Friday, September 26, 2008


Fun On Friday

Here's something fun for a Friday afternoon courtesy of our friends at Nintendo.

Watch the entire thing to get the full effect.

My kids really like this one, it's very creative and unexpected, and totally family friendly.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Training Part 1 - Agenda

I wanted to send out an proposed agenda for tomorrow's web training meeting.

The purpose of this first meeting is to start from the basics of getting NextComp setup. The second webinar will cover market pricing aspects of the system. The third meeting will cover reports and analysis.

Web Training Part #1
Thursday, September 25th
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time / 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


1. Signing In
2. Adding Users
3. Editing User Settings
4. The Purpose Of A Pay Plan
5. How Data Is Organized In NextComp
6. Loading New Organization Data
7. Updating Organization Data
8. Configuring the My Jobs table
9. Configuring the My Matches Table
10. Configuring the Search Surveys table
11. Creating a Custom Report (We'll cover this topic in greater detail in session #3)

I'm open to covering any topics that come up during the hour, so please feel free to send me any requests.

This webinar is open to all existing NEXTCOMP.NET subscribers.
Here's the original post with the registration information.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Neighborhood Health's 25th Annual Festival at the Market

My good friend at Neighborhood Health in Seattle sent me a link to the announcement for the 25th Annual Festival at the Market. Here's a blurb about this fantastic event:

"This is one fabulous night in the Pike Place Market where you'll have an opportunity to support community healthcare while trying out some of Seattle's best restaurants!

Feast at the Market is a progressive dinner throughout the Pike Place Market where guests enjoy appetizer-sized dishes from 20 participating restaurants. Set your own pace, dining at the restaurants you choose in the order you choose. You’ll be seated at each, & served a delicious dish prepared especially for the occasion."

And the cost is really reasonable, and it's for a great cause, for all the food and fun you'll have at Pike Place Market.

Check it out here

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Dave Duffield Interview at

I just listened to a really interesting interview with Dave Duffield CEO of Workday. Dave Duffield is famous for being the founder of Integral and Peoplesoft as well.

I was fortunate enough to visit the Workday headquarters in 2007. I met some of the founders of the company, but I didn't have a chance to meet Mr. Duffield. I believe he was out of town that day. I was very impressed with the work that they had completed already in early 2007. It's a fantastic vision and he has a track record of success, so I'm sure Workday will be wildly successful over the next few years.

He gives a fantastic overview of the history of HR technology over the last 40 years in the interview.

Check it out here

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"New Features" Webinar Rescheduled

We've rescheduled the "New Features In Version 3" webinar from September 18th to September 23rd.

Here's the new date and time information:

New Features In Version 3
Tuesday, September 23rd
10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (local time)
Register for September 23rd webinar

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Update On Browser Compatibility

I received an e-mail today from a subscriber which prompted me to do a little research into NextComp's compatibility with Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6).

Our project management website, Basecamp, is dropping support for IE 6 in October of this year. This prompted a subscriber to question whether NextComp was also dropping support for IE 6.

IE 6 was released in 2001 and has since been upgraded to IE 7. Many organizations are still running IE 6 as the official desktop browser.

The current version of NextComp runs fine in IE 6 and I'm happy to report that Version 3 runs well in IE 6.

There appear to be a few minor display bugs with the drop down menus. Those can most likely be addressed as we move toward full launch of the version. In any event, we'll periodically test our builds on IE 6 to ensure a smooth experience for our end user's that are using IE 6.

Here's a run down on browser compatibility based on our testing:

Current Version
  • IE 6
  • IE 7
  • Google's Chrome
  • Limited functionality in Firefox, Safari

Version 3
  • IE 7
  • Google's Chrome
  • Firefox 2.0 and 3.0
  • Safari 3.0
  • Mobile Safari on the iPhone
  • Some rendering issues with IE 6 (we'll work on those in our development cycle)

As always, please drop me a line at matt [at] nextcomp [dot] net with any questions.
Support related requests can be sent to support [at] nextcomp [dot] zendesk [dot] com

The e-mail addresses are spelled out to reduce spam bot's from picking up the addresses and adding them to their databases.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


Clips To Relax To (Zendesk Buddha Machine)

Thank you to Michael at Zendesk for sending me a free FM3 Buddha Machine. It's a small self-contained music player with 9 different soothing songs. Well, not really songs, more like clips that range from 2 to 40 seconds. The clips repeat until you flip a switch to play a different clip.

My 7 year old daughter loves to listen to soothing music at bedtime, so as a surprise gift I gave it to her tonight. She loved it and said "thank you daddy!" and smiled.


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Monday, September 08, 2008


Google's Chrome

I've been testing NextComp Version 3 using Google's new browser called Chrome. So far, I'm impressed. Overall the browser if fast and clean. In fact, the browser is so minimal that it almost just disappears into the background. All I'm aware of is the application, not the browser.

A side benefit is that Chrome also works great with the current version of NextComp. It works better than Safari or Firefox with the current version.

NextComp Current Version in Chrome

NextComp Version 3 in Chrome

At this point in time, Chrome is Windows only, but when Google releases Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux there will be another cross-platform alternative for using NextComp's current version and new version on your favorite operating system.

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Friday, September 05, 2008


Excel Tip: Paste Special | Multiply

Here's another trick that I've been using in preparing data files for loading into NextComp.

Many surveys display the survey result amounts in 1,000's, for example, "$54,500" is displayed as "54.5" in the Excel report from the publisher.

NextComp expects the survey data to be in hourly or annual amounts. If we load the data as it is displayed, NextComp will assume that the data represents an hourly amount of $54.50.

You can use the Copy, Paste Special | Multiply function to convert all the data in a column or a group of columns to an annual figure.

Here's how...

The image below shows a column of data before being converted to annual figures.

I entered the number 1000 in the empty cell at the top of the column, as shown below.

I copied the cell with the 1000 in it. I selected all the data in column AK. And I right clicked over the selected cells to bring up the menu shown below.

I chose the Paste Special... command from the menu. In the Paste Special dialog box, I selected the "Multiply" operation.

After clicking the OK button, the data in the selected cells is multiplied by the copied value, in this case 1000.

You can use this same method to divide data as well. Just choose the "Divide" operation in the Paste Special dialog box. This can be useful when loading data that NextComp expects to be in a percent format. Some surveys display 100% as the number 100 rather than 1 with formatting applied.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"Remove Duplicates" quickly in Excel 2007

Excel 2007 has a new feature called "Remove Duplicates". This is really a handy new tool, especially when importing survey job summaries.

There are many times where you'll need to remove duplicate rows of data when importing survey job summaries. Many survey files contain job summaries that are integrated with the survey data. This can pose an issue with importing data into NextComp. NextComp expects one job summary row of data for each survey job when importing the job summaries.

Now, in Excel 2007 you can remove all the duplicate rows with the click of a button.
This used to take some work with formulas to identify the duplicates. Now it's easy!

Here's a screenshot with the survey summary file before removing duplicates.

Clicking the "Remove Duplicates" button, visible in the upper right corner of the image, walks you through a few steps in the process...

Here's the file after clicking the Remove Duplicates button.

Yeah! That used to take a few minutes to complete using formulas, and copy / paste special commands. Now it takes seconds!