Monthly Archives: April 2007

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Why is MS Office called a "productivity suite"?

Rather often when I read posts or articles about software I see people referring to Microsoft Office as the “productivity suite” and I can´t really understand why. Maybe it is because English is not my native language. Some may think this is another stab at Microsoft beacuse they are the evil force in software universe. I will do that in other posts 🙂 This is just about semantics and choice of words. If MS Office is called that means that it using them must increase or at least contribute to productivity. But all the other software I like image and video editing software or for that sake alternative text editiors don’t they also contribute to productivity. It seems like there is a category missing here. Or is it because they span such a wide areas of use that no single catagory seem to fit. Also, and this is a question, does the OpenOffice suite fall in the same “productivity suite”-category for these authors?

Det skrivs så mycket och bra på webben idag. Problemet är att hitta det eller snarare att komma ihåg att leta. Jag fick en länk för nån vecka sedan till denna blogg och tyckte det var så kul att hitta en annan TS-tjej som skrev på ett sätt som jag kunde identifiera mig med. Kloka och djupa tankar om hur det är att vara TS och gå igenom transitionsprocessen.

Blomma Bladsdotter

(A wise blog from a TS-girl – written in Swedish)

Collaboration and why content management matters

Yet another Powerpoint outlining the collaboration and knowledge problem

For the past years I have been busy working on projects were collaboration have been in the focus. The overall ideas have been to enable people from different countries to work together in a smart way to solve a common problem. In my realm these problems usually have something to do with crisis management operations. Somewhere along these discussions the role of IT-support have came up and collaboration in general more or less automatically turned into collaboration technologies. Not so much about the specifics about which solutions to use for a particular problem but rather a general idea that some kind of easy web application probably could do the trick if only those IT-guys did their magic…

In the discussions around network centric warfare I have seen many Powerpoint slides outlining how people should share knowledge and gain “situational understandning” whatever that is. However, few of these slides have any substance on how we actually can use existing or emerging technologies to do the trick. There are usually lots of millions spent on handling data from radar, infrared and motion sensors. However most military HQs end up sitting with computers where people like to send messages, write documents, show briefing slide and other “office stuff”. Instead of treating that part of the information flow as innovativly as we do with sensor data (many millions spent on algorithms!) we keep flooding our email systems with attachments and everybody wonder how to find the information they need.

I follow all the Alfresco blogs reguarly and especially the one by John Newton, CEO of Alfresco and co-founder of Documentum. I smiled for myself when I saw a recent post from him where he presented yet another slide that illustrated the needs for people working in emergency relief operations. I recognized more or less every word in it. However, I believe John Newton not only understand how to solve that but have a product to sell that is critical in doing it.

To me the fascinating part is to look at this “we need to share knowledge between us”-problem from above. Instant messaging is moving into the enterprise now, people like to buy project management tools that are supposed to fix everything. Wikis and Blogs gets installed. Fueled by Google advanced search engines like FAST and Autonomy are installed to enable searching from different sources. Different people sees one (or maybe two) of these technologies as the key to solve the information chaos. Unfortunately none of these are any silver bullets.The worst part of it is that none of them usually have any analysis done of what the pieces of information really are and how they should be stored to be used efficiently. Enterprise Content Managment System have been around for a while but as Alfresco like to point out only 5-10% of the companies actually have one. That means that all this critical information is not stored as it should. Vital requirements of a repository are:

– Versioning
– Metadata as tags extracted from the documents
– Document-level security
– Workflow actions instead of sending attachment over email
– Lifecycle to handle status like draft, approved and archived.
– Free-text search engine
– Server-side transformation of content between formats

Without these features in the storage chaos will prevail. On the contrary, all other systems should store its document-based information in an ECM repository. That means that project documentation in the project management tool will be stored in the repository, users online on the Corporate IM solution will send(chat) references to documents in the repository and content from an approved document is automatically uploaded to the public website in HTML or PDF-format.

It is the integration of them that can lead forward. A successful implementation of collaboration techonologies requires an analysis of what Your pieces of information look like. Then these pieces need to be stored in a smart way. Otherwise there will be no “stuff” to collaborate around.

