The blog of Paul Woods (Technology :: Marketing :: Life) has moved to http://www.paul-woods.com as at 21 August 2006
Please take the time to update your links. I appreciate your patience.
For weeks I have been pulling my hair out wondering why some websites I visit will not load (or very very slowly) when using IE7 and Windows Vista... two culprits in particular are:
Not to worry - The Chief Financial Officer is now happy that she has access to internet banking again ;)
via Mitch Denny (via Michael Kleef)
The day I have been waiting for is almost here. Flight Simulator X is only a few months away. A couple of days ago, the first playable pre-release trial demo thingy version was released. There are some good bits (some very good bits)... there are some bad bits (not that many, but enough to annoy you). Here is my take on the next iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
(Disclaimer - this is based on a few hours with the TRIAL PRE-RELEASE version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I am sure things will change between now and then, and therefore this is no reflection of the final release (due in October hopefully!). All trademarks, logos and whatever are owned by their owners... not me)
The Fluffy Details!
First of all... there is a huge discrepancy between what the official Flight Simulator X website says, and what really is in the demo (note to Microsoft - fix it up!!!)
In the trial version you get
two TWELVE airports, three TWO missions (technically two, I don't think free flight counts as a mission) and three FOUR different aircraft . The trial is based around the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean, which would have to be home to one of the most famous approaches in all time. The three FOUR aircraft available in the trial are:
Update - there are two more in the flour bomb mission - land at SXM, then taxi up to them to change!
The website state in the Deluxe full release there will be 24 aircraft, 45 high detail airports, and 50+ 'structured' missions. From the experience with the trial, we can take that with a grain of salt until we see the finished product.
System requirements are what you would expect... XP SP2 or Vista, 1Ghz+ processor, 256MB (XP SP2) or 512MB (Vista) RAM, 14GB of disk, 32MB 3D video card (with DirectX 9), and speakers so you can hear the somewhat annoying musical fanfare every-time you start the game ;)
Personally I am running the trial on a AMD Athlon 4200+ 64 X2 Dual-Core proc (2.21 Ghz according to Vista - thats plenty power), 1GB RAM, a shitake load of disk, a 256MB Radeon X700 3D video card... and Windows Vista Beta 2 Build 5456.
Download and Install
First - download the trial (636MB) from http://www.flightsimulatorx.com/
Install was pretty easy. Start the self extracting zip file, and then run through setup. Simple one click install if you want the default settings... if you want to fiddle with where it is installed on your system, then you have the option to do that as well. I guess i was up and running about 5 minutes later (just a guess, it felt about that long).
Starting the Game
Ok, this is one of the bad bits... unfortunately the game is very unpredictable when it comes to working or not. 50% of the time it will load perfectly, the other 50% it will crash and burn (much like my first flight). Unsure whether this is to do with Vista or not, but since Vista is mentioned in the system requirements, I am taking the hard line that it should work perfectly :)
When it starts, you get greeted with a welcome page, similar to previous versions. Plenty of options greyed out due to the fact that this is still a trial version. And then there is the musical fanfare in the background (to turn off.. hit the mute button near the minimize/maximize section on the top right of the window).
Ok... they rock. Seriously! However, whether or not your system will keep up is a different story. The default (at least when installed on my machine) was for pretty average graphics (relatively). Game-play was smooth at that setting, and the scenery objects did not take long to load. Crank the graphics right up though, and on my machine it was starting to get jumpy, and took a lot longer to load.
But hey... even the 'pretty average' graphics are still very very impressive!
(Disclaimer - I haven't played flight simulator for a while, especially since I got my Pilots License. Since I have known what the real thing is like, flying in flight simulator has never been the same! Over time I have forgotten all the keys, so I am sure that has some effect on my views, especially in this section.)
Aircraft performed as expected!
(ok you were expecting more I know, but in all honesty, they performed just as they would in real life, perfect in fact. Two big thumbs up here!).
The flour bombing mission (included with the trial) is very accurate... having participated in a number of flour bombing competitions flying a Cessna 152 in real life I can confidently say that it is bloody hard to hit the targets.
