A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is unusual.  I am not one to voice any political ideals; be they right, center or left.  I haven’t the time to stay current on all aspects of foreign and domestic issues.  I do watch more closely since the debacle (farce, disaster, calamity, tragedy) of 2008. I am dumbfounded by the way our political system works – or doesn’t work. I took this photo because it said something to me.  Can you see it?  I have always loved America, its origins, the makeup of its people and most of all, the possibilities. I would like to say that I have always been proud.  I can’t.  The pride is clouded DSC2097by the incredible success greed (gluttony, avarice, insatiability) seems to have had in our economy and sadly in all our lives. Whether it is Monsanto, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, AIG,  Novartis, Exxon Mobil, or BP, we have a major problem with influence.  I am so tired of the rhetoric, so tired of politicians, lobbyists, democrats and republicans.

We have such potential as a nation. I don’t know what the solution is.  I do know it will take a group of incredibly honest (sincere, decent, law-abiding, moral, truthful) and remarkable (intelligent, clever, experienced, intellectual, gifted, shrewd, rational) leaders to effect change.

I sit in wonderment staring at this picture and ponder a better America.

Happy Holidays everyone!  May 2015 be the year of such new leaders.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Tracking Weight Loss – On and Off

This article really has nothing to do with weight loss.  It is an article about business intelligence.  But there is a direct relationship.  Stay with me.

Those who know me know that I struggle with the common problem of weight gain.  Those of us that love food share this problem in Lose-itcommon. It is, to say the least, a struggle.  For more than five years I have been tracking, on and off, my food intake and my weight in a mobile App called Lose-it.  The specific numbers have been wiped from view to avoid further embarrassment. The chart clearly shows the upward climb when the cycle is Off and the downward decent when the cycle is On.   It is very clear, when you record your weight and understand your intake, you will lose weight.  When you ignore your weight and your intake, you will gain weight if you are predisposed to gain weight like I am. So what is the problem?  Why can’t I persist and maintain the On schedule. Well understanding what I now understand through the clarity of graphic intelligence, I think I can. I really do.

So how does this relate to business and why am I sharing this personal information with you?  Because the same thing that applies to weight loss applies to business.  Watching intake and outflow and managing your business will improve results. The issue is how do you view your business intelligence? This – business intelligence or BI – is a subject that is beginning to get some legs.  Oracle, IBM, SAP and Microsoft are working hard to ease these tools into existing software architecture.

Over the coming months we will be working with Microsoft BI tools and your SQL Server data to help you get a better view of your ins / outs and gains / losses.  Like the chart above, business charts and graphs reviewed regularly and systematically will help the decision making process towards success – whatever that looks like to you! Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized.

Microsoft OneNote

I thought I had reviewed Microsoft OneNote before but it seems I have not. Shame on me! Microsoft OneNote is a quiet little powerhouse of an application. Think of it as an incredible personal assistant organizing every aspect of your life. Office 365 users have this application at your fingertips.

So what is it? It is an enormous file cabinet, the contents of which are safely synchronized to the cloud and accessible using your office desktop, home desktop, laptop, Windows or MAC, iPad or iPhone.

The file cabinet is filled with Notebooks containing colored folders, the tabs of which are displayed for quick access. Within the folders are pages, subpages and sub-subpages. Within a page can be a year’s worth of emails, contract documents or memos, links to web references, attached spreadsheet, a Visio diagram, screen-shots, pictures, recorded audio notes and even video clips.

It works with scanners, news readers, livescribe smartpens, Office Lens, OneNote Clipper, Feedly and more! Share a Notebook with employees, collaborators or partners. Mutually make modifications to folders or pages and OneNote will not only synchronize those changes but maintain a history of revisions as well.

Integrate Outlook with OneNote and you are able to link between a calendar item, like a meeting, to the notes you took in that meeting. Once the connection is made, synchronization between OneNote and Outlook allows you to flip back and forth between event and the notes for the event. A great use is to email OneNote pages directly from OneNote to participants of a meeting.

OneNote is one of those tools that is so powerful, most users will only use a tiny sliver. Let us know if you would like to really like to implement OneNote. At a minimum, take some time and watch some Youtube videos.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Can You Say Capacitive?

