Web 2.0: September 2008 Archives

Discussing the Whiteboard

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I see that yesterday's post about our office white board did hit some nerves. There's been continuing discussion of it on our director Cole Camplese's blog. Thanks Cole for responding and cross-posting - I appreciate his willingness to put his perspective out there in front of all of us, his ETS community.

Office Twitter vs Office Whiteboard...Is there a difference?

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Being a modern office modern office worker means you must master both old communication channels like the community bulletin board as well as the new forms like Twitter...so here's my take of an ongoing set of negotiations.

Recently there was a blank whiteboard installed in our hallway (probably a good idea), but almost immediately, there has been tension on what should go on the whiteboard. Is it an informal brainstorming tool? A place to post official office news? Although I have my preferences, I can see an argument for all three options.

Interestingly one of main problems for the whiteboard has been the erasure policy. If an entire white board is covered with a project sketch, how long does it remain? Similarly if we have a run of poll questions (e.g. water filter preferences, disco ball preferences, sci-fi preferences, presidential preferences). Are these appropriate?

I know that they were recently erased (and continue to be erased), so I do think someone is questioning their appropriateness. I know in the past we've been asked to not post political material in the office, so I wonder, so are we trying to be more "formal" here?

Which leads me to my annoying Twitter question... We all (more or less) tacitly agree that individuals can post whatever they want to their Twitter accounts - despite the fact that we know many of our colleagues will see them. And yet our Twitter posts are being displayed in the hallway on a monitor.

Maybe it's me, but given the fact that Twitter is in the hall and is being viewed by the same people who see the whiteboard, I do think of Twitter as a workplace communication channel.

That's not to say that I've been letting work stop me from ask annoying questions, but I do think it's interesting that our comfort level with "informality" on Twitter does not extend to the Whiteboard.

Is iTouch a Low-Cost Solution?

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Jamie's coffee read on the costs of purchasing tech is one that's close to my heart. I came from a single-income household, but my mother decided to we needed invest in a computer - which was a Coleco Adam with a whopping 80K of memory (this was before I met Mac). Thanks Mom!

But I'm still in a single-income household (for 2 people) and once I found myself still on the divide when it comes to ... mobile tech. Truthfully, it's not the price of the phone that bugs me ($100-400) but the high monthly fee ($840 per year on the iPhone plan), especially since I rarely find need of a cell phone. At least I watch cable TV most days.

So after some research, I did go with the iTouch, and even though I'm not regularly on the Internet, I'm finding the potential uses very interesting.

First, I found an amazing array of calculators (programming, basic, thermal units, financial,...). And of course, I checked out the games - hours of entertainment from one little software package. I've also been checking music (great sound) and even used iPhoto to import photos. Not only can I show off the corgi, but I can show pieces I've stitched - a great mini portfolio. And if you plan carefully, even a small iPod may have plenty of room for you, and most utilities are cheap ($0-1.99). Once you get over that initial hurdle, there are a lot of good options out there.

And once I did connect to the Internet at home, I was able to tap into the other cool apps like YouTube, Pandora and Wikipedia and the all-important movie time schedule. Cool.

You may already have discovered all of this, but I am relieved that I will be enjoying my iTouch without the extra $70 per month. It's much more affordable this way.