• Using CRM methods in missionary work

    I couldn't help but smile when I read Simon Cozens' blog entry Missionary contact management with OS X He's a christian missionary and he recently noticed that his work is nothing other than Customer Relationship Management. Being also a known Perl hacker (and obviously a geek, too), he started combining tools to build his own contact and prayer management.

    The first step was adding the fields "last contacted" and "last prayed for" to his address book. With some programming (using mainly the Mac::Glue Perl module), his calendar schedules a new contact with or prayer for a certain person when the duration since the last one reached a certain length. After an email actually is sent out, a Skype contact had been established or when Simon confirms having prayed for a person, the respective address book fields get updated. If his misses a due prayer, it gets scheduled again the next day.

    This may seem geeky, but it's efficient. It's "Getting Things Done" in missionary work, leaving Simon the time necessary to do his important tasks: communicating and praying. It's exactly like I would like it to work.

  • Apple's swiss army phone

    Well, it seems that I was wrong. The iPhone actually is worth the hype. It's not just a smart phone. It's a genius phone. It's...

    ...everything you need it to be:


    Well, almost.

  • Using UMTS from Ubuntu Linux

    Everytime I go on my daily commute, I see people with blinking UMTS/3G cards in their laptops. Because I enjoy using my commute time to reduce my to-do lists, but on the other hand many of my tasks require internet access, I've been rather envious on their connectivity. When I had SUSE 10.0 on my laptop, I couldn't get it to work with my Nokia E61, so I started phantasizing about how a MacBook would improve my mobile productivity.

    Having installed Kubuntu 6.06 now, I thought I'd give it another try last week. Et voila: after about half an hour of configuration, the 3G arrows on my smartphone started blinking! (Now guess where I wrote today's first blog entries.)

    I'm happy. (Even if there's no real reason to get a MacBook any more.) And to make others happy, too, I updated the most-visited page on my website, my BlueTooth on Linux HOWTO I kept it in german because there's not as much documentation in my native language than there is in English.

  • How to keep geeks motivated

    Keeping a team motivated is one of the most important and sometimes most difficult tasks of leadership. I don't like saying "motivating a team" because you actually can't motivate people. People have to motivate themselves. But a manager can help a lot so that his subordinates don't have such a hard time getting there.

    In IT management, you lead a special kind of employees: geeks. Some managers find it difficult to understand those IT guys and their ways of thinking and acting. But the Retrospector found some common aspects that managers better keep an eye on. He titled his blog entry Top 10 Ways to Motivate Geeks, which I want to rephrase (for the reasons mentioned above) "Top 10 ways how to keep geeks motivated". The 10 things to give them are:

    Opportunities to learn

    Room to figure out things on their own

    A chance to be creative

    Good tools

    The right level of privacy

    Free stuff like t-shirts or food

    A certain amount of control

    Recognition where credit is due

    Freedom to choose and decide

    A proper compensation

    From my experience, those really are important aspects in managing geeks, but you have to keep all of them in mind. Free stuff alone won't be enough to maintain a team's asskickingness.

  • Another year of sequels

    2007 will again be full of new movies. Well, sequels of new movies at least.

    There's Spiderman 3, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Shrek 3 and many others. If you want a roundup, take a look at Andy's summary of 2007's sequels (german).

    Well, I like great sequels better than crappy new flicks, but come on movie makers, there's that thing called creativity, you know?