What is a stylus?  What is a capacitive stylus? Do we even need one?  Let’s ask  Steve Jobs.  Going back to 2007, Steve always thought we didn’t need a  stylus when we could use any one of our ten fingers.  Why? He thought we would  lose them (we do),  he thought it wasn’t natural (it isn’t), he thought we  should use the best pointing device in the world – our finger (he was right).  However, there are many applications that just feel better with a  stylus that feels like  a pen, a pencil or a brush.  I have a number of styli (plural for stylus).

But I set out to create my own unique stylus. I wanted something heartier, heavier and comfortable to hold. Pictured here is  the utensil I created from an old tree I found in the back yard, my lathe and  an old metal stylus I had laying around.  Along the way, I discovered the  science behind a capacitive stylus required for capacitive sensing screens like  iPad’s and iPhones. Creating a capacitive stylus requires that  the tip of the stylus transfer the static electricity from a person’s hand to  the sensors on the screen. In essence, it needs to conduct electricity. So how  did my primitive custom stylus work out?  Not so hot.  If my fingers  were close to the metal stylus tip, it worked great. If I held this device on  its end away from the tip, it did not work at all.  Solution?  Wrap  the entire wooden object with aluminum foil.  That worked great — until the aluminum foil tore or just fell off in which case I was back to  square one. You see, wood is not a good conductor of electricity. Who knew that was important!

So I am heading  back to the drawing board searching for a wood like product that can be molded  but also conducts electricity.  Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized.

Windows 8.1 is Here

Although this is generally a fix release, it does provide some important improvements.

  • Variable, Continuous Size of Snap Views; You have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at once. When displaying multiple apps at once, you can easily resize the width of the app window to suit your needs. Depending on screen size and resolution, you can even share the screen with three, or four apps on each monitor.
  • Boot to Desktop; You can now configure Windows 8.1 to boot directly to the desktop after logon.
  • Desktop and Start Screen; Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.
  • Improved Internet Explorer; Internet Explorer 11 improvements include faster page load times, side-by-side browsing of your sites, enhanced pinned site notifications, and app settings like favorites, tabs and settings sync across all your Windows 8.1 PCs. Internet Explorer 11 now includes capability that enables an antimalware solution to scan the input for a binary extension before it’s passed onto the extension for execution
  • Broadband Tethering; Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
  • Wi-Fi Direct Printing; Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.
Posted in Uncategorized.

Yes, We Are Pushing Office 365!

For the past year, we have been pushing Office 365.  To some, it may have seemed that we were mandating the changeover.  There is a method to our madness.  It isn’t just that you will be using the latest available version of the software.  It isn’t that it provides a more secure environment.  It isn’t that there are more than a billion other people using Microsoft Office. There is another reason.

Office 365 is the best suite of office and communication applications moving towards Unified Communications.  Unified communications includes all the ways we communicate.  It includes voice, video, text, Office365sinstant messaging, social chat, collaboration and common tools for sharing information.  This is a term we don’t usually see in office applications because we are at the forefront of a rising technology. It has been pure theory for so many years with many vendors offering a solution, but none of them has turned out to be a real contender.  I have looked at unified communications and collaboration intensely over the last 5 years. I have had some hopes over the years.  Google Wave introduced in 2009 and offered some really imaginative multi-lingual communication tools but was killed off in 2010, and with FirstClass from OpenText which has never able to stay current. There is Basecamp which handles only some aspects of unified communication. Even Microsoft SharePoint introduced in 2007 could never find a real footing. It continues to miss the boat.

That said, Microsoft has created standards we live with every day and is making strides by expanding the universality of these standards.  We all know what a DOC (Word) or an XLS (Excel) file is and more and more of us know what a MDB and ACCDB (Access) file is or a PUB (Publisher) file or even a VSD (Visio).  We are also learning what PST and OST files are.  These are all standards created by Microsoft.  Sure there are other standards, PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) and ZIP (compressed file), MP3 (music), MP4 (video) are examples. But, in the end, we communicate with a certain set of tools each and every day.  These tools include voice, text, email, time-sharing (calendar), file-sharing and social media.  The easier we can share, search, find, schedule and assimilate, the easier we can communicate.  The easier we communicate and collaborate, the better we understand one another and understanding is the cornerstone of cooperation, progress and peace.

Microsoft Office 365 provides a way for all of us to improve the way we communicate and collaborate. It isn’t perfect yet, but it is far superior to Google Apps which remain disjointed and less integrated with your desktop. It is light-years away from FirstClass, and far and away more robust than any other offering on the market.

