A CIO’s Christmas List

Dear Santa:     aciosvoice.jpg

In 2013 we have seen improvement in the economy. Things are looking better. Hopefully the momentum will carry into 2014.

I have tried to be really good by being the best CIO I can. So Santa, this year, I would like the following:

▪   Better analytics for our Big Data initiatives. There is so much information we don’t know where to begin..

▪   A migration plan to Windows 8. It is time we move away from Windows XP. Really – it is time.

▪   Enough bandwidth to support these BYOD. They are popping up everywhere.

▪   A Tesla Model S. This is one cool looking electric car.

▪   A Playstation 4. I know I am getting old but these games are getting so realistic.

▪   Help with my golf slice. Okay maybe you cannot help with that, so throw a few lessons in my stocking.

Thanks Santa and Merry Christmas.

P.S. I left cookies and milk for you in the cloud. Please help yourself but please don’t drop any crumbs.

ReBoot – Where Is My TV Guide?

A CIO's VoiceThe other day I was having a conversation with someone in there 20s and I mentioned a TV Guide. They gave me that look you get when you tell people you remember when TV sets had knobs.

As technology marches on, there are some items in print that have or are disappearing. I remember reading the TV Guide but I have not used on in over 10 years, since I got cable and use the online TV Guide.

Do you remember encyclopedias? I grew up using them in school. With the internet you can find virtually any fact you need.

What about a dictionary or thesaurus? When was the last time you looked up a definition for a word? MSOffice has made them obsolete as well or you can use the internet.

I still read a newspaper on occasion. But for the most part I now read it more often on online.

As for magazines, I do read those. Mostly on my commute home or on the plane. But now they are quickly getting thinner with more content online along with more online ads.

Maybe some day we will no longer have to print information on paper. In some ways that is great progress. But in others something nostalgic is lost.

What’s In a Name? Plenty if you think about it…

A CIO's VoiceLike all parents my wife and I had the very lengthy discussions on what to name our son when we found out he was a boy.

This was a very arduous task both opposing opinions and armies. So we had to compromise and compromise we did.

First we eliminated all outside influences – family and friends. They all had their own agenda and we wanted this to be personal and in our control. Obviously that went over very well with everyone (not).
1. My wife wanted a name of Indian origin. I was indifferent. In this day in age all ethics names sound cool. Especially in America.
2. I did not want a name starting with the letter ‘A’ or a long name. Have you tried pronouncing 16 letter names lately? Let’s not start the boy out with an unpronounceable name.
3. The name could not rhyme with some type of body fluid or other word that can be made fun of. The playground is a rough area to transverse.
4. The name had to grow and fit with him as he becomes a man and starts a career. A 40 year old man named “Tiny” or paging “Dr. Junior” just does not sound right.
5. The name had to mean something profound and have our sound be proud of it.

So we started compiling names and narrowed it down to 2 over the months. The final month before my wife went into labor we decided to refer to the baby by both names to see how the name rolled off our tongue. That was important because now we heard it out loud and in context of various conversations. We eliminated one of the names and decided on ‘Rishi’. This in the Hindu language means sage or wise one in. Number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 all covered.

ReBoot – Babies, Evil Eyes, and Charms

A CIO's VoiceMy wife and I recently welcomed a son into our lives. It’s great having a new life in our home. As we settle into life with him, we are learning a lot about him and ourselves.

I am not a believer in magic or the so called “evil eye”. I would think if such things did exist we would hear about it more often. I equate such things to Big Foot or UFOs. Nice to hear and get a laugh but I don’t lose much sleep over it.

Recently, I was cleaning my son’s crib and discovered an unusual colored cloth with some black thread wrapped in it. I thought it was odd and brought it to my wife’s attention thinking the delivery people left something they should not have. My wife quickly grabbed it and told me it was to protect the baby. “Protect the baby!” I said. “Protect him from what?” She said, “The evil eye”.

Being the inquisitive (or as my wife likes to call it — being an a**hole) person I am, I wanted to learn more. He is only 3 months old and has barely been out of the house. Why would anyone give him the “stink eye”? My wife was unable to give a direct answer let alone a name of who she thinks might do such an outrageous thing.

