A month or so ago I was working on a virtualization article for the print edition of  INFOExecutive (formerly Information Week Canada). The article dealt with barriers to virtualization, one of them being USB devices.  Or so I thought!

My research took me to the web site of Minnesota-based Digi International. Digi originally developed their video, serial, and USB-over-IP devices to support point of sale and kiosk applications.  However, they have turned out to be indispensible for virtual and cloud computing applications.

The AnywhereUSB 2 provides, as the name suggests, two USB ports over ethernet.  Installation took about 10 minutes from opening the box.  I simply plugged AnywhereUSB 2 into power and an available ethernet jack, installed the drivers on my Windows 2008 server (running under VMWare ESXi), went through the very simple software configuration, and I had two USB ports connected to my server.  From anywhere.Anywhere_USB2

Because AnywhereUSB uses TCP/IP, the server can find it anywhere on the local network, making it ideal for virtual environments.  While VMs may move to different physical machines, they’ll still be able to find their USB devices. 

In my home office I store most of my files on my server and access them from my desktop or notebook computers through file shares or Windows Remote Desktop.  I also use a Stealth MXP USB stick with fingerprint biometrics to transport and protect data when I hit the road, but I’d prefer not to carry it around the house.  The Digi AnywhereUSB 2 on my desk is a perfect solution.  I plug in the USB stick, swipe my finger, and it is automatically connected to a Windows 2008 virtual machine that is physically located in my computer closet.

In summary, this little box behaves exactly as advertised, and we tested it on Windows XP and Windows 2008 Server.  Windows 7 drivers are expected to be availible in April 2010.

In security circles we often discuss why some individuals and businesses find themselves in a perpetual state of high risk. While there can be complex factors, the bottom line is that many of us make poor risk management decisions in our business and personal lives.

Sometimes a high risk position results because we don’t correctly asses asset values, threats or vulnerabilities. Sometimes the cost of implementing a safeguard exceeds and expected loss, and the decision to accept risk is a logical one. And sometimes we simply make mistakes.

But there are other reasons that we Canadians are often too polite to point out: Laziness, denial, rationalization and risk decisions based upon emotion rather than logic.  The H1N1 ‘flu gives us plenty of examples.

We’re in the midst of an influenza pandemic.  Fortunately we know how to create ‘flu vaccines — we do it every year to combat the seasonal flu. So we have a vaccine, and every credible organization from the World Health Organization down to our local medical officers are recommending that we vaccinate ourselves and our families.

The risk is clear: pH1N1 is a nasty virus that, at best, will make you sick for a week or two.  At worst, it could kill you. The threat is real and much of resulting risk can be mitigated by a simple vaccination.  The Public Health Agency of Canada advises that, “without interventions like a vaccine and antivirals, close to 25 to 35 percent of the population could become ill over the period of a few months.”  Other health organizations have released similar estimates. The vaccine has been tested in Canada as well as other countries, and we know that approximately 1 in 100,000 people will have a serious reaction to it, as with any other vaccine.  (Source:

From a risk management perspective it doesn’t get much simpler than this. The benefits of the vaccine clearly outweigh the risks, and the cost (a few hours of our time at most) is minimal compared to the potential loss.  And that doesn’t take ethics and social responsibility into account.   Those who choose not to be vaccinated not only may become ill, but could also pass H1N1 on to more vulnerable family, friends and colleagues — including those who can’t be vaccinated due to alergies.

As a result, we continue to see people announce on the Internet that they’re not getting vaccinated. Some quote “facts” that are uninformed myths at best.  Some focus on the 1 in 100,000 serious reaction rate and completely loose perspective.  Others ignore a century or so of medical science and proclaim that they don’t need a vaccination because they are “healthy and take their herbs and vitamins.”

Chances are that you’ve already seen the writings of otherwise intelligent parents who are incapable or making good risk management decisions. Their blog posts usually start with how much they love their kids.  Then they latch on to the one quack that chargers people $50 each to attend a seminar to learn “the truth” and rationalize that “the medical community don’t all agree”.  They focus on the danger of mercury in vaccines, even though the exposure is less than you’d get from eating a can of tuna.  Or they repeat silly claims like suggesting that the vaccine is “untested”.

Some of these people obviously have other agendas.  It’s clear from their writing that they’re simply anti-vaccination shills. They write clever “balanced” articles pitting fact against laughable fiction and seek to “support” others who share their defective logic.

Some see themselves as rebells, not “giving in” to the experts who tell them they should be vaccinated.  The old phrase, “Rebells without a clue” comes to mind.

In others, the barrage of H1N1 information creates neurotic behaviour and they operate on a completely emotional level. They “agonize” (often at length and in writing) about how “difficult” the decision was.  They loose all perspective, and should you dare point out the flaws in their reasoning their feelings are hurt. How dare you suggest that they don’t know what’s best. They behave as if the act of conceiving a child instantly made them more knowledgeable on vaccines than the WHO, CDC, and the medical experts of countless countries, including their own. They have “the right” not to vaccinate themselves and their children, and as emotional people often do, they confuse having a right with it being the right thing to do.

Our friends at Panasonic were kind enough to send over their top suggestions for this holiday season.

RP-HJE160 – Ergofit Noise Isolating Earbuds (Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, Orange, Red, Black, White)

MSP: $29.99

A Perfect Gift For: Dorm Bound Students, Transit Commuters, High-Tech Tweens

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • ErgoFit design and soft ear caps for ultimate comfort (S, M, L sizes)
  • Compact design fits just about anywhere
  • Virtual cavity technology (creates high quality sound performance)
  • Powerful sound with Neodymium magnet
  • Copper Clad Aluminum Wire (C.C.A.W.) and Tangle-free cord slider

RR-US570K– Digital IC Recorder (Black)

MSP: $99.99

A Perfect Gift For: Busy moms, University students, Gadget-loving Grandma and Grandpa

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Record up to 287 hours, 30 minutes – perfect for grocery list reminders, homework assignments and to-do lists*
  • Built-in zoom microphone** (record focused on target with less surrounding noise – perfect for classrooms!)
  • Speaker with high volume
  • Stereo recording (up to 143 hours, 40 minutes in SLP mode)
  • USB PC link and MP3 recording and playback

* In MONO SLP mode (1GB). GB means one million bytes. Usable capacity will be less

