Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed! [en]

[fr] Besoin, de toute urgence: plugin Address permettant de taguer ses contacts.

For some time now, I’ve been aware that I’m becoming a professional networker. Almost all I do to promote Going Solo, for example, relies on my reputation and the connections I have to other people.

Now, I’ve never been somebody to collect contacts just for the sake of collecting contacts, but until LeWeb3 last year, I had just been content with butterflying around and stacking business cards somewhere near by desk. At LeWeb3, when I started telling people about Going Solo, I also started realising that the people I met and contacts I made were going to have more importance for my business than before.

And if I’ve learnt something during these last two months, it’s the importance of getting back to people. I’ve figured out how iGTD and GMail can play nice together to help me with that, but it’s not sufficient. I need to keep track of who I’ve asked what, of who can help me with what, who has this or that connection. And yes, I have too many people in my business network to keep everything in my head.

As I explain in the video above, the lovely Cathy Brooks put me on the right track: use Address I don’t really need to keep all the contact details related to a person close at hand (ie, phone number, e-mail, etc.) because I have that in LinkedIn, Facebook, GMail address book, or on business cards. I’m not interested in keeping an exhaustive repository of all the contact details of all the people I’ve met. What I’m interested in, however, is keeping the names of these people somewhere I can attach meaningful information to them.

Where we met. What we talked about. Stuff that’ll help me remember who people are.

So, I started simply adding names (Firstname Lastname) into my OSX address book, along with a few words in the Notes field. The nice thing about the Notes field is that you don’t have to toggle edit mode on to add stuff in the Notes. So, of course, I started using the notes field to tag people. Not too bad (smart folders allow me to “pull out” people with a certain tag) but not great either, because tags get mixed up with notes, and it’s a bit clunky.

Somebody suggested I create a custom “Tags” field (a “Names” type field is fine). Unfortunately, though this looks like a good idea at first, it fails because you have to edit a contact each time you want to add tags. Also, you can’t create a smart folder based on the contents of that field — you need to search through the whole card. Clunky too.

I don’t know how to write Address Book plugins, but I know they exist, and I have an idea for a plugin that would save my life (and probably countless others) and which doesn’t seem very complex to build. If there’s anybody out there listening… here’s a chance to be a hero.

I want a “tag your contacts” plugin for Address What would it do? Simple, add a “Tags” field that behaves similarly to the “Notes” field. That would allow me to separate notes and tags — they aren’t quite the same thing, don’t you agree?

In addition to that, the plugin could display a list of all contacts tagged “thisorthat” when you double-clicked the tag. That would be nice.

Does anybody else want this? Does it already exist? Would anybody be willing to build it? (If other people are interested, I’d be willing to suggest we pool some cash to donate to the kind person building this life-saving plugin.)

Please Don't Be Rude, coComment. I Loved You. [en]

[fr] J'étais une inconditionnelle de la première heure de coComment. Je les ai même eus comme clients. Aujourd'hui j'ai le coeur lourd, car après le désastre de la version 2.0 "beta", le redesign du site qui le laisse plus confus qu'avant, les fils RSS qui timent out, le blog sans âme et les pubs qui clignotent, je me retrouve avec de grosses bannières autopromotionnelles dans mon tumblelog, dans lequel j'ai intégré le flux RSS de mes commentaires.

Just a little earlier this evening, my heart sank. It sank because of this:

Steph's Tumblr - rude cocomment

That is a screenshot of my Tumblr. And what coComment is doing here — basically, inserting a huge self-promotional banner in their RSS feed — is really rude.

I’m really sad, because I used to love coComment. I was involved (not much, but still) early on and was a first-hour fan. They were even my client for over six months, during which I acted as a community manager, gave feedback on features to the team, and wrote a whole bunch of blog posts. This ended, sadly, when coComment finally incorporated, because we couldn’t reach an agreement as to the terms of my engagement.

Inserting content in the RSS feeds is only the latest in a series of disappointments I’ve had with the service. I used to have a sidebar widget to show the last comments I’d made all over the place on my blog, but I removed it at some point — I can’t remember when — because it had stopped working. I tried adding it again, but for some reason WordPress can’t find the feed. It seemed very slow when I tried to access it directly, so maybe it’s timing out — and I think I recall that is what made me remove it in the first place.

I’m sad also to see blinking ads on the coComment site, confusing navigation, pages with click here links, and a blog which has no soul, filled with post after post of press-release-like “we won this contest”, “we’re sponsoring this event”, “version xyz released”, “we were here too” — all too often on behalf of a mostly faceless “coComment Team”. CoComment used to have something going, but to me it now seems like an exciting promise that lost its way somewhere along the line.

