Monday, September 13, 2010

DROIDS!!! The Best Android Smartphones

The Google-developed Android mobile operating system is an alternative to the Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Palm. Even though the Android operating system is relatively new to the market, the popularity of Android phones such as the Evo 4G, Droid Incredible and Motorola Droid suggests that these multitasking feature-rich smartphones are coming in line with what we want our mobile devices to be. Here's a roundup of some of the best Android smartphones on the market today.

Motorola Droid

For those who must have a physical keyboard, the Motorola Droid is definitely a phone to consider. Despite the fact that the phone has a slide out keyboard, the phone is still relatively thin; actually it is only marginally thicker than the iPhone 3G. The 5 megapixel camera and dual LED flash also allow the phone to take surprisingly good photos – considering that this is actually a phone.

While you have to save apps to the phone's internal memory (512MB ROM and 256MB RAM), a memory card will store up to a maximum of 32GB of photos, music, and other content.

Other Features: 5MP camera, LED flash, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions: 4.56” x 2.36” x 0.54”
Weight: 5.96 ounces
Display: 3.7”
Starting Price: $149 with a 2 year contract from Verizon

HTC Evo 4G

Sprint has the distinction of bringing the first 4G smart phone to the US in the form of the Evo 4G. The most noticeable feature of the Evo 4G is its generous 4.3-inch display. While the extra wide screen makes it a joy to watch videos on, it does tend to make the phone uncomfortable to grasp and use for all but those with large hands. The phone also takes a battery life penalty for having such a large and vibrant display.Regardless, the phone is one of the most feature-rich smartphone devices on the market with performance to back it up, thanks to the 1Ghz Snapdragon processor that makes the user experience quite snappy. One of the biggest selling points of this phone is the 4G service that it supports. You won’t be able to get the service in every area at this time, but if you do, you'll get speeds that are on average 10x faster than current 3G speeds.

Other Features: HDMI ports, 3.5mm head jack port, Wi-Fi
Dimensions: 4.8” x 2.6” x 0.5”
Weight: 6 ounces
Display: 4.3”
Starting Price: $199 with a contract from Sprint

HTC Droid Incredible

Like the Evo 4G, the Droid Incredible has a 1Ghz processor. While the Incredible has a smaller touch screen, measuring 3.7-inches, it does afford a better battery life than the Evo 4G. The phone’s user experience is enhanced by the HTC Sense interface that runs on Android 2.1.The Droid Incredible is a feature-rich phone that also supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and runs on Verizon’s fast 3G network. Like many of the top of the line Android phones we highlight here, the Droid Incredible has fabulous multimedia and multi-tasking capabilities that are sure to please technophiles. One standout feature of this phone is its contoured back plate, which you either love or hate.

Other Features: 8MP camera, 8GB internal memory, 3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions: 4.63” x 2.3” x 0.47”
Weight: 4.59 ounces.
Display: 3.7”
Starting Price: $199 with a contract from Verizon

Nexus One (discontinued)

This Google Android phone has a fast processor, vibrant display and a dual microphone to improve the audio quality on calls. One of the nice features of the Nexus One is its second microphone that monitors background noise, makes adjustments to speaker volume, and works some other magic to improve the audio quality even when you are operating the phone in a noisy room. The phone has a gorgeous 3.7-inch AMOLED display that handles 16.7 million colors at an 800 x 480-pixel resolution.

Currently, the phone is sold exclusive by Google, who offers the device for either $179 with a two-year T-mobile contract or $529 without a contract. What is remarkable is that both versions come unlocked, so it will work on the GSM carrier of your choice.

Other Features: 5MP camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, trackball
Dimensions: 4.56” x 2.36” x 0.47”
Weight: 4.58 ounces
Display: 3.7" AMOLED
Starting Price: $179 with a contract from T-Mobile

Motorola Cliq

Like the Motorola Droid, the Cliq includes a physical keyboard, but this keyboard is much better. The keys on the keyboard make it possible to dial and text by touch. The Cliq also uses Motorola Blur, which allows you to access all contacts, email accounts and social media accounts in one place as well as customize the five home screens using widgets.

Other Features: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 5MP camera, GPS, Micro USB, geo-tagging
Dimensions: 2.3” x 0.6” x 4.5”
Weight: 5.7 ounces
Display: 3.1”
Starting Price: $149 with a contract from T-Mobile

Feels like the 1990's when PC's took off. Right now Droid is like Win 3.1, lots of software coming out, but the Mac is still so pretty. That is going to change. Don't get me wrong,I love my iPhone,
-- however the Droids are the future. Gartner predicts they will take over the mobile computing market in 2014!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Happened to Customer Service?

What happened to customer service, more importantly good customer service? This morning on the way into work I had a conversation about Verizon’s customer service. My friend was very upset with how they have been handling her over the years. She was a loyal Blackberry user and she really used the heck out of those BBs. The problem was that batteries didn’t hold a charge. Very odd for a BB –I wish my iPhone held a charge like a BB.

So my friend called Verizon to replace the phone and they gave her the run around. She asks for a manager and is told by the customer service representative that a manager will call her back. The manager never does. My friend calls back and the vicious circle was afoot. Wow!