** Zoom microphone is operated on monaural recording

KX-TG7432B – Expandable Digital Cordless Answering System with 2 Handsets

MSP: $129.99

A Perfect Gift For: Business Owners, Large/Expanding Families, Chatty Teens

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Talking call display, alarm clock and battery alert
  • 16-Minute all digital answering system PLUS Choice mail multiple message list
  • Call Block, Night Mode, Clock & Alarm
  • Energy Star® qualified
  • 2.1″ White LCD Display
  • Expandable up to 6 handsets


NEW RP-SDW – GOLD Series SDHC Memory Cards with Class 10 Speed

MSP: $149.99 (16 GB)

A Perfect Gift For: Shutter Bugs, Amateur Film Makers, Family Movie Buffs

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • The world’s first memory cards to adopt new speed class
  • Continuously record (write) large amounts without missing any shots or writing stops 
  • Meets requirements of high resolution, consecutive and large HD video shooting 
  • Writing speed range of 10MB – 22MB per second for large volume data
  • High-speed data transfer from card to PC (approximately 40% faster compared Class 4)
  • Five models available: RP-SDW04G (4GB), RP-SDW04G (4GB 2 Pack) / RP-SDW08G (8GB) / RP-SDW16G (16GB) / RP-SDW32G (32GB)


NC-HU301 – 3.0 L Energy Saving Thermo Pot

MSP: $179.99

A Perfect Gift For: Tree Huggers, Tea Lovers, Busy Moms

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Perfect for getting instant oats ready in the morning!
  • Healthy tea mode
  • Energy efficient design / Rotating body (360º) / LCD display
  • Charcoal coated, easy-to-clean, non-stick interior
  • Cordless electric pump
  • 4-Level dispensing with red floating water level indicator
  • Four keep warm temperature selections and overheating protection


DMC-FS6 – LUMIX® Digital Still Camera (Black, Red, Pink, Blue)

MSP: $169.99

A Perfect Gift For: Nieces and Nephews, Fashionistas and Recessionistas  

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • A great first camera for tweens or a companion for the girl-on-the-go this camera is packed with features everyone on the list will love
  • 8.1 megapixel / 4x optical zoom / Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens
  • 2.5″ Intelligent LCD (230K pixels)
  • Intelligent Auto Mode (MEGA O.I.S., Intelligent ISO control, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector), VGA movie mode with audio, Venus engine IV image processor

UNDER $300


NNSD698S – Genius® Inverter® Stainless Steel Microwave Oven

MSP: $249.99

A Perfect Gift For: Young Couple, College/University Student, Grandma

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • 1.2 cu. ft. / 1200 Watts
  • Genius Sensor Reheat/Genius Sensor Cook (9 step)/Inverter® Turbo Defrost
  • New digital dial and Child Safety Lock
  • Optional Stainless Steel Trim Kit Available

NEW DMC-ZR1R – LUMIX® Compact, Super Slim Digital Camera (Red)

MSP: $349.99


A Perfect Gift For: Olympic Games memento collectors, Cutting Edge Gadget Seekers, Mom/Dad-On-The-Go


Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Bright red limited edition model features Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games emblem (also available in blue and black)
  • Catch every shooting opportunity with this truly pocketable, extremely powerful camera
  • World’s First 0.3mm Thin Aspherical Lens offers super-slim design
  • Powerful, 25mm Ultra-Wide-Angle
  • 8x optical zoom / LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens – also zooms in video recording 
  • 12.1-megapixel resolution
  • Ultra high-speed Auto Focus (AF) and high-speed start-up (in less than one second)
  • 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD
  • Powerful battery life with the highly energy-efficient image processing LSI – Venus Engine V – which takes approximately 330 pictures from a single charge
  • Intelligent Auto Mode: POWER O.I.S. Hand-Shake Compensation, Face Recognition
  • PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 software included (view, edit and archive photos and videos)

SC-HC3 – Micro Stereo System with iPod Dock

MSP: $299.99

A Perfect Gift For: Design Aficionado, Music Lover, iPod Gadgeteer

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Looks good, sounds amazing!
  • Amplifier – total output power of 40W (RMS), 4 Preset EQ + Flat
  • CD player – multi-CD play function; MP3 playback; MP3 function: ID3 Tag, Album skip, CD-R/RW playback, MASH 1-bit D/A conversion system
  • Motorized power sliding door (2-way) for iPod and CD
  • Digital synthesizer tuner, preset memory, Auto tuning and fluorescent display
  • 6.5cm full range bamboo cone speaker and 2 Passive radiators for a robust bass
  • Integrated universal dock for iPod (playback and recharge)
  • Energy Star® qualified


DMP-BD60 – Blu-ray Disc™ Player

MSP: $299.99

A Perfect Gift For: Home Theatre Enthusiasts, Hardcore Movie Lovers

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Incredible images, breathtaking lossless audio and stunning surround sound
  • Filmmaker’s Vision – PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus; High precision 4:4:4; P4HD; 1080/24p playback (Blu-ray disc and DVD)
  • Dynamic and Pure Sound – Built-in Dolby® TrueHD, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS™-HD and DTS-Master Audio Essential; 96kHz Surround Remaster for BD, DVD, CD and MP3
  • Networking and Connectivity – VIERA Link™, VIERA CAST™; Compatible with BD-Live™ and BONUSVIEW™; Ethernet Terminal for BD-Live™; SD card slot supports AVCHD, MPEG2 & JPEG (HD); USB input supports MP3, JPEG (HD)
  • ECO Friendly – Auto power stand-by, Stand-by power save, ENERGY STAR® qualified


NEW ES-LA93K – Pro-Curve® 4-Blade Men’s Shaver

MSP: $399.99

A Perfect Gift For: The Man Who Has Everything, The Man Who Needs Pampering

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Vertically Vibrating Shaving Head squeezes out hidden whiskers for a closer shave
  • Multi Flexible Active Head keeps close contact even under the chin
  • Equipped with world’s fastest* linear motor to provide quick shaving with no reduction in power even when shaving dense whiskers
  • Includes fully automatic charger / cleaner (LA93) that automatically charges, cleans, and dries the shaver·

*As of March 17, 2009 for electric shavers with internal blade reciprocating at approx. 14,000 strokes / min. (Panasonic research)


