Tag: pc

The Cat has escaped, or Slavery Again?

The Cat has escaped, or Slavery Again?

The Cat has escaped, or Slavery Again?

It was interesting to learn that Willie Nelson is going after his own brand of “weed.”

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Just this afternoon there was another story about a couple trying to make a “weed empire.”

I use the word “weed” interchangeably with marihuana because, marihuana is just too hard to spell!  I am kidding of course but, if I were stoned; it may very well be too hard to spell.

We live in an escapist society.

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There are 150 some odd cable channels.  There is Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, other venues of streaming media via Roku, Google, YouTube, Hulu, Apple TV and the list just goes on.  If you have the internet; you can distract yourself indefinitely.

There is some year-round sporting activity of some sort whether it be Baseball or some other sport with “ball” somewhere in the name.

There is music of just about any Genre so if you want to just “veg out” and listen to, or play music there is that.

Some people escape into other, darker areas of the internet like online video games, chat rooms, and even pornography.  As the matter of fact if it was not for online porn, I doubt that the internet would have ever taken off.  I know that Al Gore did not invent the internet but he was trying to get some Chakra’s released with female masseuse which made the news a few years ago so maybe, we could gift him with the title of creating internet porn…   ?!  Ok, maybe not.

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Some of us are news junkies, we can’t get enough and of course we believe everything that we read because it is right there on the screen, it must be true!

Some of us reject the modern day trappings and escape into the Bible or some other Religious quest thinking it a nobler thing to do.

Some escape into books, science, physics, astronomy and snob ourselves out, thinking we are above the fray.

Life is messy

If you want to live in this world you have to get your hands dirty.  You have to deal with drama.  You have to submit to a government, and all of their bureaucracy.

To survive you have to find a way to earn money and that, in and of itself, has its own sets of drama.

Sitting at a restaurant listening carefully you will hear many different conversations, most of them will center on what someone did at work or what his or her boss expects or how crappy an employee is etc.  Drama!

Politics takes on the look and feel of a sports team as people tend to vote for one team or another, damned the facts.  The media makes it “easier” by siding with one team or another. They point out all of the bad things that the other team has done, even if it is not true.  Hollywood takes a part in that too as they too have a favorite, even though their favorite is most notably the group that ruined every country that its philosophy was ever tried in.  That philosophy allows a select few to be at the top and actually has them in the role of parasites living on the sweat and toil of the people who were either foolish enough to vote for them, or those that were not in the majority and suffer from the results of the actions of those that have not the intellect to vote responsibly.

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Today some celebrated 4/20 a pot holiday of sorts for Colorado.  I am not sure what percentage of people in Colorado actually take part in this “event” but suffice it to say making pot legal has done nothing to raise the IQ of the good folks of Colorado.

We could get into this huge debate about pot use and intelligence as we have done previously with booze use.  In the end we would collectively agree that using such substances kills brain cells and then we must ask “how many can you afford to kill before you become a blithering idiot?

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I really think that those that partake in such recreational exercises should remove themselves from the voting public.  As the matter of fact, they should probably remove themselves from any situation where their opinion matters!

How harsh is that?!

Twenty two odd years ago I was almost killed by a drunk driver.  This person not only was drunk, he was taking medications that should not have been taken with alcohol.  His powers of making decisions were questionable at best.

When you alter your reality through artificial means it does not take too long before you perception of what “is” matches up with a straight persons idea of what “is, is.”

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If we looked at it on a Venn diagram, we may see some areas that are in common but, the odds are great that your perception of reality would not match up with “normal folks”
perception of reality.

If one can no longer relate to the masses, voting would be futile, and could damage the collective.

Common Core and dumbing down our country

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I am not certain where common core started and I have to tell you that it is nothing short of a disaster.  When rational people who give a damn look at it they ask, “and rightfully so” “what is this shit!?”

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Between dumbing down our kids and making things like Marihuana legal, I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen to this country.

