Overheard: Word of the Day


January 1, 2008  6:33 PM

Career horoscope: Scorpio 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Scorpio, the scorpion
Your 2008 keyword is scalability

Scorpio, your astrological position at work this year is that of high-priced consultant. Your single-minded passion for a particular aspect of technology provides you with the ability to demand big bucks. The challenge will be to reach out to the right audience.

Last year you may have been so involved in the details of the business at hand that you failed to see the big picture change around you. You will need to make some changes and extend yourself a bit if you want to dramatically increase your earning power. The potential is there.

You will learn the most from people outside your immediate profession. It is to your advantage to join groups or attend events where you can learn more about how your job relates to the industry as a whole. In 2007 you demonstrated the ability to see things from other people’s point of view in your personal life. Now is the time to maximize use of that talent in your professional life.

Your success in 2008 depends upon understanding what others need. This may be difficult, because you secretly wish everyone would just go away and let you get on with your work. If you want monetary compensation, however, you’ll need to demonstrate work habits that shout competence. If you decide not to play by the world’s rules, expect little in the way of financial compensation.

Even if you are simply content to do your job and have no desire to go after the almighty dollar, you will feel the need to enrich your soul this year. Look for places where you can speak. Volunteer to lead a conference session or become an organizer for an online forum. You need to feel appreciated and you have many gifts to offer others. Make the effort to pay it forward. You’ll be glad you did.

Your keyword for 2008 is scalability. Yes, you can continue your narrow focus and maintain the status quo, but you also have the chance to scale things out and reap incredible rewards, both monetary and personal. No other sign has the ability to make such a dramatic change in their professional life. The decision to remain in the small pond or move on up to the big one is totally up to you.

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January 1, 2008  5:36 PM

Career horoscope: Libra 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Libra, the balance
Your 2008 keyword is data analytics

Libra, your astrological position at work this year is tech support. Your charm and good listening skills make you a valuable resource for co-workers who need counsel. In 2008, you will reconnect with past dreams and hopes and finally begin to listen to your own advice.

Last year you may have struggled with what you perceived to be a poor return on your investment. A project close to your heart may have ended abruptly or may not have received the praise you felt it deserved. The world as you knew it might even have changed dramatically, through no fault of your own. In the coming year, you will make positive, practical changes to recapture what you have lost.

In 2008, your success depends on your willingness to take off your rose-colored glasses and look at the world as others see it. This may be difficult, even painful at times, but it’s necessary. You will need to crunch numbers and count beans. By being more analytical and less self-critical, you will find success and gain the admiration you desire.

This is a good time to think about changing assignments or perhaps even changing jobs. Although you may be afraid of more change, remember that change you initiate on your own can be empowering. Think about where you want to be five years from now and then start making a mental map for how to get there. Don’t be afraid of trying something new or stretching yourself beyond your limits. This year, as long as you keep an eye on the bottom line, you cannot fail.

Your keyword in 2008 is data analytics. Become your own ROI specialist and build on your strengths. As you expand your skill set this year, take time to think about long-term goals. Work the job you’ve imagined.

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January 1, 2008  4:48 PM

Career horoscope: Virgo 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Virgo, the maiden
Your 2008 keyword is change management

Virgo, your astrological position at work this year is that of project manager. Your sense of order, attention to detail and precise work habits make you the perfect person to keep projects focused so they come in on time. In 2008, a project that was undertaken some time ago will require your attention once again. This time around, you will make some changes in how work gets done.

Last year was filled with extra responsibilities. You may have been asked to pick up the slack when someone else stumbled or you may have been stressed out by things that were not in your control. Although you coped gracefully, you probably wish others would start to carry their own weight.

This year you discover you have the power to decide whether you should invest emotionally in a project — and you become pickier about how far you are willing to go to turn straw into gold. This is surprising for Virgo, for you are a perfectionist. Although at first it might seem to some that you are being “less than perfect,” stick to your guns. Others have become so used to your handling everything, that it will take time for them to adjust their steps now that you are changing the dance. Be diplomatic, but resist the temptation to jump in and rescue them.

