
Every second website wants to know who you are. And we all know why. So what can you do to protect your identity from spreading around the web and your mailbox from getting flooded with even more spam?
Easy: invent fake data.
Even easier: the Fake Name Generator does it for you!
This web service not only invents a new name for you, it also provides you with residential data (US-based) with plausible zip code and phone number, and it creates a public mailinator mailbox where you can receive confirmation emails.
I just feel like being someone else today...
(If you haven't noticed yet, I'm cleaning up my "blog this" todo list.)
After purchasing the iPod nano, I had to get a few other accessories: the Ipodome protective overlays, the Sennheiser OMX 70, and the XtremeMac SportWrap. All are just great, so I thought of letting you know.
If the iPod Nano has one weakness, then it's that it's so prone to scratches. It's almost like even watching the thing gets it scratched! I researched all the options for protection and decided to get a Ipodome&products_id=495 foil. After all, what's the use of buying an Apple product and then hiding it in some silicone or leather case? ;-) The Ipodome foil wraps all around the Nano, so not only the display, but every surface (except the small ones with the hold switch and the connectors) is protected. I actually managed to apply the overlay correctly, so it's almost invisible and I can now show off my player in all its shine without worrying about the latter getting lost.
The original Apple earbuds may help in signalling Hey, I can afford an Apple player!", but if you care about wearing comfort and sound, there are better alternatives. Because I wanted to use the iPod while running, I chose the "Sennheiser OMX 70 sport headphones recommended by iLounge Since you wear them over your ears instead of inside your ears, they feel very comfortable even after having them on for hours. The cable is long enough to put the iPod wherever you want without risking of yanking it out by moving your head or torso. And the sound is just as you can expect from a Sennheiser product.
Since pants pockets are not the best place to put the iPod while running, I also bought the XtremeMac SportWrap It comes with two straps of different length, so you can strap your player either onto your biceps or onto your wrist. Since it's made of neoprene, skin irritation and sweat shouldn't be a problem.
Having written this, I realize that being part of the big iPod community really has its price, granted, but on the other hand also the big advantage of having a huge supply of experiences and recommendations helping you spend your money well. I hope my article adds to that.
Best Practical, the company behind the widely used trouble ticket system "Request Tracker", "RT" for short, added another productivity enhancer to their portfolio: Chia-liang Kao, developer of SVK, joined Best Practical as a partner.
SVK is a versioning system based on Subversion that allows distributed repositories. For example, you can pull a copy of the main repository onto your laptop, use that local repository while you're moving all over the world, and wherever you have internet access, you can synchronize your local repository with the main one.
Since SVK, like RT, is written in Perl, Best Practical enforces with that move its position as a small but successful business specialising in Perl-based productivity tools.