Featured Articles

Popcorn Hour 200 Manual Released at Last!

Popcorn Hour 200 Manual

Been having a lot of fun with a Popcorn Hour 200 Networked Media Tank . I use it to play art house DVDs and started off pumping video files from my PC to it via FTP. Only really worked once I fixed its IP address and allocated it via my Internet Service Provider control panel.

Config details were sketchy and I had to rely on the Networked Media Tank Forum and the Networked Media Tank Wiki. Nonetheless I got it working ok and piped the sound as stereo into a Copland valve preamp and out to a pair of Sonus Faber Concertinos. Sounded fab. Until one clever sod suggested I try 5.1 surround sound.

Even though most the films I watch were made in mono (Bergman didn’t need a subwoofer for Death in the Seventh Seal), I’ve taken the plunge. Have bought a Linn 5103 from eBay and wired it in. Need to get a Linn 5125 to provide the 5 channels.

Currently stuck on the set up but the chap who sold me the 5103, ‘Smudge‘ is providing tip-top support on the audio connect and settings.  I at least will also be much helped by the release of a proper Popcorn Hour 200 C-200 Networked Media Tank manual (at last!). Download the Popcorn Hour 200 Manual from here. (pdf)

Watch this space for next steps…

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

6 types of Social Business Naysayer

The Social Business Naysayer & how to deal with them…

A slightly tongue in cheek post: 6 people types you may meet at work, a motley collection of enterprise social business naysayers…;-)

1) The Antiques Dealer

Common riposte from this social business naysayer: “‘what’s wrong with e-mail?’ thought they tend to forget that when e-mail was introduced they said the same thing about that. Not so much a late adopter as a laggard after the event. Like Hegel’s zeitgeist theycan never ever be wrong, as the always arrive after the party only to complain against the next one.

Winning tactic: Nod in agreement do nothing. Eventually they’ll catch up when there’s something newer to carp about.

2) The New Old Romantic

Commonly heard saying: “It’s just New Media all over again”‘ the New Romantic naysayer is often found in the advertising department. They twitch suspiciously about anything social on the software front and tend to listen to Bryan Ferry.

Winning Tactic: Play on their vanity and ask if they follow David Lynch on Twitter (or if Mr Lynch follows them).

3) Scotty

Frequent lament: ‘It cannae take it any more Capn’.. This person isn’t so much against social media at work, they just think it’s might break what’s already there and more worryingly, overload the heads of the employees. People they argue are already busy enough and don’t need any more stuff to contend with.

Winning tactic: agree with their concerns but point out that people are a lot cleverer than is being given credit and can work out how to manage their time. Also point out that used correctly, social software can save time and reduce the overload.

4) Private Frazer

Banshee cry: “We’re all doomed, doomed DOOMED!” Another dour Scots approach (are all television Scots this pessimistic?) , the Frazers think the worst on all occasions and are convinced that social media inside the firewall will bankrupt the company.

Winning tactic: ply with Irish whiskey and when sufficiently lubricated ask if not using social software might be even more risky and might cost far more in the long run. Point out that a pilot can be very cheap, much cheaper than traditional IT rollouts.

(For my American readers: Private James Frazer)

5) The Commandant

Frequent order: “Resistance is futile”, the Commandant runs a Command and Control culture. The idea of Enterprise 2.0 tools and people actually being able to contribute and engage in dialogue, rather than being told what to do, frightens the living daylights out of them. Communications they believe are 1-way: all else is anarchy.

Winning tactic: don’t argue whatever you do. Ask if they would like to know what people really think (not the stuff they say in the employee surveys) and who the real trouble-makers are and wait til the penny drops. Keep fingers crossed that they don’t decide the biggest trouble-maker is the person who suggested a social business plan in the 1st place.

6) The Janus Face

Common cry: “Social Media is the way forward, it’s the best thing since sliced bread”. Great? No, they say this in public but in private torment themselves with all the other 5 worries. They know they have to be seen to support enterprise 2.0 and a social business strategy and to present a positive face. In truth however they fear and loathe all that it represents and will do everything and anything to secretly block its progress. The archetypal Social Business Naysayer, but in disguise…

Winning tactic: call their bluff, preferably in a public place with decision-making consequences…


Žižek on Love, on form

I’ve not posted anything on Žižek for a while so here goes:

I’ve been thinking of what Žižek might be like without Lacan. Possibly like the landscape in the PK Dick story where all turns to a cloudy nonethingness – the absence of the symbolic. Or perhaps a new lucidity.

