Teqlo RSS Widgets

We released a new “widget pack” tonight for RSS. Look at this as a starting point, we didn’t build this just to be another RSS client… and quite honestly this isn’t going to replace Google Reader or NetNewsWire. We’re all about making widgets integrate together, so this is starting point to enabling RSS to integrate with other components and we’ll have more on that in the weeks ahead.

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Mike Gotta Responds

Mike Gotta posted a response to my enterprise IT post a couple of days ago. All things considered, Gotta’s post is reasoned and well argued, I appreciate him taking the time to post a detailed piece and that actually serves one goal I had with the post, to spark debate.

Prior to being an industry analyst, I was in enterprise IT for 15 years holding a variety of positions. I’ve hung tapes on mainframes, punched JCL decks, developed transactional systems, worked on IVR systems, played the role of lead architect for client-server systems, been a project leader, application architect, emerging technologist and product manager for content and collaboration-related technologies.

In reading the intro I couldn’t help but think that with so much of Gotta’s resume tied up in enterprise IT, it does not surprise me that he comes to the defense of IT. While I appreciate his post I find nothing in it to suggest anything other than a defense of the status quo. This really doesn’t surprise me, it would be like me walking into a crowd of Oracle DBAs and telling them that we’re gonna switch to MySQL because it’s a less costly solution and it will accommodate our needs… none of them are going to be happy about it and each one will offer an impassioned response on why Oracle is a superior product when in fact they are offering little more than an impassioned response for why I should not devalue their hard earned skillset.

However, it’s a little hard to argue that I’m wrong for suggesting that enterprise IT should get smaller when your consulting organization’s primarily serves enterprise IT. You are about big IT, I am about small IT… we can agree to disagree.

BTW, I know IT does a hell of a lot more than select, implement, and maintain business applications, but that’s really all I care about. The other things just don’t interest me so I don’t write about it, and from the perspective of a (former) user in big company with a direct line of sight to a large cross section of IT organizations, I offer my own experiences in dealing with IT as my prima facie case. I’ve lived the flip side of shared services, IT lockdown, inflexible approaches to business needs, and budgeting that values the “use-it-or-lose-it” model that ends up wasting shareholder resources. I’ve also witnessed incredibly frustrated IT professionals who were unable to deliver the best and most cost effective solution because of tangental requirements and management more concerned with process than results.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Chris Anderson comes this quote: (via Susan Scrupski)

“CIOs don’t seem to care all that much about the needs and desires of the next wave of workers, who come from Gen Y and are also referred to as Millenials. The gestalt of the Millenials (a.k.a., the “I’m special” generation) is that they grew up with a boundless sense of self-importance, always have had the Internet, love to share digital content, need to be constantly challenged, want high-level responsibilities immediately, expect a work-life balance with telecommuting options, and will go around IT practices and policies without hesitation. The old-school CIOs I spoke with seemed both annoyed with their audacity and mildly interested in what this new wave of employees could deliver in the IT department.”

The source of the quote was in CIO Magazine’s blog coverage of CIO ’07 conference. So much for the close working relationship and the “sharing and caring” attitude.

Cloud 9 Analytics

I think we’re gonna see a flood of these companies, and it goes without saying that not that all of them will succeed, but I think this could be an interesting one to watch. Cloud 9 Analytics is apparently is the rebirth of Certive, which should squash any critics who would suggest that a startup can’t possibly have much substance when it comes to doing the degree of analytics that they promise.

This is a next generation BI deal, it’s up in the cloud and rides on an ecosystem that offers a low cost product delivery channel, meaning they can sell it cheaply and at the same time bypass IT and go directly to users.

The question that I will be anxious to see answered is how non-SFdC apps that are offered through Appexchange can take advantage of analytics engines like this one.

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My Firefox Rig

I recently replaced my Macbook Pro so I had to reinstall a bunch of software. This is always a good time to clean up the configuration, especially if you are like me and tend to try pretty much everything. I took a look at my browser and all the crap that I had added on to it, and then stripped it down to just what I need. BTW, I also use Camino, which I think is a better Mac browser but the extensions that are built for Firefox make it a much more productive environment. Camiscript comes close but it’s just not the same as all the Firefox add-ons.

