Since I came back in the training business a year ago or so, I decided to drop the traditional slideware stuff * for a more 21st Century stylish method : use the Web 2.0 gear such as YouTube for tutorial videos, Picasa for real world photos, and more recently Facebook for post-training social and collaborative networking (note : all free apps, as I want to keep the learning materials costs as low as possible for the customers).
However, whilst going whole online digital is nice because it's hype, I still need a paper board to explain a lot of things, which a video clip will never replace (except perhaps those made by the folks at CommonCraft).
I love paperboards : it forces you to go crisp & clear, splitting your explanations into simple/one-page explanations - as Twitter forces you to write a message in less than 160 characters. Over the last 15 years that I was delivering training courses and sales seminars, I've collected lots of my paper rolls, for me to keep record of the interesting discussions with the attendees.
Of course, bringing a paperboard roll back home works fine when you travel by car, but it's a bit more tricky when you fly. Thanks to Apple, this issue is over. I now capture all the relevant stuff with my iPhone, and upload it on the MacBook right away. That makes the paperboard digital ;-)
* note : I'm thinking of using cartoons such as this one to explain and share complex stuff in the next future.
So-derle, the Green Fiber Evangelist' video collection got a huge success last week at the training I was delivering to a french telco. For the second time since a quarter of century, I haven't used a single slide as my fiber optics training materials but a web page.
The first time I used a navigator instead of M$ PowerPoint was back in 1996, when my friend Didier Boucher and myself were touring France to evangelize installers and end-users. By then, Netscape Navigator was our best companion, displaying the html pages I created with GoLive and the likes.
Last week, Firefox 3.0 beta and the amazing add-on PicLens were on the party. Thanks to the Internet. Means, thanks to the connection to the Internet. Because, unlike 12 years ago when all the html and jpeg files forming my presentations were on my Mac's hard-disk, today the whole stuff is... on the Cloud. YouTube, Picasaweb, Facebook, etc. : they're all online.
That's the bad thing when you're a connected guy like myself : you do rely a lot on the Internet. It strucked me the hard way this morning, when I was to go on the Green Fiber Evangelist blog to start the training session I'm delivering this week at a large install company : got no LAN connection to start with, hence no Internet connection, hence no online videos, hence no *live* training materials.
Then, the IT guy came to the rescue after lunch, to give me the IP address, DNS servers, proxy settings things to help my Mac go online. It worked, except for one little tiny detail : this company forbids some websites, among which... YouTube. Bye-bye the Green Fiber Evangelist blog (at least for the rest of the week here ;-)
This is kind of weird : a 6,000 employees firm who wants to penetrate the optical networks installation & maintenance business don't authorize ubiquitous access to the Net. By the way, only 600 (six hundred) people out of those 6,000 have an email address. 10%. Who don't even get access to the most popular websites in the world. As my dear former boss Robert is used to say : "there is room for improvement" !
Anyway, Accor hotels do provide free WiFi to their guests. So, thanks to Accor (and Orange), I'm posting this text from my hotel room. After an hour or so spent on downloading all the Green Fiber Evangelist videos on my Mac, with TubeTV.
That's the lesson of the day : never rely too much on the Net. Download vids and pics and copy them on a USB key before going to the customer. And start evangelize people : you need an internet connection to get on the Cloud ;-)
Why spend time on training course slides and notes design and edition, when everything you need is available on the Net ? Provided that people better remind images rather than text, YouTube is one of the new companions of the teachers, trainers, and instructors of all kind, together with Wikipedia and a few other Web 2.0 tools.
Here's a collection of videos I've put together for fiber optics training - most are in english, some are in french. Enjoy, and feel free to use. The playlist is available here.
I've revamped the Fiber On Demand blog. Was a matter of a few clicks only, thanks to Yahoo!Pipes (see the features in the previous post). Aggregating content from different sources onto a single web page has never been so easy.
Just missing a 3D/whirling/magnifying carousel, which will be available in a next release I guess.
I've updated the FiberNews site.
After a few months out in the wild space of the blogosphere, it was time for a first revamp.
First modification : more news, coming from more online resources - adding RSS feeds with Yahoo!Pipes is just a matter a seconds.
