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technology

Audio-only Mode for Video-based Training Products

Random product backlog idea:  It’d be awesome if companies that offer online, video-based training (e.g. Lynda (now LinkedIn Learning), PluralSight, O’Reilly Safari, Udemy, etc.) offered:

  1. An audio only mode for their mobile apps (so I could enjoy their content while driving and wouldn’t need to wait for the videos to download or stream)
  2. Better queue/backlog management (Castro does this amazingly well for podcasts), so I could queue up my training modules in a prioritized order, not just an unsorted “Watch List”

 

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Using JIRA to Scale your Business

I recently spoke at the 2017 Capability Counts conference, put on by the CMMI Institute. David Anderson Keynote 2017.PNG It’s an interesting event that isn’t focused just on CMMI maturity models — instead it’s a conference where a few hundred people get together to discuss process improvement, Agile, software engineering processes, and a variety of other related topics.

The keynote (shown in the picture above) is David Anderson of LeanKanban University talking about the core concepts of Kanban, which go far beyond most people’s understanding of 3 column boards.

I spoke on using Atlassian’s JIRA product to help an organize scale — sharing some best practices/recommendations on how to use a tool like JIRA to get information out of email, hallway conversations, and meetings and into a system where work can be clarified, prioritized and tracked.

CIO 101 for Entrepreneurs

This morning I got to share IT infrastructure, business strategy, and business
architecture tips and recommendations with some local current and future entrepreneurs at The Capitol Post in Old Town Alexandria.  Capitol Post is a great organization focused on inspiring Veteran entrepreneurs to find professional clarity and scale those visions.  They offer several great things, including  a cool co-working space right in North Old Town Alexandria, classes, and a startup accelerator program.

img_9850

Here are the slides and strategy template I went through with the group this morning, helping entrepreneurs deal with IT.   We talked about:

We talked about how IT for non-technical entrepreneurs can be like personal finance for non-financial people — it’s very important, but it’s hard to motivate yourself to invest the time you need to understand it, make some solid plans, automate it, and then move on to creating value.

It’s been a year since I last taught at Capitol Post (https://mikehking.com/2015/09/11/talking-technology-bunker-labs/), and it’s great to see how much they’ve grown (the office is beautiful and their getting ready for their next cohort to go through the Bunker Labs DC accelerator.

How to Copy Photos from Apple Photos to Google Photos with Correct Dates and Times

I recently wanted to copy a large set of photos (over 10,000) out of Apple Photos (Mac-based photo management application/database) and save them on a USB hard drive so I could import them to Google Photos (cloud-based photo management service).  I did an export of all the photos out of Apple Photos, which saved the date and time information in the EXIF metadata, but not in the file metadata itself.  Here’s how I solved this (which I’m sure isn’t the most elegant solution), using a Mac:

  1. I found this thread, which explains how to use a few different tools to accomplish this, on photo.stackexchange.com
  2. I downloaded jhead for my Mac
  3. jhead for the Mac doesn’t support recursive (e.g. -r) calls, so I needed to consolidate all the images from sub-folders and sub-sub-folders — I did that using this command on the Mac terminal using this command “find ./ -name ‘*.jpg’ -exec cp ‘{}’ ./ \;“, which I found on this forum http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1385966:
  4. Then I deleted the folders and sub-folders, as I don’t need them for organization (I just want to get the photos backed up into Google Photos)

How to Pick IT Systems for your Small Business

If you’re the CIO, Director of Technology, IT Person, or Only Person (Solopreneur) at your organization, here are 5 areas of questions areas to consider when determining if a specific IT system or process would align with your small company’s needs:

  1. Alignment:  Does this system align with your business model (how you do business) and your current infrastructure?
  2. Lock In:  Would this system lock you (Vendor lock-in) into this vendor or system long-term?  Could you export your data and move to another system as you grow?
  3. Investment-worthy:  Is this system worth the investment of money and time (your time, your employees’ time, your customers’ time?
  4. Get Traction:  Would this system get traction with your employees and/or customers?  Does it align with how you do business, or would you spend your time forcing people to use it?
  5. No Huge Risks:  Are there any significant risks (red flags, deal-breakers) that should drive you away from this system? (e.g. cyber security, loss or productivity, removes future options you want)

align-framework

Shameless plug:  If you’re interested in learning more about setting up the technology for your company, or future startup, check out this free class I’m teaching next week (Thursday, Sept 10, 2015), sponsored by Capitol Post, in Old Town Alexandria:  Technology 101 for Entrepreneurs (How to Choose to the Best Systems for your Business).

How does a CTO Spend Time?

I’ve recently realized that I’ve been drawing a similar pie graph several times recently, explaining how I spend my time as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at a small business.  I thought I’d share for those interested in how I spend my time juggling the demands of CTO across various company priorities.

CTO_time

If you’re interested in learning more about small business CTO activities, including technology strategy when you’re too small to have a dedicated CTO, check out this free, upcoming training in Old Town Alexandria, sponsored by Capitol Post, that I’m teaching next month (Sept 2015):  Technology 101 for Entrepreneurs (How to Choose to the Best Systems for your Business).

The Kindle’s Best Feature: Seeing all your Highlights on one Website

The Amazon Kindle is great and it’s incredible it was introduced almost 8 years ago.  I realize it can still be a controversial topic for hard-core readers regarding whether paper for e-ink is better, but for anyone who doesn’t own a Kindle or does and doesn’t know about this feature, the best part of a Kindle is being able to see all your highlights from all your books in one place online at:

Some of you may already realize this, but it’s incredible.  The ability to be able to go back and review everything that resonated with you when you read it is incredible.  Sure, if you underline or highlight tangible, real-paper books; you could go through your old books on the shelves — but no one ever does.

Being able to scroll through a feed that shows the books in the order you last read them, and the highlights are incredible — here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 9.55.30 PM

While I don’t use this feature as much as I’d like to, I love the ability to scroll through and see what struck me in a book I was reading recently or years ago.

What is Python Django?

I went to a great Introduction to Python Django Web Framework meetup tonight (http://www.meetup.com/django-district/events/223451662/), put on by Django District and TechTalkDC.  We’ve been using Python more and more at my work for data mining, and I was excited to tinker with a Python-based web framework.

Django describes itself as the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines — it’s a full service web framework, similar to Ruby on Rails that has a built-in content management system, baked-in security, and lots of built-in functionality (e.g. user authentication, data migration).

Django isn’t create for microservices (simple applications), where a framework like Python Flask or Ruby Sinatra is much more effective.

The demo went through a simple Django project (https://github.com/excellalabs/khanaas-django), which involved setting up a Khan as a Service, using a RESTful call to Khan-inify the word — http://localhost:8000/kirk/Mike turns “Mike” into this:

khanaas

For people who want to tinker more with Django after finishing this tutorial (https://github.com/excellalabs/khanaas-django/wiki), the Excella guys recommended the Django Polls tutorial (https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.8/intro/tutorial01/)

Small Business Cyber Security 101

Way back in 2009, NIST released a 20 page document that is a great set of fundamental
recommendations for small business cyber/information security.

There’s certainly many more things you should be doing, but it’s a great place to start if you’re an IT Director or CIO at a small business and you’re not sure what you should be doing to secure your company’s information and systems.

There’s plenty of ways to spend money on shiny cyber security software and devices, but this is a great foundation to build your company’s defenses on before start buying Intrusion Detection Systems or hiring Penetration Testers or Social Engineers.

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