Excel Project Tracker (with the Coolest Excel Function Ever!)

One of the most common projects in Mobile Telecoms is to complete a checklist of tasks for each BTS in a group.  In this series of blog posts, I’ll show you how to create an effective Tracker for this type of project using Excel.  If you work with Excel, and especially if you are a Technical Manager, this series is written for you.

You’ll not only get a reusable project Tracker, but also some new Excel skills to save your time, reduce your workload, and maybe even get recognized for the quality of your work.  You’ll use these techniques again and again.

With this first post, I’ll create a complete project tracker.   I want to show you how easy it is to do using Excel.  This will be a fully functional project Tracker, which you can use immediately. Continue reading “Excel Project Tracker (with the Coolest Excel Function Ever!)”

A Technologist Tackles Digital Marketing

I want to describe my experience trying to learn Digital Marketing, also known as Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing.  These terms are not 100% interchangeable. But I hope by listing them all it puts us, you and me, on the same page for this article.  Fundamentally, it’s about finding an audience and offering them things of value.

monthly_traffic_reportAs a Technologist, I’ve always thought I ought to be able to make money on the Internet.  After all, I understand and actually use many of the technologies underpinning the Internet and World Wide Web.  So making money should be a breeze, right?  But I was wrong!

I first tried making Internet millions when I set up a blog in 2007.  I’ve maintained that blog off and on over the years, and this, Bangkok Beach Telecom, is the latest incarnation.  On several occasions over the years, I actively tried to monetize the blog with ads.  But I never made more than a few dollars in a month.  Mostly, that was because I never achieved any significant volume of traffic.  Not many people visited my blog. Continue reading “A Technologist Tackles Digital Marketing”

July 2017 – Writing Roundup

I spent much of July doing software development.  Mostly, I worked on the LinkedIn Tip of the Day application, and also my book.

Both these efforts cut down on the time I had for writing articles.   I plan to publish more articles this month.  As always, if there is a particular topic you would like write about, let me know in the comments or visit my survey on Google docs,

What would you like me to write about?

Thanks for reading! Continue reading “July 2017 – Writing Roundup”

Web Development Tools for the Well-Rounded Technologist

I’m a big fan of the Perl programming language.  A very long time ago, before computers became ubiquitous, I had a technical job which depended on computers.  Back then, computers typically were housed on a raised floor behind glass walls, and only the anointed elite actually worked ON the computers. But in my job, we had access to an AT&T 3B20 computer running UNIX. Our System Administrator was a pretty switched on guy and when I ask him to help me learn UNIX he was excited to have a pupil. I was totally jazzed to have a teacher.

The work environment was a Network Operations Center (NOC) for the telephone company. We monitoring telephone switches, which allowed us to experiment and play around to automate small tasks.  Our NOC monitored dozens of telephone switches, all of them writing their log messages into the 3B20.  Parsing those log files and creating reports was how I first learned to program using the Bourne Shell, sh. Continue reading “Web Development Tools for the Well-Rounded Technologist”

June Writing Roundup

I’m a little slow coming out with this roundup for June.  It was a good month.  I’ve been quite busy finishing a couple of contracts and putting together a new application.

The application is LinkedIn Tip of the Day.  Each day I post to LinkedIn a Tip to help you improve your LinkedIn Profile.  I’ve already begun testing.  You can see the Tips by searching for the hashtag #linkedintipoftheday.  I was not totally satisfied with the initial results.  I thought that the writing style I used was not quite right, maybe too stern, too professorial.  Too much like a Linux man page. Continue reading “June Writing Roundup”

Using LinkedIn Notifications

One of the advantages LinkedIn has over other social media is that your connections share the same core interests as you.  That’s probably why you connected with them in the first place, right?  After all, they are your network.  The best advice is to always be nurturing and developing your network because that is where your best opportunities will come from.

linkedin-notificationsLinkedIn helps by softly nagging you to keep in touch using the Notifications feature.

Notifications advise you of many events that are good excuses to say hello and updates these connections, people you might not speak with frequently, but with whom you want to keep in good contact.

But what should you do with those notifications? Continue reading “Using LinkedIn Notifications”

LinkedIn Update – Weekly Search Appearances

It seems LinkedIn recently updated their user interface. You can see the change by clicking the “me” icon, then select “view Profile” to view your own profile. Scroll down below your photo, headline, and summary and there is a short block showing the count of “Who’s viewed your profile”, “Views of your post in the feed”, and the new count “Weekly search appearances”. This is the number of times your profile appeared in searches during the previous calendar week.weekly-search-appearances Continue reading “LinkedIn Update – Weekly Search Appearances”

How to be Seen in Search

I write frequently about the LinkedIn platform and how it can help boost and build your career.  Today I’m talking about the Experience section of your LinkedIn Profile.

linkedin-profile-experienceThe Experience section of your LinkedIn profile is where you describe your work history, listing all or as many jobs as you think necessary.  In this regard, it is the section most similar to a resume or CV.  When you get the Experience section right, your LinkedIn Profile will consistently appear in search results.

To better understand this section of the LinkedIn Profile and to help you craft yours appropriately, we need to do the numbers.  The Experience section has 9 components, 4 objectives, and 1 writing exercise.  Let’s look at those numbers one-by-one. Continue reading “How to be Seen in Search”

Use Excel for Least Cost Routing

Excel is such a powerful tool because there are so many ways to use it in Telecoms.  Bangkok Beach Telecom offers a Least Cost Routing (LCR) Application for Voice.  The application is written in Perl, uses a MySQL database, and is light enough to run on just about any hardware and Operating System.  The application has achieved blended cost/MOU less $0.004.  That’s quite a bit lower than half a cent per Minute of Use.

The application performs several functions:

  • It accepts costed routes from multiple Long Distance Service Providers,
  • compares the cost route-by-route,
  • identifies the cheapest IXC for each route,
  • produces a file of the new switch translations,
  • and, using an Operator-provided historical call distribution, estimates the expected savings using the new routes.

I wanted an easy way for about anyone to check what would be the impact of running the LCR Application in their situation.  Microsoft Excel is capable of doing this, although it won’t easily generate a file of switch translations.  Only the route-by-route cost comparison and blended cost estimate are produced. Continue reading “Use Excel for Least Cost Routing”

Is Network Security Impossible?

Kyle A. suggested I write an article about Cyber Security and Telecoms.  It is certainly a timely request.  The last several weeks have seen the WannaCry ransomware affecting innumerable computers.  Estimates vary, but it seems probable that more than 100,000 computers around the world were affected.

Beyond this specific attack, there are no reliable estimates of the number of attacks or victims of cyber attacks.  Attackers don’t seem to be advertising their successes.  Often victims, especially companies, are reluctant to admit to being hacked or attacked.  The potential for negative publicity deters them. This reticence may benefit the attacker.

If a better understanding of the magnitude of the problem was widely known, a greater will to confront it and solve it might exist.  It is clear that cyber attacks represent an uncontrolled risk.  One that, anecdotally, seems to be growing. This risk is to everyone, not simply specific groups of users. It is this uncontrolled risk that must be addressed. Continue reading “Is Network Security Impossible?”