globalful

what we am are

Global, local, desktop, mobile

About a million years ago I wrote the web globalisation strategy for a large corporation that included, variously, authoring and production strategy, globalisation, localisation and internationalisation requirements, data architecture, content management platform definition, functional specifications, business requirements, lots of pictures of concentric circles, some arrows, some double-byte character sets, search integration, all sorts of stuff. I mean, I didn’t write all of it. No, actually, I did write all of it. And it was pretty good. But it never happened.

It never happened because the content strategy that supported a ‘write once, publish everywhere’ model was simply too inflexible for stakeholders to sign up to. The idea is perfectly simple. The execution is pretty doable. We could build the platform, we could integrate localisation workflows, we could support content authors with different levels of scope and authority, we could distribute that authoring, we could centralise that authoring, we could mash everything together into a globalised online presence, and Bob would indeed be your uncle.

However, different stakeholders want different things. Different customers want different things. Different users want different things. So, what’s good for the North American goose isn’t necessarily good for the Korean gander. What’s good for the North American buck isn’t necessarily good for the French doe. What’s good for the North American seahorse isn’t necessarily good for the Australian, well, seahorse. And the subtleties of those differences are what led the program to dribble to an apologetic unconclusion. We simply couldn’t define a content strategy that was flexible enough to assemble and distribute a globalised site, based on the centralised, corporate brand and product requirements and the business needs of the content experts and marketeers in the countries. It was easier for the countries to roll their own. So that’s what they did. Using the platform we built to support the central content model. They just created their own instances and copy and pasted the bits they needed from .com, creating silos and duplicates all over the place thankyouverymuch.

It’s that difficulty I witnessed in the global vs. local model that appears to be a central (pun intended) issue with desktop vs. mobile. Well, ok, it’s one of the central issues. I mean, it’s a bit of an issue. IT’S AN ISSUE.

There’s no reason why technically we can’t support the authoring, publishing and distribution of content and services that can provide a coherent experience across all kinds of screens and devices. Responsive design is a method. Having less stuff is a method. Having smaller stuff is probably a method. But for a properly scalable, flexible and efficient operation, it’s just not going to happen unless all stakeholders are in agreement about the content strategy. And when I say stakeholders, I mean anyone who owns, manages, authors or consumes that content. As a content owner, you might not care about comments disappearing from an article when you read it on a smaller viewport. As a commenter, you’ve just been slapped with the wet fish of ‘fuck you’ simply because you’re reading the article on something that fits in your palm. And that’s why content strategy is hard and why rendering isn’t the whole answer.

I’m not proposing a solution, I just see parallels with the globalisation efforts I went through years ago. I don’t think anyone has ever really got globalisation right. I’m not sure anyone will ever really get content strategy for the wider web right. But it is fascinating seeing the component parts evolve that might make it happen.

Jennifer might enjoy this Global Web Programs presentation (PDF 5mb) that talks about the common web platform. Fun times.

listening post: pg.lost – jonathan

damien hurst pringle selection

travelogue 14
travelogue 14 by Tim Caynes

ah, right. that would be, well, it’s not so bad in real money. I am rather peckish. I don’t know what that is, or that, or that. that looks like some kind of evil granny biscuit. 2 quid for a snickers. I don’t even think I could bring myself to claim that back. hang on, what’s this key for? ooh. I see. nicely hidden under the tv like it usually is except it’s locked like it usually isn’t so it must have something really special in there. it’s got a nice little window at the top. never seen a window on a fridge before. ooh, look. they’ve put the very thing in that window that you’re likely to have an uncontrollable urge for after 18 hours of travelling having missed dinner and feeling like you have a mouthful of gravel and a brainful of lint. that’s right. sour cream and chives pringles. only a small tube mind. it’s hardly a tube at all, more like a tub. or maybe a tu. but it’s got pringles in and they is the sweet nectar of the gods of corporate hospitality, divine in their scallopness and at the same bewitching in their potatoiness. you can literally trip over the delicate crunchiness of those 32 holy cheesy wafers and immerse yourself in their soft duvet of saltiness. without doubt, you can expire and elevate to the paradise beyond this life after popping the last one.

