January 16, 2013

Sitting is worse than smoking

Walking image

I lost both of my parents to smoking, yet here I am doing something that might be even worse for my own health - sitting at a computer all day and half the night.

I just read Nilofer Merchant's blog post "Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation" on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network.  It's a good reminder that we need to get up and walk around.  She says that we're averaging 9.3 hours a day of sitting compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping and that it is a huge health threat.  Personally, I think that is an overestimate of the number of hours most people sleep every night!

Nilofer goes on to say that the death rate associated with obesity in the US is now at 35 million, versus 3.5 million for tobacco.  What can help?  Get up.  You don't have to run, just get out of your chair. Trade sit down meetings for walks or even hikes.  Sit down even a little less each day, and your health will be better for it.  "Can't run" you say - fine, just stand up, but get out of the chair.

My friends know that I've been a runner now for a little more than three years, but the people I work with know that I'd just as soon go for a walk on the Boulder Creek path than to sit down for a meeting, so when the weather cooperates we have our meetings outside.  TC North told me years ago that there were benefits to walking meetings, such as it is easier to be creative and that it is easier to talk about tough subjects when walking side by side than it is when sitting face to face.

Read this article, and then get up out of your chair and walk around, even if it is just to the water cooler and back.  Your health will be better for it.





January 16, 2013 in Office of the Future | Permalink | TrackBack

January 20, 2009

President Obama Tests Microsoft Office Communications Server

A couple of days ago I realized that a lot of people were going to be late to work today so that they could stay home and watch the Inauguration, or they were going to come to work and watch CNN from their desktops.  The last thing President Obama needs on his first day at work is a big drop in the GDP, so I decided to stream the Inauguration into our main conference room for anyone who wanted to watch. 

At Gold Systems we now have most of our outbound calls, and many of our inbound calls routing via SIP trunks from Bandwidth.com over our Qwest Fiber 10mbps Internet connection.  Because of that, we were very curious to see how everything would hang together today during what was likely to be an Internet-bandwidth-saturating event.

We were streaming the video in the conference room, and I’m sure many people were watching from their desktops.  At the peak we saw 68% saturation of our internet connection, and phone calls via the SIP trunks were “clear as a bell” according to Ned.  I’m sure that a lot of Internet and communications systems got tested today, and I hope they held up as well as ours did.

Oh – someone needs to go write a Wikipedia entry for SIP Trunks.  Wikipedia thought I meant Swim Trunks.



January 20, 2009 in Office of the Future, Unified Communications, Web/Tech | Permalink | TrackBack

January 11, 2009

Win 7 to Win 7 via Live Mesh to Windows Home Server

This just blows my mind, or maybe I'm just sleep deprived.

whs in fj win 7

It was cold in the garage, so I came inside and used my desktop machine which is now running Windows 7, to open up a Live Mesh remote desktop connection to the FJ Cruiser sitting in the garage.  (The computer is powered up but the FJ is dark.)  While checking out the Windows 7 install on the FJ Cruiser Car Computer, I opened up the Windows Home Server Console to make sure the FJ will get automatically backed up tonight. In the snip above I'm interacting with three different computers - 2 in my office, and one in the garage. 

I used the snipping tool to grab the screen capture and saved it as a jpg in a folder that is sync'd between all my machines via Live Mesh.  A moment later the jpg was sitting on my main desktop that is running Vista, and was ready to be popped into this post. 

OK, I need sleep.

January 11, 2009 in Car Computer, Office of the Future, Unified Communications | Permalink | TrackBack

January 08, 2009

Unified Communications in the Car

OK, I don't really think that most people are going to be having video conferences in their car in the near term, but just to prove how well Microsoft's Unified Communications platform works for remote workers, I decided to try it out in the FJ Car Computer.  I'm running Office Communicator R2 on a pretty low-powered Vista machine in my car.  The camera is an off-the-shelf webcam, and I'm connected to a nearby WiFi network.  As you can see the video frame rate and quality is great and it worked just fine.

You can see at the beginning of the video that I had started the conference as an IM session using Office Communicator.  I could see Angela's presence information and that she was available, so I IM'd her and asked if she had a minute to talk, and then I asked if we could go to video.  I clicked on the video icon and within a few seconds we were having a video conference.  (It's good manners to ask, but Angela could have denied the video request if she wanted to.)


I was using one hand to take the video and I was balancing the wireless keyboard on my lap - that explains the fumbling at 1:05 and the inadvertent video of myself!

IMG_8297 IMG_8310

Deploying Unified Communications is an important part of what my company does, and I believe we'll be creating all sorts of new applications in the future.  It's already changed how I work, which reminds me, it's time to revisit my Office of the Future post and give an update.  We're making some progress.  One person suggested we not even have offices, which lead to my Wireless in the Wilderness post.


January 8, 2009 in Car Computer, Office of the Future, Unified Communications | Permalink | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

The Office of the Future

You've probably heard of the Home of the Future, but I've decided to build the Office of the Future.  Only it isn't going to be a fake room in a lab, it is going to be Gold Systems.  And not just my office - everyone's office.  Yes, everyone has an office at Gold Systems except for Lori, who has her own skylight.  Joel Spolsky aka Joel On Software just wrote about why he thinks offices are important, so I'll resist the urge to drag out THAT soapbox.

So what does this mean?  I'm asking for your help and your ideas.  I figure the Office of the Future will be a lot like the office of today, which means we don't have an unlimited budget to just buy a bunch of shiny things for show.  And unless someone brought something in from home, there is nothing here made of Mahogany.

I would expect that communications would be better in the future, and since Gold Systems's 100 year purpose is "To build a great institution that helps people communicate", we're going to start there.  We've actually made a lot of progress already but I'll write about that another time.  My day-to-day communications is already much better than it was six months ago.

I expect this will be a year-long project as we upgrade equipment, install new software and generally figure out how to make everything work well together.  Like most companies, we have equipment and software from a lot of different sources and I don't expect that to change.  If your company would like to be a part of this, feel free to email me and I'll tell you where to ship the loaner/free equipment and/or software if it fits with our plans.  (I'm not kidding - a nice contribution to the effort was just made this afternoon) If you contribute equipment or just ideas, and they work well, I'll make sure people hear about it and you'll get an invitation to our next screening of Office Space.  One lucky contributor will even get to drive the Car of the Future.  :-)

Please leave a comment below with your ideas.  Thanks --terry

September 7, 2006 in Office of the Future | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack