As 2016 draws to a close, everyone’s attention span wains under the pressure of Christmas shopping and hopefully a big dose of Christmas cheer. Lord knows we can use it this year! It’s a time to ratchet down work on new and existing projects before the holidays. Staff are wandering off to their families and vacations as outstanding tasks are pushed into the early part of 2017. With 2016 mostly in our rear view mirror, rather than hitting you hard with another salivating story on network infrastructure or a gut wrenching article on managed IT services, in the spirit of the season I have pulled together a few of my personal rants and raves from the IT world for 2016. Now don’t let me scare you off, as I have kept my rants and raves to gadgets and IT-related topics which are impacting our lives on a day-to-day basis.
How many times are you walking around, just about anywhere these days, when you come across someone with their head down, totally immersed and staring at their phone? Completely oblivious to their surroundings! Add Pokémon Go, and now you have a group of kids, and adults, sadly, walking in packs bumping into people and still completely ignorant to their surroundings. At least Pokémon Go got many basement dwelling gamers out into the real world. Too bad they have to bring their virtual reality world with them!
The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! Nothing has dominated the news more lately than the hack of the DNC email server in the U.S. and the release of confidential emails to WikiLeaks. Who was actually behind the attack? I would prefer to defer my judgement until some actual cyber security experts pour over the hack, rather than relying on the hacks in the media that are quick to blame the Russians. Perhaps we will never know exactly who did it nor why they did it. Generally when systems are hacked, the total emphasis is focused on what sensitive data was compromised and how do you stop it from happening again. In this case, the blame game has vastly overshadowed the actual information that was leaked. The lesson to be learned here; never put anything into an email that you wouldn’t want your mother to read!
Who can forget Samsung’s fall from grace with the spontaneous combustion of their Galaxy Note 7s? Prior to the product launch, the Galaxy 7 was heralded as perhaps the best smartphone ever released. But Lucifer had others plans in mind as the phones caught on fire and melted their way into one of the costliest recalls in history. Perhaps they should have diverted more attention to heat generated in the phones versus the waterproofing feature. Somewhat ironic isn’t it!
Apple received its fair share of criticism with the release of the iPhone 7 and the elimination of the stereo headphone jack. What were they thinking? Apple received so much flak from their faithful fans they included an adaptor with all units sold. I wonder how long that will last. They said it was due to the waterproofing of the phone, but I suspect it had much more to do with a new revenue stream! Great, another dongle cord to lose.
How many lotto tickets do you have kicking around that haven’t been checked? It always seems we have more than a few stuffed in drawers, briefcases, backpacks and car compartments. Worse yet, you never seem to have them with you to check the winning numbers when you’re buying that next ticket and your chance at financial freedom. How many times have you said to yourself, “I’ll check them later”, and later never comes and nobody, but nobody, wants to check individual winning numbers online. With Lotto Manager on your smartphone, from the Western Lottery Corporation, we can scan the bar code on any type of lotto ticket and the application instantaneously tells you if it’s a winner or a dud. It doesn’t improve your chances of winning but it will ensure you never miss that multi-million dollar prize because you forgot or were too lazy to check the ticket!
Does anyone care? I used to be a loyal BlackBerry power user. I still miss some of the phones features and the security the BlackBerry OS offered. Unfortunately, they really missed the market’s push to Android and the ‘use your own device’ policies many companies adopted. Sadly, one of the best phones BlackBerry made to date, the BlackBerry PRIV hit the streets way too late. An Android device that provided the best of both worlds. If you were a BlackBerry user from days gone by, the PRIV is still available from some carriers if you want to be bold and give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed!
Speaking of Apple, I hear smartwatch sales are slumping across all manufacturers. Unless you are an ardent tech head or Apple crusader, it makes me wonder about the overall usefulness of these devices. Seeing as everyone has their cell phones tied to their hips these days, are smartwatches just another fading gadget or will they catch on? When phones and tablets are getting bigger, do we need yet another mobile device that is getting smaller?
The IT world continues to spin at a dizzying pace! When’s the last time you performed a security audit or penetration test on your network. Is your sensitive data stored locally or in the cloud? Is it safe from unauthorized access or malicious hackers? The last year should have taught us all a valuable lesson, you never can be too sure, nor too safe when it comes to your data and network. Treat your IT infrastructure like you would treat yourself. When you schedule your next annual physical, schedule your next annual health check of IT infrastructure as well. Better safe, than sorry! The upside? You can always fix what’s broken or missed. I just wish we could do the same for our aging bodies!
Have a very Merry Christmas and have a great and prosperous 2017!