The next thing you know instead of the LGBT community rattling sabers because they think that they were not given “more equal treatment” than straight people you will see the stoners marching on DC “if they can find it,” looking to change laws forcing companies to do away with drug test and provide high wages even though their vernacular will consist of words like “cool, and far out!”

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Is that why we are forcing companies to pay $15 an hour for people to flip burgers because in their stoned out state, that is all that they are able to do? Are we going to force them to allow being stoned at work?

We are going the wrong way.

I cannot speak from experience as I have never tried anything like this.  I do know that recreational chemistry is a gateway to harder stuff, much like beer to whisky.  Some can handle it and not become addicted and then there are those that cannot. Once you open Pandora’s box; you really have no idea how you will react and you have no clue what changes will occur.

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If this country is going to survive these progressive idiots currently ignoring history, or hoping that you are ignoring it or never learned history, the country is going to need smart people with critical thinking skills.  You cannot be your “best” if you are stoned.

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Back in the days of slavery it was illegal for blacks to learn to read. The people in control knew that knowledge was power and if these folks ever figured out just how ignorant that they were, and that they were being kept that way to be controlled; that it would be impossible to keep them in bondage.

By dumbing down our kids and by killing brain cells, we are putting yourselves and our kids in the next position to become slaves.

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By taking our collective eyes off of the Ball, people like Hillary can spin any yarn that they like. Enough people will vote for her because she is a women, or because they are emotionally drawn to her for one lie or another. She stands a good chance of becoming “madam president” even though she far from an ideal candidate.

hillary clinton 2016 Madam President or Mrs. President - the world of hillary clinton

If the progressive’s stay in the white house, we may all “need the weed,” just to be able to not give a shit!

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Now that the kitty is out of the valise, (pot is legal) we may be looking at the beginning of that transformational change that our current leader talked about 7 years ago.  Many, too many Americans are already slaves and are too dumb to realize it.  The only difference is that they are comfortable in their indentured servitude. As long as they have the “rights” to the distractions (internet, cable TV, porn…) they don’t care.  That is a sad commentary on society.

We can fix things but it is going to take a change from what we are doing.  Firstly, we have to get someone in there who knows what to do.  There are very few current candidates that I feel are actually in this to “help the country” but rather in it to go sit in that Ivory Tower.

The allure of power must be an incredible aphrodisiac! To have that much power in one’s phone and pen must be incredible!  Every decision that one in that position makes has to be perfect!  There is no room for error!

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No matter what he or she does the opposing side will defame them and call them stupid and of course arm chair quarterback because “they magically know!”

Can you imagine sitting in the oval office or west wing or wherever he or she would make such decisions lamenting over dropping a bomb on someone, or turning the military loose to do what they do?

How many nights do you think that they get a good night’s sleep?  The weight of the world is on their shoulder and then there is the first lady or dude that influences them.

When he or she takes time away to play golf or just get out of DC they are excoriated by the press.  As a business man I can tell you that more business is done on the golf course than in the office.  If I need time to think I go play golf.  Usually somewhere between 1 and the 19th hole I have come up with a solution to whatever it was I was working on.

Right now my money is on Scott Walker.

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I will really be interested to see who he picks for a running mate.  If the Dems had a brain in their collective heads, they would come up with someone to run against Hillary.  Her history is going to catch up with her and there are only so many times you can ask “it depends on what the definition of is is?”

If you find my blog harsh, it is really meant to be blunt but not offensive.  I have no desire to offend but we do need to wake up!  We need to wake up and if we are afraid to talk about things that might offend others we are shooting ourselves in the foot.  We must discuss things that are sensitive topics so we have a dialogue vs someone calling the PC police.

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Political Correctness is a cancer eating at the fabric of our society, it is time that we kill the cancer.

Political correctness is another progressive idea that is stupid, and past it usefulness.

-Best-

© All rights Reserved 2015

If you disagree, drop me a line. If you agree let me know.  I value your opinion.  We as a country must have this dialogue if we are going to fix the things that are wrong.

