September 7th, 2009
Use the Java Contactor to protect your business or personal assets. As the following Morningstar article recommends, protecting your passwords is a best practice to avoid identity theft. In addition to using complicated passwords, it is best to have a different password for each online site. Once you use the Java Contactor to save passwords in an encrypted (protected) database, you can click on the website from within the Java Contactor to go to the login page making your password protection strategy easy and safe.
“Also be careful with the passwords that you use, particularly on sites where you conduct transactions or provide personal financial information. Don’t use obvious passwords, such as the name of your spouse or pet, or your birthday; that makes it easy for identity thieves to guess at yours. Also don’t use the same password again and again. The hardest-to-hack passwords are gibberish or use a combination of numbers and letters.
Windows will ask you whether you want it to “remember” your passwords, and then it will populate the password field automatically. That makes it a lot easier to surf online, but be careful when using this feature. Use it only when you’re on sites that don’t store sensitive information, such as your local newspaper’s site, rather than on sites where you actually execute business transactions. You can also shut off the Windows feature that asks you whether you want it to remember your passwords.
Using “password manager” software is another way to guard against phishing and other online scams. These programs store your user names and passwords and encrypt your information so it’s not accessible to hackers; however, these programs may not be able to handle some of the more complicated password formats that some banks require.
If you manage your various user names and passwords on your own, perhaps by maintaining a Microsoft Word or Excel document on your computer, take care to ensure that document’s safety. If your workstation doesn’t require a password to log on, take the step of password-protecting your document (Four Strategies for Avoiding Identity Theft, Morningstar.com).”
March 15th, 2008
Bill Gates recently addressed congress and made a compelling argument for filling a shortage of IT jobs. According to him, the US creates 100,000 new computer jobs each year but it only turns out 15,000 US graduates in engineering and computer science. According to his testimony before congress, the worlds most successful Harvard dropout thinks that we will get the most innovative computer workers from graduates with computer science degrees:) Ironic? That being said, my BS in computer science from Columbia University has provided me with a great deal of opportunity, and I’d recommend it to anybody looking for a career choice.
Our educational system needs to produce more engineering and computer science students, but I DON’T think that increasing the H1-B visa program is the way to go. If foreign students come to the US to get their degrees, and spend money in our country getting their degrees, then we need to offer those people citizenship, not some indentured servant program like the H1-B visa. If we really have such a deficit of talent in the US, then our congress needs to provide full citizenship to those engineers and computer scientists so that they can come here, raise their families and invest in our future! If we bring young engineers to work on our soil, pay them the lowest wages possible and then send them home to their home countries, what we will be doing is subsidizing the flow of talent away from our shores.
What are we anyway a high-tech half-way house?
A few minutes of Bill Gates testimony is at the Washington Post’s web site.
September 5th, 2007
Some researchers at Duke, Harvard and New York universities have recently published a paper that says unless the federal government does something to make it easier for foreigners to obtain green cards or permanent residency, many of those inventors may leave the United States, causing a ‘reverse brain drain.’ My thoughts are that a person needs to have skin in the game, i.e. citizenship to be truly useful to our society.
July 2nd, 2007
OK, so I think that what we need to do is to extend citizenship to high tech workers who want to work in the US. Full citizenship. Anything short of full citizenship is a fleecing of the American workers and the American way of life. Only when a person is free to leave their job for another is a person free and only when a worker brings their family to our soil is that worker fully invested in our way of life. Don’t believe me? Check out this video of a law firm instructing lawyers in how to comply with the law to advertise a high-tech job but in a way that guarantees that the company can ignore the US citizen so that they can instead hire an H1-B visa holder for much less money. Check it out!
