Monthly Archives: May 2006

Cool Software

I
have been meaning to write about the software that I use for sometime. I am only going
to write about things that are good and useful to a startup so don’t worry. I
have found that software can be used to greatly improve my effectiveness. So my number
one piece of software is…

  1. Not a piece of software at all.
    My Blackberry
    8700c
    . This thing is a life saver. If you can afford it I have found that
    the ability to work in airports, in peoples reception areas while you are waiting
    for them, just about anywhere to be indispensable. Your contacts, calendar and tasks
    are always synced. Now RIM has released Blackberry Enterprise Server Express which
    is free for one user.

  2. Plaxo.
    I want everyone in the world to use Plaxo. Incase you don’t know Plaxo is a contact
    management tool that integrates with Outlook. If you and I both use Plaxo we can exchange
    contact info without any user intervention. It allows you to request that people in
    your address book update their contact information. Everything syncs to the server
    out on the web so your calendar, contacts, tasks and notes are stored in a safe place.
    This also allows it to sync to multiple computers. It also can sync to Yahoo! Mail
    so your contacts can be used from a Yahoo account also. Your information can always
    be accessed simply by logging into a website.

  3. Salesforce.com.
    I thought SF was complicated at first but I have found it to be very easy to use.
    It has some functionality that overlaps with Plaxo such as contact management but
    has many more powerful features for managing customers, partners and competitors.
    I like the ability to create organization charts that shows who reports to who. It
    also has an awesome reporting package, not that at this point in time I have so much
    information that I need it. They offer a free account for one user so give it a try.

  4. QuickBooks
    Online
    . I didn’t want to buy QuickBooks and install it at home so I was
    overjoyed to find a hosted version. It has all the functionality that I need to mange
    the books for iVirtuoso as well as create invoices and manage time for a project.
    I would caution that this tool does not replace knowing how to keep good books. The
    documentation is also sketchy on how to do anything other than the basics. All in
    all I like and will continue to use. In the future I will link salesforce.com and
    QuickBooks online together.

  5. Basecamp.
    Basecamp is a project management tool that focuses on communication between team members.
    It is very simple, but that should no be confused with lack of utility. It focuses
    on the things that projects, both large and small need, communication, milestones
    and tasks. I encourage you to give it a look. It is possible to integrate this with
    outlook.

  6. Microsoft Outlook. Almost everything
    previously mentioned integrates with Outlook. Outlook is definitely the my hub of
    communication. If you have not used outlook 2003 give it a shot. Chances are though
    you already use it.

 

Notice that everything
I use ties together. This is by design. The first thing I ask myself when looking
at a new piece of software, no matter how cool is how can I integrate this into my
current technology stack. That is something that you should do too.

 



This weblog is sponsored by iVirtuoso, Inc.

Active Directory Application Mode(ADAM)

So I am going to use ADAM as the authentication/authorization store for an application
that I am building. This is so organizations that use an active directory can tie
my application in seamlessly for single sign on. So using ADAM is about as much fun
as going to prison in a third world country. Call me lazy but I like my nice GUIs
that make things easy to use. I don’t care about learning how to use a command line.
So if you are not an LDAP expert (like me) things will be challenging. I seriously
botched the first installation. If you use a container – CN like the instructions
recommend you will be unable to add an organizational unit to your directory. Fortunately
I have a copy of ASP.NET
2.0 Security, Membership, and Role Management
 and it did a good job of walking
me through it. Right up to the point of changing passwords. The book neglects to point
out that passwords can only be changed over a secure connection. An hour of troubleshooting
later I found this article.
Tells you how to disable that. While I think that it is good that ADAM is secure by
default for a development environment it is kind of frustrating. I feel like as LDAP
continues its march, and I want it to, we might need some better tools to insulate
some of us developers from having to be LDAP wizards to make something work.



This weblog is sponsored by iVirtuoso, Inc.

Google Onebox

If you have not already seen check out the Google
Onebox
 software for Google Search Appliance(GSA). Onebox allows the GSA to
search inside of other enterprise systems like ERP, CRM, Exchange, and anything else
that you care to integrate it with. I think that this lightweight sort of integration,
while not as deep as some, is alot less risky. It also sports a UI that is intuitive
and almost universally recognized, the Google search page. Why is this better? First
it is cheap to integrate. Simply write the logic to search inside of another application
and specify under which circumstances a users query will search another application
and you are done. There are already several connectors to other applications including
salesforce.com, Cognos, Cisco VOIP, Microsoft Exchange and more. GSA is not expensive
starting at $30,000. Something I will definitly be keeping an eye on.



This weblog is sponsored by iVirtuoso, Inc.