#SpeedIdeation Update 2014-07-30

Although I am a bit late with this update which I originally promised for Sunday, we still made quite some progress over the last couple of days:

– We’ve set up the CrowdChat page: https://www.crowdchat.net/speedideation
– Some cleaning up of my site to cater for easier access to #SpeedIdeation information (please also see menu item above)
– Some of the new pages will be populated with content in the coming days
– We’re contacting customers and partners to chime in
– We’re also working on the team rooms on this site to provide a discussion / brainstorming / documentation space dedicated to issue-communities

Next update soon


#SpeedIdeation – 1st Crowd Event on August 11, 10am EDT

So: We’ve settled on the date & time we targeted – it’ll be on August 11, 10am EDT, 4pm CEDT – still hope this time is good enough for most of you around the globe.

Final link to CrowdChat will be available soon – Thanks Heather and John for your great support here!

What’s next now:

– We keep going with the (easy, but still needs to be done) template for the folks who wish to pre-register an issue
– We’ll get the chat site configured
– We’ll work on this blog site to cater for team rooms to work in communities for follow-up tasks (see earlier posts – we don’t expect all issues to be solved right now, but to find folks willing to form a virtual team to get that stuff done)
– We’ll spread the word

What can you do:

– Spread the word (i.e. retweet, forward link etc)
– Gather your issues in case you have and pre-register (as soon as open) to get the experts informed
– Book the slot in your calendar
– Team up already now with those friends & colleagues who’d like to run with you in a solution team or just hesitate to participate on their own for whatever reason 

Who should participate:

– Everybody interested in either getting an IT issue solved or in helping to solve
– Each of you who’d like to work in fast moving environments and new communities

Special task for #CSC AGMs, SREs or other customer facing roles:

– Get our customers to participate and raise issues – here’s the chance to get a global community to jointly work on their current issues

I’ll see Jethro Tull tomorrow, so next post probably only on Sunday (or maybe late Saturday)


Vodafone Reloaded

Sometimes I consider to just stop asking the “sense” question….VF – don’t get me wrong – I do like your services, otherwise I would not be a private customer for almost 20 years  and 20+ as a business customer – I just hope you take this (and the example I posted some days ago) as a hint to where you might want to consider changing / improving…

First things first (and this is really positive):

End of April last year Vodafone called me up to inquire if I would consider an early renewal / extension of my private cell phone contract; I had extended and upgraded (to get an iPhone for my better half who’s using this number) less than a year before that call. They made a really great offer: Same service, 10 EUR less per month plus a new phone. As our phones were pretty new I asked if I could have an iPad mini instead (again for my better half – she didn’t have a tablet at that time). VF responded extremely positively, I paid close to nothing for an iPad mini black 32GB.

An this was great until this Saturday!

Saturday morning my wife dropped the iPad mini – only about 30 cm, but it fell on the portable charger and damage on glass was pretty bad – all still functioning, but not usable. Well, Apple warranty of course out of question (dropped and out of warranty period), so I started to web-search and do some calls. It was actually the Apple web site reminding me my carrier might have a better repair service contract….so I called up Vodafone helpline….the following is a more or less literal transcript of the next 2 hours.

Call #1

– Get greeted by a friendly computer asking me for the reason of my call
– I started to answer – then moved over to press buttons – and got put on waiting line…..
– I dropped the waiting line after about 20 minutes and went for a coffee

