Mehr zu portatour – Software für Tourenplanung und Routenoptimierung im Außendienst

Hier noch mehr Informationen zu portatour – der Software für Tourenplanung und Routenoptimierung im Außendienst. Ich berate portatour, habe letztens über die Mathematischen Herausforderungen der Software geschrieben.

portatour – Software für Tourenplanung und Routenoptimierung im Außendienst

portatour – Software für Tourenplanung und Routenoptimierung im Außendienst

Tourenplanung, Routenplanung und Tourenoptimierung im Außendienst mit Microsoft Outlook

Tourenplanung, Routenplanung und Tourenoptimierung im Außendienst mit Salesforce

Tourenplanung, Routenplanung und Tourenoptimierung im Außendienst mit Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Tourenplaner Außendienst Software | Tourenplanung Außendienst Software | Tourenoptimierer Außendienst Software | Tourenoptimierung Außendienst Software | Routenplaner Außendienst Software | Routenplanung Außendienst Software | Routenoptimierer Außendienst Software | Routenoptimierung Außendienst Software

portatour – Software for route-planning and route-optimization for sales reps and field sales force. I consult.

News: portatour is a Software for route-planning and route-optimization for field sales force / sales reps. It is the future of fully automated sales-route planning for your field sales force, consultants, and service team members. Automatic scheduling can cut up to 25% of your mileage and save CO2, increasing revenue the same time.

You may be interested in this because that is the company I have been consulting the last months. It is a fascinating business to optimize sales routes and I help in marketing and sales.

Sales reps have been planning their schedules and routes manually, which took hours to do and essentially it is pretty hard to put together a meaningful itinerary with all of your customers, ranked by priorities, honoring call frequency and scheduled appointments – using only an excel sheet of your customer addresses and a road map.

In fact, it is so hard that even computers can’t do it easily – sales route optimization is classified as “NP hard problem”, which are the toughest problems in computer science. Reason is, that with growing customer numbers you have exponentially more calculations to do. portatour can optimize your routes to 1000 customers, which will basically plan you throughout the whole year. Now, between 1000 customers, you have a million possible drives between all of them. You can visit 5-20 customers a day, so portatour needs to optimize between 50 and 200 tours to visit all of the customers in an optimized way. BUT portatour also picks, which customers to visit. That means, it also looks at the desired call frequency (call interval) and includes customers earlier in your route, when they are more urgent to visit. Over a year, portatour will pick 5-20 customers each day from a set of 1000. If you pick every customer only once, you end up with 1000! (factorial of 1000) ways to do this, which is a number with 2567 zeros after it. The number of atoms in the universe has only about 80 zeros. Within these choices, portatour looks for an optimized route. So, if you are a sales rep and spend your sunday planning your next week’s sales routes, you may want to look for a software that helps.

portatour® plans sales trips within seconds at the push of a button, giving sales reps back valuable time which would otherwise just be left on the road. They can visit more customers, drive fewer miles.

portatour® is applicable in different scenarios, here are a few:

route planning software for field sales force | route planner software for field sales force | route planning software for field sales reps | route planner software for field sales reps | route optimization software for field sales force | route optimizer software for field sales reps

Goodreads cookie fuckup

Goodreads does not support browsers with deactivated cookies. Even worse: they throw you in an convulsive endless loop of reloads, making at least me SICK.

Background: I turned off cookies in my browser and selectively activate them for sites I really use. Out of a weird idea that came from Marie Wallace, a friend of mine over at IBM.

So in the last week, I turned on cookies for around 50 sites. BUT two of them behaved pretty fucked up. For goodreads, I wasn’t even able to fill in the complaint form, so I blog and tweet it to them, maybe they react.

Here is my message to Goodreads that I couldnt post on their site:

if you have cookies deactivated, your website is a completele broken mind-dizzying endless recursion making me sick. It keeps reloading the page every ~3 seconds, with a popup in between causing ugly-as-hell white/black changes in between.