Once upon a time, I worked for United Airlines and my job was working in huge call center. Whenever we had customers ask for a manager, we had someone to hand them off to. They were known a TSRs or technical service reps –they made a $1 more an hour! Hence you never speak to a real manager!

Now companies make it impossible to reach a live human being. [And] When you do, you may be sorry you did. It seems no one cares, my friend had bouts with Verizon and I had similar experiences with Sprint. I am no longer with Sprint and my friend almost left Verizon –if not for the Droid X. Many of these calls centers are being shut down and moved overseas. Actually all these companies are doing are moving the problem(s).

The problem(s) besides the low pay and irate customers is the management --or lack there of. If the real managers were taking the calls, they would realize the problem. The problem is a lack of motivation, a lack of training, a lack of happiness, the need for empowerment and the list goes on.

Let’s focus on empowerment. Companies want total control of their customers and their employees. Companies need to allow the customer to direct the service (within reason) and empower the employee to serve. We did this at United in the early ‘90s and they were profitable. After a leadership change, all empowerment activities were suspended –now United is hurting. Other factors are contributing to the hurt, however during an economic downturn –every dollar counts.

Customer service is the voice of the company, it is the eyes and ears. Management needs to empower it and to listen to it. If it is outsourced, controlled, or unhelpful –people will go elsewhere.

For a great customer service experience, go to Zappos.com and ask for the best Pizza place near you or anything --they will google it for ya! Also I recommend reading "Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose" it is the Zappos.com story

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hey Mister, the smart phones are coming!

Here is a great analysis by Google employee Tim Bray on the the scope of the Smartphone Game (via Daring Fireball).

"The Numbers Are Really Big. Insane, I mean. The billion-plus phones sold per year. The number of active subscriptions, which is greater than half of the human population. The number of new Android devices that check in with Google every day. The line-ups outside Apple stores for every new iOS device. The hundreds of thousands of apps. The ridiculous number of new ones that flow into Android Market every day. Everywhere I look, I see something astounding.
This is the big league; bigger today than the computer industry ever was, and growing fast. This is as fierce a concentration of R&D heat and manufacturing virtuosity and distribution wizardry and marketing mojo as humanity has ever seen."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tribal Leadership

I have been reading Tribal Leadership on the iPad, and it is an awesome book. It describes so many things I have seen in my 18 year career.

You do not need to be fired to have experienced the blog post below. It is a good read because so many companies treat their employees badly. I recommend checking out this book at the Tribal Leadership website.

Reposted from http://www.triballeadership.net/blog

Worst Five Ways to Fire Someone

If you have never been fired, then you either work at a Stage Two company where under-achieving is rewarded, or you’ve chosen not to be completely honest when your boss says, “Do you have any feedback for me?” Odds are that at some point you:

• “Did not see eye-to-eye with management.”
• “Chose to go freelance”
• “Wanted to spend more time with family”
• “Were unware the sexual harassment laws had changed.”

But if you’re lucky, you’re the person on the other end of this conversation. And for you, we would like to offer the top five worst ways to let people go, generously sponsored by the Stage Three Boss Association and the Scranton Ohio Rotary Club.

#5 “Disappear them.”A person in our Tribal Leadership study told us that he arranged lunch with a co-worker in the morning, and when the time came he went to her cubicle to find no trace of her existence. When he asked what happened to her, the answer from a colleague was “she’s been disappeared.” It’s as though we’re back in Pharaoh’s Day, and her name had been scrubbed from every monument…well, memo and e-mail address book…in the land.

Quick and efficient? Yes. But how does this contrast with that consultant-crafted mission statement that HR used in the overpriced plaque on the wall? “Our workplace is innovative, collaborative, enthusiastic, with a sense of mission, filled with workers who would do anything for each other.” They forgot to add… “in which any member can fired for any reason with the others not missing a beat.”

Bottom-line is you can’t have it both ways. That person you got to know—that you spent more quality time with than your family, is gone—so you’re less likely to form your friendships here. Trust is driven out of the system as fast as that employees’ pictures come off their desks.

#4 Highlight “personal reasons.” In 99% of cases, this phrase, if run through Dilbert’s decoder ring, translates to “you all know we hate him, he was fired, thank God he’s gone, …now get back to work.” People who leave companies through this method usually lost some high-profile fights, and endured weeks or months of public flogging to remove any trace of self-esteem. This method is also useful when management hired the wrong person, and “for personal reasons,” is much easier to type than, “this was our mistake, and we wish him well.”

#3 Resignation effective two weeks from today. This method is most useful when someone still has self-esteem left. Having her leave under these circumstances might send the message that seeking employment elsewhere may not be so bad. During the two weeks between announced departure and leaving the building for the last time, the lame duck goes to meetings and learns just how irrelevant she is. She has time alone to detach—one of the hallmarks of Stage Two—and so, when she leaves, she’s tired, despondent, and unprepared to seek another opportunity.

#2 The security escort out of the building. Useful when remaining employees need to be reminded that you hold all the power.

#1 The walk of the shame. The ritual of packing up photos and coffee mugs into a single box (with or without the plant on top) and walking past the survivors is a nice recollection of simpler times: like when French aristocrats walked past the people on their way to a beheading.
It’s like we’re in Hester Prin’s day, but instead of wearing an “A,” the person who leaves invisible sign says “My life sucks”—the hallmark of Stage Two—as a warning to those who remain. This can happen to you, too, so don’t get out of line.

