I am woman watch me vote

(what follows is political and full of my opinions)

So I was clearing the clutter this weekend and found my pin. No, it’s a badge. A Badge of Honor. It is an honorWP_001906 to be able to not only voice my opinions here in my own home on the interwebs, but at my local polling place. My voice is heard locally by my city and county government. My state legislature hears my vote and my voice. Our collective federal elected officials hear my voice with my vote.

It is a huge responsibility that I for one take seriously. I don’t think I have ever filled out an entire ballot. I refuse to vote for an issue or a candidate that I have not researched. I would prefer to leave a blank than offer an uneducated vote.

So what is important to this woman? What things pop into MY head when deciding how to vote? What makes me speak up? There’s a list. I’m not sure there’s an order of importance here, I think it’s just a list.  I’m pretty sure that not a single issue here would decide my vote, but a collective attitude I suppose.

  • War- It is my children that will go off and fight more wars. They will be honored to do so. We need to make sure to choose the correct fights. And that we define what it means to win, not just fight. We don’t need to be the world’s police but we have the obligation to help those that can’t help themselves (and want our help) and to defend our own freedom. Oh, and for the record, it’s a disgrace that any service members would need to be on welfare of any kind. Period. Fix that.
  • Economy- Seriously already. Does ANYONE think it’s a good idea to have China holding so much of our debt? Would it kill you to take even one part of one department’s budget and go with a zero-base and save a bajillion dollars? Then after you save ALL.THAT.MONEY. take that zero-base to other departments? Please take a few years and run this place like a business and get us back on our feet.
  • Social Security- See item above. Why in the heck should I trust you, the federal government, to safeguard any of my money when you can’t even manage what you have now? Privatize social security, insure it (think FDIC-like), move on.
  • Unemployment- We have built ourselves a global economy. We have worked our own out of jobs. We need to do something. Complaining is NOT the same as doing. We need to get up off our collective asses and train for new jobs. We need to offer creative incentives to the unemployed (like reduction in benefits in exchange for moving expenses to a fresh start with a new job in a better place). We need to limit benefits. It’s a crutch, not a way of life. Most people see it that way and the ones that don’t need to be cut-off.
  • Choices- Stop this war on ovaries already. Let’s honor what our framers intended and have this discussion free from religious references. I can respect the religious aspect of this discussion, I really can. But it has no place in our government. Do you even realize that some “mainstream” religious views on this totally stomp on the views of other widely accepted mainstream religions too? Remember, pro-choice DOES NOT equal anti-life (and the Constitution guarantees the PEOPLE freedoms, not businesses or churches, no?).
  • Freedom of religion is freedom of religion- You have yours, I have mine and they may or may not be the same thing AND THAT’s OK. Do you even realize that Islam and Christianity share a common beginning in Abraham? That it’s the same roots as Judaism, Shi’ite, Pentecostals, Sunni, Catholics, Baptists and Mormons? A Muslim woman in a Burqa looks a whole lot like a Catholic woman in a Habit. A little respect goes a long way on this one. Ignorance is the enemy, not each other.
  • Equality- Marriage, as we see it, has Biblical roots. Marriage, as our government sees it, has federal recognition. Tax status. Survivorship. Parenting. End-of-life decisions. All given weight by our government. Our government, by design, is supposed to be free of religion. Marriage, as viewed by the government, needs to be nothing more than a contract. Make marriage a religious ceremony between you and your church. Make the government recognized union just that, a government recognized union. It’s a contract between consenting adults, regardless of gender. It’s the “sex addicted” celebrities with publicists that reduce the value of the idea marriage, not the happily married gay couple quietly raising responsible children in suburbia.
  • Business- Small business really is the heart of our economy. It’s not big business. Do you have any idea how much work it takes to run a small business? To employ people? To keep people? The business becomes your family. Stop encouraging me to take a loan, even if it’s a low interest rate or subsidized. Just because you run your business (the government) based on a house of cards (debt) doesn’t mean that small business should do the same thing. Give us a break. Don’t tax us more if we want to keep a few months of payroll in the bank. It’s the responsible way to do business.
  • Welfare- If I am subjected to a drug test to earn my paycheck to pay taxes that then pay for welfare, then the recipient damn well better be subjected to a drug test to get my money. And it needs limits.
  • Education- This system is broken. Kids want to learn. Teachers want to teach. The system is preventing that from happening. National and state directives that come down with no funding? Asinine. No child left behind? Some children NEED to be left behind, it’s why “behind” existed. Hold teachers accountable for student progress, but give them other measures of success also. Hold students accountable for their own education. Make them work for it. It’s ok to use a red pen to grade papers; it’s ok to be told you’re wrong. It’s how you learn to be right. We need to teach our kids the same old basics as before. But more than that we need to teach them how to learn. Make them into lifelong learners. They should never be done learning. WE should never be done learning.
  • Education- part two College- To me, personally, my education was important. I went back to college as I neared 40 to get my MBA because it was a big deal to ME. My daughter is currently shopping around for colleges. We have some money for her for college, but also feel it’s important for her to have some skin in the game. We aren’t just writing a big fat check to any ole college. Unless she lives at home and goes to community college, she will have to work for some portion of her college education, and that is our goal. She pointed out to us that the only colleges that are affordable have such low standards for admissions that she basically won’t have to do much more than show up for the rest of high school and she will still get in and get some academic scholarships as well. Why should she work harder and stress herself out? Yea for her for figuring this out. How sad that it’s true.

