Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Microsoft appears to be pushing Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 automatically now

Today, Windows 7 threw its Service Pack 1 at me on my main “big Dell XPS” laptop. I didn’t know what it was until I let it run. It took about 20 minutes to install, and about 25 minutes to “configure” before the Restart shut down.  In fact it went through a second “Configuring Service Pack 1” cycle a second time, more quickly, before shutdown. The reconfigure after restart didn’t take as long as expected.

The update report says that KB2547666 and KB2547698 failed.   I ran the “troubleshooter” and it says it repaired some problems. I suspect that Windows will throw these updates at me again soon.

On my smaller Toshiba notebook, I see that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update failed (see 6/24 posting).  I’ve had some other troubles on it with configurations hanging. Maybe a similar fix is needed there.

Here is what Microsoft says about SP1 on 7, link.

The SP was available Feb 22, 2011. “How to Geek” says that the SP is option and will not install automatically, but on both my W7 computers, Microsoft has tried to install it automatically this week, the last week of June. It appears that it is becoming “mandatory”.  (The article has a humorous illustration about dropping what you are doing and staring at “0% Complete screen”.)  Here is the “HowTo” link

 It does say that if you get regular updates, you don’t need SP1 for security reasons.

Windows 7 Forums from Microsoft publishes the following 47 “short film” on YouTube:  

Don't know why the embed is "supersized"!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Major league baseball teams are employers too; the Jim Riggleman mess teaches HR a lesson

The recent sudden resignation of Washington Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman may seem distant from the world of I.T., but it does show how any corporation should not run its Human Resources.
Riggleman was upset over the team’s general manager Rizzo’s unwillingness to discuss a longer term contract.

He said, at age 58, he was “too old not to be respected.”

At 67, I know the feeling.

There is something unsettling (to say the least) when “you” think that management thinks “you” should be the one to make sacrifices.  Think how this can play out in the workplace, when some people, for example, seem to have more “family obligations” than others. 

If you don’t respect your people enough to act in good faith with them, why did you hire them in the first place? To use them?

As for the Nationals, they won a protracted thriller Friday night (blowing last inning road leads three times), but lost today. But the players sound focused.  A split in the first two games after a management fiasco is OK.  But Ryan Zimmerman said of this, “shocking”.

I do hope the Nats’ management and players stumble on this posting. In baseball, as in everything else, it’s the organizations with dependable management that perform well year after year. The Nationals still have to prove themselves, and this incident (just after the club had won 11 out of 12, including a sensational  4-run-deficit walkoff) doesn’t help. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Misadventures with automated Microsoft updates on a little travel notebook

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Thursday, with my Toshiba notebook with Windows 7 starter, I experienced my own adventures in a perambulator, or misadventures, to say the least.  The system immediately tried to do Microsoft update downloads, Kaspersky data files, and Adobe acrobat reader, simultaneously, three at a time. True, it had elapsed several days since I had booted up this little Notebook, since the Digital Media Conference Friday; it’s mainly a travel machine.  It never has any problems with hotel WiFi or cable (when available) connections.

The MIFI  Verizon Internet connection shut down, but when I switched to the faster Comcast, it did finish the Adobe and Kaspersky. Adobe demanded that I restart.  I did so, using its icon. Soon I saw that the machine was in update 12 of 16 from Microsoft.

In fact, Update 13 took almost 50 minutes.  I thought the machine was looping. But you couldn’t even power if off. It finally got to Update 14 and finished and configured properly.

The restart actually worked, but then the next cold start hung and the machine froze.  Then another restart worked, but this time it demanded to load six more updates. Those took another hour. Maybe this was to fix the hang caused by an earlier update, but this time the machine didn’t have to reconfigure anything.

I haven’t tried the little beast today. I’d better, or maybe I’d better not.

Update: June 28

Twice on the small laptop it's hung when reconfiguring updates while rebooting, and if I power it off, power it back on, it pick up where it left off and finishes.  That isn't what other users report, here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What happens when an employer Googles or Bings your name? The "rules" for online presence keep changing, as do publishing services

Here’s a new little story on MSN “Careerbuilder” about online reputation, “What will employers find when they search your name?” by Selene Dehne from JIST Publishing, link here

There’s no question that the public perception of online reputation has changed radically in the past ten years; in the 90s, people with others reporting to them were often advised to stay off the web as far as making themselves visible!  Social media is the main reason, as well as an ideological change in the 20-something generation, advocated by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook particularly: you have only one identity. That’s a reverse from the sacrosanct right to anonymity and multiple persona on the web.

The article gives three dilemmas, including the now badly outmoded “there’s no online evidence that I exist.”  That would have worked in 1998, but not now.

