225 posts categorized "Technology and Society" Feed

Upgrading Firmware And Why its Critical (by Tony Fortunato)

 The topic of keeping firmware and/or software that keeps your network equipment running current is not as straight forward as you might think.

Let me start from a different perspective. When researching equipment and vendors, I like to see if they have a support community and how often they update their firmware/software as well at the products’ technical specifications. I have found some real gems with this kind of background work. A few years ago I discovered a vendor that provided free management software that also performed firmware uprades for free. And it works great!!

Another key point is if the vendor charges for firmware/software and what the requirements are to register on the support forum. Along with this point, I try to determine the firmware upgrade process and if customers have had issues performing this procedure in the past. I personally find that if support forums are easy to join, members tend to share and collaborate tips, tricks and experiences more.

Back to the original topic, when I receive new equipment, one of the first things I do is check what the current version of software is loaded on the device versus what the current version is. One might argue that having the latest version might address specific exploits or vulnerabilities but newer versions of software might bring new problems or bugs. I always like to keep the current and previous version of software to be safe.

Recently I was asked to acquire, test and configure a router made by Ubiquiti Networks. I have used their wireless equipment for years, so I’m familiar with their equipment and generally had good experiences. The only criticism I would provide is that some of their equipment isn’t quite plug and play. They have a manual online but since their routers haven’t been around as long as the big players you have to scour the net to figure things out. They do have a support community but like most support forums don’t expect to get a prompt and accurate response every time.

Continue reading "Upgrading Firmware And Why its Critical (by Tony Fortunato)" »

The New Juice (by Paul W. Smith)

Grapefruit w Voltmeter


No one is really sure why “juice” is a common slang term for electricity, but it’s a safe bet that it has no connection with the potential of grapefruit to generate current.  Juice was used as a metaphor for life-force as far back as the 17th century, but it’s since been adopted by gossip, venture capital, power (influence, electric) and steroids, to name a few.  If you’ve got juice, can raise juice, know the juice or are juicing you can claim a little piece of the life-force. 

We all know that the right music can bring the juice to practically anything.  Rock ‘n Roll was the soundtrack of my teenage years, which just happened to coincide with the Sixties.  In 1964, while my friends and I were captivated by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Young brothers - Malcolm, Angus, George and Alex - were busy pursuing musical interests and joining various bands of their own.  Bass player Alex, along with a few other musicians, started a London-based group named after Yoko Ono’s book “Grapefruit.”  In spite of the juicy name and support from folks like John Lennon and Brian Epstein, they enjoyed only modest, fleeting success. 

Musicians come and go, bands band and disband, and eventually Malcolm and Angus ended up playing together.  Their sister Margaret felt their band’s high-energy power performances were downright electric, and suggested the name “AC/DC”, after a plaque she had seen on a sewing machine.  The music had juice, and high-voltage electricity became the motif that powered them into the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame. 

Continue reading "The New Juice (by Paul W. Smith)" »

Does Your Website Pass the ABC Test? (by John Gumas)

Does Your Website Pass the ABC Test?

If you’ve been a faithful follower of the Challenger Brand Marketing Blogs, you are familiar with the 7 Second Rule.

Challanger Website

7 seconds to success!

This is the amount of time a website has to immediately communicate to a visitor what the company does, what makes them special and where the value lies for a customer. A tall order when you consider the majority of business websites either say too much – this is my one chance to spit out everything that makes my company great, my products, my service, my no-fault guarantee, my history, my globally sourced free-trade organic ingredients, my highly competitive pricing, my staff, my goodness. Or, websites say nothing at all – here’s my company name and a picture of a family sitting on a park bench drinking lemonade; pretty.

You have seven seconds to tell your brand’s perfect story, use them wisely.

Continue reading "Does Your Website Pass the ABC Test? (by John Gumas)" »

The Technology of Abolishing Jobs (by Paul W. Smith)

Donald Trump Job Creation

“I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created.”

 @POTUS Donald Trump campaigned with this and won, partially due to the job-loss-induced frustration in places like the Rust Belt.  Building a border wall and introducing import tariffs will help some, but they won’t fix the problem.  Technology is the real villain, and many of the jobs lost over the past generation are gone forever.

 What really happened to the disappearing jobs?  A study from Ball State University revealed that only 13% of lost manufacturing jobs could be blamed on foreign trade, while the remaining 87% were due to technology. At least for the near future, they don’t see it getting any better. 

Service/knowledge jobs have also been disappearing.  Some loss is due to computers, which have increased the productivity of these workers several-fold.  If your call to tech support goes through a series of number pushes on your phone to finally get a live person, you have experienced one example of this first-hand. Many of us frequently interact with ATM’s and Self-Checkout lines – two more examples of technology improving business productivity.    Apple’s Siri can now take dictation for many documents and messages.  Google’s translation program is fast and accurate.  Massive Open Online Courses are disrupting the business of higher education.   Automated online ordering is rapidly demolishing the brick-and-mortar business model. The perp-list is long and it’s growing.

Continue reading "The Technology of Abolishing Jobs (by Paul W. Smith)" »

LMTV LIVE | Networking Trends for 2017 (with Mike Canney of Viavi)

Live Broadcast starts @ 9:30 AM PST, Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ViaviMike canneyWith the New Year’s celebrations behind us, it’s time to put down the eggnog and look forward to the key technologies and trends that will impact network professionals in 2017.

LMTV will kick off this year with Mike Canney, Principal Strategic Architect and troubleshooter of Viavi Solutions, to take a look into our crystal ball to discuss the biggest things to impact IT.

Continue reading "LMTV LIVE | Networking Trends for 2017 (with Mike Canney of Viavi) " »

Check Your Social Media Security Settings (by Tony Fortunato)

Review your social media security

In the wake of current security issues, I thought it would be a good exercise to review my social media security and application settings.

To be honest, I have only heard of such an exercise but never actually done it.


I started with Yahoo since it was in the recent news. I was surprised how simple it was.  I simply clicked on my account avatar and selected the only option, “Account Info”. 

Once there, I clicked on “Recent activity” and reviewed what devices accessed my account and from where. A quick glance at the recent activity revealed nothing suspicious confirming that all is well.

I moved on to review the various apps or sites that I have used my yahoo login to access. I honestly don’t remember authorizing Google and can’t figure out why I authorized it back in 2012, so I removed it. 

I give Yahoo credit for their reports that report ‘last used’ and location which I used to validate the application or site in question. Since I travel quite a bit, that little tidbit was extremely helpful.

Be careful with what you play with. A good example was when I disabled the “Allow apps that use less secure sign in” option and my Outlook suddenly failed when trying to retrieve emails from my Yahoo email.  Oops..

Continue reading "Check Your Social Media Security Settings (by Tony Fortunato)" »