1 Deloitte Consulting LLP New York, NY 2 Booz Allen Hamilton Mclean, VA 3 Clarkston Consulting Durham, NC 4 Smartronix, Inc. Hollywood, MD 5 Accenture (IT Consulting) New York, NY 6 Cognizant Teaneck, NJ 7 Capgemini Paris, France 8 Infosys Consulting Inc. Fremont, CA 9 Wipro Consulting Services Bangalore, India 10 Perficient Austin, TX 11 McKinsey & Company New York, NY 12 IBM Global Technology Services Armonk, NY 13 Gartner, Inc. Stamford, CT 14 Oracle Consulting Redwood City, CA 15 Cisco Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA 16 Lockheed Martin Corporation Bethesda, MD 17 Northrop Grumman Corporation Los Angeles, CA 18 SAP Services Newtown Square, PA 19 Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc. 20 P Services Palo Alto, CA 21 Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) 22 Siemens IT Solutions and Services, Inc. Norwalk, CT 23 General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. Fairfax, VA 24 Computer Sciences Corporation Falls Church, VA 25 Unisys Blue Bell, PA]]>
I know. The real Facebook problems have to do with privacy, as described in an article Dave Winer wrote on Scripting News, headlined Facebook is scaring me.
My wife’s average Facebook friend has no idea what Winer is talking about in that article. I’m sure hardly any of them have followed this Hacker News conversation, either.
Expecting consistency but not getting it
Unsophisticated computer and Internet users, which is the vast majority of them, have no idea what happens behind the monitor screen to make all the technology work. They know that if they push a particular key something will happen, and they are puzzled if they push that key and it doesn’t. In recent weeks Facebook has given them many surprises, including the puzzling Timeline feature that is now in beta.
Facebook has always had a little “game of chance” flavor to it. When you log on, will you see post highlights or the most recent posts from your friends? Will there be a chat window obscuring part of your page, that you need to “X” to get rid of — not because you don’t like that person, but because you don’t want to chat right now?
It’s endless. And the recent visible changes, not to mention the privacy stuff, can make your head spin even if you are a long-time, sophisticated computer user.
The message is: give your users a consistent interface
Let’s say that again: give your users a consistent interface. Sure, it might be more elegant in a technical sense if you change a bunch of your keyboard short cuts or make other changes in the way users interact with your software. But the confusion you throw at your users with those changes will puzzle them more than the changes are worth — at least from their standpoint.
You can and should have complete instructions available in clear Human language. Indeed, Facebook has a complete HELP CENTER full of instructions on how to use Facebook as efficiently as possible, including how to best use the available privacy settings. But do you really think my sister-in-law who always posts ALL CAPS is going to read or follow those instructions?
The user HELP button Facebook really needs right now is one that says (and means) MAKE THINGS LIKE THEY USED TO BE.
When you come out with new versions of your software, will your users need something similar? If so, you’d better give it to them. The sad fact is, if you ask them to learn a massively-changed new interface, why shouldn’t they try the competition instead? In the case of Facebook, that would be Google+, which has opened to the general public at almost exactly the same time Facebook has decided to puzzle that same general public with confusing interface changes.
Maybe Facebook can afford to alienate (and probably lose) millions of users because of inept UI changes. You can’t. So learn from Facebook’s mistakes and do not duplicate them!]]>
Cindy mentioned this specifically as a potential Gmail feature, but wouldn’t it be just as handy in Thunderbird or Outlook? Worth a thought or two, for sure.
Bruce Burke of Gulf Bay Consulting wrote:
“Communication Preferences” would be an excellent piece of integration in today’s smartphones & tablets…
DH, whose name and employer we’d better withhold (in order to protect her job), says what we need is Boss Alert, which would be “a way to back-date files when you need to hide the fact you didn’t start on something when you should have because you forgot (or were sloughing)?”
Well, hmmph! You don’t need this and neither do I, because our noses are so close to the grindstone that they’re a full inch shorter than they were when we got out of high school. But we have friends and relatives who are… not so much, let’s say.
Surely some smart programmer has already come up with something like this. If you’re that programmer, please share it with the world!
From Deanne Hollins of Main Street Public Relations:
However, this would be my dream email client:
There was a time when Eudora held the lead and we had fierce competition in email design, but no longer. It’s time for email to catch up with today’s busy, socially-active and Internet savvy users!
Please rescue me from email Hell!
Kids may be abandoning email — opting instead for chat and Facebook; however, small businesses still need email. I would pay $50 (maybe more) to purchase this program!
And Bill Horne, of William Warren Consulting, writes:
Bill also says:
Some of the other suggestions I got were for programs that already exist, and I’ve pointed the people who suggested those programs to the existing ones by email — which brings up the thought that a large percentage of what people want seem to be email improvements.
I’m personally thinking that it may be time for me to ditch Thunderbird, which has been my primary email client for many years, for Gmail before long. I don’t dislike Thunderbird, but Google’s Chrome browser has me spoiled. I have computers running Linux, Windows and Mac OS on my desk, and I love the way Chrome synchronizes across them all without any effort on my part. I would love to have the same thing happen with my email, and so far Gmail seems to be the only way to get that to happen.
