|By Tony Kirman||
|July 27, 2004 12:00 AM EDT||
The IT Professional's Industry Almanac by Eathen Anderson takes no prisoners. A 10-year veteran of the IT industry, Anderson has written an honest and critical commentary from the trenches. His audience: the fearful and unemployed IT workers. His main preoccupation: the dysfunctional interface between technology and business. Neither is spared, but his analysis leads him to an unexpected conclusion.
First he explains why IT pays so well - because it's boring, and Americans have "itty-bitty" attention spans while needing everything now. Technology, even as it develops rapidly, requires patience to understand and use correctly. Anderson suggests that the dot-com boom/bust of the late '90s led directly to the outsourcing fad favored by corporations today. Somehow we IT folks overpriced ourselves and are now paying with fear and redundancy. This is fair enough, and many fortunes were made during the boom, but I remember it was business that started the gold rush and the biz dev guys were the first to get fired.
Now, it's true that programming and support services are going overseas - nominally because it is cheaper, but really because corporate executives do not have to interact with foreign geeks or worry about five years down the line. Anderson is particularly scathing about the poor treatment of the help desk, which is most concerned with human management of technology. The problem with American business is that it is more interested in making money than saving it - homework for the first chapter will bring a smile to most IT faces.
It's not just business philosophy, but marketing and the media that overhype products. Anderson claims that 50% of software and hardware products do not work to the manufacturer's specifications. He has much experience with Microsoft OS's; if you buy a new PC loaded with Windows 2000 it will need 27 critical updates and service packs.
There's a brief commentary about boot camps and certification. Anderson explains why MCSAs are more popular than MCSEs (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator and Engineer, respectively). He also mentions both the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Linux+ certifications, but I suspect without knowing much about them, and there is the dire warning, repeated several times throughout the book, that Unix is cryptic. The chapter "Hackers, Viruses and Security" is weak - the bottom line is that the hackers (or should that be crackers?) have better tools - most of the top five hacker tools seem to specialize in Windows OS's, which figures, I suppose. But the idea of a global Internet cop shop is just silly; the U.S. Government seems to be doing a sterling job making e-commerce safe for the rest of us.
Enter Our Hero - the network admin, a role that bridges the gaps between software and hardware, end users and geeks, and ultimately business and tech. It should come as no surprise that this is the author's speciality, and Chapter 4 - "The Strategy Chapter" - is an illuminating and detailed case study of the trials and tribulations of one such person.
In the final chapter Anderson features some survival cases, one of which depicts the rather enigmatic fate of a certain network admin. There is a novel in here somewhere. The book is self-described as "a computer novel with a serious attitude," but it really is what its title suggests, an almanac full of lists and laws, useful tables, and sage advice. I hope it gets upated annually.
The lists get better as the book progresses. My favorites are the six end-user personalities (Grinch, Flower Child, Engineer, Annoyer, Savvy Annoyer, Uber Talker) and "A List of Common Childhood Values That Should Be Rethought Before Entering a Corporate Environment." The laws vary from the obvious - The Law of Finality, whereby an expensive solution/product is bought and has to be used, however horrible - to the esoteric, such as Eathen's Equation, actually several equations and a spreadsheet based more on experience than theory and all the better for that.
Anderson expounds at length on his preferred management method, a combination of R&D and ROI analyses. The R&D aspect is particularly important in such a rapidly changing environment as tech: one must avoid "redundant and frivolous tech reading, seminar hopping, or exuberant gadget play" and be able to calculate both the necessity and severity of need for new tech. The example he uses is the installation of a Lindows environment in a 35-person company. This has to be a reaction to years of frustration with the Microsoft OS's - ME and XP both make it into his Top 10 Over-Hyped Technological Inventions of the Nineties list, while Red Hat Linux (no version) makes it into the Top 11 Technological Inventions of the Last Ten Years list (along with Windows NT 4.0 SP6A and Novell 5.0).
Anderson's not a true believer in Linux and open source. Perhaps he's just not tried installing, say, a recent Novell SUSE LINUX distribution, which detects peripherals better than XP and defaults to an eminently usable GUI. Having said that, it is important to separate his legitimate concerns from his Microsoft-marketing-will-prevail cyncism. In fact, his concerns seem to boil down to three:
- Unix is a rigid system that does not play well with proprietary software (try telling that to Pixar).
- It's not really a GUI so simple stuff takes longer and is not user friendly (first is not true - Command Line Rool! - and the second is, well, not true either).
- The open source OS is not immune from viruses, which is true, but as a Perl hacker once said, a closed door is preferable to a locked one.
In the final chapter, "The National IT Dilemma," Anderson details corporate wages from the front desk to the CEO. He is not so much against the pay differentials for different roles (when the company is making money) and in fact feels it necessary to deny he is a socialist (why are Americans so worried about this label?). However, he ends with a final theory - Passive Unionism - and two recommended URLs: www.techsunite.org and www.cwa-union.org. Anderson sees himself as a cop, an aggressive linebacker worried about national security and waste. But I think ultimately he'd like to be part of the Union.
The WebRTC Summit 2014 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
Mar. 26, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,088
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
Mar. 26, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,993
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
Mar. 26, 2015 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,587
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things compatible devices.
Mar. 26, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,631
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Mar. 26, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,201
The list of ‘new paradigm’ technologies that now surrounds us appears to be at an all time high. From cloud computing and Big Data analytics to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), today we have to deal with what the industry likes to call ‘paradigm shifts’ at every level of IT. This is disruption; of course, we understand that – change is almost always disruptive.
Mar. 26, 2015 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 793
WebRTC is an up-and-coming standard that enables real-time voice and video to be directly embedded into browsers making the browser a primary user interface for communications and collaboration. WebRTC runs in a number of browsers today and is currently supported in over a billion installed browsers globally, across a range of platform OS and devices. Today, organizations that choose to deploy WebRTC applications and use a host machine that supports audio through USB or Bluetooth can use Plantronics products to connect and transit or receive the audio associated with the WebRTC session.
Mar. 26, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,456
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
Mar. 26, 2015 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,274
Sonus Networks introduced the Sonus WebRTC Services Solution, a virtualized Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) offer, purpose-built for the Cloud. The WebRTC Services Solution provides signaling from WebRTC-to-WebRTC applications and interworking from WebRTC-to-Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), delivering advanced real-time communications capabilities on mobile applications and on websites, which are accessible via a browser.
Mar. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,597
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Proven by the world’s most demanding enterprises, including AAA NCNU, Constant Contact, Falck, Hootsuite, Pitney Bowes, Telekom Denmark, and VMware, Aria helps enterprises grow their recurring revenue businesses. With Aria’s end-to-end active monetization platform, global brands can get to market faster with a wider variety of products and services, while maximizin...
Mar. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,441
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Mar. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,543
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Mar. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,447
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
Mar. 26, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,031
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
Mar. 26, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 878
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
Mar. 26, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,512
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
Mar. 26, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,297
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Mar. 26, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 4,625
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...
Mar. 26, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,300
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and sim...
Mar. 26, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,384
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
Mar. 26, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,463