Tag Archives: Technical

Why user support is so maddening

I’m SO glad I don’t do product support  for users any more.  This cardoon ‘IS’ me 🙂


Only I would have wrestled the mouse off him MUCH earlier!

Thanks to the Best Article Every Day for the smiles today…

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CWT launches in Scotland


I’m flying up to Glasgow tomorrow for the launch of Connecting Women in Technology – Scotland.  I’m redelivering my session on Johari windows – I did the same session at Dell a year ago (I’ll post the slides to Slideshare tomorrow).

I’m so pleased that the idea that I had over a glass of wine in 2007 has grown as an initiative that connects corporate women from competing companies to come together and share their stories.  Not to poach staff from other companies but to learn from each other, inspire, support and connect.  Silka from Cisco, who is part of the WIT Scotland team invited me up to IBM for their first event and I’m really excited.  They have been getting some great PR for the initiative reflecting the hard work from the whole team.  Long may it continue ladies 🙂

The Connecting Women in Technology brand has also spread to Ireland too where they hold regular networking meetings for women in the Technology industry.  It’s going from strength to strength too.  In England, it’s Google’s turn to host, and we’ve got an amazing set of presenters lined up for this event.  More about that another time though.  I’ll post pictures etc tomorrow when I get back from the event.

A great idea over a glass of wine – and look how its grown.  I’m very proud indeed…  🙂

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Go Aliza. Women in Tech do blame some men!


imageMy goodness.  Aliza Sherman really nails it when she responds to Michael Arrington (Techcrunch) about his post: Too Few Women In Tech? Stop Blaming The Men. She counters his post, effectively and accurately, point by point.   She’s calm and she’s informed.  She writes in detail.  She’s not too angry.  She’s right.  It’s a long post, so you should take some time to read it and absorb her arguments.  I’ve pulled some of the key points that really resonate with me from her amazing post which was written in response to of his original points:


Here she goes:  

I’m not a whiner or complainer (except over a glass of wine with  friends). I’m a doer. I’m an instigator. I’m an innovator. I’m a leader. I create things, build things, write things. Make things happen.

I cannot believe we are STILL having the EXACT SAME CONVERSATIONS today as we were in 1995 when women made up 10% of the female population

It does matter how OLD you are. Ageism is rampant in Silicon Valley. If you were born before 1970, chances are you are considered "old" unless you are male and can then be considered a "gray hair" which is actually a great position to be in because regardless of your credentials, your gray hair demonstrates wisdom and seasoning. For women, gray hair signifies old

We (women) stand in our own way of our own successes.

You are part of the problem, Michael Arrington. You are a successful, young, white male who has the ear and eye of many powerful men in the tech industry, and you – like too many of them – have sat on the sidelines over the years scratching your heads or scratching your balls. Not many of you have taken positive actions to make positive changes in the system to create more opportunity for ANYONE who is not white and male.

Fixing the system helps EVERYONE, not just women.

This past year, I spoke with several people who run tech conferences and hear the same tired refrains.

One, a very nice male, said, "we keep putting out a call for more women to speak but just aren’t getting the response."

Another younger male said, "we go out of our way to try to get more women, but even when we find them, they end up not submitting anything or they drop out shortly after being selected."

Your circles are far too small, your reach far too narrow. You are missing dozens if not hundreds of women who would qualify to speak at your events. You just don’t know how to find them, how to approach them, and how to remove the barriers for their entry even once they receive an invitation from you. You have NO IDEA.

She is right.  So right.  I’ve applied to speak at conferences in the US in the past, but because I don’t live on the same timezone, or I’m not American, or in the US inner circle, my submissions get rejected.  Fortunately I get enough speaking engagements over in UK and Europe to make me realise that it’s not my presentation style or my tech ability – it’s just my nationality and the Europeans I hang around with.  What a shame.  Over here we bring a different perspective to things. A non US perspective.  A global perspective. Something that Americans might want to hear…

We all need to keep chipping away at this iceberg of negativity and stereotypical perceptions.  Men and women.  There are some totally AMAZING women out there doing jaw dropping things in technology and telling their story to their female supporters…

                         The trouble is, some men just don’t want to listen…


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Live Writer plug in for Posterous

I’ve been blogging for a while now, and I’d use Live Writer.  I’d also like to use Posterous regularly for odds and sods that aren’t really relevant to my blog here.

Posterous will publish to your blog, Twitter, Facebook and the like and it works by email.  All you need to do is email Posterous and it does the rest.   Its great idea but it disrupts my workflow.  Here’s what I mean.

  • I use Live Writer to create posts.  When I hit publish the post goes to my blog
  • I use the Twitter Notifier add in for Live Writer to tell Twitter about each new post.
  • Twitter is linked to Facebook so my tweets appear in the live feed
  • Twitter is connected to LinkedIn so my tweets appear there
  • I use Facebook notes to publish the text of my blog

Hmm.  There doesn’t seem to be any room for Posterous in this flow. 

I still want Twitter to publish to Facebook as my Facebook friends get my non blog related tweets.  I don’t want to duplicate any entries and I want to keep Facebook for more personal stuff.