Second modification, thanks to the new "Get a Badge" feature : replacement of the Google Map mashup by the Yahoo Map, directly from Pipes. Just outstanding. It's mashup for the rest of us.
You can visit FiberNews here.
Add the FiberNews as a badge on your own site, or get the RSS feed, JSON, PHP, KML and more - including getting the results by email or phone - here.
My public pipes are available here. Feel free to copy, paste, and use.
Immediate translation of instant messages. You do nothing differently — IM-Translate™ integrates seamlessly into your existing IM application — just type as usual. Forget copy, pasting or jumping back and forth to a web-based translator. Your buddy receives your message plus a translation — instantly. You see the translation of the text you typed. You also receive your buddy’s messages in both languages. Free! — Downloads in seconds with broadband.
First IM app targeted : Windows Live Messenger, aka MSN.
As I told my friend Georges, CTO of IM-T, they should release a Mac version as quickly as possible, since Mac users are more suited for beta testing campaigns : we love giving feedback, for the developers to enhance their products.
Also in the pipe : the app for Google.
Interesting : IM-T is formed by... US citizens and registered in... France, for some legal and market issues.
IM-T is a typical Web 2.0 start-up : of the six co-founders and team members, nobody knows more than two others face-to-face. They never met altogether so far ! Their collaborative tools : Google, Skype, and email.
One of the founders is my old buddy Georges Pantanelli. A french High-Tech industry veteran, who relocated to the US in the 90's. Georges got his american passport two years ago, in San Francisco. The lesson : in California, everything is possible for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit.
IM-Translate site and download here.
Google did it again. A true breakthrough online app, which is set to be the next revolution in the Internet mattress - ooops, sorry, matters. See here for more details.
See here. The Flip is a brand new camcorder made by Pure Digital Technologies "for the rest of us".
Simple, easy to use, and just enough features for 80% of the population. On top, the Flip is pretty much affordable for most of us (at Agilent, I've learned not to say "cheap" ;-).
Definitely a gadget that could have been designed by Apple. Which, I suppose, has served as a model for the definition and creation of The Flip.
Wired Magazine has published an excellent article on Apple : "How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong". A must read, including the Evil/Genius and Online Extras side articles.
For an Applemaniac, Jobsian Fanatic like myself, those type of readings just confirm what we already presume on the Product Marketing & Industrial Design way at Apple (at least since Jobs' s return in 1997).
It also raises three questions in my mind :
1. when even a pure self-made man like me can understand quite a bit of the underlying long term strategy and the tactics at Apple, why the heck no other company is applying the same methods ? Can you think of another name, in any other industry, with this level of perfection in Industrial Design and Marketing at large ? Maybe Trek ? Or maybe I'm too much Apple-branded that I'm too blind to see outside the Reality Distorsion Field !
2. why can't we French people enjoy the beauty of an AppleStore, whilst the Mac/iPod/iPhone/iLoveIt maker is to open a superstore in rainy Liverpool ? Is there something we Frenchies don't get about Apple and/or Steve Jobs ? Hey, we've bought into the iPhone hype - even restaurants' s maîtres d'hôtel have iPhone now.
3. the last yet most important : when will I get a job at Apple ? ;-)
See by yourself...
[UPDATED 03-19-08 2:25PM CET] The video is no longer available on YouTube. That's the beauty of Web 2.0 and Rights Management ;-)
Back at home after being on the road (and in the air, and on the Southern Alpes slopes), I took a couple of hours this morning to watch the recent introduction of the iPhone SDK by Steve Jobs and his fellow Apple execs.
You'll get a flavor of the impact of the iPhone Software Roadmap by reading those two articles, from David Pogue for The New York Times here, and Mike Elgan for ComputerWorld here.
Quote Master Pogue : " iPhone 2.0 will turn this phone into an engineering tool, a game console, a free-calls Skype phone, a business tool, a dating service, an e-book reader, a chat room, a database, an Etch-a-Sketch…and that’s on Day One."
To better understand why the iPhone 2.0 is THE Revolution many of us were waiting for, just watch Scott Forestall, VP iPhone Software, demonstrating one of the most exciting new features of the platform, based on the built-in 3D-accelerometer : undo a photo edition by... shaking the iPhone (demo starts at 39:30).
