My Windows Live Gallery (and a few other Windows Live components) upgraded a couple of days ago.

Wow…

Which way is the bike?I mean it has become REALLY cool to use this tool.  When I got the new laptop, it had Windows 7 installed.  One of the tools was the windows Live Gallery, and I spent a lot of time tagging people and adding descriptive tags for locations.  It was nice to be able to pull out images based on tags.

But it really changed with the new update…

Now I can combine tags for searches.  My wife is putting together a coffee table book of our boys as a present for the grandmothers.  Tonight, I pulled up images from my gallery (a couple thousand pictures) that were of both boys together… then each boy individually.  There were also a few events that she wanted pics from… and they were just as easy to pull up.

But the real surprise was when I found some pics that needed tagging.  It was recognizing faces. At this point it is only suggesting… and not for every one… but I can only imagine that it will get better as I tag more people.  This will be REALLY useful for tagging the other kids in my sons’ classes.  I don’t know them all that well, so after a few tags, the computer can help me recognize them.

Of course, I have been loving the automatic filing by date.  That means I can pull up pictures by date or subject… or both.  That had been the drawback of having a couple thousand pictures, they were tough to search.

Windows Live Gallery is a cool tool.  I’ll have to revisit some of the other tools to see if they have stepped up enough to regularly utilize.

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Last year everyone was talking about the Google Wave… it was the hottest ‘beta’ invite around.  There were hundreds of blog posts from all sorts of tech luminaries about the Google Wave and how it was going to revolutionize communications… rich media, text, video, audio, websites… all together.

About two and a half months ago, Google announced that the Wave was going to die… probably after the end of 2010.

I wrangled a Wave invite last year.  It was cool… but not cool enough to actually use.  And I guess that was why nobody bothered to really use it.  It didn’t revolutionize email communications.  It didn’t make a wave… in fact, it was barely a ripple.

But here is the big question…

When we look back at this a couple years from now, will we see the Google Wave as a trans-formative communications revolution?

I don’t know that we will… or won’t.  But I think it is just as possible that Google’s Wave will be an idea ahead of its time as it is to be just a bad idea.

Take a look back…

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Normally, I keep my Flashback posts on LaneBailey.com… but this one was just so appropriate for here…
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A list can be a wonderful tool to help get things done.  It is a wonderful focus point to push our activities in the right direction.  But one problem with task lists is keeping them current across various platforms.

The obvious choices are:

  • Outlook
  • Google
  • Thunderbird w/Lightning (Mozilla)
  • Phone based applications

I’m sure that Apple has a suite with an integrated calendar and task list, too… but I’m not a Mac user, so I don’t know about their options.

Mozilla Thunderbird
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I recently changed from a BlackBerry Pearl Flip to an Android T-Mobile G2 (affiliate link) phone.  One of the first things I found out was that the G2 had MANY more applications, and that there were a lot of options for synchronizing calendars… especially with Google.

I have been using Mozilla’s Thunderbird Email Client for a long time, but had dismissed Lightning, the calendaring/tasking component, because of a lack of features that worked for me.

Outlook has been my Calendar/Task List Manager of choice because of the nice interface and flexibility of its platform.

I’m getting ready to drop Outlook (I’m using a beta of Office 2010 that expires at the end of October) in favor of Google and Thunderbird/Lightning.  There are a variety of reasons that I am doing this…

  • cross-platform synchronization
  • cloud-based flexibility
  • free!
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Cross-platform sync and cloud-based flexibility are related.  In essence, if I am mobile and complete a task (or think of a task), when I enter it on my mobile device it should go to my home computer.  Similarly, tasks and calendar entires from my home computer would be automatically on my phone… And regardless of which computer I am on, I’d have access to all of my tasks and appointments via my Google calendar.  Another benefit is that I can share my calendar (like with my wife) so that others I choose may see my availability.  I can also integrate shared calendars from others (our Cub Scout Pack and our Tiger Cub Den, for example) so that I can see group activities.  This allows me to have a better idea of what appointments and commitments I have as I schedule new items.  At the same time, others can see when I’m likely to be available.

There is just one problem…  Google Calendar’s Task App doesn’t support sharing yet. This is supposed to be changing… and I will be very excited when it does… but I didn’t have the sharing capability with Outlook, so I can’t complain that I still don’t have it.  I’m also not thrilled with the Task function on Google.  There is no way to enter a recurring task.  Of course, until Google allows an API for the Task function on Google Calendars, it doesn’t matter because the tasks are stuck there and can’t sync with either the phone or the home computer.