ARRRRRRGH.

don’t get me wrong here: I am a tech-loving computer geek with a PhD and love your service, but out of a quirk and inspired by a friend over at IBM, I decided to switch of cookies and only selectively activate them again for sites I actually use.

So I have a proper and sane reason to switch off cookies, and I would activate cookies for goodreads as I have done for ~50 other pages I regularly use already.

Technically, what happens is this recursvice bullshit:
http://www.goodreads.com/about/contact_us?auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true

your techies will get this immediately.

BUT it makes me literally sick.

as you may know, repeatedly blinking dark/light patterns is really ugly and causes – at least for me – nausea. Luckily, it is not flashing more than 3 times / sec, which would get you sued by epileptics and get a shitstorm of bad press like here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensitive_epilepsy

I just may note, that 95% of the other 50 webservices I used in the last week had no problem with my cookie-adversity.

HP Scanner Error when connecting

We just wanted to scan using our great HP C4700 Scanner/Printer at home via network. But the damn thing wouldn’t scan.

It gave an Error code of “8,[(1,0,-2147221502)]” and something like “das HP Bildbearbeitungsgerät wurde nicht gefunden. “

The obvious solution recommended by the help and internet is

  • turn on/off
  • reinstall HP Solution Center
  • reinstall Printer Driver

As I am too lazy for that just now, I used the WEB INTERFACE to my scanner. Yep, behold. Your HP Network printer/Scanner has a web interface. Just find out the IP address (for example, by printing the network information, the printer has an option to do that) and enter the address in your browser. In my case, that would be : http://192.168.1.42.

This will let you scan via your browser, and you don’t have to install any drivers and such. You can only scan JPGs, but … better than nothing…

I only blog this here because poor souls facing “8,[(1,0,-2147221502)]” and too lazy to reinstall software may benefit from it.

Erntefestival 2011

If you haven’t heard it yet on other places: there is going to be a festival to celebrate art, music, do-it-yourself culture, and camp together for three days.

http://www.erntefestival.at

Fr 26- So 28.8.2011
Lindabrunn, 42km south of Vienna
Bring food and drinks
Bring Music, Art, Projects, creatively design the space there.

The place is awesome:

German Description:
“Das Erntefestival 2011 ist die Gelegenheit um gemeinsam kreativ zu feiern. Ob Top oder Flop, egal welche Ernte du im letzten Jahr Eingefahren hast, sei dankbar und feiere es. Das Erntefestival zelebriert Creative-Industries, MusikerInnen, WissensarbeiterInnen, Entrepreneure und Enterpreunessen, HackerInnen, Inventoren und FreundInnen. Ohne festes Programm, ohne feste Tagespläne kann sich jede(r) so freuen wie sie/er das für richtig hält. Gib dein Bestes. Das Erntefestival versteht sich als Plattform um vergangene Projekte vorzustellen und neue Projekte zu entwickeln.”

Disclaimer: I am co-organizing it. I do it because I love the idea of sharing and collaborating, and because I can’t afford to fly over to Burning Man every year.

Updated my homepage leobard.net

I updated my homepage…yes, besides this weblog, twitter, facebook, flickr, soup.io, … etc etc … I also have a homepage. I never find the time to update it, but thanks to soup.io there is an activity stream on it.

my homepage:

http://www.leobard.net

I did it because I wanted to host GodSees in a long-term way, this thing here:

http://www.leobard.net/2010/GodSees/

while doing these updates, I spent HOURS on divs, margins, floats, and google fonts. Thank God I am not a designer, I need ages to get things done.

Yammer VS Chatter: battling it out A/B style

Suppose there is a war, and nobody came to tweet about it. The two enterprise social software vendors Yammer and Chatter are currently at war for market domination, and copycatting their way through it.

If the internet is made for cats, then even more for copycats. There is a war going on between two cats in Enterprise social software. Their promise is “bringing together all of a company’s employees inside a private and secure enterprise social network” according to Yammer. Or to “connect with your coworkers to work together and be more productive” according to Chatter. Anyway, both companies look astonishingly same.