NEW DMC-FZ35 – LUMIX® with New POWER O.I.S. and HD Motion Zoom Video Capture 

MSP: $499.99

A Perfect Gift For: New and Advanced Photographers, New Parents, Avid Travellers 


Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Looks and functions like a point-and-shoot camera but with advanced features that include HD video recording – a hybrid that shoots high-quality still and motion images
  • AVCHD Lite, HD video recording; 27mm wide-angle; 18x optical zoom LEICA DC lens
  • Power to shoot HD videos (including motion zoom to take advantage of the 18x zoom)
  • Dedicated Video Record Button, making it a true hybrid – capturing both still and motion images – providing smooth operation in either mode
  • Creative Movie Mode allows user to set the shutter speed and aperture manually to make even more impressive movies     
  • Ultra high-speed Auto Focus (AF)
  • Intelligent Auto Mode: Power OIS and Face Recognition
  • Manual controls and raw image capture make this camera ideal for photographers who want the most from their camera


SDR-H80 – HDD/SD Hybrid Digital Camcorder (Blue, Black, Red, Silver)

MSP: $499.99

A Perfect Gift For: Casual Videographer (Sports, Family Gatherings, Holiday Recitals)


Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Upgrade from a tape or DVD based camcorder with this hybrid digital with 70x Optical zoom, 60GB HDD (hard disk drive) and 2.7” Widescreen LCD
  • Intelligent auto mode (Intelligent scene selector, Face detection, Advanced O.I.S.)
  • One-touch DVD copy
  • VideoCam Suite 2.0 editing software included
  • Battery life: 13 hour, 50 minutes

SDR-SW21 – Compact SD/SDHC Digital Camcorder (Orange, Silver, Green)

MSP: $549.99

A Perfect Gift For: The Outdoorsman, Backpacker, Snowboarders, Mountain Bikers

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Slim build, funky colours, functional attributes and key features make this a hit for those on the go and looking to capture every moment
  • Waterproof up to 2.0 m / Shockproof up to 1.2 m / Dustproof
  • 10x Optical zoom and 2.7” Widescreen LCD
  • 0.6 sec quick start


TC-L26X1/TC-L32 X1/TC-L37X1 – VIERA® LCD X1 HDTVs and iPod® Playback Entertainment System

MSP: Ranges from $699.99 – $999.99 depending on size  

A Perfect Gift For: Empty Nesters, New Media Enthusiasts

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Welcome to a whole new visual era with these LCD displays designed to deliver exhilarating, true-to-life colour, enhanced sound and advanced networking capabilities
  • Available in three screen sizes 26-inch, 32-inch, 37-inch
  • VIERA Image Viewer™ with SD Memory Card slot and Game Mode
  • iPod Entertainment System
  • Select from a drop down menu displaying their music, videos or podcast options 
  • The VIERA on-screen music menu mimics the iPod
  • Video and podcast features provide a list of available videos or podcasts
  • iPod Entertainment Kit is equipped with a full suite of entertainment features 
  • HDMI inputs (26” has 2 HDMI Inputs; 32” and 37” have 3 HDMI Inputs)
  • VIERA Link™; VIERA Link button offers simplified, single remote operation of connected Panasonic products
  • A contrast ratio of 12,000:1 and Panasonic’s IPS LCD Panel
  • ENERGY STAR™® qualified


DMP-B15 – Portable Blu-ray DiscTM Player

MSP: $999.99

A Perfect Gift For: Business Travellers, High Tech Gadget Trendsetters, Blu-ray movie enthusiasts on the go

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Designed to provide the ultimate HD Blu-ray experience you’d expect at home for those on the go, this first-of-its-kind player delivers the highest level image quality available VIERA CAST™ internet accessibility
  • BD Live functionality
  • HDMI output and PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus technology developed in collaboration with Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory
  • SD card reader
  • Movie (AVCHD, MPEG2) and JPEG (HD) view with SD memory card slot
  • The UniPhier® processor lowers power consumption and enables a compact design

TC-L32G1 – VIERA® LCD G Series 32” HD LCD Television

MSP: $999.99

A Perfect Gift For: The Discerning HD Aficionado Looking to Make a Bold Statement 


Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Enhanced features, brighter panel, deeper blacks and Panasonic’s unique IPS Alpha LCD Panel make this award winning TV stand out from the crowd
  • 120Hz Motion Picture Pro 3
  • Motion Focus Technology
  • X.V. Colour
  • Intelligent Scene Controller
  • 20,000:1 Dynamic contrast ratio
  • VIERA Image Viewer™ (JPEG); VIERA Link™
  • HDMI input (x3) and PC input
  • ENERGY STAR™® qualified


HDC-HS250K – HDD/SD Hybrid Full-HD Camcorder

MSP: $1,199.99

A Perfect Gift For: Zoomers, The Family Videographer, New Parents

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • Get professional video performance in a compact, affordable camera
  • Record to 120GB HDD or SD/SDHC memory cards / USB Host function
  • 2.7” Touch panel LCD
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution at 24fps
  • 3MOS Camera system
  • HD Advanced colour pure engine
  • Leica Dicomar lens / 12x Optical zoom
  • Intelligent Auto Mode (Advanced O.I.S., Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector & Contrast Control, AE/AF tracking)
  • 5.1ch Surround sound with zoom MIC
  • Includes HD Writer 3.0 software


NEW SC-BTX70 – Blu-ray Disc™ Cinema System

MSP: $1,299.99

A Perfect Gift For: Style Conscious High-Tech Gear Seekers 

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • The one family gift that everyone will love this year is this slim and stylish Blu-ray Disc cinema system which features dynamic picture, sound, ease of use, and is even easy on the environment!
  • The SC-BTX70 is a slim 2.1-channel Blu-ray Disc home cinema system with a completely new and unique vertical slim design
  • Universal Dock allows iPod to be stored inside the main unit even when it is connected
  • PHL Chroma Processor Plus; High Precision 4:4:4 provide cinema quality
  • VIERA CAST™; BD-Live; SD memory card slot, VIERA Link™
  • UniPhier® LSI integrates all video signal processing circuits onto a single chip to reduce power consumption and number of components.