but I’m not paying 4 dollars for them. you can swivel. I’ve still got a fruit bar I stole from British Airways.

design this

flying fortress 2
flying fortress 2 by Tim Caynes

its iterative you see that means I change little bits all the time no I’m not going to tell you which is which I put numbers on them so you can work it out but in case you think you have I’ve neglected to tell you whether they are finished or not because I don’t know whether they are except the one for mexico which isn’t so don’t start there but think about pulling a left at wal-mart and slipping some fructis and a couple of travel soaps into your lap while henrietta offloads the kansas city fire department into the disabled spot that’s rumbled by the fat bloke.

in 17 minutes it’ll be just as difficult to poke a stick at a melon so why don’t you check into the residence inn and stock up on doritos and sour cheese and I’ll bring over 3 litres of belch and we can sit laughing at pedestrians on el camino like what we were doing that time before but really you were on your own working out the time delay on being charged for videos and wondering where your fob was until the dixie chicks started mangling your banjo and the bottom fell out. the all seeing I.

behind the line

good evening sir, what’s the purpose of your visit to the united states today? er, I’m working. oh, you’re working sir? do you have a visa? er, no I don’t. but you said you were working in the united states, so you must have a visa. um, but I don’t need one. what do you do when you are working? I’m not sure I understand what you mean. I mean sir, what does working mean to you? oh, er, I work in marketing and stuff, for a network computing company. yes, so what’s the purpose of your trip today sir? I, um, I’m just, er, visiting my work. just visiting? is that all, you’re not doing any work for your company while you’re here? well, yes, I… so what do you mean when you tell me you are working on this trip? what? what company do you work for mr caynes? sun microsystems. and how long have you worked for sun microsystems? 11 years. and what is the purpose of your visit to sun microsystems this time? er. it’s, um, business. so it’s a business trip? yes, no, I think so. for which you don’t need a visa? oh, yes. I see. yes, it’s a business trip, for which I don’t need a visa. and how long are you staying in the united states for this business trip for which you don’t require a visa? 5 days, no, dammit, 6 days. 6. and when was the last time you came to the united states on a business trip to sun microsystems? what? er, about 6 months ago. I think.

<pause>

that’s fine sir have a nice stay. next!

that’s not you, you’re an imposter

so I finally meet the team after about 6 months and nobody recognizes me. there I am wondering around BRM looking all english and trying to put faces to polycoms and I’m just looking like a freak in a tube station after I’ve been kicked out of Ruby’s. you, you’re, um, you must be, well, you look a bit like Liz, but she’s in Burlington. so. no. hang on, you’re, no, I know this, you’re…Bob! Hey Bob! you look just like you do on the video conference. no, that’s a compliment, really. Bob?

hoisted by my own petard. our internal org system means you can look up anyone in the company and get all the details you want, including all the hidden fields they’d forgotten they’d filled in in 1998, which say things like ‘clammy’ and ‘executive’. it also lets you see where people are working, which office they’re in, how you get there, what they’re doing, what they’re having for lunch in Guillemonts and stuff like that. it also has the option to integrate some optional detail, such as your calendar appointments and a picture of yourself. so, calendar, that’s genius, right? I mean, we’re all over the place, literally, so coordinating the time in 2 weeks when everybody you need to be on the phone at the same time to discuss how you’re going to allow someone in france to author a whitepaper that someone in germany can subscribe to without exposing the whole content branch and then arguing for hours about what global content is anyway is difficult, so you look up everyone’s calendars and see for yourself that the only time everyone is free is 22:00 your time when you’d planned to go and see Sin City and get lagered up afterwards because its thursday and you never do any real work on friday anyway.