Call #2 – about half an hour later

– Same friendly computer, I had learned my lesson and directly pressed buttons and then asked for human support
– 10 minutes listening to VF’s current favourite song
– Got handed over to department #1
– Went through credentials, explained situation, stated I am absolutely willing to pay for the repair
– Got a quote for the repair (60 EUR more than Apple’s quote) and – after breathing – asked if there was a chance to do an early renewal so I can get a new iPad instead
– Answer: Oh yes, that should be feasible – let me transfer you to department #2
– 10 minutes waiting line – same song….
– Department #2 answers phone, I explain the situation again and got this great answer: “I can only tell you which devices we have, It’s department #1’s job to find out if you qualify to get one – I will connect you back and you can tell them to please do their job!”
– Got transferred back – positive surprise: Instantly got connected to a new human being – less than 5 seconds waiting
– New person in department #1 – I explained situation, asked if I could get an early renewal to get a new iPad…….
– The guy was really nice, did a lot of research (I guess that’s what he’s been doing in between our seconds of conversations and 10s of minutes of listening to that great song)
– After about 15 minutes I had a positive feedback: Yes, you qualify for early renewal, you can get the iPad, but until you reach the date of official renewal it’s gonna be an additional 20EUR per month
– I did my quick math – that’s cheaper than the repair cost and confirmed my request and willingness to pay
– He went back to (I guess) filling out some forms….
– Got back to me about 5 minutes later with “All good – I’ll now transfer you to department #3 to finalise process and change contract”
– Transferral took about 5 minutes this time (great song btw if I forgot to mention…)
– Department #3 did all look-ups on my account, checked, confirmed, entered a lot of information in some screens and then transferred me to department #2 (yes, we’ve been there before) to finally select my gear
– I was now signalling my better half “All good – you’ll have a new pad in a few days”
– And now the final message from department #2: “You do not qualify for an iPad, as you only have a phone contract”
– Me: “Well, I ran through this with quite a lot of your colleagues in the last hour and they all said it’s good as the iPad was acquired through you”
– He: “That was a one-time marketing initiative, I can’t give you an iPad”
– Me” “Your colleague confirmed 2 minutes ago that all is good – I can – it’s all in the profile”
– He: I can only give you an iPad if you sign up for another data plan

I explained how satisfied I currently am with my VF plans (see my earlier post), hung up, and went for other options – getting the repaired iPad back mid next week…..

@Vodafone: Just to re-assure: This is not about making you look bad, as you do usually provide decent services (see above), but please check where you’d be willing to change…..


#SpeedIdeation Update 2014-07-22

As you probably noticed, the initial poll on where to run this is closed, final decision is “all public” as expected (and hoped for). We did ping the first customers asking for participation – this could really be a lot of fun with great results.

Things we’re working on right now:

– An easy form for those of you who’d like to pre-register an issue (targeting this weekend – but might be Sunday as Jethro Tull is playing in my area)
– Final date & time – still targeting Aug 11th as stated in previous post
– Spreading the word and invite more participants (please help!!!)

Some considerations on constraints:

– If this kicks off, there will be a time where we will not limit topics, but at the moment it’s probably best to limit for the first round.
– So: We will focus on IT stuff – no limitations here (but still keep in mind to spread the word as far as possible if you’d like to tackle a niche subject to make sure the respective experts are in the crowd)
– There are a real lot of other areas I personally would like to do some #SpeedIdeation on, but let’s focus on the above mentioned area first; I intend to get a next on social issues started soon

More tomorrow or Thursday


#SpeedIdeation Update 2014-07-17

Couple of things:

Date/Timing: Still to be finally confirmed, but we’re shooting for August 11, 10am EST / 4pm CET (you can do the math for you timezone); we’re aiming at a 60 min window – still considering/debating if we should go for 90/120, but probably not this time.

Communication: Will remain on social media – main site for the time being is the one you’re reading right now; of course pending final result from the initial poll – but looks like majority votes for staying public with this (you know my vote – not being open here is really kind of contradictory to the idea)

Issue submission: As stated in yesterday’s post, we’ll also run through ad-hoc requests during the chat, but still will open for submission a few days before we run the event

Targets (I don’t want to be over-ambitious, but….):

1) Get it started
2) Get issues solved
3) Create open communities focussed on issues / ideas made available – where those communities might of course be of really short temporarily nature, i.e. until the issue is solved
4) Create a recurring event out of this – this of course will only happen if you get in and also motivate your friends / colleagues / customers / partners / suppliers / project members….)
5) With those targets we also move away from the “vote on idea” stuff – it’s all about getting stuff solved, not debate who’s got the “better” issue

Procedure: Those of you having participated in e.g. #CSCTechTalk on CrowdChat know how this runs – it’s an open discussion on the platform (final link will be published soon – probably https://www.crowdchat.net/SpeedIdeation) where all questions and answers are automatically posted on twitter. We’re looking into providing a follow-up platform for larger issues where teams will need to collaborate for an extended period of time. Other than in CSC’s standard TechTalks, there will be no Google hangout – we’ll focus on raising and solving issues, so educational part will not happen in this event.

Issue submission: Those of you who’d like to raise an issue before the event, please do comment on one of the posts, so we can approve – I don’t think we’ll have the bandwidth to do approvals 3 minutes before we start….so thanks for an early heads-up.

