Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Passport to hell: why thin client desktops must die

Thin Clients v PC Desktops, I can’t agree with the author.  This discussion is about processing power at the desktop versus commoditized application enablement.

Recent "Ars Technica Article"

“I understand the allure of remote desktop technology. But I have never understood why someone who could just as easily put a real PC in front of a user would opt instead to give them a slow, creaky, laggy shadow of one with a cheap keyboard and maybe a USB peripheral.”

I am all for the powering / empowering of end users with the best possible PC technology.  However, in many business models / processes, many HP Thin Client end users really don’t need so much computing horsepower.  Typical examples of email applications, word processing, spreadsheets and many corporate “fixed” applications fall into this zone of low-compute requirements.

IT and Business Leaders need to assess their requirements and draw a balance based upon what is needed by their end user constituents.  For example, in some recent Call Center experience, for compliance and “cookie cutter” deployments, Thin Clients offer the perfect unbreakable, low maintenance, low cost and highly scalable solution.   Call Center Agents do not need high powered computing devices.  Much can be said for checking email, web browsing, etc.

I am not pooh – poohing computing power at the desktop, I personally love it, however I am not playing multiplayer gamers or running AutoCad.


Fac ut vivas - Get a life

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

IBM Outlaws Siri, Worried She Has Loose Lips

Loose Lips, Sink Ships, or so IBM believes.  in a recent article from Wired - Recent Posting from Wired Enterprise Magazine

This is really no joke at all and needs to be taken seriously, as IBM’s CIO has.

“IBM CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT’s Technology Review this week that her company has banned Siri outright because, according to the magazine, “The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.””

 SIRI noresponseIn order for Apple and Siri to facilitate all this audio “Magic”, the data needs to be processed.  Where is that done?  Who has access to it?  How long is it stored for?  What are the details of the Privacy Policy?  Can the iPhone user opt out?  All good questions, but for the opt out, the answer is no.  Use it with the open questions, or just turn the feature off.  Welcome to Cyberspace!


Caveat emptor - Let the buyer beware.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

It’s ok NOW for Comcast: Comcast, NBC deal opens door for online video

Reversal of Fortunes…

Yahoo News Article - Comcast, NBC deal opens door for online video


It seems that Comcast has had a change of heart with respect to 3rd party video and rich-content services as they are now, a player in the game.

“To win government approval to take over NBC Universal last month, cable giant Comcast Corp. agreed to let online rivals license NBC programming, including hit shows such as "30 Rock" and "The Office." Comcast also agreed not to block its 17 million broadband subscribers from watching video online through Netflix, Apple's iTunes and other rivals yet to come.”

In a Quid Pro Qou maneuver, Comcast has unwound their prior rigid position on 3rd party blocking online services.

“Government officials wanted to ensure that Comcast could not crush competition through its control over both a major media empire and the pipes that deliver cable and Internet services to millions of American homes.”

This in particular, relates to Comcast’s prior resistance to the principle of Network Neutrality.  Comcast has been cited numerous times for their position against Network Neutrality and an open Internet.  Comcast’s prior position was based on a profit-driven drive to discourage competition in the IP video space so as to present Comcast’s IP video offerings to be more attractive to subscribers in a seemingly “competitive” playing field.  Unfortunately, Comcast tipped the scales in their favor by blocking competitive content services in place of their own, subscription-based services.

Now that Comcast has a larger stake in the game, it is now in their best interest to play towards an open internet, one that is more friendly towards Network Neutrality.


Veritas vos liberabit - The truth will set you free

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Dahh! Good Reasons to Lock Down Your Wireless Network

Good Reasons to Lock Down Your Wireless Network

Click Here to View the Blog / Article

Aside from some of the “obvious” Security issues with Wireless / WiFi Internet (Do I need to summarize it?  Click on the above link to review the obvious), one may want to ask themselves about other more practical implications of not securing your home/business wireless network.

Consider simply the cost of the service.  It is clearly not free nor is it free to maintain.

