In another blog post I shared tips on finding other people on My developerWorks.But that's only half the story what if someone is looking for you?
Get discovered - You can make it easier for people to find you:
- Edit your profile and share your role, skills, and interests in About me section of your profile
- Join My developerWorks groups related to your interests and abilities - this is a natural place to find people with common interests.
- Add tags to your profile this lets someone find you when they do a Keyword search of profiles.How do I add tags to my profile?
Consider what they'll find on your My developerWorks profile when they get there.Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn?Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks? Let me know in the comments!
Take a little time to polish up your profile it's like making a first impression.
Do you have any tips for getting discovered on My developerWorks?Let me know in the comments!
- Share what's relevant about yourself in this community.Do you have certain skills, talents, passions, or achievements other developers or IT pros would want to know about?Don't leave them out!
- Share your bio and professional expertise in your profile.The more people know about who you are, projects you've worked on and what makes you tick, the more they'll be interested in connecting with you.
- Your profile is also a key place to promote other social media you're involved in and related work that you've done.Just by linking to my Twitter page on My developerWorks, I've gotten new followers! How do I add favorite links to my profile?
Have you written articles on developerWorks?Have you written a book? Do you have a web site? Include the title and the link in your professional expertise section!
- Do you have a blog or are you on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn? Link to it in your favorite links, so your colleagues on My developerWorks can connect with you there.
Add a photo to your profile or if you'd rather not, you can add an image that represents you!How do I update my profile photo?How do I add additional photos to my profile?/a>
Every Monday I publish an interview with a member of My developerWorks
on my blog. This is the highlight of my week! It's so much fun getting to know interesting people from around the world and find out what they're working on, what they read online, their career tips, and what they do for fun.
Check this out, if you want to catch up on past interviews
But I would love some suggestions for questions to ask in my interviews. What do you want to know? What would you ask if you could? What have you secretly always wanted to know about your fellow IT professionals and developers?Give me some ideas for interview questions - anything from silly to serious to sublime. Lay it on me.
I was excited to get my Amazon box this week with fresh books to read!!! First up is Social Networking for Business
by Rawn Shah who happens to blog here at My developerWorks
. I've been looking forward to checking this book out and picking up useful ideas. And then I've got Crochet Adorned
by Linda Permann, an indulgence in a newly acquired hobby of mine.
These will keep me busy for awhile... I like to mix a little business with pleasure. Not that business isn't often a pleasure too.
Why tell you about my crochet book? Not because I expect many of the geeks here in My developerWorks to be into crochet. Although, who knows, maybe some of you are crocheting up the entire cast of Star Wars
in your free time:
The reason I share this is because I find these little things I enjoy that are not directly work-related help energize my creativity, giving me fresh perspective when I return to work the next day. I was motivated to share this by a post by Behind the Pixels on My developerWorks. I think brain power and creativity grows with stimulation from many different places.
This is why I ask the people I interview on my blog about their passions outside of work. I like discovering interesting things about people that I never would've guessed. I've gotten to meet people like Andrew Larmour, who wants to build his own car; Rawn Shah, who teaches Japanese swordfighting; Jakub Gaj who loves surfing and capoeira; Alan Harris whose interests range from Krav Maga to bowling; and Chris Walden who channels his open source passion into volunteer work.
All of these people are passionate about technology, but they have whole other sides of their lives too - and it all works together. It's inspiring to me!
Happy Holidays to all of my fellow high tech workers! A High Tech Worker's Holiday Gift Guide:
- "On Air" sign - So those of you who work from home can let your spouse, child, dog, electrician or door to door salesman know when you don't wish to be disturbed. Or for those science fiction fans, perhaps a force field would be even better!
- Ergotron Triple Monitor - for those of us who multi-task too much. Why fight it? Feed the beast.
- Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction - an ebook for those of us who multi-task too much and want to fight it.
- Dilbert calendar - for those of us who need a laugh! And this provides a laugh a day with a dark sense of humor.
- Karlson multiple time zone clock - for those of us whose daily life is by definition cross-cultural.
- Adopt a dog from a shelter who needs daily walks - for those of us who sit too much and need a little puppy love.
- Panasonic phone - for those of us who talk too much. Hands down the best phone I've ever had, because it lets me put my hands down with a great speaker phone and easy mute functionality. Get the one with several handsets, providing you with more battery power for those days when you're on the phone all day.
- Desk Set on DVD - for a reminder of how far technology has come in 50 years, wrapped up in a classic 1950s comedy that happens to include a Christmas office party scene, a computer meltdown and a reminder that for some things, technology will never replace humans.
- A sardonic social media venn diagram t-shirt - for those of us who tweet too much or blog too much and can laugh at ourselves.
