“In other words, everyone who has a job anywhere, start keeping tabs on all the work you’ve done for your employer. When you quit, you should be able to sell back all the work you already did (which you may have thought you already got paid for), and it may be worth even more than the first time they paid you.” from Tech Dirt

open source help desk software

Jim posts to a few of the options available in the open source helpdesk space. Interesting. I’d like to find some more statistics or research on what types of helpdesk’s use open source vs vendor helpdesk solutions and why. Just the standard “it’s free” type reasoning or do they intend to actualy modify the code? If they do intend to do that do they end up doing it? How do they feel about not having support?

winer and podcasting

Dave WinerDave Winer has a big rant this evening about how he should be given credit for creating Podcasting. I’m a huge Winer fan and have been reading him for several years, but I believe he’s just wrong in this case. He should indeed be given credit for RSS on which this is all based as well as given a footnote for helping once Adam Curry got things rolling but not for the actual invention.

I guess the major problem I have with the rant is this line “The iPodder software was the first software to handle enclosures specially for iPods, but Radio UserLand had support for time-shifted enclosures in its first release in January 2002”. Nobody disputes this but that doesn’t mean he should get the credit. The fact is that the spark that launched Podcasting IS the fact that Curry hooked it into the Ipod. Yes Dave invented the underlying technology and yes if he HAD written a script to make Radio push media files onto Ipods he would be the inventer but he didn’t. I just don’t see how he can make this leap. The genius is in the fact that Curry took all these existing technologies and then wrote the code to hook them all together and push them to your Ipod.

Here’s another: “Even though Adam gives me credit for the RSS work I did, he didn’t actually give me credit for the software, or for the podcasts we did at Harvard in 2003, and my own personal podcast stream starting this summer”. Again Dave calls his mp3 audio tracks he created this summer Podcasts and expects to be given credit for them but they wern’t Podcasts. They were just mp3’s like millions created before them. Sure there was an enclosure element in the RSS feed but there was no software, by Dave’s own admission, which could take that mp3 and put it on your Ipod without any human interaction.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Dave’s contribution but it’s just the way I see it.

its a queue

In response to Jeremy’s post mine is always a queue. I would also like to add that I have noticed that most people who use email in queue mode also view mail in the preview window, while those who treat it as a stack tend to click on the mail and view it in full window mode.

file and line

FILE and LINE are your friends. Not sure why this is but when I first started with PHP I never made much use of these constants, how wrong I was! These babies have saved me hours of painful work since I began adding them to my error handling. They are great for tracking down tricky bugs.

For you new programmers FILE gives the full path name of the file where it’s used and LINE of course gives you the exact line your on. You do need to be careful because if you use these in a function they will return the file name of the file the function is declared in and line of declaration as opposed to the file and line where you called the function, which is probably what you really wanted. I often work around this limitation by passing file and line into a generic error handling function. Example:

errorLog(‘error message’,FILE,LINE);

hotel broadband connections stink

They just do. It’s never just as easy as plug and go. I’ve had alot of trouble with lodgenet at various Starwood hotels. I was heartened to see Geek News Central let their dollars do the talking. Someone should start a directory of the best internet hotel connections in each city.

helpdesk stories virgin trains

Another good example why I don’t believe in overly automated helpdesks and am not a big fan of Knowledge bases either. Why can’t they just have an email address or a very simple webform?

Anyway, Kevin tries to do the right thing by letting Virgin know their SSL certificate is out of date, but has to jump through 10 hoops to do it. Businesses tend to forget that their helpdesk is their front door. It’s often an initial point of contact with existing or potential customers. Does your helpdesk leave a good impression with your customers or are your customers leaving to write blog postings like his?

safe is risky

If your not reading Seth Godin and your a small ISV you need to be. He’s got the best marketing idea’s going, most if not all of which are easily done with the small budget most of us have. I plan on using alot of his ideas as the launch of HelpSpot gets closer. Some of his ideas are already in progress (like taking time out of coding to write this blog!)

He occasionally does workshops as well, which I highly recommend if you have the chance. I’ve been to one and it’s well worth it. If you can’t make that at the very least go out and get his book Purple Cow, it’s a must read.

high performance mysql

HP MySQL got slashdotted today, I’ve had the book since it came out. It’s already been a real life saver several times. I especially like that it’s compact. All the information you need is right in there yet they managed to keep it from being a cinder block. In fact it’s been my carry on reading for several flights. Does that qualify me as a total geek? My wife thinks so.