To BB or not to BB

February 24, 2011

Something to contemplate…what is the primary difference between an iPhone owner and a Blackberry owner? I saw this question on Neil Strauss’ Twitter feed and it’s had me thinking. As a Blackberry owner myself I can list the main reasons why I refuse to switch to an iPhone: 1) I am a die-hard Windows user, have never used a Mac, and Blackberry seamlessly integrates with all my MS applications; 2) I have never once had issues receiving, sending, or retrieving work-related emails on my BB; 3) I love a qwerty keyboard and abhor the greasiness of a touchscreen device… If you are an iPhone owner, reading this now, what are your primary reasons for choosing iPhone over Blackberry? Did you once own a BB and made the switch to iPhone for a specific purpose? I’m willing to listen but you probably won’t convince me to leave my BB!

I’m back!

November 10, 2010

I was surprised to see how long it’s been since I’ve typed out some musings. There is a good reason for the absence…early this year I found out I had renal cell carcinoma. In April, I had a full right nephrectomy which effectively removed the cancerous tumor as well as my kidney. Thank God He gave us two of them, right? :)

The recovery was long and I was down for over a month. I’m just now beginning to feel like that chunk of this year is behind me…it’s hard for me to talk about the “C” word anyway because it has always terrified me. To know that for an indeterminate amount of time I was actually walking around, doing life with cancer inside me is a concept I still find difficult to believe, let alone accept. More musings to come on this subject, for sure.

Wikinomics

August 4, 2009

Wikinomics is a term that describes the effects of extensive collaboration and user-participation on the marketplace and corporate world. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams popularized the term in their book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, published in December 2006. The word itself is constructed from wiki (a server program that allows users to collaborate on a Web site) and economics.

According to Tapscott and Williams, these four principles are the central concepts of wikinomics in the enterprise:

* Openness, which includes not only open standards and content but also financial transparency and an open attitude towards external ideas and resources
* Peering, which replaces hierarchical models with a more collaborative forum. Tapscott and Williams cite the development of Linux as the “quintessential example of peering.”
* Sharing, which is a less proprietary approach to (among other things) products, intellectual property, bandwidth, scientific knowledge
* Acting globally, which involves embracing globalization and ignoring “physical and geographical boundaries” at both the corporate and individual level.

Although wikinomics is, essentially, a Web 2.0 phenomenon, the authors insist that wikinomics’ reach extends beyond to the broader culture: “This is more than open source , social networking , so-called crowdsourcing , smart mobs, crowd wisdom, or other ideas that touch upon the subject. Rather we are talking about deep change in the structure and modus operandi of the corporation and our economy, based on new competitive principles such as openness, peering, sharing and acting globally.”

The last chapter of Wikinomics contains just 15 words: “Join us in peer producing the definitive guide to the twenty-first-century corporation on http://www.wikinomics.com.”; Tapscott and Williams have established a wiki where readers can write and edit the content of their book’s last chapter.

65 Indispensable Websites for Business Owners – Entrepreneur.com

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I see tech people…

March 14, 2009

TED Blog: Pattie Maes demos the Sixth Sense on TED.com

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Talent Ninja

March 11, 2009

Ninja: a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations.

Talent ninja: a person trained in modern-era American recruitment arts, employed especially for intelligence gathering and assassination of unemployment levels.

Open Letter to a Candidate

November 17, 2008

If you’re a technologist, chances are at some point in your career you’ve dealt with a recruiter. With your unique preferences and experiences, I’d be hard-pressed to assume that every interaction you’ve had with a recruiter was a positive one. This is precisely why I’m so glad you’ve chanced upon my blog. Now that you’re here, allow me to tell you a bit about myself.

Technology is my passion. I don’t use it as a measure of convenience (although it certainly simplifies my life). It’s much deeper than that for me. I love watching my Gen X contemporaries, along with the Millenials entering the work force today, continuously accelerate the momentum of innovation by devising alternative methods of performing traditional tasks.  The ever-diminishing gap between information technology and human communication is infinitely fascinating to me!  I’m currently in a degree program for eBusiness Management, not because I have all the spare time in the world to take this on (!), but because I want to know what you know, and be able to do what you do… not in a superficial “I know all the buzzwords, I can talk the talk” way, but in an educated, informed way that celebrates our shared appreciation for I.T.  Without this foundation of reciprocal knowledge and interest in technology, I’d feel like a poser calling myself your agent.

