Salesforce

August 27, 2014

Salesforce.com is a web-based customer relationship management system, or simply a sales productivity platform.  It makes you more efficient and effective by putting all of your leads, prospects, and customers in one place which you can reach at your desk or when you’re mobile.  

I’ve seen Salesforce.com used first-hand in a variety of situations, but so far the most innovative use was with an application within the program called “Chatter”, which can be described as “Private Twitter” for organizations.  I used Chatter as an a company manager for an off-off Broadway show called “Zombie Wedding”.

I decided to embark full-time as a theater producer on 8/18/2014.  I’m ramping up very quickly with building my fundraising system.  I plan to document my adventure in this blog.  Here’s my plan to learn Saleforce as my sales productivity platform:

9:56 AM 8/27/2014
SALESFORCE TRAINING – DAY #1
OBJECTIVE: To be proficient in all aspects of Salesforce: User, Administrator, and Developer

videos
https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewGettingStarted?id=000176053&language=en_US

mysuccess@salesforce.com – provide feedback on experience

USER – ADMIN – DEV

Videos – ADMIN
1. Prepare
2. Setup
3. Engage

Stay tuned for more info about my learning experiences!

 

Economic Recovery

August 2, 2014

Here’s a great analysis from WalletHub via the LA Times about economic recovery: http://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-recession-recovered-cities/5219/

The Access Show – on Channel 9

March 25, 2014

Oh yeah! :  http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Access

Msgbox (“Hello World”)

March 25, 2014

The genesis of Office Cloud Apps happened after I watched videos of three wonderful presentations yesterday.  One about MS Access 2010, and two from 2013 Microsoft Build Event.  These are “must-see tv” for office app developers, especially if you have expertise in MS Excel and MS Access and are interested in app dev in the cloud:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Access/Microsoft-Access-2010-Demo
The Access Show: Access 2010 demo of Access Services and web databases
Posted: Oct 19, 2009 at 3:58 PM

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-601
0 to 60: Developing Apps for Microsoft Office 2013
Date: June 27, 2013 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM Day 2 South Hall: East Mezzanine 222 3-601
Speakers: Sonya Koptyev, Keenan Newton

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-604
Advanced Patterns Using Windows Azure Web Sites for Apps for Office and SharePoint
Date: June 28, 2013 from 10:30AM to 11:30AM Day 3 North Hall: 131 3-604
Speakers: Donovan Follette, Brady Gaster

Microsoft developer conferences are very informative, but expensive to attend when you add up the opportunity, travel, lodging, and attendance costs.  Another option is to watch the videos:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013
Build 2013
San Francisco, California
June 26 – 28, 2013

Build 2014 is next week.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend, but I’m hoping some of it will be webcast, and all of it will be capture on video.  Here’s the site address:  http://www.buildwindows.com/

30-year Progress

October 30, 2013

I’ve been reflecting over the last several days about how things have changed over the last 20 – 30 years. With the turn of the Millinenum, it’s difficult to trhack these changes. 30 years ago was 1983. 20 years ago was 1993 and 10 years ago was 2003. The last 10 years were “post dot-com”, which is remarkable to me that so much time has gone by  since I had to “start over” — like a lot of other people too!

In terms of my professional interests in technology, speficially, software engineering project management, a lot hasn’t changed. No matter what the latest platforms are: web 2.0, ruby on rails, open source, . net, cloud computing, youtube, facebook, twitter, managing a software project aka technology endeavour is esseetially the same: envision, develop, execute and iterate.

My personal (career) strategy is to start over with focusing on just the “nuts and bolts” of programming, i.e. getting a computer to do most of the work for you within a command shell / scripting environment. I may be pursuing the most mundane technology topic, but I’m happy to be alone on this enlightening journey. (I know I’m not totally alone, as I’ve found a hand full of books on scripting, prefaced by “Wicked Cool”, so I tell myself I’m “pretty good” if not “wicked cool”.

I’ve actually been on hiatus from serious software engineer over the last decade. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve missed the boat on getting up-to-speed on the Microsoft .net technology platform. My skills in the VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is still pretty good, I consider myself an Excel and Access power user, but I also believe I have a strong software engineering background — albeit self-taught.

