In the Digital Sandbox: Meet Paul Garth

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Paul and Eric in the Digital SandboxIt's been a while since I've had any visitors. This week, Paul Garth is here with me in the Digital Sandbox. Paul was selected to assume my role and become the new Director of Technology at The David Allen Company, a role he will officially take on later this year. As part of the transition, I'll be working with Paul to transfer the knowledge and experience that I've gained in this role over the past decade so that he can continue to support the DAC staff around the world.

Playing, I mean, working, in the lab...We're spending the week, getting to know one another and geeking around with technology as I give him the high-level overview of the systems that I designed for David Allen and how they work. I'm introducing him to our GTD collaboration suite, including Notes, SameTime, ActiveWords, MindManager, and so on. We're also playing in the lab. And, we get paid for it. [David, Robert, if you're reading this, Paul thinks he's playing but this is all serious hard knowledge work, he just doesn't know it yet. I've not given him a single break; and we are very focused. ;-) ]

Continue Reading "In the Digital Sandbox: Meet Paul Garth" »

PersonalBrain 4.0 - whole-mind mapping

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know I like to use information visualization tools. In addition to MindManager, I've used Personal Brain as a tool for visualizing information connections off and on for a year now.


Last year I met Hugh Harlan, creator of The Brain software at KM World and he gave me a preview of the things to come in Personal Brain 4.0.

Continue Reading "PersonalBrain 4.0 - whole-mind mapping" »
My dear friend, Michael Sampson, wrote a beautiful post today to share his testimony of how God is taking care of his needs. It's a must read.

I don't want to add or detract from his beautiful post so I'll simply say "Thank you, Michael, for sharing your testimony and for encouraging us to remember the source from which all good things come."

God is good.

Michael, you've encouraged me to be more bold in recording and sharing my own testimony.

Michael Sampson: A Testimony to God's Power and Provision
Xerox LiveBoardIn my conference room, I have a huge machine called a LiveBoard. It was made by Xerox. Think of it as the extreme digital whiteboard. It's has a 60" rear projection system with built-in optics so that digital markers can be tracked anywhere on the surface.  The markers have no ink in them, they simply transmit an IR beacon that the electronics inside of the LiveBoard pick up to determine pen position. The system functions as a giant PC. Now, with a suitable internet or data connection you can connect two (or more) LiveBoards in such a way that anything written on one can will appear on the other and vice versa. It's a wonderful collaboration technology. Unfortunately 15 years ago, when it first came out, the $45K price tag put out of the reach of most businesses. I suppose the fact that it weighed 600 lbs was a detractor for some people, too.

Today, Microsoft introduced the first of its surface computing products (yes, Michael, just one more reason that the Windows platform has a long and innovative future ahead of it) which basically shrinks the Xerox LiveBoard functionality and more in to the size of your coffee table. Initially, multiple users will collaborate around the table, but in the future, they will be able to connect their surfaces for shared collaboration. Again, nothing new here.

Continue Reading "Microsoft brings LiveBoard to the coffee table with Surface" »
On Memorial Day, 2005, I blogged about a memorial to one of our local fallen soldiers. (Link). Since that time, I've received a few emails from family and friends of  Brian to thank me. But it is us who should thank them. This year, I received an email from Darryl Petersen, along with some photos:
Brian Cody Prosser MemorialHi. I recently came upon a monument to Brian "Cody" Prosser while visiting Green Hills Memorial Park Cemetery in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.   Doing some internet research on him, I came across a web page you had made referring to him.  The discussion board showed it was closed so I thought I'd email this info for you, for your use and if you want to pass it on.  Here is the info from "The Prosser Monument" fact sheet available to visitors to the memorial. The photos are my own.

Memorial Inscription:
Brian "Cody" Prosser
Staff Sgt US Army
5Th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
July 17, 1973 -- Dec. 5, 2001

First soldier from California killed in Afghanistan

"This monument has been dedicated not only to the memory of this brave young warrior, but to the memory of all those who put themselves in harm's way to protect us all from the perpetrators of terrorism."
Memorial Day -- May 27, 2002

Continue Reading "Memorial Day Tribute, updated by a blog reader" »

Thank you

Monday, May 28th, 2007
To the men and women who have died in military service to our nation, for the freedoms we enjoy. We celebrate you.
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 NASB)
You can't share God's love with others if you never leave your church building, so this weekend, our family participated in a different kind of church ministry called "Beyond the Gates."  The purpose of this ministry is to go out into the community to serve others, as Christ did, by meeting them where they are.

