Ben Langhinrichs

January, 2010
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Thu 28 Jan 2010, 08:54 AM
I am not a hardware geek.  Hardware and I repel each other, and always have.  I am also not an Apple fan (although not an Apple hater either  -- as I tend to say, I eat Macintosh apples).  But I have been known to have opinions even about those things that I do not know well.

So, my gut level response is to compare Microsoft with Apple.  Microsoft mostly releases new versions or new generations of software all still aimed at the same audience.  Windows 7 competes with Windows Vista which competes with Windows XP/2000.  Office 2010 competes with Office 2007 which competes with Office 2003.  On the business end, mail in a cloud competes with mail on a server which competes with earlier mail on a server.  Partly due to market dominance and partly due to company attitude, Microsoft is trying to satisfy and retain an audience,

Apple is a hardware/software/content blend rather than a software pure company, and it has larger competitors for its markets , but those only partly explain the difference in approach.  Apple tends to create new products to overlap and enlarge the audience. 

The iPhone had the advantages of the iPod with an integrated smart phone capability.  It appealed to people who wanted the coolest smart phone, and it opened up a market to a wide array of exclusive iPhone apps, but it also removed the need for an iPod for those people who wanted fewer devices to carry about.  It was aimed at the power users and geeks and business professionals who might not need quite the corporate Blackberry.  For example, many of my geek friends.  

The IPod Touch was introduced later to expand that to include pre-teens as well as, teens and adults who already had phones with cheaper plans.  For example, my 14 year-old son.  

The iPad was introduced to fill the need for those who didn't care about throwing the device in a pocket, but were intrigued by a) the "I have an app for that" mentality, b) the larger screen for older eyes, c) the use instead of a Kindle or other eBook reader, and d) the use instead of those small, inexpensive laptops (netbooks?  I'm not a hardware guy) that are springing up on planes and such.  So, less mobile, bigger screen for older eyes, use as eBook reader, use for simpler tasks while traveling.  For example, me.  

I can only conclude that Apple has actually built a device to appeal to me (and millions like me or with some of my characteristics).  And you know what, besides the dumb name, they've done pretty well.  I have seen no demos, read few articles and blogs, didn't watch the Steve Jobsarama, and yet:

a) I am intrigued by the apps now available on my sons iPod Touch, and can see myself using some of them;

b) I have been turned off by the iPod Touch because of its small screen, but find this interesting;

c) I have been pricing Kindles and such, since more of my published stories are coming out in eBook formats; and

d) I have been finding out more about those mini laptops on the plane, because the damn seats are too small, and I could type on those but not on my big laptop.

I could get all those needs in one place with a sexy interface?  You know, I just might spring for one of those iPads, and that is spoken as a person who has never bought an MP3 player, a smart phone or anything of the kind.  I think Apple may just have succeeded in expanding that audience base.

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 27 Jan 2010, 08:16 AM
College English classes spend lots of time analyzing works that the authors may or may not have wanted analyzed.  I generally hated the exercise, but often wondered what the authors would have felt at hearing the conclusions drawn.

Well, today I got a taste of it.  An on-line literary magazine called The Foundling Review posted a poem of mine, Another Badger, More or Less (one of my favorite poems, actually).  Each week, they post two stories and two poems.  It turns out that every once in a while, they ask a prominent writer or editor to critique that week's issue.  They did this for the current week, so Miriam Kotzin, professor, author and editor, gives her critique of the two stories and two poems, including mine. 

If you go to the link above and click on the left on the title you can read my poem, but if you click on the right where it refers to THIRD EYE - a current issue commentary, you can read what Miriam Kotzin thinks about my poem. It is a weird sensation, although I have to say I appreciate the compliment in the first sentence about my poem:
"We can only hope that Ben Langhinrichs will not confine his future writing to technical work. "
What author would mind that analysis?

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 19 Jan 2010, 11:11 AM
Refresh frequently if you want to se my new comments.

It is Tuesday, so I decided to go to my first session.  I chose NERD101 "Nerd Girl": The Panel's Revenge, partly because they are giving out buttons and partly because I know most of the women on the panel.  I will say that, despite the irony, I cringe a bit at the term Nerd Girl.  I have fought most of my life for women to be called women.  Sigh!

NERD101 "Nerd Girl": The Panel's Revenge (web link)
Speakers: Sandy Carter, Mary Beth Raven, Akiba Saeedi, Eileen Fitzgerald, Marie Scott, Gabriella Davis
SW Mockingbird - Tuesday  11:15am - 12:15pm

Anyway, I am sitting in the middle, wondering if any Disneybots will come in to escort me out for not having a badge.  My guess is that now that I am in, I am safe.

11:20 - Gab starts the questioning by asking why we need this session.  Isn't it just women deciding not to go into the field?

The answers are generally that women feel shut out by being the "one woman at the dinner".  It all starts in 5th or 6th grade when boys don't think "nerdy girls" are cool.

11:27 - Global implications of women in technology and business?

Some cultures have long histories of being male dominated (e.g., Latin America)

Francie talks about her process of starting a technology business on a small Caribbean island where the traditional culture doesn't encourage women-owned businesses.  The panel encourages women to blog and hold panels where they live to encourage and support other women.