TC-P42S1 / TC-P46S1 / TC-P50S1 / TC-P54S1 / TC-P58S1 / TC-P65S1 – VIERA® Plasma S1-Series Televisions

MSP: Ranges from $1,499.99 – $4,999.99 depending on size

A Perfect Gift For: The Entire Family 

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • This plasma strikes a balance between price and performance with deep black levels, excellent picture quality and an environmentally friendly footprint
  • Available in six screen sizes 42-inch, 46-inch, 50-inch, 54-inch, 58-inch, 65-inch
  • Neo PDP technology for a brighter panel and double luminance efficiency
  • 600 Hz Sub-Field Drive for outstanding image clarity; Full-Time 1080-line moving picture  
  • VIERA Image Viewer so dad can check out pictures of the family
  • Infinite Black panel with a dynamic contrast ratio of over 2,000,000:1
  • Game Mode
  • ENERGY STAR™® qualified

NEW DMC-GF1 – LUMIX® G Micro System Camera

MSP:  $1,099 for kit – includes LUMIX G 20mm/F1.7 ASPH, a compact and lightweight “pancake” lens; $849.99 (body only) 


A Perfect Gift For: Photography lovers in search of a high-performance, light-weight, compact camera 


Wish List Worthy Features:

  • World’s smallest and lightest system digital camera with a built-in flash*
  • Elegant, compact design reminiscent of classic film cameras
  • Professional, amateur and beginner photographers will be stunned by the range of creative possibilities this true hybrid camera provides with easy-to-use level imaging and HD video recording
  • New modes allow users to blur background and foreground of HD video and images – something typically only possible with expensive professional cameras
  • My Color mode includes seven preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette and Custom, allowing users to manually set colour, brightness and saturation levels     
  • Micro Four Thirds Camera System allows additional lenses to be used
  • High resolution 3.0-inch Intelligent LCD includes features to help improve visibility in all light environments – from sunny outdoors to low-light interior settings
  • Camera body can be used with any Micro-four thirds lenses as well as with Leica “M” and Leica “R” lenses when using an adapter 

* As of September 2, 2009

EP-MA50T – Real Pro™ Total Body Massage Chair
MSP: $5,999.99

A Perfect Gift For: Spa Owners and Aestheticians, Luxury Seekers, Back Sufferers

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • “JUNETSU” (a Panasonic exclusive) ultra fine kneading
  • Soothing grasp and closed fist massage for neck and shoulders
  • Pre-programmed massages – Swedish, Deep, Shiatsu – and speed variation
  • Hip lifting and twisting function
  • Acupoint stimulation (approx. 350) and reflexology for feet
  • Body scan technology
  • 170° auto recline
  • High quality synthetic leather
  • Endorsed by the ACA*

* Panasonic is the first company to be endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for massage chairs

TC-P54Z1 – VIERA® Z series, 54” 1080p Full-HD Plasma

MSP: $6,999.99

A Perfect Gift For: Those Seeking The Ultimate In Plasma Technology, Design And Style

Wish List Worthy Features:

  • The flagship VIERA plasma with a revolutionary one inch thin panel design and Wireless HD connectivity to deliver the ultimate sleek, uncluttered HDTV viewing experience
  • Ultra-thin 1″ slim design is without equal and makes a bold statement
  • WirelessHD™ 1080p technology
  • THX® Certified Display
  • NeoPDP technology
  • Infinite Black; Deep Colour™; x.v. Colour
  • VIERA CAST™, VIERA Image Viewer™ and VIERA Link™
  • HDMI input (x4), PC Input
  • BBE® ViVA HD3D™ Sound
  • Mercury and lead free panel, long life panel and ENERGY STAR® qualified

The fine folks at IRES Technology Corp have been kind enough to supply a uCorder model IRDC250 wearable video recorder with 2 GB of internal flash memory and PC webcam functionality for a lucky reader.  This baby will record up to 2 hours of 640×480 AVI format video on a single charge.


The contest is open from now through midnight (eastern time) on Friday November 27th, 2009. There are three ways you can earn a ballot to enter this contest:

  1. Leave a comment below and tell us what you would use a uCorder for.
  2. Write about the contest on your blog, linking to this article, then come back and leave a comment with the URL to let us know about it.
  3. Tweet the contest on Twitter using hashtag #uCorder and linking to this article, and leave a comment with a link to your status update. (You  can create a direct link to your Twitter update by clicking on the time of the update and saving that link.)

One winner will be chosen by using the random number generator at, selected from all eligible entries. The winner will be announced on Saturday November 28th. You must be willing to share your mailing address with us.  We will ship via Canada Post.  If you are located outside Canada any brokerage or customs fees will be your responsibility.  Good luck!

We’re in the process of recovering from a major system failure earlier this week.  Thanks for your patience and support.

There Are Things More Important Than Size…Just Ask Flash


“I’d much rather see you on my side, than scattered into… atoms.”The Emperor Ming, Flash Gordon (Universal Pictures – 1980)

We like things that spin, things that go fast. You know, like flying saucers and rocket ships…drives and flash memory. It’s a good thing, because with all that business and the Web have to offer, you need every bit of space you can find to store all the stuff.

First of all, there are a few classes of people on Earth:

– those who swear a millisecond is too long

– those who have to “know” everything

– those who will make trade-offs.

– those who don’t have a clue!

We know people who honestly believe that flash memory will dominate the world. We know people who are so connected they swear to gawd everything will be instantly available to them all the time, including the best Tellywood has to offer (we know that’s an oxymoron but live with it!).


Figure 2 – One for All – While iPhone people will tell you one device will serve all of your needs, many people like to have multiple specialty devices to entertain, guide, educate and assist them in staying in touch all of the time. Even when people have one-device-does-it-all units, they still add to the things they carry and use. Source — NYTimes

They blow off the laws of human nature, physics and profits like:

– most people have a 2.5Mb/s pipe

– download of a high-def blu-ray quality movie is 22 hours

– sure, most folks will settle for less than high-quality video, MP3 is good enough today and ???

– Panasonic and their Hollywood cronies have diabolic plans to change your movie “needs” with 3D

As Flash said, “This Ming is a psycho!” We won’t get into the area – right now – where chip memory has a lot of legs — the enterprise. With six billion + sets of eyes/ears to feed, it’s all about content. And boy is there content!


Figure 3 – More and More – With our ability to buy as many USB drives, external HDs and optical discs as we want, it’s pretty hard to believe the world is producing more content than we have places to put it. But from studies by IDC and major storage suppliers, we have to believe that we are outstripping our ability to store the stuff. Source — IDC

A lot of it is just floating around the Internet looking for a home. There are plenty of homes for the stuff today because people expect to be connected (and informed/entertained) all the time.


Figure 4 – Always On – The Internet, Web, netbooks/notebooks, mobile game systems and smart devices have made us feel that we have to always be on, always available and close to our content. All of the devices and services not only need batteries, they also need fast, economic, huge storage. Source — IDC

This is the sexy side of the business (profits are a moot point). It’s the side of the business that touches everyone…young/old, male/female, rich/not so rich.

