Bizcamp Dublin Coverage on RTE News

In case you missed it, the Bizcamp Dublin coverage on the RTE news is available here.

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3 Steps to GTD: Time management for really, really busy people

Stressed? No time to talk to people? Losing sleep over tomorrow’s work? You don’t have a lot of time to read this, so I’ll keep this short.

  1. Have a task / todo list. On Outlook , Excel , wiki or paper. Daily, pick off most important tasks and allocate time for them on your calendar.
  2. Schedule your time in some sort of calendar. Use Outlook, Google Calendar , Mozilla Lightening or even a paper diary. Keep about 1/3rd free for the unexpected. Timeslots no shorter than 30 minutes; bunch smaller todo’s together to make up. Set your mail program to show first your calendar and not your email – that way your daily agenda is set by your plans, not somebody else.
  3. Clear mail inbox twice a day (and only twice a day). Do same for phone calls (using voicemail) if that’s disrupting you too much. Only touch mails once: delete, respond, or make room on calendar / tasklist (action).

Adjust steps 1,2, and 3 as required. Get as fancy or as simple as you want.  Don’t aim for perfect, so you’ll be flexible enough when you need to change. Works for me. What works for you?

And yes, it’s probably already covered in ‘Getting things done‘.

Agile Projects Using the Spring Framework – Training

Lots of things going on behind the scenes at FirstPartners. One of which is the Spring Framework training course that we’re giving on Wed 30th May in Bewley’s Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Interested in going? – you can book here (via Trigraph). Can’t make it? We’ll probably do a follow up.

What are you missing? Apart from the crash test dummies (below), there’s loads of lego blocks, Swiss mountains, trains crashing through walls and a Kangaroo. (Spring, Geddit?). You might even learn something about Java along the way.

Agile Projects using the Spring Framework
Executive Briefing
Delivery: Public or In-house
Course Length: 0.5 days. Optional mentoring / follow up session if required by Client
Course Approach: Lecture, discussions
Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Dummies

Course Description:

Spring, with good reason, is the most actively used framework in the Enterprise Java world today. The half- day briefing shows the problems that Spring can solve for your projects, core Spring concepts such as Inversion of Control and integration with existing Enterprise Java technologies for database access, messaging and web deployment. The briefing also shows how to use Spring to make your projects more agile, improving quality and reducing deployment time.

Course Objectives:

  • Following completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand why Enterprise Java is the mostly widely used corporate technology, and how Spring both simplifies and improves this technology.
  • Understand core Spring concepts such as Inversion of Control (IOC), configuration , deployment and testing.
  • Describe how to integrate Spring with Enterprise Technologies such as Databases, Messaging and Web 2 frameworks.
  • Understand how Spring can make your projects more agile and the benefits it brings to your organization
  • Map out a plan of how to introduce the Spring framework to existing systems.

Course Syllabus:

Section 1: The Problems That Spring Solves

  • Introduction
  • Who are you? Who are we?
  • What is Spring?
  • What is (Enterprise) Java?
  • The problems with Enterprise Java
  • Why Enterprise Java is costing you money.
  • The Deployment Scale
  • Java Classes and Objects
  • Just enough XML to get by
  • Core Spring – Inversion of Control pattern
  • Spring Configuration and my First Spring App
  • Deployment via Web, Enterprise Java and Command line
  • Spring on other platforms (.Net , Ruby and Groovy)
  • Alternatives to Spring
  • Spring and Java 5 – easier development
  • Starting out – just a little Spring in your Step.

Section 2: Core Spring and Enterprise Spring Integration

  • Spring Web Framework (MVC)
  • Spring Web with Struts , JSF , XSLT , Tiles and GWT (Google Web Toolkit)
  • Spring and Ajax in Web 2 Applications.
  • Spring Webflow
  • Spring and Databases (Hibernate and JDBC)
  • Spring and Messaging (MQ and JMS)
  • Spring Remoting and Web Services
  • Aspect Orientated Programming (AOP)
  • Transactions in Spring
  • Appfuse – ready to roll Spring projects with Maven
  • Administration of your Application using Spring and JMX
  • Scheduling using Spring and Quartz
  • Spring and Acegi Security

Section 3: Practical Spring – make your project more Agile

  • The problems with IT Projects
  • What is Agile
  • Spectrum of Agility
  • How Spring makes your project more agile (and your customer happy)
  • Key Agile Practices
  • Unit Testing with Spring
  • Integration Testing
  • Mock Objects
  • Spring IDE
  • Spring and Business Rules
  • Spring and Workflow
  • Alternative Spring configuration.
  • Extending Spring to meet you (obscure) needs.
  • What’s new in Spring 2.5 (and coming up for Spring 3)

Audience:

  • Managers and Project Managers wishing to understand the benefits of adding Spring to their projects.
  • Software developers needing an introduction to Java and the Spring Framework and integration with key Enterprise technologies.
  • Support, Database , Web Designers and other IT professionals needing to interface with Spring and Enterprise Java systems.
  • .Net developers wishing to understand the concepts behind the Spring.Net framework.

Related Courses:
Enterprise Java (Trigraph) and Agile Project Management (Trigraph)

Prerequisites:
Some high level exposure to the Java, .Net or other Object Orientated language would be beneficial but
not necessary.