After seeing this, you'll get a better picture of Apple' s Hardware roadmap : the next gen iMac will be multi-touch based. Then, you'll agree with Elgan : the iPhone will change the PC world, forever.
Back from San Diego, I had a meeting yesterday night in Paris with the VP Sales & Marketing of a new startup working on some *fiber network monitoring* stuff. I can't disclose anything of course, just that it's about Fiber-To-The-Home.
Things we've discussed until late in the evening were on the forthcoming changes in the optical comms industry per se and our own lives.
Like this one : thanks to FTTH and 40G/100G/etc. networks, we're going to be "online" everywhere anytime, with our entire "life" relying on *The Net*. Fine.
Now, since we'll do everything - working, watching TV, training, sharing life, etc. - through a single fiber strand, this one better stay up and running 24/7 : we won't accept being cut off for 2 days until the Repair guys come in. Hence the need for monitoring systems, which would look after the faults on the fiber right up to our living room.
A tremendous challenge, provided the numerous FTTx networks topologies and technologies. A challenge which requires to think out of the box. Something the legacy Test & Measurement firms can't do. Something a well funded startup can do. How much do they need ? $5m. Which is not that much for a solution which will help change the World (because it'll guarantee your fiber stays okay).
Ed. note : French world-famous blogger Loic Lemeur got $6m for his Web 2.0 video-sharing platform. Raising $1m less to produce something which really serves the World shouldn't be that much a problem. At least in a perfect World...
Read on MacDailyNews :
"An Apple iPhone or iPod Touch will become a central part of Abilene Christian University's innovative learning experience this fall when all freshmen are provided one of these converged media devices, said Phil Schubert, ACU executive vice president.
At ACU - the first university in the nation to provide these cutting-edge media devices to its incoming class - freshmen will use the iPhones or iPod Touches to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors' offices, and check their meal and account balances - among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed, said ACU Chief Information Officer Kevin Roberts."
What if you could get trained on fiber cable installation right at your place, right on the field ? No more wasted time in transports, no more painful lecture training in a classroom far from your home, no more hands-on practice on a table. Just a time-saving, practical, productive training.
That is what eXperide is to provide : quick-start on-site hands-on training for installation & maintenance contractors, enabling technicians to get up-to-speed faster and better.
I won't disclose everything of course - although I'm quite proud of the marketing & sales strategy the team has put together - but here's a brief overview of the tools eXperide will bring to its fellow customers sometime this year :
- pre-equipped mobil-home trucks, sporting ready-to-use workstations for hands-on training (cable preparation, splicing, and testing);
- pre-loaded iPhone and/or iPod Touch, with e-learning materials (e.g. podcasts and videos) and direct access to eXperide' s technical support;
- discussion forums and weblogs, for people to share their best practices and experiences.
Quite an exciting one, right ? Then, stay tuned for more ;-)
As a presenter who like to travel light - I'm a bit tired of opening up my laptop at each and every security check in the airports (even if it's a MacBook), I'm currently testing a new way to rehearse and do presentations whilst on the road (or in the air).
Here's the 7-steps process :
1. with Apple' Keynote, create the simplest slides set possible, following Guy Kawasaki' s 10/20/30 rule and Garr Reynolds' s Zen approach,
2. export the Keynote file to both Powerpoint and Acrobat file formats,
3. upload the three files onto Zoho Projects,
4. import the PPT file into Zoho Show,
5. send the PDF file to myself on my .Mac account,
6. copy the three files on my favorite USB key,
7. check the availability and integrity of all those files (takes a few minutes only).
Then, I can :
a) access the slides from anywhere in the World, thanks to the Web 2.0.
b) download the PDF onto any PC or Mac once on site.
c) review the slides on my iPhone.
The latest proves to be the most interesting part of the experiment. For instance, I can rehearse my presentation in the airplane, without needing to grab my MacBook. Also, I don't fear intrusive eyes from the guy next seat, see what I mean ?
* " in the air ", not : " on the Air " ;-)
"Plusmo's mobile widgets application is a cool way to read RSS feeds on your cell phone or PDA, but that's not the only reason it was named a finalist on the Webware 100 list.
In true Webware fashion, Plusmo's site offers hands-on excitement--the chance to publish and share widget mash-ups and create an iPhone widget from templates. Users can also make personal blogs available as a Plusmo widget, and can install a browser bookmarklet or Yahoo plug-in to snag feeds while they surf."
