Our Latest Discovery


March 2, 2009  1:56 PM

Closed-circuit TV “a high-tech Panopticon”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore
In The Guardian, Paul Lewis writes about Westminister’s CCTV system: “Using the latest remote technology, the cameras rotate 360 degrees, 365 days a year, providing a hi-tech version of what the 18th century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham conceived as the ‘Panopticon’ – a space where people can be constantly monitored but never know when they are being watched.”

I remember the Panopticon from Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. (Disclosure: I read it for a philosophy course.) Foulcault believed that the effect of the Panopticon — if not the precise design — was pervasive throughout modern culture.

From Wikipedia:
The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the “sentiment of an invisible omniscience.”

250px-Panopticon.jpg Bentham himself described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”

… Many modern prisons built today are built in a “podular” design influenced by the Panopticon design, in intent and basic organization if not in exact form. As compared to traditional “cellblock” designs, in which rectangular buildings contain tiers of cells one atop the other in front of a walkway along which correctional officers patrol, modern prisons are often decentralized and contain triangular or trapezoidal-shaped housing units known as “pods” or “modules” designed to hold between sixteen and fifty prisoners each. In these designs, cells are laid out in three or fewer tiers arrayed around either a central control station or a desk which affords a single correctional officer full view of all cells within either a 270° or 180° field of view (180° is considered a closer level of supervision). Control of cell doors, CCTV monitors, and communications are all conducted from the control station.

February 28, 2009  8:14 PM

Would a results-only work environment make you more productive?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Last Friday we featured results-only work environment (ROWE) as our word of the day and I felt stirring within me feelings I’d almost forgotten. Feelings of hope, glimmers of possibility. Maybe even sanity…  I was thinking back to the first of January, when I was inspired by a fresh new year and a fresh new approach to work and — dare I say it? — work/life balance. For some reason, the first week of January everything seemed to be going to heck in a handbasket. Crises to deal with, fires to put out and damage to control for one thing or another. And somehow, the fresh energy of the new year had gotten stale. But then I was writing about the ROWE and there it was again…

Here’s how Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson describe the ROWE to Tim Ferris:

In a ROWE, each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Currently, there are two authentic ROWEs—Fortune 100 retailer Best Buy Co, Inc. and J. A. Counter & Associates, a small brokerage firm in New Richmond, WI. At both organizations, the old rules that govern a traditional work environment—core hours, “face time,” pointless meetings, etc.—have been replaced by one rule: focus only on results.

Selling employees on the ROWE concept is not difficult. The issue is…

How to convince your boss

On their website, Ressler and Thompson have a pretty compelling list of reasons that your boss should be interested in giving the ROWE thing a try:

  • PRODUCTIVITY – Get more work from existing workforce now
  • RETENTION – Keep the talent you want; say goodbye to the talent that isn’t producing results
  • ATTRACTION – Be a magnet for the best talent from all generations
  • ELIMINATION OF WASTEFUL PRACTICES – Elimination of unnecessary tasks and processes; communication becomes more efficient and effective
  • A WORKFORCE THAT’S FLUID, FLEXIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE – Ability to perform in a more agile, 24/7 manner with clear, measurable goals for every employee
  • OPTIMIZATION OF SPACE – No need for 1:1 workspace requirements or hoteling programs
  • LIFE BALANCE FOR ALL – Environment that is inclusive and fair without the headache of managing a flexible work program
  • IMPROVED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT/MORALE/LOYALTY – Happy employees boost the bottom line, are more dedicated and produce better results
  • GO GREEN – Reduce your impact on the environment by creating a culture where everyone uses common sense about where they get work done – whether from home, a coffee shop or library. Wherever. Whenever.

Ok now, Tim Ferris is the guy that wrote The 4-Hour Work Week so he may take an especially rosy view. I have no illusions that I could do my current job in four hours a day — let alone four hours a week. Still, Ferris raises some good points and has some good advice. For example, he suggests that if you’re trying to talk your boss into a ROWE, you sell her on a trial period instead of a complete revolution. Theory is that’s all it’ll take to convince her of the benefits.

That said, well, here it is lateish on a Saturday afternoon. And I’m tying up loose ends for work, posting to my work blog. Thinking back, again, to New Year’s Day, when I was doing the exact same thing. But, to be honest, I’m kind of in the mood for it. Come Tuesday afternoon, I might not be. And which time am I likely to get more done? I can tell you, unequivocally, that I’m at least twice as productive when the stars align properly and I actually want to work. Especially if I don’t flog myself to sit like a lump in front of the keyboard when the energy just isn’t there but, instead, take a little time to recharge.

And now my memory wanders a few years further back. I was on the phone with Paul Gillin just before I signed my first contract with TechTarget. We were talking about what the terms of my contract, what I would be expected to accomplish. “And beyond that,” he said, “We don’t care what you do. You do the work and you manage your own time.” Eminently sensible, I thought.

Gillin went on to say that they had no issues with people working from home. Then he chuckled — and, Reader, it was an evil chuckle — and explained that giving people control of their own time was absolutely the way to get the most work out of them.


