Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Beginnings — Quest Software, Newburyport

click here to see the Full Size imageYesterday morning when I got into my car to head off to Newburyport (Mass) for the first day of my new job, this bright eyed and bushy tailed "Hallmark Puppy" was lovingly nestled into the steering wheel of my car — a note of congratulations and encouragement from the love of my life. It touched my heart and left me wondering how she was able to find such an exact likeness of exactly how I felt !!

Below is a slice of what Quest Software (map in Newburyport, Mass) looks like from the outside — a panorama from the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce building out over the Merrimack river with the rte 1 bridge in the background.
click here to see the Full Size image of Quest Software looking out over the harbor

You can tell it's still off season here, just off Newburyport center, because many of the harbor tour boats are still up on dry dock for the Winter. In the summertime I bet it would be difficult to get a picture like this — in the middle of the day without any people in the sequence of snapshots stitched together to make this panorama.

click here to see the Full Size imageThis very small software startup was called "Proposion" until it was acquired by Quest Software in October 2007.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gord Harvey Pammett, March 1917-March 2008 — Rest in Peace

This afternoon I got the news that my "uncle Gord" — the only male "Pammett" other than me still alive — passed away in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada at 1:30 this morning at the age of 91. Gord, and his wife Glenora who passed away in July 2007, were always loving and kind to me and I will always remember them both with the fondest of memories.
click here to see the Full Size image of my Dad and my uncle Gord in 1922On the right is a picture of my uncle Gord with his little brother (my Dad) when Harold was two and his big brother (Gord) was five, in 1922. They were so poor that "little Harold" was dressed in burlap sacks. I remember this picture well because it has long been in a collage on our "picture wall" in the dining room; I took that snapshot to a remember-our-fathers workshop (Legacy Discovery) that I went to a few years ago where I found myself telling the story — in the first person — of what life was like in 1922, for my Dad, based on this picture. It brought tears to my eyes to stand there in the burlap sack and look up to Gord, the big brother, whom my father always compared himself to. Gord was the academic in the family who had a professional lifestyle, along with his wife Glenora… whereas we were more the blue collar family because Dad worked hard in the factory for every nickel he brought home.
click here to see the Full Size of this image of Gord and Glenora on the beach in Portugal in 1985 Gord, on the other hand, was a veterinarian salesman for most of his career; I remember he'd come by with cases of expensive dog food when we were kids. One of the other pictures I have of uncle Gord is on the left — when he and Glenora used to vacation in Portugal in the mid 1980s. No one in the family believed me when I said I have a picture of Glenora in her bare feet.
click here to see the Full Size of this image - Kevin riding his unicycle on his 30th birthday party
One of my fondest memories of going to visit Gord and Glenora was when I was 12 and my father gave me a unicycle for Christmas. Being Ontario in the middle of the Winter, I would have been out of luck except that we went to Gord and Glenora's house and I learned to ride that unicycle in their basement because they had a new, modern, house with 'nothing' in the basement so I could circle around, holding on to the rafters.
A final picture link — Gord and Glenora Pammett when I last saw them — is from London Ontario where they lived the last half of their lives. They were both in excellent spirts and in pretty good health. Thank you, uncle Gord. May you Rest in Peace… and go, now, and be with Glenora — the love of your life for 66 years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Using technology to promote ideas: "Listening, really listening…"

A big part of why I took on writing this blog was so that it would expose me to "lay technology" — not the deep technical programming stuff that I am accustomed to working with, but rather 21st Century mechanisms (like blogging) that were created specifically for non-technical people. Within that framework I have discovered a plethora of techniques, each one opening up another door to communication… So this is a story about my team and I having fun doing exactly that !!

The video clips in this YouTube PlayList are Private so you have to ask me for the (name, password) credentials in order to get access to them.Two months ago I was consulted by a couple of men on my team with a vision: Find a way to "tap into" the years of experience and wisdom locked up inside the head of a well-respected man within our circles(about what we call "enrollment" in Circles of Men — though it's more like "promotion") and come up with a way to share that knowledge within our community of people in a meaningful way. The first step was to gather a small circle of men and do a video taping of "a conversation" with our expert — part interview, part question-and-answer. After that, my friend and I worked on the technical aspects of sharing all this within our community, the results of which you see on the right. We decided to use YouTube primarily because it allows us to protect the video with (name, password) credentials, plus it has PlayLists which let us promote the sequence of video clips as a single entity. Likewise, for simplicity, a special-purpose dns lets one get there without having to remember anything difficult. A host of behind-the-scenes video and audio editing software was also used. We are just beginning this journey now that the material has been made available. Going forwards, I expect we will use even more on-line collaboration and communication software.   All 'n all… a truly great team effort that I am proud to be part of !!