When you think about it, Fiber-To-The-Home is the ultimate experience for outside plant technicians. For the first time ever, those folks are working right in front of the end-user.
That implies a lot of new behavior for the OSP people, as they are kind of the front-desk of the service provider. To make it short : the guy who's installing the fiber at the subscriber' s place is also the ISP' s sales rep.
Hence the need for coaching the OSP technicians to customer-facing situations. Be the best sales rep. That's quite an interesting challenge, for both the trainers and the installers themselves. Have a look at this video, and you'll understand why.
Just a side note : I've bought a MacBook this afternoon, as my good 5-years-old-400°C-fire-resistant PowerBook G4 just went off (seems the graphic card needs some repair). Not the Air (as the latest Apple marvel is a bit too expensive for me at the moment), but a nice white 2.2GHz CoreDuo.
My new companion was up and running in less than 3 minutes, including online registration at Apple.com. I created a partition for Windows, of course; it took a couple of clicks, and boom, the thing was okay - live, of course. I set up my printer : less than 30 seconds for MacOS to a) find it, b) find its driver, c) select it as default. Then I got all my files back, thanks to TimeMachine.
Now, you would like me to work with a PC again ?...
post-scriptum : today is a great Mac day, as I also got my iMac DV SE back - from a friend of mine who don't need it any longer. Guess what : this jewel is 10 years old, and it runs like just out of the box.
That's why I don't like PCs and Windows...
Earlier this week, I've tried to install Ubuntu on my laptop PC - just because I was getting tired of Windows (ever seen a slowing 2GHz CoreDuo ?). The IT guy gave me his so-called official off-the-shelf blahblahblah PartitionMagic CD, for me to partition the hard disk accordingly - I still need Windows for some software demos and apps.
Guess what : got the BSOD right after the reboot. Since then, impossible to repair the damages (don't ask, please), as I couldn't even access to the DOS.
So, yesterday evening I decided to do it the hard way, formatting the hard drive and installing Ubuntu 7.0. Pretty comfortable OS, by the way : I got WiFi up and running in less than 1 minute, and I don't have to re-enter the WEP key each time I wake the machine up.
Now, the really good thing of all this mess : I can get back all my mission-critical files, PDF docs, URLs, etc. Thanks to the lovely Zoho suite, Zoho Projects in particular.
I use Zoho everyday, as my mission planner and database. I put almost everything on it : draft presentations, spreadsheets, web links, PDF documents...
I can now restore my offline base, without fearing files losses.
Outcome : I'll use Zoho Show to create my next presentation.
post-scriptum : I'll install Opera for Ubuntu as soon as I can get rid of those typical Linux messages (missing this, missing that...). So I'll be able to sync my bookmarks and prefs, in the blink of an eye.
CNN Dubai reports :
" High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.
Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.
Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.
Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.
Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure."
As stated by one of the interviewed ISPs, this pretty severe outage is a wake up call for the region. But also for the whole Telecoms industry : it's time to stop lay offs and start lay out new cables. Dear submarine systems makers, you've got a bright future ahead of you !
Just like in the mid-90's, when the big projects such as FLAG and SeaMeWe appeared.
The difference ? Today, there are people at the end of the fiber. Applications. Business. Users.
It's showtime for the real Net Economy, folks !
French video sharing site DailyMotion is bidding for the French Soccer Premier League TV broadcast rights (actually, the VOD online magazine part) for seasons 2008 to 2012. The startup competes against medias giants Canal+, TF1 and France Télévisions, TV channels M6, Eurosport, and Direct8, but also against telcos Orange and SFR.
No matter the final decision by the League, the fact that a WebTV platform is offering its services shows how things are moving fast. Industry shake-up, you said ?...
See here for more details (link in french).
Web services firm 37Signals faced a severe network outage earlier today, which lead to a 2-hours long interruption of service. Read here the explanations and apologies of the company to its end-users. This is customer care per the book. Such of quick reaction is the sign of a truly customer-focused enterprise. Thumb up, 37Signals !
Belgian startup Radionomy has been officialy launched yesterday night in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower (where the very first TV signal has been broadcasted some decades ago).
