Pokens - and the Winner is?

A while ago I initiated a competition to win a Poken. The competition was followed up with a nice video, and today I announce the winners. The competition was simple, but I was a bit disappointed with the level of interest. Many people thought they could just get away with a simple retweet, but that was really not enough. For that reason I've reduced the number of winners to 3, because they really put some effort in the competition.
1. Eric van der Palen, the first to retweet and was very innovative by using Hyves to spread the message.
2. Sjoerd Blauw, the first outside my direct network to retweet... Well done!
3. AndrĂ© van de Graaf, wrote a nice blog post about the experiment.

All well done... if the winners send me a Twitter Direct message with their shipping details, I will make sure you receive your Poken as soon as possible

Exact GLC Munich - Impression

The Exact Leader Convention in Munich has ended yesterday. By now most people have or are returning back to their homes. It was a very inspiring, exhausting and rewarding event. It was not only listening, but also a lot of hard work. I also did my contribution by hosting a brainstorm on the contribution of the product organization to the customer experience. Below you see some of the pictures to give you an idea.

Banner in the lobby of the Hotel

Relaxed brainstorming
one group in relaxed couches

More groups
2 more groups...

Multiple regions
the last group

Brainstorm results
... and the all the results..

See you all at the next GLC in 2010

Exact Global Leadership Convention (GLC)

Exact's leaders will gather in the Bavarian capital from 18-22 February and continue to work hard on making Exact great. I'm excited to be part of this team and look forward to the event. I also realise that you, my reader, is also interested in what is happening. Today I already noticed Google Search queries with 'Exact Software GLC' pointing to this blog, proving the interest.

During the convention I will try to report back, but it's a very busy period and I will respect the guideline for disclosure and reporting. Join me on twitter and use the #glc hashtag. Below you can also follow the latest tweets on the topic.

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The Real True Value of Software as a Service (SaaS)

While working on a presentation on communities, social computing and how important the role of Software as a Service is I realized that the current view on SaaS is far to limited.

Image credit: Joan M. Mas 

If you read the media everybody talks about Software as a Service and the current economic situation might accelerate the adoption of SaaS. In the discussions mainly focus around the economics, reduction of cost of ownership, CapEx versus OpEx, etc. I'm not an accountant and look different towards the whole evolution of Cloud computing and Software as a Service. It's all about scale! 

When we are doing business we collaborate and communicate with other people, both in our own organization as well as in other organizations. Infrastructures like phone, email and IM have increased the communication capabilities between people in different organization. IT infrastructures have optimized business processes within organizations, but a limited number of business processes are automated and optimized between organizations. Up until today the cost of integrating business processes between different IT systems is very high, and only economically available for larger organizations dealing with huge number of transactions. This is where Cloud computing, Software as a Service or whatever you want to call it comes in, it's creating scale, it's driving the commoditization of IT. This will make new ways to communicate, collaborate and integration of business processes available for a much larger group of companies. Companies adopting Software as a Service solutions can now share the same infrastructure, enabling then to add value in their communication and collaboration with other companies.

Cloud computing, Software as a Service, etc.. is all about adding value, not about new delivery models!

Do you poken - Update

A couple of days ago I started a competition to win a Poken.... Here is a little update, so you got more inspired to participate..

... looking forward to your creative contributions...

Do you poken?

Today I got my first set of pokens. For those that haven't heard of pokens yet go and check out Poken - Official website and Poken: The Future of Social Networking?

Since I got 10 extra Pokens I want to give them away to people interested. How can you participate in getting one of the pokens:
  1. Subscribe to this blog, I trust you on this!
  2. Follow me on Twitter 
  3. Retweet exactly this text: RT @aadjemonkeyrock: Passion for Innovation http://www.aadjemonkeyrock.com is awesome!
  4. Drive trafic to this blog, some tips

    1. Write something good about me in your own blog
    2. Digg, Stumble or whatever me
    3. ... or be creative...
The winners will be announced after sufficient increase of traffic.... You all have fun!

    Multi-Language website, who gets it right?

    The world nowadays is a global place. This is cool, but we still need to deal with localizations. In general localization are to boring to discuss, but I will briefly touch languages.

    At Exact Software we already create multi-language applications for more than 15 years. The principle was very simple. All pieces of text would be stored separately, the applications would only contain references to the text and at run-time the correct language was displayed. Since these were on premise applications the installation would set a default language, that could be modified by the user. This was simple and effective.

    Today most applications and websites use the same principle, but often try to be too smart for their own good. I've lately been bugged too many times by websites that try to out smart me.

    1. YouTube has decided that I should use a 'Netherlands' filter and use the 'Dutch' language. They do this based on my IP address, because I run an English OS on a machine bought in the US. I can only choose 'Yes' or 'Cancel'. I consequently press 'Cancel' but that is for YouTube/Google a reason to keep asking again after a few days. I really have no way out!