So, here I am, trying to focus on what I need to do to sustain employment until “retirement”. I’m actually hoping not to retire in the traditional sense. I would just like have more control over my schedule so I can play golf and still get paid for my knowledge and skills. We’ll see. So next up, I’m learning how to “live in a command line world”. I’m still trying to figure out the difference between Linux and BSD, and all of the different shells you can choose from. For now, I’m just going to call it all “command line” and go from there.

“Digital Vampire Watch” is my blog, which focuses on avoiding the things that waste your time.  My plan is to try to stay away from the web browser, and “run in the dark” of the terminal prompt!

BTW — I’ve adopted a hybrid approach.  Type and edit in vi, and copy and paste into WordPress  through the browser.

Tools and Accelerators

October 25, 2013

I recently made a comment to a work colleague, that if he could understand metaphors, he could understand technology. What I was trying to impress upon him, is that programming is a process of designing tools which accelerate the completion of tasks within a system. I’m not sure if software engineering has ever been described this way, but I’ve been thinking a little about the topic of algorithms, and how they are tools which accelerate a calculation process using inputs and computing them into outputs.

It brings me to the point of this post, which is that “technology” relies on both hardware and software to achieve its objectives. Sofware doesn’t usually get a lot of attention because it’s something that you don’t physically touch. Rather, it’s an experience you feel, or an interaction you think about and focus upon.

I’ve been trying to use the simple tool of the text editor in a command line environment to improve both my programming skills and ability to focus. There are things that I’m used to doing in a GUI environment, that I need to learn to do in a command line environment, such as cutting and pasting, and file manipulation and management.

Even though I’m working slower to figure things out and undo mistakes, I feel a sense of accomplishment which doesn’t happen very much in a point-and-click windows environment. I think it may have to do with the number of objects that are in front of me at a single time. I really enjoy the simplity of seeing a blank screen, and finding the results of my efforts to synthesize my thoughts in front of me.

So, it’s onward with the command line and BSD / Linux, and the bliss of simplicity!

Back to the Future

August 15, 2013

In response to an ongoing challenge I have with my friend, Shelby, to keep a regular Blog like his (http://s1gn.com/ ), I’m doing one now.  In my last entry, I wrote about the Google Nexus 4 phone that I had recently purchased.  Now, I have the ultimate app for my cell phone:  time machine.

Most people use their smart phone as a text messenger / e-mail reader.  Occasionally they use it as a regular phone, and I see people on the subway use it as an iPod.  I recently learned how to use my smart phone as a radio.  I purchased a JLabs Crasher on Woot for about $50 — much less than the $99 list and also the lowest price offered on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/14OfnRW

The competing product is the Jawbone Jambox, which lists $199 and is available on Amazon for less: http://amzn.to/1a9qpm3

In my opinion, $60 is totally worth it  for a BlueTooth speaker for your smart phone. My Crasher sounds great, and I believe is better and less expensive than the Jambox. Here’s some evidence provided by JLabs that supports this statement and my purchase:  http://bit.ly/1dbk8Wl

Either one you choose, you can’t go wrong — in my humble opinion.  Here’s where the “time machine” part come into play.  I’m now a middle-aged guy, and if I want to return to the “glory days” and “the dance hall days” of the 70’s and 80’s, I just have to hear the right song on the radio.  Hear a song you haven’t heard in may years, and the memories will come gushing back . There are two apps which give you access to the radio stations nationwide:  TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio.  I like them both.  If you want to know the difference between the two, here’s a great article from the NY Times:  http://nyti.ms/MrsQWw

I was content with having the TuneIn App, until I discovered that John Records Landecker, one of the DJs from my youth is still around and playing for the same same station, WLS Chicago.  The only difference is that he’s now on an FM station, while I fondly remember the mono static speaker sounds of AM Radio.  But when I moved to the West Coast, there was no more WLS AM Chicago that I could listen to — the antenna was too far away.  Now, decades later,  I can listen to WLS again over the Internet using theiHeart Radio app.  John Landecker plays 70’s and 7pm (http://bit.ly/1cH5bxB ) and 80’s music at 8 pm (http://bit.ly/WZrPXY ) on weekends.

