Ben McCallum's Blog

Dissecting ASP.NET MVC3, CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and a whole lot of other things ending with numbers…

Archive for the tag “Web 2.0”

reach4urPhone.com BETA released!

bungie logo

Recently, I’ve been working on a mobile phone web application for viewing Halo: Reach stats. Bungie and Microsoft (developers and publishers of the critically acclaimed and awesome game) have been kind enough and forward-thinking enough to expose an API (application programming interface) for us developers to extract data about the game, from player details to game history and fileshares.

I’ll be talking more about this website in the future, including how I’ve designed and maintained it, but for now go and visit it @ reach4urPhone.com and let me know what you think. This site is built using ASP.NET MVC3, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery and I hope you like it!

-Ben

A New Beginning

Hi Interwebs,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I’ve been busy finishing my Honours degree :|

But now that is out of the way I am going to start posting things I learn on here. Whether they be in the ASP.NET MVC framework, ASP.NET Web Forms, C#, CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and other fields. I’m extremely excited about these new technologies and have made the shift from web forms to MVC3 so I’m going to share everything I learn and find useful on this blog, for your sake and my memory.

Regards,
Ben

Useful Resources for Looking at Library 2.0

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately into Libraries and their adoption of web 2.0 principles/technologies and also Enterprise 2.0. In my research I have come across some excellent information which I am going to share to those of you who are interested.

These resources all come from the Online Computer Library Centre website in the reports section. I cannot stress how complete, in-depth and useful these resources are. The OCLC team conduct huge environmental scans and collect masses of data on Library usage, social networking, emerging technologies, perceptions of libraries and so on with plenty of statistics and graphs to support their studies.

The website contains the following studies (of which can all be downloaded from the website in PDF format):
(Particularly useful documents to the Library 2.0 assignment for INB students are marked with *’s)

You can visit the reports homepage here.

Hope this helps others completing the Enterprise 2.0 RFP assignment as well as anyone looking for information and data to back up Library 2.0 implementations.

iSnack 2.0

Kraft’s new name for the new Vegemite is awful. Trying to appeal to a younger audience, they have gone for a mashup between an iPod and Web 2.0… iSnack 2.0! It’s good to see they’ve withdrawn the name and are soon going to release some other potential names.

I really hope this isn’t another one of those stupid viral marketing campaigns. Every Australian I have talked to says the name is an outrage. Only tech-savy people understand it, and even then I don’t like it. What is everyone Else’s thoughts?

Enhancing the Enterprise 2.0 community

Introduction

Firstly, I’d like to start by introducing the QUT’s Enterprise 2.0 hub DigitalOrgs.net. Its our community hub for anything web 2.0 including blogs, useful links, wikis, RSS feeds and so on so feel free to come and have a look. The site is new and under construction but is slowly getting there.

Enhancing our community

I’ve been giving some thought into how we can enhance the sharing, collaboration and learning experience within our community of Enterprise 2.0 professionals, academics, novices and those interested. I’ve looked at the DigitalOrgs.net wiki and thought I’d give my slant on some of the ideas and also review some of the web 2.0 tools at the same time.

1. Delicious bookmarking

Delicious is a social bookmarking tool that puts the fun in bookmarking (or so it claims). Embrace the “tastiest bookmarks on the web” by joining the world of social bookmarking. Simply sign up and you can start bookmarking and tagging your favourite links. You can also install the Delicious browser Add-in to make access to your bookmarks and tags even easier.

So what does delicious offer? Delicious gives you the power to tag and bookmark your favourite links from any computer with your online account whether you own that computer or not. Found an interesting link? Send it to your friends via Delicious. Subscribe to tags and users you find most interesting. Furthermore, check out the most popular links on the Web. But best of all, you can organise your links via tags and categories to suit your needs all in your toolbar or via delicious.com.

How can Delicious enhance our community? Easy. By signing up to Delicious, communities of people with similar interests can be formed. Within this community bookmarks to the best of the best in Enterprise 2.0 content can be shared easily amongst one another helping us all learn together.You can follow my Delicious account at: http://delicious.com/benmccallum/

2. LinkedIn

For those of you who haven’t heard of LinkedIn here is a video to show you what its all about. Its a great network for connecting with business partners, colleagues and potential business associates. So why not give it a shot? It could get you that dream job. Add my LinkedIn account here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ben-mccallum/15/62/a95

So how can LinkedIn help us? You can create communities via LinkedIn wiht people that share your common interests. So by creating an E2.0 community on LinkedIn we can meet and share information with people that share our passion for Enterprise 2.0. DigitalOrgs.net has created a LinkedIn community for Enterprise 2.0 here.

