Tag Archives: networking

What Cisco Doesn’t Want You to Know – ADTRAN’s Router Performance Results

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine.

I had the opportunity to speak with the Director of Marketing for ADTRAN over the weekend. If you’ve not heard of them, you definitely need to pay attention. Independent tests have shown that when it comes to router performance, ADTRAN actually outperforms Cisco.

There was a whitepaper done by a gentleman who used to set up test methodologies. ADTRAN routers were run through a series of tests against Cisco routers. In short, three tests were done. One was Internet security. In that test ADTRAN outperformed the Cisco ISR g2 router by about a 285% increase in performance. You would think that routers in the similar price range would work about the same. However, that isn’t the case. The ADTRAN hardware is simply built better.

ADTRAN feels the tests prove they excel in three areas: operating system, patents in technology which allows data to move through the box quickly and their focus on small to medium markets. They’re making sure that they are offering a very robust feature set to address the needs of those market areas. You don’t want to pay for features you’ll never use – yet still leave room for future growth.

ADTRAN started about twenty-five years ago, and has a Cinderella story. They started by building one type of hardware out of an actual garage. The company grew out of that and now has two separate divisions.

Some of my audience is comprised of young geeks, but they don’t always know where to begin. The qualities that a company such as ADTRAN looks for includes the ability to do more than one thing. Don’t only focus on engineering… look at things such as marketing or management, as well.

What type of router are you using?

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Take Time for You When Traveling

I stumbled across this video on my friend Chris Brogan’s new Man on the Go website. Chris travels a lot for business, and has gathered a ton of travel tips, tricks and ideas along the way. He’s also begun embedding videos created by others to help guide you in your travels.

This particular video was shot by Elizabeth Hannan during a trip to Arizona. She has one of the best tips I’ve heard lately: to take time out for YOU on any business trip. When we travel often for business, we tend to get stuck inside a lot. We sit at a desk or slave away on our notebooks around a conference table. We’re meeting people, networking, making connections. We become drones in a sense simply by living our business lives.

Elizabeth pushes us to get outside and live life – even when working. Plan ahead the next time you have to travel. Figure out something you would like to DO in the city that you’re visiting. Heck, instead of meeting with a client or associate in their office, ask them if they’d like to golf, hike or take in the newest art at the museum. Chances are, they’re going to take you up on your offer. They don’t want to be stuck behind a desk, either. This type of bonding experience will go a long way towards creating a positive and lasting business relationship.

Taking time out to do something just for you is healthy for your mind and body. It can keep you from burning out, help you recharge your body and mind and get you a little more of that (dreaded and hateful!!) sunshine.

Ning Services Will Remain Free for Educators

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the disappointing news from the Ning camp. The service had announced that they will be suspending their free service, and only offer paid-for services in the near future. There has been a lot of discussion and rants floating around the web regarding this sad turn of events. However, no group was more outraged than educators.

Today, Ning proved they are listening. The company has signed a letter of intent with a major educational publisher to keep its service free for educators. Thanks to people such as Beth Kanter, the network has realized that there is a serious need to keep the free services in some situations. “We have to ask, ‘what is the cost of free?’” she said. This is in reference to many services and sites like Ning who shut down free versions… often without any warning at all.

The new paid versions will roll out in July. The good news is that the premium package – now called ‘Ning Pro’ – is going to cost a bit less than it did in the past. There will be three levels of paid service: Ning Mini, Ning Plus and the Ning Pro. Costs jump from $3.00 per month to $50.00 per month for the Pro version. The mid-level form will run a user around twenty bucks every thirty days. Ning is also promising new features based on user demand:

We’ll start with many of the things Network Creators have been asking for and extend the service from there. The end of Ning promotional links, leading to a more customized, branded experience for you and your members. An ad free experience and the option to run your own ads — if you like. Easy content export and back-up. The end of Ning ID and ability to add Facebook and Twitter sign-in. API access for a more integrated experience. The ability to charge for membership and accept donations.