Does this mean Google is gradually taking over my life? Should I be scared of this ever-encroaching behemoth? Perhaps I should. And perhaps I’ll look for an alternative to Gmail before turning my innermost communications over to it.
Perhaps the Eudora Open Source Edition will make me happy. It’s based on Thunderbird, so it shouldn’t be alien to me, and it’s available for all three OSes I use. Hmm. Guess I’ll give it a try, anyway.]]>
Hosting service Siteground has a comparison between Joomla and vTiger. They seem to think that with the exception of a few upgrade problems in the previous version, vTiger is somewhat easier to use than SugarCRM — which is to be expected, since vTiger is a SugarCRM fork whose goal is better usability.
As I write this, the person with the original email question has vTiger running in a virtual machine and says it does everything he needs done, and then some.
Oh – FYI: there are plenty of commercial CRM and CMS packages out there, but everyone I know seems to use FOSS CRM and CMS applications and is happy with them.]]>
Alan admits his “trust no one” attitude comes from his New Jersey upbringing and is not common among his Indianapolis neighbors and coworkers. But the essence of computer security is forethought mixed with paranoia. Rather than protecting against what miscreants have done in the past, you must think about what they might do in the future.
Realize, too, that all good things must come to an end. The person you hire today will sooner or later move to another job or retire or even die in the saddle, leaving all his home office desk and all the papers in it (including your corporate passwords) to his nephew who has felony convictions in five states. Or your company may suffer business reverses one day and be forced to let your new hire go.
Think pre-nup. Everything is lovey-dovey today, but will everything be lovey-dovey 10 years from now? We have no way of knowing.
What we do know, however, is that by having security access policies in place, and following them, we can minimize the risk of disgruntled ex-employees sabotaging our IT infrastructure. And rule number one for doing this is to give people only as much access as they need to do their jobs. Alan says he’s not just talking about passwords, but that “key code access to server rooms and external access to IT systems should be limited only to those who absolutely need these privileges.”
He also says:
Fast-forward nine years
Why nine years? Why not? Anyway, a good long time after hiring, your no-longer-new person may starting coming back from lunch with the smell of liquor on his breath. At the same time, changes in your business make his skills less valuable than they once were, and he has made no effort to learn new ones.
It’s time to say, “Hit the road, Jack.”
But before you say that (or even start humming the famous Ray Charles song), you need to alert IT personnel — especially management — about the impending departure. In confidence. And, Alan says, you need to review “all of the company systems the employee has access to. Make a check list of the affected systems and require a confirmation of action once the employee leaves.”
The check list is important, because forgetting one key or a single obscure password can ruin the rest of your careful security preservation work. And your termination checklist should cover all employees in order to protect yourself from termination-based lawsuits — which might be frivolous, but can still be expensive and should be avoided whenever and however possible. “Consistent policies,” right?
Here’s Alan’s basic “time of departure” checklist:
Alan says that if you learn nothing else from what he’s said here, you should remember two main points:
These are five advice/forum sites I personally found interesting and potentially useful. Hit Google with the search term “IT Career Advice” and you’ll find thousands more.
If you’re unemployed and looking, or you’re in a job you don’t think is going to last, you should look through at least the first few pages of those Google links. If even a few of them teach you something, your time will not be wasted.]]>
That is better than almost any other set of job categories the federal government tracks, besides nursing home aides and other bottom-of-the-food-chain health care workers who don’t get living wages.
Foote goes on to point out:
There’s a down side, too:
So the Verizon strike is screwing things up, but even without it the sectors mentioned above have been bleeding jobs — except that they really haven’t been.
Specifically, David Foote says:
So more work is going offshore, as has been the case for a number of years, now, a trend likely to continue until our government smartens up and levies hefty tariffs on all imports, including services and intellectual property.
But there is also more work being done by consultants and contractors, one or the other of which you may want to become. Or, if your corporate IT job is looking a little insecure but you don’t want to go off on your own, you may want to look for work with managed services or cloud computing providers. Things seem to be looking up for them.
In any case, while our economy is certainly in a shambles, IT people are less shambley than almost anyone else. It’s a time to count blessings and either hunker down in the jobs we have or, if those jobs are likely to go away, start our own businesses or very smart, highly-targeted job searches.]]>
Conversely, Diann’s article quotes a person-in-the-know who says, “hiring managers are especially focused on recruiting those with specific Healthcare vendor experience, such as Epic, Cerner, or Meditech.”
Instead of saying one is right and the other is wrong, I’m going to duck — and say the difficulty of finding a Healthcare IT job depends on so many factors that we might as well say, “It depends” and leave it at that.
Except we might want to read this article I wrote back in May, 2011: ‘I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help You Find a Job in Health Care IT’.
The thing is, yes, there are specific courses and certificates for Healthcare IT springing up all over the place. Combine any of them with strong general IT experience, and you should be a Healthcare IT shoe-in. Note too, that if Joanne’s view of the industry is correct, any solid IT experience — especially with security, due to HIPAA — should land you a decent Healthcare IT job.
And once inside the HealthCare IT garden, Diann’s sources and Joanne’s sources agree with almost everyone else in the business, you are good to go for many years to come.]]>