May 20th, 2007
After I received 4,000+ spam comments to the blog over the past week-end, I suspended the ability for anyone to post a comment. Sorry. But seriously, how much traffic can a porn site get by posting a comment on thousands of unsuspecting blogs? I mean if it ends up generating traffic, then it makes me wonder if the mighty Google is really working that great. But my real guess is that the spammers are totally convinced that the long tailof leaving tons of spam posts on blogs is going to enrich them…
April 2nd, 2007
Early March is expected generate a land rush of H1-B visas by US companies. Personally, I think this is another attempt by US software and consulting companies to garner a new and larger round of indentured servants. Proponents of the process would like to expand the program to include provisions for 180,000 yearly visas for foreign-born workers. I think that we should offer citizenship to these people so that they can move their families here and earn a good living. But it seems like the corporations would rather keep them under their thumb.
April 2nd, 2007
The US has led the world in coming up with ways to increase workplace efficiency for a long time, but in 2006, it fell to the rank of 7th. Can anyone say “SOX compliance knocked us out of 1st place in global workplace efficiency?” The World Economic Forum’s annual report on leveraging IT effectively put the US in 7th place. Congressional action to the announcement is to increase funding for research, but as an IT person, I can tell you why we lost and it’s because of SOX compliance. Bill Gates of Microsoft and Craig Barrett of Intel testified before congress that they would like to see increased funding for science and technology education and R&D funding, but neither of those things are going to help the typical public business. Those are pork-barrel funding requests for the companies that manufacture software; the competitive advantage through the use of leveraging IT effectively is in the domain of large software consumers, such as American corporations.
January 15th, 2007
There’s a guy here who is part of the SOX team and is trying his hardest to be a useful contractor. He is always cooking up ways to prove that the SOX team adds value to the IT organization. So the other day he comes up with a report that catalogs all the outstanding trouble tickets that are older than 6 months old. The report goes to the head of IT here and he says, “How is it possible that there is a trouble ticket that is older than 6 months old.” To his way of thinking, what could possibly be so problematic that it wouldn’t be fixed within 6 months?
This kind of simple thinking is one facet of management consulting that makes me scratch my head. The truth is that some problems are not immediately pressing but they still need to be fixed. Say that you have a leak in one part of your roof and it needs to be fixed. So you put a pot under the leak and empty it out after it rains really hard. OK, you know it’s a problem, but you don’t have the time and money to fix it right now. Are you going to say, “Let’s pretend that the roof is not leaking and cross it off the to-do list?”
December 11th, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote about the lying software industry. Spearheaded by Bill Gates and Andy Grove, the software companies are claiming that they can’t get enough tech workers and need to expand the H1-B visa program. Of course, what they really mean to say is that they can’t get enough cheap workers. The same thing happened to skilled construction workers in the 80s. Congress and the executive branch turned their heads while immigrants streamed into the US and drove down wages. It’s hardly possible for a person to work as a carpenter and support a family at this point. Non-union construction wages have dropped significantly in the last 20 years when accounting for inflation. My guess is that within 10 years, programmers are going to be paid in a way that families will require 2 incomes and even at that, the total income will only allow for a very modest standard of living. I mean, why bust your ass in college and program all night long to enter an unstable workforce where you can’t enjoy the fruits of your hard work?
June 29th, 2006
So there’s a new manager here that is trying to acclimate us to his way of doing things. For the most part, I get along pretty well with him because we both worked for Accenture a while back, although not together. But I also know, which others might not, that successful Accenture people are really motivated by climbing the ladder of success and are trained through the “up or out” methodology whereby you either achieve the next level after a certain timeframe or you are asked to move along.
I had a mixed review at Accenture myself, the year that I was expecting to get to the next level. It pissed me off, and I had also recently been offered a new job. So I gave notice during the annual review that I was leaving. Basically, I was going to turn down the other job if I got the promotion, but since I didn’t get it I moved along instead. I’ve learned since then that I might have been a little too ready to leave, but I can’t live life regretting everything that I’ve done.
Anyway, I found out in the meeting that there are 3 groups of consultants here working on SOX compliance. Group 1 Ernst and Young who is responsible for auditing our financial statements for the outside world. Group 2 is from KPMG who is checking to make sure that we will pass the E&Y audit. Finally, there are internal employees monitoring to make sure that KPMG doesn’t find out something that they don’t already know about.
Talk about a productivity drain! Gawd, I can’t login to production without an ITG ticket logged by a user at this point. It’s a dilemma.