Sunday, December 27, 2009

Learning from a successful coach

IT Leadership:

  1. The ability to have every one focus on a common goal
  2. Get the team to commit and devote to the process (role model)
  3. Commitment in your focus -- conversations, promptness, attention to detail, show concern for people
  4. Empowerment -- get feed back, ideas, and input on decisions
  5. Set expectations for yourself and staff
  6. Coordinate team events such as: service projects, dinner parties, and various outings.
  7. Help others achieve their goals will inspire effort and enthusiasm.
  8. Establish expectations for performance and hold people accountable
  9. Find out from every one what they bring to the table
  10. Always continue to develop expertise
  11. Extra effort to develop an edge / niche in the market
  12. Continue to raise your game via networking, education, and conferences.
Develop a pattern of success.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Year in the Executive Suite “taking stock”

As I look back and reflect on the past year, what have been the greatest successes, accomplishments, and goals achieved? In order to make this determination, I review the climb to the summit.

While reflecting on the rough economic climate in 2009, business prospects have improved especially in regard to potential cliental. There have been improvements in using social media sites such as Face book, LinkedIn, and Twitter to build a network of business contacts, industry experts, and various leaders. There has been success in building expertise in computing technology.

As many business leaders and executives truly understand the reach and power of information technology, integrating key technologies into business (is key). Being in position to develop and lead the development of key technology initiatives has been gratifying.

As a business and I.T. leader, the focus is truly understanding the business process and using technology to add value by increasing productivity, sales, and customer service. One of the prime examples is the mobile work force. Managing the mobile work force to ensure they have every thing they need at their finger tips such as: Email, Contacts, instant messaging, stock, GPS, voice mail, which provides great value.

The year has been successes by confidently bring value to the business, not just from a technology stand point, but also from a process and leadership standpoint. The end point has been the ability to help improve the way the business works utilizing key technology. The focus continues to be improving: business processes, customer interfaces, improving interaction among employees, customers, and suppliers.

Merry Christmas, Happy New year to business partners, family, and friends!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Security against the latest threats

Typical network security involves implementing a firewall. The firewall is a barrier between you and the evils of the internet.  Most good firewalls will examine common ports and protocols and ban and bar any suspicious packets from entry.

As many treats got more complicated, trusted sources, ports, and protocols carried any number of threats. It has become increasingly important to look inside data packets while nothing their source, destination, and type.

My typical network security  configuration deploys a firewall, content filtering, anti-virus/spam, and intrusion detection. As the number of device appliance increased, so does the cost associated with management and licensing. Out of necessity and consumer demand, unified threat manger (UTM) was designed. I will be reviewing UTM.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Global Diversity, Out Sourcing, economics

Global Diversity for U.S.A. has become a reality as the internet has made every corner of World accessible via the internet. While many companies top executives have embraced diversity, many companies and citizens are still un-accepting, or behind the times.

Many minorities and woman have made great progress in breaking the so called glass ceiling. We have a Barack Obama, a black president, Deval Patrick, the first black governor of Ma, and many other influential business people. When people make it to the top of their profession, they tend to hire and reward people in their inner circle. In the recent past, trickle down economics meant, minorities and woman where the last hired.

During this economic down turn, gains made in the Information Technology sector by blacks, Hispanics, and women have been reverse by wide spread lay offs.

Global diversification of the work place has proliferated as a result of wide spread out sourcing. Many support functions have been sent to countries such as India, Guatemala, and China. The fact is, many people in these countries can speak multiple languages (fluent English) but speak with a distinct accent. It time to realize that the world is no longer US (USA) and them (foreigners), but we as one!

When in this global economy, all U.S. workers need to be able to work with all cultures and countries. We as US citizens need to take a look at the world beyond our borders. How can U.S. business and workers use the global diversification and economy to our advantage? It time to refocus from Main Street to the global super highway and I as a business man, will be reviewing our relationship with Europe and our global strategy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Massachusetts Information Technology -- State Legislature

Massachusetts state government and Governor Deval Patrick has under taken an initiative to merge all state agencies under one umbrella. The key person in this project would be the chief information technology officer for the state.