I think there is more to think about in strategizing an online presence than just one’s behavior on Facebook and Twitter, even though these matter.  I think one needs to conceptualize at a high level how one wants to be found, and weigh the pros and cons of various strategies carefully.  For many professionals in one area --- for example, musicians, composers, performing artists, or all the way over to software design consultants, even attorneys – a site that is predicated around a professional blog  (equated to a domain name as close to your professional name as possible) with a banner that points to “about me”, itinerary, portfolio (especially for artists and musicians), biography, and contact info makes sense. One problem is that with almost any vendor you put all your eggs in one basket.  But the advantage to organizing one’s presence around a “blog center” is that every time a visitor goes to your domain, he or she can tell what’s happening (it’s easier than wading through pages of other people’s tweets, believe me).  But don’t become “delinquent”; have something new out there every few days.

You could arrange your material around a flat site that links to blog(s). This way, you don’t have everything invested in one approach.  But then you need to make it very easy for visitors to navigate to your blogs and current information.  I will be going through my own approach to this problem this summer.  This approach appeals more to people who wear more than one hat (despite Facebook’s ideology!) under one name, or who focus on publishing or distribution and knowledge management for its own sake.  If your business is a new independent film studio or distributorship, you’ll need “more than a blog.”

Be careful in choosing domain names, especially about possible trademark infringement issues. On the other hand, you may want to consider making a catching nickname your real name, because it will help “brand” you publicly (and may even help legally if there are ever any trademark issues).

There is some controversy over using “free blogging services” v. your own space.  It sounds more professional to host everything in your own space, and this advice has often been given in the past;  but that could be deceptive.  
You need to use a responsive ISP with good support.  Furthermore, many low-cost ISP’s actually ride on top of free services from Blogger or Wordpress (which I think are very close in capability now), so you could find yourself not getting “due process” if there is some problem (like incorrect accusations of spam); it’s “legally” safer if the ISP loads separate copies of blogging software to your account (not all of them do), but that’s more expensive and sometimes cumbersome to support.

You may want to maintain  very well organized backups of your own content made yourself so you could change vendors if there is a major problem relatively quickly.  Use a cloud service (Carbonite, Mozy, Webroot) but it’s a good idea to have your own thumb drive copies, or, better, optical CD (impervious to electrical or EMP damage – maybe an issue in the future, even if not yt).

Here is David C. Skul's video on Online Reputation Management and Blogging Best Practices:


Picture: No, that shouldn't be the first thing an employer sees (bong hits?)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HR world ponders "corporate liable" v. "individual liable" mobile and auto assets

E-week has an interesting article on the debate about the pros and cons of using corporate-liable vs. employee-liable mobile assets (cell phones, smart phones, maybe iPads, maybe even notebooks).
The link is here.

We’ve covered this before somewhat. One of the biggest concerns here is that the employee may have corporate data and client PII (phone numbers and email addresses at least) on the phones, which could be lost or even stolen by force as by mugging.

Another concern could come with employee minutes use.

Similarly, if a job requires use of the employee’s car, there could occur issues with increase insurance premiums (business use) to the employee, or even mileage limitations (with leases or conceivably in the future with rationing). (Inverse problems occur with company cars with charges for personal use.)

But the old idea of separate business and personal use is becoming just that – old.  The same holds with “online reputation” and social media use.  Clients could be concerned with what they find out about a contractor from personal social media. And Facebook has this idea, “you have but one identity”.  No wonder “don’t ask don’t tell” fell on its sword. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Dying industries: sales, and computer operations as well as middle management (AOL story)

Lydia Dishman has a rather startling article on AOL from Career Builder, “Five Dying Industries: Ways to Get Out and Move On”, link (website url) here.

Everyone knows about manufacturing drops, but some of the others are startling. Sales, for example. But the cultural changes toward privacy  (“do not call” laws and now maybe “do not track”)and more self-sufficiency weigh against phone and door-to-door hucksterism.  It might get harder, for example, to make it as an insurance agent, too.

Weakening is computer operations and probably network maintenance, even if software engineering, in conjunction with specifics in areas like health care, security, and social networking grows.  (Although it would sound as if it takes people to maintain server farms and very complex operations 24x7; imagine
“life after people” with no Internet either.)

The flattening of corporations and increasing of span of control would not bode well for midlist managers, any more than it does for midlist authors in publishing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Use of employee-owned devices increase business security risk


On May 31, Bryan Acohido of USA Today offered an important story on the workplace security issues posed by the use of employee-owned smart phones and sometimes laptops or other devices, especially during business travel, long commutes or long hours, “Mobile devices pose a big risk for security; New gear outpaces company safeguards,” link here

One of the biggest risks simply comes from the possibility of the physical loss or theft of an employee-owned phone containing privileged stakeholder data or PII (even simply phone numbers that were called or received).

As noted before, travel presents a problem when the employee must carry a business laptop in air travel, even though the TSA will allow two laptops. Business could consider developing business travel laptops with multiple logon capabilities, one of which could be intended for personal use during travel. It’s possible, after all, to have multiple operating systems (both Linux and Windows) on the same PC.