February 16, 2009  7:20 PM

Remote desktop software demos

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Here’s a collection of demo videos for various remote desktop software. Included are: Windows Remote Desktop, Apple Remote Desktop, CrossLoop, PC2ME, Jaadu VNC, GoToMyPC, pcAnywhere

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Here, alwaysmc2 demonstrates setup and use of Remote Desktop in Vista.

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On the Scoble Show, Tom Rolander demonstrates Cross Loop.

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David’s Tech Show features a demo of Apple Remote Desktop.

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Here, rgorgens demonstrates PC2ME, remote desktop software for the IPhone.

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Topuzz demonstrates Jaadu VNC for the iPhone.

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Get Connected host Mike Agerbo demonstrates GoToMyPC.

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Symantec’s Mike Baldwin explains some of the features and uses of pcAnywhere.

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February 9, 2009  2:03 PM

Welcome to Our Latest Discovery’s new home on IT Knowledge Exchange

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Here’s an introduction to our new digs from ITKE Community Manager Brent Sheets:

I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to some of our new blog features and also some of the features on IT Knowledge Exchange.

Instead of a long list of categories, we now have a tag cloud. Click any tag in the cloud to see all the posts on that topic. The tag cloud is dynamic: The more a tag is used, the larger and darker it will appear. So you can see at a glance which topics have more posts.

You’ll also notice we’ve integrated more of our related editorial content in the right sidebar. If you’re on a post about a specific topic and would like to know more about it, be sure to browse the links in the right sidebar.

We always appreciate your sharing our content on social networking sites and we’ve increased the number of bookmarking tools from four to forty-three. If you enjoy a post, feel free to share it with friends and colleagues.

Look near the top of the page and you’ll see a row of tabs. You can click the IT Blogs tab to find dozens of technology blogs, both user-generated and TechTarget editorial blogs. You can even request your own blog and start sharing your expertise with your peers.

There is also a tab labeled IT Answers. This is where you can ask your own IT question and have it seen by thousands of IT Knowledge Exchange members. Free registration allows you to pose your own IT question, browse thousands of IT answers or help out a fellow IT pro by answering a question.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to bookmark our new blog location and visit the IT Answers section on IT Knowledge Exchange.


January 25, 2009  4:28 PM

The Mac hits the quarter-century, going strong

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore
macintosh_128k_transparency.png Happy Birthday, Mac!  Yesterday was a big day for the Macintosh — 25 years old. Apple introduced the new computer on January 22, 1984 during the broadcast of Superbowl XVIII.

MG Siegler writes about the original Macintosh for Venture Beat:

It had a 9-inch black and white CRT screen and featured a 400 kB, single-sided 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. The price? $2,495, which in today’s dollars would have been well over $5,000.

The computer featured the signatures of the entire Apple Macintosh division molded inside the case. Those name include Raskin, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and many others.

The Mac specs also included:

  • Graphical user interface
  • Mouse
  • A built-in handhold on top
  • 128 kilobytes of RAM
  • 8 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor

Here’s the commercial that started it all…

[kml_flashembed movie="http://ca.youtube.com/v/OYecfV3ubP8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


January 14, 2009  7:26 AM

IPv6 addresses – how many is that in numbers?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

IPv6 is our Word of the Day today. The big difference between it andIPv4 is the increase in address space. IPv4 addresses are 32 bits; IPv6 addresses are 128 bits. That’s a lot more, for sure, but what does it look like in numbers? What could we compare it to in real-world terms?

DevDevin did the math:

How many IP addresses does IPv6 support? Well, without knowing the exact implementation details, we can get a rough estimate based on the fact that it uses 128 bits. So 2 to the power of 128 ends up being 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique IP addresses.

How do you say that, though?  340 trillion, 282 billion, 366 million, 920 thousand, 938 — followed by 24 zeroes.  There’s no short way to say it in numbers without resorting to math. 

Here’s how Wikipedia expresses it:

The very large IPv6 address space supports a total of 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses – or approximately 5×1028 (roughly 295) addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion (6.5×109) people alive today. In a different perspective, this is 252 addresses for every observable star in the known universe.

 Steve Leibson takes a shot at putting it in real world terms. It’s big — grains of sand don’t even enter into it. No, he’s got to take it to the atomic level. Here’s his conclusion:

So we could assign an IPV6 address to EVERY ATOM ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH, and still have enough addresses left to do another 100+ earths. It isn’t remotely likely that we’ll run out of IPV6 addresses at any time in the future.

Rob Elamb takes a shot at expressing the number of possible IPv6 addresses in words:

First of all, he’s more precise with his numbers: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456

And he shows us how to say it:

340- undecillion
282- decillion
366- nonillion
920- octillion
938- septillion
463- sextillion
463- quintillion
374- quadrillion
607- trillion
431- billion
768- million
211- thousand
456

So, all words, that would look like:

Three hundred and forty undecillion, two hundred and eighty-two decillion, three hundred and sixty-six nonillion, nine hundred and twenty octillion, nine hundred and thirty-eight septillion, four hundred and sixty-three sextillion, four hundred and sixty-three quintillion, three hundred and seventy-four quadrillion, six hundred and seven trillion, four hundred and thirty-one billion, seven hundred and sixty-eight million, two hundred and eleven thousand, four hundred and fifty-six.