I’m happy to see a few of these changes, and am waiting for even more to come about. I know that on our Geeks Ning network, we have a serious need for better ways to deal with unwanted members and spammers. We need more control over how members are managed and removed.

What are your thoughts about this newest development? Are you an educator who makes use of this platform? If so… will you now be sticking with the service, or choosing something different?

Do Computer Majors Mean Anything Anymore?

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The job market is always changing. Computer program majors often find themselves having a tough time after graduation. It may sound insane due to the number of computer-related fields that are are there. Much of it depends on where you live, and what your exact area of focus is.

You cannot possibly try to get a “general” computer degree anymore. Pick a specific area that you are good at or interested and focus on that. If you’re a developer, go develop! If you’re more of a networking whiz, you know what you need to do. There are SO MANY hundreds of possibilities. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face by choosing too broad of a major.

A consulting route isn’t a bad idea, but you honestly have to be REALLY good at what you’re trying to do. However, becoming a developer is where it’s at right now in MY mind. The other areas won’t disappear any time soon, no. But look at all of the dev opportunities out there right now. That’s the hottest and most in-demand area.

Network like crazy every chance you get. I say that about pretty much any type of career, but it holds even more true of us Geeks. Social connections enable you to find the path before the path is eliminated.

Most importantly, love what you do. Don’t choose an area of study just because you think you’ll make good money. Sure, that’s an important consideration. You have to support yourself. But if you hate what you do, you’re not going to do it for long. Know where your passions lie, and choose your path based off of them.

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You Need a Thick Skin to Participate Online

Earlier, I read a thread on Geeks about Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman, deleting his Twitter account. Trent embraced Twitter quite awhile ago after discovering what an amazing outlet it can be. He quickly recognized the excellent means of communication Twitter provides. He helped raise over a million dollars via Twitter for a fan of his needing a heart transplant. He talked about the band’s upcoming tours and album, and reached out to fans. Trent loved the fact that fans got to know the “real” side of him, and that they learned there is more to him than just being “the NIN singer”.

Trent told the truth as he saw it on Twitter. He wasn’t afraid to say what he thinks about anything or anyone – positive or negative. However, this created some “hate tweets” from users. Reznor wasn’t happy when people lashed out at him for something he thought or said. He withdrew from Twitter for awhile at one point, and posted about his hatred of the site on his own blog. He returned recently for a short while, but it didn’t last. The account is now completely gone. He has stated that “idiots rule” on social networks.

My advice to Mr. Reznor is to grow a thicker skin. When you are in any type of spotlight, you are going to have critics and haters. Heck, I’m not even famous, and I have my share of people who leave idiotic, hateful or rude comments on each and every social networking site I’m on. You just let those roll off your back. If someone gives constructive criticism – learn from it. If they are simply a troll, ignore them and move on with your life. There are thousands upon thousands of GOOD people on social networking sites, ones who support you. They are the ones who buy tickets to your concerts. They are the ones who purchase your CDs. They are the ones whose opinions you should care about.

There are always going to be trolls, idiots and haters. Why let people like that rule your life, how you conduct yourself, or how you perceive yourself? Why would you judge all people on social networks based on the idiocy of a few? Isn’t that a bit much?

This wasn’t the only good story that caught my eye in our community today, but it is the one that spoke to me the most! All of you have been posting some excellent things on both Lockergnome and Geeks. I hope you take the time to check out what others are doing, as well.

Geeks Getting Out and About

Yes, it’s true. I have yanked myself out from behind my monitors, and have been venturing out around the town recently! I have been attending a few local meet-ups, as well as some other fun social gatherings. Who knew I could enjoy something like that!?

I’m not a rock concert kind of guy. I don’t enjoy going to “bars” or dance clubs. I prefer a smaller, quieter settings, where people can actually laugh and talk. Coffehouses are awesome, and so are the mom-and-pop type of pubs. I’ve even been seen out on the lake in a kayak at one point!

It’s not so bad pulling yourself away and getting out. Broadening your horizons is always a good thing. You can expand your knowledge and open your eyes to new perspectives when you meet other people. I know, I know – being online or playing your favorite game is fun! But it can be fun to go outside sometimes, too! I promise it won’t hurt.

