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Main » TECH NEWS

You’ve all seen top 10 lists of the best traits of a project manager or the top 10 skills of a project manager. However, project management is not for everyone. Many people have some of the traits to be a good project manager, but they also have many traits that make them a bad fit for the position.Here’s my list of indications that you may not be well suited to be a project manager. Note: These are not in any ranked order.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: You are a poor communicator

It is said that more than 50% of a project manager’s time is spent in some aspect of communication. This includes meetings, status reporting, e-mails, phone calls, coordinating, talking to people, and completing documentation. Some studies have shown that verbal and written communication takes up 80% of the job. If you are not an effective communicator (and you don’t care to be), don’t go down this path.

#2: You don’t work well with people

If you prefer to stay in your office and focus on your own work, you probably don’t have the collaborative ability to be a good project manager. Good project managers need to spend a lot of time with clients, stakeholders, and team members.

#3: You prefer the details

Many people like to work on the project details. We need people like that. But when you are a project manager, you must rise above the details and become more of a delegator and coordinator. You must rely on others for much of the detailed work when you are a project manager.

#4: You don’t like to manage people

You don’t have much of a project if you’re the only resource. If you want to be a good project manager, you need to be able to manage people. You will not have 100% responsibility for people, but you will need to show leadership, hold them accountable, manage conflict, etc. Some project managers say they could do a much better job if they did not have to deal with people. If that’s how you feel, project management is probably not for you.

#5: You don’t like to follow processes

Yes, I know no one wants to be a slave of processes. But you need good processes to be effective as your projects get larger. If you don’t want to follow good project management processes, you are not going to get too far as a manager.

#6: You don’t like to document things

Of course, all things in moderation. I am not proposing that you have to love documenting to be a good project manager. But you can’t hate it, either. Many aspects of project management require some documentation, including status reporting, communication plans, scope changes, and Project Charters.

#7: You like to execute and not plan

When a client gives you a project, what is your first inclination? If your first thought is to get a team together to start executing the work, you probably don’t have a project management mindset. If you do not want to spend the appropriate amount of time to make sure you understand what you are doing, you are probably not cut out to be a project manager.

#8: You prefer to be an order taker

If you think your job is to take orders from the customer and execute them, you may not be a good project manager. Project managers need to provide value on a project, including pushing back when the client is asking for things that are not right. If the client raises a request that is out of scope, you also need to invoke the scope change management process. If your reaction to scope change is saying, "Yes sir, we’ll do it” instead of going through the scope change management process, project manage is going to be a struggle for you.

#9: You are not organized

People who have poor personal organization skills and techniques usually do not make good project managers. If you’re going to manage multiple people over a period of time, you need to be well organized to make sure that everyone is doing what he or she needs to do as efficiently as possible.

#10: You think project management is "overhead”

... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 3309 | Added by: kc | Date: 2013-03-07 | Comments (0)

One of the great promises that cloud vendors make is that the adoption of cloud computing greatly reduces IT costs for any company. A crucial part of this promise, that you can find on most "cloud cost calculators” available on the web, is the reduction in manpower costs. If you host a server internally, you need a System Administrator to manage that server; if you hire a virtual server with the same specifications from a public cloud provider, you don’t need anyone, and whatever you were going to pay that person becomes "cost savings”. This naturally leads us to the following question: Will cloud computing be the end of the conventional IT department?

If we follow the vendor’s logic to its final conclusion, we would end up in a situation where the only place where one could find infrastructure (server, networking, even operating systems) management jobs would be with the cloud infrastructure providers themselves. These crucial areas of IT would essentially disappear over time, as jobs became more and more scarce. The idea of not needing IT is a double-edged sword: on one hand, business users, especially those that have a poor relationship with IT, find this very appealing, and use it as a big reason to promote the cloud; on the other hand, it generates resistance from IT departments, who understand that the whole idea of not needing anyone is just a myth.

