Your pro-active approach won’t lose you friends at work

There have been times in my career where I have had the benefit of for-sight and seen an event / problem / catastrophe happen.

There were one of two specific things that I did at those times:

  1. Sat back and waited for the disaster to happen
  2. Fixed the problem, and averted disaster

I’m not proud to admit that I have done the first in the list. I would love to say that I am without guilt but it’s true… the “lizard” to quote Seth Godin slithers across my frontal lobe on my bad days.

On the other hand there have been times when my vicarious nature has seen the pain that the future problem would inflict everyone at work… I fixed the issue in silence.

This is a situation that effects anyone in IT. You solve problems everyday and receive little or no recognition for the work that you put in, the disasters you avert and the lengths you go to remain hidden.

This is the true attitude of a genius technician – someone who desires to make technology invisible, accessible and problem free. Everyone should be blissfully unaware of your existence at work, to the extent that you will lose your job because you will be viewed as redundant… you know better of course.

The next step? Find an employer that knows and understands pro-active problem solving. They are out there, and I was blessed to work for a church and pastor that saw this in me.

The take home message here is this: if you fail to fix a problem because you want to be the one who sails in and saves the day (be “seen”), then take my advice, resign from your job and find something else to do, because that’s all it is, a job, not a ministry and certainly not a calling.

The church has no place for re-active problem solvers. Only pro-active solution finders.

Have you ever felt that you have been un-appreciated? Leave a comment and I promise I will be gentle.


Social Media for churches – our experiences and a few ideas

This blog post is a response to Jim Waltons excellent set of questions on social media for churches. I didn’t feel I could do it justice in his comments area, so here is the full list of his six questions and my answers.

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Using vid.ly to deliver video to any device – Thank you encoding.com!

Here is my fist attempt at encoding a vid.ly video on my blog, they were down a few hours earlier today, but finally came back online again not long ago.

I’m quite excited about this service, basically you upload once from Amazon, http, ftp or from your computer and vid.ly will deliver a different version of the video to any device that accesses the video. So someone using chrome will get WebM, Safari… MP4, got a blackberry or iOS device or Android device? Vid.ly will send the video back in the right format for the device, at the right dimensions and bitrate!

Why is this service so important to anyone wanting to deliver video to any mobile or desktop device?

By leveraging open standards such as HTML5, an assortment of codecs supported by different platforms and browsers AND open source software such as FFMPEG, encoding.com has effectively untangled all the headaches associated with delivering video.

It’s almost too easy, I’m asking myself the question; why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

Simple upload, simple embed and vid.ly does all the heavy lifting delivering the right video to the recipients device or browser.

Version 2 of WD TV Media Player coming soon – I’m pre ordering now…

The new Western Digital Media Player has been announced by Western Digital, The WD TV 2 as I think it will be known pretty much offers all the same features as before, ridiculous codec support, plus… and this is the biggy for all of you Media Centre fans with silly amounts of media sitting on a NAS somewhere on your home network… an ethernet port!

Wow, this makes it a really attractive proposition for me, I have a bit of media sitting on one of my pc’s and I would love to be able to watch if on my TV.

Another important feature is DTS audio support and component video output if you have an older style plasma sitting around.

Continue Reading WD TV-2 spruces up Western Digital’s already attractive media player offering via Engadget

Batching – the new time management secret

My favourite Blogger Darren Rouse has suggested possibly the most remarkable time management strategy I have seen in recent memory.

“Batching”

The basic principle is about grouping tasks by function or similarity and doing them in quick successive order.

Here are some examples of batch “lists” that I would use:

  • Blog posting – Peel off group of blog posts in quick order for later posting that week
  • Redelegation - Moving multiple websites to a server at the same time
  • Workflow - Mindmaping different workflow processes one after the other
  • Strategy - Do all your strategy and “Dreaming” at once

In a way, what we are doing here is grouping tasks that rely on very similar brain functions to be completed. For instance, to my mind (no pun intended) it makes no sense to swap constantly from right brain to left brain constantly. Stay to the left for logic and repetitive linear tasks, and the right for creative lateral thinking tasks.

I have found personally it hard to get into programming, but after about 30 mins I’m in and a simple distraction to creatively deal with an issue in my workplace takes me out of the loop again. Stay in the loop by minimising distractions and grouping programming related tasks into a block of time.

This simple strategy is a process of personal development for me, I have found it hard to group and it does require structuring your life and having strong boundaries.

With a bit of discipline I know you can do it!


WordPress 2.5 now supported by Fantastico

Imagine my delight when on adding a hosting account for a friend that WordPress 2.5 was available!

So with much delight I set to and upgraded all three of my own Blogs in about 3 minutes flat.

So easy to do.

The alternative was to hard to even consider… Spending the night backing up and ftping all the files to all three sites, running through the setup procedure etc etc.

Voip – added a Digium TDM400

We just added a Digium TDM400P with three FXO ports into our voice server at our Crown Court location at Generation Church.

This has a number of ramifications:

  • Not paying for call forwards to our VOIP provider
  • Our three copper lines hook straight into our virtual voice infrastructure – all lines are available at both locations
  • Phones still work if our internet connection goes down
  • We can still use our outgoing voip lines
  • We can route all 000 (911) and 1800 number calls through the zaptel (Digium) lines.

It’s the icing on the cake, it means that we get all the benefits of both copper (PSTN) and VOIP!

We bought the card from Dean Davis from withtel.

Additional pricing can be found at Techtopia for Aussies, and telephonyware in the USA.

 

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Asterisk VOIP Servers at Generation

After a month of wrangling, we now have two Asterisk servers running between our two offices.

Our main server, located on a fat fibre connection manages our main connection to our VOIP provider – Faktortel.

It’s been an interesting challenge getting the two servers to talk together. In the end it was a NAT issue.

I have now discovered that NAT is a VOIP technicians worst nightmare. The main reason I added a second dedicated voip server at our central campus was because of NAT (Network Address Translation).


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