RFID Gen II Holds Promise

Since 2005 when WalMart required its top 100 vendors to RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag product shipments, RFID has been a big news item. Most of the news hasn’t necessarily been good. Early RFID results were poor: tags couldn’t be read, information decayed on the tags quickly, equipment was sluggish or didn’t work at all, and so on. Forklift drivers skewered their share of RFID readers in warehouses.
Gen II RFID is looking better. Read rates are up. Cost is decreasing. Many suppliers and customers are insisting on the new technology.
Keep watch. This rapidly evolving technology may soon replace standard barcode.
Gen II tags: No surprises here – 8/23/2006 – Modern Materials Handling

Hacking the Hackers

You’ve probably heard about the recent security hole in Microsoft Windows that generated a stir of warnings about another PC Armageddon. One security researcher infected a machine and watched it to find out what the Mocbot was doing. His conclusion:

“The entire scheme of mass infection is simply to facilitate the sending of spam. The proxy Trojan is also a bot of sorts; reporting in to a master controller to report its IP address and the socks port for use in the spam operation,” Stewart said.

Botnet Eavesdropping: Inside the Mocbot (MS06-040) Attack
SPAM! But the point is this: If they can get to your machine to send SPAM, there’s very little they can’t get to your machine for.
Be careful out there!

Gartner Says No Microsoft Make Good

When many companies bought Software Assurance three years ago, they thought they would get the new version of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows, called Vista. Now it’s obvious that these two products probably won’t ship before some of these customer’s agreements expire. Not that Microsoft intended it this way, but as schedules have slipped for delivery of the products, people debated whether Microsoft would make it good for these customers.
Gartner (a major IT industry research firm) now says the answer is “No go.”
Windows Vista – What’s Next

Is There Such A Thing as a Non-Technical IT Manager??

There’s been a debate for years about whether there was such a thing as “pure” management. That is, is it possible to take a freshly minted degree in “management” and go “manage” somebody without knowing how to do their jobs. I used to think it was a crazy idea. Of COURSE, you needed to know how people do their jobs in order to manage. Now I’m a bit older…and a bit wiser (might be)…and I think it may not be necessary to know the details, but it sure helps to know some of the basics. The quote below is from the article above,

The other faction believes that IT is just another production function and that line management and general management skills are more important. They want a focus on financial management, budgeting and cost management, on human resources development skills and on the processes by which IT organizations align their portfolios with the needs of the business. For them the content ratio was reversed: 80% (or more) “general” management skills, 20% (or less) IT specifics. They expected the graduates to be able to take many different paths to the CIO role and to be less information technology managers than managers who from time to time manage IT.

Seems that IT managers want to have a “general idea” of what’s happening in their functional area. I have a problem with that.
John Parkinson: Why Business Schools Aren’t Turning Out Good CIO Candidates
The clients we work with that cause themselves the most trouble are those that know enough to get themselves in trouble. They know some buzz words. They have some idea of how the technology works, but because they have no theoretical foundation, they cannot evaluate alternatives, cannot assess new technologies for strategic potential, and cannot tell when vendors are blowing smoke or when they actually have a viable product.
Let me put it even more strongly: I completed all of the Computer Science classes offered at the time I was an undergraduate, spent the next 10 years studing programming technologies, wrote several articles, taught courses, etc. To suggest that it’s possible to “shortcut” this or to get it in 15 hours of a 45 hour MBA or Master’s degree is pure lunacy…better yet, it’s just plain laziness. If you REALLY want to be a CIO, you’ll have to pay the price. And that means that you’ll have to develop some technical competence.
Sorry. Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Don’t Mess With This One…

When the Department of Homeland Security AND Microsoft warn you about a bug, you’d better pay attention. The article below explains why every Windows user should apply the fix released Tuesday. The article reads:

Wednesday, Department of Homeland Defense (DHS) called out a rare warning, and Microsoft acknowledged that the patch should be at the top of every computer user’s or administrator’s to-do list.

Windows Worm Warnings No Joke – Security – CRN

Novell May Have A Hit (Finally)…

I’ve followed Linux for a long time now. Most of the posts on my other blog (now deleted) related to Linux opined that it wasn’t yet ready for prime time. When Novell bought SUSE Linux a year or so ago, it looked like another in a long sequence of Novell missteps. How can any business with overhead like Novell make money with a basically free product??
Novell had botched so many things. Ten years or so ago, they had 80% plus of the server market with the Novell operating system. They botched that. Then they decided that the way to combat Microsoft’s rise was to “integrate” and create a “suite” of products. They bought ailing Lotus, and WordPerfect and bundled them with the database Paradox (in its various incarnations) from Borland. They botched that.
So when Novell jumped into the fray and bought SUSE, I suspected that this was another in a long list of botched strategic moves. It may yet prove so.
But at least for this release of Linux, Novell is getting good reviews. And the sentiment that there needs to be an alternative other than Microsoft is growing in some quarters.
SLED 10 Is a Linux Distro Windows Users Can Love

Blackberry Servers Have Security Flaw

I don’t know how I got along without my Treo. BlackBerry users seem to be just as taken with their little fruits. Recently, though, eWeek reported a serios security flaw in the BlackBerry server product that might be installed behind an internet gateway in the corporate environment. Most individual BlackBerry users won’t be affected, but if you are check out the eWeek article.
Researchers Warn of Serious BlackBerry Vulnerability

Are You a Beautiful Person?

In the running for the tackiest use of the Internet…and one that almost makes me ashamed to be part of the Internet revolution is the Beautiful People site.
Beautiful People Website
Here’s the concept: If you’re a fashion model, or beautiful enough to be one, you probably want to join a dating service (member organization) that only allows in equally beautiful people. So you’d–of course–apply to be a member of Beautiful People. Wait…excuse me…wave of nausea coming over me…ok, there, it passed.
I saw this in passing on ET or some equally obnoxious television program, and had to check it out….and it’s real. Take a look at the “newest members.” A couple of these were on the show last night. Most of these photos look like glamour shots taken for a modeling portfolio…oh, except for the one gal that has the “red eye” (Produced when a flash from a camera bounces off the back of the retina giving an appearance to the eyes something like you might expect from Devil-spawn.)
The “member” on the TV promptly let us know that, “If you want to meet people, everyone wants to meet people like themselves. Beauty is just like any other thing about you, it’s infused [sic]” Hey, I think she may mean “inherited,” but from what I could see of her lips and other body parts, she may actually mean “infused.”
In a culture where we have teenage girls starving themselves and sticking their fingers down their throats, and boys taking steroids that could damage things they need later in life, the one thing we DON’T need is a site where members get to vote to decide whether new applicants are “beautiful” enough to join.
Think I’d rather have a relationship with someone less infused…

Making the Web More (Inter)ACTIVE

Web sites just haven’t felt like software! Drag and drop, copy and paste, etc., haven’t worked as well on web sites as in software. Several technologies have come and gone to make the web act more like software running on a desktop (ActiveX, JavaScript, Java, etc.) Now comes one of the most promising, AJAX. Like all the others, it has risks. Check out eWeek’s review.
AJAX Vulnerabilities Could Pose Serious Risks