I have to admit. When our CEO Jim Estill first told us about his blog, I think the word I heard the most was “eccentric”. To those people that said this simply shows that we didn’t understand blogs. (“mea culpa” or in the present day vernacular, “my bad”). I consider myself a pretty well informed person. Especially when it comes to technology. I had heard about blogs, and had passed them off a daily journals. That is about 10% of what a blog is.
I had come across blogs as a way of finding out the latest trends and gadgets. I incorporated these into my daily RSS feeds. I came across Robert Scoble’s blog, before the release of his book. (one of the authors of Naked Conversations).Then Jim loaned me a book called Naked Conversations. I’m only about half way through it, but it is fascinating. CEO’s from GM, Intel and several other companies use them. Some companies have become companies because of the power of blogs. From a tailor on Saville Row to a software company.
Blogs are the new marketing, instant messenger and PR department all rolled into one. But without the corporate “stuffiness”. One of my favorite quotes in the book is “blogs should represent the unedited voice of the individual. It’s not an organization speaking. It’s informal. It’s ‘Come as you are. We’re just folks here. We’re not concerned with typos or grammar errors’, which reminds readers that it’s just a human speaking.”
I mentioned RSS feeds 2 posts ago. They are an amazing way to save time reading about technology, or most any other topic. You can pick and choose what you want. Of course you will need an RSS reader. You can go here at CNET to find the one you like. I was pleased to see that my favorite, Desktop Sidebar, is the #1 downloaded reader. Then you can do one of two things to collect your feeds. As you surf the web, you will see little orange buttons with either XML or RSS. This means, that what you are reading is available as an RSS feed. You simply click that orange button and you will see a screen of what is called XML code. Don’t worry, you don’t have to understand it. With Desktop Sidebar, you click on the same orange button in the Internet Explorer bar and you have added that site to your feeds. The second method is to go to RSS sites and choose from the many topice. Here is an example of Yahoo’s . Another site is Syndic8.com. Many of the Home Page we bsites have the same feature, such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. This will consolidate all the news that you’re interested in reading. And none of what you’re not interested in reading. RSS feeds are a big part of blogging. Rather that going back to check a site every day to see if there is a new post, you can add the blog to your feed. Then as new posts are added, you will see them in your reader. The marketing potential for RSS gets very interesting. Rather than sending what we think the customer wants, imagine them picking the feeds that they want. Every time something changes on the web site. It automatically changes the information for every single customer who has signed up for that feed.Â
Tonight I started a 10K running clinic at The Running Room. I did better than I thought I would, considering I haven’t been running in months. I completed 5K in 33 min. Not bad for the first night. The clinic is 10 weeks and my goal is to run a 55 min. 10K race on May 13th. The Running Room is quite a Canadian success story. Started by John Stanton in 1984, they have grown to almost 80 stores. They have branched out into their own branded clothing and accessories. All top quality products. I believe their pull is their clinics. For about $70 they will tell you everything you need to know about running. (plus you get a $40 T-shirt). And while you’re sitting there in the store, listening to all that great information, you’re staring at all this great running gear. Now, for me, gear is probably as close to an obsession as one could get. Whether it be running, backpacking, mountaineering or camping; I need gear. And not just a little, I need it ALL. Just ask my wife Dianne. Now imagine a gear obsession combined with being a computer geek and you can see why she rolls her eyes a lot.
Many people ask me how do I know so much about gadgets, or what is going on in the world of technology. It is really quite simple. I don’t spend hours surfing for information. I use something called RSS which stands for Really Simple Syndication. Basically it is a standard to feed news headlines to you. There are a multitude of RSS readers out there. Some website home pages, such as MSN and Yahoo now allow you to add RSS feeds to your home page. My favorite tool is Desktop Sidebar. This great little tool has a large number of “panels”. I choose to use the News, Weather and Stock panels. The news panel is the RSS reader. The panel sits at the side of your Windows desktop and scrolls through the headlines from the RSS links you have chosen. When you mouse over a headline, a small window opens with the summary of the article. If you want to see the actual web page you simply click on the headline and you open the web page. I personally like the newspaper function. You click on this button at the top of the news panel and it shows every headline for every news item you are linked to. In a matter of 10 minutes I can be up to date on what is going on for the day. I will spend more details on where to get the RSS feeds on future posts.
My first post.I decided to create this Blog as I find myself being asked about Technology. I have always been a bit of a ‘geek’. Some may dispute that the “bit of a” part is not necessary. I have been involved in technology for 25+ years. It is something I am passionate about; and someone told me that if you are going to start a Blog, make it about something you are passionate about. This Blog will cover both hardware and software. The good, the bad and the “what were they thinking?”What are the things that truly help us in our day to day lives; and what the the things that just make us go Wow!