Mar 312011

It is essential for you to focus on people to derive value from technology. The technology in this case is SharePoint. We went on a SharePoint field trip today. It’s springtime. Springtime for me is the most optimistic season. It passes quickly, so you have got to plant the seeds before time fleets away. I’m talking about making your business contacts count. SharePoint is a great platform for springtime.

As we drove from San Francisco to Sacramento to be with partners and customers today, I viewed expansive green hillsides, happy waterfowl in the bay and delta waters, trees with tight green buds everywhere, getting ready to burst. American River surging at full capacity. Anticipation. Our business development efforts to support Microsoft customers using our Brava and Redact-It technology within the SharePoint platform in many ways reflects our optimism of springtime.


Sharing Is For Winners
SharePoint Community Development remains a key marketing and sales strategy for my firm, Informative Graphics. Our sponsorship of events like SharePoint Fest, partner road shows, SharePoint Solution Expos, and SharePoint Saturdays bring us face to face with serious personal and business challenges and glorious opportunities to improve the lives of many people.

Here are three engagement examples that spur me on a quest to deliver our SharePoint solutions.

1. Child abuse or neglect, however you define it, has devastating impacts on vulnerable persons. When we received an invitation to curb the threat of child abuse by helping a social services staff with a SharePoint design and deployment and our Brava viewer and Redact-IT technologies, we jumped at the chance to give aid to the IT administrators responsible to support the case workers for the children. A chance to let the green buds meet the sunshine.

2. Engineers brought us in to help them build a gas pipeline that links remote production fields to energy customers like hospitals and home owners. These engineers need to view and collaborate on a software system that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Our Brava viewer in SharePoint is the answer. We offered them a way to view and collaborate with non-Microsoft CAD DWG file types inside a Microsoft platform, SharePoint. How cool is that? That is springtime.

3. We supply financial services advisors who assist as many upside down homeowners as possible to renegotiate payment terms of their mortgage loans and credit card debt. We provide them a tool for masking sensitive private information as they view, collaborate, and make notes in mountains of digital and paper documents. We enable them to efficiently process these documents in a secure environment, and to manage sensitive private information effectively through redaction services.

SharePoint Saturday Events Like the one in Santa Monica Are Vital Growth Opportunities

Reasons For You To Go

  • Enjoy the value of peer to peer interactions
  • Make contacts you can call on the phone or meet afterwords
  • Find others going through the same challenges as you at the same time
  • Explore common issues
  • Get into interactive opportunities in round table and small group discussions
  • Continue conversations with peers
  • Meet people who you wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to meet
  • Learn more about SharePoint


In the great tradition that is SharePoint Saturday, we’ll be sponsoring and attending the Los Angeles event on April 2nd. Come join us to experience the impact of springtime.

Aug 042010

Trends Taking Shape In Music Will Yield Opportunities For Some And Threaten Others

It seems to me that there is a growing contention between Google and Apple. One can’t stay out of the other’s business more and more. Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO drops from the board of directors at Apple. Apple blocks Google’s Admob service from being the sole advertising system on their iPhones. Now Google moves into the digital marketplace for music. Have you thought about what this means for you?

Both firms have increased revenue phenomenally over the last few years. Apple passed Microsoft in market capitalization. They’ve expanded their core service offerings, added new products, created new marketplaces, and increasingly have been getting into each other’s clouds and smart phone customers. When Google recently revealed their online music marketplace, everyone roared about the storm clouds forming. No wonder, Apple with their iTunes store leads the way for all contenders, and vigorously defends iTunes. Those in the music industry widely recognize their capitulation when they let Apple launch the iTunes store.

When I heard recently that 40% of the music business is digital downloads, I was quite surprised because I thought a much higher percentage of the music business was digital downloads.Apparently, CD’s at 60% are still a major distribution medium for music in 2010. The tech titans are making an end run, based on a number of factors, but what’s interesting to me are couple key trends: cloud computing and smart mobile devices.

There’s a feeding frenzy on music content and the trends affect all stakeholders in profound and mundane ways. If you’d like to read further trends and the impact on consumers, artists, music business wags, technologists, and advertisers, check out my survey on your music preferences.