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Out of the box thinking continued…

After doing a little research on prisons, I have come to the conclusion that there are huge financial gains for “thinking outside the box” on this issue.

 The average cost to house a prisoner is $20k per year, give or take.  These include statistics in states where there is over crowding and states where there is not.

 http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/Price_of_Prisons_updated_version_072512.pdf

 What if we took all prisoners with non-violent offenses, although I would start with the 75 thousand non-violent drug offense inmates and made farmers out of them?  This could be their choice but, time off for good behavior while learning how to farm and become productive would be a win! Monitoring of them could be easier and less expensive with technology i.e. drones or proximity devices etc.  

The simple facts are that this cost “the tax payers” tons of money each year, both at a state and federal level.

If we were able to get the 75 thousand currently sitting in prison on non-violent drug offenses off the prison role and working on a farm being productive, that alone is $1.5Billion a year of tax money that could be used for something else.   

 Now how many are in prison for other non-violent offenses?

Factor into this the folks that are on welfare that can work and don’t, as well as the street folks who might want to take part in this, (comes with a place to live, heat and food.)

 Lets get them to grow staples that the country needs and then they all of the sudden are a “profit center” if you will.

 Between making a business out of housing criminals, entitlement spending and spending on aliens that are here illegally; tax payers bear one hell of a burden.  We really need some “out of the box thinkers” to address these problems.

 We really need some of these thinkers for the illegal alien issues here in this country.  I really hate to use that terminology for them.  If I lived there, I would do my best to come here as well.  While I would do my best to come through the front door, that is certainly a lot easier said than done.   Some of the basic arguments that I read are false however.  There are plenty of “white people” that will do those jobs.  There are plenty of “Americans” that will do those jobs.  To say that white people and or Americans are too lazy to do them is a blatant falsehood and offensive to me.  If you need work, you will do what you have to.  If the government is paying you not to work, well that is really the cruckst of it, isn’t it?  Who would dig ditches if the government will pay you stay home and watch The View or some other absolute mind-rotting nonsense?

 Propaganda comes in all shapes and sizes.  It comes from those that you “trust” on the nightly news, to shows from Disney with fuzzy little creatures.  Third world countries are not the only ones brainwashing their citizens.  While we can still get multiple views on certain topics, some countries have state run everything so the only “view” that they get is whatever the “government in power” wants them to have.

Currently we have the first amendment (free speech.) That however is under attack by the political correct police.  This needs to be stopped.  If what you say offends others let them not listen to you.  They have the right to not listen just like you have the right to make a complete and utter ass of yourself.  If I can control what you say under the guise of political correctness, than I can have free reign on a myriad of subjects and you cant say anything bad about.  Friends, that is not right and “UN-American!” 

The real trick is finding the multiple views as for some reason the media is in love “or in bed” with the progressives in this country.  I personally read news from all over the world as there is always something going on that other countries find newsworthy.  The BBC which is liberal is for the most part “right” of most of our media.

 It would be refreshing to have objective journalist again.  It would seem that the only time that they are tough on the government is when the GOP in charge.  I am not saying that the GOP is right, what I am saying is that we need objective standards in the media.  If the president drew a crowd of 5000 at some event, both FOX and CNN should say 5000, not “that there were only a few thousand” or “there were absolutely THOUSANDS that showed up for the event!”  Both statements are correct, and both are misleading. 

 There are thousands of folks out there “speaking of thousands” who have probably thought about these issues from time to time.  Let’s noodle this around a little and see what we can come up with.  Let’s have a little “enlightened conversation.”

-Best to you and those that you care about!

The Ubiquitous Wall Wart

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “wall wart” it is simply a slang term for external power supply’s that hang out of the outlet.  The power supply has evolved over the years from being something external to the apparatus to be powered, cabled to same with large cables.

 

As technology “evolved” the power supply was integrated into the apparatus and a simple cord connecting it to the AC line was all that was needed.

