Category Archives: Coworking

BYOD becomes UYOD

Is This Fun?

The latest buzz word is Bring Your Own Device.  BYOD presumes you travel to a central work location and bring your own device there….to work.

I am saying that term is already obsolete, or will be in the very near future.  If you can do your work with your own device, travelling up to 4 hours a day, in traffic, wasting gas, time and money to get to a central work location to use it…..this is, well, stupid.

From now on….Telecommuting, telework, coworking will explode:

Decentralized work will be the norm in the very near future.

I propose that Use Your Own Device (UYOD) is going to be the more appropriate term.

Mark my words…


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+ Train your employees to run your video conferencing operation

+ Provide long term support

+Independently troubleshoot problems.  Work with vendor to fix.

My Resume

Sept 11 2001 and Video Conferencing

September 11, 2001 (Originally written for

Lori’s mother’s birthday started out just like any other day.  I was just getting up, Lori was already getting Kristen ready for school, Sunny (our currently 11 year old yellow lab who now has a tumor that is scaring us) was bouncing around as only he could do.

Lori had the TV on.

Suddenly, she yelled to me….”Mike…a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center”. Yikes!  We were just there the month before and took the picture shown below from the Ferry from New Jersey.

I thought to myself all the things that might have gone wrong.  I decided it was possible.  But then, as I watched, a SECOND plane barreled into the other tower!  OK, I read too many spy novels not to know what happened: terrorism.

In addition to having family in the New York City area, I also had ton of friends and colleagues.

Maybe I can help!  I turned on my computer in the study and started working.

Internet-based video conferencing was in it’s infancy in 2001.  We were still slightly less than 3 years away from announcing it as a service.  But it works, now….maybe we CAN help.

An email came in from a colleague at Columbia University asking for help to connect to the outside world.  I sprung into action.  It was “easy” for us at that time to connect virtually anyone with a decent Internet connection to anyone else via video (and audio).

I shot an email back telling Columbia University that we can help.  See this link and scroll down to 11:23 AM…I was the FIRST.  

I can do this.  ESnet can do this.  I called the people at Accord (at the time they were our MCU-multipoint control unit) and spent time figuring out how exactly to get done what I knew could be done.

We did it!  Yes!  We were ready, and all Columbia needed to do was use ESnet video conferencing to make telephone calls if they needed it.

The days passed, our family members were all safe, and I experienced an immense sense of loss (and un-real-ness) that I had not felt again until Sept 18, 2010 when we lost Carol (that day the horrible feeling of loss came back….1000 times worse and remains to this day).

These are very tough days.  I am not looking forward to the next week or so (Sept 9 (60 years), 11 (10 years), 18 (1 year)).  Now Sunny. Our world can calm down…please…

911 taught me that in an emergency: telecommuting works and so does video conferencing via the Internet.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Free Advice on How to Start a Telecommuting / Telework Program

Is This Fun?

Originally published on

OK, companies…here is the free advice on how to start a telecommuting program at your place of work.

Ready? You sure?


It ain’t rocket science… it. DUH.

  • Give your employee a task with a deadline.
  • Let them work on it anyplace, anytime.
  • Remotely connect with them, everyday if you have to, via any of the millions of ways you can connect in 2011 (video, voice, data).
  • When the deadline rolls around, ask this question: “Is the task complete?”
  • If the answer is “Yes”…you have successfully implemented a telecommuting program. On to the next task.
  • If the answer is “No”….then that employee failed (or you did) try the same with another employee.
  • Oh yeah…set up a really nice retirement package for the Old Fashioned Bosses (OFB) who insist that people are not working unless they are seen by the OFB, and make them take it. Get them out of the way…

COMPANIES: If you are spending thousands and thousands of dollars studying telecommuting, developing rules and regulations for a program, setting up milestones, goals, and tests, etc…..YOU ARE WASTING YOUR MONEY.

Follow my rules…it’s cheaper.


Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

Facebook Skype Video Chat

Vidyo on a Tablet

Well, it seems that Facebook now offers point-to-point video chatting from within Facebook.

Good for them!  BUT…point-to-point is kinda useless…just saying.  I have more than one friend I like to chat with, and all the Bay Shore Kids could have a reunion.

Overall Opinion 

HoHum, but, at least video conferencing is now reaching the masses.  After 20 years….my work is done?!  🙂

Google+ (if anyone is actually using it…I cannot seem to get connected) offers multipoint video chat (using, I think, Vidyo software).  At least that is what I heard….


I have been saying for MANY years now that videoconferencing should be for anyone at anytime from anyplace.