According to the Radionomy folks, the concept is pretty simple :
With Radionomy, everyone is finally going to be able to create their own radio station on the Internet!
By tapping into the contents of vast music libraries.
By integrating their own musical creations.
By adding their own audio content, sequences, reports and podcasts.
Radionomy will broadcast these radio stations around the world and take care of all costs, including royalties. Radionomy even shares its revenue with radio station creators, based on the size of their audience.
Pretty cool, huh ?
So, we're going to see - er., hear - tons of "Pirate" radio channels, just like in the good old days of Radio Caroline.
Will be interesting to watch the outcomes. How this concept will find users, and how those ones will use it.
What's quite funny to me is the fact that the WebRadio concept emerges AFTER the WebTV stuff, whilst the original technologies were on reverse order : Radio first, then Television.
Also funny to me, the fact that Radionomy launches whilst traditional radios start doing live TV webcasting of their shows and programs.
Conclusion : Convergence is coming fast. Within the next couple of years, we're going to have a brand new "Web" space, where everyone will be able to create, share, and use any kind of content that will be available one way or another on the Net. Exciting.
To subscribe to the Radionomy Beta Testers Waiting List, follow the link here.
Ed. note : thanks Jean-Michel for the heads up.
I'm currently testing the new Zattoo Beta application. Just blazingly simple.
Says the US startup' website homepage : "Zattoo is live TV on your PC - it's the football game as you chat, the news as you email, and your favorite soap as you pay your bills. Zattoo is also TV when you don't have a TV - it's the channels you want, when you want, where you want.".
Seriously speaking, Zattoo is the application lots of us were waiting for since a while : an easy way to watch free TV live channels on our computers.
Now, the question is : how will Zattoo make money, provided that the software is supposed to be free of charge ? The answer may be in the Partners page :
Zattoo's customers are end users: people who appreciate high-quality, quick-start, long-play video from multiple channels available on one browser. Broadcasters and advertisers are our business partners.
The ability of broadcasters to reach large audiences via the Internet has until now been limited by the unfavorable economics of Unicast, whereby for each additional audience member a broadcaster has had to incur additional cost. Zattoo solves this problem with our peer-to-peer distribution architecture, which allows broadcasters to reach ten times the audience with no additional infrastructure investment. For the cost of serving 10,000 users with Unicast, broadcasters can now serve 100,000 users with Zattoo.
Zattoo provides broadcasters with compelling competitive advantages beyond reducing operating cost. Zattoo gives broadcasters the technology to deliver streaming with vastly increased quality, reliability and unmatched video smoothness. Furthermore, Zattoo enriches the user experience by integrating compelling multimedia elements, thus making the Zattoo experience stickier than traditional TV.
Contact: Niklas Brambring, Content Acquisition Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Zattoo enables advertisers to leverage the most successful web-based advertising methods in combination with the best attributes of broadcast television "spots" by supporting banner ads, targeted text ads and video clips. Advertisers understand the inherent strengths and value propositions of each method and can make an educated investment to reach specific audiences. Furthermore, advertisements can be sourced from ad specialists and integrated without modification, leveraging de facto industry standards.
So, correct me if I'm wrong : Zattoo gets (or will get) revenues from both the channels broadcasters and the advertisers. I understand the earlier, but don't get the later one yet : does that mean we will experience complementary ads during the live program ? Such as embedded contextual advertising, for instance.
Think about the combination of a live transcription system (used in live captionning) together with customized/localized advertising content : you're watching the latest '24' episode (well, once the writers' s strike will be over ;-), Jack Bauer is driving the brand new Ford SUV, and boom, you see a beautiful ad banner urging you to call your local Ford dealer... That is the power of TV thru Internet : UCC "User Customized Content", as opposed to the UGC User Generated Content.
The question is : could Zattoo be the Next Big Thing ? When it's about watching live TV on a PC, probably yes. Is that what the people want (watching live TV on a PC), I don't know. On the one hand, some want a PC on their TV, on the other hand some want TV on their PC. The right answer is called something like "convergence", isn't ?
So, what do I Average Joe want ? I want Zattoo on the iPhone. I have VOD already (iTunes, YouTube), now I'd like to get live streaming too. Because I'd like to be able to watch Roland Garros live whilst Im' sitting in a High-Speed Train.