I’m a recruiter not because it pays my bills, but because I click with people like you.  I’ve been in I.T. since before Y2K.  I’ve placed people when the market was up, and have managed to continue finding jobs for people in a downturn.  I am able to find you the job you really want because I take the time to understand what you excel at and what brings you joy, not just what you’ve been doing to pay your bills.  You are not “inventory” to me.  When we determine that I am to represent you, you become a part of my community, which means you’ll always have me in your corner.  (I am some of the best P.R. you’ll ever receive!)

Thank you for stopping by and for taking a minute to read about me!

Open Letter to a Partner

September 6, 2009

Oh, Beau…I find myself on weekends singing snippets of “…lookie lookie lookie-ee-eee…!”
or leading my family in a chorus of “Yeaaaah”‘s at the end of important sentences we utter, complete with a Solid Gold toss of the feathered hair.

I think the most important thing you have as an adult is a network of trusted allies. I found very early on that I could express myself completely to you – no sense in posturing around you, you call my bluff every time. :P As I do you.

I am willing to share with the Internet how much your dedication, tenacity, and peacocking about the office impact my professional life. And also, on a personal note, you have the best sense of humour of anyone I know – and that’s saying a lot, because I know a ton of funny mofos – so thank you for letting me feel comfortable enough to expess my inner child right alongside YOU.

How secure is your network?  Reading the article below will hopefully reinforce the importance of working with a recruiter.  Unless this is your forte, you’re probably asking yourself where to begin diagnosing the health of your system and security processes. In my network I represent all levels of I.T. security professionals…all you need to do is contact me with any questions and I will connect you with the right expert to help you avoid potentially damaging data breaches.

Study: Data breaches rose in 2008

Posted by Elinor Mills

Reports of data breaches in the United States increased 47 percent in 2008 from the year before, mostly as a result of lost or stolen equipment, and accidental exposure of data online, according to a new study from the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center.

There were 656 reports of breaches last year, compared with 446 for 2007, and an estimated 35.7 million records were potentially breached based on notification letters and information from breached companies, the study released this week found.

The breaches run the gamut, including: laptops stolen from Merrill Lynch and Starbucks; bank card information stolen from fake card readers at gas stations in Georgia; Ohio State University student Social Security numbers exposed on the Internet; a former Library of Congress employee using co-workers’ data to open bogus credit card accounts; a Seattle school district inadvertently releasing teacher data to a union; financial information on mortgage files abandoned outside a Boise recycling center; and the World Bank Group’s computer network being penetrated.

The reports of insider theft more than doubled to represent 15.7 percent of the breaches, while more than a third of the breaches were a result of data on the move, such as stolen laptops, and accidental exposure.

Breaches from data theft by employees doubled, to nearly 16 percent, while hacking and use of data-stealing software represented about 14 percent of the breaches. Only 2.4 percent of all breaches had encryption or other protection methods in use, and only 8.5 percent of victims using password protection.

More than 80 percent of the breaches were electronic in nature, with the rest involving paper documents.

The breaches are broken into five different data loss categories and industry areas.

(Credit: Identity Theft Resource Center)

As You Like It

November 26, 2008

“New-Generation Workers” Want Technology Their Way, Accenture Survey Finds

Millennial generation demands own devices at work and don’t adhere to corporate technology policies

NEW YORK; Nov. 5, 2008 – Millennial generation students and employees (those aged 14 to 27) expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work and are increasingly choosing their place of employment based on how accommodating companies are to their personal technology preferences, according to a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). In addition, more than half (60 percent) of Millennials are either unaware of their companies’ information technology (IT) policies or are not inclined to follow them.

The survey, which queried more than 400 U.S. students and employees across three age groups — 14-17 (“younger Millennials”), 18-22 (“mid-Millennials”) and 23-27 (“older Millennials”) — found an increasing demand for high-tech devices to connect with colleagues, peers, friends and family, rather than face-to-face contact. The findings point to a disconnect between the technology that organizations provide their workers and how young workers actually want to use technology and collaborate in the workplace.

