Monthly Archives: January 2015

Operate Like Airbnb and Uber with the New DNA for IT – The CIO Report – WSJ

“Similarly, the key to the next 20 years of enterprise IT is not to provide more and more technology, but to manage a platform that enables any application to exist in your environment.”

via Operate Like Airbnb and Uber with the New DNA for IT – The CIO Report – WSJ.

Thanks, Pat Brady. To paraphrase a source I can’t locate, I think you’ve got “the beginnings of the kernel of an idea somewhere in here”. I’d summarize your suggestion for Future IT as: “Manage a platform that enables“. But without more details for this hopelessly generic message to CIOs, some will probably figure they understand and use the slogan to promote bold initiatives to house traveling employees at Airbnb locations, and get to their destinations using Uber. Your “new” IT will enable users by “allowing” those apps on their mobile devices.

The “DNA” is “Awareness”, “Identity”, “Integration”, and “Insight”.
What? What are you saying? What “Awareness”? Really. This non-specific mumbo-jumbo is just a tease! You’d never get away with this kind of writing at the New York Times. But okay, maybe I’m missing something here…maybe this is just a “concept piece”, you’re talking to CIOs. They don’t want to be bothered with details.

Let me translate. Guys and Gals, you want your people to be more productive, creative, efficient. You want them to like the tools they use for work. You want the tools to work well together. You don’t want to waste your resources managing a bug-riddled platform with a swiss-cheese of security holes that performs like an exhausted dull-eyed old mule struggling on the trail up the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. My advice? Buy Macs. Use Evernote. Support iOS. And please find a way to keep that stuff from being hamstrung by your old legacy data and security infrastructure. If you can’t do that, then go ahead, you might as well promote Uber and AirBnB. Cause that’s all you’ve got left.

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@War: Insights into the Sony Hacking

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex: Shane Harris: 9780544251793: Amazon.com: Books.

Read this book – Shane Harris’s “@War” is an informative read that will give you some keen insights into hacking and cyber warfare and the evolving stance of the US government and the agencies engaged in the struggle for power and funding in this arena. Though by its nature this book is destined to become an accounting of history, it is current enough to explain much of what is going on right now. Such as:

Why the NSA doesn’t do more to help protect the hacking of business interests? Has it even tried? And just what are “hackbacks” and are they really illegal?

Why is the FBI (instead of the NSA or US Cyber Command) making proclamations about North Korean culpability? One answer, the FBI’s DITU (Data Intercept Technology Unit) acquires the international “data” from domestic sources, that is passed to the NSA. (The FBI, traditionally tasked with domestic crime, now has more staff involved in collection and analysis of digital information than in “traditional” domestic crime investigations.)

Who stands to benefit from an increased fear of Internet crime, hacking, and warfare? Welcome to the new frontier—same as the old frontier—agencies, companies, and contractors vying for billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Just watch as President Obama and congress find lots of reasons to put more and more resources into “Cyber Warfare”. (Why we have to be threatened with some kind of “war” to make our data more secure is another question. Haven’t all the hacks of banks and corporations and thefts of personal data given us some personal priorities of what really needs to be protected? Apparently not…)

Depending on how much you already pay attention to this topic you may be shocked, surprised, or affirmed by the level at which our Internet is already watched and controlled, and how much more control these players would like to have. This is not just a regurgitation of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing. Without judging or indulging in politics of the left or right, it’s investigative journalism, with many cited sources, notes, and a thorough index. Best of all, it reads well.

Mail Keyboard Lag in Yosemite

Lag in Typing in Yosemite’s Mail w/ External Ap… | Apple Support Communities.

Mail_application_icon

Mac people, we have an issue here. In Yosemite 10.10.1 (and earlier) there’s a problem with typing in the Mail application. If you are a SLOW typist you may never notice, but for the proverbial “rest of us”, this is a major annoyance. It’s like working on a slow Dell and waiting for the icon to highlight on the Windows desktop before you can rename or move it. If you expect a quick response from a computer and are impatient (my hand is up!), this kind of LAG will result in mistakes and irritation (more on that some other time…).

