One of the things that I like about working here at BMC is the way in which we do some things like we were not in fact a large company. This web site is one great example of that, as well as its predecessor, Talk.bmc.com. We are one of the few companies our size of which I am aware that engages our community at the level, and in as many different ways as we do. I am a good example of this, having been blogging here and at Talkbmc for nearly five years now.
It seems especially appropriate to be putting up this post today, given Apples announcement a few hours ago of the iPad. Among other things, the new iPad will run all the iPhone applications: over 140,000 of them at this writing, unmodified. It also will be a great platform for reading all sorts of offline and online content.
It seemed obvious to the folks behind the infrastructure that we needed an iPhone (and now iPad) app to allow people to have an additional way to access to the amazing amount of technical and related content here on Communities. I was happy to have been involved in the beta testing program of that app, called “BMC Today” (In the App Store now). I guess the name implies that it allows one to stay completely current here, but it also goes to the fact the application is not the entire web site. In any given area, it is the last 10 results (or less: a settable option) for that area. Areas are things like Video Podcasts, Audio Podcasts, News, White papers, and so forth.
These are my three favorite features of the “BMC Today” application:
1) Blogs: if you have a favorite blogger at Communities, of course you are probably subscribed to their RSS feed, but if not, this is a nice way to be able to read the blogs from wherever you are, and have them nicely pulled out and easy to see. It also lets you see what all the bloggers are talking about in case some related content for someone you are not subscribed to should appear.
Here is a screen shot of that:
2) Filter: the screen shot above displays another of my favorite features, the filter. After you refresh your content, you can over in the preferences settings create filter “tags” and then the filter button toggles those filters on and off over the top of the content you are viewing, making it easy to find things like articles about Linux, Linux on the Desktop, Cloud Computing, BSM, or whatnot. The filter does only operate over the top of the content in the iPhone/iPad-to-be cache.
3) White Papers: if we should publish a white paper about something I am interested in, say “Cloud Computing In Perspective” (which we did on January 12th, 2010) it is handy to be able to have all those in one place. If you are a technical person, you probably read a lot of white papers, so this is a very easy way to find the latest ones we have.
I should note that while the application caches the data when you hit refresh, it does not load the entire content of that area: It is page summaries, and descriptions, not entire blog posts or video podcasts. For those long airplane trips you can download via the "BMC Today" app the Video and Audio Podcasts though: Take off here, and then land over there a BSM expert. For text related things, you will be able to look at the summaries of things while in Airplane Mode and note what you may want to take a deeper dive on later.
I like to read rather than watch or listen, so while the Video and Audio podcasts are cool, it is somewhat lost on me, other than just being really nice tech. We may not have gotten the flying cars, but our communicators rock! Take that Star Trek. Others who are more visual or aural will prefer those media features more than likely, and that is the beauty of the application. It is the 1.0 version and it already has quite a number of different modalities in it. And of course, did I mention that it is free?
Where the application goes next is of course up to you. We'd like to hear back from everyone about what they like, don't like, and what new features are desired and/or required. I have mentioned a few things here I would like to see. The application is not a replacement for participating on Communities, and we would of course like to hear from you. To that end, there is a feedback feature that allows you to ask for new app features, or comment on anything else on “Communities”.
Whats your “BMC Today”?