Technique Slant Element

Tech Sensibility: The Newsletter (Jan 2014)

Welcome to the third edition of Tech Sensibility, a free newsletter discussing various approaches to making the most value of our daily usage of technology - everything from getting the most usability from our mobile devices to improving our personal lives through a better understanding of technical information. Thanks to all of you who have joined since the first edition. Subscription and cancellation information is explained at the conclusion of the newsletter. Thanks for subscribing. - Bruno Scap

Technique

  • Configure your mobile phone to automatically use the Wi-Fi network when you are at home, work, or wherever you have access to the Wi-Fi network. Some smart phones can be preset to use Wi-Fi network if one is available, and others can do this without any additional configuration. Even if your mobile phone plan allows for plenty of Internet usage, it is a good idea to be cautious to avoid any potential situation that may generate a larger cell phone bill. Additionally, in areas with weaker cellular data signal, you will get faster speeds by using Wi-Fi.

  • If you need to e-mail a larger group of people – for example, more than 10 – consider making an e-mail list in your e-mail client or web mail. When putting all e-mails into a “To:” field - even if there is a problem sending the message to a single e-mail address - your e-mail will not go out to anyone. You will not know which e-mail address caused the problem, and your computer may temporarily freeze in the process. By creating an e-mail list, your e-mail message will be sent to each individual e-mail address separately. You will know if your message fails to a particular address, and it will not impact it sending to anyone else.

  • If you are using a computer with Windows XP or Microsoft Office 2003, beware that Microsoft support for both software ends on April 8th, 2014. After that date, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, assisted support (free or paid) or online technical content updates. Your computer will be exposed to security risks and will most likely be infected quickly. If part of a corporate network, it may further infect other computers. Make sure you upgrade or replace your Windows XP computer before the April deadline to avoid getting your computer compromised.

  • If you are getting a new Windows 8 laptop, consider getting one with a touch screen. This works best with laptops that have a smaller size screen. Using the screen instead of moving your hand across the touch pad may be more natural to you than you think, and can make your interactions with your laptop more convenient. Even when using regular business applications like Microsoft Word, you will be able to resize or close the window with your hand. It is similar to using your touch smart phone – so you may already be good at it.

  • When shopping, whether in the real world or online, using a credit card may be safer than using a debit card. Should your credit card information be compromised, and if someone uses it for unauthorized charges, you will notice the charges on your monthly statement and contact the credit card company to fix the issue. In the case of a debit card, if someone uses it to take money out of your bank account, you will not have access to that money until you call the bank and resolve the issue. Using a credit card gives you time to deal with the problem and keeps the money in your account at all times.

Slant

Responsibility for security of external IT systems

CIOs know that while they can outsource the responsibility for delivery of services provided by external providers, they cannot outsource accountability for any system failure. When they outsource specific IT system capabilities, they are hopeful that they can manage the unfavorable consequences in case of service failure. One way to ensure the success of external services is to get involved as soon as possible in a project which may require a cloud-based service, and work closely with the service provider throughout the planning, implementation, and delivery stages.

It is important that a CIO has insight into the external provider’s delivery process in order to ensure the successful delivery of outsourced IT services. While a CIO may trust her external IT providers, she should always have a mechanism in place to verify that trust by implementing effective quality control measures on the service provider’s deliverables. Additionally, system administration responsibilities may need to be divided among the organization’s personnel and the service provider’s staff, to avoid any one person or group having unrestricted access across all infrastructure or application layers.

Organizations do not have to adopt an all-or-nothing approach to IT outsourcing. Many CIOs take a hybrid approach and use external providers only for commodity IT services. By performing due diligence and understanding what parts of IT should be outsourced, CIOs can strike the right balance between hosting services in-house and outsourcing them to an external provider.

Element

  • Time and time again, studies have shown that a bigger income does not automatically equal an increase in happiness. Rather, it is the journey in the work, more specifically the joint pairing of our passions together with our skills. According to recent surveys, social entrepreneurs who pursued nonprofit careers reported to be the most happiest- while earning less money than some of their professional peers, their measurement of success was not in monetary earnings, but in the reward of the work itself. While even a rewarding job can not be the sole ingredient for producing one’s happiness, it is definitely a cornerstone for contentment.

  • You may have already tired from hearing about proposed resolutions for the New Year like discounted gym memberships. Remember that most of these companies are for-profit businesses whose most important interests are their own. However, that does not mean that you cannot benefit from them as well. Due diligence is vital, so do your research. If you are shopping for a gym membership, ask for a 7-day pass test run before you commit to anything. If you decide on a gym, keep in mind that most health clubs have a monthly quota, so your best bet may be to sign up at the end of the month for the best deals.

  • When it comes to saving money and cutting down on debt, it may be very tempting to respond to ads that promise to cut your debt and/or negotiate lower monthly payments. But be aware that most of these promises usually come with a catch- colossal fees that you may be responsible for before the company will even help you. Always do a search with the Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints have been logged against the company. Sometimes a complaint can be attributed to the company’s late response to an issue or a misunderstanding with the customer, so be sure to see if and how the complaint was resolved. Most of the time, however, you may be more successful avoiding the middleman entirely and speaking directly with your bank about negotiating a lower interest rate and/or a reduced balance.

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Business ethics

Being ethical in all business transactions is not only the appropriate thing to do, it is also an effective business concept. To learn more, download my new white paper, Managing a Company: Business Ethics.

Online resources

To learn more about how to leverage technology to improve core business performance, visit the online resources which include supporting articles and reports.
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