Thursday, August 28, 2008

Global CIO Value Forum: Final Panelist Confirmed

Glomark-Governan has confirmed its final panelist for the Global CIO Value Forum 2008, an event designed to discuss best practices for measuring IT value and IT portfolio management, at the Columbus Hilton at Easton on October 2nd, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio. A list of the final panelists and keynote speaker is listed below:

Keynote Speaker and confirmed panelist:

Steven I. Cooper, former CIO of the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross, Current Partner of Strativest, LLC.

Confirmed panelists include:

Zahid Afzal, EVP & CIO, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated

Kristen Blum, SVP & CIO, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Angelo Mazzocco,Chief Information Officer
, Progressive Medical, Inc.
Brad Perkins, Vice President of Platform Development, CheckFree Corporation, now part of Fiserv

Robert Richardson, Chief Information Officer, Worthington Industries, Inc.

Guru Vasudeva, Enterprise Chief Technology
Officer, Nationwide Insurance
Denise Zabawski, CIO and VP of Information Services
, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

The forum, for senior IT executives and CIOs, is designed to discuss best practices for effectively identifying, assessing, and measuring the economic value of technology investments, a crucial element of every company’s IT portfolio management practice.

Glomark-Governan, in collaboration with the confirmed panelists, will discuss experiences and best practices for adopting a standardized technology/project selection and valuation process to consistently and objectively forecast and measure IT value.

The Global CIO Value Forum 2008 –the first of five forums to be conducted in multiple countries – is a “by invitation only” event. If you are a CIO or senior IT Manager and would like to attend, please contact Glomark-Governan at
For more information about the Global CIO Value Forum 2008, please visit, or contact the Glomark-Governan headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, USA, at 614-761-2400.

Glomark-Governan helps enterprises around the world by providing them with the methodology, training, consulting, benchmarking research, and software tools necessary to assess, communicate and measure the economic value of investments in technology and services initiatives. Glomark-Governan has enhanced and refined its Economic Value Creation ( EVC™ ) Methodology for more than a decade.

Avalinx Bets Blackjack Will Win Big on iTunes New App Store

Columbus $100k Tech Jobs

One of the challenges to building a vibrant tech community is keeping our talent here. A key component to that retention is making exciting positions visible to our community. Here a listing of higher end positions currently available where total compensation packages are >$100k
Peace Out,

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TechColumbus 'Special Event' Luncheon: Dave Berkus Presents "Ten Technology Trends That Will Shape Your Corporate Future"

For those of you who want to get a view of what the future holds - here is a not to be missed event. Sign up fast as seats are limited.

Peace out,


The West Coast has a reputation for creating new technology businesses that send shock-waves around the world. From this cutting-edge marketplace, David Berkus, Past Chairman of Tech Coast Angels, will share his views on the top 10 tech trends affecting business today.
Click here to register :

Dave Berkus is chairman emeritus/member of the Tech Coast Angels, and has played an integral role in its success. With 300 members across five southern California cities, it is the largest angel group in the nation. Since 1993, Dave has invested in 68 technology ventures, earning an IRR of 97%. Berkus, aka “Mr. Trend”, has been divining the future of technology for fifteen years, presenting his views before CEO workshops, business groups and technology association meetings since 1993. Author of two books and many articles, Berkus asks us to contemplate the tough questions that come from an understanding of these trends, including “How do we remain competitive in this new environment?” and “How do you position to expend your corporate resources most effectively?” Delivered with humor and insight, Berkus’ “Ten Trends” is an audience favorite, a must-attend event that should cause lots of conversation as attendees evaluate the impact upon their own corporate strategies.

Personal Productivity - Electronic Calendar for the Family

This post was contributed by my incredibly smart wife Sandy Blanquera

- for more articles on Home, Family, Parenting, Health , Home, Self, Living - check out her blog at

Tired of missing those important appointments and events within your family? There is good news today for families who want to stay connected. Electronic calendars are all the rage to keep you connected online, and also using mobile devices. Calendar web tools have been around for a while, but today's tools will even send a text message to your son that he has to be home by 3:30 for his practice. Or, you can keep a family journal complete with photos and all members' comments. What a great way to start a keepsake. We just started using one that also allows you to upload your Microsoft Outlook calendar into the family calendar to make maintenace simple. It even uses different colors to differentiate family members' schedules. Check out Cozi and start making your life simpler.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

User Group Spotlight and event - Central Ohio Chapter of the Extreme Programming User's Group

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Extreme Programming User's Group promotes the Extreme Programming methodology and to share best practices in iterative project methodologies and frameworks in general. This group is open to anyone (developers, managers, analysts, testers, etc.) interested in learning more about Extreme Programming, Agile, RUP, SCRUM, etc.

click here for more info:

Next Meeting: August 27th, 2008
11:30-11:45am - Networking
11:45- 12:00pm - XP discussion topic of the month: What is a framework?
12:00- 1:00pm - A Reusable Command Framework Presented by Alan Cline
Location: OCLC Kilgour Building presentation room.