Consumer Flash

Flash memory is used “everywhere” :

– one billion plus computers

– three billion smartphones

– a gazillion MP3 players, eBooks, smartbooks/netbooks, portable game systems, cameras/camcorders


Figure 5 – Pick A Device, Flash Fits – You can’t have too much rich, beautiful, exciting content, information and news. And you can’t have too much non-volatile storage capacity. Just ask our kids and the storage manufacturers. Source — Gartner

And no one can “live” with just one device…ask our kids! We look at their “gotta have” needs and agree with Dr. Zarkov, it’s no mistake… IT’S AN ATTACK! I’ve been right all these years!”

Just think how many flash cards you have lying around (filled) for your digital camera/camcorder. Open your junk drawer at home or the office and what do you see? Yep, a wide assortment of USB flash drives! At least six, maybe a dozen. All of them filled with really important stuff.

Folks don’t think about them in the same way Kala did when he declared…“We’re going to empty your memory as we might empty your pockets… Doctor.” It doesn’t matter, you’ve gotta’ have them and you’ve gotta’ have more of them. All bigger, faster than the last.These ubiquitous storage devices are going to have tremendous growth potential, according to device manufacturers and industry analysts.


Figure 6 – Growth Potential – The performance, battery conservation and green benefits of flash memory makes it an ideal solution for a growing range of applications. There are times when we believe the market is only limited by man’s (and woman’s) creativity and an organization’s ability to deliver product profitably. Source — Gartner

The other areas of growth? They’re going to sell those little storage units to PC/CE/communications folks to put into new devices you’ve gotta’ have, can’t live without. As Klytus said, Bring me… the bore worms!”

You know what’s sorta’, kinda’ wrong with that picture? Wouldn’t it be a whole lot cheaper for the iPhone (and other), iPod (and other) people to design a gotta’ have device with let’s say 4GB of semi storage inside and a USB and/or card slot. Think about it. Instead of a 16GB device that costs $300 +/-, they could sell you a $100 device that features…“virtual storage capacity.”

If you can live with 4GB, great! If you’re a content hog, you go out and buy a bunch of 8, 16, 32, heck 64GB add-ons! Brilliant!!!! A helluva’ idea for the consumer! Fantastic idea for chip storage manufacturers/packagers!

So??? Oh yeah…forgot.

Newer, Higher Capacity

Steve would have to figure out something different to introduce instead of a new iPhone with — Ta Da..16GB storage capacity. Or an iPod with 32GB.

Oh sure, folks wouldn’t run out to buy the new whatever because theirs was smaller than the next guy’s/gal’s; but maybe, just maybe, more people would buy the first-, second-, third- generation of device. That means Apple would sell a billion iPhones and three billion iPods, instead of a few hundred million.

That means all of those people would buy more stuff from the iTunes and apps stores. That would help more than just Apple shareholders, it would help third-party folks…yes, we admit it, including storage suppliers.

As Dr. Zarkov said, “The poor wretches are just waiting for someone to lead them in revolt…!” We know. We know right now you’re thinking exactly what Emperor Ming said, Are your men on the right pills? Maybe you should execute their trainer!”

But wait. Think how that could expand the demand for devices of all kinds across the board. Manufacturers would love to blow right past IDC’s aggressive projections for mobile devices in 2012.


Figure 7 – More, More – If a few brave device manufacturers decided to offer units with virtual storage (just keep swapping in/out storage), they could lower their unit costs and sell even more gotta-have products. Memory slots are becoming increasingly popular on new notebooks/netbooks as manufacturers lower their prices and the same is true of cameras/camcorders. Imagine what this could do to the price of your smartphone. Source — IDC

Just look what cheap, no-memory netbooks did for the portable computer market. The sub-$100 do-nothing when the cloud is gone devices “stimulated” notebook manufacturers to develop a new category – ultra-lite, sub notebooks.

Priced at a few hundred bucks with serious storage, serious capability, they convinced our kid he needed a new computer for school. Something with real software, 120GB storage, serious video (gaming) capability, real connectivity, real ability to work when he couldn’t connect.

Of course, he really wanted us to swap out the HD for one of those sexy, fast, power conservative 256GB SSD drives; but get serious kid! Computer cost $500…the SSD (right now) $700!

SSD has a lot of benefits – low power consumption, small footprint, robust, runs cool, moves apps really fast – but seriously, a 10X price difference? Sorry kid, we’ll wait ‘til they are a “little” more economic or you’re putting money into our pocket, instead of taking it out!

More Storage

There’s still plenty of other opportunities for him to “need” chip storage, and the manufacturers are really pushing to make it possible for him. And while flash memory storage gets a lot of attention, it’s still a “minor” player in the digital content storage arena.


Figure 8 – Sliver of the Market – While semiconductor storage racks up $4 billion plus in sales this year, it is still a minor player in the overall storage market–especially when analysts look beyond consumer goods to the larger enterprise market. There’s still room to grow. Source – Coughlin Associates

Assuming, that is, that you call a $4 billion plus market minor! Sure, you’d like to take advantage of all of its benefits – speed, battery life, quiet, cool, green – if it wasn’t so “expensive!” The problem is, it’s a very capital-intensive business (we know, you don’t care about their costs!).

Intel dumps boatloads of money into their production capabilities. AMD decided they’d outsource their production. Most flash chip manufacturers are doing well if they can get a sliver of profit out of their sales.

Price Pressure Easing

O.K., you don’t feel real sorry for them because what they lose on each sale they make up in volume.But they show signs of recovery because the oversupply seems to be easing and demand is increasing.

Folks are springing for more smartphones/smartbooks, new netbooks/notebooks, gaming devices, cameras, music players, other devices. Manufacturers/packagers are so optimistic they’re shouting along with Prince Vultan, Let this be known forever as Flash Gordon’s Day!”

It’s encouraging to note that most of the company executives and industry analysts agree that suppliers are going to focus more intensely on their bottom line rather than their production line.


You won’t see the daily price drop of flash storage media you’ve seen in the past.


Figure 9 – Oh Flash — This isn’t cheesecake. It just shows that the “beautiful people” are attracted to Flash. Until just recently, you didn’t run out and buy a new hard drive just because it was flat-out gorgeous. Same is true of CD/DVD discs. But a new flash device can be an object to really appreciate. Source – Universal Pictures

But you’ll get over the end of the price wars; and soon you’ll be back to looking longingly at the array of products and saying the same thing Dale said, Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!”

That’ll be good for everyone…trust us!



