Power Naps at Work – Pzizz

Some of the most famous decision makers in the world napped during their work day – yet the practise never caught on for the general masses in our post industrialized economy of workaholics. But in today’s technologically driven workplace, there are tools that can help you relax, and even wake up feeling refreshed so you can continue the work you need to do. Pzizz is one of the options out there, and one that I’ve used on and off for the past couple of years.

Do you feel tired during the day? You’re not alone.
Sleep problems and lack of energy affect most people at some time, but Pzizz can help.
This revolutionary insomnia treatment enables you to sleep better by stopping the nightly struggle.
It also helps you increase energy levels during the day with unique power naps or performance breaks.

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There have been many notable nappers throughout history, here’s a partial list…

  • Salvador Dali
  • Thomas Edison
  • Winston Churchill
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Albert Einstein
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • William J. Clinton
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

nasastates

Why aren’t you napping?

This software has changed how I operate during the day. I am able to time-out in a structured manner, gaining the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation from a short, sometimes 20 minute nap.

You can check it out at this link. I highly recommend the practice, and all you need is an mp3 player such as an ipod.

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Xobni – Dealing with Email

Capture17-03-2008-7.59.58 PM Email is once again being recognized as the future for social networking. Unfortunately for many of us that spend a third of every day in the corporate setting, Microsoft Outlook is the email client we are given, whether we choose it or not. Now Outlook has its benefits, it’s actually pretty great as a calendar/email application. The todos are hard to use effectively, and overall message management is terrible.

Xobni steps in at this point and offers users of Outlook a solution to finding messages related to a particular person, or even people related to someone.

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If you’d like a beta invite, leave me a comment here and we’ll see what I can do for you. Of course you need to be running Outlook as your email client. Check out the links above to find out more through their website and demo video.

Gmail is still my favourite app for email, and that’s what I use for all of the UrbanWorkbench accounts, but while at work, life has become much easier since upgrading Outlook with Xobni – and it’s only in beta!

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Design Data Management

145510967_363a3a26ee_m One of the greatest challenges facing small to medium sized engineering consultancies is the management of the design data. Today there are literally hundreds of options for design software, from the big players such as MicroStation and Civil3D down to regional leaders such as 12D which has become the only approved design software for all of Queensland Main Roads designs in Australia.

But what do you do when the software you are using become obsolete, or you upgrade to a newer version, and like AutoCad’s Civil3D, there is little or no backward compatibility. Some companies are running different versions of the same software across their machines, due to licensing or budget constraints, (after all, the software is not cheap to buy!).

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Users Speak out about Proposed activeCollab 1.0 Prices

Over at the activeCollab blog, Ilija wrote up a post describing the proposed pricing structure for his release of version 1.0. From my perspective, if there were ever a time for him to do it, it is now, after almost a year of waiting for a big update to the software. There are several issues that users are raising, firstly the upfront cost, secondly the ongoing maintenance (support and upgrade) fee, and thirdly the lack of scalability for the free Lite version.

The Lite version doesn’t feature advanced modules such as tickets and commercial support, but for individuals and non-profits you can always rely on the very active activeCollab community forums. activeCollab Lite is distributed with full source code so you can use it to learn how the code works and extend activeCollab from there on.

Comparison table: 

Version

Max. active projects

Price

Support and upgrade

Unlimited

Unlimited

$1999

$499/year

Professional

75

$1249

$299/year

Plus

35

$749

$189/year

Basic

15

$399

$99/year

Start

5

$249

$59/year

Lite

5

Free

Free

activeCollab 1.0: Plans and Prices | activeCollab

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A while ago on the activeCollab blog, Ilija hinted at some fees for helping out with installation, these dollars are vastly different from what he’s now proposing…

Fee I had in mind is $20 per intervention (that is my hourly rate). If your host meets system requirements and I still fail to provide a solution you get your money back.

How does this sound to you? This is just an idea and I’d like to hear what you have to say about it.

Btw, If you fear that I might make installation or upgrade process a bit harder just to get more interventions gigs – don’t. I would never do something like that.

Professional help with installation and upgrade | activeCollab

On his personal blog, Ilija wrote about pricing about a year ago. I’m not sure if his philosophy has changed…

There are a lot of people and organizations who like to pay for security and open source should welcome that. There is nothing bad in making money as long as you follow basic principles of open source.

Area52 ? Area51, improved

And on a final not, a quote from Joel…

The more you learn about pricing, the less you seem to know.

I’ve been nattering on about this topic for well over 5000 words and I don’t really feel like we’re getting anywhere, you and I.

Some days it seems like it would be easier to be a taxi driver, with prices set by law. Or to be selling sugar. Plain ol’ sugar. Yep. That would be sweet.

Take my advice, offered about 20 pages back: charge $0.05 for your software. Unless it does bug tracking, in which case the correct price is $30,000,000. Thank you for your time, and I apologize for leaving you even less able to price software than you were when you started reading this.

Camels and Rubber Duckies – Joel on Software

Where does this leave me, well, I’m a big supporter of open source software, and in the past I’ve shown support for activeCollab, and I still think the software is and will continue to be a great product.

Back to Open Source Software, I’m plugging Project Pier for now…

The goal of the ProjectPier.org project is to create a new project fork, picking up the code after activeCollab 0.7.1. The code will remain open source under the Honest Public License. Ilija has indicated on his website that activeCollab is being rewritten and the new version 1.0, while it may remain open source, will only be developed by his new company. ProjectPier.org should not detract in any way from what Ilija is doing and I sincerely hope Ilija succeeds in creating a successful commercial version of activeCollab.

About ProjectPier | ProjectPier.org

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activeCollab Interview

90% of project management is communication and task management. So why does software like Microsoft Project get so hung up on Gantt charts and task dependancies? There have been so many times that I’ve wanted to use the software for actual project management, but it inevitably ends up as a static Gantt chart, that may get updated once in a while to keep clients happy.

So what software solutions are out there for us that want to collaborate with our clients, that don’t just want to hide behind the ubiquitous Gantt chart, (almost as bad as bad powerpoint most of the time)?

In on the coat tails of the web 2.0 phenomonen comes software like Basecamp by 37 Signals and GoPlan, and for those of us who want to have a bit more control, and pay a bit less… activeCollab.

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With the upcoming release of version 1.0 of one of my favourite apps, I thought I’d get inside the developers, Ilija Studen’s head and find out more about activeCollab and where he see’s it going. On with the interview…


What is activeCollab and who is it for?

activeCollab is a tool that help teams work more efficiently by keeping all project related communication in one place and providing a set of tools for project management. It is a web application that can be installed on a public server and accessed over the internet (perfect for extranets and client areas) or used on a local network behind company’s firewall. There is no need to install anything on your computer – all you need is a web browser and you are good to go.

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More after the jump…

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