11:35 - The strengths women bring to the technology business?

Communication skills, collaboration skills, social networking, conflict resolution, etc.  Panelists relate stories about how many men in tech companies are not really "customer-facing-ready", but also that as one of very few women in a company full of awkward men, it is hard to collaborate internally.

11:40 - What to do as a woman working at home with kids and no other professional women close by?

Advantages of blogging, Twitter, Facebook both for communicating with those far away and discovering those close by.

11:42 - Mentoring?  How to find other women mentors?  How to encourage mentoring?

Sandy Carter talks about having multiple mentors, often one or more women AND one or more men.  This gives different perspectives to help you understand how to deal with things.  She also talked about sponsors as well as mentors.  Mentors will spend more time working through things for you, but sponsors are more like advocates.  It is often helpful to have a male advocate or a higher-up woman advocate so that when opportunities and promotions are suggested, there is somebody to say "How about Mary Beth?  She might be perfect for this."  This helps break through some of the old boy's network.

Other panelists encourage people to ask, ask someone to be a mentor, ask for a seat at the table, etc.

Successful men and women treat networking as a priority.

11:50 - Finding the backbone?

Susan Bulloch talked about having female bosses vs. male bosses.

Woman from the audience asked about the difference between women in management vs. lower down.  Panel says that even high up, the rules feel different.

Gab talked about not being afraid the "B" word (as she put it)

11:55 - Find ways to challenge the tendency to ask the man, even if the woman knows more.  It is important to make it explicit if tis is going on.  Sometimes the man has to support the woman so that it is clear that both agree the woman is more of an expert.

The pre-talk off-line back conversation and agreements which makes going into the meeting work.

12:00 - Being part of the team.  

12:02 - Marie Scott talked about the power of finding her voice, writing her blog and learning to get out there and share her knowledge.  This year it led to speaking at Lotusphere, a book offer, etc.

They encourage women to blog, whether they are super technical or newbies or marketing or whatever.

12:05: Kristen Lauria talks about formal vs. informal mentors.  Finding people who are very different than you serve as good informal mentors.  Gab talks about the "voice of reason"

12:08 - Sensitivity to joking, teasing.  How to react when people make fun of women (or this session).  How to deal with "It was just a joke."  Gab talked about having long conversations about having Nerd girl sessions and how some meen found the whole thing silly.

12:11 - As a woman in IT, do you need to turn into a man?  Woman from the audience says No and that she is a speaker here now because she stayed true to herself.  Kristen Lauria says "You can't be successful if you are not true to yourself."

12:15 - Akiba - You can do anything you want to do.  Encourage your children, encourage your daughters.  Believing and communicating that belief is critical to womeen (or anyone) believing they can do it.

Respectful disagreement and debate are critical to getting a better result.

Somewhere in there, Sandy Carter talked about showing the practical, proven results of having women on the board.  Since results are what count, proving that having women improves the bottom line helps convince people.

And we're done.  Thanks for tuning in.

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 14 Jan 2010, 06:05 PM
As you start on your journeys to Orlando, here is the latest, most complete Lotusphere 2010 Sessions db.  It has sessions not listed on Lotusphere On-line, meetings that have been reported, etc. etc.  Members of the Penumbra Group have volunteered to keep track of changes, repeats that are added, new meetings/parties scheduled, so be sure to replicate every day while at Lotusphere to have the latest information at your fingertips.

Cheers!

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 13 Jan 2010, 04:17 PM
In the Dolphin in Europe 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be ten different sessions given on the Blackberry and Domino.  These sessions are listed in the Lotusphere sessions database, and should be downloadable from your Blackberry by tomorrow morning.  These include RIM108, which is probably the only session at Lotusphere given in the German language.

Session ID
Speaker
RIM101 Best Practices for BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0 for IBM Lotus DominoAdam Kawecki,Steven Williams
RIM102 BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0 Technical Deep DivePavel Shkolnikov
RIM103 Mobile Collaboration Tips & TricksMark Howden,Charles Schultz,Dan Harkins
RIM104 Domino Web Development for BlackBerry Browser and Introducing WidgetsPaul Steel,Michael Weitzel
RIM105 Moving Beyond Web Access with native BlackBerry ApplicationsJohn Mutter
RIM106 Leveraging RIM’s Early Adopter ProgramAndy Legg
RIM107 The Power of BlackBerry MobilityJennifer Stevenson
RIM108 Erfolgreich sein – mit der mobilen Stärke von BlackBerry [German]Patrick Michaelis
RIM109 BlackBerry IT Policies – What are they and how are they used?Paul Mooney,Gabriella Davis
RIM110 BlackBerry Mobile Voice System: Mobilize Unified Communications & Collaboration SolutionsJohn Cash

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 13 Jan 2010, 02:40 PM
I know, because I just added it.  There is a real session, but it doesn't show up on the Lotusphere On-Line system, so I thought I'd give it a little shout out.  Don't miss this wonderful opportunity. ladies.


BOF666 - The sign of the Nerd Girlz

Of course, the Lotusphere folks may still give it a different session id, in which case I guess I'll have to change it, but for now, I like the id this way.

Copyright © 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

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