Your success in 2008 depends upon your approach to learning new things. Remember when you were a kid and you learned to ride a bike? You didn’t care if you fell or got a little scraped up. You enjoyed every little bit of progress. The fun was in staying perfectly balanced a little longer each time. That attitude is what you need to recapture this year. Focus your attention on having fun and success will follow.

In 2008 your image will be important. What people perceive is what they believe — so as you step back to force others to step up, be aware of your appearance and manner. In order to remain credible, you need to look competent. Spend some guilt-free time and attention on maintaining appearances.

Your keyword this year is change management. By going with the flow a little more and rediscovering what makes work fun, you will help co-workers who are resistant to change. Lead them by example.

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January 1, 2008  3:51 PM

Career horoscope: Leo 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Leo, the lion
Your 2008 keyword is ROI

Leo, your astrological position this year is that of programmer. What does that mean? Well, this year you need to learn more about a concept called lean programming. It’s a paradigm that emphasizes optimizing efficiency. In 2008 you will find a new outlet for your talent and the changes you are about to go through require that you cut out any unnecessary wasted effort.

Last year you may have felt a little aimless. Perhaps your career goals were not focused or perhaps outside circumstances prevented you from reaping both personal and monetary rewards. 2008 will be a major turning point in your career.

This year you may move or even change jobs. Money will become an important focus — not so much for its own sake, but for what it will allow you to do. You may go back to school, attend a conference or get a new certification. You will meet new people that inspire you. Even if you decide to work from home, you will be surprised and delighted by the people you encounter online.

Your success in 2008 depends upon your ability to build in increments. If you are a list-maker, keep track of the steps you take. Those small steps pave the way for an incredible journey. Don’t worry so much about the destination. Where you end up might surprise you. Finally, you find a way to be creative on a daily basis and make money too!

2008 is a year to be practical. Cut out anything that does not support what you want out of life. Surround yourself with creative people who are financially competent. What you need to do this year is figure out whether you are utilizing your talents in a way that supports the lifestyle you want.

Your keyword this year is ROI. If you are not getting a good return on your investment of time and creativity, move on. You are especially efficient this year. You can have it all.

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January 1, 2008  1:01 PM

Career horoscope: Cancer 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Cancer, the crab
Your 2008 keyword is wiki

Cancer, your astrological position at work this year is advocate for the end user. While others focus on the bottom line, or how things work, you will be thinking about what people really need. Your attention will be focused on creating an environment that’s user-friendly. The catch is that you have to collaborate with others in order to do this.

Last year you may have begun a project with a lot of enthusiasm. When the inevitable bottlenecks presented themselves, however, you let them grind you down to a complete stop. This year, it’s important that you take another look and re-evaluate what really prevented you from achieving your goal. Perhaps the real bottleneck was you.

This year, remind yourself to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down in the details. It’s important to get the details right, but it’s even more important for you to reach the goal. You may have to give up some control to achieve this. Don’t worry. You will still have the last word.

Your success this year depends upon your ability to collaborate with others. This is not something that comes naturally. You are usually cautious about handing control over to someone else. In 2008, it will be important not only to ask for help, but also to accept help when it’s offered. You are going to need someone to open doors for you, because you’re going to have your hands full.

2008 will be a good year for travel. You will meet many new and interesting people who give you a new frame of reference. If you can’t hop on an airplane, hop online and talk to people living in different parts of the world. Someone in another country is going to play a big role in how you approach things.

Your keyword this year is wiki. Only through collaboration will you achieve your goals. If you can give up control and let others in, 2008 promises to be one of your best years ever. There’s a spotlight waiting with your name on it. Don’t leave anything unfinished.

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January 1, 2008  3:58 AM

Career horoscope: Gemini 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Gemini, the twins
Your 2008 keyword is mashup

Gemini, your astrological position at work this year is database manager. Your ability to be logical, keep track of details and recall information will make you the go-to person when answers are needed. In 2008, you will find yourself looking for ways to improve the bottom line, both at work and at home.

Last year you excelled at juggling multiple projects, although you probably wished you had more control over setting priorities. Not to worry. 2008 puts you back in the driver’s seat once again.

This year your vivid imagination will be directed towards fiscal matters and that alone will turn heads. Combine that with your ability to organize as well as communicate effectively and you’ve got a winning combination that will pay off in more than one way.

