New Video Tutorials…..

February 25, 2012 1 comment

I’m starting to create video tutorials. I learn best by teaching. Something about having to understand it thoroughly enough to explain it – I guess.

But I am starting off from the beginning with a video on installing Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2.

I’m working with an online community who is writing tutorials for people new to a particular technology. Right now those technologies are: Amazon Web Services, Web Development, Software Development, Linux and Windows. Check it out here-let me know what you think:

pinehead.tv

 

Using Comics to Grab Attention

May 14, 2010 6 comments

The Short Version

For a little while now I’ve been working on new methods for our customers (church staff) to be able to reach us when they need assistance with their computers. The various steps are listed below. We (IT) made an announcement at our All Staff Lunch. To try and make it memorable I created a comic strip and a business card. Click the link if you want to see the finished comic strip. You can click this link if you want to see the comic strip in a jpeg format. Let me know what you think.

The Longer Version

I started by looking for clipart or images online that I could use to create a comic that would be funny and emphasize our new methods of contacting us. I found some great artwork at Sun‘s Design Comics website. I printed off the different images they had and then taped them up to my whiteboard and started adding captions underneath. Here’s a picture of my storyboard.

After I had the storyboard laid out the way I wanted it with the proper captions, laid out my comic strip and then came up with the contact methods.

We added a google voice number that rings a hunt group which rings all of the helpdesk phones. If no one is available, google records the message and sends it to an email address that happens to be a distribution list. This in turn emails all the helpdesk guys, including myself and also our ticketing system. So call, no answer, leave a message, we get an email and a workorder is created.

I also listed this distribution email address so if people are on their email they can just use that instead of having to call us. It all depends on the priority they place on their issue.

In addition to all of this they have the standard, “use the shortcut on the desktop” to open a new workorder.

Finally I made the business card after I had everything else finalized. I don’t have a link to the business card – pretty standard stuff really. How’s our contact methods on a black and blue artsy background.

And that’s it. I wanted something that was funny, colorful, and had a story behind it to hopefully engage people’s imagination a bit. The comic after all, is based on a true story, it might just be yours🙂

Categories: Psychology, Technology

I hate banks and the government!

February 1, 2009 2 comments

I’m a little upset – I guess the title might clue you in to that. I just received in the mail a letter from my bank – US Bank. In the letter is says that the Bank does not limit the number of withdrawals I make from my savings account…….Federal Regulation “D” does not allow more than 6 withdrawals. It goes on; your account has been charged a fee for each withdrawal in excess of the limit.

I recently had received a call from one of their sales people who asked if I wanted to upgrade my basic savings to a money market for free. I pressed the sale person a couple times to figure out if their was any hidden fees. To which he said their wasn’t.

Today after receiving the letter I called their customer service number. I was informed that if I got in my car and drove to the bank and withdrew money through the ATM or the teller window and immediately deposited that money into my checking account I would not be charged any fees. But, to do the transfers from my home via online banking I would be charged after 6 times. So I’m getting charged for the convenience and it’s for my own safety I’m sure – way to go Government.

We use our savings account as “line of credit” for our checking account – it’s short term account. We have a long term savings account elsewhere. So now I get to decide whether I keep our savings account or convert it to a checking account.

It would have been nice if US Bank had notified me of this regulation. It would’ve been nice if instead of claiming that they don’t charge anything, with the caveat of it being a withdrawal from an ATM or teller, or just said we charge fees after 6 withdrawals according to a federal regulation. It just seems like lousy customer service – on top of it all the customer service rep told me that it wasn’t the banks fault they were just upholding the regulation. Way to tow the line – great customer service.

Anyway – there’s my rant. I’m unhappy with the fees and the customer service rep – I’m sure the rest of the service department is very nice. Thanks Government for trying to save me from the convenience the internet can bring and myself. Thanks US Bank for accepting responsibility for following the regulation and offering the best customer service experience you could offer.

Time to start putting my money under the mattress I guess.