so that’s good. what’s more revealing, however, is the choice of picture that folks use to let people determine exactly what they are like. mostly people don’t do it at all, which is fine, because a lot of people don’t have the slightest interest in investing the time to find out how you do it, or more pointedly reserve the right to not not let you know what they look like as that’s an infringement of their civil liberty, which is also fine, except that appears to be predominantly the U.S. go to Korea of Singapore and they can’t wait to stick in their pictures of them grinning into a Canon that the manager has taken round the office that morning. those that do upload themselves will generally do the ‘a bit too close and not very well lit in the office but that will do I suppose, I mean it looks like me I guess’ thing. others will play that maverick card and lob in a hilarious offcut from google image search that lets people know the kind of person they are without actually letting you know what person they are. you know, a darth vader, a dilbert, a muppet, a full face blowup PVC gimp mask from a BDSM site they just happened to come across when searching for ‘leather cleaner’, honest. those kind of things are ok. I mean those kind of pictures, not those kind of masks. or sites, er, anyway.

there is another category of image that occasionally turns up, but you only know if you already know what the person looks like, so its a kind of elaborate vanity test that sometimes you pass, or sometimes you fail to excuse effectively. this is the category called ‘well, its always me behind the camera, so there’s never any current pictures of me, so I had to use a 10 year old picture, that’s all I had’. and that’s where I found myself, wandering down the corridors at 5000 feet, blanks looks all around, trying to hide the fact that I might just have added a few pounds and lost some hair and maybe gone a bit gray since that photo you saw of me on the org tool that is 10 years old. my new boss didn’t recognize me until the next day and then she said ‘you’re an imposter! that’s not you on the org tool!’. dammit.

so now I’m up to date and look just like I really look, so if anyone looks me up, it’s their fault.

twitching in the flatiron crossing

Nordstrom, Foleys, Nordstom, Foleys, erm, left. No, straight on. will they have socks? of course they will. they’ll have those thin old man socks that cost $15 dollars and have diamonds up the side. right then, Foleys. Left. No, hang on, I can get presents in Nordstrum too. right, Nordstrum it is. ok, left. I think, hang on, ALRIGHT MATE! I’M THINKING!

stick the ceramic aztec trophy in the boot and swish through the doors, straight into Chan in menswear. “is there anything I can help you with today sir?” erm, no thankyou, I’m just being british and stalking around your footwear in a deliberate fashion while hunting for socks I refuse to ask you to locate for me. these shops are always empty when I go in them. I mean, Nordstrom. it’s huge, but there’s absolutely noone in here. is that just me? anyway, I don’t find socks, but upon realizing that flatiron crossing isn’t just 2 huge department stores stuck together in the middle, I head off into the wilderness of thursday evening mall shopping in Colorado. I need a tshirt. I have to fly back tomorrow in a tshirt that was fine when I flew out a week ago but following numerous bar meals in the tap room, with fat tire, slabs of hotel chocolate, lunchtime sushi, nachos, burgers, subways, beer, enchiladas, tubs of lard etc., my uber gut stretches the etnies logo out of shape and I look like I should be sat in a golf cart in florida with a havana in one hand and a colostomy bag in the other. so I just need to scale up slightly for the plane. it’s the altitude you see, it adds 20 pounds because of the air pressure or something, honest. right, banana republic. nope. helly hansen. yeah, right, I really need microfibres that stretch to fit and expose every contour. gap. nope. dick’s sporting goods. ooh, maybe, lets have a look. eh? there’s people wall climbing in here. that’s just stupid, get me out of here. hang on, they’re playing the carpet crawlers by genesis in a sports store in a broomfield mall in 2005. that’s just weird. mind you, I hang on for a couple more minutes to listen and pretend to look at basketballs I’ve no intention of buying. “you gotta get in in to get ou-ou-ou-ooou-out”. nope. abercrombie and fitch. it’s too dark in there. and a man just came out with a sideways head, I don’t like the look of that. pacific sunwear. sorry, Pac Sun. sounds a bit like Pac Man that martin has in his basement. ok, there’s 21 year olds in there I aspire to be like and I desperately want to wear their tshirts and be in their gang, so I’ll take a look, even though I’ve come straight from BRM01 and I’m wearing my meeting clothes so obviously I just look like their dad. or creepy trying-to-be-trendy uncle or something. ah so what. right, over to the shirt rack. ooh, fox, etnies, hurley, mad monkey, wet dog, quiksilver, billabong, rolf harris, and they’re 3 for 2. I have to try one on, because I still don’t know whether a US medium is a UK large or whether that’s just random. “Hi I’m Sara! I’ll be unlocking your changing room door for you today and closing it behind you! If you have any questions in Pacific Sunwear today, please give me a shout!”. er, ok. in the end, medium is medium, and I really need a fat git size today, so large it is. $42 dollars and a withering smile from me that says please let me be in your gang later and I’m out of there.

still no socks though. but now I have a shopping bag with stuff I’ve bought in it. that makes me a shopper. that means I can browse around other shops and for some reason staff completely ignore me, like I’ve been seduced by the dark side and they don’t need to pursuade me to part with my money. I’ve crossed the line. I will spend more, it’s the law. so with me bulging comfort blanket in me right hand and me left hand in my trouser pocket, I head back to victorias secret which I passed by earlier but pretended not to be interested in, even saying something like “ah yes, brookstone” out loud to myself so people thought I was intent on going somewhere else. I can now cross the threshold of this place as a shopper, which means I’m not just gawping at plunge bras like a 15 year old, I might actually buy one as well. for my wife. but actually, victorias secret is just so rampant it all gets too much for me and after doing one circuit, humming to myself apparently nonchalently, I try to stumble out gracefully, but I trip over the electronic tag detector in the doorway and set off the alarm with the magnetic strip on my library card. I think I just about hold it together while I crawl around the floor, picking up the contents of my wallet as it slithers away from me across the polished floor and me glasses fall out of my shirt pocket, where I’ve been keeping them like some professor or something. stand up. shoulders back. walk on. smile. try not to notice the entire staff in there are peering at you around the counter and the stock cupboard door like you’re some kind of pantomime freak on holiday who left his costume on. never mind that they’re all 19 and called Kirsty and they would have been happy to help you if you had any questions in victorias secret today, it’s too late. you’re an idiot. a fat idiot who hasn’t bought any presents and looks like a stupid dad person on vacation, looking for socks and loitering around lingerie shops.

anyway, I did get some socks. calvin klein, $10 each. then I went back to the hotel and sat in the bar on my own watching tv. I’m going to drive to Aspen tomorrow.

wake up dammit

19 hours of travelling and I’m sat in front a tv that’s 5 feet off the ground trying to focus on re-runs of CSI or something that’s got loads of earnest looking americans picking up suspicious objects from the floor of smoky warehouses in slowmotion and then cross fading to a train that goes over your head like what it does in the French Connection until some words or other slide into the frame and then just as I get it the adverts cut in and there’s a massive Nissan Globalwarmer driving across a desert with a boat in the back of it and a caption comes up at the bottom saying ‘professional driver in a simulated desert thats not real so dont do this at home in wisconsin because itll be all your fault when the chassis falls to bits and a flying camshaft takes out Mrs. Pantiles at number 47’. I must be dead in Colorado.

7 years ago all this was fields, well, probably a golf course, but now it’s full of hotels that you can see from 17 miles away but apparently I can’t find the entrance to without driving the wrong way up highway 36 and then taking a turning onto Interlocken and then realizing every turning here is called Interlocken so I’m no closer to my bed than I was 18 hours ago when I got out of it at 7 in the morning and said goodbye to my family like it was a trip across antartica but they actually were still asleep and just kind of said ‘yeah, er, bye’. in between then and now, which seems like about 5 fat tires and 2 bar meals in the tap room talking to Brad about cutting your thumb and listening to Tom going on about wine which is just a bit warm, but definitely not corked, I managed to squeeze in a bus a plane and a chevy cheapskate. oh, and a taxi to the bus station, where Ron dropped me off as we saw a couple kissing each other goodbye and he said ‘youre not getting one of those mate!’ and he was right, even if I offered him double the fare. I usually stay in a rubbish hotel in the heathrow flight path the night before flying out, well its practically on the runway, just at the point where they dump 10 hours worth waste over berkshire, but the flight to denver leaves at 15:50, so rather than taking 2 weekends out I decided to take the bus in the morning to the airport, because the bus isn’t that bad really. unless it’s sunday morning at 7 oclock and the driver has obviously just had a row about eggs with his wife and will happily call the IT specialist an ‘arsehole’ who just put his bag in the luggage compartment marked in his head as ‘gatwick’ instead of the secret one called ‘heathrow’. that was the longest 4 hour bus journey ever. so I get to heathrow about 4 hours before I need to and because I’ve checked in online, I can’t check in yet and so I have to sit in the pre-departures ‘seating area’ which is like finding a dry piece of newspaper to sit on at glastonbury – funny for 2 seconds. 2 hours later I can check in, but that’s alright, because my online check-in means I ‘beat the queues’. apart from the queue that is everybody who has checked in online for British Airways, which is the longest queue of all queues in this collection of queues that is a check in area at heathrow airport.