I’m loving my time travel back 30 to 40 years, not the mention static-free, crystal clear reception.  It’s the best application I’ve found so far for my phone!  Nostalgia rocks!

eud tsu yt – Elminate Unecessary Distractions That Suck Up Your Time

July 18, 2013

I recently purchased my first smartphone, the Google Nexus 4. Without getting into the pros and cons of different devices, and which one is better, suffice it to say that I’m trying to get a better handle on my so-called digital life. This phone is a way that I’m trying to make the Internet a little bit more accessible. I can usually wait until I’m at home or work in front of a computer to do my work, but I’m trying to make it easier to check my e-mail without having to go home.

Some basic observations about what I like about the phone I have: 1. Because he graphics are flat and not 3D, they’re much easier to read. I’m more efficient when I look at e-mails because there are no subtle 3D edges for my eyes to land on.

2. Because it’s a Google phone, it integrates extremely well with my Gmail e-mail, contacts, and calendar. Now my main challenge is reviewing all of my contacts in my new, unified, cloud-based contact list and getting rid of what’s no longer needed.

3. The GPS works well with Google Maps, and There’s a Google Now features where Google tries to give me information I think I might find useful, like how far am I from home on my way home. You access Google Now by swiping from the bottom to the top of the screen.

4. It doesn’t bother me. Somehow, the phone seems less intrusive. Maybe because I’m just using it for the basics, and haven’t loaded apps with alter functions.

What I don’t like about the phone:

1. It sucks up power. I have to charge it everyday. Now, I keep it plugged in and charged everytime I’m near an outlet. I took it on vacation from New York to Massachussets, and luckily there was a power outlet in the bus I rode. There are external battery back-up packs that I’m considering, but I’m waiting to see how I manage without them for now.

2. It has a lot of glass, that can be scratched or damaged easily. No one plans to drop their cell phone, but it’s gonna happen. I have a case and a bumper for the phone, but I know I have to be careful with it.

3. It’s not always intuitive. For example: to answer a call you must tap, and then swipe to green (answer) or red (ignore–I think). Another example: After you take a photo, to review it, you need to master the art of lightly swiping (not tapping, which brings up a short-cut menu), in order to see your photos.

Overall, I like the phone. I believe it’s worth the extra expense when it comes to doing mobile computing. I’m going to try to avoid wasting time with too many apps.

 

Learn more about Content Distribution

May 1, 2013

I attended a talk by Scott Britton on Monday, April 29, 2013.  He’s a “biz dev” guy who has a good head on his shoulders, and knows a lot about building relationships.  Here’s a link to his website, with a video interview he recently had with Ryan Delk of GumRoad:  http://life-longlearner.com/ryan-delk/

Netbook Review – Get one you can upgrade to 2 GB RAM

March 24, 2013

I’ve had my Asus eeePC R11 CX netbook for a few days now, and I’m in a better position to discuss its pros and cons. The best thing about this netbook is its value. For under about $280, you get an Internet-capable computer that runs basic programs online and off. The cons about this computer is that it’s slow, that is, it’s not as a responsive as a standard laptop, that retails at around $700.

The RAM is the main problem with this particular machine. It’s only 1 GB, and most computers require around 4 GB for normal performance. Also, it’s *not* upgradable to 2 GB, as many of the other Asus eeePC netbooks, so this is a serious limitation. Also, my machine temporaily freezes for a minute every once-in-awhile. I attribute this occurance to whenever I do something that is processor-intenensive, such as working with images or trying to view and online video.

In a way, despite all of the disadvantages of this machine, this is a good one for me to use on a regular basis. I have to spend my time doing simple work such as writing, or programming simple JavaScript. With all of the distractions of video and photos eliminated, I can focus more on writing essays and writing code.
My recommendation for the ASUS eeePC is positive in general. However, I recommend getting a netbook that is upgradable to 2 GB RAM, such as the Acer One or an upgradable ASUS model. to give you better responsivness and a little extra room to work with.

Finally, I’d like to point out that ideally, on a netbook, all master files should saved in the cloud. I’m trying to keep my local files stored primarily in DropBox, so that I will have my files accessible on multiple computers, especially a full-powered desktop. If this computer is ever broken, lost, or stolen I will still have my files that are stored remotely.