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones - for those of us who travel too much or need good tunes to fuel inspiration.
Happy Holidays! And tell me... What's on your "high tech worker" wish list this year?
When introverts and extroverts meet strange things can happen. They may end up completely misunderstanding each other. Or they may end up a powerful pair - after all, one talks a lot and one listens a lot - if that's not a match made in heaven, what is? But if you're not aware of the dynamics in play you may find yourself irritated by others differences or misunderstanding them.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?You might be an extrovert if...
- So first, you need to be able to recognize yourself. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Second, you need to be able to make some observations about the people you work with. Are they introverts or extroverts?
- Third, you need to be able to apply this knowledge at work to have the best possible relationship and outcome.
You might be an introvert if...
- You're the life of the party
- You like to talk (a lot)
- You get bored being alone
- You're energized from interacting with people
- You sometimes feel wiped out after spending time with people
- You need to retreat to solitude to recharge your batteries
- You think about what you say before saying it
- You're energized from time alone
These are polarities, but you can fit anywhere in the spectrum. You may not be one or the other - you could be right in the middle, not really a clear introvert or extrovert. That's okay! Just try to get a feel for where you fit. Now, what about the people you work with? Are they introverts or extroverts?
You can't necessarily know just by looking whether someone is introverted or extroverted, because it's not about their external social interactions, but about how they get their energy - whether they get energy from within, being by themselves or from without, being with others. But you often have clues...
In the extreme, extroverts often seem chatty, talkative, energetic, open, outgoing, uninhibited. They may like to work in a group and meet face to face to talk things through. Introverts may appear to be shy, reserved, quiet, thoughtful and serious. They may like to work alone and meet with others only when necessary.Now, once you understand where you fit and more about the people you're working with, how can you work better together?Working with extroverts:
Working with introverts:
- They like to talk things out and this is part of their process for solving a problem.
- They work things out as they speak, versus working things out before they speak.
- Don't expect them to come up with a fully formed plan right away, but to be working it out as they talk through it.
- White-boarding style brainstorming sessions are a good forum for this.
- Be prepared to spend extra time listening.
- Be prepared to spend time listening about non-work related personal topics, but set boundaries if you need to, if extroverted socializing starts to intrude on getting your work done.
My personal experiences...
- They like to think things out before they speak. This can lead to long pauses and blank looks as they are considering what to say.
- If you ask them a question, they may not be ready to answer right away, but may want to go off and consider it first.
- Realize that just because they're not talking, doesn't mean they're not paying attention or trying to solve the problem.
- Extroverts may dominate group discussions, so don't miss out on the good things an introvert might share. If they're not speaking up, you might ask "What do you think about this, ______?"
- Help them mentally prepare for a meeting by sending out an agenda and meeting materials ahead of time.
- If you need them to share something specific in a meeting, give them forewarning.
- Don't be put off by their reserved nature - go out of your way to get to know them better.
I am an introvert. Others have had the impression that I am shy or stuck up and as a child I was nicknamed "bookworm". Here are some of the things on the job I've discovered that help me out. My work is often full of interpersonal interaction. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and need to regroup. I try to include downtime to think things through. I also try to balance out my workload during the day and the week - so if I have many meetings I also spend time doing solitary work that involves things like writing or number-crunching. I'm learning to be more comfortable not forcing myself to come up with an answer when I'm put on the spot, but instead to say "Let me think about that and get back to you". I find I do better in meetings when I'm prepared for them ahead of time, so if I'm leading a meeting, I put together an agenda, so I can stay focused. I enjoy working with extroverts I've encountered, but it helps to recognize and accept their unique differences. I'm prepared when I'm talking with certain people, for the conversation to be a little longer and range a little further afield, but knowing that in advance makes it easier for me.What about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does it affect your style at work?
For the past few years, I've been thinking of myself as a "knowledge worker" in the "knowledge economy". All workers have their blessings and their discontents whether in the agricultural or industrial age or now - the knowledge economy. I'm glad that I get to use my mind, while I'm also sometimes grumpy about sitting at a computer while my hands and brain do all the work. (Btw, I think someone needs to invent a way of working with computers that involves a variety of movements - some fusion of ideas behind Nintendo wii and work that people do on computers, so that instead of it being natural to sit still while we work, it feels more natural and it's more possible, to move.)
But recently it struck me that I'm not so much a "knowledge worker" as I am a "creativity worker". What I do everyday isn't so much about what I know - it's about what I do with what I know - and what I don't know and finding the answers. What questions do I have? What ideas do I have? What instincts? What problems? What could be done better? What experiments might I try? And then talking with fellow "creativity workers" to get the idea soup boiling before we decide on something new to try. Then we go off and try it and analyze, measure, and revise along the way, over and over.