Hopefully these web 2.0 tools can help us to create a larger Enterprise 2.0 community to enhance our learning and share our thoughts and opinions with a wider audience.

What do Pixar, Google, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, P&G and Best Buy have in common? E2.0

Continuing on from my last few posts, I’ve found an interesting study conducted by McKinsey Quarterly titled, “Six ways to make Web 2.0 work“. The article is 100% focused on the internal aspects of Web 2.0 in businesses (or Enterprise 2.0) and discusses topics such as:

  • The new tools available to business in comparison to older style tools. Ie. Automatic transactions vs. enabling participation and collaboration.
  • The gains to be harvested from unlocking this participation
  • 6 ways to unlock participation amongst employees and make web 2.0 work.
  • and what’s next?

Particularly of interest to me were the numerous case studies they reported. I’ve just taken huge chunks of block quotes here to demonstrate my point but you should definitely read the whole article for more clarification and meaning.

At Lockheed Martin, for instance, a direct report to the CIO championed the use of blogs and wikis when they were introduced. The executive evangelized the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies to other senior leaders and acted as a role model by establishing his own blog. He set goals for adoption across the organization, as well as for the volume of contributions. The result was widespread acceptance and collaboration across the company’s divisions.

[...]

At AT&T, it was frontline staffers who found the best use for a participatory technology—in this case, using Web 2.0 for collaborative project management. Rather than dictating the use, management broadened participation by supporting an awareness campaign to seed further experimentation. Over a 12-month period, the use of the technology rose to 95 percent of employees, from 65 percent.

[...]

Google is an instructive case to the contrary. It has modified the way work is typically done and has made Web tools relevant to how employees actually do their jobs. The company’s engineers use blogs and wikis as core tools for reporting on the progress of their work. Managers stay abreast of their progress and provide direction by using tools that make it easy to mine data on workflows. Engineers are better able to coordinate work with one another and can request or provide backup help when needed. The easily accessible project data allows senior managers to allocate resources to the most important and time-sensitive projects.

Pixar moved in a similar direction when it upgraded a Web 2.0 tool that didn’t quite mesh with the way animators did their jobs. The company started with basic text-based wikis to share information about films in production and to document meeting notes. That was unsatisfactory, since collaborative problem solving at the studio works best when animators, software engineers, managers, and directors analyze and discuss real clips and frames from a movie. Once Pixar built video into the wikis, their quality improved as critiques became more relevant. The efficiency of the project groups increased as well.

[...]

To select users who will help drive a self-sustaining effort (often enthusiastic early technology adopters who have rich personal networks and will thus share knowledge and exchange ideas), a thoughtful approach is required. When P&G introduced wikis and blogs to foster collaboration among its workgroups, the company targeted technology-savvy and respected opinion leaders within the organization. Some of these people ranked high in the corporate hierarchy, while others were influential scientists or employees to whom other colleagues would turn for advice or other assistance.

When Best Buy experimented with internal information markets, the goal was to ensure that participation helped to create value. In these markets, employees place bets on business outcomes, such as sales forecasts.6 To improve the chances of success, Best Buy cast its net widely, going beyond in-house forecasting experts; it also sought out participants with a more diverse base of operational knowledge who could apply independent judgment to the prediction markets. The resulting forecasts were more accurate than those produced by the company’s experts.

Source: McKinsey Quarterly. (2009). Six ways to make Web 2.0 work. Retrieved August 21, 2009, from, http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Six_ways_to_make_Web_20_work_2294#SubmitLetter

Businesses and Web 2.0 tools

Recently I was asked to elaborate on my post “Increasing productivity with Web 2.0” by giving examples of some enterprises using web 2.0 tools in their business. So I’ve done some research and here’s what I’ve found:

In McKinsey Quarterly Magazine (2007), there was an article about how businesses are using web 2.0 technologies. There survey results determined the following,

“More than half of the executives surveyed say they are pleased with the results of their investments in Internet technologies over the past five years, and nearly three-quarters say that their companies plan to maintain or increase investments in Web 2.0 technologies in coming years. (A mere 13 percent say they are disappointed with previous investments.) Companies that acted quickly in the previous wave of investment are more satisfied than late movers. Less than a fifth of all those surveyed say they are very satisfied with their returns. Of those who rate themselves as very satisfied, 46 percent are “early adopters” and 44 percent “fast followers””

Furthermore,

“Asked what might have been done differently to make the previous investments in Internet technologies more effective, only 18 percent say they would not have acted differently. Forty-two percent say they would have strengthened their companies’ internal capabilities to make the most of the market opportunity at hand. Among the 24 percent who say they would have moved faster, many describe their companies as fast followers or early adopters—a strategy consistent with the view that speed is of the essence in technology investments.”