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Central Ohio SharePoint User Group ( info

The Central Ohio SharePoint Users Group (COSPUG) is starting a SP Administrator Certification study group.  Rob Roach is organizing and facilitating the group.    The group is open and free of charge.   The first meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. at the Westerville Public Library, 126 South State Street, in Meeting Room B.  Please contact Rob directly if you are interested in participating or need more information about this group.       614-644-0542


The Central Ohio SharePoint User Group ( is a Microsoft-sponsored community group that comes together to explore SharePoint and the applications that work with SharePoint.  The user group is targeted towards end users, administrators, implementers, developers, and anyone who likes to learn about emerging technology.  We meet the third Thursday of every month from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Microsoft office (near Polaris), 8800 Lyra Drive  Suite 400, in Columbus, Ohio.  Everyone who attends the user group meeting, no matter what their level of SharePoint experience, will likely leave having learned something new.
Admission is free.  No reservations needed.   For more information, contact Carol Fleming at  614-566-8657


Monday, August 25, 2008

Quote to start your Monday morning

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”

Monday Morning Muses - Aug 25, 2008 - on professional development

I'm sitting in my home office listening to the opening and closing of doors as the kids get ready for their first day of school. It's a cycle that's repeated year in and year out. In our household we value education as a key to success and options in life. We constantly remind our kids of this fact. If you're like me most of you also were reminded of this by your parents.

The question at hand is what are you doing to model continuous learning to your kids? Especially in a industry where the half life of relevant knowledge can be measured in years and sometimes months. Ask yourself a few questions:

- What I am I doing to keep myself current in my profession?
- How much time have I spent in the last year investing in myself? How does that compare with the amount of time I've spend watching TV?
- What am doing to surround myself with people who stretch my thoughts?
- What are the implications of the answers of the previous questions? It sometimes said that if you're not moving forward then you're falling behind.

There are a ton of professional development activities out there. All you have to do is look at the various sources. (techcolumbus website, your professional society website, this blog ;-) ) and get the date on your calendar. Make it a priority, get it on your calendar, commit to a few hours of professional development activities a month.
After all our kids need good education role models and you owe it to yourself to keep growing. Start your new school year today.

Peace out,

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Friday, August 22, 2008

iFund a $100 million investment fund for iPhone apps

The iPhone revolution get some funding help...

.....Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers create fund to invest in start-ups specializing in iPhone applications

click here for more info -

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AlgaeVenture Systems: Growing Fuel, Technology & Jobs in Ohio

For all of you into alternative fuels, technology and jobs check out TechColumbus' breakfast series event next Thursday 8/28 at OCLC.

click here for more details -

"TechColumbus Breakfast Series - "AlgaeVenture Systems: Growing Fuel, Technology & Jobs in Ohio""

Ross O. Youngs is an inventor and serial entrepreneur as well as former SBA National Business Person of the Year and CEO of five-time Inc 500 Fastest Growing Company, Univenture, Inc. Since 1988, when Youngs revolutionized disc packaging with a thinner, lighter, and safer patented design called Safety-sleeve®, Univenture's core values have been to create more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Mr. Youngs will describe Univenture's path forward for effective commercialization of algae-based technologies that can be rapidly brought to market as a viable solution to our energy dilemma. This technology can add thousands of jobs, reduce petroleum dependency and increase economic activity in an environmentally-friendly and socially conscious way.

Univenture link:
AlgaeVenture link:
Green Belt Coalition:

Can I At Least Get A Feasibility Plan?

Mike Bowers just posted a interesting item in his blog...worth reading for you entrepreneurs.

Talks about one the first steps in starting a endeavor - the feasibility plan - click here to go to his Ideas to Deals blog

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Chez Sez - COSI #1 science center in the nation

For those of you missed my earlier kudos -

Out of 150 science centers in the United States, not counting many more natural history museums. Parents Magazine just announced COSI’s selection as their #1 Best Science Center for families in a national survey.

Click to see David Chesebrough's (Prez and CEO of COSI) blog reaction to the announcement...

Chez Sez -

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

TechColumbus Innovation Awards website up !!!

The website is now live for the TechColumbus Innovation Awards on Feb 5, 2009 . (These awards were formerly known as the TopCat) awards
The Innovation Awards is an event for everyone in the business and technology community – from small company to large, from entrepreneur to investor, from research institute to university, from individual contributor to CEO’s!! GET YOUR NOMINATIONS IN NOW (it’s easy and anyone can do it!!), spread the word, and encourage sponsors.

Here's a refresh of a blog posting regarding the event I did earlier this year.

For those of you unfamiliar with the TopCAT Innovation Award it is the tech community's equivalent of the Emmy's.

The energy in the room palpable. I've been fortunate to been part of the organizing committee for a few years and have seen the awards grow in stature, scope, and meaning. It's a reflection of the growth of our tech community. Let's keep the momentum going.

Following is a link to a youtubevideo of the event (taken with flipvideo camera) -

Here's a list of the 2007 winners. Take a look at their websites and get a feel for what's happening right in Columbus.

Student Innovation Award: Laura Phillips of Bishop Hartley High School and Aaditya Shidham of Upper Arlington High School.
Outstanding Woman of the Year: Jeanne Gokcen of FutureCom Technologies Inc.
Outstanding Product (less than 50 employees): Pam Springer, EC Next for their product
Outstanding Product (50 or more employees): Joseph Sanda, Astute Solutions RealDialog
Innovation in Non-Profit Service Delivery: John Hrusovsky and the GroundWork Group
Executive of the Year (less than 50 employees): William Dawson of NexTech Materials
Executive of the Year (50 or more employees): Bob Irwin of Sterling Commerce
Outstanding Start-up Business: Doug Stewart, AirCraft Logs
Minority Owned Enterprise: Ravi Kunduru and Ventech Solutions
Green Innovation: Dr. Bruce Monzyk and Battelle
Inventor of the Year: Dr. Wayne Poll of Minimally Invasive Devices
Outstanding Service of the Year (less than 50 employees): Adel Mikhail and Phylogeny
Outstanding Service (50 or more employees): Ben Blanquera representing the Progressive Medical team
Outstanding Technology Team: Michael von Fahnestock and the AMD VEP Team from Battelle.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Memory of Gary Houk

Yesterday on , August 18th, 2008, Gary R. Houk - Vice President, Corporate Information Technology and Business Integration for OCLC  passed away after waging a courageous battle with cancer.