To be a successful creativity worker I must do things well, on time, and as committed. This is all fine and good, but it's not good enough if I don't come up with new things to do and new ways to do old things. So creativity is one of my greatest assets. But I often find myself jammed up with tasks and trivia - lines and lines of email, hours of meetings, at the end of which my brain is mush and my creativity drained. My greatest challenge is to protect, nurture and harness my creativity. How? It's still a struggle and I'm learning, but these are my ideas:
How important is creativity to what you do? How do you charge up your creative self?
- Set aside creative time during the week. Shake things up during that time - don't do things the usual way. Don't check email, turn off instant messaging. Listen to music that gets you psyched (this works for me!). Sit down with a notepad or whiteboard and markers and make drawings or diagrams or word maps. Or make collages and let images speak.
- Reserve creative time with fellow creativity workers to dream things up or tackle problems from a fresh angle.
- Take care of yourself, old school style: proper rest, nutrition and exercise. The creative self operates best when it has energy reserves to draw on.
- Creativity by its nature is slippery and unpredictable - it's not on tap 24-7. So go with the flow - when creativity strikes, drop everything if possible and follow its lead.
- Get to know your creative self. Explore what makes you tick. Is there a time of day or week when you are most in touch with it? Do you come up with your best ideas by yourself or in a group? Experiment with creativity tools like mind-mapping or free association and find out which ones you really like.
Every place on the map has its own local culture, its own feel, its own color, its own expected social behavior. Whether you notice it or not, whether it's eccentric or conservative, it's still there.
I'm a native Texan. Where I'm from we have our own quirks that some folks find charming and others find annoying. For example, we have certain gestures we make in traffic. When someone lets us cut in or change lanes, we give a casual little wave in front of the rear view mirror. This is customary. And it makes me feel good every time I do it and every time someone waves at me. It's a little sign that says "Hey, it's all good. No rush. Happy to let you in my friend." Or at least it says that to me, because "I'm from around here". People not from around here might be annoyed at our laissez faire driving style, or surprised at our selection of gestures - or so I'm told.
These ingrained social behaviors color our world. And while destinations on a map have their own unique culture, destinations on the web do too. On Facebook, for instance, people are very casual and open, but only within their own circle of approved friends. On Twitter, things are different - most people are open with everyone. Anyone can follow anyone. It creates a culture that's less intimate, but more egalitarian.
I've been thinking about the kind of culture I'd like to see grow in My developerWorks. I'd like to see an open, friendly, helpful culture, kind of the way I think of my home state :-)
What I hope My developerWorks
A place where people take IT seriously, but also have some fun
A place where people are real, transparent, and open - not artificial, corporate or closed
A place where learners and experts cross paths, mix, and mingle
A place where people who don't consider themselves to be experts feel just as welcome in the community as the so-called experts
A place where people ask someone to be their colleague if that person shares similar interests or wrote a useful forum post or leads a group they're part of or writes a blog they like
A place where people feel free to comment, join groups, and message each other
A place where information and relationships aren't limited by geography,time zone, industry, or company
A place where knowledge and questions are shared freely and ideas and projects are born
Come join in...
That sassy looking girl over to the left with the strange hairdo looks like she thinks she's pretty cool, eh?
That little 11 year old girl actually happens to be me. A friend posted this photo in Facebook and looking at my past self triggered memories that inspired this blog post.
When I was eleven, I actually didn't think I was that cool. But I desperately wanted to be cool and popular, like many grade school kids. Unfortunately I was painfully shy, always waiting for others to come to me. My perception of the cool, popular kids was that they were popular because they were prettier than me, wore nicer clothes, were on the cheerleading team, etc.
It was only a few years out of high school that I realized that wasn't the case at all. For the most part, the popular people were the most friendly, fun, outgoing, confident people. They were the people that welcomed others, invited them out to lunch, and said hi in the hallway. It mattered not what their socio-economic status was, or how genetically gifted they were in sports or attractiveness. What mattered is that they made other people feel comfortable and wanted.
I've often wished I could go back in time and whisper this secret to my 11 year old self.
But I can benefit from it now, and I often do in the world of social networking, which isn't much different than grade school. Many people sit and wait for others to reach out to them, to be discovered, to be found. But the people who reach out to others, welcoming, sharing info, connecting groups of people, and championing people, miraculously find themselves in a world of friendly faces.
If you're willing to make the first move, to say hello, to make contacts, friends and allies, it's a world of opportunity. So... don't be shy!
What makes you an expert?
It's a tricky question we've been thinking about as we consider definitions for what "expert" means in the My developerWorks
community. It's one of the things I think makes My developerWorks so cool - you can find developers who know things, who've already done things, and you can learn from them. But one of the questions that comes up is what it means if we say someone is an "expert".
