CIO Symmetry

A SearchCIO Small Business blog


May 16, 2008  1:58 PM

Weekly Wrap-Up



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, Weekly Wrap-Up

What we did this week:

Ruminated on the awesomeness of Gmail.

Reconsidered that computer science degree.

Maybe we could even pick it up at Bryant University.

What we’re doing this weekend:

Looking for hard objects to throw at Eric Gagne upon his return to Fenway. Seriously, we managed a World Series win despite this guy’s craptastic pitching for the last months of the season. Dude, didn’t I see your name in the Mitchell Report?

Praying for just one road win.

May 13, 2008  8:19 PM

Anybody want a free Wi-Fi network?



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO

A few weeks ago I wrote on the site about the attempts to set up a Wi-Fi network across four square miles of downtown Augusta, Ga.

The story addressed the challenges – increasingly appearing insurmountable – to municipalities trying to employ this trend.

It boils down to service providers not seeing an ROI in partnering with a city for the opportunity to provide a service already provided to residents on an individual basis. And now that wireless access cards let laptop users connect to the Internet while sitting just outside a cornfield (I’ve done this), there’s not much need to pay for access to a network still limited to a city’s borders.

So the attempts have fallen, one at a time. Today we can add Philadelphia to the municipal Wi-Fi graveyard. Earthlink is pulling out of its Wi-Fi plans there, leaving behind a $17 million network nobody wants.

What a nightmarish proposition for a city CIO. As if it wasn’t already hard enough to run IT in a municipality. Equipment is old, city employees are underqualified and infrastructure is crumbling. Cities and towns sit at the bottom of the tax food chain. Think your budget’s tight now? Try running “computer services,” as the department is inevitably called.

Combine that mess with a clueless mayor scrambling for quick, easy press (“He’s making computers work everywhere! How progressive!”) and you’ve got a situation that would make any IT employee bury head in hands.

I wish the city of Augusta all the best. Limiting the network to downtown was a big step in the right direction. It doesn’t help garner votes, but it does make the project more realistic.


May 13, 2008  5:26 PM

New Firefox browser nearing release



Posted by: Roger Crawford
Best Practices, CIO, Firefox, Midmarket CIO, Mozilla, new products, Strategy for CIOs, Web surfing

Mozilla has announced that Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is scheduled for the end of May. A code freeze was implemented late last week, forcing programmers to scramble to make last-minute changes and stomp out any bugs that still exist.

Release candidates are typically the final stages of development before the new software is pushed out to users.

The latest beta version – Firefox Beta 3.5 – was released in early April and, in my experience, the results of that version weren’t exactly stellar.

Techworld notes that Mark Schroepfer, vice president of engineering, posted to Mozilla’s development blog this weekend, “The release candidates will move a little slower than beta.” The reason, according to Techworld, is because of “the need to account for more public feedback than with earlier builds.”

Or, as one friend posted succinctly to his Twitter stream: “Firefox 3 beta 5 = fail.”

I wonder if Schroepfer saw a lot of that and decided to urge his company into a more cautious route.

Personally, I’m still a Beta or two behind 5. But even the Firefox 3 beta that I use to surf the Interwebs daily is a little buggy. From time to time it freezes or just decides to shut down on its own. That said, I’m a lot happier with my latest version instead of Firefox 2, which routinely froze and forced me to reset my user preferences: Losing my bookmarks and history several times a day got old quickly.

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May 12, 2008  3:15 PM

Facebook CTO changes employment status on Facebook profile



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, Web 2.0

Facebook’s CTO is out the door. And, soon-to-come IPO goldmine aside, who could blame him?

The news broke last night, courtesy of blogs BoomTown and VentureBeat. Seems there are plenty of reasons for Adam D’Angelo to leave (or was he canned?). Let’s list them:

  1. He’s 23. With his talents and resumé, why should D’Angelo hang around Facebook if it isn’t the perfect job for him?
  2. He’s 23. Talent aside, he just might be too young for a job. Facebook Inc., by our measurements at least, is probably a midmarket company. But the popularity and tech needs of Facebook make it more of a large enterprise, at least from a CIO/CTO perspective. The company just took on another $100 million in debt to buy servers and other infrastructure. D’Angelo is talented. But some situations require experience. This is one of them. (So is being president of the United States, but don’t try to tell that to my Obama-fawning lib neighbors in Cambridge).
  3. Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t mean to make assumptions, but the general storyline with Facebook CEO Zuckerberg is he maybe, sorta, kinda is tough to work with. I know people were all over BusinessWeek reporter Sarah Lacy for bombing her South by Southwest interview of Zuckerberg in March. And, granted, I would have taken a different interview approach. But Zuckerberg decided to capitalize on Lacey’s downward spiral with an aloof, too-cool-for-school attitude that was more spoiled brat than legitimately successful CEO. The Twitter crowd at the interview was enthused, as Twitter users are almost exclusively spoiled brats.
  4. Mark Zuckerberg. Again, don’t know the guy, but the consistent meme about Facebook is “You do the work, Zuckerberg gets the glory.” Seeing as D’Angelo is really good at doing really good work, maybe that gets a bit frustrating.
  5. Facebook is renaming and redistributing the CTO role to vice president of engineering. What that means is unclear, but what it shows is that Facebook is a company in flux. Things are going to change, quickly. If Facebook isn’t the right fit for D’Angelo, now is the right time to leave.


May 12, 2008  3:10 PM

MSM Monday Roundup



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, MSM, Weekly Wrap-Up

Commencements are under way. No hotel rooms in Boston. No bother, all we can think about is technology news: 

Programmer’s Guild psyched to teach American lawyers about the evils of H-1B.

Word’s getting around that the feds can’t just take data without a warrant. Bush counts days, couldn’t care less. 

Neil Young keynotes at JavaOne. Even dresses up for the occasion. 

Military accidentally buys $3.5 million in bogus networking equipment. Next, skimping on safety. Oh, wait… 


May 9, 2008  12:36 PM

Weekly Wrap-Up



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, Weekly Wrap-Up

What we did this week:

Offered to buy Business ByDesign if SAP pays us.

Tried to figure out why we should buy Business ByDesign if it just became cheaper and easier to buy Business All-in-One.

Scoured land records for our new data center location. Why don’t I own THAT one!?!

What we’re doing this weekend:

Reading The Shamrock Headband so we don’t sound stupid when talking about the Celtics.

Watching that guy from King of Queens do his standup thing.


May 7, 2008  6:53 PM

Will a Chief Blogging Officer get a Golden Parachute?



Posted by: Roger Crawford
Blogs, Chief Blogging Officer, CIO, Midmarket CIO, Web 2.0

 Excellent little news blurb on HealthLeaders Media this morning: “Chief Blogging Officer title catching on with corporations.”


Chief Blogging Officer.

Ok, one more time: Chief Blogging Officer.

The press release notes that more than 11 percent of Fortune 500 companies have blogs. Some of those Fortune 500s – Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak are those mentioned by name – have chief bloggers. The main role of the King of The Blog (my name, not theirs) is to promote a brand voice and engage customers.

I have a couple questions for these companies, though: Is this a legit C-level job? How far would the parking spot be from the door? What’s the number on the golden parachute you’re prepared to offer? And, most importantly, are you using WordPress or Blogger?

What kind of negotiation leverage does a potential Chief Blogging Officer have at a company like Coca-Cola? Would the number of days he or she be allowed to wear sandals and shorts in the office have to be predetermined? Would there be a discount on Coke bottle glasses? How would Coke feel about the copious amounts of Mountain Dew the King of the Blog would likely drink?

And what about Kodak? Would the KotB’s Flikr stream or Photobucket account have to be shut down? And, besides, who uses film anymore these days? I certainly wouldn’t trade in my point-and-shoot digital for film. Please. I don’t care if I’m capturing the Moments of Your Life if I have to wait for them to be developed – I’m the King of the Blog; I’ve got a deadline to meet. And the only thing that is going to bring this Kodak-branded blogpost together is a picture of a monkey smoking a cigarette!

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Marriott. Oh, Marriott. You might have the biggest bargaining chip on the table:

Marriot: We’re a hotel chain, you know.

Potential King of the Blog: OK. So you want to know about my experience with hotels?

M: No. What we’re offering you is a place to live for free that isn’t in your parents’ basement.

PKotB: Deal!

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I decided to check out these corporate-sponsored blogs. The Coca-Cola blog’s latest story focuses on finding the Coke logo on postcards. Gee, all this logo hunting sure is making me thirsty…

The Kodak blog isn’t quite as straightforward in pushing its agenda. One of the most recent posts is a story written by Steve DiLullo, and he chats about a recent cruise he took. Throughout, there are some pretty sharp-looking images that Steve, apparently, took on his own. But, lo and behold, the digital camera Steve brought is pretty “hydrophobic.” Fortunately, Kodak makes a waterproof disposable!

