GEEC Dinner on June 20, 2007 in Boston MA

Tonight was the GEEC dinner in Boston MA for 2007. We had 7 people in attendance … Eric, Simon, Larry, Seth, Adam. Tom and myself.

How did you get into computers?
– Adam … Always been interested in computers. Started with a Commodore 64. After math and economics at university, joined a bank where he became the default go-to guy for tech.
– Tom … Early work on an IBM 650 drum drive computers. Worked at a military contractor. Worked on analog to digital convertors. Patty has a new book called Outside Innovation (October 2006) … About how to bring customers into the organization for customer-created contributions, but it goes beyond that. There are a number of stories about how organizations are doing this, eg, Lego with Mindstorms.

The world is changing:
– Tom recently visited Uganda, to a place they’ve been before. 5 years ago there was no connectivity. On a recent trip this year, they had 2 satellite dishes … One for TV and one for cellphone coverage. Get very good reception. No electricity. Biggest needs … Paved roads, electricity, and a post-primary school. Tom said that you could deliver some of this from the back of a truck with a battery pack.
See Tom’s comment below for an update on this

Other discussions:
– Seth really likes Jott, and hopes that it stays around. What’s the business model? They are building a geographical database of information about who you are, where you are, and what you are interested in. Good for targeted advertising later. You can Jott other people.
– Eric’s a geek, and can’t have his USB cable back. He’s got a Sony mini-recorder for audio. It can apparently take a recorded audio file, and then automagically transcribes it to text via DragonDictate on the PC.
– On Netflix. Huge volume of material … Documentaries are really, really cool, and Larry likes the music offerings, such as bands he hasn’t heard of before.
– Eric believes that within 12 months, wireless carriers will lose their grip on strong tie in on cellphone users. He thinks that people will be able to buy a cellphone from a shop here and then service from somewhere else. He feels hatred for cellphone companies that have strong lock-in. Dell will be a driver of this.
– On the Mac. Used to see it from the design department, but now it’s the senior executives.
– On Actioneer … Up to the v4 edition, with a new password manager. PC only, don’t do Palm and RIM anymore. Also doesn’t do Notes and Outlook integration at the moment, but it talks to Web sites. So … although you can’t get to these on the desktop, if you can get to it on the web, you can access Notes and Outlook. Eg, quick search for online information. It is somewhat similar to ActiveWords as an idea, but that expands self-defined keywords into self-defined text. Actioneer takes pre-defined phrases to do something. Actioneer enhances security because you don’t have to type in your password information all the time. It also stores the web site you should be going to, overcoming the problem of typing the wrong URL. Highly complementary to ActiveWords. Can see a demo of Actioneer online at
– Wow, imagine Actioneer as a plug-in to Sametime.
– Eric on ActiveWords … I use it all day long. It is a neat little tool. Primarily uses it for launching web sites and applications. Buzz gave Eric an awesome demo.
– Tom says that you can’t sell productivity tools to individuals; not enough people will buy. Have to sell to corporate organizations and with ISV partners.
– One person said … “I have kept away from instant messaging … I don’t need another source of interruption.”
– When Tom’s wife is writing a book, she carves out 5 hours a day from 5am to 10am to write.
– Two rules to live by … (1) don’t do anything that will take less than a month, and (2) don’t put off until tomorrow what can be put off until the day after. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. By Doug Ross.
– A good idea when drafting a legal agreement … Whoever drafts it, the other party gets to set the jurisdiction.

It was a great evening. Thanks to all.

0 thoughts on “GEEC Dinner on June 20, 2007 in Boston MA

  1. Wow. Fascinating to sit next to Michael as he Blackberries comments directly into his blog during dinner. A delightful evening.
    A few small amplifications:
    Patty visited Uganda last year; our joint visit in February was my first time in Africa. For what our visit was about, see
    The two dishes at URDT are for TV and an Internet link. Cell coverage comes from a nearby hilltop antenna bristling with stub cell antennas and microwave dishes. All new in the last few years.
    People out in an isolated village identified better roads, an ambulsnce, schools and electricity as their priorities; I noted that Web connectivity would actually be easier to deliver than any of these–just drive in with solar cell, car battery, computer and cell phone. Not that this is what should be done first, but a commentary on the rate at which change can happen.
    The latest version of Actioneer provides both enhanced security AND quicker access to Web resources, contrary to the usual rule that increasing security decreases accessibility. Auto-login to password protected Web sites is both speedier and safer, ends “password chaos”.
    Thanks again to Michael and Eric Mack for arranging a most fascinating evening.
    Tom Hagan

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