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  Wednesday, March 06, 2002

IMing in the Real World-- Mine

In an effort to answer Doc and David's need understand Instant Messaging and Buddy Lists, here is how IMing works in my world.

IM offers me opportunity to keep connected with people. Buddy Lists are threads loosely joined in the fabric of my life.


A picture named lutrilskin.gif1. I work remotely (by choice) with several Fortune 500 clients all over the country. These clients pay me for access to my knowledge about community building and usability. Instead of emailing or calling me, I openly invite them to IM me to ask a question or for an opinion. It is exceptionally useful when I am testing something remotely, and the client is making major changes. IMing makes the work go fast-- and it's cheaper than a phone call.

2. During teleconferences or training by phone: one of the groups I work with quietly and privately forms an IM chat group and will make private notes and comments via IM to one another or the IM chat group. Remind people to turn off the computer audio to avoid embarrassing results. ;-) I can be a very effective way of getting key points made when the Q&A session starts. Or you can use it to discreetly direct a conversation.

3. When working on client sites, normally there is a team of people in charge of putting the site together and I rarely write the copy or JavaScript. The copywriters and programmers will IM with me the pieces I need to knit the sites together. (Cut and paste is a marvelous thing.) Also I can get the graphics people to dump pictures and graphics directly to my desktop for my approval without me ever having to miss a cup of my own coffee.

4. IM as Parental Control. Don't laugh. I have friends and family members who use IM to check on their older kids when they are at work. Cases in fact:

1. One friend works at the University of Iowa Computer Center, 65 miles from home. His 15 year old, Jason, comes home from school and IMs his father at work. Then Jason does his homework, chores and he can ask his parents about what he can or can't do/or ask permission to have/watch/eat/go while his parents finish their last two hours at work.

2. Another lady I work with remotely lives in Denver. She is a single mom with three kids 22 miles away from her office. She uses IM talk her kids at home after school, and she just installed a webcam. She has been doing this for three years very successfully. This technology allows mom to know what's going on at home and get her work done. On days she is on the road, she can IM via her cell phone or the kids check in with Grandpa, who lives in Hawaii. BTW it must be working because her oldest daughter just got accepted to Yale.

3. I get "check-in" reports from my niece and nephew everyday when they get home from school via IM from Rock Island, Illinois to Diamond Bar, CA-- a scant 1700 miles away or Doug's nephew in the next town West. Because I'm home working, I'm their "Official Back Up Adult" when Mom and Dad aren't available or in case of emergency. The kids in Illinois use it to check on me whenever the California landscape starts shaking or their is a blizzard/tornado back there.

The key that makes all of this work-- is a cable modem or dsl installed with a firewall at home so it is not eating up a businesses bandwidth.

Trillian-MiniPromo1-B.gif 5. My high school class is planning for our 30th class reunion this year. Many of us live all over the country. We wanted to be involved in planning the reunion and we hated cla$$ We decided to save the some money on cla$$mates and long-distance phone bills, so-- we posted our IM names in a private email list. Because some people were on MSN and others on AOL or ICQ, we all are using Trillian ( in order to keep in touch and plan for our big three day reunion. Out of a class of over 850 people, we have nearly 350 IM names, and 600 email address-- and it looks like we will have the largest turnout ever for a class reunion in the high schools history. The group as decided instead of having one of those expensive printed memory books-- we're putting up a website with a page for every class member. IM made it possible to make group decisions and include everyone in the planning.

Andy I am so cute5. Keeping in touch: I have large number of people we try to keep in contact with from previous jobs, friends. Even the breeder of our new baby Schnauzer, Andy, who lives in Iowa, keeps in touch with us and sees pictures of her prized puppy via IM.

From where I sit my Buddy Lists are loosely woven communities. My Buddy Lists are a direct reflection of the people or representative groups of people who interact in my life.

Most people do not give out their IM point of contact because: 1. they protect their privacy or feel they are too busy to take an IM. 2. They feel they are being "watched" on IM. 3. They are concerned about security issues, normally from a lack of knowledge or understanding how to safely setup an IM program. And 4. people feel that by giving someone your IM name, you are giving them permission to interrupt you. The forget that they have the tools available to control who can and can't contact you, in a manner that works best for them.

BTW-- if you look in the left column, you will see you can IM me from here. Thanks to Jennifer for the help in setting it up.


3:59:55 PM    

How the Other Half Lives--

A picture named 01CitationJetExt.gifI grew up living next to an airport most of my life. "jumping a jet" or plane was a common event. I had two uncles and many family friends who owned the planes in the hangers at the end of the road. When I was an elite skater, many times I was invited to ride along in an extra seat in one of the corporate planes to get to my skating lessons or a competition, while they were going to a meeting or somewhere. I honestly never thought anything special about it until the other day... Yesterday's email proved that one can bypass the airport headaches if you can afford it. offers people the opportunitity to "jump a jet" by bidding on an available seat on a private aircraft to reach your destination vs. run the local maze at the public airports. Or CharterAuction offers company executives to bid on booking an entire plane for a trip vs. chartering with a local flight service.

This isn't Priceline! But it offers an option, with a more comfortable seat than  John Robb's ultralight aircraft suggestion.  <grin>

5:49:36 AM    

Hughes Sits Out Worlds

According to the NYTimes and the USFSA, Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes, has decided to sit out the upcoming World Championships in Nagano, Japan. The deadline for the March 18-24 competition was today.  Reason: Pretty simple-- it is impossible for Sarah to do all of the personal appearances, endorsements, interviews and photo sessions-- and give proper attention to the practice schedule necessary to maintain the competitive edge that won Hughes her Olympic Gold.

Sarah maintains she is still going to continue to compete, but when she will return to competition is yet to be seen.  The USFSA states she plans to return for The Hershey's Kisses Great American Figure Skating Challenge in New Haven, Conn., April 16.

Rulon Gardner, Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist, was finally release from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center today in a wheelchair. Gardner sustained severe frostbite after spending a night in the freezing Teton National Forest when his snowmobile slid down a riverbank during an outting with friends.  According to his father, Gardner appears to be one lucky man and as avoided any amputation of his toes from the accident. Gardner was to appear at the SLC Olympics and take part in the Olympic Spirit Awards.

It also appears the IOC isn't done with the Austrian Ski Team and the charges of Blood Doping they have levied, since the discovery of Blood Transfusion setups were discovered in a condo rented by the team in SLC.  The Austrian federation is now saying they had a legitimate medical reason for the setups. The Austrian ski federation said its athletes used the material for ultraviolet radiation treatment of their blood, describing the method as being "exclusively for disease prevention" and not doping.  IOC Officials, Dick Pound, Patrick Schamasch and President Jack Rogge aren't buying it. Schamasch and Rogge, both medical doctors, have stated they "are willing to go completely to the end on this investigation." Translation: DNA Testing-- and they have confirmed this to the media and to Dick Pound World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman. The Austrian Ski Team is claiming they are emulating a method of disease prevention used in spas and by alternative medical practioners, where about 100 ml of an athletes blood is drawn, treated with ultraviolet light and then reinjected within 10 mins (prior to clotting) and then given a large dose of Vitamin C. Dr. Schamasch said, "I do not see any other explanation except if you can come to the Olympic Games with a very ill person who needs a blood pack. As far as I know we didn't have any athletes in Salt Lake City suffering from renal failure." 

No lie. The IOC's on a real witch hunt on this situtation. This story is still unfolding. Stay tuned.

2:48:31 AM    

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