Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

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.

December 27, 2007  12:56 AM

Overheard: Chaos theory, Google and the weather

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
gregrae.jpg “Many scientists believe that twentieth century science will be known for only three theories: relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos.”

Greg Rae, Chaos Theory: A Brief Introduction

I moved to Mountain View, after finding employment at Google. I analyze the logs. That might not sound like much, until you realize that we got tens of gigabytes of logs. Every day. Not many people get to deal with the intricacies of dealing with terabytes of data. (Greg Rae)

December 26, 2007  8:14 PM

Quiz: Who’s sorry now? Apologies from 2007

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.”
Tryon Edwards

1. In 2007, Comcast apologized for:
a. unsatisfactory customer service
b. favoring conservative news shows in their programming lineup

2. Sony apologized for:
a. a humanoid robot that made obscene gestures to museum visitors
b. a freshly-slain goat centerpiece at a Greek orgy

3. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce apologized for:
a. repeatedly sending faxes with sensitive customer data to a U.S. junkyard
b. issuing Canadian Tire Money (cash coupons) instead of legal tender

4. Apple apologized for:
a. making a third-grader run to her room and slam the door
b. making iPhone customers have to use AT&T

5. Intel apologized for a print ad featuring six sprinters because:
a. the ad was considered to be racist
b. the ad infringed upon Sprint Nextel’s brand

6. Verizon apologized for:
a. inappropriately blocking free speech in text messaging
b. failing to hire anyone over the age of 40 for their TV commercials

7. Mark Zuckerberg apologized for:
a. mistakes in the design and deployment of a Facebook application
b. failing to protect Facebook member’s privacy

8. David Maynor apologized for:
a. hacking into the Mac OS X 10.4.6 operating system to demonstrate security holes
b. not telling Apple that he knew there were security holes

9. The CEO of TJX (TJ Maxx and Marshalls) apologized for:
a. using faulty third-party software for gift cards
b. the biggest data breach in history

10. Skype apologized for:
a. a major outage that left 220 million users unable to make VoIP phone calls
b. a software glitch that caused 220 million users to hear echos when they talked on the phone

December 26, 2007  2:08 PM

Overheard: Computing at the speed of light

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
lightening_006.jpg “Computers that operate at the speed of light have come a step closer. Researchers have devised a light-based transistor made of semiconducting nanowires that could be a key building block of machines that are hundreds of times faster than today’s supercomputers.”

Saswato Das, Speed-of-light computing comes a step closer

December 24, 2007  11:13 AM

Overheard: Why NORAD started tracking Santa back in 1955

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
santa.jpg “It was more than half a century ago, on Christmas Eve in 1955, that a Sears Roebuck & Co. store in Colorado Springs advertised a special hotline number for kids to call Santa.What the company didn’t know at the time was that they had inadvertently misprinted the telephone number.

Instead of Santa’s workshop, the phone number put kids through to NORAD…Worse, it wasn’t just any number at NORAD: it was the commander-in-chief’s operations hotline.”

Carrie Farrell, Tracking Santa, then and now

This is a great story — Carrie’s grandfather was the commander-in-chief who got the calls. To get directions for how to follow Santa this year using Google Earth, follow Carrie’s link above.

December 23, 2007  1:40 AM

Overheard: When the big box from HP arrived, it was like Christmas

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
kyle_rankin.jpg “Whenever I get to open up brand-new cutting-edge gear, it feels a little like Christmas for me. The crinkle of plastic, that crisp electronics smell, the unscratched metal–it’s a data center manager holiday. So, last December, when I started the installation of thirty-two blade servers in our new facility it was Christmas morning all over again.”

Kyle Rankin, No assembly required: How I lost two days in the data center

I’m hoping for a little box from HP this year.

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