Other bits I was impressed with was the radio communications (especially in the Princess Juliana approach mission)... very clear and crisp, along with appropriate accents! Much better than scrolling text, or garbled voice which you may be familiar with from previous iterations.
Ok... I guess I should wrap this up... here is my summary of the good bits, and the bad bits of the Microsoft Flight Simulator X pre-release trial
The Bad!... What Sucked
The Good!... What Rocked
All in all... I was impressed, however there are a few niggly annoying things that hopefully will be fixed before release. However I am sure that opening music will still be there, so just remember where the mute button lives!
Thanks Long for taking the time to post your perspective on the issue I raised around corporate culture... and how to articulate or assess it. Here is Long's post on how to assess corporate culture, using an example close to my heart... Microsoft:
Let’s take Microsoft for example. At first, I would use Wikipedia to get a rough picture of the company. I choose Wikipedia because it is easily accessible and fairly unbiased, however it is still mostly an external viewpoint from people outside of Microsoft so it’s not in-depth enough alone.
Not that I’d only look at three resources, but in conclusion, people is the key. Whether its past or current employees, these people would know the culture more than anyone else. So I’ll definitely try my hardest to get in touch with them, whether through email, instant messaging or even phone calls, talking to these people would give me the best insight into the corporate culture of the company.
Of course nothing beats experiencing it yourself. Getting a tour or starting an internship at the organisation would be better than all of the above, obviously a lot harder too.
Great post Long! But I think you have raised some more questions than answers!
Microsoft is a special case, they have blogger bandwidth. Thanks to the wisdom of crowds, you can get a feel for the corporate culture. The good and the bad (Mini-Microsoft is the perfect example of keeping the balance). But with thousands of bloggers you are still only getting a feel for the culture... So trying to articulate your organisations culture with a handful of bloggers might be a tough job. And if you pull it off, it is still only a feel for what the culture is.
Long I think you hit the nail on the head... experience is still really the only way to assess it. The internship example you gave is great. From my personal experience I can tell you that the culture at Microsoft IS DIFFERENT to what is depicted in the blogosphere (some things better, some things worse). I could get a feel from blogs and talking to people, but I didn't know for sure until I took the plunge!
What if you are not assessing corporate culture for employment... what if you are assessing corporate culture as part of a purchasing decision between several suppliers. Is it any different to choosing an employer? All other factors being equal, how would you use corporate culture to differentiate between the good and bad? As a marketer, how do you articulate your corporate culture to ensure you stand out from your competitors in a competition intense market?
Does it all just come down to "Gut Feel"?
I think I just opened another can of worms... any takers for this conundrum?
Paul's Group Question of the Day: Say you are applying for a job at company x... how would you go about assessing the corporate culture there? How is the culture at company x better than company y? And how do you measure it? Sure they have that HR page on their website that says that it is a great place to work... but how do you look past the brochure and actually get a feel for it yourself?
Do you just ask people? How would you like an organisation to articulate its corporate culture to you? Are blogs the answer? (you can say no if you want!) Or does it take more than that?
How to participate:
Blog your thoughts on the above topic, and send me an email with the details (Your name, City, Country, Blog URL, and Post URL). I will link to the submissions I receive each day, and then put together a summary for the world to share after the deadline at Midnight Friday 11 August 2006.
Come on... Join the conversation!
... via Guy Kawasaki, veotag is a product which allows you to add clickable (and even better... SEARCHABLE ie Search engine searchable) links to content in your videos. For example you can set up links to each scene of a movie... or parts of a speech/presentation you recorded.
Talking about presentations, you can also incorporate your slides with the video... or you can just create links to sections of a audio only file. SWEEEET!
Here are two examples... both Guy Kawasaki, and both presentations I recommend everyone to have a look at.
Hmmm... I have a few of my presentations on file which are dying for this kind of treatment. And then there is every corporate annual general meeting, keynote addresses, training materials etc.
... it was funny being introduced to 150 or so people on the first day in the office. We started at one end and everyone was getting the full spiel...
"Hi this is Paul, he just joined us from Microsoft, he is working on this... and that... and will be helping out with this..."
By the time we got to the end of the office it was...
