Posts

Showing posts from 2011

Considerations when responding to an RFI or RFP (a view from the receiving end)

Having been on the receiving end of Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) responses, from an evaluation perspective there are ways respondents can make it easier for the evaluation panel to assess what it is being proposed and ultimately have greater success on getting through to the next round. These considerations are from my experiences with Software package selection and with Delivery partner selection, but should be applicable to many other selections.

1. First impressions count. Even before the RFI/RFP response is opened, an evaluator can be swayed by the presentation of the response and the level of engagement getting there.
Key considerations:
Ask questions during the response period to validate any areas lacking clarity, but don’t go overboard. Make sure you meet the response times. Use good quality paper and colour (if required to present a  paper copy). Binding can make a document look classier. If the response requests that all questions and communic…

Book Review: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Image
Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono is a very easy read and provides a good simple approach for exploring ideas and problems through thinking from different perspectives in a structured manner. There are six hats, each of which have different characteristics:
White Hat: facts, figures, informationRed Hat: emotions and feelings, hunch and intuitionBlack Hat: devil's advocate, negative judgementYellow Hat: optimism, positivityGreen Hat: creativityBlue Hat: controlling of the hats and thinking, orchestration
The idea of the hat is that a person will put on or be asked to put on a hat and to express a view from that perspective. This gets people thinking in different ways and since it is play-acting people are more willing to express views from under the security of the hat that otherwise may be left unsaid.

Exporting from OpenOffice Base database to SQL

I was wanting to export the contents and design of an OpenOffice.org Base database to SQL with the intent of migrating to MySQL. I struggled to find out how to do this, but finally found out how.To generate an SQL file that contains both the contents and the data of the database I used the following command from the “Tools –> SQL…” menu:SCRIPT 'C:\temp\file.sql'When I tried to write it to the C:\ root directory I got a security error, but using another directory worked fine.Thanks to http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=32333 for pointing me in the right direction.Incidentally, on my way to the final solution I also came across the following command to generate a CSV file of a table’s contents:SELECT * INTO TEXT "output_csv_file_name" FROM "table_name"The version of OpenOffice I was using was OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 – OOO330m20 (Build:9567) and I running this on a Windows 7 machine.

NZSki is making great use of RFID to enhance customer service

Image
I went skiing yesterday and was impressed with how NZSki is using RFID to enhance customer service.I started the day by going into the Queenstown Snowcentre to buy a ticket for the bus up to Coronet Peak. Instead I found I could buy my ticket for skiing as well, which was great. The queue was short and when I got to the counter I was asked if I had used NZSki before. I hadn’t, so the person serving me proceeded to ask my name, took my photo, and casually asked me where I was from.Before I knew it, a plastic re-usable pass for the mountain had been printed for me with my name on it, a reference number and the fact I was an Adult and Male.NB: Reference number blanked out in picture.After a 25 minute bus ride, I was at Coronet Peak and then proceeded to the chair lift. What I then found was that at every chairlift and t-bar I went to during the day there was a gate to go through where you needed to hold your pass up to (typically there were 5 gates, one for each seat). This worked fine t…

HTML5 input type does not submit name for images

I had some very simple code that worked well in the Chrome web browser, but it did not however work with Internet Explorer or Firefox and didn’t generate any errors. The functionality was simply to pass a parameter (in this case ‘auth’) to a PHP page; once on the page I am simply checking that it is set. I was attempting to do this by attaching the parameter to the image input type but was having no joy. Rather than look at alternative options, this made me curious so I went searching.After a bit of digging, I found that the HTML5 spec requires just the x and y coordinates clicked on for the image to be appended to the form data submitted. After realising this, I changed from using the name/value attributes on on the image input type to using a hidden field and all browsers were happy.In terms of my very simple HTML code, to make it work.Before:      <form action="index.php" method="post">
          <input type="image" src="img/sign-in-wit…

Barcamp Auckland 5

Image
With 300 attendees registered for this year, there were a lot of Web developers, designers, lawyers, investors and others in one place with several un-conference sessions running in parallel at Barcamp Auckland 5.A summary of my interpretation of key points from sessions I attended is below.Write once, run everywhere HTML 5 applicationsSmartBillerHTML 5 based desktop/iPhoneAndroid app. Used jQTouch as a framework; supports Webkit only. jQuery Mobile wasn’t ready at time, but this would be preference if rebuilding (better support). Sync driven from server. Device detection being done adhoc on client & server side. Would use MVC if writing again.fluidapp.com for Mac wraps any website and makes it appear like an application. Need to consider how to handle multiple open windows Check instancecount then “ping” other instance may be an option. Screen size, browser quirks / CSS, Interaction and Default focus needs consideration. c.f. Default focus can launch keypad on mobile devices…

Where do I start?

Image
A simple approach I have found works well when thrown something to look at and unsure of where to start is to focus on what you are trying to achieve and working back from that.I first had this approach shown to me using post-it notes (aka sticky notes) and have used this approach (albeit usually with Visio) many times.The steps to follow are very simple:Write down on a post-it note what the ultimate outcome is. Write down on separate post-it notes for each activity or output required what needs to occur before you can get to the ultimate outcome, and stick this to the left of (1). For each task that is a predecessor of (2), write it down and stick it the left and repeat until you are back far enough that you have a plan of attack. The beauty of post-it notes is that you can’t write much on them, so write just enough in simple terms so that you know what is required (which may be outputs, tasks, workshops or anything else of value). It is also easy to add missing tasks as you go and t…

TOGAF 9 - dry, but some good content

Image
The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework - a detailed method and a set of supporting tools - for developing an enterprise architecture, developed by members of The Open Group Architecture Forum.

To say that the TOGAF 9 documentation is dry is an understatement. Some areas are lacking in depth and whilst TOGAF is a process framework I would like to see it evolve to have templates, document samples and checklists. There is however some good content and I will be referring back.

Webstock 2011 Presentation

I have uploaded a presentation outlining the key points from each session I attended at Webstock to Slideshare.  Enjoy!
Webstock 2011 View more presentations from Simon Gianoutsos
This is an accompaniment to the two previous blog posts I have compiled on Webstock 2011: WebStock 2011 - Conference day oneWebStock 2011 - Conference day two

WebStock 2011 - Conference day two

Yet another excellent day of thought provoking presentations.  Big thanks to the conference organisers, helpers and presenters for such an excellent event.

For my notes from yesterday check out “WebStock 2011 - Conference day one”.  The collaborative note taking effort was also in action again today at http://webstock.waveadept.com/ .
Marco Arment @marcoarment Do your own thing
Co-founder of Tumblr, Founder of InstapaperIt’s never too late to edit for the good of your productWhat to build oYou don’t need to cater to geeks §We’re not loyal and will jump to new products §We’re unnecessary as an audience; we’re very small oBe useful to non-geeks
You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) rely on another service oDon’t give your power away. §E.g. using Facebook for login oYou need them for everything and they use you for nothing oNo service is universal oYou can take advantage of services without requiring them §E.g. send to Flickr
Be useful to the first user o“A wonderful nonstick frying pan is useful eve…