Yammer vs Chatter: battling it out a/b style VS Yammer vs Chatter: battling it out a/b style

Spot the difference? Comment on the group if you can find them.

What makes the battle even better: they quickly try out different designs every day. You never get the same page twice! So, see it as a game:

  • collect them all! (collect images of the landing pages, here)
  • spot the difference! (between yammer and chatter, but also between different views
  • spot the change! (what has happened?)
  • spot the uniqueness! (what is typically yammer/chatter?)
  • guess whats next!

…endless possibilities for spectators…

To play along, collect your images and comments here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/yammerchatter/

Note that Yammer was first and therefore Chatter is proably the copycat. But now, its hard to tell. Here is a great video by Yammer to get you started:
http://youtu.be/MuSLk5FkNrs

Schema.org – another take on the semantic web

On 2.6.2011, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! announced Schema.org. Schema.org is intended as a standard to mark up data on webpages. This brings these three companies one small step closer to the Semantic Web.

Many people should use the same format to markup data. The more people publish their data in the same format, the more people will be able to read the data using the same tools. Its an easy formula:

  • more data = more applications = more benefit

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! announced their shared support for schema.org, and call for adoption of their new standard from all webmasters. If you follow their call, you should change your website and write your data in their format.

To give an example (from their website): Instead of writing “Avatar was directed by James Cameron”, you would write:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Movie”>
<h1>Avatar</h1>
<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
<span>Science fiction</span>
<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRdxXPV9GNQ”>Trailer</a>
</div>

For the end-user, this looks the same as any other website: Avatar, Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954) Science fiction Trailer

For a machine, or a search engine, the data would be readable and could be imported into a database, such as wikipedia or freebase. Or your personal movie-booking application could show you a trailer next to the ticket. Great! Benefits!

The message is: webmasters out there, adopt! For you who follow the blogpost by Google,Yahoo and Microsoft, you can start adopting!
But hang on, haven’t some of us just installed Drupal 7 and used its RDFa generator to do the same? Didn’t we markup your website with facebook’s opengraph protocol a year ago? And what about those Good Relations markup that Bestbuy did use, and that Google used to bring prices to the search results? This was a good investment, and it showed that the general idea works – standards for metadata. We are heading in the right direction. Now the three big companies worked to continue further:

The FAQ on Schema.org say:
Q: I have already added markup in some other format (i.e. microformats, RDFa, data-vocabulary.org, etc). Do I need to change anything on my site?
If you have already done markup and it is already being used by Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, the markup format will continue to be supported. Changing to the new markup format could be helpful over time because you will be switching to a standard that is accepted across all three companies, but you don’t have to do it.

They also say: We will also be monitoring the web for RDFa and microformats adoption and if they pick up, we will look into supporting these syntaxes.

Its a chicken-egg problem:

  • You haven’t been adopting RDFa as much as we liked,
  • So we don’t tell you to adopt RDFa,
  • But we tell you to adopt microdata, which is nearly the same but different

Maybe giving the chicken a bit more time to hatch its old egg and supporting it could have helped. But maybe also the new egg is better and the chicken should really walk over and hatch that one…still, its a new egg and needs to be hatched and it remains a chicken-egg-problem.

In theory, RDFa could have been used as basis for schema.org, but wasn’t. As part of HTML5, the microdata standard was developed. People will need to follow the schema.org bandwagon now. Less risky would have been to reuse RDFa as a markup and publish a schema on schema.org. But it seems the big three companies put their bids on microdata now. This is a signal that can be interpreted in two ways: if we look back we could infer from the RSS/RDF/RDFa/Microformats/Microdata story that it continues and we are facing an era of often-changing standards established by rivaling companies and continous investments needed by webmasters to keep up. If we look into the future, microdata (and its compability with RDF) could be the stable solution for the coming years.

Ping, I am still alive, need to blog more

I am still alive, but it seems facebook and twitter won over my blogging.

Today I found it odd that a 10 line newsletter mail had 848kb in length.
It seems those apple users have trouble formatting their mails, this is what I found in the source (here is the end of the mail, you get the picture):

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