Categories: Public Rants

Our Newest Edition

December 19, 2008 8 comments
Our newest addition

Our newest addition

Click the picture to view the SlideShow

Categories: Personal Tags:

My Pregnant Wife

October 31, 2008 3 comments

thought I would post some progressive pictures of Anna’s pregnancy.

This is at 16 weeks.
Not too much to see here!
You can see a little bit more at 18 weeks – although she may be purposely sticking her stomach out for dramatic effect.

23 weeks along now and Jack just hasn’t grown very much yet.
Only 3 weeks later and it’s visible – we’re having a baby :-)  (26 weeks)

These two are at 32 weeks. Thought I would throw a fun one in.

Baby Sonos soon to come!!!

Categories: Personal

Technology as a Shield?!?!

October 5, 2008 Leave a comment


I was catching up on my blog readings when I ran across this post by Seth Godin. In it he mentions that Technology is easy to hide behind instead of using it as a clever tool to get closer to my customers.

I work in the Technology Department/Ministry of a large denominational church in the Midwest, and have found this to be very true. I’ve worked in the tech industry for 10 years in both Secular and Religious markets and have seen it there too. I’ve been guilty of using my techshield many times. In the name of bringing order to chaos or reacting to something rather than being proactive I put up a shield to save the user from themselves. In reality I am saving myself from becoming emotionally involved – or even involved at all.

Jim Wallis spoke at our church on Sunday and said that “Cynicism is a barrier to commitment. As a technologist I feel as though I am committed to so much – why would I want to commit to more. Even if it means better customer service, I’m already stretched beyond what I feel is my capacity for compassion and concern. What I have found though from experience actually negates this human response to overwhelming need. When I actually place the needs of my users (friends and customers), and let go of my cynicism, I find that I am enlarged to better contain and deal with the need around me. I have a choice; to hide behind the logical sterile environment of technology or engage with my customers emotionally, and maybe have to get a little messy and uncomfortable to better serve them.

Technology by it’s nature doesn’t lend itself to social development. It is simply a tool, sterile and lifeless. But, as a tool, if I use it properly and control the technology in a healthy way – like using a trowel in a garden – I can actually see life develop. Friendships are formed and aid is given when the tool is used by human hands. Technology has traditionally gravitated towards a top-down dictatorship. The adage is true – he who controls knowledge controls the people. IT starts with Information. That is what it really is about – do I want to control and maintain my hold on the information and dole it out as I see fit; or offer it up as a smorgasbord for my community to grow with and shape, and drive the information and the technology. Maybe there’s a new trend towards a healthier structure where grassroots movement comprised of normal people are driving the change within technology. I can see it in the secular world. Hopefully I can see it happen more in the Church.

I’m with Seth’s friend on this one – it is really a large scale struggle not just within myself but with trends, management, with co-workers, etc. I’m a big fan of the premise that by recognizing a problem within myself that I am better able to deal with it. Hopefully this is true of technology and the people who steward it.

How do you deal with technology and your user community? Are they a threat to the world you’ve created? Or, are they the drivers of technology where you’re at?

Categories: Psychology

What’s My Brand?

May 17, 2008 1 comment
I was eating at Burger King when I realized that despite the use of a creepy mascot – the King, they have a brand as well as brand loyalty.

It got me thinking about my brand. It’s kind of a buzz phrase that’s been talked a lot about online by marketing gurus, church leaders and everyone in between. So what’s my brand?

I want to be a great leader who develops other leaders. I want to be a successful business owner with businesses that are international in flavor and have a bent towards developing communities in third world countries. But, do I want all that as my brand?

On the surface that would be great, gain recognition and credibility, help people more through my elevated status. Sounds great to me!

But, is that really a brand worth pursuing?

As a follower of Jesus should this even be a goal?

My brand really should be Jesus. I know this sounds cliche and really it is a bit trite. If in chasing after becoming more like Him, then shouldn’t my brand convey this; shouldn’t my brand make people want to be more like Jesus too?

At the same time having a brand is important. Brand equates to credibility and that is the foundational principle of leadership. No credibility and I’m not leading anymore. I guess it boils down to how I want to be perceived. I care enough to wrestle through the dichotomy. No easy answers – huh???

Categories: Brand