Reality check on cloud servers and apps

Several of the assumptions people make about cloud servers are simply not true, and some are actually being actively denied by cloud vendors. Backup is one such assumption. Many people still assume that cloud servers are automatically backed up, don’t set up any kind of backup scheme, and end up losing a lot of data. The fact is that cloud providers don’t perform any kind of automated backup unless you explicitly ask them to do so, which is something most users forget to do.

Security management is another issue. It’s easy to think that, since your server is hosted on someone else’s infrastructure, they’ll worry about all the security matters for you, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you hire a cloud server, most cloud providers will deliver a virtual server with some sort of remote connection enabled. This means that, unless you set your server up behind some sort of firewall or with protection rules, it is basically open to attack from outside as soon as it goes up. While I don’t have any stats on this point, I’ve seen some servers I set up with FTP access being attacked less than five minutes after going on-line.

This means that having someone from IT managing your servers, even the hosted ones, can be very important. Sure, you can do it yourself, but then you’re in the same position as if you’d been trying to manage an internal data center yourself. The fact is that, for most people, a cloud server is just like an internal server, only it gets "stored” somewhere else. This means you need a systems administrator just as you would on any other server.

Cloud apps are, in a sense, even more problematic. With whom does responsibility for the environment reside? What happens if a user accidentally deletes important data or a user account gets broken into? Proper management of passwords, backup policies, access control strategies, and other issues is even more important. Solution providers limit their responsibility to making your data available at the predefined SLA; they say absolutely nothing about backing your data up, or being able to restore it later. The same goes for managing users and passwords: the responsibility is entirely on the hands of the user. If all your accounts are configured with default or weak passwords, you’re running a real risk of someone invading them and stealing sensitive data.

As more and more data moves to cloud apps, they are becoming interesting targets, and attacks will take an upward trend. This means that, more than ever, you need IT people to manage your cloud application environment, just as you needed people to manage your infrastructure.

A changing landscape

The cloud, then, does not threaten IT jobs, nor does it reduce the importance of IT departments. If anything, the short-term trend is an increase in importance as users realize that they need the help of IT to manage the complex server and application environments that are being created ad-hoc in their rush to move to the cloud.

As with most new technologies, cloud computing won’t promote a destruction of IT jobs, but rather a change in their nature. Just as developers have to adopt new mindsets to develop cloud-based applications and services, DBAs will have to adapt to cloud-based and big data oriented systems, and system administrators will move from the low-level infrastructure issues (which will be more and more the exclusive province of large providers) to managing complex environments, spanning multiple applications, cloud providers, virtual and physical servers, and even merging the internal data center with the public cloud.

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 2967 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-12-24 | Comments (0)

 At the beginning of 2012, Justin James wrote a list of technologies that were gaining momentum in the dev world. Now he revisits that list with an eye toward 2013.

Looking back on this article after nearly a year, I’m struck by how quickly some of these trends have steamrolled. Of course, mobile development was expected to be big. But the growth in tablets, especially in Android tablets, has propelled that market to new heights.

Thanks to mobile devices that receive frequent updates (notably iOS devices) and the short release cycles of Chrome and Firefox, it has been possible for HTML5 to rapidly ascend to the top of the pile in many ways. The Web development world has divided itself into two segments:

  • The enterprise market running Java and .NET on the backend and using SOAP for communications
  • The consumer market using PHP, Ruby, and Python on the backend with lightweight REST Web services

In fact, I am starting to encounter folks dropping the backend server layer away significantly, in favor of a REST API and an HTML5 + JavaScript front end communicating with the API. And thanks to the power of jQuery and similar tools, the Web now easily matches the functionality of the desktop in the UI department — something that’s becoming obvious on more and more Web sites.

Looking ahead to 2013, I really do not think that the items on this list need to change much. Learning Ruby and Python (and NoSQL databases) are not mandatory items for your career, but they can certainly open some doors to alternative career paths. Windows 8 development is not a must-have either, and it remains to be seen whether Windows 8 picks up adoption quickly enough to justify making it a priority. But this list can still serve as a fundamental guide for your 2013 "techs I need to learn” list.

What skills do you need?

