Monday, November 02, 2009

New DB2 Twitter List

Just a very quick post this morning to let all you DB2 Twitter folks out there know that I created a list of the DB2 tweeters I know about at http://twitter.com/craigmullins/db2-folks.

If you are a DB2 professional and I left you off the list please leave a comment here or drop me an e-mail and I'll be happy to add you.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

IOD2009 Day Three – Malcolm Gladwell

Today’s blog entry is a little late seeing as how this is Friday and IOD is over, but I’m writing about Wednesday morning’s keynote session highlighted by Malcolm Gladwell.

For those who do not know him, Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist and author best known as the author of the books The Tipping Point (2000), Blink (2005), and Outliers (2008). I’ve read all three of them and I highly recommend that you do, too. He also has a new book, What The Dog Saw, that I bought at the airport on the way home from IOD. I hope it is as good as the other three!

Gladwell’s books deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences. He spoke about some of these during his keynote session in a very entertaining and informative way. It was especially rewarding to hear him tie his messaging into the conference them of information-led transformation… and to hear him call all of the attendees mavens (read his books to understand that term).

Gladwell began his talk by noting the irony of hosting a conference dealing with information analytics in Las Vegas, of all places. You would think that the casinos might have an interest in that topic!

The major idea conveyed by Gladwell during his talk focused on change, and how it never occurs the way you think it will. He explained how radical changes happen much more quickly than we imagine. And he used a story about how the broadcast of a major prize fight transformed radio from a niche product to a transformative one.

He also talked about reframing as being necessary to elicit major changes. Prior to broadcasting the boxing match, radio was used to deliver news and classical music. But reframing it as a product for the delivery of real-time sports coverage – reframing its use – caused major transformation. Gladwell also highlighted Apple and the iPod. The iPod was not the first portable MP3 product, but it is the most successful. Because Apple simplified the interface and promoted it simply… that is, they reframed the issue!

I also enjoyed Gladwell’s story about how he purchased a laptop at CompUSA. Upon entering the store he was confronted with tables and tables of similar looking laptops and had no way to differentiate them. He tried the sales people but as anyone who ever went to CompUSA knows, they either couldn’t be found when you needed them or knew nothing about technology. So he called up his brother, who works in IT. He is not a well-known expert, but he is Malcolm’s maven – the guy he turns to for help. And he told him which laptop to purchase. Gladwell then went back to the CompUSA and he said he stood there pointing to the laptop his brother told him about. And about a half hour later the crack CompUSA salesman came to help him.

This story highlighted the concept of the maven. He also mentioned that if the executives were watching how he confidently pointed to the machine he wanted that it might have led them to erroneously believe that CompUSA needed less experienced… and, indeed, fewer sales people. Which might have led to their demise.

All in all, Gladwell was entertaining and informative – a very powerful combination.

The other highlight of the keynote session, for me at least, was that I was mentioned by name as the most prolific Twitter-er at the IOD conference. Now does that mean I was the most helpful or the most annoying… I’ll leave that to you all to decide.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

IDUG Europe is Right Around the Corner

Just a quick post today to remind everybody that the annual European IDUG conference will be held next week (the week of October 5, 2009) in Rome, Italy. And it is not too late to ensure that you will be there to hear the latest and greatest news, tips, tricks, and guidelines on our favorite DBMS - IBM's DB2!

For those of you not lucky enough to be there keep an eye on my DB2portal blog here where I will attempt to summarize the key events of the week.

And if you are a Twitter aficionado, be sure to follow me on Twitter as I will try to make regular Tweets about the event (as long as my Blackberry works in Rome).

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Twittering You Will Go?

This week, a thread was started on the DB2-L list server about Twitter, the micro-messaging Web 2.0 social networking tool. Basically, someone wanted to know why more DB2 people did not use Twitter. The consensus seems to be that many organizations block it as a "non-business" web site.

(Surprisingly, LinkedIn seems not to be blocked as often as Twitter, even though LinkedIn is a prime vehicle for job search networking.)