The CIO would help merge the MA highway department, public transit, RMV, and Aeronautics under the Executive Office of Transportation. The EOT budget was projected at 20 million which also over sees 3000 agencies.  One of the key duties for the CIO was working with the Information Technology Division and Federal funding sources to identify and secure financial resources needed to support IT initiatives

Once of the keys to merging agencies involved the state’s effort to move towards open document format (ODF) with in executive branch agencies. Transforming IT operations for 3000 agencies is a huge investment that the state appears not ready to make. The last two CIO have resigned as a result of the “Massachusetts Legislature's decision not to fund most of the state's IT projects”.

During the last three years, battle lines have been drawn over the direction of digit document format.  Both former CIO’S have decided to go with ODF, XML based format using a variety or products including IBM workplace and StarOffice.  The decision to not use Microsoft’s digital format resulted in opposition from Microsoft, legislators, government officials, and special interest group.

I was interested in tracking this project as I assisted in locating person to fill CIO position for the state of Ma. They key to project management is, the person or people running the project and associated funding. If either of these two variables are lacking, chance of success are diminished greatly.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

American Dream -- Milton Academy style via Governor Deval Patrick

Milton Academy -- Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick's road to first black governor of Massacusetts.

Deval and his good friend President Obama both offered similar hopes of optimism and hopefullness
many people were hungry for. Many people felt that changes would bring a brighter day for every one, not just the rich and greedy.

Deval's back ground is interesting. He graduated from Milton Academy and Harvard law. He became a top federal civil-rights enforcement officer in the Clinton administration and cheif counsel for Coka-Cola.

Deval grew up in Chicago (poor) and earned a scholarship to prestigious prep school Milton academy. He went on to Harvard and graduated from Harvard law school. He was a private attorney in Boston, specailizing in poverty law and civil rights work. In 1994 President Clinton named him assistant attorney general for civil rights. Deval has lived in Milton Ma, but his residence was reported up for sale, speculating a move to Washington with President Obama.

Deval made his in roads as an attorney working for Stephen Rienhard U.S. court of appeals as a clerk. In Berkshire county, Mark Riehard is a polical science professor at Williams College,who helped Deval get the prestigious clerkship. Deval has built a multi-million dollar second home in Richmond Berkshire county.

Back when Deval started his campain for Governor of Massachussetts, Judge Rienhart helped
get the campain off the ground and was a person of great influence and affect on Deval's life and career.

One thing that impressed me about Deval, he was not freightened or overwhelmed that he would not fit in among youth of power and privilege at Milton academy. He made the effort to reached out to others and learned that other kids were just as frieghtened as he was. There was a sense of community among adults and teachers at Milton academy where others took interest in helping you along. I also learned that there is a strong minority presence at the academy, which must have been helpful as well.

By all accounts Deval has lived the American dream. Deval ran for governor on the premise of keeping the American dream alive. In order for people to realize the American dream, the USA must have a strong economy. The education system in the USA must improve and health care should be affordable. Deval has just released a new intitutive to help small businesses acquire capital, which hopefully will lead to job creation.

Deval is an inspirtion for all based on his hard work and success. His record as governor of Massachussetts is another question. My hope is there will be brighter days ahead for Massachussetts and USA.

I am heading to Milton Academy this week end to officaite a football game.  I wonder if I will run into any future leaders and hope to see some interesting sites.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 upgrade and review

Windows 7 upgrade:

If you are currently running Windows Vista you should be able to upgrade to Window 7 with out a problem. Windows 7 is designed to run on the same hardware as Windows Vista which is good news.

Windows 7 key feature are:  the improved performance resulting in a faster and more stable operating system.  Newer systems will run Windows 7 fine, but on older systems, you should review the hardware requirements below.

The system requirements for Windows 7 are as follows: 1 GHZ or faster processor, 1GB RAM 32 bit, 2 GB RAM 64 bit, 16 GB hard drive space and a graphics card compatible with Direct X 9. You can also run Windows 7 upgrade advisor at

The Windows upgrade advisor will let you know what hardware and software will work with Windows 7, all others you will have to find and load the appropriate drivers. Microsoft does have some new security features available in security essentials.