"Hi this is Paul... he started on Monday... who else is left?"
One week in at Data#3, in my role as a Solution Consultant. I must say it is pretty good. Desk is smaller than the one at Microsoft, but then again Data#3 don't make USD $1 000 000 000/month. On the other hand my phone got smarter, so you win some, you lose some :)
The cool thing about this job is that I have joined at a great time, and have the opportunity to do some very exciting (and visible) things that will drive growth over the next few years.
... and I get to sit next to the recruitment girls :)
d'oh... looks like my session has moved back one slot on Thursday 24 August... now I am on right before the party.
Guys... what is more important to you? Learning about how you can use BizTalk to save money and accelerate growth in your organisation (and therefore impress your boss?)... or getting a few beers in before the party?
C'mon... skip the beers just this once... I promise it will be entertaining!
(BizTalk Server) Business Process and Integration Landscape (Level 100)
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday 24 August 2006
This is a great session for anyone interested in seeing what is capable with BizTalk Server... and for those who want to see how BizTalk can be used for so much more than integrating disparate systems. The most important part... it is all based on the real world, with real AUSTRALIAN BizTalk projects as examples.
I will be floating around and available for one-on-one's during the day on Thursday 24, if you want to get in touch and have a chat about BizTalk, Business Process Management, Office 2007, Windows Live Local... or grab lunch with me at Nandos... just shoot me an email :)
*** YOUR CHANCE TO WIN SOMETHING!!! *** Attend my presentation at TechEd on 24 August, and you could win a limited edition (like only eight were ever made) blue Microsoft Bucket Hat! Simply take an awesome photo of me during my presentation, and email a copy of it to email@example.com. The best one will be my displayed as my photo on this blog (with a credit)... and take home the bucket hat!
Be there - (BizTalk Server) Business Process and Integration Landscape, 15:45 - 17:00, Thursday 24 August 2006!
Basically MapCruncher allows you to overlay your own maps, diagrams, or pictures on top of Virtual Earth / Windows Live Local map data. Pretty cool huh! All you need to do is import your maps/diagrams/whatever (PDF format is best, but can be JPG, GIF etc)... and then marry up the two diagrams (as illustrated here...)
One example they mention on the MSR website is to overlay a tourist map of Disneyland over the real map data. That is great, but no use to me, so I have overlayed four different Brisbane City Council Bike Maps (which are distributed in PDF format).
Now I can continuously follow a bike route using MapCruncher and Windows Live Local, instead of having to open each of the four documents and guessing the joins. The best part is that you can also see the aerial photography with the bike routes, so you can identify landmarks BEFORE going for your ride!
... here are some bike routes around where I live (and you can see the roof of my place!).
Another mashup I have put together includes the Translink zone map (the different transport price zones in South East Queensland). What else could we do? With my Pilots hat on... I could overlay all my VTC charts and illustrate where controlled airspace is, what the radio frequencies and where their boundaries are... and then mash that up with real time ACARS data from overflying aircraft. Hmmm I don't think I will get that done by the end of the weekend, maybe I will save that for my next holiday project.
After scouring the TechTalkBlogs OPML, and searching for the rank of over 260 bloggers, here is the top 25 as per 29 July 2006. I will probably do this at the end of every month, so we can see how everyone goes over time!
(TR = Technorati Rank)
1) William Computer Blog (TR 13)
2) Darren Rowse (TR 59)
3) James Farmer (TR 89)
4) Zookoda Blog (TR 7544)
5) Ben Barren (TR 8200)
6) Library Clips (TR 10838)
7) Frank Arrigo (TR 12851)
8) Nik Cubrilovic (TR 14035)
9) Cameron Reilly (TR 14125)
10) Rootprompt.org (TR 16285)
11) TinFinger (TR 21769)
12) Mitch Denny (TR 23274)
13) Long Zheng (TR 23603)
14) Dexagogo (TR 32986)
15) Rod Drury (TR 39030)
16) David Lemphers (TR 42365)
17) Craig Pringle (TR 47236)
18) Darren Neimke (TR 48199) TIED
18) Secret Geek (TR 48199) TIED
20) Uber Tablet (TR 50178)
21) Charles Sterling (TR 51290)
22) Michael Kleef (TR 52403)
23) SplaTT (TR 54630)
24) Richard Giles (TR 54599) TIED
24) Delicate Genius (TR 54599) TIED
And just outside the top 25 we have David Glover, Paul Glavich, and Andrew Coates
Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves... why the hell aren't I there?? I am the one rocking blogger! Well a few things I noticed whilst collating the data:
1) If you have not claimed your blog on Technorati, you don't get a rank (even if you have hundreds of inbounds links.. ahem Mr Logan I am talking to you!)