Communications Featured Articles

Are Cisco putting Search into the Network?

Can someone cleverer than me answer this? – looks to me like my old buddies at Cisco are starting to put Search into the Network….If so Google will be chuffed…

Cisco: Leveraging Networks To Seed Search & Graphs?

Will Cisco gear become search engine toll collectors?

Patent (pdf)

Search network

What this looks like to me is Cisco taking search right into the network itself – it’s not a question of adding toll gates as network world suppose but adding search elements into the very fabric of the network.

the scope of the present invention includes both combinations and sub-combinations of the various features described hereinabove, as well as variations and modifications thereof which would occur to persons skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description and which are not disclosed in the prior art.
Network World


Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Social Media Scorecard III

As is well known there’s a great deal of chasing for the holy grail when it comes to finding the ROI and real metrics on enterprise social network activity (by this I mainly refer to social software inside the firewall rather than social media marketing). This to my mind isn’t so much a mistake as an attempt to measure activities that are extremely difficult to pin down, quantify and evaluate in any effective way or manner.

What I think we need to work towards is a more holistic overview, one that uses an approach of a social media scorecard. As I’ve blogged before the inventor of the balanced scorecard Bob Kaplan says it can’t be done with Social Media. I’ve the temerity to disagree.

What I’ve done is take Forrester’s one for IT and reapply it to social media.  I don’t see this as at all finished. It’s a move toward a balanced scorecard for the social enterprise and I reserve all caveats about the usefulness of scorecards per se. Nevertheless, I think I’m onto something here…

Goal Social Media Activities Candidate Social Metrics
Employee Engagement Increase employee engagement via genuine dialogue and polyphonic communication channels. Overcome Generational Shift. Discussing! Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Polls, Feedback from Social Media Channels (% Csat), CSAT on Generation – Y + Millenials + Boomers
Innovation Increase level of innovation via Innovation Wikis (e.g., Cisco I-Zone), Competitions and ‘wisdom of crowds’ gathering of info activities. Listening! Number of ideas submitted, number of successful ideas turned into pilots, number of pilots entering the market as new products. Time to market ratios.
Increase Productivity Increased productivity % increase, contribution in $/£ per employee
Improve Customer Experience Increase revenue per customer, increase engagement from the customer, social marketing Customer retention / satisfaction, inputs into marketing process, overall cost of marketing $/£ per $/£ sale
Social Engagement Connections, sociality of employees via Enterprise Social Networks, 2.0 profiles, Tagging across the Enterprise, Expert Locators, Silo Busting Social Network Analytics, (NodeXL), Measure of Relations, Overcoming Geo/Time barriers with synchronous & asynchronous comms / collaboration = decreased travel budget. ratio of flights/meetings vs online engagement.
Learning Social Learning, sharing of information, 2.0 Training, e-learning, EMS. Cost of training, number of courses taken/passed, diversity of learning offerings, CSAT. Degree of ‘Knowing what we know’ better.
Raw Competition Social Software as cumulative competitive Advantage Who dares wins & who doesn’t, appears in the next edition of ‘In search of Stupidity‘ 😉
Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Employee Engagement = Social Engagement

Polemic number one for 2010. There can be no employee engagement without social engagement. Or put in other words, internal communications cannot continue to successfully engage employees in a modern organisation over a certain size without  social media inside the firewall.

Why so? The basic element is trust. If there the technology that enables dialogue and conversation inside an enterprise and by that I mean genuine 2 way conversation then there is no trust. And without trust there is no engagement.

Why then is there reticence about using social media inside companies from the very people who might be championing it, the internal communications teams? (& see Melcrum for some interesting data on this). Trust, or lack there of. The instinct is to stay with command and control comms, the need is a shift to a more dialogic or polyphonic conversation (for Polyphony see Bakhtin).

There’s a litmus test here. Ask the internal comms team if their middle management are good communicators & can they be relied upon to be ‘on message’. If there’s trust then these boys and girls can be engaged. There rarely is though and the perennial fear is that the message will go off piste. So what is my answer. If the central message is clear and strong enough and actually translates strategy into something that engages with what most people in the business actually do then it will get through. But is there’s not the means to discuss, debate and actually disagree with the Message, then there’s no real engagement. You may have a well informed and aligned workforce, but not an engaged one.