thoughtglue – a place for knowledge workers and their managers

Despite not being used for the concept it was originally planned for, today we’ve launched

From the blurb:

thoughtglue ties together in a meaningful way all of the latest information available about knowledge work and the knowledge economy and builds the value of that information by exploring for workers and managers how that information can be leveraged in business.

So, if you’re a knowledge worker or manager of a knowledge worker of any sort, whether they’re web workers, people from HR or Finance, software developers, or people from your sales force, thoughtglue will be for you!

Check it out.

Dell support sucks the big one

Dell sucksLike many of you, I am the default user support person for family and friends.  Mostly, this doesn’t bother me.  When it comes to my parents, it can be a bit heartwrenching – I want to offer them the best I can, but they seem to feel their needs come before my work and everything else.  It’s a little bit of a sore point.

Back in early February, my Mum started having troubles with her Dell Inspiron 1150 notebook.  At unpredictable intervals, it either BSODs or bypasses that altogether and drops out to a DOS crash state with a message about being unable to read the hard drive.  It’s quite obviously something I can’t fix myself.  Running full Dell diagnostics on it picks up no identifiable problems (gooood…).

Now this machine is almost three years old, but it’sgood enough for my Mum’s needs. But she does need it.  She needs it for her daily contact with her volunteering groups and Vietnam Veterans Wives support groups.  She’s lost without it.

She’s also very non-technical, so as soon as she tries to call Dell Support, she’s lost from the first phone menu choice.  She just doesn’t understand what they are asking her.  She ends up getting upset and frustrated and rings me to make the call for her.

Here’s the first problem – the machine is out of warranty.   I have spent nine weeks trying to get extended warranty added to a system.  The warranty has been paid, but does not show up against the system.  With no warranty against the system, I can’t even get a support call started.  I call or email the nominated contact for the warranty extension almost every day and rarely receive a call back.  This is atrocious customer service on Dell’s part and indicates a complete lack of care for their customer base.

I have emailed Dell Customer Service about the very unsatisfying experience I am having on this matter.  I hope someone there cares enough to do something about it.

Skunkworks operating rules

Reading these, it’s not hard to see how the co-opting of the term “Skunkworks” has happened in the startup/stealth software development space.  Matter of fact, they’re probably good rules to live by in business generally.  You’d certainly end up running a tight, efficient ship.
Via Kottke (via Tim O’Reilly)

Business 2.0 – The Next Net 25

Interesting group. I wasn’t aware of several such as and loopt. Others there are bewildering by virtue of the dollars VCs are tossing at them – US$22M for Fon, US$17.5M for Turn and the big one, US$60 freaking million for SpotRunner! There’s obviously money and ideas to burn in the advertising market…

Some are ones I actually use like Meebo and JanRain.

iA on 2006 and 2007 for the web

Information Architects Japan have posted a series on their view of the web in 2006 and their predictions for 2007. Yes, I can hear you saying, “Bored now. So has everybody else…”

But this is different.
iA Japan's 2007 Trends map

It’s a “subway map” visualisation of the companies, tech and trends. As iA themselves say, “[it’s] totally unscientific and almost useless, but definitely fun to look at.” They should make a t-shirt of this!

You should also read The 50 loudest websites in 2006 and what made them successful (particularly for the awesome analysis diagrams) and then read their 2007 Predictions.

Maybe selling Reddit was a bad idea…

Reading Aaron Swartz’s blog post about the corporate horror that is Conde Nast, I have to think he’s having second thoughts about having sold Reddit to Wired.

Sounds to me like Wired, which ought to be a pretty funky place to work, is just another grey, over-managed corporate nightmare. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just become a Web 2.0 millionaire and are living in the white heat of tech creativity that is San Francisco, the crushing depression brought on by corporate sameness affects everyone.

Get out, Aaron! Start another startup! Free your mind!

Confabb – conferences as social network application

Confabb is a new web app to aid in the attendance, review and publicity work for conferences. It’s got a hint of about it, but with that very specific conference focus. It applies a bunch of neat Web 2.0 concepts – reviews, tagging, sharing, etc. to its function set. I think it’s a great idea!

Confabb screenshot

If Confabb gets traction in the non-geek conference attendee group, I’d say it’s setting itself up to be a significant player in the conference space.

I can certainly see myself using Confabb to discuss the small number (I’d love to be a serial attendee, but I’m not there yet) of conferences I get to each year. I might even try to organise an event or two.

Robert Scoble shares my view (he was first, actually), and TechCrunch has a very in-depth discussion up.

The TechCrunch (un)debacle

Mike Arrington of TechCrunch has posted on CrunchNotes about his unhappiness over the supposed conflict of interest disclosure issues some seem to have with him (see the buzz at Techmeme).

Now, unless I’ve completely misunderstood what’s going on here, I just don’t get it.

Mike Arrington seems to me to make it abundantly clear when a possible conflict of interest may occur. He’s forever stating when his has a finger in the pie in one of his Crunch Network posts. “I invested…” or “I advised…” or “I something else…” Isn’t that clear enough?

Okay, I see that some folks might think it better that he just not post at all, nor even have a colleague post, but that’s not what TechCrunch and its sister sites are about. They’re about getting the buzz out there. About openly discussing the good and the bad in the new web world. And they’re not afraid to call a spade a spade. More than once, Mike has laid the smack down on a company he’s somehow involved with, and revealed himself to be so. He’s also prepared to give kudos to his potential competition. And to piss off his sponsors by naming them when he doesn’t like what they’re doing. This all looks very transparent to me.

Looks to me like there are a few “industry” types who just want to protect themselves and get some traction for their name in the marketplace. The whole thing is a giant beat-up on the part of those criticising Mike Arrington.