Show of 5-23-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from John: Dear Tech Talk, I’m running out of storage space on my hard drive. On a tight budget, I’m considering using a free online storage tool to offload some files. But which ones do you recommend? Love the show, John
    • Tech Talk Answers:. If you’re looking for a way to free up space on your hard drive while still being able to access your files on demand, then consider signing up for a free online storage account.
      • Google Docs — This application allows you to store up to 5,000 documents and/or presentations with file size limitations of 500K for the document and up to 2MB per image that is embedded in the file. You can also store up to 1,000 spreadsheets in Google Docs with a maximum spreadsheet file size of 200,000 cells or 100 sheets.
      • Sky Drive — This Microsoft application gives you up to 25GB of free storage. It is integrated with Xbox Live, Messenger and Hotmail, so if you have an account with one of the programs already then you can use your username and password from one of these accounts to access your Sky Drive account.
      • ADrive — ADrive is a simple free online storage option. You are given 50GB of storage space to use for movie files, documents and music files. Not only can you store your files on this site, but you can also edit documents and other files from the A Drive website.
      • Badongo — Badongo is a free online storage program that is set up like a social networking website. Not only do you get an unlimited amount of storage, but you can also create photo albums, music playlists and publish documents to share with other Badongo users.
      • MediaFire — MediaFire is one of the few free online storage programs that gives you unlimited storage. However, while you can store as many files here as you want, there is a maximum file size of 100MB.
  • Profiles in IT: Philip Donald Estridge
    • Don Estridge led the development of the original IBM Personal Computer and is known as the father of the IBM PC.
    • His decisions dramatically changed the computer industry and created an entire industry of hardware manufacturers of IBM PCs.
    • Estridge was born June 23, 1937 in Jacksonville, Florida.
    • He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1955 and received a BSEE from the University of Florida in 1959.
    • Mr. Estridge joined IBM in June 1959 as a junior engineer and held various positions in the Federal Systems Division, including programming support for NASA/Goddard.
    • In 1969 he joined the General Systems Division and from 1975 to 1979 he was the Series/1 programming manager.
    • He took control of the small Entry Level Systems division in 1980.
    • His task was to develop the IBM PC began with the goal of developing a low-cost personal computer to compete against increasingly popular offerings from Apple Computer, Commodore International, and other perceived IBM competitors.
    • He led the "skunk works" that gave us the IBM PC, leading a team of only 14 people.
    • To create a cost-effective alternative to those products, Estridge realized that it would be necessary to rely on third-party hardware and software.
    • Previously every IBM computer was built with IBM parts. Estridge was a renegade who chose off-the-shelf components to keep down costs.
    • This was a marked departure from previous IBM strategy, which centered around in-house vertical development of complicated mainframe systems.
    • Most importantly, he made the decision to make the PC "open" – to provide sufficient information about its specifications to let other manufacturers build on what IBM.
    • Estridge also published the specifications of the IBM PC, allowing a booming third-party aftermarket hardware business to take advantage of expansion card slots.
    • Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) was the bus standard for IBM computers.
    • While IBM was the largest software company in the world, he opted for open, "third-party" software.
    • By the time he gave up the reins of the PC Division, known then as the Entry Level Systems division, the division had 10,000 employees and revenue of $4.5 billion.
    • And, according to one biography, in 1983 he turned down a multimillion dollar offer from Apple to become its president.
    • By 1984 was IBM Vice President, Manufacturing.
    • Estridge and wife Mary Ann were killed when the plane they were traveling on crashed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on August 2, 1985.
    • He was 48 years old. At the time of his death, the IBM PC division had nearly 10,000 employees, had sold over a million PCs, and had a revenue of $4.5 billion.
    • Estridge has been honored many times. In 1999 he was identified in CIO magazine as one of the people who "invented the enterprise".
    • The Don Estridge High-Tech Middle School–formerly IBM Facility Building 051–in Boca Raton, Florida, is named after him.
    • In 2004, IBM exited the desktop and laptop arena when it sold its personal computer division to Lenovo, a major Chinese PC manufacturer.
  • Five Phases of Open Source Success
    • If you walk into the headquarters of open-source leader Red Hat, you’ll see this quote from Mahatma Gandhi gracing the wall:
      • First they ignore you,
      • then they laugh at you,
      • then they fight you,
      • then you win.
    • It’s a reminder to Red Hat employees that yesterday’s ridicule of open source has shifted to a market that can’t embrace open source fast enough.
    • Forrester Research has crafted its own Five Stages of Open Source Adoption.
      • Denial that open source is already in use.
        • No recent audits of custom software
        • Low awareness of popular OSS components
      • Anger over a surprise loss of control
        • Software in use with record of adoption
        • Management looks to assign accountability
        • Developers practice ?don’t ask, don’t tell?