With the right Microsoft Partner, companies can harness the latest versions of Outlook, SharePoint, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, Publisher, OneNote and Lync within their entire organization and spread the ability to communicate and collaborate with customers and vendors.  For more information email me at rmj@trif.com or click on our Office365 page.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Fighting with Father Time

As I get older it seems time moves faster.  Not figuratively, literally.  Faster and faster.  It is harder to accomplish grand tasks and it is more difficult to undertake new projects.  But has time really changed?  No, of course it hasn’t.  If life were a meal, the problem becomes the size of the menu. The menu of options available becomes so over whelming that it is difficult to concentrate on the entrée. We need also to taste the appetizer and the salad and of course the dessert, and lest we forget about the wine, cappuccino or biscotti. Life becomes so rich, so diversified that it is becomes a near impossibility to enjoy all of its fruits. At the same time, it seems working to afford these riches is taking up more and more of our time. Do we spend too much of our time working?

What about…  Family? Art? Volunteering? Music? Nature? Reading? Health and wellness? Community? Playing? Hobbies? Learning?  Oh my, the list of possibilities is confounding.  It is no wonder so many of us have difficulty juggling all the balls we have in the air.  It is not surprising we have anxiety for fear we are not doing all that we should be doing.  Is it surprising to hear that 1 in 5 Americans take medications for anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders?  Is it surprising that the figure is 1 in 4 for women?  These numbers have risen 20% in the last 10 years. The use of anti-anxiety medications have risen 30% in young adults in a ten-year period. (Statistics source: 2010 research study by Medco Health Solutions, Inc.)

Is there an answer?  How do we create balance in our lives so that we feel fulfilled without becoming over-stuffed or worse, under-fulfilled.  When life’s choices stare us in the face, why do we not opt for peace, calm, nature, simplicity and tranquility?  What drives us to take the path of harder and longer work days?  When does the guilt begin and end?    Why do some people (like I once did) commute 3 or more hours every day essentially discarding 10 percent of their lives?  It appears to be entrapment of some kind. We all need to strive for a better life. We need to work towards making different decisions based on the entirety of our lives.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but as with all things, an increased awareness and a real consciousness of our decisions can make the difference.  If we consciously confront each fork in the road understanding the impact each path has on the balance of our lives, we just might be able to improve our lot in life.

The concept of ALL WORK AND NO PLAY harkens back to the mid 1600’s.  When will we see the light?  Our elected officials, our business community, our employers, our health institutions should begin to grasp the impact of all work and no play.  It is time for the balance of life to change.  As American’s, it is our unalienable right!


For your reading pleasure, here is the Declaration of Independence:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.  — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.  — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.



Posted in Uncategorized.

FaceBook is Sinking

FaceBook is loosing market share. They are on the downturn and if they don’t take action quickly, more than a billion users will defect. How long does it take a billion users to jump ship in favor of another web app that allows them to commune with friends and family? Lets look at MySpace. Lets go back further and look at AOL? They were a great innovation, but they weren’t great innovators. They didn’t change with the times and therefore they got left behind.

You can see the handwriting on the walls and it is inevitable that FaceBook will fail, and sooner than their shareholders think. You see FaceBook is making the fatal mistake of taking their customers for granted. They believe their hold on us is so strong that they can infiltrate our news-feeds, our personal community, our space, with ads and sponsored sites. They have put aside the mission of FaceBook in favor of short dollars. You can almost hear the sucking sound of the corporate MBA’s that are blindly steering the ship into an iceberg they can’t even see. And as fast as the Titanic sunk, so shall FaceBook. Fast, cold, deadly and with few survivors. People do not take kindly to being taken for granted and they sure won’t tolerate being used. Mark should know better.

But we do need to connect. All of us seek out others with whom we share our lives. We all need to be part of a greater community. This is the premise upon which FaceBook and all social media is built upon. However, people will not long tolerate abuse.

Mark Goulston said it quite well in a 2011 article he wrote for FastTimes:
“Most people in the world feel multiple absences and gaps in their careers, their effectiveness, their jobs, their relationships, their marriages, their families, their friends and perhaps most importantly in their actual being. They not only feel these absences, they feel self-doubt and confusion. That is what makes them initially open to pushy people (who on the surface seem supremely confident). However when it is revealed that those pushy people don’t really care about them and only about themselves, self-doubting people feel baited and switched, ripped off and betrayed.”