The early reviews on Windows 7 are good. It’s faster, better looking user interface and has touch screen capability.  I will provide further overviews and review once I install.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Manage Success -- a New England tradition

What can we learn from other’s success?

The Story of a Hall of Fame Coach Bill Bellchick

As the story goes, Bill got his love of football from his father Steve. Steve an immigrant got to college on a football scholarship. As a player Steve realized he would some day like to coach.  Steve loved to break down film, analyze play principles, various formations, and scout opponents for hours.  By the age of ten, Steve’s son, young Bill (being around his father) would spend hours absorbing every fact, thought, and perspective.   The key is identifying and developing a love for what you do.

Bill’s early guiding principles were order and patterns through football.  Bill would play football at prestigious Andover Academy and receive a football scholarship as well.  His major in college was economics; this would dictate how his teams would manage the salary cap, and how he would value his players. A key piece to building any successful business is, providing a great product at a great price.  The final result would be the molding of a championship team, the New England Patriots. The NE Patriots championship teams of the 90’s lacked super stars, but had many great team players. Many of these players performed above expectations, providing great value, and contributed to one of the most successful teams in NFL history.  Through tradition, principles learned: hard work, thriftiness, and moral responsibility, Bill and Patriots were able to build a dynasty that many believed was impossible.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IT security breaches what are the damages?

After many well publicized security breaches at large companies, the damage and resulting aftermath is costly and disturbing. Over the last 12 months security breaches have become a large problem for many companies. You can attribute attacks to economic conditions and to new hacking techniques with wide range objectives.

According to studies, the numbers of security breaches are the same as last year, but the damage is more severe. The average cost on a security breach is $85k, lost business, security repair.

Based on recommendation from FBI and Homeland Security Assessment:

Companies need to adhere to rigorous attention to security and the implementation of security technology such as Firewalls, Anti-Virus solutions, and intrusion detection systems.

Implementing a password security policy is key. Help desk support should be trained on how to verify users identity prior to releasing passwords; especially over the phone. 

Setting up self automated password reset technology can be very useful in managing users’ password. Taking these steps can minimize damages from a security breach. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out Source USA Pride

Economics of outsourcing USA jobs
At some point in the last decade it become acceptable to send USA Jobs else where. I recall working for a management firm, where we would provide the hourly workers and management. We could do the job better and save our customers money which would improve profits.
At some point ohter countries caught up with the USA, especailly in regards to certain skills and education. Approximately at the same time, foreign manufacturers began to make products that were just as good or better at a lower cost. This situation made it more difficult for US companies to compete in the global economy.
The USA consumer was lead to believe that buying American made products was no longer important.
Many USA consumers began to buy foreign products espceially cars and electronics. As this became an acceptable norm, USA began to focus on profit and stock price above all else.

To increase profits, companies hired foreign workers and companies who could do work cheaper and some times better. At first, the public was lead to beleive that companies were only using foreigh workers to do jobs that USA could not do, especailly math, science, and programming.

At some point out sourcing become more than a USA skill or labor shortage, but a profit center. According to recent research, 40% of all US jobs could be "offshored". I was shocked to learn that many companies have sent I.T. support jobs over seas to countries such as India. I was stuned by the fact the human resources functions were be sent over seas.

According to research, an occupation's "offshorability" has no relation to skill level, education, or wages. Bottom line, any one's job can be sent over seas.

I have struggled with, why USA companies would send jobs over seas and put workers on the unemployment line. Unlike many other countries, especailly Japan, we show very little value for US workers. If offshoring can save the company money, you are probably gone.

What if you were a CEO "cheif executive officer" would you outsource / offshore to increase profits. I believe for most people, the answer would be yes. The question is, how can this change? We must once again, make good products, buy American, and punish companies who offshore for a meassly short term profit at the cost of longer term prosperity.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mozilla Firefox Web Browser security

Mozilla Firefox Web Browser security
Mozilla Firefox is set up like Internet Explorer but does not support ActiveX and security Zones. Firefox does support configurable security policies but with out the graphical user interface.
You should take the following step to disable certain features in Firefox. To edit your settings, select tools, then options:
select main or general category, you can set browser as your default or select option always ask me where to save files. This allow you control what files are saved on your system. This will help protect your system from web sites storing and saving unwanted files on your system.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Officating life -- my journey

Officiating life

I have began a new phase of my life, officiating. As I began this new journey, I have begun to see the game through a new perspective. The games has changed from win at all cost, playing time, to fair enforcement of the rules.

