Sunday, August 31, 2008


A New School Year, A New School

I hope you had a great weekend. It was Labor Day Weekend here in the States. It is also the last weekend of summer for my kids. School starts on Wednesday, September 3rd.

A new school year is always exciting. This year is especially exciting as my oldest daughter is headed of to middle school. Middle school starts at 6th grade and covers 7th and 8th grade. A new experience for her and us.

But what is making this even more exciting is that she's going to a brand new school. It was completed just a few weeks ago. The architecture is beautiful. The location is spectacular! Here are some photos.

Here's my youngest daughter running to catch up with the group.


Here's the common room.


Each grade has a hall. The halls are named after the three forks of the Snoqualmie River.


Here's the view from the track and field area.


Back to school also means longer stretches of uninterrupted work time for me during the day, which translates to fewer late working nights. That makes me happy!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008


New Webinar Schedule

One of the great ideas that came from the User Group meeting is to have a series of three webinars each quarter. The webinars will have a logical progression starting with the basics of getting setup with NextComp, moving on to data loading and market pricing and finishing with reporting and analysis. So we're going to start this new webinar series in September.

The training webinars will be recorded and made available through the Help Desk. So, if you miss one of the live events, you can always catch up later at your own pace.

Here is the new webinar schedule for September and October:

New Features In Version 3
Tuesday, September 23rd
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (local time)
Register for September 23rd webinar
(Note: This webinar was originally scheduled for Thursday, September 18th)

Market Pricing With NextComp

Training Part 1
Thursday, September 25th
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (local time)
Register for September 25th webinar

Training Part 2
Thursday, October 2nd
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (local time)
Register for October 2nd webinar

Training Part 3
Thursday, October 9th
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (local time)
Register for October 9th webinar

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Boston User Group Wrap-up

Thank you to the attendees of the 2008 Boston Area User's Group meeting. A special thank you to Dynamics Research Corporation for hosting the meeting and for providing lunch and an amazingly delicious platter of cupcakes for dessert. I limited myself to one cupcake, which wasn't easy.

I'm going to be sending each of the participants a copy of the presentation via Basecamp.

Also, as of today, NEXTCOMP.NET Gamma is going to be known as NEXTCOMP.NET Version 3.

Based on feedback during the meeting we've decided to go with the version number rather than the fun sounding but rather cryptic gamma designation.

There was a great exchange of ideas, tips, tricks, and other information during the meeting. We'll be incorporating that feedback into our programming on Version 3. Stay tuned!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008


A Day On "The Freedom Trail"

Bunker Hill

We started our walk of The Freedom Trail at Bunker Hill in Charlestown.

Charlestown is a beautiful area. We met a really nice woman on our walk. She even offered to let us tour her condo. The building used to be owned by Sam Adams family and some of his relatives lived there. It was so cute and full of old world charm, but with updated amenities.

Bunker Hill Musket Demonstration

One of the cool parts of seeing Bunker Hill was the live musket firing demonstration. That thing was LOUD! The kids in the front row loved it, but it scared them a bit too.

USS Constitution

The next stop was the USS Constitution and the associated museum. There's so much history here in Boston!

USS Casin Young

Besides seeing the USS Constitution, we took a tour of a World War II era war ship. Very cramped quarters onboard!

Boston Water Taxi

We took a water taxi from the USS Constitution Museum to the Boston waterfront (right next to the aquarium). It was a beautiful ride and the breeze off the water felt so good on a hot day!

Quincy Market

The next stop was the Quincy Market. It's like the Pike Place Market in Seattle only it seemed bigger because it spills out into the neighboring streets and there were thousands of people filling the market and the streets. The food smelled delicious!

Old City Hall and Starbucks

Further along the trail we found the Old City Hall which has been converted into a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and right next door there's a Starbucks.

State House

The Massachusetts State House has a glorious golden dome that shines bright in the afternoon sun. Another stop on The Freedom Trail

Great Cupcakes at Lulu's Bake Shoppe

We were getting hungry and decided to stop in and grab a delicious cupcake from Lulu's Bake Shoppe. You can see my reflection in the window. The frosting on the cupcakes was to die for good!

Caffe Dello Sport

After getting all sugared up on cupcakes, we decided to eat something a bit more substantial. We had a great panini sandwich and espresso at Caffe Dello Sport. And let me tell you, I now understand why the North End is also called Little Italy. Almost everyone in there was speaking Italian!

Paul Revere's house

After eating some lunch we continued on The Freedom Trail to Paul Revere's house. A beautiful old home in a wonderful part of the town.

Off to Harvard Square

We took a break back at the hotel after six hours of walking. Once we were recharged we headed on the T to Harvard Square for dinner.

Dinner at Legal Seafood

A Boston must stop is Legal Seafood. My wife and I had a wonderful cup of chowder, salad and fried seafood for dinner. Mmmmm good!

Harvard Square

Here's a shot of me standing in front of the buidling that houses the Human Resources department for Harvard University. It's right in the center of Harvard Square. I love this part of town, it's always busy with pedestrians and students, street musicians and performers, and tourists like me! :-)

Tomorrow some more sightseeing and then getting ready for the meeting on Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Boston 2008

My wife and I arrived in Boston this afternoon. I'm here for a meeting on Monday, August 25th with several subscribers from the Boston area. Seattle and Boston are very similar: near water, easy to walk, great food, world-class healthcare, world renowned higher education, and best of all, friendly people. There are some differences though. Seattle has much milder weather, Boston has much better public transporation, Seattle is known for salmon, Boston is known for lobster.

