Category Archives: Geek

Few more tweaks

I’m still playing with the site and the new WordPress Twenty Fourteen theme.  Though the help of the excellent Fourteen Extended plugin, all posts are showing in reverse chronological order on the home page now.  The featured posts at the top are not necessarily the three most recent anymore.  I’ve also changed the homepage to show excerpts only, and when you click to view the full post it uses the full content area width (no right sidebar).  Still working on some image sizing issues, but the site is much closer to how I wanted it to work now.

A new job, a new future

2012 marks my 12th year working for Praxair since graduating from RIT with a degree in IT.  I started working on Praxair’s first e-Commerce systems, and then transitioned to help build Praxair’s first intranet on Lotus Domino, and then was part of the team that rolled out Microsoft SharePoint enterprise wide for document management and collaboration, eventually transitioned all the intranet content to this platform as well.

It’s been five years since I started on our SharePoint implementation project, and recently a new opportunity arose that piqued my interest.  The opportunity was to rejoin the e-Commerce group, however this time as part of the business team instead of the IT team.  It’s a great opportunity for me to become directly involved with the products we sell and learn more about our business operations.

This new role also sets me on a track which will likely result in me relocating out of the Buffalo area, which will be a bittersweet change as I’ve grown to know so many people here and invested so much time and affection in certain pet projects.  However, those experiences certainly helped build my skills which ultimately prepared me for this career move.

For the near term, though, I’ll be sticking around and continuing to work with our IT team here, and our business teams in Chicago and Danbury.  I’m excited to be taking on this new challenge at Praxair.

I am pleased to announce that Derek Punaro, currently Lead IT Information Architect, has accepted the position of E-Commerce Specialist, reporting to me. Derek will replace [redacted], who has left Praxair to pursue other opportunities.

Derek’s main focus will be the e-catalog that supports all our different packaged gas e-commerce channels and will work closely with everyone on the team in this capacity. One important part of this will be to work with the Product Data Hub project team to align the system and workprocesses with the e-catalog efforts. Derek’s broad experience in information architecture, programming and systems will be a great asset to the business.

Derek will work to transition from his current position to his new role over the coming weeks and will be in contact with many of you to understand our projects, data, systems and work processes. Please join me in welcoming Derek to our team!

Jakob Janzon
Marketing & Business Development
Praxair, Inc.

Friday Five – January 20, 2012

So the big news in the tech world this week was… Newt Gingrich. Just kidding it was SOPA – a proposed piece of garbage legislation written people that don’t manage their own Facebook and Twitter accounts that, if enacted, could cause disastrous harm to innovation and the tech industry. This issue was so important that Wikipedia blacked itself out in protest, essentially making the source of reference unavailable for the millions that use it. So kicking off the Friday Five this week is…

 

#1 – Thank you. [Wikipedia]

The Wikipedia blackout is over — and you have spoken.

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.

Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.

SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows. What’s happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The Internet has enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipedia went dark, you’ve directed your energy to protecting it.

We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly.

There’s also a “read more” page to find out more about the milestones of the blackout, and of course about the issue itself.

 

 

#2 – Megaupload Taken Down On Piracy Allegations [TechCrunch]

Popular file-hosting site Megaupload, probably known to our readers for a variety of reasons, has been taken down after the FBI charged some of its staff with copyright infringement and “conspiracy to commit racketeering.” Seven people have been charged, and four arrested (in New Zealand), and the site itself appears to be down as authorities around the world closed in on the site’s resources.

The day after the SOPA/PIPA protests, the FBI illustrates why we don’t need those bills by orchestrating an international takedown of a site that was a haven for piracy. The system works, and if you break the law, the law will come and take away all your toys.

 

 

#3 – Twitter Is Making A Gigantic Move (And Going To War With A Board Member) [Business Insider]

Twitter is slowly finding a way to curate its own massive fire hose of information.

Twitter has typically been a pure stream of information that’s gone uninterrupted. Thousands of tweets fly across the Internet in a given second — sometimes tens of thousands, depending if there’s a big event.

But just moments ago, Twitter announced it acquired Summify, a service that crunches Twitter and other social media sites and creates a personalized news digest based on that information.