Last August, the version 2.0 beta disaster made me cringe with embarrassment for my former love (who on earth takes all their users back to beta when 1.0 was stable?) and left many blogs paralyzed, including my own. I started writing a blog post, at the time, which I never published, as other things got in the way. Here’s what I’d written:

I reinstalled the extension yesterday (I’d removed it a few months ago because I suspected it might be involved in a lot of browser hang-ups) but had to uninstall it a couple of hours later:

  • too many non-comment textareas get the coco-bar
  • blacklisting seems broken
  • pop-up requesting info confirmation for website blocking form submission of non-comment forms, even though coco-bar was removed AND extension was deactivated for the page.

It would be nice to be able to read some clear and detailed information about these issues and their resolution on the blog, so that I know when it’s worth trying the extension again.

Also, a major issue is that when the coComment server isn’t responding, people cannot leave comments on integrated/enhanced blogs (like this one, or my personal blog). I had to remove coComment integration from my blog so that coComment downtime doesn’t prevent my readers from leaving comments.

Update: in case this wasn’t clear first time around, these problems have since then been solved and coComment apologized for the mess. It doesn’t erase the pain, though.

So, coComment — and Matt — are you listening?

You’re in the process of alienating somebody who was one of your most passionate users — if you haven’t lost me already. I cared. I forgave. I waited. I hoped. But right now, I don’t have the impression you care much about me. I’ve seen excuses, I’ve even seen justifications, and now I see large ugly banners in my Tumblr. What happened to you?

You’ll have understood, I hope, that this is not just about me. This is about the people who use your service. The service you provide is for us, right?

Advice for a Translating Tool [en]

[fr] Quelques conseils pour mettre en place un outil de traduction d'interfaces en ligne.

I was asked for some advice for a soon-to-be-released online interface translation tool. (Hint: maybe my advice would be more useful earlier on in the project…) Here’s what I said:

  1. allow for regional forking of languages. e.g. there was a merciless
    war on the French wikipedia between the French and the Belgians over
    “Endive” which is called “Chicon” in Belgium. One is not more right than
    another, and these differences can be important.

  2. remember that words which are the same in English can have two
    different translations in other languages. e.g. “Upload” can be
    translated as “Téléchargez” (imperative verb form) or “Téléchargement”

  3. if you’re doing some sort of string-based thing (which I suppose
    you are) like, let people see what they’re
    translating in context. (See the interface in English, with the place
    the string is in highlighted, and then see the interface in French,
    with the string highlighted too.)

Note: yes, this person had already watched my Google Tech Talk on languages online — and yes, I’m going to collect my language stuff somewhere neat on a static page at some point.

Satisfaction Looks Neat [en]

[fr] Un outil de "customer care" qui permet d'une part aux "clients" de s'entre-aider, et au personnel de participer à la conversation. Ça semble vraiment pas mal! Quelques petits problèmes après 20 minutes d'utilisation.

I read about Satisfaction yesterday somewhere and saw it again today in Brian Oberkirch’s blog. I went to sign up and give it a quick toss around. Here are the first screenshots.

The nice thing is that as this is a support tool, I used it to record the problems I bumped in too.

Satisfaction: submitting a problem_idea_question_chat

I think it’s a pretty neat tool and I’m going to use it in future when I bump into problems, in addition to posting them to Flickr with Skitch. It’s community-based support, but with an option for company employees to participate with a “label” that identifies them as staff.

The first thing that annoyed me was that I had trouble finding where to change my profile photo. I clicked on “Account” and expected to find something there, but in fact it’s under “Dashboard”.

Satisfaction -- change image

Here is the topic I created about this problem.

Next issue, a rather important workflow/design flaw:

Recently active topics in Satisfaction Unlimited about Satisfaction Beta Release

I was a bit wordy in explaining it (early Sunday morning here), but I hope this makes sense:

Ideally, when fill in the first “chatbox”, I’m going to want to check out the links before saying “not quite right, want to add details and submit”.

Unfortunately, once I’ve done that, it seems I can’t come back to the page with the link inviting me to “add details and submit”.

That doesn’t encourage me to click the links and check out first! It encourages me to go straight to “add details and submit”.

So, if those links are really expected to be useful, encourage me to click on them by providing the “add details and submit” form on them too.

Last but not least:

Get Satisfaction: two gripes

  1. If you’re telling me that I’m set to receive e-mail updates, that’s really nice of you — but it would be even nicer to give me a link to where to change it.
  2. Please, please, please. Space-separated tags. At least support them. I’ve talked about this elsewhere (and before, too, but I can’t remember when or where). It breaks the current input model we’re used to (, Flickr…). It makes us type an extra character.