Software development had a few years of relative calm. But now the rollercoaster is back on track and it’s picking up speed, as HTML5 gains a foothold and Windows 8 threatens to significantly change the Windows development landscape. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you should consider learning at least a few of these 10 software development skills.

1: Mobile development

If you don’t think it is worth your time to learn mobile development, think again. According to a recent Gartner report, Android mobile device sales outstripped PC shipments in the third quarter of 2012. Add in the other big-name mobile devices (iPhones, iPads, and even the "dying” RIM devices), and what you see is that mobile devices now dwarf PCs in sales. What does this mean? If you make your living from software that can run only on a PC (which includes Web sites that don’t work or are hard to use on mobile devices), now is the time to learn mobile development.

2: NoSQL

I appreciate a well-designed relational database schema as much as the next person, but they just are not appropriate for every project. We’ve been using them even when they aren’t the best tool because the alternatives haven’t been great. The last few years have seen the introduction of a wide variety of NoSQL database systems. And now that major service vendors (like Amazon and Microsoft) support NoSQL as well, there is no technical limitation on their use. Are they right for every project? No. Are they going to replace traditional databases? In some projects, and for some developers, definitely. This is the year to learn how to use them, as they will only become more prevalent in the year to follow.

3: Unit testing

We’ve seen unit testing go from being, "Oh, that’s neat” to being a best practice in the industry. And with the increasing use of dynamic languages, unit testing is becoming more and more important. A wide variety of tools and frameworks are available for unit testing. If you do not know how to do it, now is the time to learn. This is the year where it goes from "resume enhancement” to "resume requirement.”

4: Python or Ruby

Not every project is a good fit for a dynamic language, but a lot of projects are better done in them. PHP has been a winner in the industry for some time, but Python and Ruby are now being taken seriously as well. Strong arguments can be made for Ruby + Rails (or Ruby + Sinatra) or Python + Django as excellent platforms for Web development, and Python has long been a favorite for "utility” work. Learning Python or Ruby in addition to your existing skill set gives you a useful alternative and a better way to get certain projects done.

5: HTML5

HTML5 is quickly pulling away from the station. The release of IE 10 made the full power of HTML5 available to most users (those not stuck with IE 6 or IE 8). Learning HTML5 now positions you to be on the forefront of the next generation of applications. Oh, and most mobile devices already have excellent support for it, so it is a great way to get into mobile development too. And don’t forget: HTML5 is one route for UI definitions in Windows 8.

6: Windows 8

Windows 8 may be getting off to a slow start, but being the top dog in an app store is often based on being the first dog in the race. The first mover advantage is huge. It is better to be in the Windows Store now than to take a wait-and-see approach. Even if Windows 8 sales disappoint, it’s better to be the only fish in a small pond than a fish of any size in a big pond, as recent app sales numbers have shown.

... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 2586 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-12-24 | Comments (1)

Nearly 29 percent of the 353 IT executives who were polled in Computerworld’s annual Forecast survey said they plan to increase IT staffing through next summer. (That’s up from 23% in the 2010 survey and 20% in the 2009 survey.)

Here are the skills that the IT executives say they will be hiring for:

  1. Programming and Application Development–61% plan to hire for this skill in the next 12 months, up from 44% in the 2010 survey. This covers the gamut from website development to upgrading internal systems and meeting the needs of mobile users.
  2. Project Management (but with a twist)– The twist is that they’re not going to just be looking for people who can oversee and monitor projects. They also want people who can identify users’ needs and translate them for the IT staffers-the increasingly popular business analysts.
  3. Help Desk/Technical Support–Mobile operating systems have added a new dimension to help desk and tech support.
  4. Networking-This demand is being fueled partially by virtualization and cloud computing projects. The survey also revealed that execs will be looking for people with VMware and Citrix experience.
  5. Business Intelligence-Computerworld interprets this uptick to a focus shift in many companies,  from cost savings to investing in technology. That will be nice if it pans out that way.
  6. Data Center-Virtualization and the Cloud could also be behind the increased need for IT professionals with backgrounds in data center operations and systems integration.
  7. Web 2.0-Tech skills centered around social media will be in demand, with .Net, AJAX and PHP as key back-end skills, with HTML, XML, CSS, Flash and Javascript, among others, on the front end.
  8. Security-Although down from 32 percent in the 2010 survey, security stays a top concern of IT executives.
  9. Telecommunications-The survey indicates a demand for people with IP telephony skills, and for those familiar with Cisco IPCC call center systems.
Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 815 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-12-11 | Comments (0)

You’re about to graduate from college and enter the IT workforce. What do you really need to know? What fundamental skills should you have before you step foot into that first interview?