    2. If I go to www.myspace.com I do get a page in Dutch. When I signed up for MySpace the Dutch version didn't even exist. I've had endless email conversations with Tom that I don't want this... but nothing helps.

    3. I do travel quite a bit and that is for Google also a reason to change the language of your applications. Google stop putting my Reader in German! When I've coworker from the States over in the Netherlands the same happens. Apparently Google hasn't figured out that people travel.

    4. Plaxo has been bugging me for weeks to change to the 'Dutch' language. The actual message was in Dutch and pressing no was not an option.

    ... and the list goes on and on..

    I'm not sure why they do this, but it might be considered improving the user experiences. My take on it is simple. Just stop messing with my language!

    Windows 7 - After a month use

    In a previous post I already wrote about my first Windows 7 impression after I out or pure frustration upgraded my home PC that is hardly ever used. Based on the positive first impression I decided also to upgrade my Vista business laptop. This was not an easy choice, because it's a Sony Vaio with a not too good reputation on driver support and drivers are, according to Microsoft, usually the cause of all Vista problems.

    The main issues I was having with Vista was very poor battery life, poor Wifi connections (dropping connections and just refusing to reconnect) and many failures with the sleep functionality (an essential feature for a laptop). I was actually so fed up with Vista that most of the time I preferred to use my private MacBook..

    I decided to do an upgrade, because I didn't expect proper driver support, it seemed a safer option. The upgrade went smooth, but extremely slow. I guess it took 4 hours or so to complete. Immediately after the upgrade I installed the MP3 patch and a Beta Antivirus application. All settings and applications migrated perfectly, including the fingerprint reader and other drivers. This is actually very interesting, because I still have all the same drivers installed as when I was still running Vista... Microsoft, the story that the drivers are the cause of most Vista problems is for that reason not TRUE!

    In the first days I experienced some very weird behavior with Office 2007 application, they were extremely, extremely, extremely slow to start, but like a miracle this resolved itself after starting them a number of times. Now they are fine. I still do have some minor issues, like the 10 year old bug that Outlook doesn't close properly. Pressing the window close X doesn't properly close, but File-Exit does. I also have some issues with TweetDeck (Adobe Air) it has a problem when I minimize and go into sleep mode. Now a month later I run everything I need, actually not that much, without real problems. I haven't had any blue screens and only a few times Sleep - Wake up problems, like a drained battery due to refuse to go to sleep.

    The key requirements for a laptop are definitely better with Windows 7. Battery life is about 30% better (no scientific test), I haven't had a single Wifi connection problem and I now confidently close the lid to go into sleep mode. This all resulting me to use my Windows machine more frequently again, but still prefer my Mac though...

    What would I still like to see improved? Microsoft you can do it, if you really want it! Battery life is still not good enough, Wake up from sleep and booting is still too slow and further you need to improve some user interface behavior. For instance you need an additional click when starting something from the start menu and it took me a week to figure out how to start a second instance of a pinned task bar application.

    Microsoft, you did a good job on improving the basics and fixing many Vista bugs, but I miss any added value in Windows 7. It's a good Vista SP3 or at best a $20 upgrade for the DVD. I really hope you take this in consideration when deciding on pricing.

    Why I still value my Mechanical Engineering background

    By education I've a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This is 20+ years ago, but I still value my early career experience as a Mechanical Engineer. I learned something I still use today. In my previous post I explained the secret for successful software development. As I explained it's about people and making the people from different disciplines work together. This is something that I picked up very early in my career and still nurture today.

    Image Credit: EE HomePage.com 

    In my early career I worked as a mechanical engineer in mechatronics design company. Mechatronics was the hot stuff in those days, it combined mechanic with electronics. It's still out there, but in many places replaced by software. Because of the multi discipline nature of the work we would work in teams with mechanical, electrical and industrial design engineers. The design process was very interactive. Based on some early requirements the design engineer would draft up some sketches. I would use those a the starting point for the mechanics. The electrical engineer would at the same time work on the electronics and come back with additional requirements for instance on isolation or room for the battery etc.. Now this would in turn have consequences for the mechanical parts and in return mess up the industrial design. You probably get the story. The 3 disciplines needed to work together, constantly refine the requirements and come with a concept solution. This process typical required many very quick iterations. Only when everybody, including the customer, was happy with the concept solution the real engineering work would start.

    I learned 2 things, first the interactive iterative collaborative process to come to a concept solution is very efficient, and second that the long final engineering process was very boring and made me decide to move into software...

    In software development I've always tried to work in this iterative collaborative way... For me it always felt naturally, but only in recent years after the different agile development processes became in fashion it starts to get common acceptance.

    I like this cross pollination between industries. I would like to have fashion designers work on software.