This is disputable. If you've tried Twittering you know that it can be addictive, but it is also growing in popularity as a business tool for communication. This might seem hard to believe when you first dive into Twittering.

The basic idea of Twitter is simple: provide a platform for users to publish messages of no more than 140 characters at a time. And that can seem limiting... until you've used Twitter for awhile. If you subscribe to my Twitter feed you'll find that I send out regular Tweets (that is what a Twitter message is called) for many things, such as:
  • when I post a new blog entry (maybe you got here that way),
  • to share the highlights of interesting sessions when I attend a conference or user group,
  • to notify folks when I've published a new article or column, and
  • just to share some of the "things" going on in my life.
OK, so what are the business uses of Twitter? Well, sharing information (like I do) is absolutely a
business usage. Sharing practical web links is another. Keeping abreast of technology topics, yet
another. Micro-messaging can help you reduce email and eliminate unproductive meetings.

Other DB2 professionals use Twitter to communicate and solve problems. Willie Favero, Troy Coleman, and even some in-the-trenches folks use Twitter. So you know you'll get some good DB2 information if you participate.

So what? you may say: "my company already blocked Twitter so I can't participate." Well, there might be a way around that (I don't know if this will work or not). From your home PC, or some other non-company PC, go to twitter.com, register and see what it is all about. Then download a Twitter client, like TweetDeck (which my personal favorite) or Twhirl. Take the download and install it at work... now see if things are still blocked when you use a different client. They might be, but then again, maybe not...

Now (wink-wink) I do not really advocate people trying to get around their company's policies. But if you try this out and it works (or even if it does not) post a comment here to let us all know.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another IDUG in the Books

Well, here it is late in the day on May 22, 2008 and the IDUG North American conference is officially over. And, of course, it was another successful conference!

From the start of the festivities on Monday with the welcome address and keynote session (which can be downloaded here) to the traditional IBM panel and closing session today, IDUG offered consistently high quality education and unparalleled networking opportunities for DB2 professionals.

Usually I blog about the sessions I attend but this year I used Twitter instead to micro-blog the highlights of the sessions I attended right from the sessions using my Treo. I hope you followed my Twitter posts (Tweets, they're called). But even if you didn't it is not too late to follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/craigmullins.

One thing I would like to mention, though, is that it looks like the Special Interest Groups are finally being taken seriously. Used to be that the SIGs were put on the schedule late in the day and almost nobody showed up. This year, there were more SIGs and they were scheduled at better times throughout the day - and people showed up for them... and participated. I very much enjoyed participating as a subject matter expert in the Changing Role of the DBA SIG, and I attended a couple other SIGs that were very worthwhile, too!

If you didn't get to the conference this year (or even if you did and missed a few sessions) IDUG will be making audio recordings from this year’s technical sessions available on the IDUG Online Learning Center in July 2008. Full-conference attendees get twelve complimentary downloads with their registration. If you did not attend, individual sessions can be downloaded for a nominal fee. You can check out the IDUG Online Learning Center here (again, that is where the session downloads will be).

And if you just want to voyeuristically take a look at what you missed, you can check out photos from this year's conference online at http://idug2008northamerica.site.shutterfly.com/.

Thanks for another great event, IDUG... and hopefully we'll see you next year in Denver, CO (May 11-15, 2009).

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Twitter

After listening to John Dvorak (on Cranky Geeks) talk about Twitter I decided to try it out this week. And I quickly found some other DB2 folks out there twittering (Willie, Troy).

I put up Twitter feeds on my home page and here on my blog, too (it is over there on the right). I'm not sure if I'll stick with Twittering long-term, but I probably will - it is a bit addictive. If you want to try it out yourself, click on the follow me on Twitter link over on the right hand side of this page - or click here if you don't want to be bothered tracking it down over there!

I noticed, too, that Willie Favero will be twittering during the upcoming IDUG conference next week and since I can recognize a good idea when I hear/read/see one (good idea, Willie), I think I'll try it, too. So sign up on Twitter before next week if you want to virtually attend IDUG by following our twittering.

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