What’s the effect of these methods of removing people from companies? The focus of attention becomes “me.” Is this going to happen to me? Am I liked, trusted, thought of as competent? Is there a move to get rid of me I don’t know about? This is where information becomes the coin of the realm, and gossip, the way to stay solvent. And all the Stage Three tools of self-promotion, time management, and subtle put-downs come in handy.

The bosses of such systems take the brunt of people’s scorn. “Does he really think we’re so stupid as not see what really happened?”, people gossip. Ask the bosses (we did), and many say, “I’d like to tell the truth, but HR and Legal say doing so would put us risk of liability.”
All of this makes the modern workplace a chaotic system of rumor, fear, self-promotion, and survival by wits and guts. Are there ways around this system? Yes, but they all start with leaders recognizing the current system is as ineffective, inhumane, incompetent, and self-contradictory. We’ll talk about those methods in a future blog.

by Dave Logan
Posted in Uncategorized Leave a comment

I experienced #3 at my last place of employment. Remember to check out the site and its blogs @ http://www.triballeadership.net/

Jerry

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote of the Week:

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."-- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life in the Cloud

Today I am in the cloud. Literally, I am emailing via my jerryemis@me.com email account, rocking out to Pandora Radio, and creating a tech visio-like drawing via Gliffy.com. If my iPad did flash or Gliffy did HTML5, I wouldn't need a computer. If I was using Cisco's CIUS tablet device, based on the Android OS, I would be able to do my Gliffy drawing.

My thoughts on Mobile computing are two fold:

1. We are just beginning to realize the benefits of mobile devices (phones & tablets)
2. The cloud will be the back end to these new Mobile computing devices

I think we are where the PC (actually the Apple) was in 1983. In 1983 PC's were for games and small office use. IBM (the only big computer company) didn't see them as a threat their fleet of "Big Iron" (Mainframes and Mini-Computers). It is 2010, the PC's and their Intel Servers run the [office] world.

Click here to check out (a very young) Steve Jobs Keynote address circa 1983!

What will 2015 look like? After watching a very young Steve Jobs explain how "Big Iron" missed it with Xerography --Xerox, fumbled on Mini-Computers --DEC, lost the PC (and PC Servers) to Apple and the gang of nine (HP and Friends).

The cloud and the mobile devices are the next big thing --like the PC, they too have their naysayers.

Are you a naysayer?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The New Layout

Hey all,

Changed the title, look, and feel of our Blog. This blog started out as a project for a graduate class and has now morphed into this. Just wanted to drop a quick note as I have been out on vacation.

I've been looking at some venture capital blogs out the net. Here are two that caught my fancy:

http://voices.allthingsd.com/20100317/the-case-for-the-fat-startup/

http://www.kellblog.com/2010/04/07/the-fit-or-fat-startup/

Lean or Fat? I say we gotta eat! (read the links and you will get my last statement)

Jerry

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Awesome Woman in Information Technology

In my reading of What Would Google Do (WWGD), Marissa Mayer VP at Google is mentioned many times over. So I did some research on Marissa. Marissa Mayer is the Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at the search engine company Google.

She rocks and here is why:

As I always mention, IT is much more than fixing computers.

Thanks Marissa for keeping IT cool!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Would Google Do? What would MobyApp.mobi do?

I have been reading a book titled What Would Google Do (WWGD) by Jeff Jarvis and I just finished Beyond the Cloud by Marc Benioff (CEO and Founder of SalesForce.com). The two books have changed my outlook on life, yes life. Our work/jobs are a major part of our lives. We spend more time at work than with our families. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? What if we had a job that paid for what we did versus how many hours you sit at a desk? What if you could spend more time with your family versus time at work or on the blackberry? No I am not preaching AMWAY –however they could be come a potential customer of mine –scratch that---ours!

Why do I say ours? Well, in the spirit of WWJD –I asked What Would Google Do?

Google would inspire collaboration as to what the company should produce, how many hours the work week would be, who they should hire, what soft drinks or juices to stock in the kitchens, the mission of the company, the structure, and etc. We are talking about total collaboration as a means to build a company. Let's build something great!

So my future employees –scratch that----co-workers--scratch that--- my new friends!
Friends, I like that! So my future friends ----what kind of company do you want to build? Our company is called MobyApp.Mobi, Inc. Please comment and present your ideas here! Pass along to friends –let’s go viral!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

iPhone 4.0 is here!



The new iPhone 4 has about 100 new features that aren't available in the current model. Some of the biggest changes include a higher-resolution screen, a bigger battery, a front facing camera, an HD photo (5 megapixels) and video camera, a gyroscope for improved rotation sensitivity and a thinner, more industrial look.

Apple unveiled the new phone's operating system in April, which on Monday, Apple redubbed "iOS 4." The new OS will be available to iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 users this summer. It will allow multitasking, use of folders, access to Apple's iBooks app and the new "iAd" mobile advertising network, though not all of the functions will be available on the old iPhones

I must have it!

