Welcome to my site. Here you will find some info about me, the things I do and a listing of upcoming (and past) presentations and lectures. While I initially expected most of my posts to be about Open Source/Free Software (hence the name), these days it's mostly rants and ramblings about running.

5 thoughts on what makes a great technology project client

I'm just finishing up on another relatively long-term project, and for the first time in a long time I'm really sad that it's over.

The staff at PSC CUNY, the City University of New York teacher's union, has been amazing to work with; and I've been thinking about the things that made this project so much less grief-ridden than others.

So, for those of you working on projects from the client end, here's some things you can keep in mind if you want to be loved by your technology development crew.

5: be demanding, but flexible. Know when to push for exactly what you want and when to accept "no" from the developers. You are likely to get more in the end if you know where to draw that line.

4: use the tools for communication and coordination that your developers want you to use. It's easy to default to phone calls or email to give feedback and make requests, but in the long run it's better to use a tool that provides for tracking of these things and that the techies are going to be looking at frequently. For us, this tool is mantis. Being able to keep track of what needs to be done, what questions there are, what we've asked and what responses we've been given allows us to give more in the end. Things don't get lost; everyone knows what the decisions and agreements were; time is not wasted on searching for old emails or figuring out what to do next.

3: respect the skills and experience of your techies. Remember, you know what your organization does better than anyone, you know what you need: but you don't know technology -- that's why you hired consultants and developers. Help them see how to make what they know work to facilitate what you do.

2: Look for creative solutions to problems. When your techies say "we can't do that" don't assume they are being lazy. Collaborate and brainstorm, don't complain and demand the impossible. You'll get what you need and more if you don't force time to be spent pushing digital rocks up a hill.

1: Accept that no technology project is ever without bugs, glitches or problems. Look at technology projects as a never ending process. Get what you need in place and build with future additions in mind. Successful technology projects are not completed commodities, they are ongoing collaborations.

And now for today's photos:

sad little umbrella
 
 

beware the trees!
 
 

Next step: all pedestrians must wear license plates?

From time to time, members of the NY City Council need to make a stink so their constituents think they are doing something. Often, they will pick some powerless segment of society to attack; the poor, tenants in rent regulated apartments, and of course bicyclists.

It's that time of year again. A new proposal is going to be brought to the City Council by Councilmember Eric Ulrich. This insane proposal would require all bicycles to have license plates.

The logic is painfully disconnected with reality. Let's ignore for now how silly it would be to create a new bureaucracy to oversee and administer this policy and look at what problems they hope to solve with this. The advocates for this plan say that it will make the streets safer by making enforcement of bicycling laws possible. Recent history shows clearly that the police have no problems writing tickets to cyclists -- this law would not change that at all. If you are one of the few unfortunate people to get hit by a bicycle, the license plates will be so small that there's little chance of being able to see it and write it down.

However, this will make it harder for people to take up cycling, it will prevent people with limited funds from using free transportation, and will instantly create a huge new class of criminals and provide new excuses for various violations of rights.

Nothing good can come from this.

Go to http://transalt.org/takeaction/actioncenter/5059?v=4 and send an email to Councilmember Ulrich letting him know how misdirected his plan is.

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Today's photos:

Not sure how the crate ended up balancing on this angle
 
 

Big metal box
 
 

nice arrangement of assorted trash

today's post delayed due to rain

Due to rain and deadlines, today's post will be delayed.

one minor update: Facebook has temporarily disabled the new "feature" I mentioned yesterday where applications can access your phone number and home address, but you should still remove that information if you don't want it given out.

Remember, there are only two types of information: private and digital.

http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/447
Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks.
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Today's photos:

 
 

 
 

today's links and photos

My brain is totally fried by last minute glitches in the project I'm working on that launches tomorrow, so other than passing on a couple links, I just don't have much to say today. I can't even think of a creative title for today's post.

For those that use facebook, you might want to think about how much info you put in your profile. As of friday, facebook's API now allows applications and websites that use facebook connect to access your home address and phone number. What could possibly go wrong with that? Facebook announcement of these new features is at http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/446 and some commentary on it can be found at http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/01/16/rogue-facebook-apps-access-yo...

This site is worth wasting some time with, each time you reload the page it shows you another quote from someone that has expressed a desire to see Julian Assange of wikileaks killed. http://www.peopleokwithmurderingassange.com

Today's photos:

 
 

 
 

Some of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word "maladjusted." Now we all should seek to live a well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things.
from The Power of Non-Violence June 4, 1957 (full text available at http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1131 )

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 1967

Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay.
Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? 1967

Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Speech at the Episcopal National Cathedral, Washington D.C. March 31 1968

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Strength to Love, 1963

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring
Speech at Riverside Church in New York City April 4, 1967

Don't let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with justice and it seems I can hear God saying to America "you are too arrogant, and if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name.
Address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference August 16 1967

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
Strength to Love, 1963

Today's photos:

Building a snow fort in the park
 
 

lost hat?
 
 

Here in the trendy east village, even the trees accessorize