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.

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Fac ut vivas – Get a life

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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!

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Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.

 

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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

comcast

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.

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Veritas vos liberabit – The truth will set you free

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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)

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

Click Here for Wired.com Article

comcast

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)

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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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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)

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