Sure, you should know IP subnetting and the fundamentals of firewalling, switching, and routing. But what about the everyday tasks you’ll need to be able to do in your sleep?

We’re talking math students having a firm grasp on differential equations but not simple math. Indycar drivers not knowing the rules of the road. Authors not knowing how to write dialog — real fundamental stuff. Let’s take a look at 10 "in your sleep” tasks that every new admin should know.

1: Domain a computer

If you know how to add a computer to a workgroup, you should know how to add a Windows computer to a domain. This is basic stuff that will cause a department head no end of frustration if the staff can’t do it. Along with this task, you should know how to cache credentials on a computer. (This can be especially important for a laptop.)

2: Troubleshoot printing

Printing can easily become the bane of your existence. Never a "set it and forget it” piece of your workday, printing is constantly causing problems. You’ll need to understand all the many ways there are to troubleshoot local and network printing, as well as how to remove printers from the Windows registry in case of a more serious issue on the desktop machine.

3: Boot into Safe Mode

It’s inevitable that some machines will become infected with a virus that will require the use of a tool like ComboFix. When this happens, you will need to boot that computer into Safe Mode. I would like to say that any person who does not know how to boot into Safe Mode has no business in the IT industry — but I’ve seen this quite a lot over the years. F8 is your friend. Get to know it. Make sure you know how to boot into Safe Mode With Networking so you can further troubleshoot a machine that simply won’t behave in regular mode.

4: Install an OS

This is another must-know on the list of admin skills. If you’ve managed to get through college (or your first gigs as an admin) without installing an operating system, something is definitely wrong. IT admins should know how to install Windows 7/8, Windows Server, Linux, and Mac — at a bare minimum. It would also behoove you to know how to set up a dual-boot machine.

5: Manage users in Active Directory

From my perspective, managing users in Active Directory is a constant job — whether you’re adding, removing, editing, locking, unlocking, or just resetting passwords. You’ll need to know how to find your way around Active Directory and how to manage the AD users. If you can’t do this, you will be scrambling to get up to speed the second you wind up working on a network that takes advantage of Active Directory.

6: Reset a password on a server

This isn’t always as simple as resetting an Active Directory password. There might be times when you need to change an admin password on a non-AD machine (and know how that change can affect things like Acronis backups and such). You should also know how to reset passwords on a Linux server/desktop as well as on a Mac desktop.

7: Create an Outlook profile/account

Sometimes, there is no choice but to blow away an Outlook profile to resolve Outlook issues. When this happens, you have to know how to remove the corrupt profile and add another. And if you’re in a Windows-centric environment, you can be sure this task will fall into your lap sooner than later.

8: Run chkdsk

Hardware goes bad. Disks wind up with errors. At some point, you’re going to run into an issue that requires a disk be checked — and you won’t be able to do it using a fancy GUI tool. You need to know how to force a chkdsk at boot as well as be able to have the command automatically repair errors (so you don’t have to be present during the reboot/check).

9: Schedule a Windows Server backup

There are a number of reasons why you need to know how to schedule a Windows Server Backup. Even if you use third-party software for backup solutions, you will still need to take advantage of the only tool that can reliably flush an Exchange log (without having to resort to circular logging). Know how to schedule the Windows Server Backup and how to run one immediately.

10: Clear space on a C drive

When the C drive fills up, bad things happen. If this is on a server, really bad things can hap ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 727 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-12-11 | Comments (0)

Recently, I heard someone at a technology conference say that as Americans, we enjoy ubiquitous Internet connectivity. Although that statement might be true for some, I find that there are a lot of times when I have to do without Internet access. I live in a rural part of the south, and some days it seems as if my Internet connection goes down every time that the wind blows.

