How IT Can Give Better Presentations Wed 15 Sep 10

Cut out jargon and focus on helping, not limiting, customers.


IT has long sought to be considered a partner to the other business leaders in our companies. It's all part of our pursuit of the holy grail of "having a seat at the table."

Naturally, getting there means we have to promote our ideas, explain technology concepts and communicate our plans. In today's world that also means we use a lot of PowerPoint presentations.

Sadly, IT doesn't have a reputation for giving great business presentations. In the world of death by PowerPoint, IT guys are ninjas.

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Why IT Must Embrace Facebook, Twitter, iPhone Wed 01 Sep 10

Consumer technologies are infiltrating the corporate world. Learn to leverage them.

Brave New World alles-schlumpf I like TED. TED is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to "Ideas Worth Spreading." They have conferences where they bring together thought leaders from the world of technology, entertainment and design (hence the acronym).

The great thing about TED is that for those of us who don't actually get to attend its conferences, the talks are posted on its website. The downside is that there is a lot to see and you can spend a lot of time there. (Or is that an upside?)

That is why I was happy to see an article by John Brandon, 8 must-see TED talks for IT pros, where he's found some talks about interesting new technologies that should interest IT professionals. Brandon doesn't just list the talks but also reviews them and has some consumer analysts give a "reality check" on how ideas such as this come to market.

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Top Five Technology Fanboys Wed 18 Aug 10

Apple has its lovers. Microsoft and Google have fanboys who love to hate them.

A popular theme for technical writers is to compare one product or technology with another. PC vs. Mac, iPhone vs. Droid, IE vs. Firefox, etc.

These debates include well-reasoned disagreement and other critical commentary. They also gather a lot of fanboy reaction. Fanboys are the folks who never let manners get in the way of their passion. They are loyal no matter what. Loyalty trumps facts and personal attacks suffice as sound, logical reasoning. Believing the best defense is a good offense: "You're a moron/idiot/shill/[insert favorite derogatory term here]," is the best way to showcase your analytical rigor for a real fanboy.

When you look at it in this light, the PC vs. Mac debate isn't all that different than Yankees vs. Red Sox or Ford vs. Chevy. Different topics, same passion.

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Why Windows 7 Tablets Won't Kill iPad Wed 04 Aug 10

Apple's tablet is for consumers. Microsoft should aim for business users.

Despite previously killing a tablet PC initiative, Microsoft is reportedly feverishly working with its partners on Windows 7-powered tablets. Some think this is an attempt to catch up to Apple by creating an iPad killer.

While I think there may be a place for a Windows-powered tablet, I definitely don't think Microsoft can produce an iPad killer. It's just not going to happen, nor should it.

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Lessons From Apple's 'Antennagate' Wed 21 Jul 10

Sometimes how you handle a problem is more important than the solution.

IPhone 4 bumper Yutaka TsutanoLast week Steve Jobs addressed the antenna issues of the iPhone 4, the so-called "antennagate."

The "-gate" suffix is rather illustrative. The original "gate, Watergate, started out with what is commonly called a two-bit burglary and ended up bringing down a president. Nixon wasn't forced to resign because of the burglary but because of how it was handled and what it revealed.

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10 Communication Mistakes CIOs Still Make Thu 15 Jul 10

CIOCIO Meridith Levinson just published a great article on and on communication mistakes that CIOs (and I dare say many in IT) make.  There is a lot that we all can learn from these common mistakes.

Levinson was kind enough to mention some blogs (including this one) that show how "convincing, credible and captivating" CIOs can be saying:

For years, CIOs have been fighting the stereotype that they're weak communicators, unable to speak the language of business or relate to anyone outside of IT. But by using practiced communication skills, many CIOs are proving how convincing, credible and captivating they can be—in the boardroom and on the Web. (For evidence, check out blogs by British Telecom's (BT) JP Rangaswami, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center CIO John Halamka and Mike Schaffner, the director of IT for Cameron International's valves and measurement group.)

Thank you Meridith.  It's been a long time since anyone has called me captivating.  I actually kind of like it. 

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Where's My Flying Car? Wed 07 Jul 10

Unlike futurists, IT has to deliver on its possibilities.

Flying car marcus_jb1973 Massachusetts based Terrafugia, Inc. recently announced that it has successfully completed its flight test program for its "Flying Car." Terrafugia hopes to have the first delivery of its beta prototype in 2011.

While Terrafugia's endeavor may very well be successful, it won't be what we felt we were "promised" by all those earnest futurists back in the 1950s up through the dawn of the space age. I'm not knocking Terrafugia. I applaud their efforts.

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Ending Apple's AT&T Problem Wed 23 Jun 10

Steve Jobs needs to get other phone carriers on board--fast.

The Apple-AT&T partnership for the iPhone and iPad hasn't gone exactly as well as planned. AT&T has stumbled more than once. Most recently, there have been problems with iPhone 4 order fulfillment, including indications that customers' private data was exposed to other customers, iPad e-mail addresses were hacked and the on-going problem with dropped calls.

Arguably, some of these problems resulted from the surge of demand when the iPhone 4 came out, but it shouldn't have been unexpected, given the experience with prior product launches. Couple all of this with Verizon's very effective "map" ads, and it's clear that AT&T is not in a good place right now in terms of marketplace perception.

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Don't Blame Google For Grabbing Your Data Wed 09 Jun 10

Why people should secure their own Wi-Fi networks, and what the IT industry can do to help.

Google street view car croila Google was taken to task recently when it was discovered that it had captured private payload data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks while its Street View cars traveling to collect data for Google's location-based products.

On the official Google blog, Google owned up to collecting this data mistakenly "even though we never used that data in any Google products." Google added that it collected only fragments of payload data. Despite this, a number of European governments and at least one U.S. state attorney general are launching investigations into Google's alleged invasion of privacy.

While I certainly cannot condone Google's actions, I am a little puzzled by the reaction. Where is the call for personal responsibility? People should be safeguarding their own data.

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The Hidden Price Of Free Applications Wed 26 May 10

Access to our personal data is the price we pay for ''free'' services on the Internet.

Privacy issues, the Internet and social media in particular have been getting a lot of attention lately. Facebook has become the poster child for privacy concerns about the data we divulge online.

The villain in all of this isn't the technology, since technology isn't inherently good or evil. The issue is how technology is used. That is driven by the business model of the Internet and social media.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others of their type provide so-called "free" services. These companies are funded through advertising. Twitter has been the most notable holdout on monetizing its services, but that won't last forever.

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