(The Berlin Wall, December 1985.  Photo by Eric Jacksch)

Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell, uniting East and West Germany. Celebrations today include fireworks, concerts, and the toppling of foam dominoes painted by school children. Spiegel Online International has a great collection of historic images and coverage of the 20th anniversary celebration.  They also have published their interview with Lieutenant-Colonel Harald Jäger, The Guard Who Opened the Berlin Wall (in English).

A new student-run program in Indianapolis called Now Think Now encourages teens to think and make better decisions behind the wheel.  Their web site explains,

Now Think Now is a social site where teens and other community members can gather and share their stories, ideas and opinions. Our ultimate goal is getting teens the information they need to make the right decision at the right time. Members can socialize about real topics with their friends and the community at large while at the same time earn points and recognition by peers. Points can be earned by contributing content or taking place in various activities, then can be redeemed for gift cards for food, gas, and more.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this great use of social media.

If being acquired isn’t part of your business plan…prepare your survival strategy.


Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map. — Wayne Calloway

When Eric Schmidt (Google) said he paid a premium of one billion for YouTube he spelled out part of the strategy companies increasingly use to compete – acquire for growth or to block competition.

The old management stigma of NIH (not invented here) has been replaced by the scramble to keep up with or lead the pack at almost any cost. With the world economy showing signs of recovering, companies are positioning themselves for the next phase of growth, the next big thing!

Companies that were started two – three and more years ago nursed their activities along paying close attention to their cash flow to bring their products, services and technology along waiting for the business climate to improve.

Admittedly the climate for IPOs (initial public offering) is weak – not even considering the fiscal and physical toll it takes on the company – all indicators point to a pent-up M&A activity and enthusiasm for the coming year.

Mind-boggling, record-breaking numbers have grabbed the headlines:

– Dell buying Perot Systems for $3.9 billion

– Cisco acquiring Tandberg for $3 billion

– Adobe buying Omniture for $1.8 billion

– VMware grabbing SpringSource for a lowly $420 million

– Intuit snapping up PayCycle and Mint for a lousy $170 million each

These are only the tip of the iceberg.


Tons of friendly and unfriendly M&A deals are being pursued or speculated:

– HP and Polycom

– Oracle checking out SuccessFactors, Taleo, Concur, RightNow, NetSuite, Citrix???

– Dell, Nokia and HP watching Palm’s struggles

– Google promising a buy a month

– Many more “discussions” are started and broken off

M&A people couldn’t be happier…it has been a long dry spell for them. You can be very certain that they see a very lucrative and busy year for their industry. You can be certain that they intend to get their unfair share whether both parties are ready or willing for the wedding ritual or not.

Hostile – and highly public – efforts such as Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft cost both organizations considerable time, money and effort. In the end it also meant the loss of employment for thousands of individuals.

Ellison’s acquisition of Sun was more harmonious but the two still face a long, tiresome, expensive and uncertain trip through the governmental quagmire.

Governmental agencies around the globe are taking a careful look at acquisitions by major corporate entities questioning how anti-competitive size is in today’s market.

At the same time, the pro-active consolidation activities finds management of many public and private firms unprepared or poorly prepared to handle friendly or hostile tender offers or proxy fights.

New Language

Today’s boards of directors, company presidents and officers are developing a rich addition to their vocabularies. Expressions like “lead horse,” “golden parachute,” “white knight,” “scorched earth,” “shark repellent,” “poison pill,” “greenmail” and “arbs” are as well understood as bandwidth, VoIP, CPU, GPU, SKU, social media, cloud computing/storage, venture capital, and burn rate.

Management has added new members to their teams that include takeover lawyers, investment bankers, proxy solicitors and PR counsel.

The new language and team members are key to management’s ability to control the situation. That’s because there are hungry, smart, and well-paid people around the globe who do nothing all day long but dream up deals.

Mergers and acquisitions are no longer mere targets of opportunity. They have become an integral part of many organizations’ long-range growth strategy.

Unfortunately, few corporate heads have received any training or education in such activities as mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers.

Trial by fire is a rotten way to gain such expertise.

Management’s Dilemma

Financial sharks find today’s business and financial environment to be a very rich feeding ground.

A new breed of investment bankers and lawyers is preparing for the economy’s upturn and they have access to large sums of money from investors who are looking to improve the returns on their money.

It’s not surprising that a growing number of companies that have a clear idea of their goals and solid business model sometimes feel like wounded seals in a tank of great whites.

The pent-up demand from governmental agencies and stockholders to see positive balance sheets has “encouraged” companies to stalk new opportunities and grow.

It’s little wonder that the feeding frenzy gives company management fitful, sleepless nights. It usually means they have to divert their attention from the day-to-day operations and their primary business to devise plans to protect their organizations.

Unfortunately most of these efforts are defensive rather than preparatory or offensive. As a result, they are expensive and disruptive.

Defensive Move

When companies begin making unfriendly or unwanted acquisition overtures the usual reaction is to call in the corporate lawyers and put together a defensive plan.

This usually includes adding bylaws that require super majority shareholder approval of mergers and/or liquidation; acquisition of property that can create regulatory and antitrust barriers; preparation of “black books” with contingency defence plans, elimination of cumulative voting and reclassification of the board of directors. All of these steps can be effective. They have to be considered and used when the sharks are already circling.

Communications and public relations also plays an important role in these campaigns since management needs to show shareholders that it is in their best interest to support their management.

Many equate the activities to those carried out in a political campaign–black hat/white hat, character assassination, and guilt by association. The fast paced campaign includes scores of news releases, tweets, blogs and position statements; a myriad of phone calls; and instantaneous decisions regarding what should and should not be said.

Quality and carefully planned media efforts play a key role in advancing management’s cause. They can solidify and clarify management’s position.They can influence institutional investors, governmental agencies and public opinion.

Offensive Action

However, management should also use their communications tools to carry out offensive and strategic activities that keep the firm from being put on the defensive.

Defensive moves can’t address the critical questions which arise in a takeover situation, such as:

– What are the maximum capital and earnings values of the company’s assets?

– Who can best manage them to provide the best return to the investors?

– What are the long-term plans and opportunities for an independent organization?

Positive and proactive PR programs can address these issues for private and public companies.

Few private firms do anything to posture themselves with the financial community. However conducting even basic financial public relations activities can put you in a solid position when suitors call. They can also put you in a stronger bargaining position if management feels a merger is in the best interest of the organization, its investors and its employees.

Unfortunately, even many firms that are public meet only the basic SEC requirements. They do little to “sell” themselves to the investor, financial communities or marketplace in general.

