Posts Tagged ‘training’

City of Houston Produces Video About Surviving Workplace Shooter

August 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week, the City of Houston’s Office of Public Safety, with grants from the Department of Homeland Security, posted a video called RUN. HIDE. FIGHT: Surviving an Active Shooter Event as part of their Ready Houston initiative. It’s a professionally done, six minute instructional video about what to do if someone were to open fire at the office.

The video was actually produced two weeks before the movie theater incident in Aurora, CO that took the lives of 12 civilians and wounded many more.  Soon after the shooting, Mayor Annise Parker and Dennis Storemski, the Director of the Office of Public Safety, had the video posted within a week, stating that “knowledge is power in a situation such as Aurora.”

I have to admit when I first saw the video title I recoiled, wondering “have we come to this as a society?” But within a second, I had to stop what I was doing and watch the video, because I needed to know. Then I had the feeling to share it with all my coworkers. Then I had the feeling to blog it on the internets.


What was your reaction when you learned that a city is promoting tips to survive a workplace shooting? Have you ever considered what you would do if you were ever caught in this kind of situation? Should the government sponsor initiatives of this kind, or is it going too far?

In this digital age with social media, we rely on people at the scene to provide us with up-to-date information during extreme situations. Then we rely on creative and technically-skilled people to create tools to present data in a meaningful way. Then we rely on social media influencers to distribute the knowledge to rest of us. But all of this happens AFTER the emergency. Perhaps it’s the government’s role to empower us BEFORE anything ever takes place?


7 Reasons Why The City of Los Angeles’ Move to Gmail Scares Me

July 27, 2010 5 comments

In October 2009, The City of Los Angeles made a monumental business decision to switch its email (Outlook) and basic productivity products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to Gmail and Google Apps by June 2010. They cited cost savings as the main driver and I applaud them for such a gutsy move.

Despite unanimous approval from City Council, this move wasn’t without critics. Moving to Google means moving its emails out of City managed data centers and into a private cloud under Google’s surveillance. Issues concerning security and privacy naturally ensued, and both Google and the City published articles and webinars addressing these fears and articulating the additional benefits.

I have no qualms about moving to the cloud. My fear is around IMPLEMENTATION because we’re not just talking about going from chocolate to vanilla…

…we’re talking about ripping away a system that the majority of 30,000 employees have been using for many years, and forcing them to embrace a completely redesigned system that’s been turned on its ear.

I know training is stressed in their plan, but teaching what might be a large number of new users to learn Gmail is no small feat. Below are 7 aspects of Gmail that I hope gets extra attention in their training sessions.

1. There are only two places: “inbox” and “not-inbox”

This is probably the most difficult aspect to grasp for new users. When you want to move something out of the inbox, you don’t drag it into a folder, you tag it with however many labels that apply and then archive it. Gmail never uses the word “folder”. It’s either in your inbox or not. Expect to allow a lot of time for non-gmail regulars to adopt this concept.

2. Speaking of no folders, how do you get any structure?

I have some coworkers who are VERY proud of their well-architected hierarchical folder system. In Gmail, no hierarchy. New users better get used to the Search feature as the main way of retrieving archived mail.

3. Speaking of archived mail… why does it not mean archived mail?

In Outlook, archiving is for transferring the gargantuan weight of antiquated emails that you’ll probably never look at again. You don’t mess with it and just wait for it to automagically do its thing every few months. In Gmail, archive means scooting emails out of your inbox. That’s all. No big deal.

4. What about threaded conversations? That seems pretty intuitive

This is one of the low hanging fruits that make people fall in love with Gmail right away. Especially in government, we enjoy ridiculously long email trails. With threaded conversations, all that back and forth shrinks to one email in your inbox. But it does get tricky when the conversation branches. Sometimes you don’t want to reply all and it could get complicated. Expect a few oops from new users.

5. What about printing my emails?

Something else that government employees love to do… print emails. I don’t know why, but you’ll always find printed emails in the forgotten pile around print areas. With threaded conversations, some folks might not want to bother fishing through threaded conversations and just hit the “print all” button on the side. Or some will forget that if you just want to print one message, you’ll have to select from the drop down menu. Either way…printing could get tricky.

And two features that Google is touting that scares me

6. I can chat from my inbox? How awesome!

Many agencies already have instant messaging, but the reason it’s not ubiquitous is because agencies don’t want to deal with the policies. Now that it’s in Gmail, you’re instant message is automatically saved and searchable. Imagine what this does for e-discovery. Now when someone demands all records related a project, you can include all the chat conversations with it. And you know how professional people sound when they’re instant messaging… (that was sarcastic).

7. Google is proud of its storage space blowing away the competition

I’m not sure this is a good thing. Yes, it’s annoying to get the “Your mailbox is over capacity” email, but that forces employees to archive and delete deadweight. Now without that restriction, watch email management of attachments go even more crazily out of control.

Overall, I’ll be cheering the City of Los Angeles onwards in their endeavor, because I believe Gmail is superior to Outlook. But it’s so tremendously different that it will take a long time for the majority of new users to figure it out. Hopefully, with their extensive training plan, they can emerge as a pattern for other agencies to follow.