What kinds of things do you like to get out and do when you’re not in your office or in front of a screen? Where do you like to hang, and what makes an evening out enjoyable for you?

Never fear, young grasshoppers… I didn’t forget about the community! Even though I was gone much of the day, I still had more than enough time to read what you’re all busy posting! Keep the great forum discussions and blog posts coming!

Can a Company Take Social Networking too Far?

Word on the street is that Best Buy is now requiring applicants to not only be on Twitter – but to have at least 250 followers, as well. When I read this, my mouth hit the floor. In effect, the company thinks that hiring people with a large Twitter following will garner more business for them. How ludicrous is this? It’s not up to an employee to send out tweets and bring in business to a company like Best Buy. For one thing, what if a person chooses not to have that many followers? Not everyone is on Twitter to see if they can win the race for having the most followers. Some people actually use it only to follow interesting people and entities themselves, not caring whether others follow them back. Some of those same people never even update their own timeline. They choose, instead, to simply use Twitter to read the latest news, and keep up with what’s hot in the marketplace.

I cannot begin to understand why a company would – or can even be allowed to – require something like this. If a person’s job were going to be something along the lines of “Social Media Director”, I might be able to see the need for the applicant to already have some sort of following, establishing them as “social media savvy”. Beyond that – I’m just lost.

What are your thoughts? Is this going to become an eerie new trend in the job hunting process? Do you feel that this is just totally off the wall? Let’s hear your thoughts!

Is There More to Life than Gnomedex?

After today, it feels as though Gnomedex is my life! I’m not complaining, though. We’ve been quite busy getting things ready for all of you to descend upon Seattle in just a few short weeks. We announced some ticket price drops today, in the hopes those of you hit hard by the economy may be able to join us. We’ve opened up ticket types, as well. I also wrote an in-depth blog post, answering some questions from a potential attendee. I certainly hope the answers I gave will help any of you who are still on the fence as to whether or not Gnomedex is a “must attend” conference for you.

Even though we’ve accomplished so much today on the conference front… I didn’t forget the rest of the community! I spent much time reading everything you’re doing. Keeping up with your thoughts, dreams, passions and ideas is something that I make a regular part of each and every day. To me, this wouldn’t even BE such a great community without all of your contributions. It’s not MY community – it’s OUR community.

If you aren’t posting anything… what are you waiting for? You can blog on Lockergnome or Geeks, or you can contribute to a forum discussion on Geeks. Heck, you can start your own Group, even! Come hang out with us in chat… and just try and keep up with everything going on in there!

In the meantime, here’s what your peers have been busy with:

Gnomedex Questions and Answers

I received an email from Nicole, a lady who is considering attending Gnomedex this year for the first time. She recently started a business based in New York, and had some questions about the conference. The questions are very good ones, and I decided that others may benefit from the answers, as well.