Activities that private and public companies should undertake include an aggressive, prompt disclosure program on new products or services as well as research breakthroughs and contracts. Positive news like this lifts the interest and support of customers and prospects. It also buoys investor and employee enthusiasm. Publicly held firms obviously must announce sales and earnings results. Private firms can modify this effort to position itself in the marketplace.

The annual report is more than a report to investors and can be even more effective for both private and public organizations. The report can be an important compilation of company news and information. It can serve as a year-long selling tool for the company, its vision and direction. It can also promote the firm’s products/services. The report should emphasize the firm’s key assets – its people and their commitment to the customers and the success of the company.

Other activities include fact files or “white paper” kits for the financial community and media; meetings with industry analysts and strong publicity activities aimed at the appropriate print and online media outlets.

All of these activities add credibility and viability to the firm. They provide an excellent platform for management to control and present its messages. They provide an opportunity for management to emphasize the value of its assets, how they are being managed and plans to meet tomorrow’s challenges/opportunities.

Battle Lines are Drawn

By pressing home these results, management gives investors, customers, partners and employees a much better understanding of the company. In the event of unfriendly acquisition overtures, management gives all of these interested parties a sound understanding of the company’s complete value proposition.

Corporate takeover fights are management’s equivalent of war. And as in war, no one can rely solely on defensive weapons. A solid communications strategy and program (combined with a solid management team) can be the strongest strategic and proactive weapons that can be used to advance management’s case and position.

It also puts them in control the issues and maybe their destiny. Proactive activities at the outset help end the battle on favorable terms. At least its nice to know it was your choice.

As H1N1 (swine flu) continues to spread, so does misinformation on the Internet. There are several emails in circulation that are simply wrong, and web sites with false information are popping up all over. And scams are starting to emerge.

We share this planet with people who still believe the earth is flat, lunatic conspiracy theorists who claim that the 1969 moon landing didn’t happen, and criminals bent on separating us from our money however they can. So it’s not much of a surprise that there are some people who “don’t believe in vaccinations” despite overwhelming evidence that the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Or that some criminals don’t care who they hurt along the way.

If you find yourself reading these emails and web sites, please take a moment to remember that anyone can write an email claiming to be whomever they wish, and anyone can create a web site. It doesn’t make anything they say correct, honest or credible.  Surf on over to and you’ll find many examples of emails that have circled the globe for years, often evolving as people take it upon themselves to embellish, edit and reattribute misinformation. Most of us have been taken in by at least one of them.  But what’s truly frightening is that some people could make important health decisions based upon fiction.  Don’t be one of them.

We will undoubtedly see a lot of H1N1-related scams as criminals seek to profit from fear. Some of these will be appeals for cash, and they are sure to tug at our heartstrings. Others will offer bogus insurance to protect those who become ill. And sadly we will probably see fake vaccines and bogus cures for sale as well. Don’t fall for it. Delete those emails and point your web browser to reputable sites for solid information.

Here are some links to get you started:

General Information

Australian Government

British Government

Public Health Agency of Canada


World Health Organization

H1N1 Vaccine Information

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Vaccine

British swine flu vaccination programme

Health Canada Arepanrix™ H1N1 Vaccine FAQ

US CDC 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Info

Making The Transition to a Social Business


Look, I’m all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I’m being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I’m going wherever they value loyalty the most.” – Dwight Schrute – The Office, ABC-TV

Seriously… Tim Berners-Lee had no idea how huge his concoction was going to be when he first unleashed the Web on the world. Like the Internet itself, all he wanted to do was make it possible for researchers to share/update information with other researchers. Somewhere along the way, it got “a little” outta’ hand!

Well, not really. There’s just a little chasm between boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Yers.There’s also a little chasm between C-level execs, marketing/communications and workers. But there’s little to no chasm between work and home.

In “the company”:

– 93% own a cellphone, compared to 78% of industrial country adults

– 85% have a desktop computer, compared to 65% of all adults

– 61% own a laptop, compared to 39% of all adults

– 27% own a Blackberry, iPhone or similar device, compared to 13% of all adults

For the most part, all generations, work levels agree that these and other technologies have had a positive effect on their productivity.


Figure 2 – Technology Helps – Regardless of the generation, company personnel feel that today’s advanced technology has helped them become more productive in their jobs. Source – Kelly Services

They use their computers, use email and most even use an Internet browser. The majority (90%) believes the new technology; new software helps them perform better, faster. C-level executives see the social networking tools as a means of achieving marketing/sales success, but don’t think it’s for use by everyone.

Market Mining

In their minds, the social networking tools are useful for:

– acquiring new customers

– increasing customer retention

– increasing customer lifetime value

– launching new products/services

– increasing brand awareness

– expanding in new market areas

While PC/CE companies are more heavily involved than all businesses, C-level executives and firms aren’t exactly flooding the social networks.


Figure 3 – Socially Behind – While social network firms and users love to extol how much people are using the P2P services, they are only gaining modest traction with companies across the board. However, firms in the tech areas are gaining confidence in the use of services. Source – Burson-Marsteller

According to a study by Deloitte:

– 31% of CEOs are on Facebook (69% aren’t!)

– 30% use social networking as part of their business, operations strategy

– 23% use social networking as internal communications tool

– 18% have employee-created Facebook group

– 14% of CEOs have Twitter profile

– 13% post corporate videos on YouTube

– 11% have company-sponsored Facebook group

As you might expect, most of those who use the Internet at work are male, but the difference is almost a rounding error.


Figure 4 – Equally Connected – The percentage of men and women who use the Internet at work is almost 50/50. Analysts note that the slight weighting to men is probably not significant. Source – comScore Media Metrix

The same is true of social sites. Social netophiles claim that all of the new tools are the wave of the future, the way business will be run going forward. According to these forward-looking, click-savvy folks, social nets are the way organizations and customers will communicate, interact, collaborate, create, inform themselves, prioritize, organize, buy, sell. They assert it is the way it is happening now!


The problem is that over half of the executives surveyed by Deloitte said they have no official policy regarding social networks. Even more don’t have a clue what it is.

Behind the Curve

Deloitte research found:

– two of Fortune 100 CEOs have Twitter accounts (one has 7,000 followers, neither follows anyone)

– None have personal blogs

– 18 have LinkedIn profiles – all were PC/CE bosses, two listed their old titles, most had fewer than 50 connections

– 19 have personal Facebook pages- 80+% don’t have personal Facebook pages, few have many “friends,” majority have little/no information on their pages

– Majority are listed on Wikipedia even though info is old or lacking

Nearly all are spending 90+% of their time just trying to keep their business running “smoothly,” keeping the board/stockholders off their backs, juggling the “gotta’ haves” of the new generation of employees, and getting customers to pay for what was delivered! So chat sites are a really a low priority for them.