As I have spoken to officials, coaches, players, parents, and fans, I realize that games are a microcosm of society. The first thing your learn is how to deal with over crazed parents, coaches, and fans and what to do if people get out of hand. Many parents, and to some extent coaches, live their lives out through their kids or players. This results in people taking the game way to serious and getting out of control. As an official and manager of the game, my goal is to enforce the rules fairly, manage the game, and make it an enjoyable experience for all.

We can make the game better and translate that into a memorable experience for all.

Sharon vs Randolph High School Ma 9/12/09

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Managing security associated with cookies and password

Managing cookie and your password

On the privacy tab there is an advanced button used to manage cookies. Cookies are text files placed on your computer by web sites you visit directly (1st party) or indirectly(third party) ads banners. The cookie can contain any data the company wants to store. The cookie is often used to track movement on web sites (shopping ) and passwords. Therefore, you should select advance button, select override automatic cookie handling. You should select prompt for both 1st and third party cookies. After you get comfortable managing your cookies, you can allow session cookies to be enabled. Session cookies have less risk than persistent cookies.

You may wish to evaluate each site to determine whether you want to allow or block individual cookies. You probably would want to block sites that our advertisements. By selecting sites button, you can manage cookie setting for specific sites. The last option you may want to consider is, setting the privacy setting to high. If this causes any functionality problems, you would have to allow cookies for this site to work properly.

Lastly for Internet Explorer, I will review advanced setting you may want to set.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cyber Control, Parental Control, blocking web sites

How to block web sites using Internet Explorer

There probably will become a time when you want to block certain web sites due to inappropriate content,viruses, and to protect children.

1. Open Internet Explorer and go to tools, Internet Options, content. In content adviser box, click enable.

2. Click the approved sites tab. Enter the address of the web site you want to block. To block the whole site use and * * Click never and OK.

3. Click the general tab and select users can see web sites that have no rating.

4. Enter password to control access.

5. You can review rating setting by selecting the ratings tab.

Happy web surfing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Securing your browser -- trusted sites

After setting your security level to high for the Internet, you should start to add trusted web sites that should not have any malicious software. To add trusted sites:

Go to Internet Explorer, select tools, then Internet options....Click the security tab and then trusted sites. There is an option that only allows HTTPS which means the web traffic is encrypted. Typically you will have to unchecked verify site HTTPS for sites that are not encrypted or use only HTTP. The security level for trusted sites is usually set to medium to ensure proper functionality. Once the site is added, the ActiveX and scripting are enable to allow for greater functionality.

The next post will review the use of cookies.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Securing your web browser

Securing your web browser

In order to secure your web browser, you must change the setting on Internet Explorer by selecting tools then Internet options on the web browser tool menu. Select the security tab were you set the security level for Internet zone. The Internet zone is applied to all web sites that do not have customized security levels set. You can learn more about Internet security zones at
The recommended setting for the Internet zone is high security setting. The high security setting will disable ActiveX, Active scripting, and Java. In the security setting for this zone, drag slider control up to high. You can further customize your security settings by clicking on the custom level. This gives you the ability to control security settings for the current zone. IF you plan on using only one browser, you will have to use trusted sites to have full capability of web sites that uses ActiveX and scripting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Web Browser Security 2 -- protect your data and I.D.

Web Browser feature vs. risk:

JavaScript is a scripting language that makes web sites interactive. JavaScript has to be set to limit access to local files.

VB Script is a Microsoft scripting language that makes web sites interactive. The added capability of scripting is often abused or attacked by hackers.

  • Cross-site Scripting or XSS attack takes advantage of trust relations you have with certain web sites.

  • Cross-zone vulnerabilities web browser typically limit access to local files or domains via security zone separation. If your security level is to low, you may be vulnerable.

