Monthly Archives: January 2011

Book Review: Reflections on Management by Watts Humphrey

Even with this being a book written mainly about principals of software development management through Team and Personal Software Process (TSP and PSP),

Reflections on Management, is an excellent read for anytime managing time. The book is only around 200 pages filled with insight, stories and techniques from the years of  being a manager and executive at IBM.

Many of the stories that Watts Humphrey tells are situations we have all been in regarding time management on projects. As the manager with unreal expectations, to the developer being told how long they will take to write code.  No matter how big the project. I was able to laugh a few times and see myself sitting in those meetings as I was told how long migrations, upgrades and more would take by someone that had just made up a timeline hours before.

Reflections on Management covers eight chapters broken into four distinct sections.  Managing your project, managing your team, managing your boss and managing yourself.  If you are a boss, you learn how to better handle projects and your teams.  As in individual it is all of value.

I read this book slowly over the last month taking a few notes as I went along.  The end result was a better timeline of how to plan and manage.  Better timekeeping and also a stronger layout and timeline for the amount content I produce across my blogs and podcasts/webcasts.  Some things will and are being cut.  Others are moving into new directions that allows me to streamline process and have a structure of when things are published.

To all of my ISV friends, get a copy.  Project managers should have read this already in preparing for their job.  Administrators can relate some story to every scenario he presents.  You will gain back more time after reading the book in better planning.

When running a conference tweet aggregator, protect your stream

You see numerous conferences running Twitter aggregators to capture all of the traffic and chatter.  I strongly agree with this idea of having it shown and utilized.  However, it is important to also protect your Twitter stream from being hijacked.

This was a nice one I captured

I went ahead and grabbed one of the nicer ones.  Filtering is a key component.  You could set it to only approved people and remove the worries.  Making it easy to hold someone accountable and remove them.  This might eliminate someone from participating.

You could have a protected and filtered stream with someone watching a public stream and moving tweets in.  Some Twitter services do this.  We have profiled them on EverythingTwitter.

Either way, if you are investing in an upcoming event and wish to utilize Twitter to collect and show off the chatter, look into strong filtering.

Book Review: Google Analytics by Justin Cutroni

If you have any need to use Google Analytics this is the source book for you.
The depth Google Analytics: Understanding Visitor Behavior is able to go in under 200 pages is amazing.  I soon realized I had no clue of the capabilities of the free tool since the update to version 2.0 in 2007.

The author, Justin Cutroni, is one of a few Google Analytics Certified Partners and it showed.  When I begin bookmarking pages in books, I know I found valuable content.  This book opened my eyes into ways to utilize and manage my analytics settings and reports.

The book starts with a brief outline of web analytics in general, to give you a base understanding of what to measure.  It then moves into building a plan before implementation and how Google Analytics actually work.  Profiles, filters, conversions and marketing campaigns are all discussed in detail before you even get into advanced tracking.  Enterprise implementation concerns, CRM integration and appendices of tools round out the book.

I did want to mention one common thing found throughout the book.  The code tracking examples make the book worth way more that what you pay.  I found immediate value implementing some changes in profiles and the way I implemented tracking codes across my sites.

Accounts, profiles and building campaigns all blend into excellent reporting, included targeted sectioning of portions of your corporate sites.

I have been back through two chapters twice making changes and tweaking settings.  This in itself designates that it will show in my recommended books in m site Amazon Store link.

TheSocialNetworker Episode 17 – Nextbook e-reader hands-on

This Christmas brought many surprises including a chance to get hands-on time with the Nextbook e-reader device, powered by Android.  It hooks to the Borders bookstore, but supports epub, pdf and more.

You may also watch the review in HD right here on YouTube

The Nextbook device is a 7″ tablet, with the look and feel of an Android phone.  The internal hardware leaves limited room to add applications or do many things.  It does support an external SD card slot.

It has it’s own version of the Android  Marketplace and many apps will not load or run due to the limited space.  The built in YouTube player locally caches all of the videos so space went even faster for teens trying to watch YouTube.  We loaded a file manager program just to go in and delete the cache files to free space.

After reading the web a bit, we found that you could hack your way into accessing and loading the Android Marketplace, but placing apps on the SD card was hard to do. Not for the consumer.

However, the bonus was a fast loading ebook reader with a good library behind it.  We were able to pull books from the public library and load pdf files.  The wifi was like any Android device, remember to turn it off to save precious battery.  It does not run battery life like an iPad, but did well in normal usage over a couple days.

So overall, I say you can do better for the price for sure with the Kindle for a e-reader.  The Nextbook was a good step in the Android world, but not enough other features to make it stand out.