Quote of the Week: Do No Evil

Google says "Do No Evil", and I will do no Evil

I've been thinking about my new company and I have lots of ideas. Many center around what do I want to develop, who do I want to hire, how big can MobyApp.Mobi become, how to apply the Salesforce.com's 1-1-1 principal to MobyApp.mobi, serving smoothies in break rooms, employee stock options, IPO, and others.

Wow, my brain is on overtime and my advise to myself is What Would Google Do (WWGD)? They would Do No Evil. I want to touch people's lives. People will want to work for...scratch that...work with MobyApp.mobi. We will be 1 transparent team, 1 transparent mission, 1 voice, 1 family devoted to making our lives and our world a happier place.

Do you know we spend more hours with co-workers than family? What if you didn't like your work, your co-workers, the company's mission --whatever--fill in the blank. We are going to change that: MobyApp.mobi will be a place that centers on the employee, their family, and their morals. We will work together and be happy doing it!

So who wants a job? Pay is lousy, however I make a great smoothie!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I love Apple, AT&T not so much

The iPhone 4.0 is coming and I am sooo ready for it. The new OS supports multi-tasking, front facing camera, better battery and more. Problem is that AT&T changed their rates for new iPhone/PDA users. AT&T no longer offers unlimited data plans. So the big question is: When I upgrade to the new iPhone 4.0, Will I be treated as a new iPhone/PDA user? Will my contract grandfather over?

If I need to get a new contract, I may have to go to Verizon for the Droid or an Android OS phone. 200MB or 2GB is not enough, and I only dev on my MAC --meaning I really don't use a PC or MAC anymore. All my Internet usage is via the iphone! I do sync from time to time, as I don't want to lose my songs and apps. All my songs and apps are downloaded via 3G, not from my MAC. If I am in the car and I Shazam a song --I download it right then and there.

I really love my iPhone and I am developing Apps for the iPhone. The apps I am building require Internet access and there aren't enough free WIFI hotspots around. I am discovering this sad fact with my non 3G model iPad. As an iPhone developer I am seeing my future new customers going to Google versus dealing with AT&T. Since my lively hood is the iPhone, I may have to put on my JAVA hat and focus on Android and the Chrome OS.

Apple is back on top after a long hiatus, however if history repeats itself --Apple may loose their spot as Mobile King to Google.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MobyApp.Mobi

I just incorporated MobyApp.Mobi in Nevada! Well ok, I started the process with BlumbergExcelsior, should be a corporation within a week --wish me luck! Let me tell you it has been an exciting two weeks, hence I have been radio silent on the blog.

My biz partner Lin and I have been defining goals and working aggressively to meet them (i.e. a business plan). So far we are on track. Next on the list is trademarking our logo --I will post it once it is official. Our company MobiApp.mobi will develop applications for the iPhone and iPad. Sounds exciting? Do you want a job? We are looking for Objective C and Cocoa developers.

On another note I picked up a book titled "Beyond the Cloud". It is written by CEO and Founder of Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff (my new hero and unofficial mentor). The book is about how Marc dreamed up the concept to deliver a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system delivered via the Internet cloud. His company, Salesforce.com, is empowered by a belief that no software should be loaded on a PC or an internal server farm. I totally agree, Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the way of the future.

I believe that most IT departments come in two flavors. Big, bloated and broken i.e. too many of the people, or fiefdoms, and too many processes (think sand on the gears). The other type of IT department is flat broke i.e. no people (or the wrong people) and a lack of process. Either way these IT departments are not delivering a value add to their companies or their primary mission.

Hark! There is light at the end of the tunnel and I have a plan for these IT departments. SaaS! Saas will reduce delivery times for the big departments and it will deliver an instant value for the money strapped departments.

Now before everyone chimes in about control and security -let me ask you some questions.

1. How many of you do online banking, even if only to check your balance?
2. How many of you carry a cell phone, do you own your own telecom company?
3. Do you use electricity, if so do you generate it or plug into the national electricity grid?
4. Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Pandora, iTunes, Nabster, and Quickbooks.com?
5. Besides an Office Suite of applications, what other software is loaded on your PC or Mac? Do you use the other software? Hint Solitaire doesn’t count!

Well, guess what? Many of you are in the cloud. See these are just a few questions to start exercising our minds in order to really look at doing business within the cloud.

Once upon a time, factories generated their own power. Then the power grid came along. Many companies did not trust the new grid, they said things like I don't own it, I can't trust it, it is not reliable, it is not secure, and etc. I do not know of any company or factory that generates power today (unless they are the electric company). Almost everyone uses the grid!

Same holds true for the cloud, not today, tomorrow almost all of us will use the cloud (or the IT Grid as I like to call it). Most CIO’s will rebuke the cloud, some will embrace it. We truly need to “think different” as Steve Jobs often points out.

Lastly, check out this article by Marc Benioff.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/04/29/the-end-of-microsoft-a-door-opens-to-a-new-cloud/?source=cnn_bin&hpt=Sbin

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Love my iPad

This is truly a paradigm change or in the words of my boss -- a game changer. Years ago I was on a forum (you know before there were blogs) and a guy posted how he loved Windows CE and wished he could use it on his PC versus Windows 95. I thought yes, Windows CE is stable, but what about applications? How could a PDA be better than Windows 95. Stable --Yes, practical --No! Crazy, I tell ya.....I didn't know I'd eat those words one day.