I subscribe to the Summify service – it does a pretty impressive job of curating your social feeds and sending you highlights of things that are of interest to you. This is particularly useful if you’re not continuously plugged in to your networks scanning for the latest news, or if, you know, sleep. This acquisition should be making the future of the Twitterverse interesting to see how the integration works. Hopefully they do a better job than they did maiming Tweetdeck.

 

 

#4 – The Wired Q&A: ICANN President Rod Beckstrom on ‘the Biggest Change in DNS Since Dot-Com’ [Wired]

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12 — midnight UTC, to be exact — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) starts accepting applications for new, bespoke top level domains (TLDs). This will be the first time website owners (at least governments and businesses) will be able to request their own replacement for .com, .net and .org. Think .facebook, .losangeles and .lolcats.

The number of top level domains was originally restricted to give the internet user some idea of what kind of a site they were going to – .com for commercial, .edu for educational, .org for a nonprofit, etc. Of course, the vast majority of TLDs accessed in the U.S. are .com, which forces some institutions to register multiple so that unsuspecting folks don’t end up at the wrong site (remember that whole whitehouse.com debacle?).

Countries also have their own country-specific TLDs (.jp for Japan, .de for Germany, and the ever-spammy .ru for Russia), and then some companies, especially those URL shorteners, found they could get cute and repurpose, say, Libya’s TLD .ly to create sites like bit.ly, although one of the original domain “artists” was none other than del.icio.us, using the relatively unused TLD for the United States.

So the underlying question is, will all hell break loose now that anyone (with $185,000) can get their own top level domain? Not likely. People don’t rely on the TLD anymore to know where they’re going. In fact, with browser search integration, a lot of people don’t even realize they’re typing “amazon.com” into Google instead of the address bar. Search and social media will drive people to sites, so any new TLDs will just be a new kitschy advertising device.

 

 

#5 – Every Presentation Ever: Communication FAIL [Habitudes for Communicators]

Watch it. Then hang your head in shame at how many of these things we’ve all done.

Modifying a SharePoint 2010 workflow email

The out-of-the-box SharePoint 2010 workflow approver email notification no longer contains a link to the workflow task associated with the workflow item.  While that’s ok if the approver is using Microsoft Office 2010 and the document is an Office document, if either of those are not the case then there is no easy way for the approver to get back to the task to approve or reject it.  I went out in search of how to fix the OOTB workflow email and having to cull this information from a number of sources, I thought it would be helpful to have it all in one place.

Steps:

First, you’ll notice an out-of-the-box email references the “Open this task” button, but does not include the link to the SharePoint workflow task. This is fine if the document is a Microsoft Office document and the person approving it is using Office 2010, but there doesn’t work for other circumstances.

 

To adjust this, we need to open up the site and then workflow in SharePoint Designer. Note that in this case we are modifying the OOTB workflow itself, which will change it for all instances of the site collection. If you want to make a unique instance of this workflow, right click on the workflow and choose “Copy and Modify”.

Click Edit Workflow

 

Next, click on Approval.

Under “Customization” click Change the behavior of a single task.

 
Under the “When a Task is Pending” section, find the line that says “then Email task notification to Current Task:Assigned To” and click the underlined link.

The Define E-Mail Message window opens. Insert the highlighted text, select the text you wish to make a link, then click the Edit Hyperlink button.

 
In the Address field, click the button, then click Add or Change Lookup, and choose “Current Task: Approval” as the Data source and “Form_URN” as the Field from source:

Click OK all the way back out of the dialog boxes, then Publish your workflow back to the server.

Start the workflow on a new document and you should get the modified email.

Click the link and it should take you directly to the task page!

It’s important to note that this is not the only location an email is defined. Overdue notices, for example, are defined elsewhere. You may need to make the same modification to multiple places in the workflow.

Friday Five – July 22, 2011

Friday Five is my [most]weekly technology tidbits post.

#1 – Google’s ’20 Percent Time’ Will Survive The Death of Google Labs [TechCrunch]

Google announced this morning that it will be shutting down Google Labs, a platform that allowed users to interact and give feedback on experimental products produced by Googlers in their 20 Percent Time.

While many were left wondering, Google tells me that the company has no changes to announce with regards to the 20 Percent Time program; killing Labs doesn’t mean the discontinuation of the one day a week Googlers get to spend on “projects that aren’t necessarily in [their] job descriptions.” “We’ll continue to devote a subset of our time to newer and experiment projects,” Google representative Jason Friedenfelds tells me.