Gary joined OCLC in 1974 as programmer/analyst. In the first 18 years of his career, he held various technical and management positions in product development, quality assurance and systems engineering. In 1992, he was named Vice President, OCLC Services, and in 2000, Vice President, Cataloging and Metadata Services.

Since 2004, Gary has served as Vice President, Corporate Information Technology and Business Integration. In that capacity, Gary has played a key leadership role in the evolution of OCLC from a technological environment based on proprietary systems to a globally networked, Web-based information resource based on open architectural models.

Besides being well known and highly respected in the OCLC community, Gary was also active in local civic and technical groups. At the time of his death, he was serving on the boards of the Dublin, Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Business Technology Center, Columbus, Ohio. He was also very active in the local CIO Forum.

Earlier, Gary was president of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, 2003-2004, and President of the Dublin A.M. Rotary Club in 1997-98. He also served on the City of Columbus Mayor’s Advisory Council for Volunteer Service and on the Board of Governors of the Dublin Fund.

Gary received the B.S. in Computer Science and the Master’s in Business Administration from The Ohio State University.

Gary was an exceptional colleague and leader who contributed greatly to OCLC's and this region's success. He will be sorely missed by all of us who had the honor to know him.

There will be a time of visitation at the Rutherford Funeral Home in Powell --450 West Olentangy Street on Wednesday evening form 5 until 8 PM. Memorial services will be at Northwest Chapel - 6700 Rings Road, west  of Avery Road at 11 AM on Thursday.  

Please keep Gary's wife, Randi; daughter, Shannon and the rest of Gary's family in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Ohio Early Stage Summit IV Set for September

The Ohio Capital Fund and the Ohio Department of Development will host the Ohio Early Stage Summit IV September 17-18, 2008, at The Hyatt on Capitol Square in Columbus. The event is Ohio’s premier venture capital event which will showcase the companies, investors and emerging talent that are rapidly making Ohio one of the nation’s leading VC states. There is no registration fee, but registration is required by August 27. The event offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors from Ohio and across the nation to network with one another and participate in a series of panels and presentations.

For more details you can contact Janet Murphy at 513-361-7687 or

Register online at:

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

TechColumbus Opens New Albany Satellite Office

TechColumbus grows its footprint in New Albany. The TechStart office located in the Guzzo building at 39 E. Main is expected to draw ten startup tech businesses within the next three years.

click here for more info -

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

3 CIO 100 award winners in Central Ohio - How cool is that!!

CIO magazine awarded 3 of our own Central Ohio companies with their 2008 CIO 100 award. The 2008 CIO 100 Awards honor 100 companies that are creating new business value by innovating with technology.

The three organizations, the project type that they were judged on, and their CIO's are:

Click on the organization name for more detail on the projects . Click on the CIO name to see their linkedin profile.

Limited Brands - ERP - Tom Keiser
Ohio State University Medical Center - BI - Herb Smaltz
OhioHealth - Document Management - Michael Krouse

Congratulations to Central Ohio's CIO 100 award winners!!

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COSI Named #1 Science Center in the Country - How cool is that!!

According to PARENTS Magazine

Columbus (August 13, 2008)--COSI in Columbus was named the #1 Science Center in the country for families according to Parents magazine. Part of Parents’ ongoing series of 10-Best articles, the survey in the September issue reveals that about 50 of the nation’s 150-plus science centers have special exhibit areas exclusively for young children and their families.

“The science centers we profiled make learning fun for young children,” says Sally Lee, editor-in-chief of Parents magazine, “so when kids begin studying the subject in school, they’ll be enthusiastic about it.”

“COSI has worked very hard to make a more significant impact on early childhood education and become a more valuable community resource for families,” said COSI President & CEO David Chesebrough. “The fact that COSI was chosen as an early childhood education leader from among the best science centers in the country means our efforts are paying off.”

To figure out the rankings, Parents sent an extensive survey, asking for details about the exhibits as well as science demonstrations, special events, camps, and classes. The magazine also says they considered the stroller-friendliness of the facility, dining options, the quality of the staff, conveniences like family restrooms, and whether the center was a good value based on the admission price in relation to the number of exhibits. Parents analyzed all those factors to compile its report.

According to the Parents survey, the 10 Best Science Centers for Families in order of their ranking are: (Full results are available at and in the September issue, which is on newsstands Tuesday, August 19)

1. Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Columbus, Ohio
2. Exploratorium, San Francisco, California
3. Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts
4. Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey
5. St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri
6. New York Hall of Science, Flushing, New York
7. California Science Center, Los Angeles
8. Sci-Port Discovery Center, Shreveport, Louisiana
9. The Franklin (formerly The Franklin Institute), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Maryland Science Center, Baltimore

Go to for current hours of operation. Admission to COSI & CSI: The Experience is $17.50 for adults, $12.50 for youth (2 - 12 years old), $15.50 for senior citizens and free to children under 24 months. Extreme Screen movies are additional. For more information, visit or call 614.228.COSI.

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TechColumbus e-Track Membership announced

Excerpt from:

TechColumbus has started a new membership program designed to lure more entrepreneurs to the Columbus group that works on promoting the area's technology development efforts.

The new program, e-Track Membership, is a specially designed and discounted membership for entrepreneurial organizations that allows newly formed and early stage ventures the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of being formally connected to the region's high-tech community.
"We started this because our traditional membership programs have not attracted many entrepreneurs," said Tim Haynes, vice president of member services and marketing with TechColumbus. "This is very targeted toward entrepreneurs."