Now fast forward to 2010 and we have the iPad. Some have called it a big iPhone and I said to myself --well yeah!! Hmmm, those words are tasty. See when I first got my iPhone 2g in 2007, I stopped using my MacBook and my Windows PC. I would pick up my full computer to play with the SDK and take advantage of the full browser.

All my applications, except MS Office, were then (and now) --in the cloud. Now all I need is MS Office in the cloud and I am set --oh, wait Windows Office Live is in the cloud!!

Desktops are dead....computers are for the scientists and geeks. Netbooks, iPads, and Google Chrome for all!!! Just kidding, let's do what I call Keep it Simple Computing (or KISC), a light weight OS device plugged into the public and private cloud.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quote of the Week (Women in IT)

"The banking crisis was caused by doing what no society ever allows: Permitting young males to behave in an unregulated way. Anyone who studied neurobiology would have predicted disaster."—Sheelan Kolhatkar, "What If Women Ran Wall Street?" (New York magazine/03.29.10)

I am sure you are asking why this quote appeared on my Techie Blog? Yesterday I had coffee with a friend of mine (yes you Alex) and she described her day to me. She asked me if I knew of any WI-MAX carriers in her area. I asked why and she began to explain how a Techie Salesman spoke down to her. Now my friend Alex is a tech-savvy nerd's nerd, that was so sexist on the part of the salesman. Many women in my life are/were in IT. Did you know that I took an interest in IT, not because of my dad or those ECPI commercials of the 70's and 80's, I became interested because my MOM was a COBOL programmer. She loved her job and that old WANG mainframe running MVS! Heck my Dad’s second wife was a mainframe computer operator. Yeah I guess Dad was into geek girls back in the 70's and 80's. So today I dedicate my Blog to COBOL, mom, and Dr. Grace Murray Hoper. My point, sometimes it takes a women to contain the wild guys of wall street and your IT department.

Now on to Dr. Grace Hopper




Inventor Grace Murray Hopper was a curious child. At the age of seven, she dismantled her alarm clock to figure out how it worked, but was unable to reassemble it. By the time her mother figured out what she had been up to, the young Grace Hopper had gone through seven clocks in the house. This intellectual curiosity would later play an integral part in earning Hopper a place among the ranks of the most famous women inventors.

As she grew up, Grace's parents encouraged her to pursue her educational ambitions. At Vassar College, she obtained a B.A. in mathematics and physics. She continued her education at Yale University by completing a masters and Ph.D. in mathematics. She then returned to Vassar to teach.

During World War II, Hopper joined the Navy and was sworn into the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943. After training, she was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to the Bureau of Ordinance Computation Project at Harvard University. She became the third person to program the Harvard Mark I computer. Much like her clocks, disassembling it and figuring out its operating processes was a challenge that she really enjoyed.

Hopper's naval duties ended a year after the war, and she became a senior programmer with Remington Rand (later RAND Corp), where she worked on the first large-scale commercial computer – UNIVAC. She became Director of Automatic Programming in 1952 and subsequently oversaw the company's endeavor to produce specifications for a common business language. From 1959 to 1961, Hopper lead the team that invented COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), the first user-friendly business computer software program.

Later, Hopper invested a great deal of time advocating validation procedures to bring about the international standardization of computer languages. She won numerous awards for her career as a famous woman inventor, including the National Medal of Technology, which was presented to her in 1991 by President George Bush. By the time she passed away on January 1, 1992, Dr. Hopper had received honorary degrees from thirty universities.

Now this is one heck of a techie! Guys think twice before talking down to a techie in a dress. Chances are, she not only understands what you are talking about --she may be able to school you on a few things!

For more information on Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, refer to:
Lemelson-MIT Inventor of the Week: Dr. Grace Murray Hopper
History of Mathematics – Famous Mathematicians

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hmmmm...I may have been on to something

I just read an article on bloomberg about the iPad. I will repost it below:

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s iPad touch-screen tablet is a winning product that threatens to replace laptops as the dominant format for personal computers, reviewers said.

The iPad, which will begin selling this weekend, is “wicked fast” and has a battery life that’s longer than Apple’s claim of 10 hours, Walt Mossberg, technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote in a review yesterday. It can be used as a replacement for a laptop for most data communication and content consumption, he wrote.

“The iPad is an advance in making more-sophisticated computing possible via a simple touch interface on a slender, light device,” Mossberg wrote. The tablet “has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, started taking orders for the iPad on March 12, offering consumers the choice between home delivery and in-store collection. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co., is estimating first weekend sales of 200,000 for the iPads.

“Apple has delivered another impressive product that largely lives up to the hype,” Edward C. Baig of USA Today wrote in his review. “What does a successful iPad launch mean for traditional netbooks? They’ll have to adapt or disappear.”

The iPad stacks up as a formidable competitor to Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle electronic reader and gives game consoles from Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp. a “run for their money,” Baig wrote.
For most people, the iPad’s 9.7-inch touch screen “changes the whole experience” in consuming content such as books, music, video, photos and e-mails, David Pogue of the New York Times wrote in a review yesterday.

