Thursday, November 17, 2005

Probably the closest I'll get to WoW...

Why Can't Real Organizations Be As Collaborative As Virtual Games?

I'm not too sure about the link between MMORPGs (multi-player online games) and organization techniques, but if anyone could tie it together, Dave Pollard could. I've been reading his blog for months now, and I'm consistently impressed with his insight and willingness to delve deep into issues. Today's entry expounds on models of communication and strategy in business versus their collaborative cousins in the bowels of the Web.

I especially like the Complicated World/Complex World list comparison. The Complicated is more rigid, hierarchical, inflexible. The Complex is more organic, cthonian and egalitarian. The list's comparisons can even be applied to other strategic forms - marketing, creative, industrial planning, arts education, the (proverbial) list goes on.

I encourage everyone to read this article, beginning to end. There's enough information socked in there for everyone to find something relevant to their work (or play), and possibly a solution to a related problem.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Communicating News Value: Two Examples of "Why Is This News?"

(Fair warning, this entry may graze close to the political. However, I feel it is a valuable lesson in the nuances of communication, and how perception can differ between us as individuals.)

Target sees Nov sales below plan
Wal-Mart's Profit Growth Is Lowest in More Than 4 Years

Well...this is quite a change from last year, isn't it? It's understandable of course, with the tremendous damage done to our economy and many thousands of lives from natural disasters and the high price of oil.

But in all honesty, I'm not sure of the news value in big department stores like Target and Walmart not having as high profit margins as they did previously. It makes perfect sense to communicate these developments to shareholders and investors, but announcing it?

The way I see it, good news communicates to its readers advice for their lives, information about current events, and possible predictions of future activity. So let's compare the gist of these articles to my three criteria.

Now, advice from these articles would only appear, to me, to be "Shop at these stores so their profits will go up." That's a reverse-dynamic that many people will not appreciate.

Information about current events? Yes, this is a current event. And yes, some people may want to read about Walmart not having ludicrously high profits this past quarter. So I guess these qualify here.

Predictions of future activity? Here's where I see the value to shareholders and investors. They are being warned that things didn't go well last time, and they may not go well in the near future either. Brace for high winds, sailors!

Now I grant you, my criteria for news value is certainly not going to be the same as another person's. But I at least hope others will consider this, and look with a more discerning eye at what we are given each day and called 'news.' As shareholders can definitely appreciate...maximize your value!

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Software Review--Floppy Office

I've talked in the past about mobile computing, wireless connections and such. But connections don't mean much without having the proper tools. Nowadays it's no issue at all for a tech or on-the-go professional to carry a USB drive loaded with programs for running diagnostics, or doing their daily work. For a communicator like me, it's great to have that freedom - plug into any PC, and instantly have your favorite apps at the ready.

That said, I'd like to introduce one of my favorite apps. It's called Floppy Office, and it's an incredibly tiny piece of software. Like the name says, it will fit on one floppy (but who uses those nowadays?). Yes, it IS a complete office suite less than 2 MB in size. What does it include? I'm glad you asked.

  • A word processor that reads DOC/RTF/TXT/HTML, and writes RTF/TXT/HTML.

  • A spreadsheet program

  • A zip utility

  • A graphical FTP client

  • A Windows Notepad replacement

  • A file shredder (secure)

  • An encryption program

  • A full-fledged POP email client, close to Outlook Express

  • An HTTP web server

  • A tree-style outliner, like Keynote, all text-based

  • A vector graphics editor

  • A PDF creator. Yes, you read right, a CREATOR.

Here's a screenshot with most (if not all) the applications loaded.

What does this mean for writers, like myself? Writers deal in text. HTML, DOC formatting, everything like that is layered on top of text. The day-to-day words (like the stuff I'm writing right now) can be done more easily in Notepad than it can in Word. So if you've got tools at your fingertips to write in text, no matter what kind of system you're on, no matter where you are, you can still do your job.

Plus, there's something cool about sticking an entire office suite on a USB drive, with room to spare. Must be the techie in me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Will Work For...

I might as well announce it here. I'm looking for a full-time writing job.

Don't get me wrong; I intend to continue freelancing. I enjoy the variety and the challenge. But I'll be graduating in December, and with that comes a fresh crop of bills to pay. I need more money than I have coming in.

I could market myself more (and I WILL be doing that), but it'd be nice to have some stability for a while. Plus, with the increase in job offerings on sites like, Craigslist, and Yahoo! HotJobs, a rewarding full-time writing position seems more and more likely.

I'd like to stay in California - there are lots of markets here, and things are going well. Failing that, the Western Seaboard never fails to impress me. One of the great things about freelancing, the ability to pick up and go anywhere I need to!

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