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Post Holes

picture of a U.S. priority mail envelopeBenjamin Franklin perhaps the very first American Technocrat was appointed the first Post Master General in 1775 a mere 236 years ago. Now the technorati of our time will conviene on New England to discuss it’s eminent dimise. (The USPS posted a loss of 8.5 billion dollars in 2010 alone.)  On June 15, 2011 a distinguished group of technology professionals and scholars will descend on Arlington, Virginia for Postal Vision 2020 in hope that they will plant the seed that will grow into a sustainable model for the US Postal Service. The potential loss of the U.S. Postal Service has far reaching implications, for the entirety of our nations history Americans have benefited from a means to exchange information owned by and for the benefit of all Americans. A link to the conference: http://www.postalvision2020.com/

May 6, 2011   No Comments

Animal Biologists Build Biometric Animal Database

A joint project of the University of Chicago and Princeton appropriately called StripeSpotter is a free and open source software project that allows animal biologists and enthusiasts to catalog ANY animals that display prominent patterns on their coats. The software is meant to identify animals in the wild using photographs taken in the field. As this type of biometric and pattern recognition advances, animal science is set to explode with new data. Here is a a link to their project: StripeSpotter

April 10, 2011   No Comments

The 100,000.00 Question: Are you doing enough to keep customer data secure?

Are you doing enough to keep your customers data secure? Here is a link to Kaspersky Labs fine blog entry about how a regional restaurant chain has been ordered to pay the state of Massachusetts $110,000.00 to settle the states claim under their data security law. Not all states have such serious penalties however this should serve as a warning to all of us in small business: Do not play fast and loose with customer data, treat others data as you would like your data treated.

Here are a five simple things you can do right now:

  • Check that all your computers have updated and functional anti-virus software.
  • Have a fair use policy that all your employees know about to discourage them from doing edgy things with work computers.
  • Destroy old customer data, check with your CPA and legal counsel about what you must retain and then eliminate everything else.
  • Have strong passwords or change them frequently or both.
  • Remove the hard disks from your old computers and physically destroy them or send them to be degaussed by professionals.

March 29, 2011   No Comments

Richard Wiseman, Motivation, Luck and Happiness

“You don’t need a 6 month course to make real lasting positive change. There are simple quick proven techniques that make positive change possible.” says Prof. Richard Wiseman. Some of you know I’m a hobbyist magician and lifelong skeptic, I happened upon Prof. Wiseman when he did a lecture for an online event for magicians about the science of deception.

I just finished his book 59 Seconds, it was superb. I believe that the efficient operation of a small business or a project inside a larger one is much like a self improvement project for a corporation. I recognized the science based techniques he outlines in the book regarding motivation, persuasion and creativity as habits many of my more successful clients have come by naturally. I would encourage anyone who is trying to plan a project or motivate others to execute a planned project to take a look at his book.

March 26, 2011   No Comments

Social Media Policy

This video is from the Director of Social Media at SAAS one of the largest business software companies on earth. I think it’s a very nice short primer on how to being the process of forming a social media policy. Every business with employees should have a social media policy. It doesn’t have to be difficult to understand or be written in formal legal language in fact it should be easy to read and understand. You should always have your legal counsel review matters regarding Human Resources and employee policy, but you know that, right?

 

March 17, 2011   No Comments

Daniel Pink explains the surprising truth about what motivates us

I hope that you’ve already seen this. I watch it again every several months to remind myself about how effective simple and low cost motivating ones self and others can be. There is no more important time to take into consideration what and how we can better motivate our partners, employees, clients and ourselves than in these difficult and uncertain times.

This video was produced by the RSA, which is the British Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. They where founded by a very forward thinking group of people in 1754 with the basic premise that they would rapidly reward individuals for innovations that improve the quality of life for all human beings.

February 26, 2011   No Comments

We all know this but…

We all love email, who wants to talk when you can email. However email is in no way private or protected or even really (typically) owned by you the user. The email is the property of the provider who maintains the physical hardware and complicated software that allows us to easily send and retrieve messages. Here is a video reminder about email and it’s privacy pitfalls. It’s an ad for email encryption software that I haven’t reviewed but the content is simple and to the point. We all know this but it’s nice to have a reminder once and a while that email is never truly private.

February 15, 2011   No Comments

Jeopardy in Love

February 14 will be the beginning of what promises to be a spectacular affair between IBM’s Watson super computer and the famous Q&A game show Jeopardy. The non-techies should be thrilled at the probable millions that will go to various charities should Watson prevail. The very-techies will revel in the achievement of one of the many (currently) vaporware promises of the artificial intelligence boom, natural language processing.

It appears that IBM has cracked with very powerful and highly customized hardware the code of human language. This is one big step closer to a computer that we can talk with that will (seem to) understand our questions and be able to give us reasonable answers.

February 8, 2011   No Comments

Twitter?

I do get a lot of questions about social networking. I think my next few posts will give you some tips on how you might use these powerful tools. Here is a link to a howcast.com video that explains what twitter is and how to use it in a straightforward way.

February 2, 2011   No Comments

The Future of Computer Security

The founder of the EFF talks about computer security it’s about 1 hour long but you don’t’ have to watch the whole thing.

“The EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people’s radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.”

January 24, 2011   No Comments