It's possible to be too vague about it. For example, I could declare myself to be an expert at making desserts (because this is something I know too much about!) But what does this self-declaration actually mean? Without definition it could mean anything. Does it mean I've made a certain quantity of desserts? Does it mean I've mastered certain techniques? Does it mean I have a broad scope of dessert expertise - that I've made a wide variety of international desserts? Does it mean I've graduated from a culinary school?
But it's also possible to be too specific about defining an "expert". I could say I can't declare myself to be an expert at desserts unless I meet a complicated set of criteria. There could be various levels and subcategories of expertise and specific criteria and tests for each one that have to be tested and judged by an impartial third party.
As we think about defining the word "expert" in My developerWorks, we struggle between these two extremes. Should we leave the definition of "expert" loose and undefined risking it being meaningless? Or should we define it within an inch of it's life and make it near impossible to achieve? We don't have the answer yet, but in the meantime, this got me to thinking about expertise itself. Having talked to some (very humble, in my opinion) members of My developerWorks, they have said "Well, I'm not an expert... I don't have anything to share with the community... I'm not that advanced... I like to watch and learn from other people who know more than me." I understand and can relate to this feeling at times!
But what happens if you start to think of expertise as a continuum, instead of a definitive label? You might be reluctant to declare yourself an "expert", but if you think about it as a continuum you may have more to share than you realize.
For example, I've spent countless hours over many years working on Lotus Notes, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. If you asked me if I was an expert, I might cringe and say no. But I've actually picked up many tips and my own personal ways of working with these applications to make things faster and simpler in the work I do every day. I might not be a textbook or manual on these applications, but when it all comes down to it, I have alot of simple things I can share with other people using them. After all, that's how I learned many of them - from another user who was willing to share what they knew! When I think about it, I've learned alot more about technology from people than from reading manuals.
Maybe what you know is more important than attaching a label to it. Maybe if you think of expertise as a continuum, you have more to share than you think. So I'm happy to declare, I may not be an expert, but I have a lot to share!What do you think? What does "expertise" mean to you? If you're looking for an "expert" in My developerWorks to help you with something, what kind of expertise are you expecting?
In my first post on "Personality on the job"
, I talked about the first principle - Accepting that people are different! The second principle is "Know yourself".
A relationship is a two-way interaction, and you are one half of that interaction. It does no good to merely observe and understand others, if you don't understand the role you are playing too. One way to get to know yourself is to take a personality test. There are many out there, and I'll include a list at the bottom of my post. But taking a personality test isn't required - start by looking in the mirror!
Here are some questions to help you explore who you are on the job:
- What do you enjoy working on? What activities make you "lose time", looking up and realizing hours have gone by?
- What makes you energized? What are you most passionate about?
- What drags you down, sucks your energy, bums you out?
- What makes you see red?
- Do you like to work in quiet solitude? Or frenetic activity with lots of people around?
- Do you jump in and solve a problem on the fly, or think about it first?
- Do you feel compelled to work through every detail? Or do you prefer to look at the big picture?
- Do you tend to plan things out in advance? Or go with the flow?
- Is it natural for you to lead a team effort? Or do you like to join in and follow someone else?
- Do you like a defined roadmap? Or do you like to blaze your own trail?
Cut yourself some slack
Remember the first principle was accepting that people are different? Now, accept that you are different. You can change some things about yourself, and probably should, but many things are just the way you're hardwired. Don't fight it - work with it.
For example... I work with people alot, but I'm an introvert and I can get worn out. As much as I wish this wasn't the case - but it is, so I have to work with it and schedule in down time when I'm not in meetings. Make the most of what you've got
Once you understand basic things about yourself, you can start to put those to use. If you enjoy working on the start of a project, conceiving it in the brainstorming phase - try to find areas where you can apply that. If you're passionate about perfecting things with testing and trouble-shooting, look for opportunities to do that. If working on detailed reports drives you nuts and slows you down, see if you can pass that on to another team member who eats spreadsheets for lunch.
For example... I've discovered, I enjoy analyzing data. That might sound dry to you, but as a kid, I loved Nancy Drew books, and I think something about putting together puzzles and playing the detective gets me going! So I volunteer to do a little data analysis when the need comes up. Know your hot buttons - then cool down
We all have hot buttons that short circuit logic and go straight to our gut. They might make us feel frustrated, angry, or deflated. Many times, these hot buttons aren't serious, just the kind of thing that irks you because of your particular personality! Unfortunately, the instant emotions hot buttons evoke can cause a meltdown over something minor. Pinpoint your hot buttons, so that when they get triggered, you can remind yourself that this isn't worth arguing about - it's just a personality quirk.
