Technique Slant Element

Tech Sensibility: The Newsletter (Aug 2014)

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Technique

  • Among the Web's most challenging problems are ads that track you from site to site. Not only is it creepy, it also means that advertisers are watching where you go, what you do and what you look at. Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If it appears that an advertiser is tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger will automatically block that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it is as if you suddenly disappeared.

  • Most new smartphone cameras have a High Dynamic Range (HDR) setting or a standalone application. When you use HDR, your phone takes three successive frames at different exposure levels. When these three are combined, you will have a better-looking photo with more vivid brights and striking darks. However, you may not want to use it for action shots since it takes a bit longer to snap all three photos.

  • As many of its users know, Facebook has a feature that allows videos to automatically start playing in your news feed. While there is no sound, if you scroll past a video, it will start playing on its own. On your computer, this can be either convenient or annoying, but on your smartphone it can quickly eat through your monthly data plan. It is relatively simple to turn this feature off. On your phone, look inside your Facebook settings for an option called "Video Auto-play" or something similar, and set it to either On, Wi-Fi Only, or Off.

  • Have you ever accidentally closed a web browser tab? It is frustrating to track down the web page you just closed. Press CTRL + SHIFT + T to instantly recover a closed tab.

  • If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you know that I consider security of utmost importance. You most likely also know that you need a strong, unique and different password for every online account that you own. That way, if someone figures out one password they do not automatically get access to all your other accounts. Unfortunately, remembering every password for every account can be very difficult. A password manager program can help you with that. KeePass is a good option. It stores and organizes your passwords so that you do not have to remember them.

Slant

CIO take-away: IT Cost-cutting Mistakes

A large corporation initiated a data center move from its current US location to a new location in Western Europe. The reason behind the move was to cut IT costs and outsource the IT infrastructure operations.

The cost-benefit analysis which the company relied on to determine if this was a sound decision lacked sufficient depth. Although the benefits appeared to outweigh the costs, the IT services and its associated costs in both cases did not represent the overall valuation correctly.

Lessons for CIOs:

When doing return on investment (ROI) calculations, make sure you compare apples to apples. Different manufacturers and vendors may have different definitions of the IT services they provide. Some may itemize certain costs while others may include them under another service offering. Make sure you compare the exact variables to arrive at the correct cost-benefit ratio.

There are multiple ways to outsource IT operations. Consider the option that adds the most value to your organization. If IT operations are critical to your company’s business success, you may want to keep them in-house.

The advantage of IT is that it can drive business value while keeping the lights on. IT investments, direct or indirect, have to use the financial tools and methods similar to those used in other business projects to determine the investment ROI. Companies that take advantage of IT to drive business performance are particularly skilled at conceiving technology investments that generate successful returns.


Element

  • If you are feeling mentally overwhelmed, it may be due to the fact that the brain’s processing capacity is limited. After sifting through endless text messages, social media posts and emails- all of which are competing for space in your brain- you are often left feeling stressed, while trying to grapple with work tasks and financial and personal decisions that demand your diligent attention. Studies suggest that designating your hours into project periods may be most beneficial. Email, for example, should be managed within a designated time slot. Keeping your email application on at all times may trigger your mind to wander off to the emails you still have yet to write- all while sapping precious brain resources, and ultimately distracting you from the project at hand, whatever it may be.

  • If you are planning on making a big purchase like a home or car, you will most certainly have your credit score checked by someone else. Before inviting a prying eye into your credit history, you should first check out the score for yourself. Obviously, you should check for any visible errors. There could be accounts which you never opened, or one that is actually in good standing but is showing up differently on the report. Next, you should get current on any delinquencies. While 10 points may not sound like a big difference, for bureaus that approve/deny credit based on thresholds, a 705 could be judged much more favorably than a 695. Also, do not be quick to close old credit accounts. The less credit you are utilizing, the higher your score. Agencies like to see that you have at least 75% credit available to use. So, for a card with a $10,000 limit, it is best not to use more than $2,500. If none of your current credit accounts have at least 75% credit availability, it may be best to open up a new card for this purpose. But remember to do so responsibly. Lastly, do not hesitate to call your card company directly and ask for forgiveness for something that may be negatively impacting your credit score. You may be surprised- many credit card companies will offer you a one-time goodwill adjustment.

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Shadow IT

Should IT leaders embrace the Shadow IT? Find out: Pros and Cons of Shadow IT.

Business ethics

Being ethical in all business transactions is not only the appropriate thing to do, it is also an effective business concept: Managing a Company: Business Ethics.

Sustainable tech

Practical suggestions for IT leaders on how to create sustainable technologies and manage them proactively: Creating Sustainable Technologies.

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.

IT Management

Monthly events focused on technology management at small and mid-sized businesses in Greater New York Area: Read more

IT SMB Event

Join me for a fireside chat with Hal Danziger, CTO of DNAinfo on Wednesday, September 17th from 6 - 8 pm.
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