All and all I really enjoy being in Boston. Tomorrow my wife and I are walking the "Freedom Trail" from Charlestown to downtown Boston. Check my Flickr page for photos soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Headed To Boston

I'm headed to Boston to meet with Boston area NextComp subscribers. I'll be out of the office on Friday, August 22nd and Monday, August 25th. I'll be checking e-mail and voicemail in the evenings. I hope you have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


User Group Meeting Agenda

Here's the agenda for Monday's User Group meeting being held at Dynamics Research Corporation in Andover, MA.

9:00 AM to 9:15 AM

9:15 AM to 9:30 AM
Introductions and agenda review

9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Overview of the last year

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Discussion and walk-through of new features

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lunch / Break

12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Continue discussion of desired features

1:30 PM to 2:00 PM

All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

Here's a link to a MapQuest map of the immediate area:

View Map

I'm excited for the trip. I'll be tweeting during my stay in Boston, so you can follow me either over there on the right ----> or on Twitter

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Five essential tools for the Internet worker

Here are my top five favorite tools for working on the Internet. I define an Internet worker as anyone that can work anywhere anytime as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection. And coffee. Of course.

I just updated the template for the NextComp blog. Check out the Twitter update over there on the right --->

That got me thinking about all the great tools I use that are completely web-based. So here's my top four web -based tools.
  • Blogging: for keeping track of what's going on. I use Blogger and Typepad to write blog entries and Bloglines to keep track of other blogs.
  • Twitter: for quick "status" updates.
  • Basecamp - for organizing my work life.
  • Help desk - I use Zendesk for taking a load off my mind and building an online knowledge resource.
The last essential tools is Mac OS X. The Internet is so deeply ingrained in the OS that it makes working a breeze. Plus I can run Windows virtually for my development work.

What about Facebook and MySpace? I don't use them, although I know a lot of people that do. I just don't have a need at the moment. Maybe in the future.

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Friday, August 15, 2008


Server Maintenance, Friday, August 15th

We'll be doing some routine server maintenance this evening, Friday, August 15th, at around 9:00 PM Pacific daylight time. The database server will be off-line for no more than 1 hour.

UPDATE: The server maintenance began at 9:20 PM and finished at 10:00 PM Pacific daylight time. It went smoothly and everything is up and running great.

Here's a photo to start off the weekend. I found this amazing creature in my backyard. Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Help Desk Launched

We've launched an online help desk system to support the launch of NEXTCOMP Gamma. The new system is completely web based and allows us to track tickets related to issues, questions, and requests related to Gamma (and also the current version of NextComp).

It's super easy to get started using the new help desk.

Visit this URL and enter your name, e-mail and password.

Note: This is a separate sign-in from NEXTCOMP.

We are also building an online knowledge base as part of the help desk. To get started, I've added a message in the "Tips and Tricks" section of the Knowledge base related to updating the results table of the pay plan. This is an example of the type of information that will be available in the Help Desk.

We have some additional tips and tricks to add. We'll be adding information to the Help Desk on a regular basis, especially as we roll-out Gamma over the next few months.

So head on over to
sign into the Help Desk and keep track of updated tips and tricks or submit a question to our help desk!

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Monday, August 11, 2008


2008 Boston Area User's Group Meeting

It's that time of year again (already?!?) to host the annual User's Group meeting in Boston.

Dynamic Research Corporation has graciously offered to host the meeting this year. Thank you!

The meeting is scheduled to run from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Monday, August 25th. We've found that 5 hours is generally enough time to cover the major topics. We can run over a bit if we need extra time.

The meeting location is:

Dynamics Research Corporation
60 Frontage Road
Andover, MA 01810

I'm sending out invitations today, so if you are a subscriber in the Boston area, expect an invitation soon.

I'm also available for speaking engagements in other areas, at local compensation and benefits group meetings, for example. Contact me if you are interested in having NEXTCOMP.NET as a presenter at one of you local meetings.

We'll be hosting a Seattle area User's Group meeting in September, so keep an eye out for that announcement.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008


New Public Website

You may have noticed that NEXTCOMP.NET received a make-over. We've redesigned our public site to fit the style and layout of the soon-to-be-released Gamma version.

The Sign In page still directs you to the current application. Once we go live with the new version, we'll have a method of directing you to Gamma.

In regards to upgrading; this will not be mandatory when the site goes live. We realize that many of you are either in the middle of, or starting your annual market pricing cycle. You may want to wait and upgrade until you've finished this year's end of year pricing projects.

We'll work with you to move you're account to the new version when it makes sense for your organization.

In the meantime, take a look around the new public site.

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Upcoming Webinars

We are holding a series of webinars starting on August 28th to discuss the new Gamma version of NextComp and field questions for you regarding market pricing, compensation modeling, technology in HR, and any other related topics that come up during the meeting. You're welcome to join us. We have three scheduled so far.

Webinars are limited to 15 attendees so register early! We'll schedule more as needed, if these dates fill up quickly.

Webinar #1

August 28th at 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (check for your local time)

Register for August 28th webinar

Webinar #2

August 29th at 9:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (check for your local time)

Register for August 29th webinar

Webinar #3

September 18th at 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (check for your local time)

Register for September 18th webinar

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