Gmail skins

This is a seriously cool Firefox extension, it enables a skins capability in Gmail to change the colors, screen layout, and key behavior.

UPATE: I was thinking about this some more, what if you used this extension to not only change the colors and behaviors of the Gmail interface but also replace the logo and branding? Would that be a violation of the license agreement? If not, this would be an excellent way to rebrand Gmail to be a SOHO product offering… imagine that, create a new service simply by changing the way someone else's service looks. Wonder if you could get in the Adsense revenue stream as well?

Presentation Zen: No excuse for tedium: Advice on giving technical presentations

Good advice and some great links. There is a program within SAP to send our entire group of speakers to presentation school. The point is not to provide them with better powerpoint skills. (God knows we need ‘em too, have you ever seen SAP presentations? Some of the slides damn near have every single pixel populated). The purpose of presentation school is to improve the communication skills, not the powerpoint skills, in other words, be better presenters even if the material is boring or poorly prepared. Presentations start with the person presenting, there is no better example of this than Dick Hardt. Dick could take a handful of slides that have no more than 3 words each and weave a story that captivates the room.

“the genesis of painfully dull presentations predates the computer.”

France Weighs Forcing iPods to Play Other Than iTunes

I think Steve Jobs is just the kind of guy that would pull iTunes from France in a big FU gesture on the bet that the iPod is far more popular in France than politicians in France.

France Weighs Forcing iPods to Play Other Than iTunes – New York Times: "A bill under debate in the French Parliament may require iPods to be able to play music purchased from competing Internet services, not just Apple Computer's own iTunes Music Store, forcing changes in the business model that gave rise to the revolution in legal digital music downloads."

UPDATE: Wow, here's a really interesting post that clarifies that the French proposal doesn't include the iPod interoperability sections at all, and in fact, strengthens the law with regard to DRM. Bummer. 

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CRM Blog: The Oracle saga gets more interesting…

Oracle said a month ago that they were willing to work with IBM to continue support for the Siebel OnDemand product, which is Websphere/DB2 based. As if it’s a surprise to anyone, they came out this week and said “nah, we’re not interested in that after all, we’re moving it to an Oracle infrastructure in an Oracle datacenter.” They did generously offer that customers who weren’t willing to move (and why should they if everything is working fine?) will continue to be supported by IBM. Gee, any idea on which service will get priority from Oracle. This move is their prerogative, no question about it, but what it also demonstrates is that 1) you can never take Oracle statements at face value, and 2) this whole consolidation business is turning out to mean fewer choices for customers.

CRM Blog: The Oracle saga gets more interesting…: “At a recently held CRM forum at London, Anthony Lye, Oracle Group VP for CRM products clarified that customers could opt for Siebel 7 on-demand services that would be now on hosted at Oracle’s own data center.”

New Version of NetNewsWire RSS Client

I have been on a full Macintosh diet the last couple of days, haven't used my Windows laptop once. One of the things that I really missed about Windows was my FeedDemon RSS client. Ross pointed me to NetNewsWire, and while it's a great reader it still lacked the syncing capabilities that FeedDemon has with Newsgator Online. No more, NetWewsWire has a new public beta out that features that capability. Sweet.

"Brent Simmons and Newsgator just released the latest version of their very popular and amazing Net News Wire software." 

(Via Om Malik.)

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Funny of the day

Courtesy of the esteemed Mr. Blevins:

Competitive Intelligence:'a large fuzzy animal may be a bear.'

Marketing: 'SAP can help you understand your fuzzy animals. With over 30 years in the fuzzy animal industry, we know if you are looking at a bear, a guy in a coat, or a large dog."

Communications: 'In today's world of increasing challenges, It's obvious fuzzy animals are what our customers care about.'    

Sales: 'Who cares what it is. Let's kill it and eat it." 

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Naked Conversations: Maybe Your CEO Shouldn’t Blog

Some, including myself, would suggest that the absolute worst person in a company to blog would be the CEO. But traditional marketing folk invariably come to the blogging party and immediately blurt out "hey let's get a blog for the CEO!" This is the blogger equivalent of asking for a white zinfandel wine spritzer on your next visit to Napa.

Why would anyone really expect CEOs to be good bloggers? Furthermore, with recent surveying indicating the people trust CEOs of companies only slightly more than lawyers and politicians, what benefit would a CEO blogger bring to a company anyways?

If you want to add value through building a network of company bloggers focus your time on people who actually know the details of how the company is run and what interesting things are going on.