As e-Track members, entrepreneurs can attend 10 working luncheon events focused on "business techniques for moving forward and preparing for the next steps in company growth."
For example, one of the first events scheduled is a luncheon titled "The Funded," at which entrepreneurs who have already obtained equity funding share their stories about how they got their funding and also pass along any advice on how to secure such funding.

"The whole idea of 'lessons learned' is big to (entrepreneurs)," Haynes said. "We'll have something on boot-strapping, which is how to bring in all of the elements of a start-up business together."

Another topic is a "90-second elevator pitch," he said, or banking issues and value propositions for customers.

"The luncheon is the key new item. There will be a whole host of different topics," said Haynes. "We'll also offer after-hours programs for entrepreneurs." Besides the monthly luncheon events, e-Track members may also participate in networking possibilities facilitated by TechColumbus. "The networking can help the entrepreneurs connect to potential partners or other entrepreneurs," said Haynes. There will also be entrepreneurial "peer-to-peer" forums and e-Track members will have access to all of the traditional TechColumbus member benefits.

The entrepreneurs also pay a reduced membership rate of $175 per year, which is lower than the previous lowest rate available of $375.

To become an e-Track member, the company must be a start-up with five or fewer employees.

Spotlight on emerging Columbus Tech Companies

Syscom Advanced Materials, Inc.

Syscom Advanced Materials, Inc. was founded in 2005 to produce, market and distribute a new electrically conductive polymer/metal hybrid yarn, AmberStrand® fiber.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Interesting discussion on social media

Here is a link to interesting discussion on social media put on by the Columbus Metropolitan Club on 7/9 -

Thank you for your support - Pan Ohio Hope Ride - $140k raised

A few weeks ago I shared with everyone the fact that I was going on a 300 mile fundraising ride for the American Cancer Society Hope Lodges. Over the last 4 days myself and 99 other riders completed the ride and raised over $140,000 for this event.

I'd like to publicly thank everyone who supported the effort. (The list is at the bottom of this post.) At the beginning and end of the ride I got the opportunity to visit the Cleveland and Cincinnati Hope Lodges and I can truly tell you that your contribution is really making a difference in the lives of those when they are truly in need. My team raised over $15,000 of which my supporter contributions amounted to $3,900.

Pictures from the event can be seen at
or on the right hand side of the blog (via a flickr feed).

We ended up going 329 miles (not the original 300 miles) and along the way we visited ( and slept at) Case Western, Wooster, Otterbein, and Wittenburg campuses. I even completed my first century ride (100 miles in one day) on Friday. During the ride I experimented with some new technology by twittering updates and posting mobile picture to Flickr. More on this in a future post.

I've got to admit I'm a little sore but glad to have had the opportunity to contribute to such a great cause. I'm already planning to do it again next year. Please let me know if you're interested in joining me.
Peace Out

- Congrats to Tony Wells for riding the last two legs of the ride with me
- If you see me ask me to tell you the story of how a pancake got flipped into Ms. Ohio's tiara - while she was wearing it
- Thanks to David Platt for cheering us on as we passed through Dublin

Thanks again to:

Ahmad Sinno
Alan Kabat
Amjed Qamar
Andrew Grad
Anker Bell
Brett and Kathryn Gerke
Cary Hanosek
Chaz Freutel
Dan Hamilton
Dan Vermeire
David Bianconi
David Chesebrough
David Platt
Deb Abner
Debbie Burkman
Diane Sandstrom
Don Davis
Doug Bond
Ed Janes
Frank Kersanty
Hugh S Smith
Ivan Harper
Jim Kamnikar
John Girgis
Kathy Trask
Kay Nelson
Kelly Allan Associates
Kelly Perine
Kristen Blum
Larry Tracewell
Laura Coffee
Les Boyer
Linda Rasmussen
Mark Pukita - Fast Switch
Marty Luffy
Mary Seipel
Matt Wald
Maureen Metcalf
Michael Bowers
Michael Chizmar
Mike Erwin
Nancy Davis
Patricia Castro
Patrick Bennett
Peter Mathews
Quinton Quast
Rehan Chawdry
Rich Viola
Rick Coplin
Ron Frissora
Ron Morgan
Ruben Melendez
Ryan Boder
Ryan Borland
Rye Dorazio
Sanjay Chhabria
Scott Clark
Scott Vandergriff
Siobhan Blake
Stacie Cores
Steve Gruetter
Surya Rudraraju
Tom Ash
Tom Erb
Tron Emptage
Will Indest

Monday Morning Muses - Aug 11 2008 - A primer on texting

Good morning,

With school starting up I thought it might be helpful to provide all you a glossary of what your kids are furiously texting on their phones...


