Thursday, September 23, 2010

Future careers: Cybrarian and Futurist sound up my alley

Here’s another Career Builder article that caught my eye, “That’s a real job? 5 careers you might not have heard of”, link here.

Social media manager is rather obvious. Companies are needing to figure out their social media strategy. They may have to determine individual blogging policies.

But particularly interesting to me are “cybrarian” and “futurist”, and even “risk manager”. I do think I am already parts of these (in writing these blogs).

Imagine these on the 50s quiz show "What's my line?"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Future workplace will be less greedy, more supportive of creativity

Bing and MSN ran a careerbuilder article today “10 Ways the 2020 Workplace will Work for You”, by By Jeanne C Meister and Karie Willyerd, Co-Authors: "The 2020 Workplace", from Harper Business.

A couple of concepts are important: one is openness in sharing and connectivity, and probably only one “public persona” for everyone. That’s a concept that Facebook has pushed. Most people will live online, not exactly as Second Life.

The other is that, while monetary return on investment matters, other values will matter more, such as social sustainability or helping people, and self-expression and “creativity” are likely to be recognized as virtues, when compared to returns that can be measured in money, than today.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How much gear at home should you have for your jobsearch? What about air travel with two laptops?

Does it help to have a fax machine and a laser printer (instead of inkjet) at home, even if you don’t use them a lot? (They can come together in one unit.) Judging from a recent experience with a government employer, probably so. People still use fax a lot for signature documents and affidavits (although you can subscribe to a service like jfax and get your faxes as email attachments).

It seems as though I wind up printing a lot more than I had expected.

Another thing that may be helpful is Mozilla’s recent offering of automatic encryption (https everywhere). Employers seem to like this for transmitting application documents, and Mozilla may be the easiest browser to use in jobsearch work.

I’m also told that people who travel for work often do carry two laptops on planes – one for work and one for personal. That always sounded like too much of a hassle, but “they” tell me that this is OK with the TSA. Any experience with this?

Here's another issue:  Cable companies have been making home customers switch to wireless routers to hook up multiple PC's at home.  But some workplace computers don't have wireless cards because of sercurity (wardriving) concerns. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Carbonite can make Vista shutdown hang, it seems

Here’s a little tip with Vista. If you have Carbonite, and it decides to run one of its big backups of all kinds of system files, and you try to restart or logoff, the machine will keep “Sutting Down” forever.

Either Vista or Carbonite ought to be smarter.

In the mainframe world, I have fond memories of backups. On old Univac 1110 there was @SECURE. On IBM, we used to run GVBackup and Restore for all vsam files as part of our production data backups. I remember that when we had Dispatch (instead of SAR) the backup used to take two hours before cycle ran. And typically test datasets that were unused would roll out in about three days.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Telecommuting and "The Green Lantern"

In Brian Palmer’s  (not "Brian de Palma") “The Green Lantern” column in the Washington Post (no relation to the Washington DC bar/disco) in the Washington Post on Tuesday Morning, Sept. 7, makes a good point for “Traffic Tuesday”, the first day after summer vacations at Martha’s Vineyard end. His story is “Environmental benefits of telecommuting are not universal” and he doesn’t mean “NBC Universal”. The link is here.

He calculates the carbon dioxide, “Venusian” output of a typical day in a home office, compared to a cubicle at work, and finds that the economy of scale at work offsets the commuting carbon output for many people. (Those economies of scale seem even more relevant in hip workplaces like Google and Facebook.)

In fact, people who can take the Metro or subway to work, or at least do not have to use cars (other than electric cars or hybrids) probably save more carbon output by going to work. That raises an interesting question about high-density living. In urban jobs, people who live in the City or within easy public transit distance can put in more hours easily, a fact not lost on some employers. In the past, this set of affairs actually worked to the benefit of childless or LGBT employees, who often did take up the slack in crunch time and became more “valuable” (or perhaps taken advantage of).