Side Notes

I invite you to tell us about your stories of enjoyment using your music player device, whether you play an iPod, an mp3 device, or an ordinary CD player, a time where you set the tone at an event with music, or were the self appointed DJ, you were the Karaoke favorite, you had so much fun you drained the battery, or you inflamed your passion.

Please Tell People About Honest Intentions

If you like this article, please Tweet it with the little blue button below, or tell a friend through the Share and Enjoy buttons below.  I have been introduced to these features to make it easier for you to email it to a friend or add it to your favorite social media website.  I understand that if you Digg it or bookmark it on Delicious or Stumbleupon, that will get more readers here. Many of my thanks in advance for your help. I appreciate it.

Jan 052010

The International CES show this week in Las Vegas will attract over a hundred thousand people and the 3000 or so exhibitors will launch countless new products for their customers.

One product that many customers will be affixing their identification labels to is the Android. For me, along with millions of others, the Android is the ultimate handheld device. There are other models like Eris, Hero, Nexus One, Cosmos, and Devour, but the one I’m referring to is the Motorola A855 unit with a giant touch screen, keyboard and Google Operating System, currently available on the Verizon Wireless network.

After several years, I retired my Windows Mobile device. For some time, I’ve been jealous of iPhone customers, mainly because of the software from the app store. However, the Droid has extinguished my iPhone envy, for many reasons. The device and OS have many salient features which you can learn about elsewhere. Here, I’ll touch on a few applications available to Droid customers.

You increase the functionality of your device by adding applications from the Droid Market, which is similar to Apple’s app store. You’ll find almost every conceivable application you might need. Here are my current top ten quality of life improvement apps that I’ve been using since I acquired my Droid a week or so ago. This info will probably change by the time you read it. I recommend Android road warriors check these out, and I invite you to leave a comment here and share the golden nugget applications that bring you joy.

  Application What it does Type Cost
1. Twidroid Twitter platform Productivity Free
2. CompanionLink Synchronizes calendar, tasks and contacts with many other PC platforms, like Outlook; can be done with or without loading all your personal data into Cloud or Google. Productivity $39.95
3. Facebook Mobile reader, editor functions. Comes with unit. Social, Productivity Free
4. Foursquare Connect with your friends. Transmit your location in real time or historically, discover new places, share yelp like comments about places you’ve been or want to go. Social Free
5. Pandora Programmable music, as simple to use as radio, but you chose the artists. Entertainment Free
6. PdaNet Makes your Droid into a data transport modem for cutting hotel bills and enables your laptop to be on the web anywhere, free from congestion or fickle links of a shared Wi-Fi segment. Productivity $29.00
7. PhoneMyPC Gives you remote access to operate your desktop PC from Droid. Productivity Limited Beta Program $5 or $10
8. Qik Publish videos and receive real time feedback while filming and file sharing in the cloud. Social Free
9. WaveSecure In case its lost, gives you locking, tracking SIM, location, wipeout, restore backup for SMS, contacts, call logs. Works in background automatically. Productivity Free
10. Trapster Lets you identify police speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras, and other roadway wallet hazards. Social Free
Dec 302009

As the New Year draws close, we have the opportunity to clarify our vision for success and outline our strategies and tactics. I’m talking about you being honest with yourself.

Why do you do it?

If you’ve experienced pain recently, then it’s time to look at your situation differently and change the way you do things. If everything for you is hunky dory, then you don’t need to read the rest of this post; but you’re welcome to share with me your secrets of success.

The Interesting Part

Most people find growing pains too uncomfortable, and they avoid it. I view it as a learning experience. Even if I don’t have a complete understanding of how or why it happened to me, I answer it with a philosophical response. “I know there’s a reason this is going on, and I’ll figure it out.” It’s nature talking to me. I get inspiration from nature every day in some way. I know others do, and that gives me more enthusiasm for my own vision and goals. I’ll give you an example. At the San Francisco Academy of Sciences yesterday, I viewed the architecture of the building and how nature has been integrated with engineering. The building has a roof of plant life. It’s like a living roof. I thought it was interesting that they are recruiting volunteers to help pick weeds.

How do you get started?