2moro - Tomorrow
2nite - Tonight
BRB - Be Right Back
BTW - By The Way
B4N - Bye For Now
BCNU - Be Seeing You
BFF - Best Friends Forever
CYA - Cover Your Ass
DBEYR - Don't Believe Everything You Read
DILLIGAS - Do I Look Like I Give A Sh**
FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, and Disinformation
FWIW - For What It's Worth
GR8 - Great
ILY - I Love You
IMHO - In My Humble Opinion
IRL - In Real Life
ISO - In Search Of
J/K - Just Kidding
L8R - Later
LMAO - Laughing My Ass Off
LOL - Laughing Out Loud -or- Lots Of Love
LYLAS - Love You Like A Sister
MHOTY - My Hat's Off To You
NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard
NP - No Problem
NUB - it stands for a new person
OIC - Oh, I See
OMG - Oh My God
OT - Off Topic
POV - Point Of View
RBTL - Read Between The Lines
ROTFLMAO - Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
RT - Real Time
RTM - Read The Manual
SH - Sh** Happens
SITD - Still In The Dark
SOL - Sh** Out of Luck
STBY - Sucks To Be You
SWAK - Sealed With A Kiss
TFH - Thread From Hell
THX - Thanks
TLC - Tender Loving Care
TMI - Too Much Information
TTYL - Talk To You Later
TYVM - Thank You Very Much
VBG - Very Big Grin
WEG - Wicked Evil Grin
WTF - What The F***
WYWH - Wish You Were Here
XOXO - Hugs and Kisses

a few more...
aeap: as early as possible. Cool kids don't use ASAP because the phrase has been long overused by their parents.
@wrk: At work
101: Beginner
1 2nd or 1sec: One second
abc: already been chewed (we've already discussed that)
afair: As far as I remember
aml: All my love
*asl: Age, sex, location. The person is asking for information on these things.
b3: Blah, blah, blah
b4: Before
b4n: Bye for now
bbs: Be back soon
bk or back: Back (as in, "I was away from my messages, and now I'm back.")
ctn: Can't talk now
dbl8: Don't be late
gudluk: Good luck
h&k: Hugs and kisses
hand: Have a nice day (this one always confused me!)
ilu: I love you
l8r: Later
pos: parent over shoulder
ptb: Please text back
ringl8: Running late
ruok: Are you okay?
tos: Teacher over shoulder
*td2m or tdtm: Talk dirty to me
wan2: Want to?
y: Why?
ynk: You never know
yr: Your

Peace Out,

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Developing Technology to be Used

Contributed by Matt Curtin

Greetings from New York. On my own Web site, I have previously railed against stupid user interfaces.

Amazingly, my most recent rant failed to bring about a swift conclusion to all of the stupidity in the industry. Lately I have had a few more experiences with local providers that falls into the same category of absurdity: useful information being made completely useless by ridiculous design decisions.

My first example is from eight weeks ago. Riding the bus home on Thursday, June 12, I noticed that Main Street through Bexley was dark. That all retailers there would voluntarily turn off all of their lights during early evening business hours seemed somewhat improbable; that such an extraordinary event would coincide with the street lights being left off seemed less likely still. I thought that perhaps I would not be jumping to too hasty a conclusion to imagine that AEP was confronting some obstacle or other in the provision of its service. The question of whether I might have power at home was more than idle curiosity: an outage at home could well affect my ability to prepare for my last appointment for the day.

Thinking that AEP was the sort of forward-thinking company that might be inclined to make good use of the technology, I directed my BlackBerry's Web browser to AEP's Web site, in search of information on known power outages. The site wasn't particularly easy to navigate on my phone's browser but it appeared to be workable. I took one of the first options available in an attempt to get outage information: I entered my ZIP code into a box and hit the submit button, only to discover that the form would not submit because it required JavaScript. Give me a break. So I went into the browser settings to enable JavaScript and submitted the form. The form, apparently, is used to determine which of the AEP sites is best to navigate and I was consequently directed from to Sheesh. All of that fooling around with browser configuration just so that I could be sent to a different Web site. There's no real excuse for a form failing to work because JavaScript isn't enabled on the client.

After some more navigation, I found that outage information is, in fact, posted online. Sadly, that didn't mean a successful conclusion of my quest to find what I wanted. In order to see whether the outage in my particular neighborhood was known and what was known about it, my phone's browser was presented with still more client-heavy content. Flash. So then I would need to navigate a map of the state so that I could mouse-over a highlighted area so that it would tell me about that particular outage and the number of people affected. This is not helpful to me at all. I already told the site my location (my ZIP code, remember?) but now it's telling me that I need to have Flash player installed on my telephone to find out if they know about the outage in my neighborhood.

So, let's get this straight. There's a power outage. My telephone, powered by batteries, can't have the information because it doesn't have a desktop application like Flash installed on it. And even if it did, the content would be useless because of the screen size. So in order to get the web site to tell me about the outage presently affecting me, I need to use my computer and broadband Internet connection. How, pray tell, am I meant to do that when the power is out?

I wasted ten minutes of my life to be put into this position. Instead of pretending to give me useful information, why wouldn't AEP just tell me to go away? What am I going to do, switch power companies? Like I will get a different power grid or something, and someone else will present more useful information about what's happening out there. I'm skeptical.

What should have happened is something like this: a client submits data to the form and if it's JavaScript capable, it runs the JavaScript. If it's not JavaScript capable, it submits the data anyway and lets the server work out whatever data validation is being done on the client side. Then, of course, once a relevant results page is being displayed, there would already have been interaction with the client in that session, and it would know by then if the client were capable of displaying Flash content. The real question is why Flash content is required at all. This is a simple job. If you know the ZIP code, you know if there's a problem in the ZIP code, and you can display the information easily enough. An enumerated list would do the job, in HTML. "But it's not pretty!" complains the designer. A pretty application that won't work is of zero value; pretty is relevant only when all other things are equal. What's more: there is such an HTML box on the outages page, but only reports “major” outages. I don't care about major outages, I don't care how many of them there are, I don't care what else is going on around the state. I want to know about my outage! If you give me that, then feel free to ask if I want to know more. The whole system looks to me like it's designed not for people affected by outages but for news organizations collecting information to put on the 5:30 broadcast because the eight stories about the weather wouldn't be complete without some impressive tally on the number of number of people who can't watch their televisions for lack of power.

So much for AEP's brilliant use of technology to get information to people who need it.