anyway, as Patricia says, BA’s service onboard is impeccable, even thought the 777 I’m sat in is pants compared to a 747-400 and I’m damned if I can work out when Hotel Rwanda is going to start, so I end up watching Hide and Seek instead which has that 6th sense twist that you kick yourself for not seeing an hour before and then de niro goes all cape fear/tribble, which just isn’t so good at 60, especially when you can see him in Meet the Fockers on channel 16 on the screen on the seat next door. kind of takes the tension out of it when he’s simultaneously wielding a blood-spattered spade and rescuing a toy dog from a toilet . still, dakota fanning was a great dark-haired miseryguts. I managed to squeeze in another film I’ve already completely forgotten about before we landed and no sooner had I stepped off the Avis shuttle bus than I realized I probably couldn’t find my way out of airport in the chevy preferredaccount without at least breathing some real air. I stopped for a while in the car lot and remembered that last time I came here with Chris, Air Force 1 was just landing and we watched it taxi up to the gate where will smith and tommy lee jones appeared from a range rover and we got whisked away to the marriot in Boulder.

having eventually negotiated InterlockenEverywhere I was checked into the Omni and there I sat on the end of the the bed, after a couple of swift ones in the tap room talking with a nice woman from StorageTek about Malcolm Glazer and bikes, flicking through the interactive services menu to see if the bar bill was already on my online statement which it wasn’t which I though was interesting but actually soon realized that just meant I should go to bed and stop being so sad. for some reason I woke up on the hour, every hour, until it was time to get up again. I can’t explain that, but I’ll probably not try and program the radio alarm clock and the p800 and the tv and wake up service all at the same time tonight.

no, it’s really just rubbish

too bad. 22 years forcing myself to like Barrett, but today I give it a 2, which means I’ll never hear it again. stupid tea-brained outcast, whining uncontrallably in front of a fireplace in his bare-floorboards front room while dave and nick bring him soup from the co-op and prop him up on a stool, where he just dribbles into his chest, the spark gone right out. I used to live in the flat upstairs to that room when I was sticking £35 price tags on mono copies of piper at the gates of dawn in the upstairs of the cambridge beat goes on and I thought that was just very cool, but actually neither of those things were and now I’m deleting him from my playlist to make way for The Longcut, so there.

in between sticking pins in my arm to remind myself I’m still here and that I really should be revising the standard templates and indexes for global venues in line with Sun’s rebranding and the things I forgot to do in the first place, I’m fiddling with a P800 and pointing a gun at my foot as I think about what to put on the Tadpole to see me through the next week in the land of high-altitude Jagermeister and a big bed at the Omni that I’ll probably fall out of at 4 in the morning as I stumble for the hotel ethernet cable that will connect me up to the Sun network to coordinate Japan. I have to use photoshop, so I have to use XP. I need to install JDS, but I really don’t have the wit to dual boot and I only have 1 day to sort it out anyway and by the way, if you’re thinking of suggesting the gimp, then don’t. I’ll do the right thing when I get back and then reinstall the entire home network with solaris 10 and get VPN working because chris managed it so I should be able to, even though he’s got a Ferrari now like what all them engineers do. you just need to get NAT to point to the right port and apparently a tunnel opens up, like fricken Narnia or something. I dunno.