For example... Years ago, I received a flaming ALL CAPS email that was very pushy and critical and it seemed the entire universe was copied on it. I felt like I was being run over with a bulldozer. I received wise advice to just pick up the phone and talk to the person, instead of trying to defend myself in email. Looking back, I can see that this is just the way this person dealt with everyone - it wasn't directed especially at me. And since I now recognize I can be thin-skinned, when things like this happen again, I don't take a forceful style personally and get upset - just focus on solving the problem.
Want to get to know yourself better? Here are three free online personality tests:4 question personality test
(for those of you short on time...)Keirsey Temperament SorterHumanMetrics Jung Typology Test
I like to bake.
In my family, when there is a gathering, I get called upon to bring dessert. And I’m glad to do it every time. All this baking got me to thinking about what a cake has in common with social networking, social media, online communities, creating a following for yourself, etc.Making it is a messy job
In the beginning a cake just some flour, sugar, eggs and butter thrown together. It’s raw dough. It doesn’t look like a master creation, but that’s where you start. Starting out with social networking is no different. In the beginning.
You have some raw ingredients to work with:
- Who are you? What makes you special, unique? What do you want to share with the world – or keep private?
- What are you passionate about? Let’s face it, social media and networking can take a lot of your time. If you’re not passionate about something, why bother?
- What are you good at? What do you know a lot about?
- What social networking sites, tools, and applications do you want to use?
- How much time do you want to spend?
- What kind of outcome are you hoping for?
Take these raw ingredients and decide what flavor of cake you want to “bake up” in the world of social networking. You’re not always sure how it’s going to turn out (and sometimes it flops)
If you’ve spent any time at all baking, you know, that sometimes a cake just flops. No rhyme or reason. It just does. Forays into social networking are no different. Making a name for yourself, gaining a readership, and forming connections are things that come over time, with many repeated consistent ongoing efforts. Some of those efforts will flop. Not every blog posting will hit it big, not everyone will answer a question you pose in forum, or join in your group. It’s a process of experimentation – try to learn what works and what doesn’t. Then keep trying. When a cake flops, I don’t swear off baking, I just grab a fork and dig in, then try a new recipe next time. Same thing with social networking – don’t sweat it, just keep trying new things.There are lots of layers
Putting together a fancy cake sometimes involves layers of cake, fillings, frosting and glazes. Social networking isn’t as simple as creating a user id and password. It takes several steps, at least, to start to your social networking foundation. Start by building a solid profile – that’s your first layer. Then visit regularly and see what other people are doing. Start to get active yourself by making connections and joining groups and activities. And top it all off by coming back regularly to see what’s new and interact with your new network.Presentation is crucial
A well-presented cake has that little
extra something like toasted coconut or white chocolate curls. It's not
only pleasing to the taste, but to the eye as well. Successful social
networkers take similar pride in how they present themselves online.
Consider what you’d like your image to look like and whether it’s
inviting. Does your profile represent you well? Do you like your
photograph? How can you use graphics and words to bring extra polish to
your online activities?If you find the right place for it, it’ll get gobbled up fast
Take your cake to a gluten-free convention and you may not have many takers. But leave that same cake in a breakroom at my office building, and it will be gone fast. Same thing applies in social networking. You want to pick the right “virtual place” for your venture. If you want to make professional connections, My Space is probably not the best place for you! But social networking opportunities like My developerWorks
offer you the ability to connect with professionals interested in similar topics, in a learning and sharing environment. Who doesn’t like cake, but you can only eat so much in one sitting
When you bake a delicious cake, it can be tempting to go back for second helpings (and thirds, too). But eat too much cake at once and the enjoyment fades into a sugar hangover. When you’re first discovering social networking, it can be such a buzz that you overdo it and burn yourself out. I've spent many happy, addictive hours exploring new social networking sites (uh, Twitter, anyone?). But you don’t have to eat the cake all at once! There will be more tomorrow. Pace yourself, and plan to spend some time social networking each week. Wishing you all a slice of social networking heaven here on My developerWorks!
p.s. The cake above is an Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing from one of my favorites - The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather
I'm glad to be back this week featuring a new interview with Kelley Anders
, a Senior Software Engineer focused on IBM eSupport Client Strategy. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I've been with IBM for 15 years performing a variety of roles from consultant to client support representative to manager and most recently, becoming a certified Project Management Professional (r). I'm currently working on promoting IBM Electronic Support Tools via the social media avenues of our developerWorks Blog
, Twitter account, Facebook account and YouTubeChannelWhat's your favorite aspect of your work?