Your go dos:

  1. Sketch out these items on a piece of paper, a napkin, or a digital file.
  2. Make a schedule in your weekly calendar for completing more details, amending and revising a little bit at a time.
  3. Use some kind of system that you consistently implement. I use a system which goes like this: day in, day out; week in, week out; month in, month out.
  4. I take a little time at the end of each period to reflect on my status and progress. Do you?
  5. Recharge, revise, and re-engage.

Let me know if you’d like further details about how this looks for me, and I’ll send you a draft.

Dec 032009

Tiger shanked one into the woods the other day when he rammed his Cadillac into a tree. He has more repair work than his SUV. His health is OK. That’s good. It’s no big deal, right? Wrong. The speculation about conditions preceding the event has been a firestorm in public conversations. Some rumors I’ve heard are his wife chasing him with a nine iron, breaking glass in his escape vehicle, him driving barefoot, and the extramarital affairs with other women, Rachel Uchitel and Jamiee Grubbs. The interesting part for me is it comes down to character and how he responds to the present situation. Is he being honest?

This crash was a very minor mistake, considering his injuries weren’t severe. The Florida Highway Patrol gave him a careless driving charge, a $164 fine, and four points on his driving record. He’ll pay for a broken fire hydrant too. That penalty causes Tiger less damage than a bogey on a hole in one of his golf tournaments.

If this event happened to an ordinary citizen, small harm, no foul. But this didn’t happen to an ordinary citizen. It happened to Tiger Woods. The same guy that agreed to “I am Tiger” commercials on television, portraying him as a saint, and letting him collect millions upon millions of consumer dollars in endorsements from firms like Accenture, AT&T, EA Sports, Gatorade, Gillette, Nike, TAG Heuer, Dubailand, TLC Laser Eye Centers, Upper Deck, and the PGA Tour. EA Sports already said they’d stand by Tiger. Will someone stand up for disclosure and honesty?

Remember what McDonalds did when all-time Olympic gold medal winner, Michael Phelps was pictured in a compromising position? He owned his actions and we were part of it. Phelps’ mistake was in the kiddy pool, whereas Tiger’s is in the deep end. These companies would do well to make announcements on their position with their Tiger Woods sponsor agreements.

In Tiger’s case, Honesty will get him out of this mess. I believe the media is justified in asking “what happened?” In response, Tiger chooses to stonewall everybody. If he just answered the question to his fans, then it would have a chance to pass and we could get on with building for the future. Remember what David Letterman did shortly following his recent expose. Tiger should look to Mr. Letterman for clues on how to handle it.

In my conversations with family members this week, we discussed different aspects of Tiger Woods’ recent calamity. For me the issue is Honesty. I said that Tiger owes his public fan base an explanation. One of my sons agrees with me, the other said that Tiger’s family business is private if he wants it to be. Why am I making it an issue of Tiger being honest with his public fan base? He’s earned his sports hero status, but his fame and wealth came from us. This event doesn’t change his sports legend, but it does call into question for his sponsors and all of us, why do we hold him up as a model to aspire when the honesty is gone?

Oct 252009
Reclaiming a lost MacBook Pro is less painful than replacing one

Reclaiming a lost MacBook Pro is less painful than replacing one

One of the benefits you can anticipate from being an Honesty Merchant is having conversations with all kinds of people about the value of Honesty, watching their lights go on, their faces glow; and then, sharing that illuminating experience with others. It’s very positive.  The greatest joy for me comes when we arrive at a place together in agreement.  Since I’m a merchant for honesty, agreement means the customer takes ownership for the value of ImHONEST. The solution is right.  The customer steps away from our meeting with a sense of fulfillment that they’ve solved another problem, and alleviated a worry.  In this case, it’s losing a valuable item.  The pain of a lost item can wreck havoc on our well-being. 