My next example brings me back to COTA. On Tuesday of this week, I got to my bus stop at 5:50 A.M., about five minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival of my bus. At 6:12, I began to get annoyed. A minute before, the bus after the one I wanted should have rolled by, but did not. These sorts of things happen mostly when it rains, of course. “I know,” thought I. “I'll use my BlackBerry™ to get useful information from COTA's helpful web site!” So I'm an optimist.

I've complained about COTA's web site enough over the past six years or so, which makes me feel compelled to acknowledge that they've come a long way since that dreadful site that as far as I could tell never really worked for any purpose but to let you download PDFs of the route schedules. Now such things as system maps are available—so you can figure out which route schedule to download. Then there's this newfangled planner thing from Google that gives options to get around on the bus, which is tremendously helpful since COTA's trip planner is, uh, imperfect. And finally, the coup de grâce, COTA's Real Time Bus Finder. Select the route you want, and you find little dots all over the map showing you all of the buses on that route. Click on them and you'll find out which specific bus it is, how it is doing relative to its schedule, and other such goodies.

Naturally, this doesn't work on my mobile device. I can't use it when I'm at the bus stop. When I'm at the bus stop, I also don't care about all of the buses in the system. All I want to know is when the next bus will come. The data are available—the bus finder is cool, feeding telemetry data up to the system as it rolls down the street—but the problem is in presentation. I don't know whose perspective this is meant to take, but the simple fact is that this tremendously client-heavy presentation not only overwhelms me with information that I don't care about but makes it impossible for me to get the information that I want.

So here's an idea. How about if I could choose a bus stop. Maybe if not every stop in the system would be made available, at least I'd get a few of those familiar “timing points” that are used on the printed schedules. Then I could with my mobile device, get information about the next few buses coming to that stop (or timing point), along with which specific version of the route each is (generally speaking, how far that particular bus goes). Then I could select one from that list and see whether it's on-time, behind schedule, or (annoyingly) ahead of schedule. This would be useful, making it unlikely that I'll see it anytime soon.

An important lesson exists in all of this for us.

When we're dealing with technology development, we really need to think about how these things are going to be used in the field. It's not a question of how much information you can pack into the screen. It's not a question of how pretty you can make it look. It's a totally different question: when would someone want to know what we have available to present, and what specifically would that person want to know? Then we'd be able to understand things like why it makes no sense whatsoever to create some application that won't work on devices with small screens and relatively little memory and processing power. If we fail to put ourselves into the context of our customers—it's high time we recognized them as such and quit calling them by the same term used to refer to the consumers of street pharmaceuticals—then no matter how smart we think we are, or how cool our application seems to be, we're wasting their time. And we'll have no room to complain when people ignore what we say and do.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Spotlight on emerging Columbus Tech Companies

Global Seven

Producers of specialty chemicals for personal care and household products; custom-designed products and finished formulations to suit customer needs. Product line are a wide range of specialty surfactants, emulsifiers, thickeners, amines, amides and esters.

MetaMateria Partners (MMP)

Develops innovative nanomaterial synthesis technology, and novel, industry-specific manufacturing and consolidation techniques for the application of advanced materials such as nano-sized ceramics for a wide range of industries, including fuel cells, environmental, biomedical and defense sectors.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Free MIT courses

Interested in learning something new. Did you know that you can review class material from MIT for FREE. Yes FREE...

Click here for more info - FREE online Course Materials from MIT

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Dublin Methodist Hospital Implements Bedside Computing System that Doubles as Patient-Friendly Tool

Press Date: 07/31/2008

Pyxis® Info Station brings critical health information closer to patients; allows patients to be online during their stay in the hospital

Dublin Methodist Hospital became the first hospital in the country to roll out new bedside computing technology this week aimed at improving patient satisfaction and clinical efficiency.

Called the "Pyxis® Info Station," the new comprehensive system developed by Cardinal Health allows clinicians to access electronic health records, bedside barcoding applications and other healthcare IT applications at the most critical place in the hospital - the patient's bedside. And when not in use by caregivers, the system can be used by patients to get online for personal business while they are in the hospital. The system is installed in 25 patient rooms but will eventually be available hospital-wide.

Suspended from a bendable arm mounted from the ceiling, the user interface is comprised simply of a computer screen and keyboard. This flexibility allows the unit to be repositioned throughout a patient's room so it can easily be used by caregivers for clinical documentation, and by patients and even their families for access to the Internet and educational health resources.

Clinician Access
"Having access to all relevant clinical information at the exact point where care is delivered improves efficiency in how nurses and other clinicians do their jobs, especially in an emergent situation" said Lamont Yoder, RN, chief nursing officer. "Paper charts are sometimes difficult to navigate and find all relevant patient information but with only a quick log on, our caregivers save valuable time by having the option to view the entire health record while sitting face to face with the patient. Everything they need to manage the patient's chart and make notes is at their fingertips."

Patient View
Dublin Methodist's new technology allows patients and even family members to access the Internet and meal menus when not in use by a clinician. Accessed through the Pyxis® Info Station, Patient View is where patients are assigned written or video health education materials by their doctor or nurse on any number of topics related to their condition or instructions for caring for themselves when they get home.

"The Pyxis® Info Station offers patients a way to learn about their health while they're at Dublin Methodist," said Albert Wright, vice president of Patient Care. "But we also wanted to find a convenient way to communicate with them before they arrived and after they've gone home. By using this technology to access our Web site at Dublin Methodist, patients can log on at any time by entering a code into the online module for immediate information about their condition or procedure. Patients can also grant permission for their friends and relatives anywhere in the world to go online and learn about their loved one's condition."