No Webcam, Multitasking

Mossberg, Baig and Pogue all said one of the iPad’s drawbacks is not supporting Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash software. The iPad also lacks a built-in Web camera and multitasking features that allow more than one application to run at a time, the reviewers said.

“If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social- networker and e-mailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music -- this could be for you,” Mossberg wrote. “If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing e-mail, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.”

Apple fell 0.4 percent to close at $235 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares have climbed 12 percent this year.

The iPad “is fun, simple, stunning to look at and blazingly fast,” Baig wrote. “Apple is rewriting the rulebook for mainstream computing.”

I think the iPad and other netbooks are onto something, i.e remove the bloated OS and apply the KISS rule a.k.a Keep It Simple Stupid! My thoughts are putting a device like this in the workplace. Now hear me out, what do you do at work? Email, desktop publishing or Office related tasks, business applications, and maybe surf the web, Right? Hence the netbooks and the iPad have a way to go. We need to downtech the desktop.

Why downtech the desktop? To reduce costs and drive productivity up. The desktop needs to be part of the cloud, private or public --it must be a dummy tube device. This type of concept was spoken of back in 1994 --

DOWNTECHING: George Mason University professor Hugh Heclo calls for downteching -- "deliberate reductions in the amount and/or sophistication of technology so as to improve
performance," and to counter the tendency of information technology to eliminate the
natural limits on "blab" -- undigested information pretending to be knowledge. (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 9/11/94 B1)

What I propose is to limit the amount of spohistication of technology on the desktop. Don't give your users enough rope to hang themselves. The CEO can reduce costs by reducing unnecessary IT headcount. The helpdesk becomes a service desk, i.e. anybody can answer a phone. The expensive desktop folks will go away(40k-70k per tech). Imagine no more (or reduced) personal computer issues. Productivity will go up as desktop related issues go away. If a netbook breaks, it is simply switched out. Security issues will exist on the backend (for the most part), 1 patch versus thousands. What I am saying is that by getting out of the personal computer business, IT can focus on its primary mission --delivering services.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

From now on I am going to do a quote of the week.

Here is my first:

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket --Andrew Carnegie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote of the Day.

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Losing Andrew Carnegie (reposted)

This article was posted on Seth Godins's Blog. Since it is short and sweet, I figured I'd repost it here and comment.

Andrew Carnegie apparently said, "Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors......Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory."

Is there a typical large corporation working today that still believes this? Most organizations now have it backwards. The factory, the infrastructure, the systems, the patents, the process, the manual... that's king. In fact, shareholders demand it.

It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplaceable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else.

I often (wish to be able to) describe myself as the Dale Carnegie, Zig Zigler, and Stephen Covey of the IT world. There are so many powerful people who have written books that have shaped many an executive. What I want to do is take these works and apply them to IT. A perfect example is how we have tried to fix the IT world with SOPs and Processes such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, CMMI and etc. We (in IT) try to make up for lack of skill and resources by embracing processes. Processes are good, however they do not make the employee. We must focus on hiring the right person for the right job. We must lose the paradigm that states all people can be trained to perform any task. We need to focus on who and what IT is. After all I can't expect to become a heart surgeon from reading SOP's and OJT. I need to go to medical school first!

If you are tired of the fire fight....get proactive. Don't just say it, do it!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Undercover: A Painful Lack of Security

Here is another good article. The gist of the aticle is that a Security Executive is having a hard time finding a job. He interviewed with a CIO and had a good feeling. Eventually an executive with an engineering background was hired. I know that security is overlooked and put on the back burner when budget cuts hit home. However I agree that an executive with a engineering background was hired as the CSO. I.T. is in the Engineering and Operations business PERIOD!!!! Security is to support that business by following the CIA triad.

Let's examine the CIA triad. First we have Confidentiality, Confidentiality is the term used to prevent the disclosure of information to unauthorized individuals or systems. Next up Integrity, In information security, integrity means that data cannot be modified without authorization. Lastly and most importantly, Availability. For any information system to serve its purpose, the information must be available when it is needed.

In my experience, many security professionals forget about availability. Hence the need to hire someone with an engineering background. Engineers think outside the box, they find mitigation strategies versus releasing untested patches and shutting down critical systems. If security were a CI duo, I can hire people to sit on a SOC (security operations center) for about 30k a year and I would not need a CSO. However given the importance of security, there needs to be a security officer that is a partner in the business of I.T. --not sand in the gears!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How IT is set up to Fail

I was reading an article titiled "Why IT is designed to Fail". Click here to read the article. Below is my response.

Very good article. I feel the biggest challenge to a CIO, is staffing their departments correctly. The CIO paradox will continue until the CIO realizes he/she is in the IT business and the IT business is Engineering and Operations. Project Management, Life Cycle, and Security are inputs to the final output i.e. Engineering and Operations. Until this happens most IT organizations will be staffed inappropriately and [productive] work flow will slow –the end result is in a loss of productivity and creditability. The basic premise is to understand the difference between an Engineer and an Operator. The next step hire qualified IT Project Managers. In my opinion the IT organization should be heavy with engineers, sprinkle in a few IT Project Managers, Security Analysts and lastly (and most importantly) a dedicated group of Operators.