Inside Information – Best Irish Business Blog shortlist

Inside sources (who declined to be named) are suggesting that the longlist for the ‘Best Irish Business Blog’ will look something like this …

Irish Blog Awards

Update:
The fact that this information was given to me (in ready to paste HTML) has nothing, absolutely nothing , to do with the fact that FirstPartners.net are sponsoring the Best Business blog award.

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Business Blogging in Ireland – Who, What , When, Where and Why

At yesterday’s Plato marketing training event, the topic of business blogging came up. Seems like our 100,000+ unique visitors is nothing in the blogging world, but most Small to Medium Irish Business (SME’s) would kill for that kind of traffic. So since I’m an ‘expert’ (and when exactly did that happen ?!) here’s the 10 minute guide to get your business on it’s way.

Plato rules presume that member companies remain confidential (until they choose to break cover!). So, if you want to leave a comment below (feel free to link back to your website) I’ll be happy to apply the advice below to your business. I don’t sell blogging advice (although there is a business idea!) – more Irish Business Bloggers there are the better (all, hopefully, linking from their websites back to here!)

What is blogging?

  • A Blog is a new way of doing that same old things. You already network, talk (and listen!) to your customers and are passionate about publicising the thing you love (your business idea). A Blog just helps you do the same things online.
  • A Blog is the easiest way to update a website. If you can email (remember how scary that used to be?) you can blog. And yes, I can give examples to back that one up. And that’s you updating it, not paying some web design company to do it.
  • A Blog is the quickest way to get a good website. If you haven’t a website, a blog is the quickest way to get one. It does most of the Vodoo Search Engine stuff out of the box. Likewise, a blog can easily added to your existing website.
  • A Blog is an online Diary. Think one of those reality TV shows. But about your business. And without Jade Goody in it. There is a reason that ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Blogs’ score highest in the ratings – they’re all about people. Remember ; People don’t buy your business, they buy you.
  • A Blog lets you have conversations with your customers. It allows customers to say what they think about you on your website.Scary? Yes. But not as scary as not hearing what they are saying about you.Yes you can delete offensive comments, but I’ve only had to remove 2 out of 700 comments in the last 3 years.

The Who, What, When , Where and Why of Irish Business Blogging

Who should blog

  • You, as the owner of your business. If you have people who are equally passionate, then (a) you’re very lucky and (b) you should let them write as well. But chances are, it’s going to be you.
  • Blogging works very well for people in the professional services area. There are hundreds of people in IT, but blogging lets me stand out and gives me credibility.
  • I’m confident (and can give examples) of ways of how Hotels and Tourism, Shops and Engineering Companies can blog successfully), but it’s a little be fuzzier (i.e. not direcly linked to my personal experience)
What should they talk about

  • Talk about what you love – your business. But remember who you’re talking to; your customers, and people who will either link to you online, or recommend you to new customers.
  • I find a personal style works best. We’ve all seen the bland corporate website and we don’t believe them. Speak personally of your experience.
  • Set your own red lines, and respect them. I don’t blog about my personal life (or lack of it!). I don’t reveal customer details. But outside of that, if it’s interesting, I’ll talk about anything it.
When (or how much time is involved)

  • Like all marketing , you’re in this for the long haul. It’s important that you measure using Google Analytics (free). You’ll be surprised at what works and what doesn’t.
  • Blogging is cheap in money but expensive in your time. I reckon about 1hr per week for a post like this one, sometimes more, sometimes less.
  • Don’t forget the extra time involved in publicising your blog; leaving useful comments / links on other sites back to yours. But you’d be doing this anyway as you surf the web.
Where do people find out about your business /blog

  • Those comments on other (relevent) sites and more popular blogs link back to yours. If somebody likes your comment, then they will often come back to your blog.Remember, useful comments not spam! – your comment /link should always add to the site you are leaving them on.
  • Google loves blogs, because of all those incoming links.
  • The links on the top left of the page allow you to subscribe to this blog as if it were an email newsletter. Some people like this. Most people prefer RSS; Like an email newsletter RSS notifies you of new content but, RSS gives you a summary of all the blogs you are interested in. And it doesn’t clog up your inbox. I use Google Reader, but there is plenty of choice out there.
Why

  • Because you’d like more business. You do want more business, right? The only question: ‘is blogging the best use of my time?’
How
Two main choices, the second one being better as it gives you more choice.

  • Sign up for a free blogging account at Blogger.com (backed by Google)
  • Ask your (existing / new) web host for the following. It should cost a lot less then Eur500 , including the first year’s hosting.

‘I’d like WordPress (free) setup on my website at www.mywebsitename/blog. Use one of the standard templates. Please add Google Analytics (free) to the this template. Please explain where I can get the number (from Google) that you will need for the analytics. When finished let me know the address, username and password to log into my blog.

Remember, blogging is cheap to try out (in money , if not in your time) . It’s still new enough to forgive people who make mistakes. Dive in , give it a go, and when (not if) you learn something new, tell me about it.

And after all that, you couldn’t be bothered blogging?
Try LinkedIn.com. As a business networking tool , it’s excellent, with more Irish business contacts than anywhere else.