Foxit Reader 2.0 (Windows)

I sometimes think I spend half my working day reading PDF files of one sort or another. Foxit Reader has lowered my blood pressure substantially by eliminating the lag waiting for Adobe Reader to load. I still use Adobe Acrobat when I need to create something complex, but otherwise I’ve set my defaults to use Foxit Reader to open PDF files. And it’s free! Thanks to Lifehacker for the pointer.

Download of the Day: Foxit Reader 2.0 (Windows)

foxit 1.png

Windows only: PDF reader and Lifehacker favorite Foxit Reader has just released a new 2.0 version.

For those of you who don’t know what Foxit Reader is, prepare to have your PDF world rocked. You don’t need Adobe Reader to load up for 5 minutes, freezing your computer 4 times in the process, just to view a PDF. In fact, Foxit loads up practically instantly, and has never frozen my computer for any amount of time. The new version offers an interactive form filler, support for add-ons, Javascript support, improved printing, and more. Unless you’re doing some serious creating/editing of PDFs, Foxit is likely the only PDF reader you’ll ever need, so go download it – you’ll be so glad you did.

Five years at McGee’s Musings

I guess this blog thing is more than an experiment now, as I reach my fifth blogiversary. When I started this I was teaching information technology and knowledge management topics at the Kellogg School. Today, I’m helping clients deal much the same set of issues. We have powerful technology and new services that promise to make us more effective and productive. Sometimes they actually do.

This space is a place where I try to get my own thinking straight and a way to immerse myself better in the ongoing conversation of others trying to get their thinking straight. Some of them think in like-minded ways, others in very different ways, and all are important to the journey.

What I said last year remains true:

I remain interested in the challenges of making organizations better places for real people to work in and still believe that the effective use of technology makes a difference. I suspect that large organizations are nearing the end of their useful life and that the evolution toward new forms will continue to be painful and noisy. I worry about leaders and executives who choose to ignore facts and who can’t or won’t distinguish between the theory of evolution and the theory of who shot JFK. [McGee’s Musings]

As has become my custom, I want to thank those whose paths I’ve crossed, if only electronically:

Jenny Levine, AKMA, Terry Frazier, Betsy Devine, Buzz Bruggeman, Denham Grey, Marc Orchant, Cameron Reilly, Ernie Svenson, Judith Meskill, Jack Vinson, Ross Mayfield, Lilia Efimova, Jeremy Wagstaff, Matt Mower, Ton Zijlstra, Eric Snowdeal, Rick Klau, Greg Lloyd, Chris Nuzum, Jordan Frank, Halley Suitt, Jon Husband, Dina Mehta, Shannon Clark, Bruce MacEwen, Espen Andersen, Hylton Jolliffe, Stowe Boyd, Francois Gossieaux, Jim Berkowitz, Eric Lunt, Dennis Kennedy, Matt Homann, Jim Ware, Elizabeth Albrycht, Regina Miller, David Gurteen, Rik Reppe, Tom Davenport & Larry Prusak, John Sviokla, Bryan Rieger, Stephanie Rieger, Sheryle Bolton, Lynne Whitehorn-Umphres, Bill Ives, Giovanni Rodriguez, David Maister, Nancy White

Why email continues to be a poor project management tool

There’s no doubt that anyone who devotes a minute’s thought to it will conclude that email is a nearly useless tool for project management. Why then does email continue to be the default tool for most project management activity?

My first thought is that few people, in fact, devote any thought to the systemic role of communications in project management settings. If they consider communications at all, they assume that sending messages implies that they will be effectively received. That is not a symmetry that can be safely assumed.

For those experienced and wise enough to get past that barrier, they still need to become aware of the spectrum of potential choices for technologies to support relevant project communications and to invest design effort to use those technologies to create an effective communications environment. Ploughmann’s 10-to-1 rule is a good starting point to keep in mind as you start that design effort.

Lars Plougmann’s 10-to-1 rule of Email

My pal, Lars Plougmann provides us the fundmental law of the universe that demonstrates the stupidity of email-based collaboration:

#9 people read the email
# 8 people file the email (in their private folders, thereby duplicating effort)
# 7 people are interrupted in their work or thoughts when the email arrives
# 6 people will never be able to find the email again
# 5 people didn’t actually need to know about the change
# 4 people joining the project in the next phase wouldn’t have received the email
# 3 people will be able to find the email again, should they need to
# 2 people will check back to the email at a later date when they need the information
# 1 of them will understand the email in context, be able to find it at a later date and act on it

It’s like a vampire, sucking our plasma.

Things you really need to learn

Both Stephen Downes and Guy Kawasaki have some thought provoking notions embedded in their lists. Neither will take you anywhere near as much time to read as they took to write their advice, so you can count on getting a pretty good return on your investment by leveraging their wisdom.

Stephen Downes – Things You Really Need to Learn – Half an Hour

Your school will try to teach you facts, which you’ll need to pass the test but which are otherwise useless. In passing you may learn some useful skills, like literacy, which you should cultivate. But Guy Kawasaki is right in at least this: schools won’t teach you the things you really need to learn in order to be successful, either in business (whether or not you choose to live life as a toady) or in life. Here, then, is my list. This is, in my view, what you need to learn in order to be successful. [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why professors should blog

I agree with Espen’s assessment that this is a good general argument for why anyone who has an abiding interest in a topic might want to consider a blog as one primary outlet for their interests. Granted, I may be biased given that I started blogging when I was a professor.

Dan Cohen has an excellent article on this topic – which, if nothing else, is a pretty good argument for blogging in general and RSS feeding in particular.

Go for it. Nothing is as eternal (and as findable) as something written in silicon. Thanks to RSS, Google, and good ol’ Gordon Moore’s law, which pretty soon will lead to a situation where we are all working off the same (virtual) machine.

Link to Why professors should blog

Mind mapping survey results now available

If you’re doing knowledge work and not using mindmapping yet, you should be. Chuck Frey’s survey offers good insight into why.

Mind mapping survey results now available

During the month of August, I conducted a survey of business users of mind mapping software. My goals were to learn what executives are doing with mind mapping software, how it benefits them and what’s keeping it from being more widely used in business. The results were outstanding: over 500 people filled out the survey. Here is the URL where you can view the survey results.