Here’s my Firefox extension inventory:

Foxmarks: Absolutely have to have this in order to keep my computers synced up.

Linkedin Companion: I’ve been using Linkedin with increasing frequency and we built a pretty cool app in Teqlo that uses Linkedin so I wanted to keep this extension.

Greasemonkey: At this point this should just be included with Firefox.

PDF Download: Makes managing PDF links so much easier.

CoComment: The essential tool for managing your online presence if you comment on other people’s blogs.

TabGroups: Use one browser window with a lot of tabs? If so, this is for you.

Google Notebook: I think this is one of the better services that google offers, but also one that doesn’t get much attention. I was previously using Yojimbo to track bits and pieces of information but now I’m using Google Notebook and the fact that it is integrated with browser is plain ‘ol goodness.

VideoDownloader: This is really handy when you need it.

What I gave up:

Performancing. This is a really good extension but I use Ecto (please please please come out with v3) for all my blog postings so I just don’t need it.

Clipmarks. Just couldn’t get in the habit of using it.

FireFTP. For FTP I like Transmit and find that having a full blow app is better than a browser extension.

Cooliris: This just got to be annoying after a while.

Snap Preview: Same thing as Cooliris, started to irritate me.

Del.icio.us toolbar: I use Cocoalicious for managing my del.icio.us bookmarks so having something in the browser just isn’t necessary.

Send Us Feedback, Win a Shuffle

Do you have some feedback for Teqlo? Got a widget you would like to see us add? Idea for an application or something we could do to improve the usability?

Send us feedback and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win an iPod Shuffle, and not just once but for the next 12 weeks. That’s 12 chances to win and all you need to do is take 15 seconds to fill out a form and send us your thoughts.

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Vista, Office and Outlook 2007 are a Nightmare

I don’t have Vista or the new version of Office, so it’s impossible for me to offer anything more than Jason is a credible guy and if he says this is happening then I have no reason to discount it. Also, he’s on a new Dell machine with 2gb of memory.

Outlook is one of those applications that vendors must adhere to the 1st commandment of software engineering, thou shall not make anything worse when upgrading. For Office users this is the single most important application in the suite, which means it’s that one that absolutely has to be done right, else the entire suite is put at risk.

The amount of time that people spend in Outlook is incredible so adding a second here and there adds up quickly. It’s like with your telephone, even the slightest echo or latency becomes unbearable.

UPDATE: Chris Pirillo has this to say: “I’ll give Vista a second chance when the first service pack is released later this year, but until then…” Seriously, how many people are saying the same thing based on their XP experience? Years from now fathers will sit down with their children and add onto the birds and the bees speech “and never install the first release of any new Microsoft software”.

SpendMatters: Vista, Office and Outlook 2007 are a Nightmare:
The problem — which is absolutely inexcusable — is that Office 2007 (Outlook, specifically) crawls, even on this superfast machine. The hard-drive is also constantly in motion, slowing things down even more. I’m not alone in these observations. You can read other Office 2007 horror stories
here and here. Despite a small .PST file — I reduced mine from close to a gig to less than 150 MB — my Intel Centrino Duo-driven notebook chugs along like a 386 trying to run an application originally written for a mainframe system. Even such tasks as composing a simple email are delayed by a few seconds before my typed words ultimately appear on the screen (and send / receives and related activities take an eternity).

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State of Affairs in Enterprise IT – Part 1

I was thinking this weekend about the convergence of trends that we are experiencing in enterprise technology. In the Irregulars discussions these things get vigorously debated but there is invariably a thread that remains to be pulled on, not because we neglect it but because of the circular nature of things and how one trend fuels another which then becomes self-fulfilling because the first uses as it’s evidence the second.

Bear with me while I run through some of these now, but I already know that this is something that will take the span of several posts to fully think through.