I also travel almost constantly, and I’ve discovered that although most airports (and some airlines) provide Wi-Fi, there are still some places where you simply can’t get online.

This article lists 10 ways of staying productive when you just can’t seem to connect to the Internet. Keep in mind that most of the items on the list are geared toward specific situations. For example, some are appropriate only for unscheduled outages, while others will work only if you plan ahead.

1: Use Windows offline folders

When I’m traveling, I can’t always depend on being able to access the files on the servers at my office. That being the case, I take advantage of the Windows offline files feature. It allows you to mark folders on network drives as available for offline use. The contents of the folders are then cached to the laptop’s hard drive. This way, I can always access my files, regardless of whether I am connected to my network.

2: Print what you’ll need

Earlier this year, a friend wrote a book and the publisher asked me if I would help out with the technical editing. Unfortunately, there was a really tight turn-around time, and I had to fly to London the next day. My first instinct was to copy the manuscript to my laptop so that I could review the book while I was on the plane, but I knew that my laptop battery would never hold out long enough to get the job done. Since I knew I was going to be offline and without AC power for the duration of the flight — and since I really needed to get the review done — I printed a copy of the manuscript and worked from paper. Granted, it wasn’t the most elegant solution to the problem, but it worked and I met my deadline.

3: Find another way to get online

There are some situations when you just can’t get online. For instance, if you’re at 35,000 feet and the airline doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, you’re pretty much stuck. However, if you’re at home or at the office and the Internet goes down, the most sensible solution might be to find another connection. When my Internet service goes down and I have a lot to get done, I usually end up working from my cell phone or finding a coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi.

4: Take care of other neglected tasks

I’m not always in the middle of a critical, deadline-driven project when my Internet service drops offline. So it doesn’t always make sense to pack up all of my stuff and go heading off to the nearest coffee shop. If I’m not super busy, I often try to use the outage as an excuse to get some neglected chores taken care of. For example, I might clean my desk or work on my latest travel expense report.

5: Take the Internet offline with you

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article that compared a hand full of competing products. I was traveling at the time, and I knew that I couldn’t depend on having reliable Internet service. I had worked with the products enough that I knew what I wanted to say. But I needed some basic information off the vendor’s Web sites, such as pricing and system requirements. Thankfully, Internet Explorer can make Web page contents available offline. I simply cached the pages I needed before I left home so that I had them at my disposal while I was on the go.

6: Answer emails

Another thing I do when I have no Internet access is answer email messages. While this might seem counterintuitive, it actually works well. Microsoft Outlook caches Exchange Server mailboxes in an .OST file. This means that Outlook can display your email messages, contacts, tasks, and calendar, even if it can’t connect to Exchange. This caching makes it possible to reply to email messages even without Internet connectivity. Of course, your replies are not actually sent until a connection to the mail server can be established.

7: Have an impromptu staff meeting

If you work in an office environment and your Internet service goes offline, one way to remain productive is to have an impromptu IT staff meeting. The outage may give you time to brainstorm, catch up on the status of various projects, and discuss issues that might ordinarily have been neglected.

8: Return phone calls

At the end of the day, I usually have a number of phone calls to return. And because my phone system is not based on VoIP, I can use the time that would otherwise have been wasted during an Internet outage to work through my call backlog.

9: Catch up on your reading

Sometimes, the unavailability of Internet service can be a blessing. The lack of connectivity gives you the opportunity to do things yo ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 1270 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-11-16 | Comments (1)

Recently, I heard someone at a technology conference say that as Americans, we enjoy ubiquitous Internet connectivity. Although that statement might be true for some, I find that there are a lot of times when I have to do without Internet access. I live in a rural part of the south, and some days it seems as if my Internet connection goes down every time that the wind blows.

I also travel almost constantly, and I’ve discovered that although most airports (and some airlines) provide Wi-Fi, there are still some places where you simply can’t get online.