So I noticed that there’s a Live Writer Plug in for Posterous on Codeplex written by Scott Lovegrove who also wrote the Delicious and Tweetmeme plugins for Live Writer.   There’s a bit of configuring to do, like any add in but it works like a dream.

So I posted the draft post I’ve been meaning to post today.  It went to Posterous and nowhere else.  Yay! Then I switched to another profile and posted to my blog which notified Twitter which notified Facebook 


Now I can keep the trivia and the irrelevant stuff that I stumble across totally separate from my work persona.  Nothing weird will go to Twitter and LinkedIn.  All the daft stuff and whimsy will go to Posterous and Facebook.

All sorted.  All down to one plugin.  Scott, you’re not a fool, you’re a genius.  Thank you! 🙂

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Feed your blog from Twitter without using TinyURL

I hate being locked in to a product or service.  I like flexibility of choice, which is why I’m still using a PC not a Mac, and I have to get any Stihl product from an authorised dealer and not anywhere.  So it does irritate me that the only option I have to update my blog from Twitter via Live Writer is for TinyURL when I use the Twitter Notifier tool.

No choice in providers.  Grrr.

I was complaining to the lovely Kate on Twitter on Friday and both Scott and Aaron pointed me to the fact that I now have a choice! Lots of choices in fact.

Scott’s add in gives me a choice of several providers 

image and Aaron gives me the steps to modify the registry myself to use bit.ly as my provider.  I’ll try both to see which one I prefer…

But most important for me is, I now have a choice.  So now it’s time to test it out and hit Publish 🙂


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Feedback – always appreciated

It’s always lovely to hear about successes, and even better to know that you’re somehow involved in that success. 

I got a great email from Paula, an MVP in Security who I’d first talked to when I was at Microsoft.  I saw her at Teched Berlin last year and she talked at teched North America in June.  She sent me this:

Hi Eileen,

I am not sure if you remember me, so I will quickly introduce myself: I was the one on TechEd Berlin in the Speaker room that you approved of my session in front of other speakers 🙂

Now, I would like to really thank you for this! I felt really motivated, I thought: now I just cannot do wrong :). This year I had the opportunity to be a speaker on TechEd North America 🙂 and… my session was repeated (again!) and I got the score 3,79/4 on the repeat, my session is on the 1st -3rd place (it is changing) in the Top Rated sessions ranking on the http://msteched.com/toprated

This is not about the success but about the happiness :)! I don’t know how to repay you for your support. I hope that one day I will be able to do this. Thank you so much!

Best regards,

Paula Januszkiewicz, MVP Enterprise Security

Women in Technology

It’s always great to get a thank you – and I’m always happy to promote great women in technology whenever possible 🙂

Great stuff Paula!

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No longer 6 degrees of separation – its 4.1

I found some really interesting research that has been done in Korea recently analysing the whole of the Twitterverse and there’s some amazing findings.  They found that either people follow each other because they know them personally, or they want to find out news.

They looked at 41.7 million profiles, 1.47 billion social relationships.  They looked at 4,262 trending topics and 106 million tweets and they discovered that the average path length between Twitter users is 4.1 and not 5.5 as Milgram discovered in his small world experiment.  electronic communication seems to have cut out 1.5 hops! image

  • Timely retweets are really important.  We know that people retweet about things as soon as they hear them so timely topics tend to spread really quickly – within an hour or so (perhaps its because most of the Twitter clients soon become flooded with noise and if we don’t retweet the information quickly, it’ll get lost in the noise of other tweets).
  • 55% of retweets happen within an hour of the original tweet and 35% of them are retweeted within the first 10 minutes
  • You don’t have to follow someone just because they follow you.  Almost 80% of follows are one way.  There is little reciprocity – which is different to normal human behaviour where a positive (or negative) action results in another positive (or negative) action
  • This lack of reciprocity seems to be much lower than on Flickr or Yahoo 360
  • There are some key Twitter hubs who reach a large following in one hop – this is similar to news media channels who can spread the word of mouth message out really quickly – but only to their first tier.
  • The power of the retweet is incredible – you can have a huge reach if folks retweet you, or your retweet other folks.  (But remember my guidelines on retweeting if you want to be as effective as possible).
  • Gathering followers has no correlation to your level of influence.  Your tweets are popular because of you and not due to the number of followers you have. You need to provide interesting and topical tweets.
  • 96% of retweets are only retweeted once – to your 2nd degree network.  But if the retweet is rebroadcast it goes out to potentially a huge audience.  The opportunity here is huge.

The link to the deck explaining all this and more is here:  



Kudos to the Going social blog for discovering this research in the first place.

I’m actually a little bit disappointed – as when I started looking through the research I hoped that the average path length was 4.2 which would have tied in nicely with Douglas Adams theory that 42 was the answer to everything.  Well perhaps when they re run the data when absolutely everyone is communicating on Twitter, and not just the Twitterati then they might get to the magic number after all.  But it seems that if you want to get noticed, you need to retweet the interesting things that you find and create things that are worthy of a retweet yourself 🙂

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