In one of my recent conversations, I heard a business owner say I wouldn’t need ImHONEST protection. Oddly later in the conversation, I heard him say that he lost his MacBook.  I asked him what the replacement cost was and he said $1600, but he wasn’t factoring in the cost of the added application licenses, time to restore the data, re-install the applications, configurations, settings.  How much value does he put on his time? How long would it take to restore the MacBook to its former condition?  What are the worries about private data lost?  How much would it be worth to prevent these headaches in the future?  The answer dawned on him that “Yes, there is a price I’d voluntarily pay in case of a lost item, for peace of mind.”  For some people it’s worth it to pay more, others less, based on a myriad set of factors, mostly emotional, then rationalized with probability elements like risk ratios, behavior statistics. I see it all the time, the owner asks themself, “How many times have I lost my gadget in the last year?” Anyways, he finally mentioned regrets for not having some kind of protection or insurance and I reminded him that he could make a claim on his home owners-renters insurance.  Even with insurance to replace the lost MacBook, you come to realize there are still added costs, pains.  What about the time it takes to restore the unit to its previous condition?

For this reason, it makes sense to consider an additional layer of protection, like, where one can take three simple steps to create more comfort.

  1. Identify valuable items: mobile phone, iPhone, cell phone, smart phone, PDA, car keys, laptop.
  2. Affix ImHONEST id label to item.
  3. Register item on

And away you go, cruising into the world with one less concern.  It’s that simple. Problem solved. Really!

For some, that’s not enough.  Some want more. You know who you are. You want to give the same protection for your family. You want their items registered.  You plan it out.  The next time you’re with your family member and online, you help them, getting their valuable items registered. Here’s an opportunity to make a deep, profound impression on a loved one with the subject of honesty as a way to deal with the challenges of the world.

Oct 042009


Protecting yourself running windows mobile is easier than flying a chair

Protecting yourself running windows mobile is easier than flying a chair

Many people ask me, “What can I do to protect myself as a mobile phone owner?”  In one discussion, they told me “Keeping a windows mobile device is like flying a chair.”  I’d say it’s more like flying a kite, when you have the right conditions, resources, and guidance.

Whether you have an Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry, Symbian, Google and Open Handset Alliance Android, Palm Pre or a Windows Mobile, all users will need to attend to many of the items listed here for Windows Mobile owners. Nobody is completely safe from the risks of carrying these items. We all have heard nightmare stories of people losing the use of their devices. These seven steps will bring you closer to the safe haven of mobile computing.

  1. Get your windows mobile updates monthly. It’s like brushing your teeth, only you don’t have to do it daily.
  2. Use a PIN to lock your SIM card. This will stop someone from making unauthorized calls.
  3. Install security software.
  4. Lock your phone using a PIN.  It’s amazing that so many of us disable this feature. It’ll keep your sensitive information private.
  5. Encrypt data on storage card. Some of these cards are the size of your fingernail and they hold multiple gigabytes of precious data like pictures, videos, music files. Most people agree it’s a good idea to prevent other people from reading files saved to your storage card. Encryption is the answer, just like locking your car door.
  6. Before you retire your old phone, delete the files. Of course you back up and transfer to your new device first.
  7. Use a simple online service that helps owners identify their valuables before they become lost and makes it easy for finders of lost items to act on their honesty and integrity. donates 20% of its sales to charity.

With these simple steps, you’ll be ready to loosen the lines and let your mobile computing soar.  I welcome your comments and additional suggestions on safe ways of handling mobile devices.

Sep 132009
The Power of Honesty returns my lost windows mobile device on BART

The Power of Honesty returns my lost windows mobile device on BART

Have you ever set your cell phone down on the chair next to you when you were in a subway or taxi?

At the moment you do it, I know what you’re thinking. You tell yourself, “I’ll pick that up as soon as I finish this other thing.” Then later, you get off the chair, depart from the scene, and leave your device behind too.   Have you done it with a set of keys?  Maybe you never do it, but you probably know someone that does it again and again out of habit.  Maybe it’s your child.

You’re familiar with the emotions of panic and distresses hurtling inside as you try to remember “where did I leave that item?”  If this is a common occurrence for you or your loved ones, consider consulting Professor Solomon for tips on How to Find Lost Objects.

I left my smart phone device on a BART subway train a while back.  As I emerged from the station, it dawned on me that I left it on the seat of the railway car.  Separated from my digital friend, I started to panic for a moment, and then optimism took hold of me. I asked myself, “Will I need to file a claim at the BART lost and found?”  I turned around to ask the station attendant if someone turned it in. Mind you at this point, I did not expect someone would turn it in, because I didn’t want to be let down if someone actually hadn’t dropped it off at lost and found. 