Go try out Satisfaction!

"Learning Blogs": GWNG Meeting Presentation [en]

[fr] Présentation donnée vendredi passé au GWNG à UNAIDS.

Here are the slides I used as a backbone to my presentation of blogs as educational tools during the Global Net Manager Networking Group last Friday at UNAIDS. You can download them in three formats. As specified on the presentation, they are licensed CC by-nc-nd.

Blogs et politique: ça bouge… [fr]

[en] Local politicians are slowly getting into blogging. I have gripes with the "blogging platform" which was set-up, and I wonder if any training or coaching was provided to those who wanted it to help them get started.

Brève visite sur L’idée est bonne. Bravo à ceux qui se lancent. Par contre, arghl, à nouveau, une “plate-forme de blogging” qui semble un peu “faite maison”. Du coup, on se retrouve avec une page “blog” qui ne ressemble pas trop à un blog, puisqu’elle contient une liste d’articles (organisés antéchronologiquement, certes), pour lesquels on peut lire de précieuses informations comme l’heure de publication et le nombre de commentaires, mais auxquels il manque le plus important: le contenu. Eh oui, si la plupart des blogs montrent le texte intégral de leurs articles en première page, ce n’est pas pour rien. (Je fais court pour la même raison que d’habitude, donc le détail de l’explication attendra.)

Pour la dernière fois, s’il vous plaît, utilisez WordPress, qui est à mon avis le meilleur outil de blog sur le marché, ou au moins quelque chose du même acabit. WordPress existe aussi en version hébergée (idéal pour ouvrir votre blog en moins de deux minutes, histoire d’essayer) et en version multi-utilisateurs. Ah oui, et en français. Bon, assez de pub, mais vraiment, je vous en prie, cessez de prétendre vouloir développer votre propre plate-forme de blogging, à moins que vous ne soyez dans ce business depuis plusieurs années (celui des outils de blog). (Disclaimer: je ne dis pas que la RSR a fait développer un outil “100% maison”, mais par contre ce n’est pas un outil de blog que je reconnais. Et oui, je sais que est plus que juste une plate-forme de blogging. Mais à première vue, rien qu’on ne puisse développer en construisant sur wp-mu par exemple.)

Donc, je râle, comme à mon habitude (j’ai eu un week-end fatiguant, mes excuses), mais dans l’ensemble, bonne initiative que cette plate-forme.

Une interrogation cependant: j’ai entendu dire (par deux sources différentes qui l’avaient entendu à la radio) que Martine Brunschwig Graf avait exprimé un peu de malaise face à ce média nouveau pas forcément évident à appréhender — pas un malaise connotation négative, mais plutôt qu’elle avait besoin de bien réfléchir à ce qu’elle allait écrire sur ce blog (mes excuses si je déforme ses paroles, c’est un peu du téléphone arabe). Toujours est-il que ça me paraît un souci bien légitime. Le blog résout un problème technique, mais ne vous aide pas à déterminer quoi y écrire.

Outre offrir une plate-forme d’expression aux candidats, leur a-t-on aussi offert de quoi apprendre à l’utiliser? Quelques tuyaux, ficelles, un kit de survie ou peut-être même une formation? Car oui, bloguer c’est super facile, mais quand il y a des enjeux (professionnels, politiques, d’image) ce n’est plus aussi simple. Tout le monde n’a pas la science infuse.

Pour cette raison, Anne Dominique et moi donnons un cours sur l’utilisation de cet outil (le blog) en entreprise (j’en profite pour faire de la pub, hein, il reste des places pour le prochain cours qui a lieu les 28 novembre et 5 décembre prochains; la première volée de participants a été ravie du cours). Faut-il mettre sur pied un cours similaire pour ceux et celles qui désirent utiliser le blog comme outil de communication politique?

Le coComment nouveau est arrivé [fr]

[en] With the new coComment extension activated, browse to this article by 24heures. Click on the coComment logo once. Don't spill your coffee.

Je parlerai plus longuement de la nouvelle version de coComment qui vient d’être déployée (après l’annonce officielle, par exemple), mais je tenais à vous montrer ceci avant de filer à Paléo.

  1. Avec un navigateur FireFox (ou Flock! muni de la magnifique extension coComment, rendez-vous sur la page de l’article 24heures sur les blogs. *Edit: version archivée ici on dirait.
  2. Remarquez que le logo coComment en bas à droite devient orange. (Au lieu de bleu.)
  3. Cliquez sur le dit logo, une fois, avec le bouton de gauche.
  4. Lisez et extasiez-vous!

(Je n’en dit pas plus, il faut essayer. Oui, ça marche partout. Dingue.)