benjaminpaton.com

understanding the future since 1983

3 tips for finding your place in Atlassian Confluence

Confluence is the sister wiki offering for successful bug tracking software  JIRA. It is made by Atlassian, an Australian company which focuses its energy on developing productivity tools for software developers.

Through saturation of the software development community, both these applications are finding their way in front of non-SD staff and is quickly becoming to go to collaborative space for the technology industry.

Confluence can be a daunting place if you don’t know where you are, or whats going on. Here are some tips to help you find your feet and to start making it the centre of your collaborative day and not a dusty wiki encyclopaedia on the shelf.

Create and use your Personal Space

Everybody likes a place to call their own. Confluence allows every users to create their own Personal Space. This is a space just like all the other project based space, but you own it, you set the permissions and you design the layout.

This can be great to keeping all your own documents handy, creating drafts, tracking personal meetings or just letting people know about yourself.

Simply click your avatar icon in the top right hand corner of any screen, and select “Create Personal Space”.

Further reading: https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/DOC/Setting+Up+your+Personal+Space

Choose your favourites and Build your Network

The Dashboard is the town square of Confluence, although like any bustling metropolis there can often be a little too much going on.

Favourites

In the long list of spaces simply click the star next to the name of your more frequented spaces and they will be added to your favourites. Favourite space will always appear atop the list for easy access.

Network

The network activity tab on the dashboard is a feed defined by those that you follow. This is handy as it lets you cut down from the full activity feed to just those you are working closely with on a a daily basis. To follow someone simply click on their name (anywhere you see it) and click the follow link on their profile page.

Bring to gang together with mentions

Working on your own can be boring. @mentioning relevant colleagues will let them know that you are working on something that relates to them. To mention someone, just type the @ symbol then start typing someones name and Confluence will start to predict who you are talking about. You can mention both on pages you create or in comments to leave.

Need an extra leg up on Confluence? Try the Atlassian Confluence Ninja Training

Cheers,

@benjaminpaton

Guess who’s back; Back again; Tell a friend

After more than a brief hiatus, benjaminpaton.com is back online.

Not that the site has been offline, but I am the first to admit that the flow of content has been less than ideal.

I have decided to refresh the site design to complement the return. A big shout out to @pixelunion who’s themes have saved me a lot of time and obsessive compulsive procrastination in rolling my own. Furthermore a big up to their customer support teams, who were prompt and effective in dealing with issues.

So stay tuned. I have a lot of great posts planned, as well as a much needed update to my About page, and the addition of a Services page, which will be a must for those business readers looking for some direction in driving productivity in the work place.

As always I am keen to hear your feedback. Please start the conversation by dropping me a comment below (hopefully Facebook is something you use)

@benjaminpaton

Asasa have given their iOS app a much needed refresh. Looks good. Is Asana becoming a product that could rival the giant Atlassian?

I will take a better look over the coming days and report back with my review.

How long does it take you to answer the question I ask?

Pretty quick. The Tumblr Ask module sends you a notification when you get a new question.

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The way we consume music keeps changing based on the medium it is delivered to us. Cassette tapes saw sequential play, Compact Discs were sequential with the ability to easily skip the tracks you didn’t like. Napster, MP3’s and early Internet started a single track culture. iPod’s, iTunes and Apple Genius taught us to Shuffle. Bit Torrents saw the return to full albums, but rarely saw them played that way.

Spotify has evolved music listening again, artist back-catalogues are the new track and album.

"
Benjamin Paton

Plan a perfect ANYTHING with Asana.

It has been some weeks since I have written for this blog (more like months). I feel bad, as I had such big aspirations for this blog, but maybe it just highlights that blogging everyday, leading a global team, and living your life the way you should is not a sustainable exercise (if only blogging was my full-time job…).

Anyway, with that said. I am back. Despite my hiatus from writing, I have not been absent from the world of technology.

As I get up and running again, I wanted to keep things light, and touch on a couple of the things that have consumed my attention in the past couple of months.

I came across Asana from a recent New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/technology/from-a-facebook-founder-a-social-network-for-the-office.html?pagewanted=all). 

Asana is the brainchild of former Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, and a team of successful technologists. The outcome as suggested by the @nytimes; a product of the billionaire and the big egos is a large scale web-based to-do application. Put simply, it is a tool for making digital lists of the things you (and others) have to do. This is not a new concept, task have been in Microsoft Outlook for years, that desolate tab below your calendar. Many of us have not even looked in their. Others have tried and failed, only to find 6 month old tasks the next time we mis-click the guilt riddled tasks tab.

Asana manages to do what Outlook cant, and that is create an engaging task management experience. Fluid task creation, simple assignment and logical management. This is to be expected. Where it goes to the next level is its ability to manage tasks across teams.  Maybe its most powerful feature is the encapsulated back and forth commenting for inpidual tasks, which was first seen in the smaller scale Orchestra (http://www.orchestra.com/).

I have been using the application now for 4 weeks to coordinate task for my global team. I have setup my team and created our current projects and tasks. Tasks are assigned to relevant team members and due dates set. My team and I are able to discuss each task directly in the application to ensure the requirements are understood. A tick to complete lets me know when tasks are complete (it even allows for file uploads for those times where the task is something like delivering a spreadsheet).

General feedback is good. I am pushing it, and the team are responding, but time will tell if the tool is as valuable to inpidual contributors as it is to the managers managing them.

Conceptually it helps trim down your inbox, as many of your task based conversations are held inside Asana, but unfortunately this is only a conceptual gain, as currently email is its only form of notification (feature request has been submitted, lets hope they heed the call for an in-app notification list). 

Asana is available using a Freemium model, offering an increased user base, advanced permissioning and priority support to paid users

The primary web app interface, is a pleasure to use, but the iPhone app and iPad “mobile” version leave a lot to be desired.

All in all its a good application, you can see them spin it their way in the video below

Asana are playing in a highly under represented niche, where I think the key will be ensuring the tool is either integrated enough to fit into people workflow, or functional enough to stand alone as a workflow killer. Time will tell.

Benjamin Paton
@benjaminpaton 

What is MiFi Accounting 2.0? Find out in 80 seconds. Here is the launch video for a friend and syndication partners forward thinking start-up.

MiFi (My Financial) doesn’t get much clearer than in the video, but if I were to put it simply; MiFi puts a new spin on the old accounting model, offering subscription based services over the conventional time based structure.

Put this together with socially connected team and what do you get.

An accountant you reach via Facebook, who bills you at a flat monthly rate, which includes the mandatory services your business needs. Makes sense to me.

Check it out, then check them out here http://www.mifi.com.au/

7 Reasons a Social Reader is the Last Thing You Need

If you have tried to read a shared article on Facebook or any other social network lately it is like you have encountered a Social Reader.

You have definitely experienced a Social Reader if that article asked you to install an application before you were able to read it.

Social Reading is a current trend in Social Media that sees content creators distributing there content via an application as opposed to directly via the web.

If you are anything like me this immediately discourages me from wanting to view the content. If we learned anything from Internet 101 it is that when asked if you want to install something you weren’t looking the answer should be unequivocally NO!

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