This article lists 10 ways of staying productive when you just can’t seem to connect to the Internet. Keep in mind that most of the items on the list are geared toward specific situations. For example, some are appropriate only for unscheduled outages, while others will work only if you plan ahead.

1: Use Windows offline folders

When I’m traveling, I can’t always depend on being able to access the files on the servers at my office. That being the case, I take advantage of the Windows offline files feature. It allows you to mark folders on network drives as available for offline use. The contents of the folders are then cached to the laptop’s hard drive. This way, I can always access my files, regardless of whether I am connected to my network.

2: Print what you’ll need

Earlier this year, a friend wrote a book and the publisher asked me if I would help out with the technical editing. Unfortunately, there was a really tight turn-around time, and I had to fly to London the next day. My first instinct was to copy the manuscript to my laptop so that I could review the book while I was on the plane, but I knew that my laptop battery would never hold out long enough to get the job done. Since I knew I was going to be offline and without AC power for the duration of the flight — and since I really needed to get the review done — I printed a copy of the manuscript and worked from paper. Granted, it wasn’t the most elegant solution to the problem, but it worked and I met my deadline.

3: Find another way to get online

There are some situations when you just can’t get online. For instance, if you’re at 35,000 feet and the airline doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, you’re pretty much stuck. However, if you’re at home or at the office and the Internet goes down, the most sensible solution might be to find another connection. When my Internet service goes down and I have a lot to get done, I usually end up working from my cell phone or finding a coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi.

4: Take care of other neglected tasks

I’m not always in the middle of a critical, deadline-driven project when my Internet service drops offline. So it doesn’t always make sense to pack up all of my stuff and go heading off to the nearest coffee shop. If I’m not super busy, I often try to use the outage as an excuse to get some neglected chores taken care of. For example, I might clean my desk or work on my latest travel expense report.

5: Take the Internet offline with you

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article that compared a hand full of competing products. I was traveling at the time, and I knew that I couldn’t depend on having reliable Internet service. I had worked with the products enough that I knew what I wanted to say. But I needed some basic information off the vendor’s Web sites, such as pricing and system requirements. Thankfully, Internet Explorer can make Web page contents available offline. I simply cached the pages I needed before I left home so that I had them at my disposal while I was on the go.

6: Answer emails

Another thing I do when I have no Internet access is answer email messages. While this might seem counterintuitive, it actually works well. Microsoft Outlook caches Exchange Server mailboxes in an .OST file. This means that Outlook can display your email messages, contacts, tasks, and calendar, even if it can’t connect to Exchange. This caching makes it possible to reply to email messages even without Internet connectivity. Of course, your replies are not actually sent until a connection to the mail server can be established.

7: Have an impromptu staff meeting

If you work in an office environment and your Internet service goes offline, one way to remain productive is to have an impromptu IT staff meeting. The outage may give you time to brainstorm, catch up on the status of various projects, and discuss issues that might ordinarily have been neglected.

8: Return phone calls

At the end of the day, I usually have a number of phone calls to return. And because my phone system is not based on VoIP, I can use the time that would otherwise have been wasted during an Internet outage to work through my call backlog.

9: Catch up on your reading

Sometimes, the unavailability of Internet service can be a blessing. The lack of connectivity gives you the opportunity to do things yo ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 1168 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-11-16 | Comments (1)

Recently, I heard someone at a technology conference say that as Americans, we enjoy ubiquitous Internet connectivity. Although that statement might be true for some, I find that there are a lot of times when I have to do without Internet access. I live in a rural part of the south, and some days it seems as if my Internet connection goes down every time that the wind blows.

I also travel almost constantly, and I’ve discovered that although most airports (and some airlines) provide Wi-Fi, there are still some places where you simply can’t get online.

This article lists 10 ways of staying productive when you just can’t seem to connect to the Internet. Keep in mind that most of the items on the list are geared toward specific situations. For example, some are appropriate only for unscheduled outages, while others will work only if you plan ahead.