Consumerization of the enterprise is a hot topic and one that I fundamentally believe in if for no other reason because enterprise users are consumers themselves and are increasingly expecting the ease of use and low barrier to entry that consumer services have become known for. Most enterprise software is not built to sell to users but rather to IT and CIOs who are likely never to use the applications that they are selecting for their employees. As a result of this dynamic, enterprise software companies have become fat on rich maintenance streams and low expectations from the people who are actually buying them, as opposed to the people that are using them.

Enterprises talk about “shared services” environments all the time, as if the notion exists that their is a services marketplace behind the firewall. How many global 2000 companies allow their employees to select what HR system best serves their needs? How about email or mobile devices? If IT were a shared service environment then I would be able to select from Outlook, Gmail, and Zimbra for my email application, and if one let me down then I would be able to switch. In just such an environment my employer would only be required to pay for the software that was being used, as opposed to what was sold to them.

Okay, so maybe HR is a legitimate shared service… but what about CRM? If the cost of implementing the “standard” CRM package that my company licenses to is onerous to me, why can’t I select the one that better fits my requirements and budget?

People in large companies are looking at Google’s Premier Apps and saying “jeez, $50 a year for 10gb of storage, that alone is worth it” because they well understand that they can buy a 100gb drive at any Best Buy for $100, so why pay EMC $10,000 for a 4×500 storage array? Enterprise technology vendors are hoping against all odds that we’re not aware that there is this thing called the internet where we can see what things really cost. You want to tell me that you need management software and failover capability Mr. IT guy? Well that’s your problem not mine so don’t try to shove $1,000 of “shared service cost” on me just so I can have a bigger email inbox.

Niel makes a good argument about how IT can no longer use the hostage strategy to force me to pay for their expensive infrastructure, as in “your box is in our datacenter and if you don’t pay we’ll send you the SATA cable cut up into a thousand pieces” so they are now using the fear strategy as a fallback. Hosted services aren’t safe and you don’t know who is looking on Google’s servers so you can’t trust them. What about compliance?This argument has evolved from “you mean your going to trust your mission critical data to some third party who might have a datacenter powered by hamsters running on wheels?”, because who is really going to question Google’s chops when it comes to running a world class datacenter?

From where I sit the best thing that could happen to enterprise IT, at least for users, is that IT becomes an infrastructure services provider inside the enterprise. In other words, they keep the power on and a dial tone on the line, while business units take greater responsibility for selecting and managing their hosted applications. IT should also be responsible for legacy systems, after all they are responsible for building them in the first place. If business units are responsible for the cost of providing the applications they use, the actual cost and not the “shared service” cost that is used to pay for all the software that is bought and not used, then they will make better decisions and be more accountable for bad decisions because, after all, it’s coming out of their budget and they have direct control over the decision making process.

In just such an environment in this place we’ll call “Fantasyland” business users would get applications they need because they selected them and the scenario where the better app didn’t get selected because it doesn’t support the Tagalog language wouldn’t materialize because our fictitious business group is located in the UK and they really don’t need Tagalog support. Business users would get the features they require because the provider of the selected application would be directly connected to the people using the software and if something didn’t work or could work better they would be incented to deliver because their users could actually pull the plug on them if it didn’t work right. Lastly, because the business unit would be concerned about their budget and conscious of what things actually cost, they could constantly evaluate options and select the best value not on a 8-10 year TCO analysis but what things are actually costing them in today dollars, and because the software would actually work there would not be the investment in the customizations required to get it to work in the first place.

Basically, in Fantasyland the market dynamics of the best priced, best built solution would prevail just like in the real world consumer market that we business users are currently living in. We may be talking about Fantasyland but here in the real world we are seeing examples of business units taking more control of their IT environments and telling corporate IT to go away… more on that in a future post.

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Gore Wins Oscar, Lights Up the Night

There’s probably a joke in here about Gore using geothermal to be self-sustaining in his energy usage…

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2007®:
Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).