 

After even more “evolution” the power supply went external again on some apparatus’s in the form of a wall wart.

 

It was during this time the wall wart was blamed for starting fires.  Many firefighters attributed the source of combustion to the wall wart.

 

Early wall warts were not fused or if they were the fuses were defective.  I still vividly remember smelling something “like hot plastic,”  finding a wall wart going to a radio was melted, very hot and still pumping out energy into a short length of cable that the cat had chewed on causing a short.

 

These power supplies still use energy even if the apparatus is powered off.  Those “green” people will tell you to unplug them when not in use as they waste energy.  I would tell you to unplug them simply because “in my opinion” they are still a fire hazard.

 

Unplugging them can be a pain in the rear as often times they are buried behind something etc.  To this I would encourage you to get a power strip that you could turn off the whole thing when not in use rather than trying to plug and unplug every time you wanted to use the device.

 

Case in point.  My phone stopped working.  When I did my “electronic technician thing” I discovered that the wall wart was dead.

 

Finding a similar wall wart today has not been successful.  It is a 7.5 volt with a current rating of a 1000ma.  The real trick is finding one with a 90 degree bend in the plug as to fit into the bottom of the base.

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Looking at the wall wart “I dissected it,” the failure was a capacitor that failed.  This should not be any surprise to those of us who work with electronics as there is a raft of faulty capacitors in the marketplace which are responsible for the early demise of many many things!  From computer power supplies to flat screen TV’s to just about any electrical device made in China.  Read all about that subject here. http://www.badcaps.net/

 This too made a smell which alerted me to the fact that something was awry.  The interesting part of this is the internal fuse did not blow.  Had I not been home and smelled the “hot smell,” would my house still be here?

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Because it is in an airtight container one has to think that any flame would have not had the oxygen to burn and eventually the fuse might have blown or the circuit breaker to the receptacle might have tripped.  The short answer is “we just don’t know.”

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Looking at the device you can see that they have dropped the 120V to 12V with a large 10ohm resistor.  From there they have rectified it, regulated it and I would guess cleaned up the dc and even the AC with a few small components.  You will note the top of the capacitor is puffed up which is a clear sign that it is defective.  You will also note that the board is discolored where the devices got hot when the capacitor failed.

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All Wall Warts are not the same!

 

I frequently am asked by different people to repair some small appliance.  I enjoy doing it so it is not much of a burden.  More often than not I am brought the device that no longer works with a wall wart that is not the correct wall wart for the device!

 

Looking at the back of the apparatus you will notice that there is just about always a picture or depiction of the place that the wall wart plugs into the unit.  That depiction will usually have the voltage and current required as well as the polarity of the plug.

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Back not too long ago it was anyone’s guess if the center was positive or negative and, the information about the voltage, current or even if it were AC or DC was just not there.

 

Looking at this early wall wart “from the 70’s” you will note that it is small in size and has a plug on it that when inserted into the radio momentarily is greeted with a short.  This type of plug should not be used for power.  This charger is rated at 9volts dc with just a few mils of current.  The reason for this is it was designed not to run the radio but to charge the batteries inside it.  While the radio that this goes to is otherwise a good radio this is a poor design.  Admiral would have been far better off to include the power supply inside the radio capable of running the radio as well as charging the batteries instead of using this, (which was a cheap alternative.)  Also note that the plug is broken and should be repaired before use.  Interesting to note: this supply is not regulated and in fact cranks out 21volts DC with no load.   

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With older devices I have to check before simply plugging in some sort of power source as some of the older radios that I mess with were made before any standards were envisioned.

 

Some manufactures made positive the ground, which makes an interesting troubleshooting exercise for those of us who are used to negative as the ground.

 

We all end up with a box of these wall warts before too long and often times they are not labeled as to what they went with.  My guess would be that the manufacturer of the device purchased power supplies from some vendor that would work with their device and a host of others.

 

It is a good idea to label what device that wall wart came with if it is not so labeled on the power supply itself.  I have seen some use a silver Sharpe to label them which is a great idea!