She quickly placed the cloth back under the mattress and told me not to touch it. Having learned to choose my battles, this was one that was not worth the headache.

So my son sleeps over an oddly colored piece of cloth and thread which is supposed to protect him from the evil people intend on causing him. I wish all things in life could be so simple….

ReBoot – The Trouble is Between the Keyboard and Chair

I have been in information technology for more than 15 years now; to this day I am still amazed by some of the issues end users call helpdesk about. A CIO's Voice

Here are some real world examples:

1. User – “I cannot my desktop on my monitor. “ Helpdesk – “Have you pressed a key and moved your mouse? Maybe your PC is in hibernation.” User – “Yes but still nothing.” Helpdesk –“Is your monitor turned on?” User – “How do turn it on?” Helpdesk – “Push the power button on the lower right of the monitor.” User – “Ohh. I see a green light and now my desktop appears.”

2. User – “My phone is not ringing.” Helpdesk-“How do you know it is not ringing?” User – “I see it flash but no sound.” Helpdesk – “Is your ringer turned off.” User-“Yes”. Helpdesk –“That is the reason why you do not hear it ringing.”

3. User – “I don’t have internet access.” Helpdesk –“Can you give further details?” User – “When I go to Explorer and type Yahoo. It says page cannot be displayed.” Helpdesk – “Have you tried other sites?” User – “No.” Helpdesk – “Try typing yahoo.com.” User – “Amazing! Thanks for turning my internet back on.”

Just another day on the front lines of the technological jungle….

ReBoot – My Camera Is Bigger Than Yours…

I have always been curious about what makes the Average Joe go out and buy the most expensive digital camera on the market and all the accessories that go with it.A CIO's Voice

We have been to a few family functions recently due to the holidays. On these occasions, there is always the big camera guy who whips out his $3000 camera and 6 foot lens to snap a few family pictures of uncle and aunty cutting the birthday cake. We are not looking for a portrait that should be hanging in the National Gallery but a snap that captures the moment. I was amazed  how bad some of the pictures turned out–blurry, framed incorrectly, useless…. Thank god for iPhoto to help clean up some of these mistakes. Others, many others, ended up in my trash can.

I learned to take pictures with a 35mm film camera my parents both for $50. Which to this day I still have and enjoy taking the occasional filmed photograph. Outside of the cost of development I would still use it today because I think it captures the true essence of color of your subject. The ease and use of digital makes it easy for people to take pictures but to be honest it makes it almost too easy. I have delete hundreds of bad pictures from wannabe photojournalist. I did take the occasional ooops picture but I was more careful when I pressed the shutter.  However, with technology today it makes it too easy to take worthless pictures. Technology makes it too easy for the casual amateur photographer to think he is the next Ansel Adams.

If you are going to own an expense camera, a very expense one at that,  it should come with some type of requirement for you to learn how to use it to take proper pictures. Or at least tell your family that of the 600 pictures you have just taken of Uncle Fred cutting the cake, 400 of them will need to be deleted.

ReBoot – The Humbled CIO

I have been remised in writing the last few weeks for a couple of reasons.

First – Work has just gotten really busy and there have been a few issues that required me to put in extra hours. In my old age, those late nights require me to take longer to recuperate.

Second – My weekends have been spent attending weddings, birthday parties, and the occasional family visit requiring me to be an unofficial tour guide.

Third and most importantly – My wife and I are expecting our first child. So we are eagerly preparing our house for our new arrival.

We recently visited the doctor’s office for our first full body ultrasound of our baby. I must admit I was a little intimated by the ultrasound machine. Having worked  in datacenters the size of football fields filled with blade servers, main frames, and generators the size of locomotives, I was humbled by this ultra sound machine the size of a small desk that was able to peer into my wife’s stomach and show us our precious little one in 3D.

It is rare for me to be impressed with technology these days but this did. With a small scanner the technician was able to see every finger and bump in what appeared to me to be a bad black and white picture. But everything was there and measurements and even weighted were calculated.

As I sat in the room and watched it on a 45inch lcd screen next to my wife I couldn’t help but say to myself, “Damn this is really really cool”. I often forget that technology is more than processing and storage. It can be and should be used for things like this. To peer inside and give parents that feeling that everything is going well and to not be afraid of what is about to come.