In Minneapolis it was possible to walk to many jobs on the Skyway if you lived in one of the downtown apartments, especially the Churchill. Even on foot, one could be at work at ING in five minutes, and at the Minnesota Orchestra in 15 minutes, with no carbon output (other than one’s own breath).

In IT, it’s being on call that is the hooker, and that usually means now a company laptop at home, which preferably has a home wireless network router connected to broadband cable, for multiple computers (keeping work, personal, and kids all separate). That can mean that the employee is using his own cable for work (even in a salaried position), which in rare cases could involve overage issues, as discussed before on my network neutrality blog. It could also raise questions about network security, but corporate laptops for production support would normally have top-line firewalls for outgoing protection from wardriving.

This doesn’t include discussion of some home customer service jobs, like Alpine and Liveops, where the employee must use his or her own computer and connection, and do almost all work from home.

When I was an IT employee, I had a legal conflict of interest rule that any computers in my apartment had to be my own. That didn’t matter because in Minneapolis I could walk to work on the Skyway. I would not need to follow that rule today. I don’t mind saying publicly that my feet could see ING again, or Census, or an orchestra, or a school system.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

MiFi device with unlimited bandwidth could help with "business travel and personal access" problem.

David Pogue has an important technology report in today’s (Sept. 2) New York Times, “Your own hot spot, and cheap”, link here

This concerns the Virgin Mobile MiFi card, which taps into Sprint’s 3G cell network for an Internet signal, costs about $150, and offers medium speed service, unlimited bandwidth, for $40 a month, no contract, or $10 for a ten day period. Verizon and Sprint offer similar devices, but not unlimited plans at the moment.

The coverage area over the country is about 260 million people, perhaps a little smaller than full Verizon service. One big advantage is that the customer doesn’t have to watch consumption volumes. 5 Gig is not a lot.

Verizon, by comparison, offers 5 Gig through its Blackberry or cell phone, which must be attached through USB to the computer, so that the cell phone acts as an antenna for Verizon’s service.

The computer must, of course, have a wireless card.

Here is Virgin’s own “Broadband2Go” link

Apparently the device can be purchased at retail outlets, such as BestBuy, with this link .

The device would seem to be particularly useful to people who travel for work but want to have their own reliable personal and securable quasi-broadband access "on the road."

It would be interesting to ponder who this innovation plays into the network neutrality debate (another blog of mine).

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

MSN/Career Builder follows Huffington Post on reporting firings for Facebook postings

Kaitlin Malden has an article from Career Builder, posted on MSN this morning Sept. 1, “12 Ways to Get Fired for Facebook”, link here .

I covered a similar story in the Huffington Post on Aug. 6, 2010 on my “BillBoushka” blog, and yesterday (Aug. 31) covered “social media policies” and blogging policies on that blog.

This story includes an interesting new case about a teacher, fired (or forced to resign) from a Georgia public school district for vacation pictures showing her sipping wine on her own Facebook page. She will sue. She said “I did not think that any of this could jeopardize my job because I was just doing what adults do and have drinks on vacation and being responsible about it”. It seems that some school districts have a very low bar on “public role modeling.”

Other people have been fired for criticizing their bosses, coworkers, or companies on social media. In 2002, Heather Armstrong was fired from a software development company in Utah for comments on her own blog about her workplace, which she says did not identify the company. She went on to become famous for her mommy blog,, which (with her husband as programmer/technical support) makes much more money than most jobs.

It seems some employers really will pull the trigger on off-the-job Internet postings that could affect business.  Libertarians are going to say that, with private employers, this is OK. Government employment (and public school districts) are a different matter.

Also, check this story Sept. 1 in The Washington Post by Howard Kurtz, "Post sportswriter Mike Wise suspended for Roethlisberger hoax on Twitter", link here. Yup, it could have happened on Facebook, too. Also, the Post reports Sept 2 (J. Freedom duLac) that the Washington Nationals baseball team fired contract radio announcer Ron Dibble for an insensitive remark about pitcher Stephen Strasburg's upcoming Tommy John surger.

(No, there's no drinking or drug use in the image above.)