It’s probably a good thing then that most employees use the basic Internet tool – email – to get things done.


Figure 5 – Work Tool – While some firms feel Internet and social network access will reduce the productivity of employees, email – the workhorse of Internet connectivity – continues to be the most valued tool followed by information search and research. Even when people use social media, they often blur the lines of business/personal life. Source — comScore

Email today…it’s the way business gets done…get over how important your Twits are.

A LexisNexis survey showed:

– 2/3 of boomers feels smartphones contribute to a breakdown in workplace etiquette and using a laptop in a meeting is distracting (only half of Gen Yers agree)

– 17% of boomers believe using laptops, smartphones in personal meetings is efficient (1/3 of Gen Yers agree)

– 28% of boomers think blogging about work is OK (40% of Gen Yers agree)

That may be why some firms actually block users from using the social net. Honest! We’ve sent links to people and they’ve said they can’t access sites from their office systems. According to a study by the AMA (American Management Association), half of the firms ban visits to social net sites. Seems kinda’ dumb with so many people having a smartphone.


Figure 6 – Yeah…So – With the growing use of smartphones in people’s lives, being blocked by the company’s IT department isn’t much of a barrier for people who can tap into the Internet with their phone and use the Web.

Guess the boss doesn’t know they are able to do a “work around,” but hey it makes HR feel a little more comfortable. Reminds us of Michael Scott’s pep talk in The Office…“This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the hell outta here.”

Numbers Growing

But since Gen Yers won’t disappear from the business scene (boomers are fading ya’ know!), it may be time to understand it, deal with it, use it. After all, you probably hired him/her based on her Facebook profile right? Admit it, … you did!!!

As Mary Madden (Pew Internet & American Life Project) said, the tools will be incorporated into the work environment but it will be an “awkward hug.”

In some way, shape, form, adding the tools has to take place because our new fantastic tech tools – notebooks, netbooks, smartphones – do improve work productivity.


Figure 7 – Muddied Waters – There was a time when people had a pretty clear division between their office and personal lives. The Internet/Web have blurred those lines – many feel for the better – and you’re able to stay in touch almost anywhere. Source – Kelly Services

It would probably be more honest to say that these fantastic work tools have allowed work to slop over into your personal life. You know you check your smartphone just before you go to bed and the minute you get up. You handle “just a few” emails over the weekend and when you’re on holiday. That’s probably why the boss gave you a notebook and a smartphone (o.k., an iPhone or Blackberry).

You’re hooked on ‘em…and the man owns you – 24×7!  O.K., he/she wasn’t that diabolical, that evil, … right.

But the tools do help people with their work. They also add stress and new demands on their lives. The funny thing is, marketing and communications people look at all these rich new social networking tools as things they should “own,” “manage.”

Sure, it may take them three days to answer an email, but give ‘em a break. They’re busy doing what really counts, really matters…they’re Tweetin!!!! Email is so yesterday after all, and social networking stuff is…with it!!!

Despite the fact that management is concerned about security and employee productivity, most C-level executives feel social media will be a key strategy going forward. It’s the way for the company to build a stronger relationship with the customer, build brand reputation, launch new products/services, develop new markets.

Bad with the Good

The challenge is that social networking is a consumer technology that is taking the business world by storm. Cyberbadguys love the new stalking grounds. Malware is available from almost every site/every service. A well-meaning or disgruntled employee can tarnish a company’s/products image in 140 characters (or less).

But for the dedicated folks and social netophiles who venture into the social net world you have to remember one cardinal rule when answering a question…you respond, you own the question until the problem is solved or an adequate answer is provided.

Passing the individual on, passing the buck isn’t part of the equation. Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad…


Figure 8 – What Me Worry – Many executive boomers are amazed what newcomers to the business environment will put on their Facebook, LinkedIn and other profile sites. IT personnel are also concerned that the Web locations can make the systems/network vulnerable to security breaches and data corruption. But some folks just aren’t that worried. Source – Mad Magazine

When you get started with the social net, remember Dwight Schrute’s now prophetic observation…“Your pencils are creating a health hazard. I could fall and pierce an organ.”

Tens of thousands of pounds of disgusting and dangerous sewage gets pumped into the basements of homeowners in Ottawa, not just once or twice, but three or four times – in what the City claims is a “hundred year occurrence.” The top public servant in Ottawa claims the sewers are working just fine, the way they were designed.

There’s the transit fiasco, and City Council is powerless to enforce any semblance of making people responsible for their outrageous mistakes.

We have a culture of incompetence in Ottawa and it is hurting us all. The latest is today’s H1N1 flu shot fiasco. Doctor Isra Levy shouldn’t be blamed. In fact he may want to escape before he catches the viral fecklessness that permeates City of Ottawa management.

Flu shots aren’t anything new. Last year a nurse in our officer tower had us fill out a form while waiting in line, checked what she needed to check, and administered the vaccine. She could have easily handled 20 to 30 patients per hour.

But apparently that’s far too efficient for the City, where the process involves arriving, taking a number, waiting for it to be called, proceeding through a “registration” process, and then waiting in yet another area for the actual injection.

On Monday we arrived at an Ottawa clinic at 4:30pm and received number 497.  They were almost at 300 and quoted a two-hour wait time.  Not the one hour wait @ottawahealth had tweeted, but understandable.  About 6:10pm staff quietly announced that “the computers were down” and that they wouldn’t be able to “register” anyone “for ten or fifteen minutes”.

I peered into the “registration” room and saw five staff members sitting quietly behind their laptops. It was strangely tranquil despite the obvious stupidity of not promptly switching to a manual backup system like any competent organization. 

At 7pm, after waiting two and a half-hours — and well before the clinic was due to close at 8:30 —  my 4-year-old and I were sent home. No registration. No flu shot. “We’ll try to fast track you tomorrow,’” the nurse said politely.

Any company that dared to treat customers this way would be out of business.  Fixing the process and having staff stay until every person in line was served would have been the right thing to do. But in the City of Ottawa, public service has very little to do with serving the public, and City management will no doubt be crowing about the success and how many people were there.

The City had months to plan. If our health department is totally overwhelmed by 500 citizens arriving at a large community center for a city-organized flu vaccination clinic, what confidence can we have that they are capable of any meaningful assistance in a real emergency?