Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Latest Google Maps for Mobile v3.2 Rocks on WinMo6.1

On my Samsung Jack running Windows Mobile 6.1 [smartphone, not touchscreen edition], I found the My Maps new features of Google Maps Mobile 3.2 to be excellent. The upgrade from Google Maps Mobile v3.0 (Over-The-Air download, clocking in at 1.0 MB) went through perfectly on the first try, as did the new My Maps feature. Quick and simple access to one's "My Maps" info is a real enhancement to the user experience for busy smartphone users trying to get somewhere quickly. IMHO this - together with Google Maps Mobile ability to either read my GPS (when it finds satellites) or locate me via cell towers when the GPS chip cannot - makes Google Maps for Mobile version 3.2 a true killer app.

Official Google Mobile Blog: Layers of fun in Google Maps for mobile 3.2: "...the latest version of Google Maps for mobile allows you to view many layers of information on your map at the same time. Layers make it easier and more useful to find and interact with geographic content, like public transit, traffic (with incidents!), local search results, Latitude friend locations, Wikipedia and more. You can also see your own My Maps content as a layer on Google Maps for mobile. And finally, multiple layers can be combined at the same time to give you a content-rich view of what's around you..."

Hat Tip:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gartner's 6/09 Magic Quadrant for IT Project & Portfolio Management

Source: Gartner (June 2009) .

Gartner have recently updated their "Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management".

As Gartner explains, "Project and portfolio management (PPM) applications can provide visibility into the current state of organizational initiatives, resources, and spending through the centralized collection of data from multiple sources and perspectives. Integration across multiple business and IT process domains through PPM system functions provides multidimensional views of this data for better visibility and understanding of resource supply versus project (and other work) demand in IT and other project environments.."

There seems to be some healthy competition among a group of strong leaders, visionaries, and challengers (including SAP, Innotas, and BMC), as detailed in this Gartner report. A related May, 2009 Gartner report (which unlike the aforementioned Magic Quadrant is not available to browse online for free) at , entitled "Market Share: Project and Portfolio Management Software, Worldwide, 2008", summarizes as follows: "After a banner year in 2007 with 24% growth, the worldwide project and portfolio management software market growth slowed to 7.4% in 2008 for a total of $1.2 billion. Among PPM vendors, Primavera, Microsoft, CA, Oracle and Agresso hold the largest market share."

As per my recent post regarding the US Federal CIO office, it is nice to see that PPM and related tools can be used in the real world with significant impact - e.g. to decide which projects should be permitted to proceed, vs. which should be halted in case they are significantly overrunning costs without yielding expected business benefits.

However, it is probably worth noting that even the best PPM tools do not add any meaningful value, unless the key business stakeholders contribute to its success by keeping relevant information and metrics up to date. Which is just another way of saying that even though the expected value / ROI may be large for a PPM undertaking, one should consider the full investment / TCO required: Not just the hard costs for licensing the software and related deployment requirements, but the full organizational commitment, training, and change required to make effective use of the PPM system and methodology.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Relaxed image preview restrictions in gmails from your contacts

A logical refinement IMHO** :

Official Gmail Blog: Now displaying images in messages from your contacts: "...Now, whenever someone you've emailed at least twice sends you a message containing images, you'll see them right away. Note that we picked this threshold of two messages to start with, but we may tweak it if it doesn't seem right going forward. And we only display images by default for authenticated messages (using SPF or DKIM)."

** although one wonders whether current or future malware exploits could even circumvent the authentication mentioned below... But at that point, perhaps we would have much larger information security issues to be worried about, and not just than the relatively simple question of whether to display images within a Gmail message ;-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Google Earth Goes to the Moon - Celebrating July 20th, 1969

I doubt anyone could have foreseen this cool mashup 40 years ago...

But then again, I doubt anyone could have foreseen the amazing success of the first "Man On the Moon" back in 1929, either :)

Google Earth Goes to the Moon - Bits Blog - "On the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon, Google is offering Internet users a virtual trip to the moon. On Monday, the company unveiled Moon in Google Earth, which allows anyone to embark on Moon versions of the kinds of 3-D flyovers that Google Earth users are familiar with. Like the flyovers of our planet in Google Earth, the moon visits are enhanced with all sorts of content, including narrated tours, photos and videos.