Composing a message in mail, typing fast, and watching the screen, you see your first few characters, maybe even words, and then? Nothing. There’s a rift in the time space continuum. I know I typed those characters. Didn’t I? Do I need to type them again? type them again?…okay, I guess not. I’ll just wait. Or maybe I’ll just paste my message into Mail after typing it in Word for Mac 2011? Right. “Word”, because the characters appear on the screen as I type them in a four year old program written by Microsoft. Apple folks, this is not Apple Quality. Maybe spend a little less time flattening the interface and a little more making sure the program functions as expected?

That’s all. If you experience this issue and want to encourage Our Friends at Apple to fix it, please send a bug report using Apple’s page. Although people love to rant on the Apple Discussions, Apple officially does not pay any attention to those. So file a bug report, folks. Please.

https://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

iPods and The Mystery of the Missing Songs

It was a calm, cold night—much as any other this wet December on the brink of a new year. I settled carefully down in my Queen Anne near the warmth of the radiator, hissing its gentle song, and propped my MacBook Pro on my lap to peruse the day’s email. For the most part there was little of note: The usual uncaptured spam, offers from Shutterfly and CVS, a note from my massage therapist, and several droll requests for assistance that required little thought and for which I had no interest. But just as I was to resign myself to another night struggling with the need to sleep in the absence of a full mind, the Subject: “Too few songs!!” caught my attention, and I seized upon this interesting message from an old acquaintance.

The fellow, whose anonymity I shall protect here, had over the years acquired quite a collection of iPods which he had managed to connect to assorted computer and audiophile equipment. He was no dunce certainly, and in fact had once worked for the diplomatic corps in a foreign post where he had kept a low profile until acquiring the wealth to enjoy his life with a gusto I envied, dabbling now and then in the legal profession, and as far as I could tell from my distance, primarily acquiring and enjoying a phenomenal collection of music in many styles and formats. With interest, I perused his query, which I edit for brevity as follows:

“Here’s something I do not understand.  My 2nd generation iPod, which has 20GB  of storage capacity, can hold around 2,000 songs.  My newer (like five years old) 60GB iPod can’t hold anywhere near as many.  Why?”

Clearly there was an explanation that went beyond the obvious assumption that he was mistaken either about the number of songs or the capacity of the devices—he assured me the numbers were accurate as provided. And so began another late night adventure, as I committed to resolving this mystery, when for the sake of my health, I might have been better sleeping.

Although I might have formed my own questions and submitted these to a higher internet authority, I started first by closing the lid of my laptop and leaning back in my chair, taking a deep breath, and entering my “memory palace”, where I was quite convinced I could locate a solution. A few moments later, and confident in what I had found, I started my iMac, plugged my iPhone into it, and launched iTunes to validate my deductions.

I include here an excerpt from the response to my client:

“Theoretically, we can assume that your music is recorded in its ‘largest’ format on iTunes on your computer. For example, you could use Apple Lossless format for the music on your computer and have GREAT quality (which would require a gigantic hard drive because of the large file format). You could listen to your music on your mobile iOS devices in the large format, but because they have less storage, you would be better off using much smaller files. You would sacrifice some of the music in terms of quality, but be able to put many more songs on the device than otherwise. And I postulate that you may have already configured your two iPods in this fashion, although you did not configure them both in the same way, causing an odd discrepancy in the number of songs that each device holds.

“I believe that the settings in iTunes are unique for each device. In the attached screenshot are the settings for my iPhone 6. Under Options, there is an option for ‘Convert higher bit rate songs to [128 kbps] AAC.’ If you had selected that for your OLD iPOD and your songs were all 256kbps or higher, and you used the DEFAULT (unchecked) setting for your newer iPod, then, since the lower 128kbps files are SMALLER, you could probably get a lot more songs on the old iPOD.

iTunes_convert_higher_bit_rate“This only uses greater compression when it syncs, leaving your songs on your iTunes on your computer, at whatever compression/quality level they were ripped.”

And here, with my apologies for a tale that has grown far too long, I conclude with a satisfactory answer, for it was only the very next afternoon that I received another electronic epistle confirming my solution to the mystery:

“TW:  When I plugged in the 60GB iPod and ‘downsampled’ higher bit rate songs to 256 kbps, I ended up with approx. 7,000 songs.  So that accounts for the older iPod seeming to hold more songs.”

B.