To my pleasant surprise, the station agents in the booth knew exactly what to do. Evidently, they get this request dozens of times daily.  One made an announcement page to all the stations on the system and the other called my cell phone from his cell phone.  In less than 30 seconds they had it located at the Mission and 24th station.  

This time, I was saved by St. Anthony, the BART station attendants and a complete stranger who was honest.  Whew!  I began to think, “Hey this honesty thing is great.  How can I make it more likely to happen for me next time?”

Partially because of this experience and when I found, it made sense instantly for me to add this identification and recovery service to my valuable items and I’d improve the chances dramatically that I’d be able to retrieve lost items.  Please feel free to share your stories of great relief retrieving a valuable item out of the honesty of a stranger.

Sep 062009

Targeted Creative Solutions

With a little belief in each other, we can dramatically CUT COSTS.

My neighbor told me the other day that she put her mother into an assisted living facility.  I know it was a difficult decision for her and a similar one lies in the future for me with my parents.  With the national healthcare debate, we hear horror stories of financial ruin from medical conditions that are treated or assisted living care requirements.  Healthcare insurance is expensive, but how many of us try hard to find better deals?  If you’re there now, how about trying  Looking for more assistance?  How about finding an agent through the National Association of Health Underwriters,

A statement from an editor at, Janet Bodnar caught my eye.  She says,

“I’m most intrigued by creative solutions that are targeted to specific problems and cost far less.” 

She is referring to making the current healthcare system less top-heavy.  She illustrates her point with three examples: 

  1. Minnesota State Employees healthcare plan that pays for results, rather than procedures
  2. Small Businesses in Texas have Group purchasing plan that is affordable
  3. Safeway workers rewarded with lower premiums for healthy behaviors provides value to its partners and customers for the very same reasons and in a similar manner.   ImHONEST is a creative solution targeted to a specific problem.  I’m not saying that if you lose an item of value, you’ll have expensive medical conditions, but with over 12 thousand laptops lost in US airports every week and tens of thousands of cell phones lost in taxi cabs in the same period, there is a giant need for creative solutions like ImHONEST to celebrate the Found part of the equation in lost and found.  Most likely, you know someone that lost at item of value.

These perspectives partially explain why ImHONEST is so intriguing to me.  It works for a number of reasons, which are fascinating.  There is a higher probability that the valuable item will be lost than stolen.  Sure enough, one can buy insurance to protect their gadget, and those gadgets of their loved ones; and they’ll be saving themselves from the headaches of replacement.  I know you’re asking yourself, “Is the premium at $60 per year worth the peace of mind?”  For example, many readers are comfortable paying $60 per year for company solutions like Asurion Insurance or Lo-Jack to track and replace a lost or stolen item.  In my view, many more customers would be pleased protecting the loss of their item for only $2.50, rather than $60.  The coverage is a little different, because it’s based on honesty and simplicity. And it works.  Check out some successes highlighted at

Everybody has a pain threshold and losing a mobile handheld is no picnic when considering the time it takes to replace the hardware, re-install the applications, retrieve the data, restore the settings and configurations. It’s like moving into a new house or apartment.  And we’re not even addressing the question of sensitive personal data lost and the potential embarrassment of the breach of privacy.  You can take care of it with three simple steps. The trick is to do it before, not after the event.

  • Buy the ImHONEST labels
  • Identify and register the item on
  • Affix them to item

 Since anyone can take care of it with a minimal effort up front, it’s a no-brainer to order it now or make it part of your business or non-profit.

Sep 012009
toy pirate

Thought leader for small and mid-sized businesses, Mr. Gaskin delivers Laptop Safety Seminars. He covers subjects like how to outsmart laptop thieves, getting lost laptops returned, guaranteeing no one else can read your private laptop files, backups automatically, and protecting your laptop from WiFi Hot Spot Predators.  In this video series hosted by HP, before he addresses the question, what is the Pirate Backup System, he outlines the ImHonest system. We are thrilled!