If you see a lot of live music in small clubs, you've probably had the experience of being blown away by a band that hardly anybody else knows about. Once in a great while, your instincts are validated by the masses--the band becomes popular and you get to brag about how you knew them back when. But more often than not, the law of averages kicks in, and the band continues to toil in obscurity for a few years before breaking up because the bass player's pregnant or the keyboardist got a high-paying corporate advertising gig. You ask … Read more
When you save a file in an Office application, the program opens the Save As dialog box with My Documents (in Office 2003) or Documents (in Office 2007) as the default folder to store it in. If you're saving an image, Windows wants to put it in My Pictures, and it wants to put audio files in My Music and videos in My Videos. (Vista uses the same folder nomenclature, minus the "My".)
You can stick with these if you wish, but I prefer to store my personal files on a USB thumb drive with folders organized … Read more
I became a consultant in 2003, but not without some trepidation about leaving the safety net of the corporate world. It was hard to break away. I had worked in the tech industry for 23 years and, despite my reputation, a surprising number of apparently misguided companies wanted to hire me.
Still, my mind was made up. As one executive recruiter put it, you could put a fork in me; I was done.
So I told John Bourgoin, CEO of MIPS Technologies, that I would love to consult for him, but wasn't interested in joining the company.
John said he wouldn't hire me as a consultant.… Read more
Microsoft Office is so jam-packed with features that an entire industry has been created to help people find the ones they need. (An example is Addintools' $30 Classic Menu for Office 2007.) Why would anyone suggest that you add even more functions to Office apps? Because the best free Office add-ins can save you considerable time and trouble, without costing you a red cent. Here are five of my favorite Office helpers.
Poll attendees to find the best time for a meeting Everybody's busy, as anyone who has ever tried to schedule a meeting with more than two attendees … Read more
There's a great little feature in Microsoft Word 2003 and earlier versions of the word-processing program that lets you export to PowerPoint an outline of any Word file formatted with headings. I admit that it's a specialized operation that probably doesn't get used all that often, but it's a handy way to work between the two Office apps.
I was all set to tell you how to use the feature in Word 2007 when I realized it has been removed. So all that noise Microsoft made when the new Office System was released more than a … Read more
The Google Docs team, has posted on their blog about the availability of a few new features for Google Presentations to start off the new year. The most significant of the new features is the ability to embed slide shows in web pages. It's not a surprise that Google decided to go this route, given the huge success of embeddable video with YouTube and other embeddable content around the web.
As you can see in my slide show that I have included at the end of this post, it works in a similar way and looks very much like YouTube's embeddable player. Overall, sharing and embedding your slide shows is a fairly painless process. As I said in my original article about Google Presentations, their strong point is collaboration and sharing. This latest feature has continued that trend.
While this is all great, my big problem with Google Presentations is still the lack of a professional look to the slide shows. The feature set just is not quite there yet. I am sure that Google is hard at work, implementing features like transitions, animations, etc., so I can't penalize them too much for that yet, being such a young product. However, if they want to capture any significant portion of the market share, Google Presentations needs the more advanced features.
Other features included in this release are importing slides from other presentations, drag and drop image insertion, and an improved UI. Check out my embedded slide show after the jump.… Read more
Complaining about an injustice is rarely enough to effect change. But when dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people kvetch in an organized and forceful manner, things can happen. Boycotts change companies. Unions end up controlling the direction of industries. Protests overthrow governments.
The Point is a new site to help instigators collect the wishes of the masses and to get participants to pledge to take action when a "tipping point" of participation is reached.
For example, if you are upset that Southwest Airlines no longer lets families with small children board first, you can join the pledge to … Read more
It continues to amaze me at how overlooked Microsoft's crown jewel is: SharePoint.
It's not overlooked by the market, which has bought it up to the tune of $1 billion or so in license fees in its first four years. Yet its competitors have largely downplayed it as a threat--even partnering with it--as it pillages their installed bases.
I wish I could think of some nefarious reasons for this, but it actually seems to be worse for Microsoft, not better. If Microsoft were cutting SharePoint adrift of Windows, allowing the collaboration portal to work with something other than Internet Explorer, SQL Server, Windows, and IIS, then it would be a truly killer move. (That isn't the case. If you go SharePoint, you have to buy into the complete Microsoft ecosystem.)
It's just a separate download that still only works with Windows. Microsoft gave these reasons:… Read more
GreatPoint Energy announced plans Thursday to build a plant to produce natural gas from biomass, coal and petroleum coke in its home state of Massachusetts.
The facility, which is expected to be finished in one year, will be located in Brayton Point at the research and development center of energy utility Dominion.
Massachusetts Gov. Duval Patrick was set to speak at a ceremony to announce the $25 million investment, which is benefiting … Read more
GridPoint, which makes software for managing electricity grids, said on Wednesday that it has raised $48.5 million in its fourth round of funding and added board members that reflect its shifting focus on utility sales.
The round was led by existing investors Goldman Sachs and Susquehanna Private Equity investments. Altogether the company has raised $88 million.
In tandem with the funding announcement, GridPoint is gaining board members who participate in different steps of the electricity grid industry.
The chief technology officer of Duke Energy, David Mohler, and the CEO of US Power Generating Co., Jacob Worenklein, are now on … Read more