Bill Marriott himself wrote the most recent post for the hotel chain. Bill Marriot? CEO and KoTB? There’s got to be some sort of conflict of interest going on there. His May 1 post talks about how awesome the Marriott hotels are because of the history that’s occurred in them. Well, FDR didn’t actually have his inaugural ball in a Marriott in the 1930s, but the company did purchase the hotel that happened in. That’s got to count for something, right?

These blogs are accomplishing the goals they set out with: promote the brand, establish a voice and engage customers. In fact, Mr. Marriott’s blog (that’s how the commenters address Bill) garners between three and five thoughts and comments per post. Not bad, especially when you consider that all of them talk about how great his hotels are.

(Apparently the people who frequent these sites don’t realize that comments on blogs are supposed to be inflammatory and debasing. But that’d never happen on a huge corporation’s site since everyone in the world loves big companies.)

What Coca-Cola, Kodak and Marriott are failing to realize – or maybe they realize it and just plow on ahead anyway – is that these posts are as transparent as my ex-girlfriend. When you’re trying to establish yourself in a Web 2.0 or social networking environment, the question readers and users are first going to ask is: What is this new person bringing to the table? If you’ve got an idea to share, a story to tell or an insightful comment to make, chances are good you’ll be accepted there. But if the aim is to pushing a product or mine users for market research, you’ll get sniffed out pretty quickly.

That is, of course, the exact opposite from our mission here at CIO Symmetry. (By the way, for the latest news and trends happening in the midmarket, check out SearchCIO-Midmarket.com!)

 


May 6, 2008  4:42 PM

CIO blogs lift us up where we belong…



Posted by: Roger Crawford
Best Practices, Blogs, CIO, Midmarket CIO, Web 2.0

We often kick around the idea here whether or not CIOs are reading blogs. It’s a friendly argument, but we haven’t been able to come to a conclusive decision yet. So, as I surf through my Google News updates and through my RSS readers, I always keep looking for those elusive CIO blogs that’ll prove the point that, yes, you are reading – and even writing – blogs.

This morning I happened onto a real gem. CTO/CIO perspectives is written by Peter Kretzman. Kretzman describes himself as an information technology and online industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in the business.

His blog, his about me page notes, covers “broad topics of interest to senior executives, giving the CTO/CIO perspective on such things as working as a member of a company’s executive team, how to focus product and application development, enhance and maintain world-class operations, and the care and feeding of technical staff.”

Yesterday as I was surfing the vast Interwebs for any and everything CIO related, I came across Joel Dehlin’s blog. Dehlin is the CIO for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also maintains, what seems to be, an active and popular blog. While Dehlin doesn’t confine his blog space to just the latest and greatest CIO news – he does tell personal anecdotes, but I haven’t found any pictures of his pets on the site, yet – he does touch on CIO issues from time to time.

What most interests me about Dehlin’s and Kretzman’s writing is that both obviously have technical experience and could easily get mired down by the nuts-and-bolts type of discussions that may be relevant to only a handful of people. Instead, both made the conscious decision to write about common information technology issues and offer real-life antecdotes to make the whole a little easier to swallow and have a more general appeal. Their writing styles are straightforward and charming in their desire to help their fellow readers.

So, at least for today, I win this argument. CIOs are writing blogs. And you’re reading them, too, as the comments on these blogs can attest. Well done, my midmarket CIOs. It’s like an unexpected gift or a lollypop at the end of a doctor’s appointment.

Since you’ve exceeded my expectations today, I give you Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes:

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May 5, 2008  1:01 PM

MSM Monday RoundUp



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, Weekly Wrap-Up

So this is the mainstream media Monday roundup. And Fridays, that’s when we post the weekly wrapup. See what I did there?

Shipping out from Boston:

All this year he looks at it! Finally he should come to his senses!

Some dude in Nigeria celebrates 30 years of ripping off the elderly.

Security experts might want to polish up their resumes.

HP geniuses discover new computing element. Will Hunting somehow not involved.

Castro’s brother lets everyone in on his Minesweeper addiction.


May 2, 2008  12:23 PM

Weekly Wrap-Up



Posted by: The Weave
CIO, Midmarket CIO, Weekly Wrap-Up

What we did this week:

Dug in on mobile computing and pretty much freaked out that iPhone might go down to $199.

Brought our laptops to the Masters.

Watched Congress do what they do best. Nothing.

Finally returned that copy of Tropic of Cancer we checked out 37 years ago.

What we’re doing this weekend:

Playing final Jeopardy to our heart’s content.

Brushing up on our Mint Julep recipes.


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