Last thing on Zattoo before a more deeper review some time later : the folks there seem to care about their users. As an example, I've received the invitation to download the beta in french, although the company is based in the US (as far as I understood on the 'About' page). The set-up is quite fast and simple too. Pretty neat stuff, Folks ! Keep going ;-)
To visit Zattoo : here.
Look at this snapshot, which I captured this morning on "my" laptop PC (you know, this brand new Dell Latitude sporting a CoreDuo but no built-in WiFi ;-).
Translation, for those of you who don't read french in the XP texts : " the folder 'Emploi' contains items with names too long to be contained by the trash."
Reminder : this is Windows XP, licensed in 2007. The folks in Redmond will never stop surprising me.
* ed. note : I replaced the word "hate" by "don't like". Because a computing stuff is not worth the hate, even if it's MS-branded. Actually, there are much more critical fights than this one those days, don't you think ?...
This article, by Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor at the mandatory Light Reading, demonstrates once again that my country (France. You know, the little old piece of european land ruled by a superb showman) is truly leading the Telecoms World. But nobody here knows it, including our Emperor, ooops sorry, er. President, unfortunately.
The CES big circus has just started. If you can't make it to Las Vegas, you can still attend the show and get the whole flavor of it... on the Web.
See here, here, and here. Lesson : WebTV is the future. And the present, too, should you have a broadband access.
Ed. note : for a full coverage of CES'08, Robert Scoble has the list.
Post-Scriptum : I wonder if the folks at the Optical Society Of America are going to offer the live coverage of the forthcoming OFC-NFOEC exhibition in San Diego next month.
To those of you who still think you need to pay hundreds of bucks to a PR agency for ensuring your visibility on the Web, you may think again. See this : somebody somewhere was searching Google for "optical networks contracting"; outcome : Fibergeneration came number one in the list, with this post.
Lesson : Seth Godin is right. First thing to do this year : Google yourself.
Thanks to The Broadband Hub, this highly interesting presentation by Dr. Robert Atkinson of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Although it's 100% USA-focused, I'm sure most of the ratios apply to the rest of the Western World too (incl. France of course and unfortunately).
Among many key figures which help understanding the real situation in regards of Broadband access & use, the one about the perception of the Internet by Disabled persons (page 39) is quite questioning : the Internet, which normally should be considered as one of the most powerful tool to get Disabled people on board, is not. There is a good news behind the bad one : there is plenty of stuff still to be done for real innovation and entrepreneurship in this domain. "Change the World", right ?...
ps: also found in this presentation, the Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Broadband Access Map, that enables real-time, bottomup broadband mapping. Got to find the same for Europe. Or create it if it doesn't exist yet !...
French entrepreneur and Internet pioneer Jean-Michel Planche aka JMP recently asked his blog's readers for their "Computing DNA" (note : link in french).
Writing down my own, I realized the true meaning of the Moore's Law.
For those of you who know '24', this video shows how Jack Bauer's journey would have look like back in 1994. Who knows how it will look like in thirteen years from now ?
Since I bought the iPhone two weeks ago, people don't stop asking me questions about it. To make it short, they all go "wow, unbelievable !" first, then they ask me the question about the pricing : "how much is it ?". I then demonstrate the key features, i.e. the phone, the iPod, the web browser, the email, the camera, playing with the MultiTouch UI. Most of the time, this short demo is enough to convince the guy that 399€ is a fair price for such a jewel.
However, sometimes the guy goes "well, you may need it for business to spend so much money". I totally agree. The iPhone is THE perfect tool for new innovative businesses. Twice over the last week, I've been showing the iPhone to prospects - read : target customers for the consulting & training business I'm setting up. I simply explained which kind of new support and assistance services the iPhone could enable (for instance, how YouTube can be used for online training). Each time, I got the same reaction : "give it to our people, and you'll get the business with us".
Beyond that kind of new services based on existing/simple/standard features of the iPhone, you can create new ways of dealing with a problem, means you can create new/innovative solutions for your customers based on the iPhone. Watch this, and you'll get the picture.
Okay, I'm an Applemaniac, but there are some (good) reasons for that. Take this one, for instance : the so-useful/time-saving Snap Shots app is not working on the PC I use at work. Why ? No idea.