2) For some reason if your blog is on Spoke, you don't get ranked (some weirdness there I couldn't figure out)
3) Some addresses in the OPML may not be the same as the address people link to!
Ok, for those of you who will not sleep tonight until you find out where I sit... here we go!
85) Daniel Wissa (TR 478084) TIED
85) TechTalkBlogs Group Blog (TR 478084) TIED
85) Paul Woods (TR 478084) TIED
92) Anna Liu (TR 546144) TIED
92) Chris Hewitt (TR 546144) TIED
Ok... last day of holidays... bored... what do you do? Create the ultimate Windows Live Local Collections... which everyone in our industry needs to know about! Now that we have pretty good coverage in Australia (well apart from Melbourne for some reason?)... it is a piece of cake!
So if you love your coffee, or crave a Nandos Sepremo Chicken burger with Swiss Cheese and Extra Hot Peri Peri Sauce (and some Peri Peri Chips to go with the burger).. mmmmmmm Nandos! *Drool*... Where was I... oh yeah... check out the collections above.
For those of you going to TechEd, I will be there to present on Thursday, 24 August 2006...
... and here is where I will getting my morning coffee...
... and here is where I will be grabbing lunch! Everyone is more than welcome to join me... shoot me an email if you are interested.
I was on a panel today at the Queensland University of Technology, talking to current Information Technology undergraduate students about what it is like to work and how we started our careers, as well as offering advice to what looked like some very nervous faces. I can remember being in their shoes just three years ago!
One thing that all five of us on the panel agreed on was this... that employers these days are relying less and less on Grade Point Average, and what Major you completed at University/College. We all agreed that the 'human', or 'soft skills' of the student are far more important. Honesty, Integrity, the ability to COMMUNICATE effectively, Initiative, the willingness to learn, and the willingness to take on big challenges and see them through.
Think about this when crafting the next iteration of your resume. Do not just talk about which subjects, or which major you took, but the type of work you completed, and lessons you learnt during the process.
Same goes for 'experienced' hires... hopefully no one lists every programming language they have ever used on their resume any more! Make sure craft your resume with a nice combination of raw programming jargon, and the soft skills you have picked up over the years.
Photogenic Brisbane is a collection of the great photo spots in Brisbane, so you know where to take your relatives when they are in town, or know where to snap that great landscape.
I would love your feedback on this one... I have included 11 at this stage that I can think of, and I plan to go to each of them over the next few days to add sample photographs. If you have any great photographic spots in Brisbane (or South East Queensland for that matter), then please send me an email and I will add it to the collection.
Darren Rowse has been running a series of interviews with bloggers asking the question... 'What would I do differently if I had to start my blog again?'
Being that I just did that myself about 6 weeks ago, here are some things I am doing differently, and one or two that I already wish I had changed!
1) Customisable - my old blog was on MSN Spaces, and I just couldn't get away from that generic Spaces look and feel. With Typepad, I am slowly working to craft out my own look and feel (very slowly!)
2) Domain Name - still working on this one... but I really want to integrate my domain name (http://www.paul-woods.com/) and my blog address (http://paul-woods.typepad.com/). At the moment one just redirects to the other due to some difficulties I am having with my domain registry (and a little laziness on my part).
3) More Targeted Content - again, still working on this one... I want to start developing some hard hitting, business value orientated, targeted technology essays to post on the site. Content that gets people thinking!
4) Started Earlier! - I have only been blogging for 12 months and I have learnt many lessons from the process. I just don't know why I didn't start blogging earlier!
Darren... what would you do if you had to start my blog again?