  • Why would you want your neighbors (I love my neighbors, but let them pay for their own access) to get a free ride on access to the internet, assuming that they are only hijacking your internet access…  Hmmm
  • Additionally, you may want to consider a performance angle.  How many people may download videos or music on your internet access before it annoys the heck out of you?

Be a good neighbor…

“If you see your neighbor's Wi-Fi in an unsecure state (e.g., open access) let them know. Don't assume the owner configured the device, perhaps it was a more technically savvy neighborhood high school student or a for hire network installer -- who in both cases failed to put a WPA2 password in place.”

You can easily check for Secured Networks by looking for a Padlock next to the name of the Wireless Network.

Certainly you need to make sure that your own Network is secured, but be a good neighbor, and let your “Networking Neighbors” know if their network is not secured.

Magnus frater spectat te

(Big Brother is watching you)


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who’s in charge? - Court to FCC: You Don’t Have Power to Enforce Net Neutrality

Click Here for Article


This is yet another important chapter in the ongoing war of Net Neutrality.  This particular battle is between the FCC and Comcast.  While much debate continues over technical and philosophical views of Net Neutrality, Comcast actively manages traffic based upon content, which in turn is based upon Business Objectives and sometimes profit motivated policies which may compete with open internet access.  Certainly, many ISPs would like to manage traffic along the same lines so that they can balance business objectives with open internet access.  Comcast has not waited for the jury to be out on this issue.  Comcast has aggressively been managing traffic based upon self determined content policies, not necessarily in the “Best Interest of the Public Good”.

The FCC, the likely regulator of balance between profit and public good, has been sued by Comcast.

A federal appeals court gave notice Friday it likely would reject the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to fcclogosanction Comcast for throttling peer-to-peer applications.

To be sure, Friday’s reaction to the appellate court hearing made it increasingly clear the Obama administration’s FCC has been preparing for a defeat concerning net neutrality (.pdf), one of the largest issues surrounding internet freedom.

The cable company, which is engaged in talks to merge with NBC Universal, has repeatedly argued the FCC had no right to tell it how to manage its internet traffic. Comcast maintains the FCC’s decision was arbitrary because the enforcement of so-called “net neutrality” rules did not go through the proper rule-making process.

So, Who is in Charge?  Of the Internet that is?  If the Federal Appeals Court have deemed that the FCC has “No Authority” to regulate internet providers, who then?  To be fair, the Courts are not the place to make new legislation, that is the province of the Congress (Oiy).

Traditionally, the FCC has been the Federal Agency unit responsible for this governance.  It is not as if there are other competing agencies vying for this lofty role.  If this ruling stands, what will it mean for Internet Governance?  In the end, how will it affect the Consumer?  After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?  I am sure that this will be taken to the next level.

See My Prior Posts on Net Neutrality

Facta, non verba

(Deeds, not words - Actions speak louder than words)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Fewer high school students taking computer science classes

Washington Post Article

It would be hard to find a student at Stone Bridge High School who has never used the Internet for a research assignment, socialized with Facebook or played a video game.

But few know much about how computers and the Web actually work.

Like most Teenagers, they are rabid “Consumers” of the available technologies, Blackberry, iTouch, wireless internet, Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, XBox, etc. my own teenagers alike. 

Despite my long career in Technology and my passion / expertise in Infrastructure and core technology, my own kids have evolved into hugeStudents consumers of the gadgets that they have acquired (“acquired” = Dad buys, Kids consume, of course you knew that)

Nationally, the portion of schools that offer an introductory computer science course has dropped from 78 percent in 2005 to 65 percent this year, and the corresponding decline in AP courses went from 40 to 27 percent, according to a survey by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

As the Washington Post article points out, teenagers are increasingly only interested in consuming the technology.  Is this because core technology science has become commoditized?  Are our students numb to the excitement of what makes technology tick?

While it is true that funding for core Computing Science classes has been in decline and many school systems do not consider Computer Science as a core discipline.