The survey’s key findings highlight specific workplace implications for today’s employers that affect corporate IT:

· Millennials want to choose their technology.  Young people both in the workplace and in school say they expect to use their own technology and mobile devices for work rather than those supplied by their employer.  In nearly every category of workplace technology, more than 20 percent of the respondents stated that employer-provided technologies did not meet expectations, while one-third of the mid-Millennials said they expect not only to use the computer of their choice, but also to access the technology applications of their choice once in the workforce (32 percent and 34 percent respectively).

· No need to seek corporate approval.  When asked which technologies they currently use or access for work-related activities that are not supported by their employers, mid-Millennials cited mobile phones (selected by 39 percent), open source technology (19 percent), instant messaging (27 percent), online applications (12 percent) and social networking sites (28 percent).  Similarly, they regularly download non-standard technology from free public websites such as open source communities, “mashup” and “widget” providers. For example, three-quarters of the mid-Millenials report that they have accessed online collaborative tools (75 percent) and online applications (71 percent) from free public websites when those technologies were not available at work or not meeting their expectation.

· Lack of workplace education on corporate policy. Only 40 percent of all respondents said that their employers have published detailed policies related to posting work or client information on public websites.  Nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents said they don’t know if their company has such a policy; 17 percent said their employer hasn’t published such a policy, 6 percent said that whatever policy their company has published is too complex to understand, and 6 percent said they will post work or client information on public sites regardless of any policy, at least when communicating with colleagues.

· Younger employees insist on state-of-the-art technology.  More than half (52 percent) of all Millennials surveyed said that state-of-the-art technology is an important consideration in selecting an employer. More than half (56 percent) of the mid-Millennials and two-thirds (67 percent) of the older Millennials still in college claim that whether or not an employer has state-of-the-art equipment will be an important factor when choosing where to work.

· Organizations will need to provide new communication and collaboration channels.  Millennials expect employers to provide communication channels such as online chat, instant messaging, mobile text messaging and RSS feeds to communicate with their customers and clients. However, only 6 percent say their organization provides online chat and instant messaging, while 21 percent say they should and similarly 5 percent said their organization supports text messaging, though 18 percent felt they should since it is an important channel. In addition, just 5 percent said their organization provides RSS feeds versus 12 percent who felt they need to.

· Privacy may be melting away.  One out of four (26 percent) working Millennials said that they write openly about themselves and friends online, and one in six (17 percent) share openly details of their life online.

· Coming to the end of e-mail as we know it. While older Millennials say they spend an average of 9.5 hours a week writing or receiving work-related emails, mid-Millennials already in the workforce spend only 7.7 hours a week on e-mail. High school and young college students spend less than two hours a week e-mailing, instead preferring text and instant messaging and communicating on social networking sites.

· Blogging is more myth than reality.  Regardless of age, Millennials spend an average of only 30 minutes a week blogging.  This is far less than the time they spend searching for information on the Internet, listening to portable devices, text messaging, instant messaging, communicating on social network sites or interacting in virtual communities.

“The message from Millennials is clear:  to lure them into the workplace, prospective employers must provide state-of-the-art technologies,” said Gary Curtis, managing director of Accenture Technology Consulting.  “And if their employers don’t support their preferred technologies, Millennials will acquire and use them anyway. In order to acquire and retain the best talent, organizations must understand the technologies that the new workforce expects and then find a way to support their employees without compromising enterprise security.”

About the Study
As part of a survey to understand how the technology-driven culture of today’s “Millennials” — the incoming workforce — would affect IT organizations’ decisions in the future, Accenture conducted a quantitative online survey in June 2008 of more than 400 U.S. consumers between the ages of 14 to 27. All respondents aged 14-17 have completed at least middle school, and all respondents 18-27 years of age have completed at least high school. All respondents included in the analysis were in school, recently graduated or employed. Respondents represent a random sample of this subgroup, not of the general pool of U.S. consumers. The survey was part of Accenture’s ongoing High Performance IT research program, which aims to better understand the drivers and challenges to achieving high performance within IT.

Gartner: 2009 Top 10 Strategic Technologies

At the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Gartner analysts presented their insights into the top 10 technologies and trends to rule the world in 2009.

With emphasis on virtualization, organizations should also pay close attention to cloud computing, green IT, Business Intelligence (BI) and social software — among other strategic trends.

Defining “Strategic” According to Gartner

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives. They may be strategic because they have matured to broad market use, or because they enable strategic advantage from early adoption.

