What makes people great at work?

Answering this question even half-decently in your organization may lead to an impressive performance increase. Here is my take on that: The most satisfactory factor is getting results by using one's skills. This is to be compounded by: * recognition for a job well done (especially by knowledgeable peers, and optionally boss) * tackling a challenge that was not too stupid to tackle in the first place ("Flow" anyone?) People aren't cogs in the machine. When considered as such, things go south. Take each of these points and assign them a rating (from -5 [unneeded] up to +5 [critical]) associated to how important you personally feel the criteria is for success. Then do the same but rank how important this appears in your professional environment. The discrepency between both may help you pick some areas ripe for improvement!

Volatility up, dollar rally, commodities down. Time to make some money?

Today is interesting as the trend is continuing. I am doing my trades in EUR. Look at the SLV - Silver. Volumes and dip quite strong. Coupled with the Dollar rally against the Euro, this makes it even stronger for me. Time to buy on the dip? Time to sell gold as the dollar makes this attractive for accounts labeled in EUR? But both are coupled. Value of the dollar up, precious metals store less of it. So value of precious metal down. Well, if you believe that QE2 and the printing press mania really makes the dollar valuable. I dont. The in times like this, one can have a view on things like the VIX. VIX is the volatility index. VIX is up when the world goes down. These days, the VIX is up again after a month or two of down trend. But the upwards dynamic is quite strong. This is the times where one can really make a great deal or two provided he/she has the guts. My motto: buy on dips, sell on rallies. Looks like I can do both right now to good effect.

We are in for some interesting times

We are in for some interesting times

Dollar rally vs EUR

Dollar rally vs EUR

Very interesting post on eLearning

I am in the process of deploying Chamilo for our eLearning project. Chamilo is to be used in parallel with Tiki. From the Chamilo Blog, here is an interesting article on how eLearning help you thrive and dispels some myths about it.

iPad2 and information creation

I am typing this on an iPad2 and inside Quickoffice. I am reading a ton of eBooks and given my not so suberb eyesight, I needed something that would support what I am reading. So, let's try this out. Is the iPad a joy to use? Well, it depends. There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in the way things are done. For one, there is no file system so to speak. And no built in productivity application like this one. You have to shell money for the applications, adding €50 or more to have something dece Of course, one could work with Google documents on the system. But this translates into being connected all the time. So, Quickoffice was my choice here. Pages is fine but really not what you need when you use the device for dealing with Office style documents. For presentations, Keynote is nice and I got a copy of it. And you really start to understand what "cloud" means on such a device. Dropbox, Google Documents, and MobileMe all make a lot more sense to use here. I expected a better camera at such a price point and it definitely sucks. A lot of grain. Not a great focus. Reading outdoors is a big no-no. For that a Kindle is the way to go. But even as iPad users are mainly using the device for gaming, that's not what I have in mind for my own use. To be frank, consuming information is great. As long as the information isn't fast food style. One can get addicted to such things as RSS feeds, Twitter streams, Flipbook, and, the ultimate time waster of all: Facebook. Being constantly distracted is a big issue these days. But to achieve anything meaningful one needs to concentrate and produce meaningful results. The iPad helps in producing content for me because it works well in places that are completely unsuited for holding a laptop but perfect for thinking. Try a laptop in a hammock!

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Test driving Pages on iPad

It looks like that I now have all applications of iWork on my iPad (except Numbers but I don't use it anyway). After a moment of adjustment, typing on the screen keyboard appears eminently doable. Well, in landscape mode that is. In portrait, it is a pain. It is clear that the device takes much less space on a tabletop than a laptop and is much less intrusive due to it's low profile. With the smart cover helping with a gentle slope it really is nice to use. Text selection works but is still a pain to work with. Maybe do I need more testing. Of course, multitasking is not yet as smooth as I want but there are also positives on the iPad, especially when it comes to the integration of social applications. I wrote several WordPress posts and it went fine. Also the Twitter client is really zippy and nice to use. The net result is that for dealing with business matters, it is way sufficient. Of course, one is not going to code software on this thing. But writing content and editing it is great. I also gave a shot to GarageBand and it was a nice surprise. The touchscreen adds a really interesting dimension to it. And iMovie is also fine to use. For basic edits and titling, it fits the bill. One thing about typing on the iPad is the following: the US keyboard layout is much more usable for a lot of things than the French keyboard. Especially for things like dollar signs and so on. And accents do work from the US keyboard anyway. So, back to qwerty for now! One ridiculous thing tough is that given the size of the keyboard on screen, one can only see a small chunk of the text at once. There is a full screen button, but the keyboard is then gone... Too bad. All in all it is an interesting device and piece of software. As always with Apple, you get top notch stuff at top of the line prices. Like with the smart cover. Got myself a leather cover. €69 for a cover? Insane! But get it and you won't regret the expense. I see this as paying to be part of the in crowd. Sometimes, that's the way to go. But with the price of the device, the cover, and basic software, you quickly reach €1K. As a professional expense that's all right and valuable. But for private things, it is damn expensive as a book reader or game console. So, this will conclude this typing exercise in Pages on the iPad. Generally satisfactory. And for sure, superior to anything you could get from an android device. Add to this that the integration with MacOSX is perfect and we have a perfect winner for the premium segment.

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Europe lagging behind on innovation – #eyif

We are behind the US and Japan. Behind us, China and India are catching up. (I'd say that they are going to rush past but...) We need to get our act together... You bet! The issue is that momentum doesn't happens overnight... And the behemoths are in motion. Inertia works both ways! Filing for a patent in Europe: the nightmare. Universities: modernization needed. Woot, this is voiced! Hurray! Make sure young companies have a chance to get off the ground. Well, the ASE in Wallonia has another idea on that! Hell! Look at what is possible at the moment.