1: Use Windows offline folders

When I’m traveling, I can’t always depend on being able to access the files on the servers at my office. That being the case, I take advantage of the Windows offline files feature. It allows you to mark folders on network drives as available for offline use. The contents of the folders are then cached to the laptop’s hard drive. This way, I can always access my files, regardless of whether I am connected to my network.

2: Print what you’ll need

Earlier this year, a friend wrote a book and the publisher asked me if I would help out with the technical editing. Unfortunately, there was a really tight turn-around time, and I had to fly to London the next day. My first instinct was to copy the manuscript to my laptop so that I could review the book while I was on the plane, but I knew that my laptop battery would never hold out long enough to get the job done. Since I knew I was going to be offline and without AC power for the duration of the flight — and since I really needed to get the review done — I printed a copy of the manuscript and worked from paper. Granted, it wasn’t the most elegant solution to the problem, but it worked and I met my deadline.

3: Find another way to get online

There are some situations when you just can’t get online. For instance, if you’re at 35,000 feet and the airline doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, you’re pretty much stuck. However, if you’re at home or at the office and the Internet goes down, the most sensible solution might be to find another connection. When my Internet service goes down and I have a lot to get done, I usually end up working from my cell phone or finding a coffee shop that offers Wi-Fi.

4: Take care of other neglected tasks

I’m not always in the middle of a critical, deadline-driven project when my Internet service drops offline. So it doesn’t always make sense to pack up all of my stuff and go heading off to the nearest coffee shop. If I’m not super busy, I often try to use the outage as an excuse to get some neglected chores taken care of. For example, I might clean my desk or work on my latest travel expense report.

5: Take the Internet offline with you

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article that compared a hand full of competing products. I was traveling at the time, and I knew that I couldn’t depend on having reliable Internet service. I had worked with the products enough that I knew what I wanted to say. But I needed some basic information off the vendor’s Web sites, such as pricing and system requirements. Thankfully, Internet Explorer can make Web page contents available offline. I simply cached the pages I needed before I left home so that I had them at my disposal while I was on the go.

6: Answer emails

Another thing I do when I have no Internet access is answer email messages. While this might seem counterintuitive, it actually works well. Microsoft Outlook caches Exchange Server mailboxes in an .OST file. This means that Outlook can display your email messages, contacts, tasks, and calendar, even if it can’t connect to Exchange. This caching makes it possible to reply to email messages even without Internet connectivity. Of course, your replies are not actually sent until a connection to the mail server can be established.

7: Have an impromptu staff meeting

If you work in an office environment and your Internet service goes offline, one way to remain productive is to have an impromptu IT staff meeting. The outage may give you time to brainstorm, catch up on the status of various projects, and discuss issues that might ordinarily have been neglected.

8: Return phone calls

At the end of the day, I usually have a number of phone calls to return. And because my phone system is not based on VoIP, I can use the time that would otherwise have been wasted during an Internet outage to work through my call backlog.

9: Catch up on your reading

Sometimes, the unavailability of Internet service can be a blessing. The lack of connectivity gives you the opportunity to do things yo ... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 763 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-11-16 | Comments (0)

Here’s a quick how-to guide on how you can track email to it’s originating location by figuring out the email’s IP address and looking it up. I have found this to be quite useful on many occasions for verification purposes since I receive lots of emails daily due to my blog. Tracking the IP address of anemail sendor does require looking at some technical details, so be ready to dig your heels in!

There are basically two steps involved in the process of tracking an email: find the IP address in the email header section and then look up the location of the IP address.

Finding the IP address of an email sender in GMail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook

Let’s go ahead and take a look at how you would do this for Google, Yahoo and Outlook since those are the most popular email clients.

Google’s Gmail

1. Log into your account and open the email in question.

2. Click on the down arrow that’s to the right of the Reply link. Choose Show Original from the list.

track emails

Now here’s the technical part that I was telling you about earlier! You need to look for the lines of text that start with "Received: from". It might be easier to simply press Cntrl + F and perform a search for that phase. You’ll notice that there are several Received From’s in the message header. This is because the message header contains the IP addresses of all of servers involved in routing that email to you.

message header

To find the first computer that originally sent the email, you’ll have to find the Received From that’s farthest DOWN. As you can see from the above image, the first one is from a computer called "aseem” with the IP address 72.204.154.191. Then it was routed to my ISP’s server at eastrmmtao104.cox.net and so on and so forth till it got to your email server.