The story : with the Ski season opening this week-end, I like to watch my favorite ski resorts's webcams at least twice a day, so I can better plan my journeys on their slopes. Problem : there are three domains in the Vosges, plus two in the Alpes : the one 'close' to my office in Lyon, plus the one where we're going to spend a week next March. That is : five different websites, with at least one webcam stream each. Let those streams open in your favorite web browser all day long, and you're going to face some memory issues after a while. As I want a quick & easy access to the webcams, launching a tab or a window each time I want to watch them is not an option.
Solution : Apple' s new Dashboard, which comes with MacOS X 10.5 'Leopard'. Open the resorts' s websites in Safari, go to their respective webcams page, and simply grab the stream with the embedded widget maker. Boom : in less than 30 seconds, you've got your favorite streams in the form of simple, easy to access widgets. Now, I just move the cursor to the appropriate hot corner of my display, and boom, I get the images, live. Plus the snow reports.
Couldn't be more easy, right ?
post-scriptum : I'll do the same operation with my PC, you know, this brand new Dell Latitude which comes with no WiFi and no Bluetooth. I think I'm going to enjoy my Mac even more ;-)
On Wednesday night this week, I've ordered a 500Gb external hard drive plus a 512Mb memory extension for my lovely PowerBook on the AppleStore. Yesterday Thursday All Saints Day was a day off in France. The items have been delivered this Friday afternoon, and TimeMachine is currently backing up the whole internal hard disk. That is what I call *the whole product solution* : product + service + customer satisfaction. That's why Apple is a model.
Earlier this week, US Telco Verizon unveiled a Groundbreaking FiOS Internet Service. Claims the press release : " Verizon has changed the definition of "fast" with the introduction of a new, symmetrical Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, featuring an upload and download speed of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps)."
Wow. 20Mbps on fiber, that's quite a breakthrough. For the US. Because, not willing to play the Arrogant Frenchie, but... we've got 20Mbps DSL since years, allowing real TriplePlay services including HD-TV. Okay, DSL is not symmetrical. Guess what : we (well, the lucky guys in Paris or Pau and many other cities across the country) can get full-symmetrical 100Mbps on fiber since months.
Take the city of Pau and its state-of-the-art 'Pau Broadband Country' broadband access network : 40,000+ homes passed, with 6,000+ active subscribers : NeufCegetel offers symmetrical 50Mbps since May this year, whilst enterprises and high-end users enjoy a full 100Mbps connection.
So, for those of you who seek bandwidth hungrily : take a one-way ticket to the 21st Century' (Broadband) Capital : Pau.
Update 10-27-07 : I just replaced the previous photo for the one above. The reason is that the author of the original photo sent me a message today, claiming the copyright. He wanted me to mention his name, blahblahblah. Well, I would, should this famous photo be about a private thing or so. Fact is, the photo shows a public work on a public street, for a public community (a french city somewhere in the Alpes). In summary, the guy shot a picture of something paid by the French citizens, and he wants a copyright on it. Weird, IMHO. Especially at the Age of the Web 2.0.
To reach this modest person, click here, er, nowhere : I haven't seen any "email me" button on his weblog, which is here.
post-scriptum : the photo is mine, means I shot it myself some years ago, somewhere in Santa Rosa, California.
I must apologize : I didn't ask the authorization to PacBell to take this picture. However, it's here for you, with no copyright. Enjoy it, copy it, save it, distribute it : it's free, because I decided to put it here, on my blog, on the Web, on the Internet.
By the way, the PacBell folks did a great job repairing a fiber optics cable this beautiful morning. I wish the French telcos and I&M contractors be able to deliver the same level of quality. But that's another story.
For those of you who still consider Apple as a small player in the Computing arena, go to Amazon.com and check the most popular items in Software section.
A new type of virus, aka 'Storm', is infecting Windows machines all over the Planet since beginning of this year. Unfortunately, Storm is much more than a good old virus : it's a worm, a Trojan Horse, and a bot, all in one single piece of malicious software. In between 1 million and 50 million PCs are infected, as per the actual estimations. The bad news : Storm has been written by hackers looking for profit. Read the whole story here on Wired, by Bruce Schneier, CTO of BT Counterpane. I'm so happy to run a Mac.
[thanks MDN for the heads up]
Ed. note : unfortunately, I must use a PC at work.