CIOs: Stop Ignoring Social Media Wed 03 Mar 10

CIOs and IT leaders need to promote social media or risk becoming marginalized.

Social_media_iconsI recently attended a panel discussion of four CIOs put on by a major IT research firm and found the exchange on social media interesting. In addition to the CIO of the research firm, there was representation by both the private and public sector.

The moderator asked if the panelists allowed open access to social media sites and if they had a policy in place governing the use of social media. I was pleased to hear all of the panelists respond "yes" to both.

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The IT Security Balancing Act Wed 17 Feb 10

Ultimately, IT is responsible for security breaches even if it's not at fault.

Oldvaultdoor_daniel_leininger

Late last year, Plano, Texas-based Hillary Machinery lost $800,000 to cyber theft when attackers stole the money in a series of transfers from Hillary's PlainsCapital bank account. PlainsCapital was subsequently able to recover about $600,000.

As you might expect, Hillary demanded that PlainsCapital repay the unrecovered funds, saying PlainsCapital didn't provide adequate security measures. Up to this point, there is nothing especially noteworthy about this situation. Sad to say, but cyber theft just isn't all that unusual anymore.

However, what happened next has gotten a lot of attention beyond just west Texas.  PlainsCapital is suing Hillary Machinery, the victim!

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Apple: Less Hype, Better Products Wed 03 Feb 10

The company needs to focus more on solid marketing and product development.

WizardOfOzApple's long anticipated launch of the iPad became a rather interesting twist in the Apple/Steve Jobs saga, and it may signal a shift in the future of Apple.

After all the hype and hysteria of the iPhone roll-outs, everyone was expecting true magic. However, despite Jobs' proclamation of the iPad being "magical," the general response was a rather dismayed, "That's it?" It was something of a letdown as Apple fed our expectations and did nothing to dampen all the speculation.

It reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her friends stand quaking with fear in the great hall intimidated by the billowing flames, booming voice and majestic presence. Only when her dog Toto pulled open the curtain and exposed Oz as a mere mortal did reality sink in. The Wizard's exhortation of "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" was too late. His secret was out. And so it may be for Jobs and Apple. However, in the end this could be beneficial for Apple.

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How Technology Enhances Collaboration Wed 20 Jan 10

The unheralded benefit of tech collaboration: resolving disagreement.

Disagreement_tanakawhoPadmasree Warrior, Cisco's chief technology officer, wrote a thought- provoking blog post recently entitled "The Next Generation Collaborative Enterprise". While the NGCE label sounds like just another marketing package (Cisco is a hardware vendor, after all), Warrior's article is definitely worth reading.

One comment she makes almost as an aside is particularly noteworthy. "It is important to point out that collaboration must not be confused with consensus or teamwork. Collaboration does not mean everyone must agree before any decision is made. Nor does it suggest that there is no room for individual creativity," Warrior writes. So true, and so very well stated.

I would take this a step further and say that a prime role of technology in collaboration is to highlight and even foster disagreement. Rephrasing Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street, I'll go as far as making the seemingly incongruous statement, "disagreement is good."

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How To Buy An E-Reader Wed 06 Jan 10

With several models on the market, ''test drive'' an e-reader before you buy it.

On_Book The e-reader market long dominated by Amazon's Kindle has matured into a mainstream technology with viable competitive brands and a large, but still growing, choice of books and publications available. E-readers were arguably the hot tech gift on most holiday gift lists.

Amazon recently announced that not only was the Kindle the most gifted item ever on Amazon.com but that "On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books." I suspect most people are likely to download a book upon receiving a Kindle to try out their new "toy," whereas an Amazon gift card to buy a hard copy book is likely to be set aside for later use. And so, I'm reluctant to determine a trend based on a single datum point, but it is interesting. The growth of e-books as a percent of total book sales will be the interesting trend to watch over time.

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Crowdsourcing For Prize Money Wed 09 Dec 09

Applying Internet Technologies Creatively Can Generate Big Rewards

MIT_Red_Balloon_Challenge This past weekend DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) announced the winner of the Network Challenge ''to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools,'' to mark the 40th anniversary of the ARPANet, pre-cursor to today’s Internet.

This was a great way to celebrate the anniversary as well as DARPA’s connection to the birth of the Internet. The winning team used social networking and demonstrated other concepts that take advantage of the power of the Internet. Oh, and team went home with a $40,000 prize.

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An IT Thanksgiving Wed 25 Nov 09

We in IT can be thankful for the iPhone and Windows 7.

My family has a Thanksgiving dinner tradition. Before we start eating we go around the table and everyone expresses what they are thankful for. It is interesting and insightful and not always what you expect to hear. More importantly it makes you stop and think about some of the good things in your life that you may take for granted. Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought I'd write about some of the IT-related things I'm thankful for.

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Who's Watching Windows 7? Wed 14 Oct 09

Microsoft has lots of company ahead of the launch.

Windows7_v_Web A lot of people, myself included, are eagerly awaiting Oct. 22, the day Microsoft will launch its new operating system, Windows 7. As the manufacturer, Microsoft is obviously the one most concerned, but they aren't the only ones with an interest in seeing that it is a successful product launch.

Based on their latest latest earnings reports, operating systems are very important for Microsoft. The reports indicate that client systems, which represent all the various PC operating systems, account for roughly 25% of Microsoft's revenue but about 54% of its income. Microsoft does note that "revenue from Windows operating systems declined reflecting PC market weakness, especially PCs sold to businesses, and a decline in the OEM premium mix."

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PC Makers’ Unrequited Love Tue 29 Sep 09

Why Dell and Xerox are going after services companies.

Recently hardware firms Dell, HP and Xerox made a flurry of announcements about combining selling hardware and providing technology consulting services.  Dell said it would acquire Perot Systems for $3.9 billion. HP's announced it will re-brand consulting firm Electronic Data Systems as HP Enterprise Services. Not to be outdone, Xerox said this week that it’s buying Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for $6.4 billion.

There may be some sound logic behind the Dell and HP moves, but frankly I just don't see it. Judging from how the stock market reacted to Dell's announcement, I may not be alone. Xerox's move does however present an interesting opportunity.

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A True Error, Not a Glitch Tue 28 Jul 09

Baytown Mayor Admits Error In Release Of Banking Info

I've written recently about The Real Problem With Computer Glitches.  Computer glitches are when something goes wrong but we don't talk abut someone making a mistake or a bad process being used.  Something just happened without human intervention (yeh, right).  I followed that up with a comment an Another Glitch regarding Goveronor Scharzenegger and a computer glitch that kept a law student from taking the bar exam.

Red light camera warning fringehog Although I don't want to beat this subject to death I just have to comment about an article I saw in today's Houston Chronicle, Baytown releases banking info for 10,000 by mistake.  It seems that some how banking information about 10,000 people that paid tickets after being caught by a red light camera.  What was interesting was how this was portrayed. 

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