The computer aseem is my personal home computer and that’s my public IP address for my house! I’ll go through Yahoo and Outlook before talking about tracking the location of that IP address.

Yahoo Mail Beta

1. Log into your account and open the email (if you’re using Yahoo Mail Beta with the new preview interface, make sure you double-click on the email so that it opens in a new tab)

2. At the top right, you’ll see there is a drop-down option where Standard Header is selected by default.

3. Click on it and choose Full Header.

yahoo header

Again, you’ll see the same information as before, just in a different window:

message headers

Microsoft Outlook

1. Open the email in Outlook by double-clicking on it

2. Go to View at the top menu (the menu options for the email, not the main Outlook window) and choose Options.

... Read more »

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 8944 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-07-21 | Comments (2)

During the hiring process, employers generally look for job seekers with good communication and technical skills, but now there’s another skill many are searching for. In the IT, engineering, healthcare and repair industries, recruiters are hunting for candidates with robotics skills.

Over 6,000 online job ads listed robotics as part of the job description in May 2012 according to wantedanalytics.com. This number is up 29% since May 2011.

So what does this mean for jobseekers in these industries? I spoke to Bill Peppler, managing partner of national staffing firm Kavaliro, about the ever-evolving IT skill sets employers are seeking.

1. What are you seeing as the hottest jobs in IT? and, by "hottest,” do you mean the jobs that are in most need of candidates, or jobs that are cool and that IT pros are competing for?

According to a CareerBuilder Talent Compensation Report provided to Kavaliro a survey of 1000 .NET Developers and employers across the country revealed an average annual salary of $85,863, with top salaries reaching well into the six-figure range. Yet despite the lofty compensationthat is on the table, employers continue to report of difficulties in hiringand retaining top .NET Developer talent in the midst of unprecedented demand for their services. Much of that demand is driven by the explosion of web-based services and applications, as more and more business is conducted via computer systems.

We all know that much has changed about the way we do business over the past decade. Increasingly, we find ourselves becoming more dependent on computer systems as a means of exchanging data, as older, morecumbersome technologies continue to be phased out. One area that has seen explosive growth in recent years is web-based services, generally defined as the collective technology for transmitting and accessing data over the Internet.

Enhancing existing systems or implementing new web-based services (both internal and external) can lead to greater efficiency, simplification of use, and ultimately, increased revenue. As companies rush to integrate these web services through new applications, the role of the .NETDeveloper has never been more important. As the builders of the Framework upon which a majority of these web services and applications are based, their services have never been in greater demand. This demand is reflected in theglut of open developer positions on job boards throughout the country, and the increasing wage rates for seasoned developers.

2. What are the best industries for the area of information technology?

The hottest areas continue to be areas related to software services.  Any product that helps reduce costs or helps increase revenue and profit to a company’s bottom line is in high demand.

3. You mention a rise in robotics skills? Why do you think that is? What can IT pros do to gain expertise in the area of robotics?

Although impermanent, the increase in robotics-related careers could be a result of the economy picking up. Previously, companies outsourced many of these jobs. Today, businesses are straying away from that route due to increased salaries overseas, and turning to US workers to fill the void.

The attraction to robots lies in their increase of product quality and productivity, while decreasing manufacturing costs. The demand is felt most in the pharmaceutical, medical, food, aerospace and electronics industries as a result of new applications. The most sought after skills include a firm grasp of electronic, mechanical and hydraulic systems, the aptitude to execute tasks with mechanical accuracy, as well as, the application of mathematical formulas to robotic systems and projects. In addition to normal job skills, i.e. theability to work well with related industry professionals and prime organizational skills.

You do, however, need a degree to work in the field, so for those seeking to start a new career, schooling/training is required.

Category: TECH NEWS | Views: 666 | Added by: kc | Date: 2012-07-13 | Comments (0)

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