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Things to note when looking at your apparatus and trying to match up the wall wart.  Voltage required, Current required, size and type of connector, polarity if DC, or is it AC?

 

If you have cats you might want to examine the wires from time to time as some cats or other critters like chewing on cords.  For people in this predicament wrap your wires in “spaghetti.”   No not pasta but something called spaghetti which is a tough plastic coiled covering designed to keep all the wires together and neat.  It also deters small critters from chewing on them.  Larger critters may need better solutions like Panduit. I have found some of these things at IKEA.  Electrical Supply houses are another good bet and of course there is always eBay.

 

I would be remiss not to mention your smoke alarm at this point as many of us loose some ability to smell as we age, or have a cold, or what have you.

 

Feel of your wall warts from time to time, warm is normal, hot is not!  Some power supplies for laptops get too warm for my taste, but I think they would tell you it is normal.  If in doubt, have it checked out.  Safe rather than sorry is not a shabby way to live your life.

 

Look under the desk from time to time and examine your wires and cords to make sure that they have not been cut by the chair rolling over them or some other heavy object sitting on them.  This is especially true of your children’s room.  I was in a house doing some computer work when I noticed that there was probably 30 plus amps of current being taken out of one wall receptacle.  The wires under the desk looked like a bowl of spaghetti “the eating kind” and there were heavy objects sitting on the wires along with them being under the rollers of the chair.

 Wall receptacles in most houses are not made for this type of use.  The bedroom may be on one 15 amp breaker and the outlets wired with number 14 wire; which is basically made for lighting.  These are all things to look at when putting computers in bedrooms.  The good news is that again technology is becoming more efficient and less current is used with newer devices than older.  It is still something to talk with an electrician about if you have the slightest cause for concern.  The simple fact that this kids breaker did not blow for his room really bothered me in that he had a gaming machine, three monitors and a plasma TV… Add to this the stereo, lights,fans, guitar amp and other electrical things other than this being one spoiled child there was simply too much in that room for what the circuit should have been able to provide.

Feel the outlet covers, are they warm?  They should not be….

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

 

Disasters Big and Small

Disasters Big and Small

As a Disaster Recovery Specialist, I walk into many companies that are one step away from disaster.  Some of them have been living on a wing and a prayer for a long time and are absolutely oblivious to the precipice on which they are perched.

One of the largest challenges one faces in this line of work are people.  By that I mean more specifically egos.  People are threatened by someone that “knows more than they do.” 

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Let me tell you a secret.  This is a Jack Palance type secret, (from City Slickers) “This is the one thing” that will save your keister as well as change your attitude.

 I worked for a man who owned this business that was very successful.  I was a young guy fresh out of school and this guy saw something in me that I remember to this day. As time passed he took me under his wing and helped me knock some of the rough edges off of my “perception” of the world as it was.  He took me out one day to JC Penny and had some sales clerk measure me for a suite and then he picked out a couple of them.  We went to the shirts and he purchased a few of them right down to the shoes.  While these were not super expensive, they were not cheap and his generosity never escaped me. The only thing that he did not replace were my shorts!  Some might have taken offence to this but I am no creature of fad or style and while I would not qualify for a candidate on “what not to wear,” I did know that style was not my strong suite.  “Knowing your limitations” is good advice, but not the secret.

Later he had me take over the service manager position in one of his branches which came with a company car and credit card.  This was before the tax laws changed.  He told me to use the car as I wished and if I took it on vacation to at least “pay for some of the gas myself.”  He took me over to the office which was a good drive from the Dallas office.  He regaled me with stories of advertisement and marketing.  He told me the story of the sign with the waterfall on it by downtown Dallas.  Back then it was a Pearl Beer sign.   This man was pretty close to deaf.  He was from Georgia and his accent was still very thick.  It turns out that he was a tank commander in WWII.  He told me that the secret to survival is to “surround yourself with smart people.”  That not only applies to war, but business and oh yes, life in general.  If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and learn to humble yourself.  It is only by this step of humbling yourself will you realize the advantage of being around these people.  I have never forgotten this and to this day I still practice this.