That’s a big number.  

IPv4 allowed for four billion IP addresses, which must have seemed like plenty at the time. I guess the assumption was that not everyone on the planet would want an IP address and nobody’s coffee maker or toaster would need one. Just goes to show you, you never know.


January 13, 2009  1:18 PM

IPTV or Internet TV?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

When I selected IPTV for today’s Word of the Day, it was in response to seeing articles about iTV (Internet television) and assuming — silly me! — that it was the same thing.

Uh. No, as it turns out, they’re two competing delivery models. IPTV is like a replacement for cable TV and typically offered by the same carriers. And it isn’t always delivered over the Internet, as this Crash course in IPTV explains. However, I think I can say confidently that Internet TV is always delivered over the Internet. Robin Good explains the difference between Internet TV and IPTV in this post.

If this all seems unnecessarily complicated and difficult to untangle, maybe you should just wait. According to many Industry watchers, the two will eventually converge into a hybrid of some sort. What that will look like is still up in the air. Or will it be online?  


January 1, 2009  1:47 PM

Millennials vs. Boomers Smackdown: Talkin’ ’bout my generation

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore
grown-up-digital.jpg In his Ramblings from a glass half full blog, Terry Starbucker posted a refutation of Don Tapscott’s paean to the millennial generation, Grown up Digital. Here’s the post: Generational Smackdown: Baby Boomers vs. The Millennials

Starbucker was reading Harry Hurt III’s review of Grown Up Digital in the NY Times.

Tapscott’s thesis? Get this:  Millennials are “smarter, quicker, and more tolerant of diversity than their predecessors.” Well, I’ve got to say — that smarts!

Starbucker:

His thesis, based on interviews with nearly 10,000 people, is that as the first generation that came of age in the Internet era, the Millennials are “smarter, quicker, and more tolerant of diversity than their predecessors”

Why? Because of the “collaborative” nature of the Internet. Us older folks, baby boomers weaned on the one-way medium of television and radio, were apparently dumber, slower, and less tolerant at a similar age.

I know and love a goodly number of the Y gen. I’m even related to quite a few. And they’re a wonderful bunch of people. In some circumstances I’ve even seen them demonstrate that type of evolutionary superiority — say, perhaps, in the last hours of a big, multigenerational party. Before they were old enough to drink.

Those days are done. They may quite likely best us in a partying contest, should we agree to take them on. And, (harrrumph) on behalf of not only myself and my fellow Boomers but also my dear (also smart, quick and tolerant) friends, the Gen Xers, I am officially affronted. On a good day, we’re as smart, quick and tolerant as any of the millennial generation. And — hey! — I’m sure they have their bad days too.

Starbucker soundly refutes eight “norms” that supposedly illustrate Gen Y superiority. Here’s a sample:

Tapscott: M’s scrutinize everything. Starbucker: BB’s didn’t have the Internet to research everything under the sun in seconds flat, but that didn’t stop us from hitting the library or the good ol’ encyclopedia if we really needed the straight scoop. Or better yet, actually having a face to face conversation with someone to pick up those nuances missed on those text messages.

Pound for pound, I maintain that a good representative of the Baby Boomers could go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with a similar representative of Gen Y. Or Gen X, for that matter. Once you control for age, of course. We were quick! We were smart! (Note: Do not read foregoing in Grampa Simpson voice.) Tolerance? Puh-lease. We invented it. That and sex.

K, I’ll admit I haven’t read Hurt’s review of Grown up Digital, let alone the book itself. And I guess I shouldn’t be too upset at Tapscott because I know what generation he belongs to. 

Here’s a hint: Not Gen Y. Not Gen X. Nope, Tapscott went to school with my husband, which places him firmly among the rest of us knuckle-draggers in the Baby Boomer generation.

~ Ivy Wigmore


December 30, 2008  7:34 PM

Terms that we heard (and heard and heard) in 2008

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

In the Register, John K. Waters has written about the year’s most overused terms: They used ’em, you reeled: the year’s most overused phrases (Green cloud-as-a-service, anyone?)

Top of the list? No surprise — cloud computing:

Credit crunch and economic meltdown aside, if 2008 is remembered for anything in tech it will be for the domination of the phrase “cloud computing”. The “cloud” was seized on by start-ups and tech giants rushing to catch the next wave or remain relevant.

The usual suspects round out the list: Web 2.0, agile, green and fill-in-the-blanks-as-a-service.


December 23, 2008  4:45 PM

More fun with Skype: The laughter chain

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Did you know that 15 minutes of laughter = 2 hours sleep?  Or that a good belly laugh burns 3.5 calories? Granted, you’d still have to laugh a heck of a lot to incinerate all the festive eggnog and rumballs but every little bit helps…

The Skype laughter chain is a viral marketing campaign that involves watching a video of people laughing and recording your response:

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Do you have an infectious laugh? Speaking of things that are infectious/viral, laughter also boosts your immune system — why not give it a shot?


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