“This tool will make it easier for millions of people to learn about space, our moon and some of the most significant and dazzling discoveries humanity has accomplished together,” Anousheh Ansari, a trustee of the X Prize Foundation and the first female “space tourist,” wrote on a Google Blog. “Moon in Google Earth enables you to explore lunar imagery as well as informational content about the Apollo landing sites, panoramic images shot by the Apollo astronauts, narrated tours and much more.”

The blog post includes a video with some of the highlights of Moon in Google Earth. A more detailed blog post goes further into some of the details. Google Earth already allows people to explore the galaxy and Mars...."

Hat Tip:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Project Portfolio Management in action: US temporarily halts 45 IT projects (budgeted @$200 million)

As per Demian Entrekin's excellent blog on , the US National CIO Vivek Kundra has embarked on an impressive and BIG IT project portfolio management and reporting initiative ( accessible via ).

Today (Friday July 17th), a formal announcement on the related blog confirms that 45 major federal IT projects are actually being temporarily halted. So the major USA federal PPM initiative is not merely a reporting tool, it is actually being used for taking meaningful and consistent action when project overruns are detected:

"Friday, July 17, 2009

Evidence-based decisionsVivek Kundra, Federal CIO

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under the leadership of Secretary Shinseki and VA CIO Roger Baker, announced that it will temporarily halt 45 IT projects which are either behind schedule or over budget and work to determine whether these programs should be continued. We’re not talking about a trivial sum here—the Fiscal Year 2009 combined budget for the 45 projects is approximately $200 million. The worst offender of the bunch was 110% over budget and 17 months behind schedule.

We were able to catch these contracts, in part, thanks to our new tool, the "IT Dashboard” which helped shed light on the performance of projects across the federal government.

During the next few weeks, the VA will audit these 45 projects to determine whether additional resources or new management teams can get them back on schedule.

If they can’t be fixed, the projects will be canceled.If you are just hearing about the IT Dashboard for the first time, it allows you to see which IT projects are working and on-schedule (and which are not), offer alternative approaches, and provide direct feedback to the chief information officers at federal agencies.

Given the size and complexity of the federal IT portfolio, the challenges we face are substantial and persistent. The dashboard is not a substitute for good management. Its value comes from leaders who use the information to make tough, evidence-based decisions on the future of IT investments.

The VA’s announcement is part of a broader effort by the Administration to make the federal government more transparent and to boost accountability and drive better performance. From IT accountability to personnel and contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers’ dollars."

Hat tip:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Google's Gmail Tasks module graduates from Labs

A nice Google Tasks & Calendar tip in the YouTube demo, courtesy of Official Gmail Blog: Tasks graduates from Gmail Labs , namely:

When entering a new Google Task, simply prepend
and the date will be auto-entered. And changing the date in Google Calendar will update the corresponding original task record as well :)

IMHO, regardless of whether Tasks has "graduated" from Gmail Labs, it's reassuring to see the well-deserved attention that Gmail tasks is getting within Google :)

(PS - Related technosurfer posts accessible via )

Secure Enterprise Twitter-like microblogging from Socialtext - 14-July-2009

I recently discussed whether project managers should use twitter.

With the new Socialtext corporate appliance that runs a Twitter-like app behind the firewall, business use of Twitter (or a similar type of "microblogging" capability) now appears to be a simpler issue. This solution seems especially relevant for large organizations wishing to enhance their internal communication, messaging and overall knowledge management. Nice to see that the issue of backup / DRP is apparently being addressed as well:

Socialtext offers enterprise microblogging in a box | Web Crawler - CNET News: "As a follow-up to its free, 50-user microblogging product, Socialtext is launching a new paid service for large to enterprise-sized companies that lets them run the Twitter-like service behind the firewall, and with many more users.

Companies that want it can pay $1 per user, per month, alongside a monthly fee that pays for Socialtext's server appliance. This hardware runs the microblogging software locally, and can be connected to a company's backup systems for if something goes wrong, although it makes nightly backups of its own. The appliance fee also covers monthly software updates that will fix bugs and add new features...."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

35 Green IT Resources - IT Management

35 Green IT Resources - IT Management: "A number of IT vendors — from PC providers to software manufacturers — are now offering products and services to support environmentally sustainable business operations for companies of all sizes. Below is a roundup of the 35 most accessible, effective and promising green IT resources now available..."

This nice list from Lea Hartog of provides helpful links related to Green IT information related to:

Hat tip: