Collaboration (insert nothing here)

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a topic and I’m drawing a blank. So that’s what I’m going to talk about. Nothing. Zero. Null.

My current daily focus centers on connecting people to people, people to robots, and people to data. So it involves a fair amount knowledge of understanding networking principles, tools, and concepts. However, I also have to lean into the philosophical and the “being human” side. So how as a “Collaboration” guy do I get people disconnected? How do I build things in such a way you actually have a chance to get to zero? Silence. Nothing.

It really comes as a series of recommendations because the technology that exists today is focused on keeping you connected 24x7x365 to something. That something could be work, data, or media. Being “disconnected” isn’t a concept that is around much anymore. It used to be a prevalent part of working with technology. Remember the “bring your laptop in for updates” events? How about before laptops? Keeping workers functional when disconnected used to be a very real thing. Now you’re always on and the traditional work day has long drifted away.

The first recommendation is get in complete control of your notifications. Even if takes hours to figure this out you should stop and write down or type out all of the things that “notify” you. Figure out how they notify you, prioritize, and if it’s not priority then turn it off! Those little red notification bubbles on all those apps are not needed. Remember – if the product you’re using is free then you are the product. Some companies need you “plugged in” to operate. In “priority mode” there should only be 2 or 3 things that notify and interrupt you while working. In “flex mode” feel free to open up those notifications a little more.

The second recommendation is get in control of your calling and texting notifications. If you have a business number and a personal number are you using your business number? That’s one way of setting up a barrier between being on and off. You can text with your business number quite a few different ways and companies should really consider offering that. Business calls, texts, and voicemails flow and stay within the business. The side benefit is it makes it easier for other people to cover your work as needed. If you need to disconnect for vacation, family, or whatever you can redirect that flow of information. It’s not so easy if the flow of information is direct to your personal. I think this is hugely important for getting to zero.

The third recommendation has nothing to do with technology. It has to do with you as a human exercising some deep rooted control over yourself. Tell yourself you’re done with work between certain hours. Tell yourself you’re done with all screens for periods of time. I’ve learned some things firsthand watching my children. Creativity doesn’t fully realize itself when we are constantly connected and feeding our minds. We need to be bored. We need to be off. Zero. Nothing.

I’m not treading any new ground here in anything I’ve said. There are some really awesome articles and research available on these topics. I highly recommend making sure you know how to disconnect without interrupting your work streams. If you’re the single individual in a corporate IT department get on contract with a managed services company to back you up. Everyone needs a break. Take one.

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Cisco Communications Manager – Why you no 12.0?

Alright. I can hear you yelling at the screen right now. @Warcop is back again trying to get me to run a dot zero release. Yes. Here I am and I come with reasons and cookies.

Let’s bust a couple of myths.
Myth #1: Dot zero releases are evil and should be sent back to the hell that they came from.
I at least have a couple of readers who feel that way. I know you and here’s the response. The call manager development team is not evil and they’re not out to get you. The code base that is call manager is very mature and portions of the call control code hasn’t changed in years. The team that works on dot zero releases is probably the same team that works on all the other releases. So I ask you a question in return. Why do you trust the person coding service updates more than the person coding the dot zero?

Myth #2: Call Manager dot zero releases should be considered a beta.
This myth is in an echo chamber outside of Cisco and within Cisco. Call manager releases come on schedule and if you notice there’s a predictable cadence. A dot zero release is what I consider a fork of an existing .5 release. If you browse the bug tool (yes I do this for fun) for any release you’ll likely notice fixes are published for a .5 and .0 release. So both release trains are getting the same bug fixes where applicable. So why do you trust 11.5SU5 more than 12.0SU1.

So if they contain some of the same bug fixes does that mean the code is the same? Don’t leave now! I have proof! The recent work on the Apple Push Notification service has required some fixes to the call manager service. So it’s no surprise that the APNS COP file to patch call manager applies to BOTH 11.5.1(SU3) and 12.0(1). The file that’s in this patch is the call manager binary and if it applies to both versions.. ZING! If you’ve applied CSCvf57440 to 11.5(su5) you’re running the same call manager binary as 12.0(1). Saying that a dot zero release is a beta is not accurate. A dot zero release is not described as beta software on the website or release notes.

There’s a wealth of reasons why you should be moving to version 12. I’m liking the security updates the most since that is top of mind with nearly everyone. Instead of listing all the features here the datasheet link is: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/unified-communications/unified-communications-manager-callmanager/datasheet-c78-739475.html

The CCIE Collaboration lab is also being upgraded to Communications Manger version 12. If it’s good enough for the lab it should be good enough for you!

There are production clusters in the world running version 12 and they’re humming right along. Let’s face the reality that software updates are being released faster than most of us can absorb. So why not change the echo chamber to “Why would you not run the latest code?”

Here’s a quote I remember and reference often: “Updates are evil. Updates are only OK when I don’t read the release notes and click install.” — @swiftonsecurity

Bring the feedback @Warcop on Twitter