  • Detection evasion Anti-virus, Intrusion Detection System, Intrusion Prevention System looks for and detects specific activity patterns. If a know bad pattern is detected then counter measures can be taken. Web scripting can go undetected due to dynamic nature of programming.

Securing your web browser

The software listed above must be configured properly and you must understand the functionality of ActiveX, Java, and scripting to understand the risk involved with vulnerabilities. Some features you may want to disable or turn on for specific web sites to enhance security.

Most users who have a Microsoft Windows operating system may use Internet Explorer as a default web browser. There are many different web browsers available such as Mozilla, Safari, and Chrome. Since different applications may use different browsers, all must be secured. You may at some point want to have a totally secured web browser for all financial activity and one for general web browsing. By securing your web browser you can minimize the chances that vulnerability in a web browser can be used to comprise your information.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Web Browser security -- protect your data and I.D.

Web Browser Security
Hackers are using vulnerabilities in Web browsers to comprise computer systems. Many of the high profile security breaches have resulted from web browser security holes. I will be reviewing how to protect your data and your Identity.

Web Browser features vs. risk:
Active X is used by Microsoft Windows Explorer and allows application to use the browser. Active X has been targeted by Hackers and used to comprise many systems.

Java is object orientated programming that develops content for web sites. Java applets require a Java virtual machine that has the capability to modify operating system settings if exploited properly.

Plug-ins applications are used with browser such as Mozilla, Safari and Adobe Acrobat and typically can not be used outside of browser application or Adobe flash. Plug-ins can contain programming flaws such that allow buffer over flows and other security violations.

Cookies are files used to store data about certain web site. If a cookie is used to store log in I.D. or password, a hacker could obtain unauthorized access to that site by obtaining the cookie.

I will be covering how to secure you browser in next blog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Economics of Microsoft

Once windows became prevalent, Microsoft office bundled (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) were successfully integrated into Windows. The bundling of Office increased market share, profits, and limited competition. The end result was Microsoft Office bundle were priced much lower than the competition base on functionality and features. This in fact was the guiding principle of economics of information.

Back in the 1990s Internet was just getting popular. AOL Dali up was the popular choice and most people used Netscape as their browser. Bill Gates and Microsoft sensed the Internet was ready to explode, so they developed Internet Explorer in the mid-1990s. Of course, Internet Explore was bundled into Windows for free, which eventually killed Netscape. Since Microsoft was quickly becoming a monopoly, antitrust trails followed. At one point, the antitrust court tried to break up Microsoft, but was unsuccessfully due to Judaical mistakes and a somewhat flimsy case.

One of the key things Bill Gates did at Microsoft was attract and surround Microsoft with best people in the industry. Many of the most innovative software design and development people came to Microsoft due to Bill Gates. To stay successful, Microsoft must evolve again in the web 2.0 environment.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bill Gates Boy Wonder

Bill Gates Boy Wonder

Back in the early day of Windows 1.0 produces in 1983 through Windows 3.0 which debuted in the 1990. Throughout these years, Microsoft surpassed Lotus as the Largest software company. Gates plan was always to wait for the market to develop and then move in once he fully understood the market.

Gates and Microsoft over took pioneers such as Lotus Notes 123, Netscape web browser, and countless others. Many of the business practices seemed to be designed to push out competition and dominate markets that resulted in some antitrust cases. One of the early crucial moves Gates made was, developing a relationship with IBM(D.O.S.) This relationship eventually allowed Windows to over take IBM as the leading developer of PC software.

Barack Obama's Harvard years influence

Barack Obama Harvard years

Barack graduated from Harvard law school J.D. magma cum laude in 1991. He was the first black student elected as president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

Barack made his distinction at Harvard law school via a well known path to academic excellence. Barack broke down many barriers that existed for minorities. He supported and helped his classmates and the Coalition of Civil Rights to get Harvard to hire more women and minority professors.

When Barack decided to run for president, most people did not give him a chance. Many minorities did not believe that "white people" would support a black candidate. Once it was clear that Barrack could relate and appeal to all people, then people began to believe he could win.

