Daily Archives: September 3, 2006

How To: Set and Environment Variable in MSBuild

One of the things that I like about tools like MSBuild (and NAnt for that matter) is that there is a community that builds up around them providing useful extensions. One such extension that I stumbled across was an MSBuild task from the Microsoft SDC which supports the setting (and getting) of environment variables.

More than anything, this post is just to serve as a reminder to me that this task exists so that I don’t try and create another one down the track.

Why can’t I convince my wife to be a BETA tester?

Now that Windows Vista RC1 is out I should expect more and more of the machines that I come in contact with to be running the new Microsoft platform. My D820 is already running the RC1 build and I plan to try the T4210 with the RC1 bits over the course of the next few weeks (maybe I’ll do it during the week).

While I am pretty easy going when it comes to running slightly flakey builds of new operating systems, my wife adopts a much more steady pace for adoption – and while I have no doubt that she will upgrade when Vista finally hits RTM, there is probably a level of nervousness there.

I’d be interested to know how other folks in the industry convince their better halves to ride the bleeding edge like we do? And be honest, how often has the fact that “the family computer” is running a ((n+1)-1) operating system saved you in the past twelve months?

Maybe Nicola is just very wise?

Getting the other half’s perspective.

Jordana is the wife of one of our most recent hires at Readify – Geoff Appleby. Hopefully Geoff knows what he is doing on Monday – if not it might be a good idea for Darren to get in touch with him (or vice versa).

The interesting thing here is that Jordana has made the observation and asked the question. In the past I have actually suggested that the significant others of Readify staff actually be given access to our internal mail system, and rights to access our resource scheduling system (CRM).

I know that Nicola would probably do a better job of scheduling my holidays than I would :)

Akshay Luther does BigSafeBox

I got an e-mail the other day from Akshay Luther. Akshay used to work at Readify but decided to leave and start his own start-up a little while ago. Akshay recently announced that his start-up BigSafeBox has gone live.

BigSafeBox is a way to backup your files on the Internet using a special backup agent that Akshay has developed. The program runs in the system tray on your computer and regularly backs up your data “in the cloud”. Behind the scenes BigSafeBox uses the Amazon S3 storage system so you know that it is not sitting in some garage somewhere just waiting for the next natural disaster to wipe it out.

I’ve got a lot of respect for someone who leaves a good consulting role and starts their own company, especially a company that sells a product. There is something pure about that kind of business model.

Well done Akshay!

My thoughts on the Virtual Worker and the Virtual Office environment.

A few days ago Darren posted up “The Virtual Worker Manifesto” which listed the top ten rules for being a virtual worker. It does a really good job of explaining how to cope with the challenges of being a virtual worker but also reveals some of the benefits. Andrew Parsons replied to the post on his own blog with some more good points.

I wanted to take this opportunity to add my thoughts to the conversation since I am fortunate enough to be a virtual worker. My main concern for the 99.99% of people out there that aren’t virtual workers is that it is going to be as much a reality for them as the paperless office was (aside: if you wanted to create a paperless office you need to get rid of printers, yet printers are cheaper than they ever where before).

The thing about virtual workers is that they need a virtual office, and getting a virtual office involves a lot more than just enabling employees to VPN into the corporate network from across the Internet.

Common Misconception

A lot of people I know assume that being a virtual worker, in a virtual office means that you are never going to see your virtual co-workers. This is not true. Being a virtual worker is about having the flexibility to work anywhere. Typically you will have some bases of operation whether it be your house, a client site for a period of time, or your favorite park or coffee shop.

Sometimes, even though you are a virtual worker, you have to spend periods of time in the same physical space as the other people you work with, rather than seeing this as a negative virtual worker experience you should look at it as an opportunity to learn things about the people you work with that you couldn’t any other way – it is a virtual worker treat!