so i’m going to rip the heart out of an About Sun gateway and stick it back together again with ‘I know what I’m talking about, really’ glue, ready to hoof over to the development team to do that stuff they do with XML and god knows what and then I’ll stick a new stylesheet on the press pages and wrap up the indexes like dynamic fajitas and then I’ll ask the lovely people in Australia if they would like to opt in to changing the world and everything in it just by configuring their NSAPI. or I’ll have another pie. pie it is. hang on, Spiritualized. blimey, that’s a bit rubbish too.

infinity

exuent and fall over. it’s the ubiquity of globalfulnessness that makes us all sit at our desks and talk like this. I used to be just the same as I am now. sitting there on a warranty desk filtering out the calls with ‘SunOS 4.1.1’ or ‘Openwindows’ and putting them in a queue I kept especially for people I thought would never call again and then spending the rest of the day constructing a hilarious usenet posting about Pot Noodles and flaming a dick from Leighton Buzzard. but you progress, and now I’m working at the weekend because the thing I first thought of has turned into the thing that that’s now 2 weeks later and 37 into one isn’t quite all I thought it could be. you’ve got one of those over there, but I haven’t got one over here. they definitely don’t have one in Japan, and a guy from Slovakia has told me he already knew about it when I was supposed have told him but didn’t but he isn’t going to but it doesn’t matter because they don’t but I’m thinking they will when they see the things I’m sending them because they haven’t asked for it, but they’re going to get it and they’ll just have to take it out themselves.

if I could only rearrange the following words, I think I’d be able to make sense of it: time on delivered when going might help if but you’re busy localization applications for once I that said before dammit. It’s probably something to do with that infinite number of program managers and an email client proposition. you know, give an infinite number of program managers an email client and eventually they’ll write every single conference call number and meeting time combination possible on one line without word wrapping but including a signature file so dense the universe implodes after a ‘five minute break’, but crucially, they’ll then spontaneously all stop using it and create a startup company and be the only people at their own leaving parties in an infinite number of bars on University Avenue, necking an infinite number of Jagers before waking up on their own and crying an infinite number of tears into their muesli because that’s really all there is and there’s always a parrot calling your name, but it’s spelt wrong so you never got the email, but the sys admin who’s aliased your own domain and catches all bounces is laughing at you with his friends and pointing at you in an infinite number of corridors with Network Computing posters and notices about Java Desktop System and Solaris plastered on them covering up the Why? campaigns that nobody’s really sure whether you allowed to take down even though they’re 3 years old.

there, there. is there a t-shirt I can wear? I love free stuff.

there’s only one word here: washing. it’s done in outline font and tarmac. it’s right next to phone number for BT Business Broadband complaints (which is 0800 679905, by the way) and it serves to remind me of one thing. I’m more responsible than I ever used to be. I have a number of dependents, more house than Mecca bingo and sums of money that constantly slip betweem my tanned-but-fading fingers. If I don’t hang the washing out I will DIE. That’s all there is to it. I’ll now put Joy Division on and poke myself with sticks in the dark until I get the bends.

either, either, or

You know I can’t discuss it. I mean, I already know, but it’ll take a couple of weeks before I can tell you, right? Anyway, Halloween jokes and all, it’s great to get out and about. Tonight in Palo Alto we had good fun with the Italian sausage, but you know, I have to eat that now, so lets take a snap, quick. Oh, and another. Let’s see, that’s not getting posted. Chris and I will get the Jergens and the rubber gloves out later and see what comes of it.

Really, beyond the jetlag and thousand yard stares, these are great people. I mean, I get to sit round a table with them and shout at the TV and stuff and share those funny and touching program management moments and either, either, or the other stuff which makes the 5000 miles worthwhile. You see, I know what you’re talking about, so lets work together on it and drag the collective understanding up out of the mind puddle of brain wrong. Never really thought schemas would be quite such an exciting prospect, but I mean, it all comes down to data models, right? Pass the spoons. That’s my silverware.

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