Changes

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, but it is not because I’ve been lazy.  I’ve recently left Adobe to start a new business, and as a result, have been burning the midnight-oil to get that off the ground.  The new business is focused on providing managed services, with an initial focus on web conferencing.  If you’ve followed this blog, then you won’t be too surprised to hear that the web conferencing software of choice is Acrobat Connect.

You can read more about the new company here:  www.connectsolutions.com

I’ll be setting up a blog over there shortly that will focus on web conferencing & Acrobat Connect related topics, so I encourage you to subscribe to it if you are interested in that space.

Exposing some inaccuracies in feature comparisons of Vyew and Acrobat Connect

A post on TechCrunch today walked readers through feature comparisons of Adobe’s Acrobat Connect and Vyew.  It wasn’t made clear who provided the feature review (suggestion for the future TechCrunch…), but there are several inaccuracies I wanted to highlight:

  • Anytime Collaboration – Acrobat Connect has supported asynchronous and synchronous collaboration since 2003
  • 100% Browser Based – Vyew requires Adobe Flash, just like Acrobat Connect.
  • Multiple On-demand Sessions – Acrobat Connect (and formally Breeze, and formally Presedia) has supported on-demand viewing of documents since 2000.
  • Screen Capturing – Acrobat Connect supports the ability to take a snapshot of a shared screen, and even then layer whiteboarding tools and comments over that screenshot.
  • Custom Session URLs – Acrobat Connect has supported custom URLs since 2005.
  • External Publishing – Acrobat Connect has supported both taking presentations and content offline (for use on CDs), publishing to external websites, or simply referencing from external websites since 2003.
  • Custom Color Themes – Acrobat Connect has supported customization of theme colors and logos since 2005.

All that said, I think Vyew is doing some interesting things with a relatively bootstrapped team, and I look forward to continuing to watch their progress.  However, I didn’t want to let these inaccuracies go un-addressed.
The original article is here:

Vyew3A20Free20Live20Web20Conferencing

Forget Atkins, I’m going on the “The Low-Information Diet”

I was recently introduced to the information/work approaches of Tim Ferriss at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.  His discussion about not checking work email more than once or twice a day seemed insane at the time (and still does), but after reading this latest “manifesto,” I’m going to give it a shot (starting next week… 😉  If I don’t respond to your email, now you know why…

ChangeThis :: The Low-Information Diet: How to Eliminate E-Mail Overload & Triple Productivity in 24 Hours

BRINGO’ing an end to annoying interactive phone directories

bringo logo

Very cool! This is one of those services I wish had been around years and years ago. I just used Bringo to get through to a customer service agent at United Airlines, and I am impressed.

I am traveling tomorrow down to LA, and I couldn’t find my confirmation number, nor was it on my mileage plus account. I was getting the sinking feeling that I might have forgotten to actually book the flight a couple of months ago. I decided to call United Airlines to see if they had any records of my travel. I called the number, spent about three minutes navigating their phone tree to try to speak with someone, and at the point where the automated voice gave up and was going to transfer me to a human, it hung up. I was about to dial-up again and do the whole routine once more when I remembered a recent TechCrunch article on bringo.com.

Using the service is drop-dead simple:

  • Go to the site and select the company you wish to engage
  • Bringo will then ask for your phone number, and then perform a quick call to that number to verify you are who you say you are. My phone rang immediately, and I simply clicked #.
  • The site immediately acknowledged my confirmation of the number, and began to do the dirty work of calling United Airlines.
  • About 30 seconds later, my phone rang and there was an operator on the other end!

Not only was this a much better experience (I could do work while Bringo worked for me), but United did have my record and all is well.

Great, simple service Bringo…

BRINGO : Stop Talking to Machines and Talk to a Real Human

Success Disaster – Twitter to Jaiku

This is one of those “hope to have” challenges where adoption happens so quickly that the business is unable to keep pace and scale out.  Users, regardless of how compelling the service is,  will only put up with reliability shortcomings for so long.  From the comments, it sounds like users will put up with it for a bit longer, but with alternatives emerging, Twitter needs to scale quickly.
Making The Switch From Twitter to Jaiku

Document Collaboration – more than screensharing a document

The following is a review of Microsoft’s new beta, SharedView. It appears to be an attempt to merge document collaboration with web conferencing’s screen-sharing capabilities. As the review points out, screen-sharing is useful for real-time collaboration, but it limits the collaboration to single-user control over the editing experience. This type of workflow has been supported in web conferencing solutions (including Acrobat Connect) for years…

User research indicates this isn’t enough to solve the distributed document collaboration problem. Google has started to try to address this through Docs and Spreadsheets, along with a variety of other vendors that have recently cropped up in the web 2.0 bubble. Looks like MSFT has a ways to go in order to provide an effective, real-time, document collaboration solution.
First look: Microsoft SharedView beta

The “document collaboration” journey begins for me

I’ve recently taken on responsibility for a couple of new services at Adobe, including CreatePDF and Document Center.  These are both excellent services that provide simple value-propositions for individuals around document collaboration.  Both of these services allow for “try and buy” experiences, which you can sign-up for at the following URLs.  Enjoy, and let me know your feedback about how we can improve these services.
Create PDFs of virtually any file format:

Create Adobe® PDF Online: Easily convert and create PDF documents

and then apply policy-protection for electronic documents (think virtual-shredder, DRM for documents, etc…)

Adobe Document Center 

and of course, I’m still working on Acrobat Connect (web conferencing)