Computer science is not considered a core subject by the No Child Left Behind law, which influences school priorities and budgets.

Despite all this, so much technology innovation still continues to dominate here in the US.  There may not be a direct correlation between total Computer Science credits taken and students maturing into technology professionals or even geeks.  I for one, have 25+ years as a Technology Professional, despite the fact that I was a Pre-Law Major.  A point that is still perplexing my mother (Why didn’t he become a lawyer? - A topic for a future Blog Post).  My older brother, was a Computer Science Major, but went on to Medical School to become a surgeon.  (This does not perplex my mother, BTW)

While it would make us all feel better that our precious youth is investing a part of their efforts in Technology, it may not be a clarion call.  We will need to see how this pans out.

Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere

(If it ain't broke, don't fix it)


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Friday, December 18, 2009

The 2009 Data Breach Hall of Shame

CIO Article on 2009 Data Breaches

If there was anything even vaguely comforting about the data breaches that were announced this year, it was that many of them stemmed from familiar and downright mundane security failures.

What does this say or speak loudly of?  Is it about Competence or Incompetence?  I don’t really think so.  Overall, it is about a lack of “dogged, stick-to-it-iveness”.  What does that mean?  I am certain that all the named organizations on this list have highly competent practitioners in their IT space.  Certainly there may be exceptions. 

I have found through many, many year of hands-on experience that it isn’t always about the level of technical competence.  Most of the time, it is about the burning desire to ALWAYS get it right.  Is this type of discipline possible or warranted for every aspect of Technology Management?  Well, in an ideal environment called “Nirvana”, maybe.  In real life, it just isn’t practical.  As a result, some Technology disciplines such as Security, Data Privacy, etc. absolutely require that kind of commitment and effort.

For example, if I were build a submarine and I had the best Screen Door2engineers / practitioners in the world, but the Project Manager decided to put in a screen door, overall, a small detail, but  completely defeats the concept of a secured and air-tight perimeter. You can use the same example for corporate network access.  If you secure 99% and one rogue sales office adds a DSL modem without proper security, you will get the same affect of the screen-door in the submarine.

Heartland makes the list simply by virtue of the spectacular size and scope of the data breach it disclosed in January.

The compromise stemmed from SQL injection errors that allowed hackers to break into the payment processor's networks and steal data on approximately 130 million credit and debit cards over several months.

It gave Heartland the dubious distinction of having announced the largest ever data breach in history.

TAKEAWAY: 130 million credit card records were in the open.  Was it one of yours? Technical Competency must be augmented with strict levels of effort and commitment in order to be effective.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris
(If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar)


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Not Exactly Emily Post for the digital World, but..Smartphone Etiquette: Five Unspoken Rules for the Holidays

Click Here for Article

Toilet texting. Tweeting in church. What are the do's and don'ts for smartphone users this holiday season? You may be surprised BB Curve at what most people consider good iPhone and BlackBerry manners, as revealed by a new survey. 
These are Five Key Rules of Digital Mobile Etiquette that you should live by.  This article is as humorous as it is relevant, even if most of you don’t openly acknowledge it.
Fac ut vivas
(Get a life)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

GPS: Now we know where we stand, and it's about time

See Washington Post Article GPSsatellite

A very concise article, written in plain English that describes the GPS Network, it’s origins and uses.  The Wikipedia article, on the other hand, is much better suited to Information Sponges or Geeks Only

Thanks to an invisible armada of incessantly broadcasting satellites, collectively called the Global Positioning System, and to the explosive proliferation of GPS receivers in gadgets from dashboard map units to cell phones to dog collars, even the cartographically clueless are now good to go.