Your success depends upon your ability to differentiate yourself from your peers or competitors. You know this intuitively, but sometimes you refrain from outright competition. Before summer, you may want to talk to people you trust and ask them to articulate just what it is that makes your particular skills so valuable. This is not the time to be shy. You need this data. It is what will give you the ammo and confidence to move forward with a project close to your heart.

Before the close of 2008, you will be credited with inventing something. It may be a new way to perform a routine task or it may be a new product or service. Whatever it is, you will be the one to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and come up with a fresh, unique solution to a problem that’s been bugging everyone for years. Kudos!

Your keyword this year is mashup. You will be the one to put two plus two together and come up with whatever answer is needed. Your challenge will be to build group awareness so your ideas become mainstream. Your practicality, logic and insight into how money gets made should make this a banner year for you.  Just don’t forget to bang your own drum loudly.

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January 1, 2008  3:04 AM

Career horoscope: Taurus 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Taurus, the bull
Your 2008 keyword is SOA

Taurus, your astrological position at work this year is that of the systems architect. Your skills are in high demand, for you belong to a small group of people who are able to see the system as a whole. In 2008, you will be called upon once again to do your juggling act while helping others fight fires.

Last year may have left you exhausted and cynical. You were no doubt asked to focus your attention on tasks you didn’t sign up for. You may have been frustrated dealing with bottlenecks you had no control over. Perhaps you even began looking for another job.

This year you begin to realize that even though you can’t prevent the bottlenecks, you do have the power to change how much importance you place on them. If the system is functioning at an acceptable level, do you really need to beat yourself up over the small stuff? Your pride in your work makes you want to do everything perfectly. You tend to think in black and white. This year, learn to appreciate the shades of grey.

Your success in 2008 will depend on your ability to redirect your attention and trust in your own abilities. You have the power, don’t give it away. You don’t need to burn bridges, you simply need to be more open to letting others shoulder responsibilities. Think about outsourcing non-critical tasks. Look at third-party solutions with an open mind. Take time to look at what’s going on in the clouds. You really don’t have to do everything all by yourself.

2008 will be a good year for you to go after that advanced degree or certification. Or perhaps you will have the opportunity to do a workshop or conference session. When opportunities of this kind present themselves, jump on them. Channel your creativity into ideas that provide service to others. As you focus more on communicating your vision, you’ll reap rich rewards, both financial and spiritual. Your struggles in 2007 helped you develop a unique skill set that others need. Don’t discount how important this is.

Your keyword this year is service-oriented architecture. In 2008, you will thrive by helping others on your own terms. Be proactive about offering your help. You’ll find it extremely satisfying — and it will help put all the annoying small stuff in perspective.

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January 1, 2008  2:26 AM

Career horoscope: Aries 2008

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Aries, the ram
Your 2008 keyword is reboot

Aries, your astrological position at work this year is that of the event planner. What does this mean? It means that this year you will be bringing like-minded people together. Whether it’s putting together a meeting, training session, conference or making your presence known in a forum or wiki, you will play a vital role and be an important part of the human infrastructure.

Last year you experienced a personal awakening. It may have scared you and thrilled you at the same time. You’d gotten used to lying low.  Now it’s time to bring the right people together and show them what you know. In 2008, you will be living in the limelight and loving it.

This year you will refuse to settle for less than you deserve. You may be tired of waiting for higher ups or peers to show how much they value your skills and abilities. Dust off your resume and think about where you want to go next. A new opportunity may present itself right around your birthday. If you decide to stay where you are, some changes are going to have to be made. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you want.

Your success in 2008 depends upon your ability to stay balanced. You will have more energy and confidence than ever before, but you are not known for being patient and that may trip you up. If you feel the need to use those ram horns of yours to push things along, stop. Use the time the universe has given you to prepare for what is coming next. Above all, avoid taking on so much that you stress yourself out.

2008 will be a good year to learn more about social networking. Your keen insight into people and their motivations will help you weed through the hype and identify where the value really lies. This will be important as Web 2.0 applications and culture move into the enterprise. You have always been the first to say the emperor has no clothes. This year, shout it from the rooftops when you see it. Others will be too busy jumping on the bandwagon to notice on their own.