It's the constant opportunity to learn. One of the most exciting things about taking on a new project is the learning process and related material. For me, it's a great opportunity to draw on the experience of others. For the folks with whom I'm interacting, they get to revisit what it was like when they were first learning or perhaps view things in a different way when I ask questions - and I ask a lot of questions ;-)When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how do you end up picking a career in technology?
I actually still don't know what I want to be when I grow up - maybe a musician or yoga instructor? However, I actually got into technology via cartography and geographic information systems. In college, I was scribing maps and began creating computerized maps. Then figured if I could write programs that made maps, what else could I program?Tell me about the IBM Electronic Support Community group and blog... What's your vision for it?
Ideally, I'd like to use it as a multi-dimensional communication vehicle. Not only to use it to communicate outward on all the Electronic Support Tools and options, but also to receive input. What problems are are clients, external and internal, facing that Electronic Support Tools could help solve? Additionally, get the community sharing best practices and ideas as well. Tell me about IBM Fix Central- what makes it unique?
Fix Central is just one of the tools in the IBM Electronic Support Portfolio of options available to our clients. It's the front end to IBM's Electronic Fix Distribution Infrastructure. It performs a specific role in the Electronic Support family of tools and options - delivering maintenance for software , firmware, etc... in one place.How do you use developerWorks?
Currently I'm using it to communicate outward with the Electronic Support blog posts. In the past, I've used developerWorks for everything from research to downloading software.
What new topics or areas are you learning about right now?
The underpinnings of Social media infrastructure are quite interesting to me. I'm learning about the algorithms used to count direct clicks and why you want one algorithm over another. For example, I want to count person clicks as opposed to an automated machine / bot click. Which algorithm do I use to distinguish between the two, and then, how do I best present and use that data to make future decisions on what content to deliver to my on-line communities?The most underrated technology is:
IBM mainframes. In this age of mobile computing where smaller and portable is considered leading edge, I think folks sometimes forget about Big Iron and how it has continuously transformed to meet an ever-changing marketplace. What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
As I stated in the July 1st post in the IBM Electronic Support Community blog
, "We want to build a "Smarter Planet" by enabling our clients to help themselves." - Thanks Kelley!
This week get to know Joey Bernal
, author of multiple books and developerWorks articles related to WebSphere Portal. Learn more about Joey Bernal:His profile on My developerWorksHis books on Amazon.comJoey Bernal on TwitterHis blogTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
Hmm, that is always a hard question to answer without sounding like a TV commercial. Within IBM I am an Executive Consultant with IBM Software Services for Lotus. I focus on delivery of WebSphere Portal
and related products making sure that our customers are successful implementing solutions with Lotus products. Unofficially I am married and a father of 4 living in Houston, TX.
I am currently working on a large content migration project moving a customer set of web sites from Vignette to IBM Web Content Management. This is slightly more exciting then it sounds as we are moving literally massive amounts of content that represent over a hundred web sites for this customer. For me this is a year long effort of which I am currently about half way through.What first sparked your interest in technology?
Interestingly enough I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to technology. I was never really good at math or science in high school. I was more apt to be in detention. It was while I was in the Army that I bought a used Commodore 64 from a buddy in the late 80's. Initially I started off with the games like everyone else, but eventually I found my way to programming. I would copy basic programs from magazines, run them, and then watch them disappear when the computer was turned off, *sigh*. Sometime later my friend got me a tape backup attachment. This was literally a cassette tape player that connected with a cable. Eventually I moved to a PC. I splurged for my first one and got one with the dual floppy drives. Later I purchased a refurbished 10GB hard drive that was really cool. This made life much more interesting and I started messing more with networking and the internal guts of PC's. I was actually really good at that stuff, but I knew that to really grow I needed to go to school, so that was the obvious next step, to get my degree in CS.
Sadly, I rarely play games anymore. It just seems like such a waste of time to me, even though we probably have every game machine available in my house currently. I know this makes me sound like a serious person, which is absolutely not the case. With so much going on, I just try and manage my time.
What developing technologies or innovations are you obsessed with lately?
I'm actually on a break from obsession at the moment. This sounds a little funny, but it's true. When I get going on a new book or topic I tend to immerse myself wholly and focus on that topic. To the point that I feel guilty when I do something else. For example I won't really read anything unless it's related to the topic at hand. As you can imagine this can go on for 6 months or more, so between projects I really like to clear my head.
That being said, I don't ignore things that are of interest to me. I am constantly reading new books or developerWorks articles. Two books that I am carrying around with me now are one on Spring Enterprise Integration, and another on Cloud Computing.
How do you stay in touch with the real-world problems that customers are facing?
This is actually pretty easy for me. Since I work in a customer facing arm of IBM Software Group I get to work with customers all the time, helping to try and solve real world problems as they adapt and customize our software. What is not so easy is trying to address the challenges that are different with every customer situation.