Although these findings are now a bit outdated, it is clear that companies that are acting quickly, investing in new web 2.0 technologies are gaining significant financial benefits within their businesses. So what are the technologies that businesses are investing in?

Some of the most common web 2.0 technologies being used by businesses include: wikis, blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds and P2P networking tools (McKinsey, 2007). It appears that collaboration and communication tools are the most used tools by business for use within the organisation or to communicate with customers. These technologies were cited as achieving the most visible, immediate and least costly benefit to the business (McKinsey, 2007).

Blogging within businesses
Some of the most known business using blogs for internal, external and in management purposes include: Google, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Time Warner, Nike, Pepsi, Mitsubishi and McGraw-Hill says Jeremy Wright on his blog “How Many Fortune’s 500’s Blogging“. I’ve included a wide range of companies (not just technologically-based ones) in this list on purpose to show how widespread blogging is.

Wikis within organisations
Wikis are also a common tool used internally for employees to communicate. Last night I was talking to my girlfriend’s family about their social interactions for another assignment I’m doing and discovered that they both use wikis at work to communicate amongst teachers at their respective schools. Both are Principals at state schools in Queensland and are using wikis every day to communicate with their co-workers. Many organisations and businesses use wikis as a tool for collaborating or communicating with one another.

Podcasts and RSS feeds within businesses
Podcasting can be used by management to update employees on issues and the latest news, but perhaps more interesting is the way podcasts are used to update the public and their customers on the latest news and information. This is very common in the Interactive Entertainment industry where game developers use syndicating and podcasts (as well as blogs) to update their devoted fans with interviews and such. Examples can be found at Blizzcast: http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcast/
Well I hope this gives you more insight into how businesses are using web 2.0 tools in their business. I could talk about this forever but I think this post is already long enough. Feel free to add any comments about businesses you know are using other web 2.0 tools. For example: Basecamp is used by companies to organise team projects.

References

McKinsey&Company. (2007). How Businesses are Using Web 2.0: A Global Survey. Retrieved, August 15, 2009, from http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/How_businesses_are_using_Web_20_A_McKinsey_Global_Survey_1913

Wright, J. (2005). How Many Fortune 500’s Blogging? Retrieved, August 15, 2009, from http://www.ensight.org/2005/03/07/how-many-fortune-500s-blogging/

Blizzard. (2009). Blizzcast – The Blizzard Entertainment Podcast. Retrieved, August 15, 2009, from http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcast/

Increase your productivity with web 2.0

The rise of web 2.0 is perhaps more famous for its social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but underneath the hype of social media websites there are a myriad of tools made simply to make our lives easier. This blog post is designed to give you guys some links to great web 2.0 tools to increase your productivity in everyday life.

Collaboration is at the very heart of web 2.0 and as such these tools can bring a new meaning to sharing and collaboration. Almost every tool in this blog post gives users the ability to share their findings with the world. The network effect is a term used to describe the added value a user gives to an application. The greater the number of users of an application the greater value that application will have for its users.

Tools for the workplace or study environment

  • Take Google Docs for instance. Signing up allows you to create and share online documents and invite people to view or edit them AT THE SAME TIME as you are. Check out the video here.
  • Need to create a mind map for an upcoming project? Why not do it online at Thinkature.com. This site makes mind mapping easy, and editable. Plus you can share it with co-workers to work on collaboratively.
  • Many people find it hard to update and manage their personal and work calendars. Get rid of the old paperback calendar and upgrade to Google Calendar. This tool allows you to manage your calendar online from any computer or internet-capable mobile device so you can take it wherever you go. It also allows you share your schedule with family or co-workers. And if you really don’t have time to check the calendar, why not let it remind you via an email or sms reminder?
  • Need a job? Or looking to increase your network to increase job opportunities? Why not check out LinkedIn.com, the tool that lets you link with networks of people and collaborate on business ideas or share your expertise.

Tools for more personal use

  • Bookmarking used to be a personal, home computer sort of thing. But with sites like delicious, you can take your bookmarks with you anywhere. Furthermore, delicious organises and allows you to share these bookmarks with the world so everyone can have the best links to the best information.
  • YouTube.com is an extremely popular website for viewing videos. Anything you’ ever need is one there, and if its not, upload a video yourself. YouTube is also a hugely popular advertising tool for viral ads, company ads or personal advertising.
  • Amazon.com lets you find books for personal or study use in their huge range of products. Its your one-stop-shop for books, DVDs and CDs.
  • Flickr.com – Upload your pictures for friends and the world to view. Customise the  privacy settings and invite friends to view your pictures all for free.

I hope you have found many of these links useful for increasing your productivity in the workplace or at home.

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