Many Harvard educated people are helping reshape Health Care, turn the economy around, and save the environment with green initiatives. I will be reviewing who these people are and how we can help turn things around.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Computing Domaince at an end for Microsoft and Bill Gate

Bill Gates and the computing revolution

Bill Gates built a computer empire that crushed rivals and dominated the desk top software market for the last two decades. Gates brilliance revolved around great technical knowledge, strategic business development, and a personality that was a great driving force.

Gates no longer runs the day to day operations, but Microsoft has approximately 84,00o0 employees and 68 billion in annual revenue. Gates now spends his time running the Gates foundation.

The magical combination Gates used was technological brilliance along with uncanny business sense. Gates was able to build upon technical and business knowledge at the MIT Sloan school of management. Gates used his technical knowledge to build and design PC operating system software that allowed for a relatively inexpensive PC's that every one could afford. The windows operating system is installed on 1 billion PC's or has a user base of 1 billion users.

With these vast resources and now that Bill Gates is retired, can Microsoft maintain it's dominance and fend of Google? I will look at Bill Gates' legacy at Microsoft and the computer industry in general.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Harvard's Black eye

A young man named Justin Cosby was murdered on the haloed ground of Harvard yard. The death of an alleged drug dealer on campus has stunned many. In the fall out, a young black woman's future comes crashing down as she is expelled due to her link to the killing.

Chanequa Campbell 21 claims she is being targeted because she is black and poor "The Boston Globe". She won a scholarship from NY Times and Coca-Cola an was due to graduate during the spring or a week after the murder. She has since been kicked off campus.

According to the investigation, the murder was a result of a botched robbery.The alleged drug dealer was shot for marijuana and $1000 in cash according to police. Chanequa was friends with the alleged murders girl friend who is a student a Harvard.

Supposedly, the issue revolves around a security pass that was given to the killer. According to sources, the murder took place in a different dorm then were Chanequa lived.

According to police investigation, this robbery was planned but resulted in murder. To the causal observer, this young woman future has crashed due to her association with the thug element. So the question becomes, if this woman has not been convicted of a crime; is it fair to punish a student based on association?

Many people come from varied back grounds and have friends or associations that have made mistakes. As a society, do we expect people to change over night. If you are from a poor neighborhood, should you have to give up all your friends because of a possible criminal element. Many people and institutions (Harvard included) make decision based on good or bad publicity, not always bases on the facts. It is very disappointing that some ones fuure and goals can come tumbling down and collapse due to some dumb decision or mistake.

Harvard has done tremendously good job at helping and promoting minority who have acheived great things in the U.S.A and through out the world. Barack Obama being the latest and current president!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cyber Security

As the U.S. department of Defense reviews it security initiative and policies, what can we do to improve our personal security?

The first step to improving your personal security is to have good anti-virus and spy ware. Viruses and spy ware are usually installed on computers that have security holes or vulnerabilities. It is very important to keep your software (Microsoft Windows, Office, Adobe, Apple) up to date with latest security patches.

Many computer systems are infected by getting tricked into visiting malicious web sites that install viruses and spy ware to gain control of your PC. The hackers launch attacks, steal information, once access is gained.

A properly configure firewall can prevent infections and keep you safe. To improve your security, you should run a virus and spy ware scan at least monthly.

If you need assistance removing viruses or spy ware, please feel free to contact me directly. Here is to safe surfing and computing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Economic Stimulus and security

The economic stimulus plan should help us improve infrastructure (roads, Bridges), save energy by going green, expand high speed Internet, and improve computer security. For many of our unemployed workers, competition for jobs is very steep. You have to have specific skills or go back to college or technical school.

The government and the prior sector has acknowledged the need for more technically trained worker force especially in the science, math, and engineering fields. We must lead in the creation on the next wave of technology innovation especially related to green energy and computer security.

A computer security expert like myself, is very interested in getting more talented people interested in computer science. There is such a demand for highly trained and skilled individuals in the science fields (computer science, green energy, health care, mechanical engineering related to road design).

For the US economy and it workers to prosper, we must lead once again in all facets.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Health Care Reform

There is much need for Health Care reform in the U.S.A. What is the best approach and the answer is not easy. We hear about socialism and the government's huge speeding, but who is right. No easy answers and many questions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

US Cyber security plan

President Obama has put together a plan to address U.S. cyber security. Computer networks in the U.S. are under constant attack from hacker and foreign countries. The high profile attack on the electric grid was the most dangerous attack yet.