Still… at least there are future plans to allow the synchronization between the three platforms (mobile device, home computer, cloud) for tasks… and there is current support for calendar synchronization at all locations.  Outlook will do some of this, and through 3rd party applications (on Outlook 2010) can sync with Google… there is still a matter of cost, and Outlook isn’t doing it better, it just costs more.

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I hear a lot about Social Media Strategy or Technology Tactics… but there is something that seems to be missing from many of these conversations.  Rather than framing the discussion in terms of the end result, it gets formed around how to use a tool.

First we need a GOAL…

The goal is the missing ingredient.  In fact, not only is it the missing ingredient, but it is the most important part.  Since I am a car guy, let me illustrate it like this…

  • The goal is to win races.  We decide that we want to win a drag race…  GOAL
  • In order to win the drag race, we will need a very high power to weight ratio…  STRATEGY
  • To accomplish this, we have two paths we may need to take…
    • Path One is to increase the power…  TACTIC A
    • Path Two is to decrease weight… TACTIC B
  • Of course now there are a lot of steps involved in accomplishing our tactical goals.
Cakes
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As you can see, in this example, you could deploy the tactics without having a goal, but it might be difficult to know exactly which tactics would be best for achieving the goal.  You might even be able to use the strategy, but that strategy is similar for almost any kind of racing… so again, without the goal, the details would be hard to work out.

Another example would be baking a cake.  The goal is to have a cake to eat when you are done.  The strategy is to combine the right ingredients to make a cake… in the right order to make a cake.  The tactics are how you employ the tools of cake making and how you utilize the ingredients.

Social media and technology aren’t much different.  Within a few minutes I could come up with 100 of social  media sites and maybe thousands of technologies.  And we deal with vendors all of the time that want us to use their latest and greatest.  I know that my inbox overflows with offers to use free this or paid that…

Fantasia gift shop @ Contemporary Resort
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But too many of us don’t have the FIRST step completed.  We don’t know where we want to go.  And one of the most common examples of that would be…  “My goal is to make money.”  Really?  Sorry, but that isn’t a goal.  A goal might be to have 50% of the transactions in your niche, or maybe to be the dominant agent in a particular area.

The strategies to achieve that may involve direct mail, newsletters, websites or a myriad of other encompassing options.

The tactics could be to create a hyper-local community blog platform or employing mobile marketing to build open house attendance.

From there, you can decide which specific platforms and/or technologies would best serve the larger needs.

The point is, before you can decide how to get somewhere, you need to know where you want to arrive.

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@NCMusicFactory was a great Venue for REBCCLT
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Not kinda… but fully on.

1 October, 2010

The venue is set to be the Gwinnett Braves Stadium… but that could change.  It will run from about 9:00am until around 5:00pm… a full day of real estate technology and social media training, learning and sharing.  Check the website.

If you’ve never been to a rebarcamp…

They are really cool events.  They are billed as ‘the unconference’ because so much runs counter to the standard conference experience.  At a normal conference, there are a bunch of break-out sessions where we all get to listen to someone tell us about a cool new product or service… usually that they offer… and how it can help our business.  Don’t get me wrong… I love going to conferences and find them very valuable.

During a rebarcamp, the break-outs are geared more towards group discussion.  I’ve found that almost every CAN have something to add to the conversation.  We all seem to have parts of the puzzle… but few have the whole box.  Some participants have incredible experiences and can answer some of the questions.  Others have their experiences in different areas.  But, one of the most valuable things to have is a question… they drive the whole agenda.

Did I mention that it is FREE?

Of course, there is still a price for free…  For attendees, that price is participation.  Dive in, meet people, share, make friends… participate.  It is amazingly rewarding.

The other cost is the cost borne by the sponsors… many of whom we are still searching.  We have a few of our sponsors signed up, but we will need a lot more before all is said and done.  Check out the site for more info on sponsoring…  We have a level of sponsorship for almost anyone!  From $100 up to $2000… you can make this a reality.

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BarCamp Orlando

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I am proud to say that I attended the very first REbarcamp, which was a real estate industry specific technology “unconference”.  Basically, the idea behind barcamp is that the conferees get together and create an agenda and then host the sessions.  It is an amazing peer-to-peer discussion.

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