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Still Waiting … July 5, 2007

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At this point, Freezertroll and I are waiting on some phone calls. That’s the hardest part of working on a project is the hurry up and wait effect.

Grr.

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And The Waiting Is The Hardest Part … July 5, 2007

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I spoke to our software company this morning and we are moving along a little bit quicker than I thought we were.

Mainly, the delays have been on our part as much as anything. Hopefully, we can get some work hammered out in the next couple of days.

Ironically, several people on the development team met on Monday and we discussed time management. It’s one of the things we all need to work on as we are doing basically two jobs at once right now. I tried to get everyone to start a pot of money and that everytime someone said they didn’t have time to work on this or that they were tired, they had to put a dollar in the pot.

No one wanted to do that saying they would be broke within a couple of days. Heh. I’d probably be the first one out.

Oh, well.

Back to grinding and waiting on Freezertroll, who, and don’t tell him I said this, is really too dang busy and most likely tired in reality. But if there is anyone on the development team who is the patient one, it’s him.

Back to the grind.

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Yup, I Remembered July 1, 2007

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Why do I read Seth Grodin?

One of the most difficult transitions that marketing organizations go through is shifting from pushing against resistance to running with acceptance.

The culture at insurgent companies is all about pushing. You get turned down on sales calls, you have tiny market share, people walk away from your trade show booths. You have trouble finding suppliers and a bank loan and even employees.

So you learn to push. In fact, you may discover you start to lean against that resistance, that it becomes part of who you and your team are.

If your work is successful, you break through. You become Apple or the politician who leads in the polls. And then what?

If you’re very good, you start running like crazy. You have the wind at your back and the chance to dramatically increase your impact and market share. But most organizations keep pushing. Because that’s what they know how to do. Instead of running up the scoreboard, they look for something else to push against. I think the fascinating transformation at Apple is worth noting. The iPod gave them the opportunity to start running.

It’s not easy.

Oh, yeah. That’s why.  He gets it.

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Checking In June 30, 2007

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 The same software developer who our papers are using just unleashed this site yesterday.

Nashville City Paper

I’ll have an update on the TPA a bit later. I’m still amazed by the crowd that showed up.

We have to get busy.

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Headed To The Bluff City June 28, 2007

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Headed for the Tennessee Press Association’s Summer Conference. I’m going to be taking classes on Convergence of Media  and Online Media.

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Here’s hoping I learn something new, which is always of the good.

Be sure to check out the new design at The Knoxville News Sentinel’s website which occurred this morning.

I’m starting to think of Jack Lail and crew as the news blogfather of the state.

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Tech tips for you Mac users June 27, 2007

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A coworker had her mini do some crazy things on her this past few days. Still don’t know what was really happening, but we got her back up and running after some priority shifts and a few tense days.

She’s an artist by nature, and quite good at cartooning I might add, and she posted a little piece that I thought should be shared with every mac user out there. you can see it here.

The image not only shows the frustration of computer problems, but also a few simple steps a user can take to help the IT guys sort out some problems without a trip to the desk… didn’t work out that way in this case, but DiskWarrior did the trick.

Zapping PRAM. I don’t know exactly what it does, but sometimes will fix ghosts in the machine. Things acting buggy? Sluggish? Odd things in general? Zap the Pram by holding Option Command (apple to us 2e users) P and R at the same time, wait for the “bongs” and see if that helps.

Command+V: Verbose Mode: Verbose mode is great. Verbose mode will look alien to a mac user growing up with OS 7 to 9. Windows and Unix/Linux users will feel right at home. Basically, verbose mode is a text record of what the machine is doing during that pretty gray and lovely blue screen as the OS loads.  Lots of times if the machine is hanging up before the log in screen, you can see where it’s doing this in Verbose mode and see if there are any hard disk errors as well. Not the end all trouble shooting tool, but definitely helpful.

Command+S: Single User Mode: Now we’re getting into the meat of things. This is the cool one, and also where you can really make a mess of things, so BE CAREFUL! Single user mode mounts the disk in read-only mode and gives you root access to the hierarchy of the disk. Root access means you have complete  read/write/execute access to pretty much everything on the disk. If you delete or change something important, you could render that shiny box a 20 pound boat anchor. The first thing you’ll notice is a few statements about needing to change files etc. and a few lines of commands to start with. For whatever reason, Apple thought it would be a good idea to tell you how to repair the disk first. This is almost a waste of time, because if it finds something you have to run the second command, which may or may not stay on the screen depending on the disk check, in order to make changes to the disk. Read-Only remember? That means you can’t do any repairs.  I almost always mount the disk using that lovely second line of code prior to running the fsck -fy line. That way if it finds something, it can go ahead and fix it. This is also useful if the machine won’t boot because if you know what you’re looking for, you can actually delete preference files that might be corrupt before the next boot. You can clear cache files, look at logs, and all kinds of stuff without even getting the pretty of OSX on the screen.

The last bit of code is important as well. Boot the system but stay in single user mode: This one is helpful because there are things that do load after the machine goes back to the GUI when booting in Verbose mode. If the box is hanging before the log in screen or before the finder actually gets completely loaded, this method usually shows where it’s hanging exactly. A knowledge of the Terminal and Unix/Linux commands is necessary for single user mode. There are loads of pages on the web for it.