“Strategic technologies affect, run, grow and transform the business initiatives of an organization,” said David Cearley, vice president and analyst at Gartner. “Companies should look at these 10 opportunities and evaluate where these technologies can add value to their business services and solutions, as well as develop a process for detecting and evaluating the business value of new technologies as they enter the market.”

The Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009

Virtualization

Much of the current buzz is focused on server virtualization, but virtualization in storage and client devices is also moving rapidly. In addition, such virtualization trends as data deduplication can significantly decrease the cost of storage devices and media to hold information.

Gartner notes that, despite ambitious deployment plans from many organizations, deployments of hosted virtual desktop capabilities will be adopted by fewer than 40% of target users by 2010.

As TechCrunch mentioned, the Apple’s Intel-based computer platform is growing and businesses are using VMWare’s Fusion software, and its competitor Parallels Desktop, to boot Windows on Apple hardware.

In the current economic slump, organizations can get more bang for the buck by implementing virtualization software rather than buying new servers. There are plenty of virtualization products on the market right now to help tight IT budgets: enterprise-grade products like VMWare Server and VMWare ESXi are just some of the options.

At the same time, there’s also Microsoft’s Hyper-VVMWare’s big competitor with nice pricing models. Hyper V offers economic benefits through Windows Server 2008. Customers can consolidate multiple server roles as separate VMs running on a single physical machine, while also running multiple different operating systems — Windows, Linux and others — in parallel, on a single server leveraging the power of x64 computing.

Cloud Computing

With players like Amazon Web Services, Google Apps, IBM, HP and many others already in the cloud, cloud computing is another hot topic. As per Gartner, the key characteristics of cloud computing are:

  1. SaaS capabilities
  2. Delivery of services in a highly scalable and elastic fashion
  3. Usage of Internet technologies and techniques to develop and deliver the services
  4. Designing for delivery to external customers

Some of the potential benefits of cloud computing include cost savings and the built-in elasticity. These features allow for lower barriers to entry and quick scalability and growth.

Beyond Blade Servers

Just like it was predicted earlier this year, green IT is much hyped about, and servers will continue to evolve in 2009 beyond the blade server stage that exists today.

This evolution will simplify the provisioning of capacity to meet growing needs. It will also make it easier on the inventory of systems, eliminating the need to track and purchase various sizes and configurations. The result will be higher utilization because of lessened “waste” of resources that are in the wrong configuration, for example.

New products from IT management vendor CA also support green IT initiatives.

Green IT

Going hand in hand with growing beyond blade servers, shifting to more efficient products can allow for a greener energy footprint. Multiple regulations are out there designed to govern companies in building data centers due to their impact on power grids and carbon emissions.

Web-Oriented Architectures

With the continuing emergence of Web-centric technologies and standards, Gartner expects that continued evolution of the Web-centric approach will enable its use “in an ever-broadening set of enterprise solutions during the next five years.”

Enterprise Mashups

Much in agreement with Forrester Research, Gartner believes that in 2009 enterprises may be taking mashups from Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0 levels “to augment their models for delivering and managing applications.”

Through 2010, the enterprise mashups should experience significant development in a search for potential benefit they may offer to enterprises.

Specialized Systems

Heterogeneous systems seem to be an emerging trend in high-performance computing to address the requirements of the most demanding workloads. Gartner predicts that this approach will eventually reach the general-purpose computing market.

Heterogeneous systems are viewed as specialized systems with the same single-purpose imitations of appliances, but the heterogeneous system is a server system, into which the owner installs software to accomplish its function.

Social Software and Social Networking

Social software — in all its shapes and forms of social networking, social collaboration, social media and social validation — is something organizations should consider along with mashups. Gartner thinks it’s better to adopt a social platform sooner, rather than later, because the greatest risk lies in failure to engage by coming too late to the party.

Unified Communications

According to Gartner, during the next five years the number of different communications vendors will be reduced by at least 50% due to the increased capability of application servers. Hence, there could be a massive consolidation in the communications industry.
Organizations must build careful, detailed plans for all their communications functions’ replacement and convergence.

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) has the potential to positively impact a company’s business performance, dramatically improving its ability to accomplish its mission by making smarter decisions at every level of the business, says Gartner.

BI is particularly strategic due to its relation towards business managers and knowledge workers — the main organizational thinkers and decision-makers. Providing them with appropriate BI tools will only make their jobs so much more effective and easier.

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