I was going to start out this week by mourning the death of Google Labs, but after reading this TechCrunch article, I don’t think it’s a big deal. The 20% time is the valuable component of the Google Labs puzzle. If anything, maybe this means that Google will actually launch products instead of being perpetually in beta.

 

#2 – Intranet Portals: Personalization Hot, Mobile Weak, Governance Essential [useit.com]

Early definitions of “portal” focused on the gateway concept, but times have changed: characterizing portals as mere doorways to other places no longer adequately describes the sophisticated role they play. Today’s portals are not just about access; the best ones provide true integration of enterprise information, resources, and tools in a unified user experience. The portal is a dashboard that offers all the enterprise information and applications that employees need to do their jobs.

At the same time, the distinction between intranet and portal is diminishing as companies increasingly adopt a portal perspective for their intranets. The trend is toward “an intranet is an intranet is an intranet” and a portal is just a nicer, more functional intranet that integrates more systems.

The ROI from achieving the full portal vision is clear: saving countless, costly staff-hours that would otherwise be wasted hunting for information on various systems and learning incompatible user interfaces. Of course, the ideal vision rarely happens: for example, single sign-on remains an elusive chimera, though companies are closer and closer to achieving it every time we study this problem.

The biggest finding from our new research into enterprise portals? The sad fact that portals are not adding mobile features at the expected rate. Outside the firewall, the mobile space is teeming with innovation, but inside companies, mobile progress seems to be progressing at a snail’s pace.

There’s a lot of great info in this latest article from Jakob Nielsen. First off is confirmation of a tenet I stand by – stop getting caught up in terminology. There is no more distinction between “portal” and “intranet”. Now if we could talk people down from “the cloud” as well, we’ll all be better off. Second is the fact that mobile is important. While this is a “duh” statement to anyone who has a smartphone or tablet, recognition of this fact (or acknowledgement to do something about it) inside the enterprise always progresses at a snail’s pace. There’s also an interesting bit on governance here, where Nielsen claims that responsibility of who owns the intranet is shifting more towards corporate communications. It’s interesting in the fact that I believe here at Praxair we’re seeing that trend in the opposite direction.

 

#3 – None of the top 100 best companies to work for block employee access to social media [Stopblocking.org]

Click through to see a video with Mark Ragan and Erin Lieberman Moran of the Great Place to Work Institute discussing why blocking employee access to social media is hurts your company’s hiring ability.

 

#4 – The making of a social media slut [grow]

Before I tell my tale, let me relate a few of my experiences this week …

  • A very talented friend told me he was rejected for a job at a major ad agency because his Klout score was too low.
  • A B2B marketing agency Managing Director told me he chose between two qualified candidates based on their Klout score.
  • A friend in D.C is creating a Klout 50 Club exclusive to people with high Klout scores. Why? He wants to find good hires for social media marketing.
  • A woman told me her boyfriend was accepted to a prestigious conference based on his Klout score alone.

These experiences occurred in the span of 72 hours.

Klout is the newest fad in the social media space. They proclaim it as a way of measuring an individual’s social media influence using a bunch of metrics they created like “Network Influence” and “Amplification Probability” and “True Reach”. Klout isn’t the first website to take on this space and it won’t be the last. The author goes on to say how he felt “dirty” that he suggested to a recent college grad that she pander to the internet and beef up her Klout score to get an entry level job. Frankly, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. If you aspire to work in the social media world, the most important thing is being up on the daily-changing trends in social media. Klout is the meme of the day and if nothing else it tells an employer looking to hire someone specifically for a social media role that the person at least uses social media. Outside of that specific job world, I don’t see it replacing resumes any time soon.

 

#5 – The Interconnected World of Tech Companies [INFOGRAPHIC] [Mashable]

The “tech world” is really more of a “tech family.” Between digital giants’ appetites for acquisitions and the tendency of their ex-employees to start new companies, it’s easy to see how nearly every blip in the ecosystem is closely related.

We’ve mapped just a few of these family ties between “Xooglers,” the “PayPal Mafia”, “Softies” and the many other tech connectors who have yet to be nicknamed.

Interesting (and very large) graphic. Give it a glance!