      • Bargaining to re-establish existing controls and processes
        • Crash program to identity total exposure
        • Program put in place to remove existing OSS
        • Lawyers meet with developers
      • Depression on realizing the point of no return has been reached
        • Realization that extracting open source would bring IT to a halt
        • Recognition that expense to extract OSS would be prohibity
        • Acceptance of open source software
      • Implementation of OSS strategy
        • Adjustment to policies and processes
        • Attitude shift from tolerance to exploitation
    • As with Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance, open source has managed widespread adoption without ugly confrontation, for the most part.
    • Open source doesn’t need the CIO’s approval. It just has to work.
  • GPS System Close to Breakdown
    • US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year.
    • The warning centers on the network of GPS satellites that constantly orbit the planet and beam signals back to the ground that help pinpoint your position on the Earth’s surface.
    • The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s.
    • According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.
    • It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption.
    • If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected.
    • The GAO report notes that the first GPS replacement satellites were due to launch in early 2007, but have been delayed until November of this year.
    • Further delays could result in service outages. That could mean trouble for people simply looking for directions – and it has implications for the military as well, which uses the system for mapping reconnaissance and tracking hostile targets.
  • Book of the Week: Closing the Innovation Gap
    • Title: Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting Innovation in a Global Economy
    • Author: by Judy Estrin, former CTO of Cisco Systems
    • Closing the Innovation Gap draws on Estrin’s experiences as well as on interviews with more than 100 scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, researchers, educators, and academic and business leaders who have been contributors to America’s innovative excellence.
    • The book presents a framework for sustainable innovation
    • It described the Innovation Ecosystem (Research, Development, Application)
    • It outlines the core values that give the capacity for change.
    • Estrin believes the causes of the financial crisis are symptomatic of an issue that cuts across tech and other industries throughout America.
    • She believes that the country overall has become increasingly short-sighted. She said that we don’t think about long term prosperity, but about short term greed and that’s led to an innovation deficit.
    • Website: http://www.theinnovationgap.com/
  • Army hopes interactive videos make smarter soldiers
    • The U.S. Army is using interactive videos for soldiers’ cultural sensitivity training
    • The videos help recruits understand and adapt to Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Soldiers watch DVDs that plunge them into a series of wartime scenarios
    • Recruits face choices, click on options, then find out how they scored
    • Army is addressing the problem that it is sending young soldiers into an arena they have little cultural experience, and at the same time, new social networking sites were poised to broadcast their mistakes to the world.
    • "The advent of social networking has changed the world.
    • Russ Phelps spent a career in the Navy before starting a Denver, Colorado-based company called InVism, which combines live-action video and virtual-reality technology to create simulators that become learning tools for the military and other clients.
    • So Phelps, a trained Arabic linguist, worked with two other companies, Combat Film Productions and Quest Pictures, to help him create realistic, movie-like combat scenarios. Hollywood veterans shot the scenarios on an elaborate set in Southern California, adding real footage from Iraq whenever possible.
    • The result: an immersive cultural simulation program that is part video game, part Hollywood movie. Soldiers use computers to train on an interactive DVD that plunges them into a series of scenarios and presents them with choices, such as whether to accept a cooler full of drinks from an Iraqi youth.
    • At the end of each scenario, the recruit clicks on his or her choice, and then discovers whether it was the right one. (Hint: That cooler could contain a bomb.)
    • In this way, the DVD becomes an immersive learning tool that trains soldiers in a way that lectures and textbooks cannot.
    • Every soldier who takes the DVD immersion course is given a pre- and post-training test to measure the change in their cultural acuity. But there is an even more immediate feedback about whether the Army has achieved its mission of connecting with its young soldiers.
  • Top Ten Technology Skills
    • According to NetWorld, the following technology specialties are hot.
    • Business Process Modeling
      • Business process management, methodology and modeling.
    • Database
      • Database certifications such as the Oracle DBA Administrator Certified Master and the Teradata Certified Master, Certified Application Developer and Certified Design Architect.
    • Messaging/Communications
      • Companies are particularly interested in hiring employees with experience in unified communications and messaging systems.
    • IT architecture
      • Companies are looking to hire enterprise architects as well as system, network, application, data, information and security architects.
    • IT security
      • The value of security skills is going up, and jobs are pretty stable. Many federal jobs are available for information security specialists with government security clearances
    • Project management
      • The Project Management Professional certification remains in demand. Even more important is experience managing complex IT projects and delivering results on time and on or under budget.
    • Data mining
      • Jobs are plentiful for workers who understand data mining and related fields such as information on demand, content management and unstructured information management. Anything you can do to develop data analysis, data mining and information on demand skills is incredibly critica.
    • Web development
      • You’ve got to learn to manipulate data on the Web, and that includes Web 2.0. Mash-ups are becoming commonplace. Programming and application development skills as key for entry-level employees, too.
    • IT optimization
      • IT experts predict a solid future for IT professionals with experience in IT optimization, including virtualization and cloud computing.
    • Networking
      • Although pay for networking certifications is down over the last six months, many remain on the list of the IT certifications earning the highest pay premiums. These include certifications from Cisco (infrastructure), SNIA (storage), EMC (storage), Brocade (data center), and Avaya (telecommunications, VoIP)