What's all this for ?   To teach us how to listen — to really get where someone is coming from. "Enrollment is one very high-leverage way… to make an enormous difference in a person's life" and this multi-media presentation captures the wisdom of one of our masters so that a much broader community can maximize their learning from it.

The "techniques for enrollment" talk was ostensibly about the Sterling Men's Weekend put on by the Sterling Institute and to some extent, MDI's Legacy Discovery. But it's clear that many of the "$100-dollar tips" apply pervasively to most if not all enrollment conversations. If you are interested in pursuing this, contact me and we'll have a conversation.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kevin's Joie de Vivre — "Looking For True Happiness"

My Unitarian Universalist Church in Groton is doing a sequence of "lay services" during our pastor's sabbatical, so I took on being one of the four people who gave the sermon in our worship service entitled "Looking For True Happiness", on February 10th, 2008. And it was really quite an amazing experience for me — my first time to speak from our lofty pulpit, all by myself "for 5 minutes". Moreover, for perhaps the first time in my life, I had the delightful experience of delivering my part of the sermon without any possibility of reading from prepared text since I completely forgot what day I had signed up to do this, and only found out two minutes before the service started that that day was 'today'.

Click here to view the YouTube presentation (slide show + audio recording of Kevin's talk)The theme for the day was "Looking For True Happiness", and in holding that context… each of us four speakers was asked to respond to these questions :
  • Once you decide you need more out of life, where do you start to look ?
  • How do you search ?
  • What clues do you have ?
  • And once you find it, how do you know it's the real thing ?
Clicking on the image to the left, the video clip begins with those questions being read aloud, followed by my answers. Just like my other audio-made-into-video clips, I use YouTube along with 'irrelevant' photos to make it into a slide show because that is the simplest way to host audio in a blog. Since this is my blog, the clip only includes my ¼ of the sermon.

The part I liked most about this experience was speaking from my heart, directly to the congregation. I will never forget the freedom I experienced by not having any notes to read from; there was nothing to do except just speak about what I have done for almost all of my life: Find a way to experience the glass as being half full, no matter what !!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Obituary: Johnny and his Family — July 1941 - Feb 2008

Today my sister Nanci sent me the obituary article for my brother, Johnny William Hickey, that his partner Lorraine Ault wrote and published in The Recorder & Times — the local paper in Brockville, Ontario, Canada where Johnny lived for a good part of his life. Since obituaries don't persist very long on web sites, I have rewritten the text below for posterity, adding in links to the inner circle of Johnny's family — the (Flickr album) pictures of everyone Lorraine noted in her text :
click here for Full Size imageHICKEY, John W. - Has passed away at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst, New Brunswick on Friday, February 1st, 2008. Mr. Hickey was born in Peterbourgh, Ont. He was 66 years old, moved to Brockville, Ont., and worked for JR Business Associates and JR Solutions for 32 years. He is survived by his long-time friend Lorraine Ault, one daughter Karina (Kyle) and grandson Keegan Hoculak, one sister Nanci (Arthur) Phelan, Elmira, Ont., one brother Kevin (Lynn) Pammett, Groton, Ma., and one nephew and 4 nieces. He was predeceased by his parents Jean and Harold "Dutch" Pammett (birth father James Hickey) and one sister Gaye Pammett Corley. Interment will take place in the Spring at the Sandy Lake Cemetery at Lakehurst, very near Pigeon Lake, Ontario, Canada.    [like this]click here for Full Size image

The picture on the left is my brother "Johnny" after he first moved out of the family home — living on his own — in the mid 1960s. I remember that he had the picture taken professionally so that he could give it to my Mom and Dad as a present when I was still in school and living at home. The picture on the right is Johnny during his retirement years, in June 2002, about six years before his death, at the university graduation of my neice Miranda Phelan in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.