Where did your Microsoft heart go?

In a reaction on my Chrome OS article one of my Microsoft buddies emailed me the above question: Where did your Microsoft heart go? This requires some additional disclosure!

In my professional live I work for Exact responsible for technology partnerships and innovations. In this role I extensively work with Microsoft, constantly searching for new and improved ways to strengthen the technology partnership. In the recent period this resulted in an Windows 7 endorsement, An Exact Synergy Office Business ApplicationExact Globe Windows 7 certification and Exact Synergy integration with Office Communication Server. Windows 7, I wrote about a few times earlier, is a big step forward and I'm proud that also our customers can benefit with the latest Exact Globe 395 release. The integration with Office Communication Server is of a different nature, it influences how people work together. It's a topic close to my heart, I love unified communication, because it will be the single biggest change in our professional lives. Unified communications provides more efficient communication, it matches with communication requirements for newer generations and we can finally start calling people instead of numbers. Microsoft provides great technology to create compelling business solutions and in my professional role I continue to work on new and innovative solutions.

However I'm also critical and look beyond what is offered today. I like simple but powerful solutions and do believe the web is going to bring them to us. I very clearly see a future that brings private and business closer together. It will take time and the Social web, Start ups, the Crunchpad and Google Chrome OS are indicators where it's all going. I would be silly not to investigate and explore.

This article is 100% written in the browser, partly on Windows 7 - Chrome and Mac - Safari, using Pixlr to resize the image.

Snail Mail - The new Do NOT Contact me!

The web is extensively used to market, sell and services products and services. Organizations more and more nurture a conversation with their prospects and customers to build a relationship. However in situations where the conversation goes towards less driving the business and possibly ending the relationship, the organizations tend to fall back to their traditional 'please provide by letter' snail mail communication. I'm getting the impression that this is done on purpose to make it harder to have a less positive conversation.

A while back I've lost my faith in Audi and I don't appreciate the overload of marketing material they constantly mail and email me. The emails contain a 'request your test drive now' form, but for the opt out of marketing material I do need to write a letter. Even after 2 letters I still receive all the marketing material, probably because it's easy to claim that the letters got lost.

My bank extensively supports internet banking, I can buy additional services, buy and sell stock, get a loan all by the internet. However if I want to cancel something, I do need to write a traditional letter.

Yesterday I received a parking ticket in a place where I'm allowed to park. I tried to explain this to the traffic warden, but she was not receptable for my arguments. I can request and buy a parking license online, I can pay my parking tickets online, but if I want some justice I need to file a complaint in writing. The city of Delft even writes at their website, a complained by email will be considered an informal complaint and receive a informal answer.

I'm recently having some troubles that my internet connection at home is not very stable. The provider is very helpful on Twitter, email and the phone, however the issue does not get resolved. When I try to escalate I do again need to do this in writing.

These are just some example I've been running into lately. All the companies do their best to serve me with modern communication technologies. However when it gets tough they just don't go all the way and revert back to traditional snail mail. As a customer it feels like they want to discourage me from contacting them.

Fortunately I've also seen organizations that also are easy to connect when it gets harder. In the future I'll pay more attention to the usage of modern communication means when selecting supplier.

Chrome OS - My 2 Cents into the Future

Last week Google gave their preview on Chrome OS and since many different opinions have been written. The opinions go from a complete failure to being already a winner and a look into the future. I'm in the last category, but love to have it already today.

Like many people today I use several devices to access information, sometimes this is a desktop with a lot of screen real estate, while more often it's a laptop for portability. Unless you are very keen on synchronizing a lot of information between the different devices, central storage that is web accessible is the easiest way to get to my information. This is not only about data, but also about preferences, settings and preferably also applications. I'm not very keen on replacing hardware, because it's just too cumbersome to reinstall all required applications, add-on's etc. You can say, I just love the cloud, cos it's so convenient.

Each time a I resume a device I start, if it isn't running yet, my default browser (Chrome on Windows, Safari on Mac) with my important applications.
1. iGoogle as a dashboard for my private emails, calendar, RSS feeds, IM, voice and video chats on google talk. A great starting point for launching other applications to make notes, write documents, write on blog posts, prepare presentations and for instance simple image manipulations
2. Brizzly as my new favorite Twitter client. It has replaced TweetDeck and Nambu as client installs. It's just too cumbersome to keep those up to date with the latest changes.
3. Outlook Web Access for my corporate email, not very user friendly but a lot better than the feature overload in the Outlook client.
4. Several 'social' community sites for interaction with others.

Besides these daily used web applications my employer Exact also has a great infrastructure for collaboration with my coworkers, access to my HR information and tcustomer dossiers based on Exact Synergy. Before you ask, No it can not be used in my favorite browser and depends on Internet Explorer. I usually don't disclose in this personal blog any work in progress, but yes we are working on multi-browser support.

The above mentioned applications are good for 80% of my computer activities. Areas that I would like to see improvement are creating compelling presentations and video editing. Two and a half years ago I did and experiment to live without a laptop. Already at that point creating presentations was the hardest. I'm looking forward to the web clients of Microsoft Office 2010, hopefully they can replace my client install of Office 2007 on some of the devices. Video editing requires large files to upload store and process, it might still take some time before we can handle that properly from web applications.

Overall it's just a matter of time until there are compelling web applications for everything we do. Chrome OS is the proof of this visions. I could live with Chrome OS today for a set of my devices. I look forward to the Google simplicity, speed and efficiency. I can't Wait!

Today I'm a very proud man

Last Friday all Exact employees worldwide celebrated the 25th anniversary. It was big clean-up day to prepare for something new, closed of with a great party.

Today Exact formalized and published their corporate identity and marked this with the launch of a new visual identity. The new logo is shinning bright on the soon to be new headquarters. For more information please follow the official communication channel.

I feel a proud man, to have the privileged to be part of the exciting years ahead.

Photo credit: Myself, with iPhone in the rain with about 100km/h entering the highway at a sleepy Sunday morning

Animoto - Cool and Quick Videos

A while back I was pointed to Animoto, but I didn't really have a good subject to experiment. Animoto is a services that helps you to create professional looking impression videos. All you have to do is upload some pictures and video, select a nice tune for background music and off you go. I really like this kind of easy services that even can make me look like a professional.

Today I did have a good topic for an experiment. Yesterday I was jury at the Delft Design & Engineering Award and during the day made some pictures and even a short video. I uploaded some of the pictures and below you see the 30 second video result.

The free version only allows 30 second videos, but 30$ a year gives you full length videos. For future video I will definitely upgrade.

For those interested, the photos are created with my iPhone in combination with the Posterous Application and can all be found at my posterous blog.

Delft Design & Engineering Award

Over the last few days I've been studying a set of interesting innovative ideas. This all part of the Delft Design & Engineering Award and my participation as a jury member. It's both interesting and challenging to study the broad range of ideas. Personally I like the variety of solutions and the different technical areas. Again I'm happy with my technical background helping me to study some of the concepts.

If your are interested to learn what students in Delft are doing go and have a look at the different videos that are created by the participants. If you are really confident you can even vote and identify your personal winner.