FaceBook, take note. Stockholder’s beware. Innovators, opportunity is knocking. Knock, knock.

Posted in Social Media. Tagged with , .

Microsoft Lync

TRI has used VoIP for more than a year.  That is telephony over the Internet.  However, we just recently switched to Microsoft Lync.  We have done away with telephones.  We have cordless headsets connected to a base station connected to our desktop computers. When away from the office, we can still use Lync on our home computers or laptop or Microsoft Surface with a headset wired or wireless.  Some of the great features of Lync are:

  • Interoperability with Microsoft Outlook
  • Voice to text emails; that is an email is sent when a message is received that converts the voice message to text within an email.
  • Scheduled multi-party conference calling
  • Video conferencing
  • Online meetings
  • In-house instant messaging

Please know that TRI can help with the configuration of Lync.

Microsoft details many of the features like this:

Microsoft Lync ushers in a new connected experience transforming every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative, engaging and accessible from nearly anywhere with an Internet connection. A single interface unites voice, IM, audio‐, video‐, and web‐conferencing into a richer, more contextual offering and a single identity makes it easier and more efficient for users to find contacts, check their availability and connect with them. Lync works consistently with Microsoft Office, enriching the experience of familiar applications like Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Microsoft SharePoint, and more.

Get More Done in Less Time The powerful collaboration tools in Microsoft Lync help you get more done in less time, so you can be present where and when you need to be most.

Contacts Microsoft Lync makes it easy to keep all your contacts in one place, so you can communicate more easily. Contacts can be sorted by groups, presence status, and relationship.

Presence Microsoft Lync helps you stay connected, but it also gives you the flexibility to choose when and how you can be contacted.

Understanding Presence Lync provides an immediate, visual representation of a contact’s availability, or presence. By simply looking at the contact list, you can find everything you need at a glance. For example, a green icon means a contact is available, red means a contact is busy, and yellow indicates that a contact is Away from the computer. Wherever a contact’s name appears—in an e‐mail message or on a team site— status and contact information also is displayed. Presence information can be set by the contact manually, or selected based on available calendar information.

Changing your Presence Status Changing your presence status helps coworkers know when you are and aren’t available. Presence is enhanced in Lync with pictures, location information, and additional states such as “Off Work” to provide more granular information about availability and communication preferences.

Instant Messaging Starting an instant messaging (IM) session is as simple as double‐clicking a contact name from your Contact List. This opens the Conversation window where you enter your IM and view responses from others.

Be at the Center of Your Network Microsoft Lync helps connect with your network of friends, colleagues and partners so you can stay in touch. It enables you to communicate with contacts from federated networks, including Windows Live, AOL, and Yahoo! And picture‐enhanced presence information, automatic contacts lists, and activity feeds let you add your personal touch.

Setting Your Location Microsoft Lync makes it easy to let others know where you are and how to reach you. Microsoft Lync can automatically determine your location when you login again from places you frequent. To set your location.

Conferencing Options Microsoft Lync offers robust conferencing options, including IM, audio‐, video‐, and web‐conferences giving you many collaboration tools to be more successful. Lync is all you need for all types of meetings, both scheduled and spontaneous. And simple “water‐cooler” IM conversations can be escalated to an audio conference with desktop sharing among members instantly, easily, and without interrupting the conversation flow. Plus, video conferencing with Lync you can integrate video into your conferences by using a webcam.

Posted in Colaboration, Communication.


WordPress has become the standard in web-based site development for a very simple reason, it can be edited on the web instead of using advanced web development tools like Adobe Dreamweaver. We have used WordPress for a number of years for our blog, but now have decided to use it for our web site as well. As we move further and further into the cloud, WordPress affords us the flexibility to develop on the A Team Meetingweb for the web. It will allow us to be more current and timely. It will allow us to be more content oriented because after all, WordPress is a content management system first and foremost.With WordPress, we can use images, photos, referenced documents and other media to embed into the site to make the information more valuable to our clients and our prospects.

It will also help make our site more personal because we believe business is personal. Our business is based on personal relationships that have been strengthened over many years of working closely together. We believe that using WordPress will allow our website interact with our clients in a more personal way. we hope you enjoy the new look and feel of www.trif.com and get value from the insights we make available.More posts are available on our blog.

Posted in TRI, website. Tagged with , .