Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fixing the hack and 2 game changers

Had a rough time finding out how to stop my blog being hacked. Figured out that my blog was configured to receive updates via email. Looks like a virus of some sort has picked up my blogs' email addresses and was mailing them. So after hemming and hawing for several days and threatening complaints to Google (just a generic threat - didn't know who to blame anyway), I decided to disable the email accounts. So far nothing has happened since then. So I think I solved the problem.

Since I am not running because of my back (which I happen to throw out again!), I thought I might as well talk about a couple of game changers. A game changer is a technology or fad that will fundamentally alter an industry or commonly prevalent paradigm - maybe even kill some paradigms. I am now officially hooked to two solid applications that I believe will change the way we work.

The first is something called FeedJournal (www.feedjournal.com). Its a kind of blog syndicater that combines various blogs into a single newspaper like interface. Personally, I read a lot - and I cant always read from a computer screen. FeedJournal is such a life saver that once a week I can print out all the posts from all the blogs that I read and I have a custom magazine with only the articles that I like. I believe this is a game changer because it could potentially change the concept of a magazine over the next 10 years or so. Imagine a world where you didn't have a traditional magazine like Time or Newsweek. Just authors whose feeds go into various custom magazines.

The second is something that could have a much faster acceptance cycle than FeedJournal. I recently saw a presentation for Google Wave and was blown away. Wrangled an invitation right away and was as impressed using it as I was seeing the demo. GW's paradigm is that a Wave is like a thread that you start and share with whoever you want. All those you share with can modify or reply to your wave. Modification is particularly useful if you are collaborating on something - like say a report or a plan. Replying is useful when you are trying to get consensus on something (this is not so cool - since email already does this)

The modification feature is really something to rave about. We use it in my company for our status meetings. So I create a status wave and invite my team to the wave. Each one is tasked with updating their part of the wave. Where it gets really cool is that they can simultaneously update the wave. Think of it as a "merge" in real time - for those who are familiar with merging code.

In real time, each member of the wave can see the other updating his or her section as it is being done. So you can react right away to posts by others and get your plans in sync. For the first time, one-hour status meetings actually finish in one hour as opposed to the several hours it used to take.

Right now I'm not too clear how Google is positioning Wave. But positioned right, I believe Wave will change the way we think about collaboration and so qualifies as a game changer in my mind.

Well until I start running/sporting again, expect a lot of non-running posts from me.

Until next time.

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