So, thanks again to everybody support this initiative – stay tuned, more updates soon


Ups and downs running a self-hosted private cloud connecting to public clouds

Probably old information for some of you – but maybe of interest for others 🙂

Recently I found some time to do some stuff on my @Synology box at home. The box is running a domain via DynDNS, contains all our music at home, of course stores a gazillion of pics, secured areas for my data and connects to the world via @Vodafone LTE.

Over the last couple of years I started to use quite a number of cloud services (dropbox, company internal one etc) and used a couple of tools to consolidate all that data.

In the recent update I did install Cloud Station on my Synology and connected it to the main cloud providers I use. Now the box is collecting all information I store somewhere and (now we get to the real good part) the apps on my devices allow me to choose which of the subfolder(s) should be replicated to the (mobile) device the app is running on.

Naturally I got a full replica on my MacBook but I e.g. do only replicate selected private stuff to my business iPad.

So basically CloudStation is a Cloud in itself collecting stuff from other clouds and users can decide what to replicate to devices – that’s the cool upside.

Downside of running this @home is of course the connection mentioned above.

About a year ago Vodafone approached me with “Chris, we now got LTE@Home in our area without the need for an external antenna!” – I had been waiting for this, so I signed up, after VF promised me to:

– Cancel my old phone line
— A few weeks after signing I got a mail that my phone contract can only be cancelled in May 2014
– Cancel my old broadband contract
—  Same as with phone contract
– Provide a reliable service

Status right now:

– After a couple of bad months the service is now stable for about 80% from Monday-Friday
– Weekends suck
– The router delivered (EasyBox) is a disaster – when you have to reboot (you almost always have to when connection was dropped due to unavailability of service) the box hangs for minutes to hours – sometimes need to reboot up to 10 times. I actually think that thing looks for connectivity before finalising boot process – works as designed…just bad design
– My old phone line got disconnected as promised (the day before my wedding)
– After 3 hours of rebooting (again – on the day before my wedding) phone worked again with my old number
– This week I got notice from my old broadband provider that the service had not been cancelled and is now automatically extended by another year – of course I can’t use it as the phone contract (ISDN) had been cancelled….Thank you VF !

If anybody of you suggests to call Vodafone helpline – don’t do, I might get mad. I spent hours with the guys – i.e. up to 2 hours in waiting line, then usually get greeted with “I hope you do have an external antenna” (I actually did buy one and it really helps – but the suggestion to use one because coverage in my area is so bad is at least kind of contradictory to the contract I have with the guys. 

My favourite discussion with VF helpline:
(1 hour waiting, 5 reboots, discussing the external antenna topic)…and then:
– VF: You need to reset your router
– Me: It has been working for 5 days, then one of your antenna masts failed (they had admitted already), so if this is up now – what you claim – why should I reset?
– VF: After failure of a mast it can happen a router needs to re-associated
– Me: But if you can see my router – you just confirmed – isn’t it more probable that your antenna mast is still not really doing what it should?
– VF: No, all working fine – and you just need 3 minutes to do the reset
– Me: No, I need an hour to do all my security settings again – I am not using the SSID and security settings that came with the box
– VF: ?
(the last two sentences continued for a while until I gave in and did the reset – followed by a new call)
– Me: Describing the  last hours
– VF (new person): Oh, that won’t work – that antenna in your area has been down for 2 days now…..

Anyway – just my evening rant….message should have been: If you have a reliable network provider, the synology cloud station really is fun and makes a lot of sense.


#SpeedIdeation – thoughts on procedures – please comment!!!!

Luckily I had to drive for roughly 5 hours today and could do some brainstorming with Soren on the phone (short but significant) and myself (long with results to be reviewed by all of you)

Soren had a valid point when stating that long preparations are not really what we need in a #SpeedIdeation event, so let’s talk about the following:

a) We’ll reduce lead time to a minimum, i.e. participants can raise any issue also during the crowdchat
– This would also cater for being able to raise current issues (development, business, anything you need to get done fast)
– As this could lead to topics being raised where no experts present in the event, please make sure to activate everybody you know – the higher the participation, the better the results of course

b) We’ll still cater for early posting of stuff to be discussed – let’s say 1-3 days in advance
– Keep in mind that a good description of what you want to get resolved helps to attract the right experts into the chat

c) Expected results
– I would not expect we will be able to solve all issues raised within the event, so one outcome for a certain topic might be a group finding together committing to craft a solution (would hope this groups would then continue to report results via #SpeedIdeation and on this site

What do you think?