Software tools for working from home.

Software tools for working from home

The global pandemic of Covid-19 requires us to be extra diligent when connecting and communicating for work and private conversations to a greater extent than before.

Having worked remotely for large parts of my professional life with developing remote tools at GeekGirlMeetup, Scrive and Lookback I want to share my favourite tools for connection and conversations. I hope you find the list helpful, and that it helps you connect well, communicate better and stay safe from home.

To learn more about the best practices for leaders as well as remote and distributed teamwork, benefits and challenges I suggest a listen to the chat with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg in the episode  “New Future of Work” from the podcast ‘Making Sense’ by Sam Harris.

Communication tools for connection in remote times: 

  • Slack:  For teams already using slack as a closed chat channel, their video functionality is excellent, allowing users to share their screen and draw on their own screen. Great for sharing sketches and ideas, during technical production. My own personal favourite across work and private projects.
    Requires: account and login, free.

  • Zoom: A great video tool that allows participants to share their screen, and extra good for recording a video session or instruction and sometimes even shorter UX research.
    Requires: download and login.

  • Hangouts: A great tool for simpler video chats with lower technical requirements, allows sharing screens of participants. Great for a simple meeting or a lunch chat.
    Requires: a google account and login, downloads optional on desktop, requires mobile app download on phone, owned by Google.

  • Whereby A personal favourite for meetings and sharing your screen, where on desktop the level of entering the service is low. The user who receives the link to a call on desktop and does not need to login. The simple “open-link-to-enter-video-chat” lowers the threshold of complexity speaking with people who are less likely comfortable taking time and effort to prepare for a meeting, downloading software. Whereby was formerly known as Appear.in.
    Requires: Does not require user account login on desktop. The mobile usage requires a mobile app download.

  • Skype: An old favourite and possibly the longest standing Voip (Voice over IP) service, sold to Microsoft. Probably the most widely adapted tool in the world for simple meetings across work and family calls.
    Requires: user account downloads and login, owned by Microsoft.

  • Whats app. A mobile app that allows free phone and video calls across operating systems iOS (iPhone) and Android. For example, you are on an iPhone and your dad is on Android, FaceTime won’t work, What’s app does! Several users can participate in a call. Great for family calls. Owned by Facebook.

  • FaceTime. A phone and operating system dependent app, thats is embedded for free on every iPhone. No need for downloading anything, just click “FaceTime” when calling any other iPhone user. Several users can participate in a call. Great for family calls.

The role of role models

Last month the organisation My dream Now asked me to speak about finding my path from youth to adulthood and I accepted with pleasure even when finding my path was not always so pleasurable. Being honest about it, accepting it and exploring is the valuable part to share. Meeting, speaking with and answering questions with the 9th graders at Bäcka skolans in Stockholms was a heartwarming experience I’d recommend.

Role-models have been central and meaningful in my life, showing me that everything is possible. Role models can come at any point in life but they were extra meaningful to me when I was young. The role models that lead the way before me lead by example boosted my curiosity and creative confidence, and that is exactly what was behind the creation of GeekGirlMeetup, my work with user experience and my startups.

In general it is hard to serve up a one-answer-fits all type version with this type of engagements, all one can do is speak about ones truth. I was happy the young adults had questions about how I chose my education, how to use a possibility mindset (use your possibility glasses). We ended up making a spontaneous idea development workshop to challenge their boundries of what is possible hopefully widening both my own and their mental models. I dearly hope I managed to spark the importance of doing what you love independently of your background or where you come from just as my role models once did for me for at least one of them.

Make a difference by inspiring the future bright minds of tomorrow
If you too want to make a difference, contribute by signing up to speak about your job at the “My dream Now” link or Transfer that is another organisation I have done talks with to promote the connection between working life and everyday life at school.

 

Learnings from a Meerkat interview

Last week I did an AMA at the Slack-based UX community Designerhangout as the UX research at Lookback.io with Meerkat. Meerkat, similarly to Periscope allows you to live streaming app that allows you to take questions and re-posts your interview to Youtube later which, very neat and practical. Here is a short description of the experience and the findings.

The founder of Designerhangout Jacob Rogelberg and I scheduled the AMA (Ask me anything) a week in advance so I had time to do a test recording with Meerkat before going live on @designerhangout  with their entire community and not bugging them with tech details etc. I would do this again just out of curtesy, you don’t want people waiting while you get yourself together.

I also emptied my phone for excess materials. For example i synced all my photos externally and then deleted them so I had more than 200 MB to play with, that makes it a nice experience. Mainly I do this at any point in time when you are using video on your camera over 10 minutes of recorded material. My interview was 33 minutes. That takes some overhead, clean out some space on your device.

I signed in to Meerkat with our Lookback Twitter account as I have hade major difficulties with twitter password support after adding SMS verification, that has gone awry and won’t let me back in. Twitter customer service has a lot left to wish for but thats another story.

By tagging the video #katch Meerkat allows it to catch the video on Youtube later, so its documented. I named it appropriately so if people RT it it makes sense if its of for them on not “AMA with @lookbacks UX research @heidiharman”. This way when the tweets from your Twitter and Meerkat happens, it’s clear what the clip is about.

Once you are on Meerkat, people will show up in little round circles on your Meerkat screen, thats filming you if you flip to selfie mode (frontal camera). You will also get questions thru the Meerkat app. I got most of my questions thru our UX forum (designers hangout). My thoughts this, it being a new experience for both the founder and me, was that we could have prepped up with some questions in advance. And the forum could have directed the question to be done via Meerkat, this way I as the interviewee would not have to go between 2 screens.

Things I did in the beginning were:
1. Introduce myself, name, role, company and why I’m here – for the AMA.
2. I spoke briefly about what Lookback does.
3. I started answering questions.

It seemed as if more questions started popping towards the end of the 33 minute conversation in 2 different chat-rooms, Twitter and Meerkat. If advise to keep it one Channel.

I might even set up a tripod, so I don’t have to do handhold the recording at the same time I’m looking for questions on my desktop screen, ultimately i would only be working on the Meerkat screen.

All in all, it was a neat experience with people asking great questions and it was a lot of fun teasing out new stuff. Id definitely do it again and recommend it as a great tool for this type of interviews and makes it simpler to gather the material and publish it. Best of luck with your recording, AMA, Q&A or whatever creative use you find for it. Hope this helps your future Meerkat or Periscope interview in the future.

The actual stream:

Space Apps Challenge 2015- Stockholm by NASA

The sky is not the limit! Come and explore Space to improve life on Earth at Spaceport Swedens´s Innovation competition Space Apps Challenge 2015- Stockholm by NASA on April 11-12th at SUP46, Start-Up People of Sweden who welcomes designers, programmers, artists, scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs from all ages and backgrounds.
The challenges this year is divided into the four themes Outer Space, Earth, Humans or Robotics. Read them all here: https://2015.spaceappschallenge.org/challenge/

The final program and more information about our partners will be posted at the website: https://2015.spaceappschallenge.org/location/stockholm/
We have a limited number of spots this year so be sure to apply fast to become our first testpilots !

YOU NEED TO REGISTER HERE: https://2015.spaceappschallenge.org/register

Hello autumn in Stockholm 2014

Stockholm provides a selection of newsworthy tech-fests and crossover festivals/conferences this autumn in Stockholm. The list might be updated.

Future Perfect, 14-17 Augusti 2014 at Grinda, Stockholm Archipelago
Sustainability conference that also incorporates the tech perspective of the future for new creative regions etc. Discount tickets via @heidiharman

Hybrid Conf 21-22nd of August 2014, Rigoletto, Stockholm
Say hello to design and code in a merry combo for two days of bliss. A few tickets left.

Stockholm Tech Fest 4-5 Sept 2014, Waterfront Congress,  Stockholm
Startup and tech conference with some of Sweden’s and international leading names. Come meet the people and companies behind what many are calling ‘The World’s Next Hot Tech City’. 2 stages, 100+ startups, 30+ speakers, in 1 amazing place. Free tickets available via GeekGirlMeetups FB page.

Nordic.JS 18-19th of September 2014, Artipellag, Stockholm Archipelago.
Nordic.js is a two-day conference all about Javascript aiming to inspire and to get inspired, to meet and learn from others and to to bring our community closer together. The conference will take place on an island in the middle of the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm. Tickets have sold out, volunteer tickets might still be available.

 

 

GeekGirlMeetup Stockholm #makeIT

As a founder that has worked with the internationalization of GeekGirlMeetup, one thing that strikes me is strong belief that we need a diverse uptake of ideas (womens ideas) to create the next Skype and Spotify. One way to get more women into the STEM/ ICT area is to elevate the fantastic women that are already out there. If you have ideas of how to help us with our mission please don’t hesitate to contact us to grow the network or to bring new ideas to the organisation and out to the society. And what better way, but to celebrate the wonders of technology by playing with it!

GeekGirlMeetup is themed “Make IT” this year at the Science museum in Stockholm Sweden on May 24-25th.

Sign up now for tickets and speaking and lets co-create an amazing weekend.

This year we will as the theme suggest be geeking-out in maker-culture. Expect 3-printing, hardware, trans-humanism, knitting workshops and manga-creation.
With speakers, maker and creators like Stockholm maker-space, Carin Ism, Robot-Robyn, Johanna Koljonen, Nina von Rüdinger we expect total geekdom-ness at the three threads of ‪#‎creativetechnology ‬‪#‎socialbusiness‬ and ‪#‎justepic‬. After-party at Spotify!

Like what you see? Our previous themes have been:

2008 The architecture of winning
2009 GAME ON
2010 Code is Queen
2011 We love API’s
2012 Beautiful Data
2013 Enter.Space
2014 Make it

GeekGirlMeetup is a un-conference for women in web, code and startups aiming to elevate female role-models, create new networks and active knowledge exchange.

Some articles:
• The Guardian – Four groups bringing women in tech together
 VentureVillage – Diverse groups make better products

Hackaway at undisclosed location

Hackaway

Hackaway is a weekend hackathon for creatives, designers and coders, ready to take on the challenge of building and launching new web services or apps.

As the name suggests the event is held at a undisclosed location on 11-13th of April 2014 and will take place . Given the people behind it we can only expect that it will take us somewhere fun, unexpected and brilliant. The hackathon is arranged by Martina Elm, Jonny Stromberg and grandfather of Swedish hackathons Ted Valentin.

#WIM2014 Outpasing the sceptics

“Outpase the skeptics” – Cristina Stenbeck

On saturday (International Women’s day) Women in Tech day was held by MTGx, Spotify and Google at the Hilton in Stockholm. It was a fun afternoon with awesome speakers from Sweden’s Startup ecosystem such as Mai Lee Hammargren (Mutewatch), Rochelle King (Global VP of Design at Spotify) with her brilliant speech on how to lead new design principles and Michelle Guthrie (Google).

Amongst other Swedes the scene was also occupied by Stina Ehrensvärd (CEO at Yubico) and Karin Nilsdotter (CEO at Spaceport Sweden) who we had at GeekGirlMeetup last year for our enter.space theme – she is always a pleasure to watch.

The key takeaway that I took with me was Cristina Stenbeck’s (Kinnevik) quote on people doubting you for whatever reason. Few of us will inherit an empire, never less all of us regardless of financial background can understand the emotion of doubt being directed at us. “We have to outpace the sceptics” – and with that I get on with my business!

Hi-Tempo hackathon lookback


The Hi-Tempo Hackathon with Protothon and Tempo documentary filmfestival took place in Stockholm (Sweden) this week. Given that I have participated at a dosen hackathon’s and arranged half a dosen hackathon’s myself, it was a pleasure to attend. New to me was the approach with film and the transmedial expression, as Protothon previously worked with several different players for different perspectives. I doubt that any of the 20-something participants knew or could predict what was to come out of this we just had to trust the process. Exciting!

We were either hackathon beginners, experienced or just technically curious of what can come out of this. By trade we were developer, design-thinkers, students from Hyperisland and Bergs School of Communication and many more.

The groups introduced themselves to principles of a transmedia approach, soon my group was working with a solid design-driven process developing a concept after trying a few different concepts. We set up goals and elaborated in the universe that Angela presented us with at the same time as we held our autonomous freedom to do what we wanted. It was fantastic to have access to Angela regarding questions and ideas on background and understanding what visuals and thoughts we could work with.

Angela Bravo’s film is her story about being the child of political refugees from a Pinochet tortured Chile. Angela grew up in Sweden hearing of her heritage, her memories are with animated style of the 80’s like heroes, superman, StarWars portraying activist and perpetrators.  A scenario as a child growing up, that has never been to Chile, Chile very easily became a Imaginary Country, what was real and what was a childhood memory and interpretation? In her documentary she follows the activists as well as Pinochets closest bystanders. We quickly identified that it is not a light subject. We wanted to create something that reaches people’s abstract mind by breaking it down to a humans character and characteristics. What makes you a hero, and makes you a perpetrator? Could this situation that happened in Chile happen again if we are comfortably numb here in Sweden and forget to learn from history?

Our group focused on making a mobile first solution for rapid spreading on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. The solution identified the topic of StarWars being a nice hero/villain style to work with and decided to do a questionnaire and meme-like piece on “what real StarWars character are you?”. By answering a few questions on what life choices you make you were lead down to become Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Chewbacka or a Stormtrooper?

At the end of the personality test you became one of them, however, this was also a play on human traits, and what makes you who you are, so if you tested to be a hero like Luke Skywalker you also carried the same traits and characteristics as Silvia, an activist. The test lead to 4 short interviews with characters from Imaginary Country, activating the landscape of character building or/and deconstructing as a perspective of the movie. The solution was built entirely in Java Script, and the team consisted of 5-6 people. bit.ly/imaginarycountry Please note, this is a mobile only piece. feel free to test being both super evil and very good. You will notice that it’s not always what you think nor expect.

The pieces opened the Tempo Film Festival 2014 and have been standing this week at Debaser Strand, hornstull.

This week was also closed down by two heavyweights in the sector Annika Warn and Simon Alexandersson.

I moderated a panel of Ph.D Annika Warn, Upsala University at the Tempofilmfestival Workshops speaking on pervasive gaming showcasing some best cases in history of transmedia projects.

Simon Alexanderson Ph.D student at KTH, showed us some of the works he was making with stopmotiongraphics, 3d works and animation aiming to be able to create animated characters quicker. This methods is highly applicable, especially in Angela Bravos case where the imaginary country is illustrated by rotoscoping as well as animations though out the film. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the future of this documentary film as well as to see how the future of media, games and film blend into what future we will in a decade take for a given contemporary future.

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Blog 100 – hello illustration

blogg100-logotype-300x256Blogg 100 is Swedish initiative thats held for the 3rd year by my friend Fredrik Wass, a former journalist and now advisor at a communication agency. Blogg 100 aims to get people to blog for 100 consecutive days.

I have chosen to make a separate blog, where i make one illustration of any sort just for fun as 1. i like drawing and i miss its presence in my everyday life, 2. it is a n awesome thing to do, i really like the initiative.