The bring your own computer to work debate is one that we are sure many Maximum PC readers will have a unique opinion on, but it was also the subject of conversation in a recent BBC article where several business were asked to chime in. The concept is fairly simple. How many of you toil away for 40 hours per week on a five year old PC running Windows XP? It’s even more painful when you consider that you probably have more CPU horsepower on the smartphone in your pocket, than the soviet era antique humming away under your desk.
Several large tech companies such as Intel and Microsoft owned up to operating a “bring your own computer to work” policy where the hardware is subsidized, and both companies had nothing but praise for the program. "Employees love having the freedom to choose whatever they like," said Citrix’s vice-president of marketing. The reality is that there are a number of consumer devices that provide services that you just don't see in a corporate laptop, and employees just enjoy their computing experience more."
Of course not everyone is convinced. BNet columnist Erik Sherman says mainstream rollouts of this type of program are simply wishful thinking. "Why do you assume the employees are going to spend the money on the service contract just because you told them to?" Have you ever got anything repaired through a chain store? I have - it took like four weeks. Please don't tell me it's going to go any faster because I bought the computer for work?"
No doubt the debate will continue to rage on, but which side of the fence do you fall on?
Uncle Ben famously told Peter Parker that "with great power comes great responsibility," but even Spider-Man never had to deal with constant phone calls, text messages, emails, and instant messages asking for a "quick second" of his time to solve a PC related issue. As power users, our family and friends tend to view us as their own personal 24/7 tech support super heroes, minus the obligatory tights.
Don't get us wrong, we're more than willing to lend a helping hand, it's the handful of acquaintances who expect us to drop everything and devote hours of our time fixing a problem that could have been avoided with a little common sense that gets our goat. You know the type -- "Hey broseph, I clicked on this link and now my computer is flipping out again. Can you come over for a second and fix it? Thanks bud, I'll owe you a beer!"
A $1.50 bottle of suds doesn't cut it, and besides, we'd forget what it's like to be sober if we accepted brew as currency every time someone we knew needed our PC expertise. So how do we handle these situations? It's a delicate balancing act maintaining our sanity and personal relationships, but we're here to tell you it can be done.
Hit the jump to find out how you too can avoid devoting your all your free time to pro bono tech support.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency tasked with establishing standards for government and business, did something it's never done before -- it certified a line of enterprise-class hard drives for use within government systems. Specifically, the agency gave Seagate's Cheetah Constellation and Savvio drives its stamp of approval by certifying them to the FIPS 140-2 standard.
"As information storage consumption in the enterprise continues to grow, the ability to secure that data during all stages of a storage system's lifecycle becomes increasingly critical," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing, and Product Line Management. "The FIPS 140-2 certification of Seagate's enterprise products further validates Seagate's commitment to enabling the widespread adoption of truly government-grade secure storage and hellp customers protect their sensitive personal and business information."
As if IT admins didn't already have enough on their often underpaid plates, buggy code is shaping up to be a bigger problem than ever. According to a report by Veracode, third-party software fails security tests over 80 percent of the time. What's more, 57 percent of all apps contained security flaws, Veracode claims.
"We're still finding that a lot of work needs to be done in software security. Still over hall of all [apps] are failing acceptable levels of security in their first [testing]," says Sam King, vice president of product marketing for Veracode.
Veracode assessed 2,922 applications over the last 18 months and presented their findings in their "State of Software Security Report" released on Wednesday. Here's a rundown of some of what they found:
Cross-site Scripting remains the most prevalent of all vulnerabilities
Developers are quick to repair security holes
Cloud/Web applications were the most requested third-party assessments
Well, that was a lot of bluster for nothing. Shortly after former HP CEO Mark Hurd accepted a job at Oracle, HP filed suit claiming Hurd would have no choice but to divulge confidential HP information in his new position. Today, the two companies have announced that they've settled their differences out of court, and Hurd would be taking the position at Oracle. However, Hurd will apparently be keeping that secret HP stuff a secret.
The statements from the company were the usual sort of glad-handing you see when companies come to a grudging agreement. Details of the settlement were not available, but we'd wager Oracle paid HP a pittance, and HP agreed not to pursue that un-enforceable non-compete clause. Despite their positions as competitors in corporate IT, the two companies have worked together extensively to serve their shared customers.
What do you think went on behind closed doors? Did anyone come out ahead in this deal?
Over the next five years, the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) will make available to businesses at least $12 billion in IT contracts, an effort the VA says is intended to modernize its operations.
That's actually a decrease from the $3.5 billion the VA currently spends in IT. A new program called Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology, or T4, is changing the way the VA acquires technology, moving away from blanket contracts that General Services Administration negotiates with tech vendors and now doing its own purchasing.
The VA has canceled several IT projects lately that have fallen short of exceptions, including a recent $500 million project intended to modernize financial management systems. At the same time, the agency is hiring IT workers, with 200 of the 1,200 IT jobs being advertised by the federal government belonging to VA-related positions.
Businesses big and small may come to regret not making a bigger effort to keep IT workers happy during the tough economic times that have rocked the tech sector the past 12 -24 months. As the economic outlook starts to improve, IT workers may end up seeking greener pastures elsewhere.
Or so says a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive. Harris pinged 4,367 tech workers in the second quarter of 2010, with 241 of them directly involved in IT operations. Out of those surveyed, 61 percent of IT workers making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year said they are "likely" to look for a new job within the next year. And of those making over $75,000 annually, 36 percent said they are "likely" to jump ship.
"In some areas, salaries were cut or certainly salary increases were suspended," said Sean Ebner, a regional vice president at Technisource.
At the same time, just 27 percent of IT workers making between $35,000 and $50,000 said that they expect more jobs will open up in the next 12 months.
Motorola managed to find a company willing to purchase its wireless network business, and that company is Nokia Siemens, who has agreed to cough up $1.2 billion for it, the two companies announced this week.
"This is an exciting acquisition that I believe has significant benefits for customers, employees and our shareholders," said Rajeev Suri, Chief Executive Officer of Nokia Siemens Networks. "Motorola’s current customers will continue to get world-class support for their installed base and a clear path for transitioning to next generation technologies while employees will join an industry leader with global scale and reach. Nokia Siemens Networks will see the benefits of a deal that is expected to enhance profitability and cash-flow and to have significant upside potential."
The deal nets Nokia around 50 more customers, while also strengthening its position with China Mobile, Clearwire, KDDI, Sprint, Verizon, and Vodafone, Nokia said.
As part of the deal, Motorola will shuttle about 7,500 employees to Nokia, including large research and development sites in the U.S., China, and India.
Now, Dell’s Kace subsidiary is offering a “virtualized and contained” version of Firefox 3.6 (with Adobe Reader and Flash plugins) called the Secure Browser. According to the company, the Secure Browser provides a safer web experience by limiting all malicious downloads and hostile changes within the sandbox, effectively shielding the operating system from such threats.
An unnamed tipster quoted by Foley revealed: “KittyHawk is targeting the corporate guy with some Excel/Access savvy. It is a drag and drop, template-driven, visual designer….It’s not code-based, but you can write code if you want to.” The report further suggests that it will produce Silverlight 4.0 and XAML code.