When you experience setbacks this year, don’t take them personally. Although you’re flying high, you’ll need to land occasionally and those setbacks are just the universe telling you to stop and refuel. That is why your keyword this year is reboot. When things start to get overwhelming, don’t be afraid to stop and shut down for a bit. Unlike 2007, you’ll never have trouble booting back up and staying on task. It’s going to be a great year, Aries!

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December 30, 2007  1:06 AM

Overheard: Technically speaking, I apologize

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
The nice thing about the New Year is getting to start over again. This will be the year when I stay on top of my inbox, am able to recover lost data in a snap, experience smooth upgrades and data migrations, think green and make smart hardware purchases. Sure, I may have screwed up in 2007 — but I’ve got a clean slate ahead in 2008.

On that note, here’s to all this year’s screwups — and the people who stepped up to the plate, accepted responsibility and apologized. Happy New Year!

1. Comcast
Comcast apologized for providing a Washington D.C. customer with an “unsatisfactory customer experience” when one of the company’s technicians fell asleep on the customer’s couch.
2. Michael Callahan
Yahoo executive VP and general counsel apologized for failing to inform the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the full circumstances under which Yahoo gave the Chinese government information about a specific user. The user happened to be a reporter.
3. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce issues several apologies this year, including one for repeatedly sending confidential faxes to a U.S. junkyard.
4. Sun Microsystems
Sun apologized for dissing its resellers after it promised massive discounts to customers using Sun’s own direct-sales site.
5. Sony
I don’t recall reading about any other company having to apologize for topless women at a party, slain goats or defiling a cathedral.
6. David Maynor
Hacker David Maynor apologized for not disclosing vulnerabilities to Apple before his public demonstration at last summer’s Black Hat conference.
7. Steve Jobs
When the price of an iPhone was slashed $200 in September, Steve Jobs apologized to all those people who camped out in June waiting for the initial (more expense) release.
8. Microsoft
Barry Goffe, Director Windows Vista Ultimate, apologized for not delivering the remaining Vista Ultimate Extras.
9. Verizon
Verizon apologized for violating free speech by blocking a pro-choice group from using one of it’s text messaging programs.
10. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg apologized for mistakes in the design and deployment of Beacon, an application that was supposed to let a Web site’s customers share purchases with their Facebook friends.
11. TJX
The CEO for Marshalls and TJ Maxx apologized for allowing credit data to be stolen from 45 million customers.
12. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
British PM Gordon Brown apologized for his government losing disks that contained sensitive data about 25 million British adults and children.
13. Steve Rubel
Blogger Stevel Rubel apologized to everyone at Ziff Davis Media for announcing on Twitter that he gets a free subscription to PC Magazine but throws it in the trash.
14. Facebook
Facebook apologized to a British member of Parliament for not believing a politician could have a lot of friends.
15. Intel
Intel apologized for a print ad featuring six male sprinters of color and a white guy wearing chinos. The ad was deemed racist but not sexist. Go figure.
16. RIM, 365 Main, Skype and Rackspace
RIM and Skype were among the many providers that apologized for outages this year.
17. Apple
Apple apologized to a third-grader and her mom for sending a less-than-gracious reply to the child’s first business letter.
18. Stephen Heller
Temp worker Stephen Heller apologized to Diebold for stealing 500 confidential memos and turning them over to the Oakland Press.
19. AMD
AMD apologized to investors for the company’s poor financial performance.
20. Yahoo
Yahoo apologized to bloggers in India for stealing recipes.


December 28, 2007  2:11 AM

Overheard: Quantum computing

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cat.gif “The fundamental unit of information in quantum computing (called a quantum bit or qubit), is not binary but rather more quaternary in nature, which differs radically from the laws of classical physics.”

Casey Kazan, The Quantum Future of Computing

A qubit can exist not only in a state corresponding to the logical state 0 or 1 as in a classical bit, but also in states corresponding to a blend or superposition of these classical states. In other words, a qubit can exist as a zero, a one, or simultaneously as both 0 and 1, with a numerical coefficient representing the probability for each state. This may seem counterintuitive because everyday phenomenon are governed by classical Newtonian physics, not quantum mechanics — which takes over at the atomic level.

Good explanation of quantum computing here from Cosmos Magazine.


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