Last but not least, if you’re still having trouble after all of this, you have a few options in your arsenal. First, an app like DiskWarrior can save your life and the life of your coworkers. It’s easy to use, boot from the cd and follow the directions.  If that doesn’t fix the problem, you will most likely have to pull a windows last ditch resolution. Reload the OS. Cool thing about OSX, Archive and Install. You won’t lose any critical data, unless you store it in the system folders of the operating system. Some apps might not work and need to be reinstalled, but the majority work just fine afterwards.

That’s it for the midnight tech blogger. Why am I still awake? Oh that’s right, I set up all my macs to never sleep…

Especially journalists June 26, 2007

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Found courtesy of KnoxViews from an article on AlterNet:

I live in a world where corporations care more about the future of paper than the futures of people who have made their living turning paper into a massive network of vital, important communications. This is not how technological change should work. You cannot discard a person the way you discard a market niche. That’s because people revolt. Especially journalists.

Something to think about. Read the whole thing.

Specs In, Prioritizing What’s Next June 26, 2007

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Yesterday (June 25, 2007), we got our first specs in from our software company. I was pleased although it needs a great deal of adjusting to make it more what we want. The original concept that Freezertroll and I came up with was followed pretty well although it does need some tweaking. The biggest obstacle I’ve had is trying to explain why so much time is needed to get the process going.

Now that it’s going, I find myself constantly explaining. Although some folks may not think it’s necessary, I’ve take a few employees at a time to show them what’s going on, and why time is needed to fulfill some of the obligations and work on her side of the fence. So far, when my employees see what we are up against, they are barrelling though and seem to be excited by the final outcome.

Another issue is that I’m dealing with newspaper folks (heck, I’m one) and they want to speak of the project as if it were a broadsheet piece of newsprint. This is going to get more folks in trouble. Ad sizes are not column inches, as you on-line gurus already know. I’m having some issue explaining that you think of the news in the same way, but you take into consideration this is new ground (for our papers at least) and the presentation is a whole new ballgame.

I find a spend a great deal of time educating, but I think that’s my role at this point. If I can’t communicate the project well, then how can I expect people to get excited about it. Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling wombats.

The beauty of the software we’ve chosen is that it works on a platform similar (albeit much more complicated) to blogging. For my employees and coworkers that blog, they will most likely have an easier time understanding what we are doing. For those who are not as internet savvy, I find they are a bit more opinionated on the final product, but they don’t understand how it works.

And, with some folks, there is no arguing. They just don’t like it or they don’t want to listen about the new developments. That’s okay. The owners/publishers will have to take care of that.

My other concerns are maintenance once it’s up. And although I’m taking notes and getting together a proposal, I am having to take into consideration that this is extremely important. We had over a million hits on our last website, which quite frankly, wasn’t very pleasing to the eye. The problem was not many people came back and it wasn’t maintained. Remember, we are a rural newspaper dealing with technology that our owners didn’t initially think we’d have to. But digital online news media is beating on everyone’s door, so we are moving quickly although it could be debated we should have done this years ago.

I am discovering, being an old newspaper hack, that if you don’t give them something to come back to, they won’t.

We are working on that as well.

The next two weeks are crucial.

 

And I Agree … June 24, 2007

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Words of wisdom from Seth Godin:

Most organizations need a good reason to do something new.

All they need is a flimsy excuse to not do something for the first time.

And they often need a lawsuit to stop doing something they’re used to.

Yup.

Another Week And More To Do June 23, 2007

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We met with one of the publishers yesterday and I think we are on track. Freezertroll and I have a more definitive idea of what they want and what we should be honestly recommending.

Freezertroll is a whiz with this stuff. I tend to forget what my role is right now but he tells me I’m doing well and that I’m supposed to be pulling this together from a people perspective. He has a really good working knowledge of coding and development, where I’m concentrating on marketing the site, and quite frankly, selling this to our co-workers.

It’s new and different and we are really working toward doing something unique for the area that we live in but also being true to “news”. I think, for the first-time, we are seeing results and we have the backing of our publisher, who seems to be very excited about this as well. This is good.

One hard thing for me is trying to keep everyone positive, but I find when I start talking about it, I end up talking “geek”. (a new language to me, quite honestly. Although I have a blog and have been on the internet for years, it’s like learning a second language) We’ve both gotten some blank stares on our co-workers faces. I’m also trying to convince folks to be patient. This isn’t going to happen overnight.

I think that some folks don’t understand how detail-oriented that Freezertroll and I are having to be with this project. In the past, we’ve been working on this in our free time (which is very little) but now the publishers want us to make it a priority. We are juggling this but now that we can show folks we are on a path, it seems like it’s been easier. It’s harder to ask employees to be patient when they don’t know what you are doing, but now they can see they are part of a big picture. Most of the guys at my paper seem to really be excited about this.

There is so much to think about and to put into play. And for those of you who’ve been giving us suggestions, I want to personally thank you. Your advice and guidance has been more than helpful.

Next week, I’m going here to go to a few classes to smarten me up. Hopefully, I will see you there.