We have a pretty good network of consultants and we try to talk to each other and bounce ideas and questions. It helps to hear what other folks are doing and continuing to learn from each others situations. Some of us also tend to focus in certain areas so we get called in when questions in our general area of expertise are required. For example I tend to get called when questions arise around application architecture or development topics are asked. Others in our group focus on performance, infrastructure, or product specific topics such as Web Content Management.
One interesting side effect, is that because of my focus on the hear and now, I often shy away from new and shiny objects unless I think they can offer real value. This keeps me from chasing every new change in technology until it starts to break through and become something more mainstream.You're the author of five books as well as many articles on developerWorks over the years. What inspires you to write? What are the surprise benefits you've discovered from writing about technology?
Writing is actually something that I enjoy, and have enjoyed for many years. I think this is an important point to explain that writing is not a chore for me as it can be for other technical people. Even in college I was taking writing and journalism courses, knowing that I would eventually do some technical writing at some point in my career. I think that is the only way that someone can survive or even thrive when working on a project like a book.
I actually started writing within IBM as a way to reach more customers. For years I was actually measured on the number of customers that I affected each year. So I figured what better way to reach more customers then to write? Initially it was through articles in developerWorks and other journals, and then later through my blog. Books came more recently, but for me have turned into my favorite medium.
As for benefits, writing allows me to share a more complete solution with my customers. For example my book, Application Architecture for WebSphere, came about because it seemed like I was repeating a lot of the same advice to many customers over the years. It was one thing to offer them advice, but after the book came out I could actually hand them a copy and say, "here, this is a lot of the things you should know".Do you have any new books or articles in the works? If you do, tell me about it...
I just met with the IBM Press manager at Impact in Las Vegas last week. We kicked around a few topics and ideas. One idea is to do a third edition of our co-author book, "Programming Portlets". I think we may kick this off later this year and it may be a good next project for me, since I don't have to write the whole thing, rather just a few chapters. A lot has changed since our last edition, so this is really a necessary upgrade that I think people will benefit from.
I am also kicking around an idea for a book on code quality. This is another topic that is being driven by my customer interactions. Way too often am I seeing organizations that farm out the development of their projects and then have no understanding of the code being sent back. If it compiles then it gets deployed right into production. Often they leave the idea of measuring the quality of the code to the developers themselves, who obviously have their own priorities and bias. I think there are steps that organizations can put into place to ensure that what they get back is not only functional, but also robust and secure. This is another area where I tend to do a lot of talking, but need to take the concepts and processes to the next level. I honestly don't think I will start on this until next year, but I am excited about the topic.How do you use developerWorks?
Sorry, I'm not that interesting when it comes to this. Mostly I read the articles. Obviously I write some articles, but nowadays it is all about keeping up with technology. Every few weeks I go and download or print the latest set of articles about whatever technology, topic, or product that interests me and then I carry them with me in my computer case. When I am stuck on an airplane or somewhere I pull them out and read them. It is one of the best ways to see what other folks are doing, or learn a new technique. How are you using social networking today?
Externally Facebook is sometimes a big part of my life. I probably check at least my friends status once a day, although I don't post as often. The thing it, with my line of work it allows me to keep in touch with everyone in my life. My family, friends, customers, and co-workers who are often on the road as much as I am. I have two children away at college so Facebook and Twitter keeps me updated on any happenings with them, as well as seeing any interesting updates from my other two kids and my wife. All of us post or update often so it closes the gap that travel can sometimes build.
Interestingly enough I keep up with many of my co-workers on Facebook. Knowing the travel adventures of other consultants let's me know if anyone is in my area. I call it the "Virtual Water Cooler", and more then once I have been able to coordinate dinner with someone who I would normally never be able to see. It's also fun to hear of adventures my co-workers might be having at their customer site, or on the road. Obviously we have to abide by IBM guidelines for external social networking and not disclose anything incorrectly, but this is generally not a problem.
We also have a lot of social networking capability within IBM which I use. Most of this I have written about in my latest book, "Web 2.0 and Social Networking for the Enterprise"
, I use Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections extensively for projects and collaboration. Do you have any favorite technical blogs? What makes them a must-read for you?
OK, I'm going to sound crazy, but I don't follow a lot of these things. I do read some from time to time, but mostly when I am looking for some information on a particular topic. I try and limit my information overload and one way I do that is to not try and read and follow every latest idea that someone is talking about. I figure that if something has some legs I'll hear about it eventually. Usually before most people cause I then have to figure it out and how to adapt it for my customers.- Thanks Joey!