Lastly, your article points out that most CIO’s refer to their projects as being Business Projects versus IT projects. This is a bad course to take because it takes ownership of the (business) project from the CIO and thrusts it onto the business unit. The project fails and the CIO gets the blame for that failure. Bottom line, the CIO is in the Engineering and Operations business –if that is not cool enough, get an MBA and move on!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Microsoft speaks FISMA, TIC, FIPS 140-2, and ITAR --MS in the Cloud?

I was perusing Federalnewsradio.com today and came across the article. Microsoft is looking at the cloud for public sector organizations. According to Teresa Carlson, head of Microsoft Federal, explained that the company has been in the cloud for a very long time, but with this offering they have not just met -- but exceeded -- the federal requirements. Really? I didn’t know there were federal requirements for the cloud, but alas there are standards (FISMA, TIC, FIPS 140-2, and ITAR).

Carlson explained that Microsoft’s cloud offering would allow an agency to put its data in a Microsoft data center under the compliance standards she's outlined. "So, there's really a Trusted Internet Connection or TIC back into their system --managed with all the compliance and security enhancements. . . . They [the agency] would consolidate servers. They would not need as much personnel to manage all that data. Their [hardware] upgrades would be instant. They don't have a bunch of infrastructure that they have to manage, so their costs are going to be reduced."

She did stress, however, that while Microsoft is proud of its cloud offerings, agencies have to look at whether or not cloud is right for them.

Amen to that I say. Microsoft has been on the cloud sideline for a while as compared to Google, Amazon, and Apple among others. I think we need to change the paradigm even further, reduce the personal computer to a cloud device such as the Netbook, Chrome, or iPad or their successors. You want to cut costs and reduce personnel? Say bye to the PC. Furthermore, in order to adhere to Records Management, Paper Reduction, and other congressional Acts remove or limit the need to print! I don’t mean virtual desktops, I mean think outside of the box and retool your software and service delivery strategies. Xerox did this at PARC almost 40 years ago and then they walked away from it. Question: Are we going to walk away from a possible paradigm shift?

Click here for MS article.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

Baseball great Rogers Hornsby summed it up: "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

Quote of the Day --(barrowed from another blog I read)

This is a quote from Tim Cook at Apple, I found on a Blog I read from time to time:

“This [Apple] is the most focused company I know of, am aware of, or have any knowledge of... We say no to good ideas every day.” Cook then pointed out to analysts that every single product the company makes would fit on the single conference table in front of him. “And we had revenue last year of $40 billion."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dell's tablet gunning for Apple's iPad



Say the words "tablet computer" and ten bucks says it's Apple's iPad that springs to mind or so says CNN.com But that doesn't mean other companies aren't busy building their own version of a touch-enabled, multimedia-sporting, slab of portable computing goodness.

Dell's first effort at a tablet will be the Mini 5 (a name that is still in beta) -- a slice of plastic and glass with a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen that according to Michael Dell will debut "in a couple of months."

The Mini 5 will sport a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a separate front-facing camera that can be used for video conferencing, a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-GHz processor. (source cnn.com)

Wow, I am seeing a pattern here, PC’s may become old school. However I will not be getting rid of mine anytime soon :). Looks like the iPad will have some competition, let’s see if Dell is going to jump into the Cloud and offer applications for the device. I imagine that Google will offer its app store as the Mini 5 runs a version on Android. Looks like battle of the Cloud devices is starting up. Reminds me of the days when Atari, Commodore, Apple, and Amiga were getting into the PC world –remember software will make or break a [computing] platform.

Who would have ever though that every corporate desk/work area would have a PC on it back in the late 70’s/very early 80’s? The terminal/mainframe was king. Looks like the desktop Paradigm is changing.



The First Home PC -- LOL This does not compute!!












Actually the picture on the top is a hoax. The picture on the bottom is the real thing, located at the Smithsonian's "Fast Attack and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War "exhibit. The hoax claims that this would be the first PC. Notice the steering wheel --I guess it is a 1950's mouse......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What happened to my Comic Book collection? Comic Books in the Cloud!?!



I remember reading about books going the way of the dodo bird. Looks like the iPad is going after the Kindle market in a way no-one would have ever thought --Comic Books. Neat huh? Actually this is very a smart concept in regards to cloud computing. I call it in the Pepsi approach to Paradigm

Back in the day (mid to late 80’s), Pepsi had a tough time beating out Coca-Cola or Coke. This was after the Pepsi challenge successfully demonstrated that Pepsi tasted better than Coke. So, why was Coke number 1? In a word, Paradigm --people do not like change. Pepsi was took a new approach; they changed their slogan to “Pepsi, the choice of a new generation". Hence they went after the kids –me. See the adults wouldn’t change their Paradigm, Pepsi realized that kids grow up and buy things –like a Pepsi Cola. Now as I approach 40, I buy a lot of Pepsi and my Kids drink it. My Parents and Grandparents are Coke fans. So why is this article on my Techie Blog?