Big fancy rooms that cost $500,000 each are simply not needed…DUH…each participant should stay home (#telecommuting = #coworking) and video chat into a meeting.  Save gas, save time, save money, save the environment.

Workers Would Take a Pay Cut to Telecommute

Is This Fun?

Here is an interesting article from the folks at CNET about IT pros willing to take pay cuts to telecommute.

You know I could say a lot about the managers who are “reluctant” to allow telecommuting.  But I’ll be nice….and not call them idiots in this blog entry.  RETIRE!  Get out of the way you old geezer (I can say that ’cause I are one)….get with the 2011 world….DUH.

#Telecommuting = #Coworking = #Telework

iPad Apps for Women

Breezing thru the Internet, I ran across an interesting article discussing the lack of information on the web pertaining to iPad apps for women.  Tons of stuff for guys, mostly geek guys…but very little for women.

Looking at the article, I was surprised to find out it was written by AltamontCowork full-time member, Joleen Ruffin!   In that article, Joleen then rectifies the lack of information by introducing the reader to a number of useful and fun iPad apps that women / moms (and kids) would love!

Very cool.

Anyway….here is a snapshot of the article.  (Go here to read Joleen’s best iPad apps.)

“I have never been an early adopter of technology. You won’t find me camping outside a store waiting for the opening sale day of a product. When the iPad first launched in April 2010, I didn’t pay it much attention. I had my iPod Touch and wasn’t  really using it that much. In fact, my kids were using it more than I was.

But after a couple of trips to Best Buy and playing with the iPad at the store, I had to have one. I not so subtlety let my husband know that the iPad was what I wanted for Christmas. Instead of waiting for Christmas, he bought it for me on December 2. He called me up and told me to come out and meet him because he had something he needed me to take home. It was my iPad! He told me there was no need to wait until Christmas when he knew I wanted it right now, plus he was too excited to give it to me to wait (isn’t he great!).

Can I just say, I LOVE my iPad. It is so awesome. So awesome that once I started playing with mine, my husband went out and bought one for himself too….”

Here is a video of Joleen’s favorite app (I know because….hmmm, well, see the picture at the top of this blog).  🙂

The other day, Joleen showed us some of the apps for kids….very cool.

In the old days (when Kristen was a happy youngster (as opposed to the brooding teenager she is today), Broderbund had the “Mommy and Me” software on the Mac that was truly awesome.  These new iPad / Android apps promise a new generation of kids hours of fun and learning.

NEW APP!  WiFi / 3G Enabled Mirror.  Joleen will let you use her new app for $1.00.  🙂


Telecommuting / Telework Bill Passed

Is This Fun?

This article in the Washington Post tells us that today, a bi-partisian (who’d a thunk that could happen?) proposed bill to allow more Federal Gov’t workers to work at home or at other locations (like COWORKING!) was passed and will now go to President Obama for his signature.   Since he has been pushing for this, I am hopeful this will become law.

Don’t be confused:  Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework.   I don’t care what the semantics lovers say….it’s all the same…you work from a remote location.  Period.

Here is a snippet from the Washington Post article (so you can stay here and increase my view count):

“The measure requires federal agencies to develop policies allowing employees to work remotely unless their positions are specifically excluded (that means you, doctors, police officers, lab technicians, park rangers, etc.).

Telework now must become part of an agency’s contingency plans for emergency or weather situations, such as the snowstorms or potential terrorist attacks. Each agency also must also designate a telework managing officer to oversee its teleworking program.

The Obama administration and employee organizations have pushed for greater teleworking opportunities for employees, citing concerns about the continuity of government and potential cost savings. Unions note that the government saved about $30 million from employees who worked from home during this year’s historic Washington-area snowstorms.

The General Services Administration estimates that if federal workers telecommuted at least one day per week, agencies could increase productivity by more than $2.3 billion annually. Agencies also could save money on electricity, office supplies and office space.”

Now..all we need is for California to get smart..but I won’t hold my breath out here in the car loving, commute loving, road building, Golden State.

One more snippet and piece of advice for the OFB’s who contributed to this paragraph:

“But some government managers remain skeptical of the program, citing an unwillingness to manage employees they literally can’t see at the office.”

My Advice:  TIME TO RETIRE OFB!  Make room for smart people who care about the FUTURE.

Difference Between Coworking and a Virtual Office

Coworking has been gathering momentum in the past year or two.  As more and more coworking locations are established, more people learn what it is, there is more exposure, then more people learn about it……  That snowball effect is at it’s very early stages, but, in a year, or two, the awareness of coworking will increase exponentially.