So if you are “Cartographically Clueless” (I Love that phrase), please read the Washington Post Article, and get a clue!  Did you know that GPS is all about keeping time, actually incredibly accurate time using Atomic Clocks in space?.  If you MUST know how and not satisfied with just using GPS, read the Wikipedia posting.  Take good notes, there will be a quiz!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tempus Fugit

(time flies)


Friday, October 30, 2009

Net Neutrality: AT&T throws support behind FCC chairman

Read Network World Article att logo
Here we go.  AT&T, Major Carrier and ISP, throws it’s support behind the FCC and Network Neutrality. 
"AT&T has long supported the principle of an open Internet and has conducted its business accordingly. We were also early supporters of the FCC's current four broadband principles and their case-by-case application to wired networks. To the extent that the chairman seeks to bolster the FCC's legal authority to enforce these principles, we would support him. “
The Internet “Peanut Gallery”, thinks this is a waste of time.  How wrong they are.  This is about big business, big revenues, consumer fairness and equal access.
Read CNET Article verizon
On the flip side of the coin, Verizon came out against Network Neutrality.
CHICAGO--The day before the FCC is expected to start the ball rolling on new regulations to keep the Internet open, Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg painted a doomsday picture of what could happen in the industry if stricter rules are imposed.
"Proponents (of Net neutrality) have a worldview that network providers and application providers, like Google, occupy different parts of the Internet: dumb pipes versus smart apps," he said. "This is a mistake pure and simple. It's an analog idea for a digital world. It completely understates the need for sound practices and ignores the benefits of smart networks."
Verizon and other network operators already agree with the first four Open Internet principles adopted by the FCC. In summary, these principles state that operators cannot restrict access to lawful Internet content, applications, and services nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.

On the Flip Side:
Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist and one of the original architects of the Internet, joined other pioneers in sending another letter to the FCC expressing support for the commission's proposed rules.
"The issue is nondiscrimination against applications and against consumer choice," The Washington Post quoted him as saying. "That should be clear by the letter from my colleagues, and by others, that the fundamental concern is that the provider of broadband service not be able to take advantage of that to act in an anticompetitive fashion against others that are trying to provide competitive applications using the same broadband facilities."
See PC World IDG News Article
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step toward creating formal net neutrality rules, despite a huge lobbying effort from opposing groups in recent days.
The FCC voted last Thursday to open a rulemaking process and begin receiving comments on a proposal to create new net neutrality rules following a contentious debate on whether new regulations are needed.
Other Noteworthy Online References:
See Washington Post Article
See Washington Post Article
See Washington Post Article
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt favors net neutrality, but only to a point: While the tech player wants to make sure that telecommunications giants don't steer Internet traffic in a way google logothat would favor some devices or services over others, he also believes that it would be a terrible idea for the government to involve itself as a regulator of the broader Internet.
See Network World Article
The FCC Intends to codify six principles that will apply to all platforms for broadband Internet access
This is debate is now making big news.  While no one truly (not so sure?) wants more big government regulations, the FCC probably needs to (at least) balance the scales so that the ISPs and carriers do not subvert the internet for their own proprietary profit-interests. 
There is a concept in Technology Circles called “Content versus Container”.  The carriers have traditionally been “Containers” (transport), while the Google’s, Microsoft's, Amazons, etc have been “content”.  When the lines are crossed, a higher level of scrutiny is called for so that the roles are made clear to “container” subscribers.
Conlige suspectos semper habitos
(Round up the usual suspects)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Risky Business: Three simple rules of risk management

See Network World ArticleRisk2

Knowledge of risk factors goes a long way in protecting data

Knowing what you're doing does not remove the risk. Knowing what you're doing can help mitigate, or alleviate, the risk but it rarely removes all of the risk. Still, it's important enough that we could say the first rule of risk management is: Know what you are doing.

Please read the article, and then think a while about your project load and where these rules might likely apply.  The rules are really quite simple in nature, which is why they are quite often overlooked.

It's not rocket science, and it can be very simple as long as you remember the three rules:

Risk1. Know what you are doing.