Well, you see many are skeptical of Cloud Computing. So Apple is going after the media outlets –i.e the young and the young at heart. Remember I was a kid when I started drinking Pepsi, hence I had no paradigm or bias towards Coke --as an adult I drink Pepsi. Apple is doing the same in regards to Cloud Computing. They are going after the young tech newbies and creating a brand. Apple realized that the PC is dead. Sure there will be servers, as they are the backbone of the Cloud. However, the PC on your desk will be a thing of the past. The question is what will the workstation [or Cloud Device] of the future be?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is IT? Well my idea of IT.....

Seems like this should be a simple question to answer, however it is not. Maybe we should ask ourselves what IT (Information Technology) isn’t. In my opinion IT is not desktop support, printer replacement, deployment teams, service desks, and project management teams. The first four (desktop support, printers, deployment, and helpdesk) are outputs or byproducts of IT and the latter is an input. The reason I bring this up (see previous blogs)? How many of you in the IT world are asked by friends and family “Can you fix my computer”? All you have to do is google the problem. No training required right? Frustrating huh? I will attempt to explain why this “break/fix computer guy/girl mentality dooms many an IT department.

What is IT? In a nutshell, (my opinion of course) IT is about the applications, and the infrastructure required to deliver those applications, that support your company’s primary mission. Example, say you work at a hospital and your case management system goes down –your hospital cannot admit/discharge patients, view/update patient charts, etc. Bottom line the hospital will be sued for any damages caused and if the outage is long enough, the hospital will experience financial difficulties. However you can work without email, a blackberry, internet access, or a lack of printing. When a primary mission application goes down, people go home because there is nothing to do.

This being said, the case management system should be the number priority of the hospital's IT department, right? Wrong, the hospital's IT department focuses primarily of blackberries, printers and desktop computers. It is staffed primarily for this purpose and often times the CIO will have the blinders on when is comes to applications side of the house. Often times the CIO thinks IT is break/fix and System Engineering is the loading COTS disks on Windows based servers. If this is how the hospital's CIO thinks….how can he/she go towards cloud computing, datacenter consolidations, disaster recovery solutions, FISMA/HIPAA/SOX compliance, and etc. These are the core missions of IT; hence this is what it is all about. Blackberry and email distruptions will make an IT department look bad. However, primary business related applications outtages will get someone sidelined and/or fired. So where is the problem?

Staffing is the problem. Actually right staffing (lack there of) is the problem. As I have stated IT is looked at as break/fix. The “technical” resources hired for a project are break/fix people. Right now, the hot IT jobs are Systems Engineers and Security Engineers. Hence the hiring manager thinks IT = break/fix people. The bottom line, if you hire the wrong people in IT, you will experience bad business decisions, security breaches, system crashes, limited scalability, zero traction on the CIO's initiatives, and cost overruns (these are just to name a few).

The good news is that we can fix this! In order to do so, the IT department’s management team needs to look inward. They need to realize that they are in the Engineering and Operations business and hire accordingly (this is where to place your eggs) Project Management, and IT Security or INFOSEC are inputs to this primary mission (this isn't where you place all of your eggs). The priorities need to be set to the applications in order of business importance. Roles and responsibilities must be defined; furthermore those job functions must be staffed with the right people (the right college education coupled with certifications and experience come to mind).

Lastly, all the inputs to the primary mission must understand the business of your company’s IT, they must be technical in the areas they manage i.e. if you are Project Manager on a java project, you need to have a general understanding of coding –the desktop guy/girl with a PMP (Project Management Professional) cert doesn’t cut it. Hence you need to know when a software contractor wrote a bad piece of software and/or if the infrastructure really isn’t scalable (which is what developers always claim)! When IT departments right size and more importantly right staff, the problems will downsize. As much as we wish the problems would go away.... they never do, as technology will never solve all of our problems :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The iPad, Much Ado About Nothing --Or is it?

I have to admit that when the iPad came out, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a Mac Tablet, much like my former Acer Windows XP tablet. To my dismay, the iPad is a big iPhone/iTouch. Why would I want one? I have an iPhone. What I wanted was a MAC tablet, one that would replace my MacBook. This device simply won’t do. What is the purpose of this device?

So I though of how Apple is always competing with Microsoft and [I] came to the conclusion that a fat PC OS (Operating System) is so old school. The iPad was never meant to compete with Tablet PCs. It is a cloud device and this is a definitely a shot across the bow of Google --the iPad could be a Chrome killer. After all Chrome isn't a full (fat) OS, it is a light OS and all apps are delivered via the cloud.

Granted hardware specs are inferior to the PC/Mac, but this isn't a PC or a Mac, it is a simple device. All the processing power is needed on the backend, processing and memory on the iPad should be minimal. After all this isn't a PC (or MAC) running a full OS and its apps with billions of lines of code!

We should all rethink what the user computing experience should look like. Maybe the [real] computers will go back to the scientists, students, and other technical folks. Most application users simply need a platform to run their applications and in most cases a full computer is overkill. Desktop computing can be replaced with simple cloud computing devices. Something Citrix and other thin computing technology companies have tried to do for years, now with the cloud --thin computing may become a reality.

I applaud Apple for the iPad and they are a true visionary in the cloud. They brought us legal downloadable music at a fair price (iTunes), cloud application delivery with the AppStore, and now they may deliver all kinds of media such as books and magazines. Apple has evolved from the old business of desktop computing into the new business of the cloud