It’s 2010 Folks

Where does a person work when they are not commuting to a centrally located office that took 2 hours to get to… traffic?

Well….they can work at home, at a cafe, at the airport, in a hotel, in an executive office, virtual office, or at a coworking location.  Anywhere, anytime, anyone.

The mobile workforce has arrived!  Well, it CAN arrive.  🙂

For those small businesses, freelancers, independents (and the rare commuter) what are some options for “office space”?  Lets take a quick look at the differences between two of the options:  a virtual office and coworking.  Remember I run a coworking location…so I am just a bit jaded, but, as a wannabe journalist…I’ll try my objective hat on.

Really Quickly

A Virtual Office is a traditional office environment….the only difference being a virtual office is shared and limited.  But it follows the traditional way of thinking for an “office”:  Secretary/Receptionist, phone, desk, file cabinets, 10 x 10 office with a door.

Coworking is a radically new way to work in a shared community.   Work in an open space, use private rooms for meetings or phone calls, use your own cell phone, and do your own work…all of it.  In most cases….your entire work life is your laptop or other mobile device.

Please keep this in mind as you read the following…..This just a guideline, places vary in what they offer, so the appropriate changes may be to be taken into account:


  • Virtual Office yes
  • Coworking no (who needs their cell phone answered?)

Telephone Service:

  • Virtual Office yes
  • Coworking probably not (cell phones, Google Voice…duh)


  • Virtual Office yes
  • Coworking many do, some don’t (old fashioned anyway…get with the future!)  🙂

Private Office with a desk:

  • Virtual Office yes
  • Coworking some yes, some no

High class fancy digs:

  • Virtual Office probably (a great place to show off your wealth and status)
  • Coworking many, but they tend to stress casual functionality.

Conference Room:

  • Virtual Office yes (mostly for extra cost)
  • Coworking most (mostly free with membership)

Access to Office:

  • Virtual Office limited number of days / month
  • Coworking unlimited and/or  limited membership options per month


  • Virtual Office no (close your door and work by yourself)
  • Coworking yes (collaborate, do things together, birthday parties, help with problems….evening gatherings, meetings, seminars, classes…..!)

Free WiFi:

  • Virtual Office probably not
  • Coworking yes (it is ingrained in the coworking culture)

Free Coffee:

  • Virtual Office probably not
  • Coworking yes (again this is ingrained in the coworking culture)

Month by Month rentals:

  • Virtual Office probably not, but, some are moving towards this
  • Coworking probably yes, but other options available

Monthly Cost Example (valid as of Nov 17, 2010):

Most Office Hours:

Virtual Office in Tracy, CA (from their web site): 40 hours in office, with all the phones, mail, receptionist, etc:

$135 set up, $275 per month (12 months committed), $325 per month (3 months committed)

AltamontCowork: Unlimited time in office (24×7), you answer your own cell phone, printer/scanner, free coffee, free WiFi, free IT support, conference rooms are free, mail:

$150 per month, month by month, no set up fees.

Least Office Hours:

Virtual Office: 10 hours per month in office, $135 set up, $160 per month (12 month commit), $200 per month (3 month commit)

AltamontCowork: 24 x7 unlimited hours in the office,  $150 per month, no set up fees, month-by-month.


  • Virtual Office no (it’s an office….business….you rent…period)
  • Coworking yes (it’s a community of like minded people working, collaborating,  and having fun, it’s from the heart)

Typical Virtual Office in Tracy, CA (very nice)

AltamontCowork, Tracy, CA


Some people may need the features offered by a Virtual Office while some may fit better in a Coworking location.

A possible general rule:  If you work at a Cafe to get out of the house…you will like coworking.  If you are a high powered future executive needing to impress…a virtual office is for you!


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Global Coworking Blog

This week,  Angel Kwiatkowski from Cohere in Fort Collins, CO released the “Global Coworking Blog”.

Angel Says:

The motivation to rebirth the coworking blog came when I learned about Kapost which is a Boulder, Colorado company (just 45 minutes from here). Alex (Hillman from Indy Hall) offered to migrate everything to WordPress and I offered to select and tweak the theme ( in addition to being the Kapost moderator.  It was also influenced by Beth’s GoneCoworking project.

From my limited perspective…..this blog will be (and is) a collaborative effort where anyone involved in coworking (as a member, owner, evangelist, or wannabe) can post words of wisdom for all to learn.  Angel will moderate the entries for appropriateness.

Soooooo, if you want to know everything there is to know about COWORKING….head off to the Global Coworking Blog.

Oh yeah….I (with help from Angel) posted my blog on “What is Coworking”.