227 posts categorized "Technology and Society" Feed

The End of the Long Haul (by Paul W. Smith)

Goldfish and Phone

The “long haul” is a lot longer than it used to be.  Over the last century, average life expectancy has increased by 30 years (unless you live in Monaco where you get 9 more).  If you are life-planning for the long haul, your task is getting harder.

Common use of the term “long haul” began about 100 years ago and has grown since.  It originated with early sailors who were hauling goods over the open sea trade routes from Egypt to Alexandria.  Merchants trading along short hauls in the Mediterranean Sea got more paydays, but for lesser amounts.  If you were willing to take some risk and be patient, bigger returns were available from the long haul. 

Those old rules still apply.  People contemplating major life change, say from marriage, career or weight loss, will often tell themselves that they are in it for the long haul.  One night stands, job-hopping or crash dieting may produce swifter fulfillment, but the long haul pays off better overall.  Everybody knows that.

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You Are Here (by Paul W. Smith)

Babylonian World Map w Icon
The late comedian Myron Cohen told the story of a man who hid in the bedroom closet when his paramour’s husband arrived home unexpectedly.  When the husband opens the closet door and asks what he’s doing there, he replies “Everybody gotta be someplace.” 

This existential truth has engaged mankind from the beginning, as have its practical implications.  Hunting and gathering might lead you far and wide, but if you can’t find your way back to the secure confines of your cave, you might lose your place on the food chain.  Locational awareness is one of the most fundamental of evolutionary traits.  Not only does everybody gotta be someplace, but life is just better if you know where that someplace is. 

People have been trying to sort out exactly where they fit into the world for thousands of years.  One of the earliest maps, attributed to the Babylonians, was found on a clay tablet (about the size of a smartphone) that dates to around 600 B.C.  Although it clearly depicts Babylon, the Euphrates River and Assyria, it wasn’t much good for navigation.  Scholars believe the real purpose was more primal – to allow the owner to grasp the world at large along with his own place in it.  Even back then, “You are here” was a thing. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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