  • What is the overall theme, message or intended take-away of the conference? The theme this year will be the same one I chose last year – Human Circuitry. Interestingly enough, the attendees from last year defined Human Circuitry in many different ways. The common response, though, meshed with what I was trying to accomplish. Human Circuitry, put simply, is the point at which Tech and Humanity combine. We learned how we could raise money quickly for a worthy cause, using nothing more than Twitter. We had a spontaneous – and very moving/powerful – few moments of dancing wildly on stage with Matt, of “Where the Hell is Matt” fame. Another highlight that showed off Human Circuitry at work was hearing Amanda Koster talk about using her camera and the Internet to raise awareness of the plight of people living in Africa.
  • Are the sessions focused on action and strategy – or more theoretical? I’d have to say that they are focused on action and strategy. For instance, one speaker this year will be talking about the top ten ways businesses can and should make use of social media outlets, such as Twitter. We have speakers lined up this year who will talk about everything from social media, business online (and offline!), all the way to using the Internet to raise awareness for a cause.
  • Is there a high focus on innovation, and what’s “new” and “needed”? I’d like to think so, yes. The people who attend this conference are some of the best at what they do. The conversations that take place between and after sessions are usually the highlight of the conference for many people. You will be amazed at the contacts you can make, and the things you can learn from these conversations. A LOT of time is spent talking about what’s on the cutting edge, what we’re hoping to find / create / DO, and what just plain doesn’t work.
  • Is it very jargon-specific with advanced computer terminology and concepts – or understandable to a non-programmer? Gnomedex is not focused on programming. I can promise you that anyone and everyone will be able to understand what is being presented and discussed. Sure, there may be a few people who use big words, but hey! We are a room full of Geeks, after all! We’ve been fortunate in past years (and again this year) to be able to find presenters who are able to talk about their subject in “people terms”, and not “high-tech terms”. We do love developers, though!
  • Since your audience ranges across many field and disciplines, do you have industry-specific break-out sessions or opportunities to learn/discuss/network? Officially, no. Unofficially, yes. Gnomedex is a single-track conference, where everyone attends the same sessions. We work very hard to make sure that our speakers will reach out to every sector of people / business who may attend. Again, I bring up the discussions that take place before / after sessions: this is the time and place where people find others with similar goals and interests. Contact information is exchanged. Ideas are shared. We also have our meet-and-greet party Thursday night, before the conference begins, which is yet another opportunity for you to network.
  • The conference seems clearly beneficial. Due to costs of travel and accommodations, I’m wondering if it’s “nice” to attend… or a “need” to attend. What would you say others have gained in the past from attending? First and foremost, people across the board each and every year have stated that they came away with renewed passion for what they’re doing. They are energized. They look at things from different perspectives than they might have prior to being there. They remember why it is they started on their journey, and have a renewed faith in themselves and their ideas. They come away having made new friends and associates. I’ve been told more times than I can honestly count that Gnomedex is inspiring in many ways. It’s not something that is easy to put into words… but it’s very tangible.
  • Is it very region-specific to the NW/Silicon Valley, or would the networking be on a broad scope, allowing me to benefit easily from my NY base? Ding! Gnomedexers come from literally all over the World! I know for a fact that we have MANY East-coasters joining us this year. Sure, there are several from my local Seattle area. There will also be people coming from Europe, NY, Florida, Chicago, Texas… I think you get the idea. Gnomedex is full of people from all over the World!

For those of you who have attended Gnomedex in the past, I’d love to have your responses to any and all of the above questions. Your insight and experiences are what drives this conference each year, and what convinces others to join you. Help to broaden your own network by taking a few minutes to share with prospective attendees what it is about the conference that keeps you coming back for more!

What Do You Need to Know About Social Media?

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Social Media can be confusing for people who aren’t yet a part of the sphere. Where do you start? What should you join? Social Media is something that has wormed its way into our daily lives, and become an integral part of it for many of us. If you haven’t gotten on board the train yet, what are you waiting for?

We are, quite literally, all over the Internet. Traditional media has certainly embraced new media – or Social Media. It’s all about interaction and reaction.

Everyone has a different opinion as to how you should go about joining the fray. The bottom line is, though, transparency. You have to be yourself. You have to be honest about your business, and forthcoming with information. You need to engage the community at large. It’s not only about the community on YouTube or on Facebook – it’s about everyone.

Each of these different sites could be considered to be branches of each other. Many times, the networks you belong to cross over, and we’re all just communicating. This communication and interaction is what Social Media is all about.

The so-called “bible” of Social Media is finally ready! I was happily interviewed by the author for this book, and am so excited to finally be able to sit down and read it. At the end of each chapter, you’ll find the “commandments”, which is steps you should follow if you want to integrate yourself properly into Social Media.

The Social Media Bible – Tactics, Tools and Strategies for Business Success will show you how to build or transform your business into a social media- enabled enterprise where customers, employees, and prospects connect, collaborate, and champion your products, your services, and your way of doing business. You’ll learn things through this book such as how to increase your company and brand value through communication, and to determine which Social Media tactics you and your employees should be taking advantage of.

If you are online in any capacity, I definitely recommend this book. Read it. Learn it. LIVE IT.

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