I offer this advice to all IT people in that “you are not the end all be all.”  You cannot know it all even though you think that you do.  We become focused on what interest us and then the rest of technology passes us by.  Learn to control your ego for it is your enemy.  No doubt you have heard the phrase “you are your own worst enemy.” Think of the truth of this statement and then marry it, own it and then change it.  When someone starts talking to you about something which you think you know about and you feel that “anxiousness” start to well up inside, recognize this for what it is, you’re undoing.  Squelch the feeling, take a deep breath and listen to what this person has to say.  It may be worthy of hearing or it may be total crap. Before long this will be habit and you will have trained your ego to stand down.

One of the first steps in the DR process is an AUDIT.  In order to prepare for a disaster one has to know what one has.  This is done by an audit of the technology, how it is configured and of course managed. We look at policies and procedures and just really get into your business in a big way.  The more you work with us the more you will get out of it.  Conversely the more truculent or evasive that your staff is, the more it will cost.  This is a “by the hour” service and time is money.

Audits are never fun but necessary, in that no one is perfect.  Audits uncover the “dirt” so to speak and no one wants to acknowledge that they have dirt.  Nobody wants to look bad so they are either un-helpful or become very defensive and blame the guy before them and so forth.  No one in their right mind would welcome an IRS audit because of this.  You know that you are playing by the rules but the rules are thousands of pages long.  What if?  Individuals should budget for an accountant for this reason.  Companies should have more than one accountant “even if it is a small company” in that they can check one another. (another story for another blog)

While IT audits wont land you in front of a judge, it could have an effect on the bottom line in that deficiencies could be uncovered which could end up in with un-budgeted expenditures.  Having an up to date DR and BC plan will not only prevent this but, will keep your IT department on their toes and up to date.  A fresh set of eyes looking at how things are done contrasted against your business processes and needs, often bear fruit in that there may be a better way to do things. Personally I subscribe to “best practice” methodologies and policies.

Some companies don’t take IT seriously and look at it only as a necessary evil.  An attitude which must be changed as IT is much more than a necessary Evil.  IT is a resource which ties the entire company together.  This department is the glue that binds most departments together as well as the interface between the customer and the company.  In looking at the want ads occasionally one might notice ads for IT people with the following “PC Wizard” needed.  Really?  Does this person come from over the rainbow?  The simple facts are that some HR people are totally bereft of any ability to interview for this position and the company as a whole does not take the department very seriously.  I would liken this to the “audio visual club” at school.  Know this all you who mock them, the nerds will inherit the earth. I digress..

If you really look at the way that your technical infrastructure touches every person in your company and your customers; your attitude on this matter might change.

During the process of a disaster recovery plan, this becomes very clear in that one of the pieces of this plan is a Business Impact analysis.  It is during this process that the lights turn on in the CEO’s, or CFO’s head.  I have heard the question posed to the CIO or CFO on many occasions “why hasn’t anyone told me this?” The simple facts are that the CEO’s job is to run the company, not the IT department.  He or she depends upon the CIO to look out for the company on all things IT and a DR plan is simply one small part of it.

Simple programs like asset management and S.A.M. “software asset management” are not only not in play, but not even thought of.  How can one budget for new stuff if one has no clue what one will need down the road?  A complete Asset management program should be SOP in any company.  This program accounts for hardware from the cradle to grave.

The same is true regarding software.  Often time’s, companies pay way too much for software as it is installed by policy on computers with users who will never use it.  Users may bring in their own software and install it, leaving a liability for the company to contend with should there be a software audit and it is done by the SBA.

While there are no good surprises in business there are certainly no good surprises after an event has been suffered by a company.  A fire in the data center could take the entire company out of the marketplace for good.

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Fire caused by poor cable management practices.