This week get to know Yakura Coffee
in this interview where he talks about new things happening around WebSphere emerging technology and the online community he's working to build.Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been been with IBM for 11 years with a B.S in Industrial Engineering from PennState and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. My current role is Technical Evangelist and Community Manager for the WebSphere Foundation suite of products WebSphere eXtreme Scale , WebSphere Cloudburst, and WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack OSGi and JPA. My responsibilities include businesses development of our online communities, allowing satisfied customers to congregate and extol the virtues of a IBM WebSphere's Emerging Technology while leveraging mechanisms such as blogs, podcasts, message boards, product reviews, conferences, and technical articles.What cool new things are happening in WebSphere that you think alot of people aren't aware of (but should be!)?
When people think WebSphere, they natural think software, but we have introduced 2 products WebSphere Cloudburst and WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliances that are hardware-based solution that customers can drop into their existing infrastructure to manage and scale their cloud-based images and software with ease. I'm really intrigued to see the new WebSphere Emerge group that you're building. Can you tell me more about your vision and your plans for WebSphere Emerge?
We are trying to build synergies with this community between developers, business partners, and university relations to build high-touch relationships that will provide transparent content and drive customer-driven requirements into our products. WebSphere Emerge is just starting out but we have some great content and contributions to come.
How did you end up leading the development of an online community?
I was recruited to join the www.projectzero.org
Community 2-years ago based on my Web development and PHP scripting experience. My experience on helping launch and manage the www.projectzero.org Community and my early dive in to social media technologies made it a natural fit. My MBA comes into play as we leverage marketing techniques to spreading our mission and business analytics in measuring our ROI.What social networking tools do you use the most and why?
: Great at organizing twitter streams and managing multiple accounts via a browser.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows me to push url shortened tweets fast...and then track the click-thrus for additional metrics.
: Its authenticated browser bookmarklet allows my team to categorize our content/links and share it with customers very efficiently. Our elaborate tagging allows users to follow specific feeds based on their interest.
If you just won a contest and won a shiny new gadget, what would make you most excited?
I am a home theater movie fanatic. Therefore the item that would get me the most excited would be the Panasonic AE4000 Projector. Projecting my favorite Sci-Fi movies on a 120+ screen try to mimic the IMAX experience would be totally awesome!- Thanks Yakura!
This week, get to know Paul Ionescu, who's working on making applications more secure every day. Learn more about Paul in the interview below and find him at:Paul Ionescu's profile on My developerWorks
- add him to your networkBlog: Rational Security StoriesTell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I have been working in the Rational Security Practice for 3 years now, coming from Watchfire in 2007 together with the AppScan security products.
In my primary role I help IBM customers resolve security issues and improve their development processes but I am also responsible for enabling our practitioners in the application security space, create training material, participate in the management of our internal community site and in general take part in any activity that can make IBMers and IBM customers successful with our products.
Part of my mission is to influence our product direction based on our customers' needs so I work a lot with our product development teams and our security research team. I have participated in several research projects and have created several product tools and integrations that help us in our day to day work.
For example last year I have created an AppScan extension called Login Expert which was intended to make the configuration of our product an easier process. You can read more about the extension here
The extension achieved its goal and as a result was integrated with AppScan in the 7.9 release.What first attracted you to working in Information Technology?
Well it might be a bit cheesy but I was fascinated by the fact that you can inspire thought process into a machine. Even today nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to write a computer program.Are there any reasons the topic of security is especially interesting to you?
Security is a very exciting field. There's a lot of intelligence that goes into hacks, there's always something happening, there's always new challenges, hackers are getting smarter. Knowing that, imagine that working with an automated tool that is intended to act like a hacker is even more interesting. What's the biggest misconception about security?
There are many misconceptions and is hard to say which is the biggest one but one that comes to mind is that the network layer is the main target of attackers and that as long as you are protecting that layer well, you are secure: we are behind a firewall, nothing can touch us...Well guess what? That firewall has to be opened on ports 80/443 so you can have an internet presence. The web site is in fact the main target of hackers nowadays, not the network.What are the biggest security challenges related to software development?
The adoption of security practices is the biggest challenge. Without a proper process and management buy-in security bugs will continue to come in. There's always communication challenges & animosity between security auditors and developers, the security team cannot scale becomes a bottleneck often delaying the release of the product. Development organizations need to adopt secure coding practices and security testing tools allowing less security issues to reach the security team, thus improving the release process and the overall security posture of the organization.How do you use developerWorks?
I use it as an avenue to express my thoughts in the application security space but also to see what other people have to say in many other different domains of application development.Do you use social networking related to your work?
I use our internal Lotus Connections website heavily but also use LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch with work contacts.What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
One of the blogs that I read more often is the IBM Rational Application Security Insider
.What other passions or interests do you enjoy in your off hours?
I play classical guitar. Look me up on YouTube
- Thanks Paul!