These are big ticket items, items that many of us (the gender neutral collective) find important, regardless of what side of the specific issue we fall on. These are my over-simplified opinions, each topic would be worth its own blog post or more to fully discuss.

Have we doomed the next generation?

Tomorrow my daughter takes the ACT.  It is paid for by the State of Colorado.  The state pays for all high school juniors in Colorado to take the exam.  The rest of the students at the school are on a delayed start to give the juniors a quiet testing environment.  The kids are given free pizza for lunch after the exam.  As a parent (and general member of the public) I truly appreciate this commitment to show our kids that their future is important and it matters to us.

Except if they want to go to school in Florida.  In what can only be described as a dumbass move, the University of Florida has shut down the computer science department.  Not only have they shut down the computer science department, they have increased funding to athletics by almost the same amount “saved” by that useless computer science department.  How’s that for a big fat FU from UF?

And just for some icing on the cake, the state of Florida has a new university on the horizon, Florida Polytechnic University.  Two days prior to the announced cuts at University of Florida, the governor said :

“At a time when the number of graduates of Florida’s universities in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields is not projected to meet workforce needs, the establishment of Florida Polytechnic University will help us move the needle in the right direction.”

The Associated Press recently published a great read about how many unemployed and underemployed recent grads we have.  There are actually more college educated bartenders than there are chemists.  And yes for the smart-asses, bartending is sorta like mixing chemicals in a lab.

So why bother with college anyway, right?  We only want the jocks with decent test scores.  Who needs an educated workforce?

Please comment.  I want to hear what others have to say.  I will follow-up with another post about more of my opinion on educating our kids.

The net difference in CRM 2011 RTM and CRM 2011 now

So I am working on updating some courseware and have been tasked with making sure we update for all products updates/upgrades/new features.  I was looking for a list of where a single version of the truth would be and came up with nothing.  I asked some smart people, they came back with nothing, but agreed we needed a list somewhere.  So here it goes.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday reviewing the contents of every update rollup (ur) that’s been put out since RTM happened.  There have been many many bug fixes and those aren’t going to be listed here.  If you experienced the bug, you’ll know it and know that it was fixed. 

As best I can tell this list is current as of RIGHT NOW.  At the end I will also include a list of what we anticipate to come out in the near term (this quarter).

There is no particular order to the list.

  • Activity feeds- Internal facing social CRM.  Records have walls and posts.  Users can view a rollup of these and on a specific record as well.  Internal facing only.  (Limit of 500 follows, not configurable)
    • Configurable, real-time notifications on important relationships and significant business events via a blended view of micro-blog posts and interactions for a person, customer or sales opportunity.
    • • Micro-blogging. Status updates and notifications regarding business events and actions, providing simple experiences for users.

      • Conversations. Post questions, observations, suggestions and status updates, allowing users to collaborate quickly and efficiently, locate information or expertise and gather feedback from others.

      • Automated activity updates. Post information directly to the activity feed based on configurable event rules (for example, when a sales opportunity is closed). People can subscribe to or “follow” these activity feeds and consume them in a variety of ways.

      • Mobile activity feeds. A new Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile Activity Feeds application for Windows Phone 7 allows users to view their activity feeds while away from the office. Limitation of mobile is the metadata changes don’t load except every 24 hours, by design. Product team listening to feedback and open to options.

  • New chart choices- Multi-series charts and a few different ways to display as well covering area and such.
    • Multi-series charts (limit of 5 series)
    • Multiple category charts (limit of 1 series and 2 categories)
    • New chart types e.g. Area charts
    • Ability to create stacked charts (relative proportions of closely related items)
  • Read optimized forms- I LOVE this concept.  I think the execution needs some work, it’s still a little buggy here and there.  The essence of ROF is that a CRM user that mostly consumes data without editing it can do that faster and without as much risk of accidentally (or maliciously) making data changes.  A user that needs to change data is one click away from changing data.  In addition to increase in data integrity and user performance, the system performance should be improved as well.
  • Process enhancements- both workflows and dialogs now have hyperlink support. Dialogs have data retention as you move thru the process as well as new data types.
  • Dup detection enhancements-
    • Ignore blank values in duplicate detection
    • Exclude inactive records in duplicate detection
  • Outlook client updates- The Reading Pane has been enhanced to include: Sub grids & Notes, clickable links (email, telephone, lookups, party lists) in the form and sub grids,  clickable links in sub grids, Lync presence integration and several other miscellaneous enhancements.
  • User access audit- Auditing happened with general delivery of CRM 2011.  Now you can audit user access to CRM.  It’s not a detailed comprehensive list of ACTIVITY, it’s ACCESS auditing.  Did they sign in, and when?
  • SDK updates- the SDK team has always impressed me.  They update this ALL THE TIME. 
  • Help files updates- don’t have a comprehensive list but will assume it covers at least all of the above items and then some.

Coming soon

  • Mobility
  • Cross browser
  • Social enhancements
  • Industry templates
  • SQL 2012
  • Certifications
  • BI Insights
  • Portal enhancements
  • Custom WF activity for CRM Online

The link above is to my detailed blog post about the new features promised for Q2 2012.