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My 2nd Collaborative wish for 2009

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thumb_white.gifThe top security dog for Microsoft in the UK has passed on these wise words for the coming Yuletide, they are all of course blindingly obvious but worth sharing nonetheless: 

  1. Banks will NEVER ask you to verify your account details - they already have your details.
  2. MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and ALL other social network sites are OPEN by default. Unless you want everyone (including that bully at school, the nosey neighbour, your boss, your mother, or the paedophile in Thailand) looking at your site, NEVER use it until you make it PRIVATE. Go into settings and follow the instructions. See www.safesocialnetworking.com. Same goes with Instant Messenger - if you don't know the person, don't add them as a contact. 
  3. Microsoft has not and NEVER will hold a Lottery. 
  4. You know if you have relatives in Nigeria or West Africa. NEVER 'help' someone you don't know move money from a foreign country - that makes you a criminal too! 
  5. NEVER click a hyperlink in an email from someone you don't know. And be wise, unless you know who is sending you the online Birthday or Christmas card NEVER click on it - it's loaded with malware or will redirect you to someplace you don't want to be. Miscreants and criminals frequently abuse the 'Hallmark' name because it is so recognizable. If your name is not in the body of the email, do not click on it. 
  6. Wireless Internet: Make sure your wireless internet is secure (WEP is okay, WPA is better - and if you don't know what these terms mean, read the instructions that came with your wireless device. If that fails, do NOT use your wireless internet until you find a trusted advisor to fix it (generally your neighbour's 8 or 9 year old kid). 
  7. There is no free lunch. NEVER reply to email requests for charitable contributions. You call the charity yourself and know who you are talking to. 
  8. If there is a free lunch it's because you are going to pay for it. NEVER reply to pop up ads telling you to run free anti-spyware or anti-malware to get rid of spyware or viruses. You can be certain they will 'find' bad stuff on your computer requiring you to buy what they want to sell. OR they will load stealth software onto your computer to steal what's important to you. 
  9. NEVER think you are smarter than the criminal. You may be, but if you reply, you lose, you will always lose. 
  10. Falling in love at first sight does happen - and it's fabulous when it does - but falling in love online, whether in Second Life (www.SecondLife.com) or another online virtual world, can be dangerous. Hey, if you are scoring a 4 or 5 in real life, you gotta wonder why a 9 or 10 is chatting you up online.
Of course you could switch off!

A licence to print money

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for thumb_chapman_pincher.gifIf you're working more at home it means managing costs. Printing expenses are a problem you never have to face up to in an office. At home, it's different. You just bought an expensive ink cartridge for your SOHO printer, you use it for a while, and then sooner than seems reasonable you're low or out of ink.
 
Following lab testing to find out how much ink is left in dead cartridges the results show OEM and aftermarket vendor cartridges leave a startling amount of ink unused when read empty. In fact, some inkjet printers force users to replace black ink cartridges when the cartridge is nearly half full. In some cases, printers report earlier on third-party cartridges trying to scare you away from using thiem. So have a spare on hand nd print until you're printing blank pages.

 

You can also do a lot to offset printing cost. The main offender in wasting ink and paper is printing out web pages, because you end up printing half empty pages or worse.
 
HP Smart Web Printing Utility (free) and GreenPrint (free trial) are designed to help you cut down on wasted pages when printing online content.  Give them a try!

IT carbon footprint

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for thumb_chapman_pincher.gifIt is estimated that by 2020, the IT and Telecommunications industries will account for about 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions, or 1.54 metric gigatons, equivalent to twice what the UK produces today.

On the upside, these technologies could help reduce emissions in other industries by enabling smarter systems in manufacturing, power transmission, transportation, and other sectors. The combined impact could amount to 7.8 metric gigatons, about 15% of the world's current GHG emissions -- far outweighing their negative impact.

IBM has WAS, Microsoft now has WAZ and its blue

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thumb_white.gifFrom to 'Red Dog' code-name to the announcement of Microsoft Windows Azure (very blue), Ray Ozzie with his friends delivered a deft 2 hours presentation that opened the kimono to Microsoft's Web-tier operating system. Frankly much of the content washed over me, I am not a developer and the significance of some of it was hard for me to fully appreciate.  

Although not a developer the theme that came across to me throughout the pitch was controlled scalability: from the desk, to the server and on to the federated and inter-federated enterprise, Microsoft is seeking to deliver something that is new, valuable and a logical development of existing technology.

Ray tipped his hat to Amazon with their first mover offering in this space but I suspect the MS project is deeper, wider and more far-reaching than anyone else has to offer. It will be interesting to read  Mary-Jo Foley's analysis of the keynote. 

Tomorrow sees a keynote focussed on the user experience, should be fun.

Green & Lean

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Michael O'Higgins, head of the Audit Commission, told a Government Computing conference this week that local authorities can use IT to reduce power usage in a variety of ways - one being by supporting home working.

WOW! I always thought Governement was supposed to show leadership -- not play catch-up.

At least the initiative makes way for us Web 2.0 evangalists to get the message heard. 

Facts not Hype

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for thumb_chapman_pincher.gifJust come back from a seminar on Sustainable IT put on by Repton. I asked how you seperate the facts from the fiction regarding climate change. Two reports were referred to as prime source material EPA 2007 (Enviroment Protection Agency) and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

One thing is for certain - the era of cheap electricity is over.

Gigantic coincidence

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Thumbnail image for thumb_chapman_pincher.gifThere was disruption to the UK's power supply this week, created by what energy insiders described as a "gigantic coincidence." However, while things have returned to normal its worth checking all your UPS and back-up plans. At one hospital when the generator kicked in -- it burst into flames.

I've mentioned the energy crunch before but demand for power in the UK, particularly Canary Wharf and the City is already outstriping supply. Beware, HMG in its wisdom is giving the Olympics priority in the energy infrastructure.

Beware the Energy Crunch

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thumb_chapman_pincher.gif A while back I wanted to put a new blade server into a rack at a data center only to be told there wasn't enough power. I offered to buy some more. Sorry no can do! Matters now appear to be even worse. In London, power is now being ring-fenced for the Olympics in a pre-emptive strike for what is becoming a scarce and evermore expensive commodity. It is time to Identify - Quantify - Modify and Manage your IT energy needs - the E-crunch is on its way.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the authors and do not represent either of our employer's views in any way. All postings and code samples are provided 'AS IS' with no warranties, and confer no rights.

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