SkyDrive, I love and hate it

25Gb of free online storage, It's great! I make good use of it. Having said this it's important to realize why I like SkyDrive so much.

As a starting point it's important to know that I use several different computers to work with. Privately I prefer my Mac, but unfortunately my work environment still has some applications that require Windows. Further I also travel regularly and often I don't take a computer along and rely on public accessible machine. SkyDrive allows me to access all my files from any place at any time.
Over the years I've build an extensive library of presentations. I don't use the old presentations a lot, but regularly I do need some historical slides. SkyDrive allows me to store the full history of presentations, while I don't need to carry them around.
This is all great....

However, the usability of SkyDrive is not that great. SkyDrive is only accessible over the web and that is also the biggest limitation. The web site works but isn't very advanced when searching and sorting through the 25Gb of documents. Uploading of documents is cumber stone and for easy bulk upload Internet Explorer is required, other browsers can only upload 5 documents at a time.

Wouldn't it be great if Microsoft would apply their own Software + Services strategy. It shouldn't be too difficult to have a 'My SkyDrive' folder in the Windows Explorer or a device in the Mac Finder to really easily access the files as if it was a normal file system.

I do realize that there are also 'synchronization' services like Live Sync and DropBox that synchronize files between different computers, but that is NOT what I want to achieve. I just want 1 copy of the files stored in the cloud, easy accessible and nothing stored at the local machine. Laptops get stolen, break down and unfortunately require very frequent reinstalls. I believe in very clear separation between software and the data storage.

Leadershape, The Day After

This morning I returned home from Leadershape, an Exact training program. It was an eventful week in Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands with 40 colleagues from all over the world.

Image credit: Necromundo 

During the whole week I went completely silent on all my email, twitter and social media activities. Several people already started to worry, thank you for that, but it was completely intentionally. The open, honest, caring and sharing atmosphere didn't leave room for additional contacts. Right now I don't feel like sharing about the event yet, but will do that in the next few weeks.

So as of today I'm back into the world. Since my blog readers dropped dramatically I will work on more content and resume my other social networking activities again. It's great to be back!

Leadershape T-Shirt

Next week I'm in the Exact Leadershape program. This means I won't be able to spend a lot of time online. In case you will miss me I made a short video!

The video describes briefly the emotional value I have with the shown shirt. It refers to:
  • Neste, the biggest Finnish oil company I worked for as part of a student exchange program. The job was based on my mechanical engineering education.
  • Rowing, what was for many years my passion resulting in top level competition. It also explains why I'm very competitive.
  • Finland, where I many years ago met Mervi, my girlfriend.

Q1 Update on the 2009 resolutions

Since I decided this year to create New Years resolutions I also need to report back on them. You haven't reminded me yet, but the results are shocking.
  • I don't know if I've become more efficient, all I know is that I'm more busy than ever and even spend more time working than ever.
  • Work on fitness and health... really disappointing! I've only become heavier, I've been sick twice and without drastic measures I won't get anywhere.
Image credit: Mike Scullen 

I guess, dramatic results that need drastic measures.
  • I need to spend less time on the computer and more time in the gym. I will, at least for a while, reduce the time I spend on Twitter, Blogging and other Social Networking.
  • I need to stop eating anything else than regular and modest meals. 
Help me by reminding me... I need your support.

Exact and Unified Communications

In the last few weeks I receive a lot of inquiries on Unified Communications (UC). The main reason is the video that is embedded below or can be found on Vimeo. A little more information behind the video is necessary, continue reading after the video.

Exact Research participated in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for Office Communication Server (OCS) 2007 R2. The video shows a proof of concept web community that allows people to collaborate in a more efficient way. We choose a web community, because the real value of the web and SaaS solutions are the increased collaboration capabilities. Increased efficiency in collaboration requires, among many other things, efficient communication the area where we see a bright future for unified communications, but just as new technology to replace traditional voice communications. Especially the presence and instant messaging are critical for success, because that is what helps to bridge generations. However this notice of presence and IM between people of different organizations also introduces many new legal, privacy and technical challenges.

We continue our research work on innovative collaboration solutions, while at the same time bring achieved results so far into our current product portfolio.

Why Do the Main Twitter Clients focus on Features and not on Readability?

In the last few days a lot is written about the launch of Seesmic Desktop, the immediate release of an update of TweetDeck and the hidden, Mac only, gem Nambu. You can find some of the reviews here:
All these reviews focus on the features, but is that really that important. It might be obvious that the winner today is the loser tomorrow. The developments go so fast that features is just an arms race. I've been a good fan of TweetDeck, it satisfied my needs but I was curious to the other options. Nambu because it's a native Mac client and less memory hungry and Seesmic because it's more efficient with using screen real estate.
What did I learn... TweetDeck for me is still the winner! Before I explain why lets first look at the single most important feature of the applications. It's the MESSAGE! Tweets are a max of 140 characters, but with a lot of information. This information needs to be very efficient to read. If you compare the 3 different clients you see that the presentation of the message is very different.

I'm constantly distracted by the fairly large avatar, the tweeter name in bold and the bright blue links. It's just hard to read the message, especially if you quickly want to scan a large list.

The font of the message is fairly small, see also my early post about the trend of larger font sizes. The message is just not very easy on the eye... may be again the blue links

I use the default color scheme. The message text is white, no blue but just underlined links. The name is light gray, slightly smaller, because also less important. All message are the same size and they are just very easy on the eye.

So the reason why TweetDeck still rocks, just because it's a lot easier to the eye. It's just less tiring to read heaps of messages. Of course these are just my observations, but it would be interesting if someone could test this with advanced eyeball tracking facilities.

Are Larger Fonts the New Web 2.0 Trend?

Today Friendfeed launched a beta of the new design. The first thing I noticed after the much simpler interface are the fact that the fonts are much larger. I believe we have an interesting trend here.

Image credit: parl 

About a year ago this trend started with Plaxo when they launched their redesign. This was shortly followed by LinkedIn and a couple of weeks ago by Facebook with their latest redesign. Now also Friendfeed is part of the 'larger' font community. Of course I don't know the rational behind all these redesigns, but I do have a couple of theories
1. All social communities want to attract a larger group of people. This does however require the capabilities to attract different demographics. Facebook is the best example, founded in the college going age group, but now growing the fastest in 35-54 age group. Designing for this older age groups requires larger fonts to please their eyes.
2. Larger screens are easily and cheaply available. We have 3 on our desks and need to be able to read the information from a larger distance. We are too afraid to miss something. The different communities recognize this and anticipate with larger fonts.
3. The Tech Bloggers whose opinions are critical for success are becoming older and do start to require reading glasses. The larger fonts are an attempt to ease their reading and create a positive opinion.

You got any other ideas?

Innovation as a Learning Process

While catching up on some reading I found, through the Content Economy Blog,  a great video on Innovation as a Learning Process from Roger H. Shealy.

The video is about cultivating Innovation by connecting the right kind of individuals and learning styles.

Back to Business

I just returned from a week snowboarding in the Swiss Alps. It was excellent, good snow, lots of sunshine and surprising little work. Today on the way back Mervi said: You didn't work a lot this week! This proved that I did a good job in slowing down... Now it's time to catch up again.

While I was having fun, of course the world kept turning. On the day I left my presentation from the Exact Partner Conference got featured on the SlideShare home page (at page 4 at this time of writing). I'm pretty proud of that. You can also find the presentation here. During the week I gained some Twitter followers and maintained reasonably well my blog visits even without any new content.

Now it's time to deal with some not urgent emails, catching up on some news, pickup my Twitter conversations again and back to work...