Approximately 700 people showed up and we met in the conference center where we were assigned to one of 13 outreach teams, each with a specific purpose. Some teams went to local schools to help clean up, others went and did service work for various organizations in our community. Our team was one of several assigned to do community outreach in the neighborhood by simply meeting people and offering to help them in any way that we could. We drove down the street and parked our cars and got out some tools, trash bags, and car washing supplies - we weren't sure what we would need. Then, we simply walked down the street and greeted people from house to house.

Continue Reading "Beyond the Gates... The church has left the building" »
StackOfPapersSmall.jpg I often tell my clients, "I don't believe we will ever see the truly paperless office but I do believe that we can create a less-paper office." I'd like to share with you one way that I recently helped do this for a very special client - my wife, Kathy.

I recently decided to move all of our personal and business accounting operations to my accounting firm. Having the accounting firm handle all of the QuickBooks accounting including bank reconciliations, billing and writing checks for us is great but it exposes another problem - how to quickly move lots paper securely between us and the accounting firm. Over on my Notes on Productivity blog, I've posted a short video clip and screen shots of my paperless filing system in Lotus Notes.
It's time to get to work!

I always knew you would return...

Now, you can stop playing around with those cool lifestyle applications (photos, movies and music) and use real business tools (spreadsheets, word processing, presentation software and Lotus Notes) to get things done. ;-)

Continue Reading "Welcome back, Michael! I knew you'd come around!" »
Here's a request I receive frequently from my readers. It usually goes something like this:
Dear Mr. Mack,
I have been following your website, EricMackOnline for about a year.  I still check in regularly and enjoy immensely for almost every topics from robot to home school :)  Particularly, I enjoy your work ethics that was also mentioned in your opening of your first tablet PC.  I'm writing this email in regards to your recent use of your tablet PC.  Since November (almost 6 months ago), I have not heard anything related to your Tablet PC adventure.  I think many of your loyal followers still would like to know how you apply this fascinating technology to your works.  Your opinions mean a lot to your sincere readers.

Chun Shun Lau
(posted with permission)
Well, there's a subtle answer to this.

Continue Reading "Why haven't I blogged about Tablet PC's in six months?" »

An intelligence test for Lotus Notes Geeks

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007
Have fun.
Fellow productivity blogger, Dwayne Melancon, wants to know if he can watch his legally purchased DVDs on his iPod.

Well, the fair use laws might permit him to repurpose his video, however, as Dwayne points out the DCMA gets in the way.

I covered this topic in a business law class I took a few years ago when I went paperless for 8 weeks, which meant that I had to scan my books. I posed a similar question: Is it legal to scan your books to read on a tablet PC? It was a busy thread with may comments and even more off-blog emails traded. Ultimately, and after much research, I concluded that the fair use laws would permit this for personal use and I presented my research to my class in a presentation called, Wallpaper, Toilet paper, or ePaper.

But my research only addressed fair use of paper/books, not media. What Dwayne needs is a different kind of presentation.

Fortunately, I have one.

The clever and creative folks at Stanford University, in collaboration with Professor Lawrence Lessig, have recruited help from a few Disney characters to explain why Dwight can't legally record his DVDs to his iPod for personal viewing.

Watch the video.

SharePoint For Business White Paper

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
Back in February my friend Michael Sampson announced his resignation from Foldera, and I said that Foldera's loss would be a big gain to the collaboration community. Well, we did not have to wait long to see what Michael would do next. He's relaunched Shared Spaces, (which he shut down when he joined Foldera) as Collaboration Success Advisors.


The first fruit of this effort is a 22-page White Paper entitled "SharePoint for Business", which outlines a six step strategy for how business decision makers need to approach Microsoft SharePoint to achieve collaboration success and improve business performance.  

I had the opportunity to review an earlier version of the paper and I gave him some feedback and advice. It's well written with lots of useful information on successful collaborative deployments with SharePoint.

I highly recommend that any organization looking to adopt or deploy SharePoint consider Michael's paper.

White Paper: SharePoint for Business

Mindjet announces MindManager 7

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Mindjet announced the launch of MindManager 7 today. It looks like a major upgrade.

Some of the key features:
  • Ribbon style toolbar
  • Focus on topic
  • Tighter integration with MS-Office
  • More Map styles
  • Additional options for topic sorting
  • Additional topic styles
  • Icons and map markers
I've not received a review copy of MM7 (Where's Hobie Swan when you need him?) so I can only read the reviews, like you. (Sigh)

In any case, many new features. So far the most interesting to me are the Focus on Topic and Formatting features.

Chuck Frey has a very nice review, here.