Once the patient is in the hospital, Patient View on the Pyxis® Info Station can track which patients completed educational modules and even provide quizzes to test comprehension and identify where further education may be needed.

The Pyxis® Info Station also offers patients a real-time solution to concerns during their stay. With the click of an icon, patients can type in their question or concern which is then automatically e-mailed to appropriate staff members ready to address the issue. For example, instead of patients having to ask a nurse to change a light bulb or replace a broken TV remote, their request will be routed to the appropriate staff member for prompt attention, freeing up nurses to concentrate on direct patient care and clinical issues.

The staff member may receive the request on their computer or even on their Vocera, a wireless communications device used by all Dublin Methodist associates and caregivers.

"Whether they are reviewing meal menus, e-mailing their friends or surfing the Web, we think our patients will appreciate the extra convenience of having access to the Internet and an easy way to learn more about their health," said Wright. "From the very beginning, every detail of this hospital was thought through to maximize technology as a tool to provide quality care and convenience, and the Pyxis® Info Station is contributing to our goal of continuing to be innovators in healthcare technology and delivery of care."

Designed to be a leader in the implementation of healthcare technology, Dublin Methodist has been using electronic health records in an all digital, wireless and paper-lite environment since the hospital opened in early January.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Morning Muses - 8/4/08 - New Blog Format - Check it out

Good morning everyone,

Based on feedback I've revamped the format of the blog to add more value added features . Some of them include:

1. Listing of Columbus Technology Events
2. Links to tech resources - I've added some out of town links so you can see what's happening elsewhere
3. Twitter updates - my little web 2.0 experiment
4. Columbus tech job listings
5. Columbus technology news
6. Technology news from TechColumbus, NY Times, Information Week and Google
7. Blog feeds from Mike Bowers Ideas to Deals and Wil Shroter's Go Big Network

If you're getting the feed via email you'll have to go to the blog @ to see the new features.

Let me know what you think. I can be reached via email at

Peace Out,


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Controller opening

Company: Fast Switch, Ltd.
Job Title: Controller / Executive Assistant
Description: We are a high-growth IT staffing firm, with headquarters in Dublin, Ohio and with offices serving the Columbus Metro and Detroit Metro areas. We have a staff of over 160 associates and have experienced phenomenal growth rates while remaining profitable throughout this growth.

We are serious about what we do, but believe that everyone on our team must be supplied an enjoyable, stable, “drama free” environment in which to work, achieve, and thrive. We have continued to keep the “Silicon Valley Start-Up” feel to our business even as we approach $20 million in annual revenues.

We also believe, and have proven, that a company like ours can grow and prosper without cutting corners – by dealing ethically and honestly with all of our stakeholders. We value integrity and expect it from our associates. These principles also guide us in our tactical and strategic decision-making processes.

Our CEO seeks a person with the skills, capabilities, and experience to play the dual roles of Corporate Controller and Executive Assistant.

This is a role for someone who is/has:

• extremely Organized
• Efficient & Effective – let’s call it “Crisp” – in everything they do
• Accurate to the second decimal point
• A Self-Starter
• Disciplined and Professional
• a Stable Personality in times of pressure and deadlines
• a Service Mentality at all times
• No On-Going Personal Issues that would effect their on-the-job performance

The role will be to offload the increase in the financial and administrative management workload of our CEO that has been caused by our strong growth (100% in 2007 and over 60% in 2008 year-to-date). This will allow him to work on new business development opportunities, spend more time face-to-face with clients, and open new markets.

This role is NOT an administrative assistant role. It will require no telephone answering, scheduling, etc. It is a combination of something akin to Corporate Controller and Executive Assistant roles in large companies, but on a smaller yet much broader scale.

In this role, the successful candidate will assist the CEO in managing all of the financial matters of the organization. This will include making financial entries into all functions within QuickBooks Online, maintaining a number of key Excel spreadsheets for cost accounting, cash flow, vendor payments, sales commissions, and customized customer reporting. You will also work with our external CPA firm at audit/review time, as well as our banker.

While there is no direct payroll processing responsibility in this role, there is interface with our payroll staff member for pre-payroll and post-payroll administration, accounting, and quality control.

While there is no direct human resources responsibility in this role, there will be projects associated with working with benefits suppliers and prospective suppliers to assure we are getting the best possible value for these services. This would include getting bids, analyzing bids, participating in the selection of suppliers, and working with suppliers to implement new or changed benefits programs from the finance and accounting perspective.

And, there will be numerous new projects that will arise as time goes by. You must be willing to assist the CEO with marketing research and other activities associated with new business development and expansion into new markets. This will include direct interface with clients and prospective clients.

Successful candidates will have a strong background in financial accounting, using QuickBooks (required) and/or QuickBooks Online (preferred). While we do have someone strictly limited to doing accounting today, you should understand the complete accounting cycle, how to use QuickBooks to generate both cash and accrual financial statements by making the appropriate entries for “cross period” activities (both revenue and expense items), process cash receipts, do bank reconciliations, and generate financial statements with a high degree of accuracy. In this role, there will be a large amount of quality control and validity checking with respect to our financial reporting.

In addition to this, candidates should be proactive and able to spot possible problems or errors (hopefully even before they occur), and put process or procedures in place to keep them from happening, or from happening more than one time. This continuous improvement is essential in our high-growth environment.

Combined with the above, candidates should have experience working across the various units and departments of a business if their prior experience in with large companies. In this role, you will be working across every aspect of our company, and must understand how businesses work at both the maco- and mico-levels.

In addition to strong QuickBooks experience, successful candidates must have:

• Expert Knowledge of Excel
• Expert Knowledge of Outlook E-mail & Internet Usage
• Strong Knowledge of the remainder of Microsoft Office Suite
• A 4-year degree in business, accounting, finance, or a suitable substitute
• 4+ Years of Full Time Work Experience associated with this position
• Impeccable References and Ability to Pass a Background Check

Because of our incredible growth and physical space constraints, you must be able to work from your home or home office without distraction, but be willing to work from our offices in Dublin, Ohio 100% if and when required by us. There is no exception to this requirement. Because of this, we would like someone who lives in or near Dublin for this role.

Compensation will vary greatly depending on experience and capability, and is anticipated to range from $45,000 to $60,000 plus benefits which include healthcare, dental, and vision insurance (only a 5% employee contribution required), long term disability coverage, and 401(k) with match and IMMEDIATE vesting. Our benefits package, in this day and age, are superb.

For more info contact:

Mark Pukita
Chief Executive Officer
Fast Switch, Ltd.
37 W. Bridge Street
Suite 200
Dublin, OH 43017

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Telco CFO position opening

CFO for a telecommunications company. Postion description at end of message. The company is headquartered in Cleveland, but several officers are located in Columbus – so either location could work for the new CFO. Position description is attached – CPA is required, telecom preferred, but not mandatory. Certainly, a technology orientation, though.

This is a VC-backed company, been in business several years – and operating in a telecom niche that is getting a lot of national attention. Extremely solid CEO, COO, etc. – a bankable team.

Candidate must have completed capital raises in the past, understand deal structure and have the personality and style to be the front-person in deal-making if necessary.

The compensation range, base & bonus = $150k. Equity as well. The plan is to grow it for 3-5 years and look for a liquidity event at that time.

For more info contact:

Hugh Cathey

Columbus-Partners, LLC
P. 614-839-8800
F. 614-839-8801

POSITION Chief Financial Officer
Reporting To: President/CEO
Location: Cleveland, preferred; Columbus, possible
Travel: Minimal


Responsible for working with the executive team to develop growth strategies and plans that increase the value of the company for its investors, projecting the financing needs of those strategies and plans, and developing the relationships and programs with banks, investors and/or investing entities to finance the execution of those strategies and plans. Responsible for directing the fiscal functions of the corporation in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Responsible for providing or procuring the appropriate levels of legal guidance or services.


 Create, coordinate, and evaluate the financial programs and supporting information systems of the company to include budgeting, tax planning, and conservation of assets.
 Analyze cash flow, cost controls, and expenses to guide business leaders. Analyze financial statements to pinpoint potential weak areas.
 Establish and implement short- and long-range departmental goals, objectives, policies, and operating procedures.
 Develop and establish credibility throughout the organization as an effective developer of solutions to business challenges and for the finance group by providing timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial reports and financial trends in order to assist the executive team in performing their roles.
 Prepare or direct preparation of financial statements, financial business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, and/or reports required by regulatory agencies.
 Monitor financial activities and details such as reserve levels to ensure that all legal and financial covenant requirements are met.
 Establish and maintain appropriate internal control safeguards by conducting or coordinating audits of company accounts and financial transactions in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal budgetary reporting requirements.
 Direct and coordinate an organization's financial and budget activities in order to fund operations, maximize investments, and increase efficiency.
 Confer with board members, organization officials, and staff members to evaluate and advise on the impact of long range planning, introduction of new programs/strategies and regulatory action.
 Provide strategic financial input and leadership on decision making issues affecting the organization; i.e., evaluation of potential alliances acquisitions and/or mergers and pension funds and investments.
 Develop a reliable cash flow projection process and reporting mechanism that includes minimum cash threshold to meet operating needs.
 Review contracts into which the corporation may enter and advise, from the financial perspective, for uniformity with terms and agreements with suppliers, distributors, federal and state agencies, and other organizational entities. Hire or engage legal counsel as appropriate to review and/or assist in the negotiation of such contracts.
 Interact with other managers to provide consultative support to planning initiatives through
financial and management information analyses, reports, and recommendations.
 Serve as Company Treasurer and Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors.
 Serve on planning and policy-making committees.
 Provide leadership and coordination in the administrative, business planning, accounting and budgeting efforts of the company.
 Participate in the development of the corporation's plans and programs as a strategic partner.
 Monitor and evaluate the performance of accounting and other financial staff; recommend and implement personnel actions such as promotions and dismissals.
 Optimize the handling of bank and deposit relationships and initiate appropriate strategies to
enhance cash position.
 Support continual improvement of the budgeting process through education of department
managers on financial issues impacting their budgets.


 Ten to fifteen years related experience and/or training.
 CPA Required.
 Experience in strategic planning and execution.
 Knowledge of finance, accounting, budgeting, and cost control principles including Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
 Work requires professional written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills.
 Ability to motivate teams to produce quality materials within tight timeframes and simultaneously manage several projects.
 Ability to participate in and facilitate group meetings.
 A good educator who is trustworthy and willing to share information and serve as a mentor. .

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Cool tech sites from my twitter friends

Just wanted to pass on some cool sites that I've found and have been passed on to me through twitter
(p.s. click on this link to follow me on twitter)

Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere is a text message polling and audience response system. It is simple enough for anyone to use and flexible enough for a wide range of scenarios to interact with audiences and collect data.

From Stacey Elicker @ SyncCreative
- Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign -

- 10 Things You Should Know about the Internet

From Dave Ungar @ OCLC
- 50 Fastest Growing Niche Social Media Sites and Networks

- Convert voice into emails, text messages, reminders, lists and appointments

New website created by Dynamit -

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