Saturday, July 29, 2006

David 'The Legend' Gemmell Dies at 57


David Gemmell, heroic fantasy writer extraordinaire, passed away Friday 28th July 2006 while recovering from earlier heart bypass surgery - he was aged 57.

Gemmell was and remains one of my favorite fantasy authors. He's written over 30 novels starting with Legend in 1984, the first of his 'Drenai Tales' featuring Druss the Legend. Since then many heroes have graced his pages, from the noble Druss to the more ambiguous morality of Waylander the Slayer. Amongst my favorites were his 'Stones of Power' sequence featuring Jon Shannow, as troubled and ambiguous a hero as ever written.

We have lost him in his prime, his latest trilogy 'Troy' is some of his best work to date. The second novel in the trilogy 'Shield of Thunder' is still scheduled for release in September 2006. Our thoughts are with his family, he will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to enjoy the world of his imagination.

Monday, July 24, 2006

GoogleOffice (Beta): The Google Powered Business

[ Google Office Tools Homepage Google Powered Office Articles ]

I loved Philipp Lessen's '55 Ways to Have Fun with Google', but I couldn't help thinking, 'What about when I'm not avoiding work?'. Google's great as a distraction, but it's also vital for getting my work done. As a playful response to Philipp's book, I'm going to show you the best ways to Get Work Done with a Google powered office.


Over the last 12 months, Google has released an astounding array of business related applications -- including a calendar, spreadsheet, word processor, and hosted email. Few are Enterprise ready -- in fact none of them are entirely mature (all are still in Beta or Labs) -- but
importantly all of them are available gratis, and I'm not Sony or Nestle, so my QA standards are a little lower.

It's not just these 'Office Suite' style products that you can use for your company. Services like Alerts, Notebook, Maps, Co-op, and Google Groups (to name a few) can become invaluable tools for your business.

The Plan

Each week fortnight I'll post a new article on either how to:
  • Replace an existing business function with a Google alternative
  • Get the most out of a particular Google service in the workplace environment.
To focus my attention (and 'eat my own dog food'), these articles will be based on my experiences as I transform Intervention Engineering into a Google Powered company.

Hopefully the end result will be a useful guide for those contemplating a switch to a non traditional office IT setup, or for those simply looking to get the most from Google's many services.

What to Expect

My approach will be fairly haphazard, but I'll try to cover a wide selection of services rather than focusing too heavily in one area at a time. Requests are welcome and feedback gratefully received. For a list of articles, updated as they're completed, check out Google Office Tools.

In addition to the weekly fortnightly post, I'll also be maintaining a collection of Google Notebooks to summarize my findings. They'll be dynamic, and I'll update them regularly with new ideas, changes to Google's services, plus suggestions and feedback from you guys. Each article will link to applicable notebooks -- plus I'll keep a GoogleOffice index notebook here.

Along the way I expect to make reference to non-Google products which adhere to the same philosophy -- products like FireFox and OpenOffice -- but Google will be the primary focus.

At the end of each post I'll announce the subject for the next week, if you have specific questions regarding the topic, send me an email or leave a comment and I'll make sure to address it in the article.

Next Week's Preview

Business email

Every business needs a powerful and robust email solution. Many of you have probably used GMail before, but some of you may not be aware of Google's hosted GMail for your domain. A service that lets you use GMail for your business email domain.

I'll be looking at using a hosted GMail account for my business, and will look specifically at:

  • The business case for switching to a Google hosted email solution.
  • How to set up hosted GMail for your business.
  • Using email alias, labels, filters, and mailing lists to optimize your email experience
  • Google Alerts and Google Groups with GMail
  • GoogleBerry -- Mobile GMail for email on the road