2. Know the risk involved.

3. Remove as much risk as possible.


“I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” - Bill Cosby


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Picking Sides: Facebook and Twitter Founders Join Net Neutrality Wars


The Battle Lines for Network Neutrality are starting to form.  No sooner did we post yesterday Refer to Post, yesterday on TwitterBlog.BarryRubin.Net about the “Internet Delivery (ISP Group)” companies crying foul about the “over-reach” of the FCC that is stifling their innovation, than images[1]the “Internet Content / Destination” Companies speak up.   


Fed up with a barrage of letters that arrived at the FCC last week from net-neutrality opponents (or lawmakers urging a Diggcautious approach toward the new rules), a coalition of Internet companies are urging the FCC chairman to hold steady.

“We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation and global competitiveness,” a group of 24 CEOs and Internet company founders wrote in a letter to be delivered to the FCC Monday in support of the proposed net-neutrality rules.


We now have some clearly defined lines drawn between both sides:

Opponents of Network Neutrality include Phone and Cable Companies because they are part of the “Internet Delivery” Model.  Cisco has sided with these companies, understandably because they are a key supplier in the “Internet-Delivery” supply chain.

Proponents of Network Neutrality include companies that are destinations on the internet.  Their Model is “Internet Destination / Content / Applications”

The pro-net-neutrality coalition of companies formally adds a few new members with the letter, including Twitter and Facebook, which haven’t heavily engaged in policy debates before.

What we need at this point are some Consumer-Advocacy groups to weigh in on this topic so that the FCC can draw some guidance into the debate.  The Battle is on!

Melius tarde, quam nunquam

(Better late than never)


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Companies, lawmakers tell FCC to dump Net neutrality

Click Here to Read More on Computer World Article

Cisco Systems, Alcatel-Lucent, Corning, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia

Well, the battle for Network Neutrality rages on.  Are we shocked that all these “delivery-based” companies are desirous of killing Net Neutrality?  We should not be. 

When you read the rhetoric, keep in mind that their “mom and apple pie” does not seem to include the support of “Content Destination” companies.  Nor did I see support from companies that make their living on content / applications and being an internet destination (versus an internet delivery company).  Some of these companies obviously absent from this support letter are Google, Amazon, etc.  Also absent from this side of the debate are consumer advocacy groups. 

They do not seem to be included on this side of the argument, possibly because this set of companies (internet delivery) is interested on optimizing profits and lowering operating expenses at the expense of free and open internet access and usage.  This is something that consumers and “internet destination” companies are most interested in and why they were not included in the letter to congress.

Public policy should encourage more investment to expand access to the Internet, whether it is access through a cell phone, a laptop, a PC or any new device that we have yet to imagine," the letter said. "If the FCC takes a prescriptive approach to new regulations, then it could place itself in the position of being the final arbiter of what products and services will be allowed on the Internet."

This excerpt above from the letter is mis-leading, as Network Neutrality attempts to prevent the ISPs from “being the final arbiter of what products and services will be allowed on the Internet”

When the government picks winners and losers in the marketplace, the incentive to invest disappears,"

These excerpts from the letter seem to indicate a belief that the scalesGovernment is intending to stifle innovation.  To be fair, I would agree that each delivery company can likely accelerate innovation, but at the expense of free and open access for consumers?  What is wrong with a little balance?  

The proponents of killing Network Neutrality are profit driven at the expense of open access.  ISPs benefit from many local monopolies, meaning consumers don’t have a lot of local choices for broadband access.  I do not know the real answer, only that Network Neutrality seems to be a fair playing field.

As stated by Watto: "I'm a Toydarian!  Mind tricks don't work on me - only money!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Study: EHRS improve care in community-based practices

Click Here for HealthcareIT News

This doesn’t exactly qualify as “News”, but more of a validation of the benefits of EHR/EMR systems.  These systems bring tremendous value in function to Healthcare providers as well as they put inJersey_City_Medical_Center place a process and methodology that will literally squeeze expense dollars out of the equation.  The reduction of expense dollars can very often make the Business Case for the investment in such systems.

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