Human error accounts for a large percentage of the events which caused companies to fail.  Doing a root cause analysis on failed companies who suffered a disaster you find that they did not value such a thing as “it will never happen to me.”  You don’t have to suffer a Sandy or Katrina type event to bring your business to its knees.  A simple mistake from some employee, working for a company without a business continuity or disaster recovery plan can ruin your day, if not your career.

It is at this time many companies wish that they had spent the money on such a plan.  Too Late… If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

You can purchase insurance which will assist with the closing of the company but, that is not the way to go out of business, with a whimper, because you failed to plan.

Updated documentation of your infrastructure otherwise known as a “living document,” should also be SOP.  IT folk absolutely do not like documentation, more specifically creating it.  There are many schools of thought on this reason, but I suspect that laziness along with a “need” to have proprietary information so they are not expendable weighs somewhere in their decision.  If the latter is your reason for not doing what is right for the company you need to re-examine your life. 

If you are taking the paycheck you owe your employer the best that you can offer.  If you managers feel like you have people in your department who are not expendable you need to address this post haste!  One rule of preventing a disaster is avoiding single points of failure; and that means people as well.

Part of disaster recovery is averting disasters to begin with!  Through solid best practices in policies and procedures, a large percentage of disasters can be negated.

One last topic on the subject that comes up from time to time.  “Do I have a legal obligation to have a DR/BC plan?

The answer is not as clear cut as one would like.  The interesting thing however from a legal perspective is that there is legal precedence whereby companies were held liable for failing to provide a more error tolerant system.  They in fact were found to be negligent and case law purports to award large sums of cash to the plaintiff.  These cases not only hold the owners of the company negligent but any and all officers of the company are liable.  Think carefully about that promotion and VP title.

While companies are apathetic towards spending the money on such a plan, doing so is not only moral, it is strategic and most likely a legal obligation.  As Billions of dollars are spent annually on technology to maintain a competitive edge “standards of care” and due diligence are required of all corporations both public and private.  Not having such a plan violates the fiduciary standard of care.

-Best to you!

staylor@guard-protect.com

www.guard-protect.com

 

Windows 8 First Glance

Windows 8

Even as management, I still enjoy messing with new technology.  If there is a new gadget I must at least see it, but most probably have it.

Having said that I have a lab at the house with different Pc’s Routers and such that I mess with as time permits.  As time was running out to get a “cheap” copy of Windows 8 pro to evaluate, I bought one to put on a PC that was sporting “Vista.”

While I would compare Vista to ME as in the “not very well thought out” category, I have been happy with Windows 7 and 8 seems to be on equal footing.  I have installed 7 on several PC’s which were at their end of life cycle as they were dog slow with XP.  Windows 7 makes them viable once again.

Pro’s: runs well on 2 gig or ram with a 2.8ghz processor.  Machine indexed at 5.4 because the video card rates a 3.5.   All in all, the machine is responsive.  Windows defender is included but I am not sure how that compares to Eset Node 32.  My hunch is not to well.

Cons: One of the secrets of Microsoft’s success is its GUI.  Once you get the basics of “start and find the program” even the slowest grandmother can be sending e-mails in no time. 8 has the e-mail icon on the start page so that might even be better. Intuitive software is key to their success story.

After a few moments of playing with it, I had no issue doing what ever I wanted to do.  That is me; someone who can install UNIX and mess with it.  Since I have been doing this since DOS was 1.0 and before Good old Al invented the Internet (cough), I cannot judge adequately how others will perceive it.  It looks as though it would do well with a touch screen device.

Huge Con:  I added some memory to the machine and 8 promptly crashed.  It went into a loop of trying to repair itself and crashed again and again.  It would not even boot in safe mode.  With all of the normal tricks tried, I re-loaded 8 from scratch as it would not even let me repair it.

I am not sure if the additional memory which came from Crucial http://www.crucial.com/  has issues but, I had to remove it before I could even get the PC to go into the defective loop.  The Bios recognized the extra memory but, the machine did not like something about it.