Sometimes I just love technology

For those who know me it is no secret that I am a big fan of technology and why a smart use of it can help us in our daily life. Fortunately, I can sometimes still feel really excited about certain inventions or use of technology. I still look upon the mobile phone as science fiction when thinking back of my own childhood where ham radios were the coolest thing. Or my father´s Mobira Talkman (car phone) that we had installed in our Volvo 740 in 1986.

Now that I am home to heal from my surgery there is of course a lot developments with my body that sometimes makes me worried. Instead of having to go to the hospital I just take a snapshot with my digital camera and email it to my nurse together with a brief description and some questions. An hour or so later she calls back and explains what was going on based on the image I sent. We both agreed that this is so nice. Telemedicin is definately the future as a complement to regular hospital visits.

To look or not look

When I was at the hospital it took me a few days after the removed the bandages before I really dared to look…you know at my new sex. I talked to another TS-girl the other day and she said it took her months before she could do it comfortably. I guess it is frightening to look because you know how it “should look” and what if it doesn´t. However I have been using the mirror extensivly and I think that is good. In fact a genetic female friend of mine said she thought women in general should do that more. There is a lot of things to get used to in this process I guess. At least I am already comfortable about that. Walking is easier and easier and today I even drove my car for the first time since the surgery. It went ok but I needed to have an extra cushion in the driver´s seat.

Passport

I am hopefully going to the United States again when I return to work so I needed a new passport with my new “personnummer” (social security number sort of). So I headed down to the main police station in Stockholm to get one issued. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing since this was my first new ID-document. I brough all the papers I have got with me and presented to the officer but it turned out that it was no real problem although I think he glanced at the papers at least. The took my photo in the booth and I tried to get a decent signature on the digital scanner. It was quite hard to get it nice because of the strange angle. So now I have to wait until next week to get it. At least one obstacle cleared.

Mac Pro…for me!

I have been waiting for a couple of years now. I sometimes do some small film projects like documentaries and similar movies and I do want to use the new cool features of Final Cut Studio. However, my PowerMac 867 that I bought in 2002 have really become too slow for that. So I have been longing for a new Mac with multiple processors and today I bought it. I settled for a Mac Pro with Dual Duo-core Xeon 2.66 Ghz processors with 5 Gb RAM and dual Samsung displays. I felt really good to be back on top of the required specs for the software again. I can´t wait to start playing around in Motion to create some stunning graphics.

Apple best in test!

Today, one of Sweden´s biggest newspaper reports that in an independant test of laptop computers, Apple´s MacBook got rated best in test. It included parameters such as battery life, light intensity of the display and not the least a drop test where the MacBook was the only computer completely unharmed. Another good reason to swtich to a Mac.

DN: Apple bäst i test (in Swedish)

Social Security Number (Personnummer)

I got it today! I opened my mail and found a letter from the National Tax Board of Sweden (Skatteverket) that have issued a new number with the female even third number. Felt great to have it and I the new number seem reasonably easy to learn. Now I just have to inform everybody about this so it will be a phone call or two I guess 🙂

On the radio in "Lantz i P1" regarding LGBT issues in the Armed Forces

Today I was on the radio to talk about LGBT (HBT) issues in the Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) and my experiences as a transsexual there. The host is Annica Lantz who is a famous radio- and TV-profile here in Sweden. I participated over the phone but the piece started with a talk with Ulrika Hansson who is the chairperson of HoF Homo-, bi- och transpersoner i Försvaret (The Association for LGBT people in the Armed Forces). She talked about the new position for LGBT issues established in the Headquarter´s organization and then we continued to discussed different aspects of being LBGT (HBT) in the Armed Forces and what can be done to improve the situation.

You can listen to the piece here:

For listening (and subscribing) in iTunes:
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For listening in any RSS reader:
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Direct link to the MP3-file (25 Mb):
MP3-file

(The LGBT part begins at 16.24 min and I start talking at 25.00 min into the show)