I have used Crucial for years and have promoted them as their hardware scanner works well for the non-techie person and even for someone like me.  Anything to make life a little easier deserves to be supported.

As your mileage may vary, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and experience with 8.

-Best to you and those that you care about.Image

Which Anti Virus Software is the Best?

Selecting an anti virus software today is like trying to look at a watermelon in the store and telling how it is going to taste without opening it up. This is also the question that I get asked most frequently.

Not all software is the same and that holds true with the virus itself.

When I evaluate anti virus software I look for several things. Firstly what can I find in the way of reviews on the internet? Try to find independent reviews vs. going to their website.

Amazon frequently has reviews of products.

From a technical stand point I want to know what size footprint it has. When I say footprint I want to know how much of my available memory is it going to chew up and I want to know how much CPU is it going to use. There are several anti virus software’s out there that literally will stop you from using your machine while they scan, update etc. Ideally this type of software should run at a lower priority when you need the resources of your machine. To me there is nothing more frustrating than needing to check your e-mail and the anti virus software among other software takes over your machine for the first 30 minutes doing updates, scans and what have you.

Here is the biggie, will it catch everything?

Sadly there is no silver bullet. Some software makers have a lot of resources to pour into updates and research as well as the ability to quickly push out updates to their customers on an as needed basis. Software like Trend Micro has an easy way to upload suspicious files for them to analyze.

Another thing to look at with software is technical support. How much will you need, what do people say about their support and how much will it cost?

I have been in IT since before there were viruses. I fought the first virus which got out onto our network of several hundred employees through a shared file brought in by an employee on a floppy disk. I say that to set the stage for the different iterations of anti virus software out there. The first company on the scene was McAfee. PcTools was picked up by Symantic and over the last few years there have been many players enter into the game.

My personal favorite as of this moment is EsetNode32. That could change tomorrow as they may rest on their laurels or have a policy change of some sort which would affect the quality of their product. That is the same for all companies.

I see a lot of computers that have been infiltrated. While they all have some sort of protection, free software seems the most susceptible to attacks, MailWare and other forms of infections.

While free is better than none, I would certainly budget anti virus software into my computer needs.

TIP: Go to the store and purchase it in the box vs. getting it online. Do this even for the renewal. One can almost always find it on sale going to the office supply store or even Wal-Mart. Purchasing it online usually involves a third party which makes money off of the sale as well. You pay a price for convenience and it could be as much as 100% more than you would pay in the store. In the below URL’s you can gain quick access to the different brands that I am personally familiar with. Several ranking sites will rank these differently so do your research and roll the dice.

This blog in no way constitutes any type or warrantee or guarantee of usability or protection against the hackers either expressed or implied. While I have had good fortune with Eset, your mileage may vary and I will be held harmless, in the event that your results are not what mine have been.

What you do on the internet and who sends you e-mail may put your computer in less risk or more risk than me. There are independent labs out there that evaluate different software so you might search them out as well. The trick is make sure that they are independent and do not have any dog in the fight. The problem there however is obvious; if they don’t have a dog in the fight, why do the work and give it away? Do your own research. Consumer reports frequently look at this topic as well.

http://www.eset.com/us/

http://shop.trendmicro.com/brand/SB/?cm_mmc=Paid+Search:US-_-Consumer:Brand-_-Google:TrendMicroExact-_-KW=trend+micro&SQ=trend+micro

http://www.bitdefender.com

http://norton.symantec.com/norton/ps/3up_us_en_navnis360_sym_ent.html?om_sem_cid=hho_sem_sy:us:ggs:sy:e|kw0000006084|10257754940&country=US

http://promos.mcafee.com/offer.aspx?id=469920&affid=792&eid=covmcaggl89400000194617s&adid=17846076983&s_kwcid=TC|16933|mcafee||S|e|17846076983

http://usa.kaspersky.com/?domain=kaspersky.com

http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage

http://www.avast.com/en-us/index

-Best and Happy Computing