Addressing computer security is a big step in the right direction, but the plan is short on details, and much has to be done in the public and private sectors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Firing U.S. workers and keeping H1-B visa foreign workers

The federal government has found companies who have fired U.S. workers and keep H1-B foreign workers. An IT firm in N.J. has been indicted on visa related fraud charges. It appears that the senate has approved stricter rules on hiring H-1B workers.

According to arrest records in six states, the companies involved were firing qualified U.S. workers and replacing them with H1-B visa workers. The fraud related to H-1B visa has deprived many U.S. citizens of employment. In January 2009 the number of workers employed in the H-1B visa program exceeded 241,000 unemployed U.S. citizens in the same occupation. Essentially,these companies were giving our U.S jobs to foreign workers.

According to statics, the number of technology jobs were down 200,000. Currently the cap of 1-B visa is 85,000 visa annually. The company in N.J. only hired foreign workers to fill I.T. jobs which resulted in lost wages and benefits for thousand of U.S. citizens.

My opinion is, any program that encourages moving or displacing U.S. workers should be limited. The drive for profits seems to lead to some form of corruption even if it means hurting U.S. workers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Immigration and H-1B vista

Immigration and H-1B visa program for Foreign workers has always been a double edge sword. The dig and cut involves companies hiring foreign workers via H-1B while laying of U.S workers.

In this economic recession, there has been talk of the government making it more difficult to hire foreign nationals to increase the hiring of U.S. workers. Many companies claim, there are not enough qualified U.S. works to fill certain job vacancy. This is the key component that needs verification.

The H-1B Visa program allow2 65,000 foreign nationals with skillS not easily found within the U.S. and 20,000 exceptions for graduateS from U.S universities. Companies who have received Trouble Assets Relief Program (T.A.R.P) who have more than 15% of their staffs on Visas; would have to prove they have tried to recruit U.S. workers. The problem with this, there is a lot of fraud related to recruiting U.S. workers.

During this recession, some U.S. High-tech companies are laying of U.S. workers. but are not cutting H1-B visa holders. There definitely should be some restrictions to hiring H1-B visa holders while companies are laying off U.S. workers.

Much of the contention U.S. I.T. workers have is, companies will hire H1-B visa holders even when you have a qualified U.S. worker available. I believe exemptions for U.S. University graduate is O.K., as many foreign students come to the U.S. to study and then work for U.S. companies.

We need a stronger policy that improves hiring of U.S. workers, H1-B visa holders, and limits out sourcing of U.S. jobs.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Immigration and Out sourcing "Profitable business?"

This is a direct correlation between out sourcing U.S. job over seas and hiring illegal immigrants, lower wages and higher profits for companies involved. The easiest solution to both problems is to remove the incentive or profit that companies can make by increasing fines and enforcemnet of existing laws to discourage violators.

At some point it become fashionable to ship U.S. jobs over seas. You got to point to the auto industry to see how shipping U.S. jobs over seas became fashionable. Once it became clear that in the global economy, over seas competitors were able to make a superior product at a lower cost, US jobs were in trouble. The question is, who fault is it that many over seas competitors can make a superior product at a lower cost (management, worker, unions, health care)? Management and Executive sold us on, the only way we compete in the global economy is to send our over seas. Ever since, it has been down hill and we are still trying to recover.

In a free market, there is great pressure to maximize profit at all cost. Many executive teams at companies have jumped over board in the regard. What can we do to help turn things around especially for the middle class. Many worker advocates would point to the Employee Free Choice Act currently in front of congress.

In my next post, I will look for solutions that will help U.S. companies stay competitive while ensuring more U.S. jobs are not out sourced and overwhelmed with immigration issues.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Immigration "The good, the bad, and the ugly"!

The good immigrants helped build America into the country it is today. Many immigrants came here and built successful business and contributed to our economic growth. The US is truly diverse country where Evey one has a chance to be successful. Additionally the USA has access to talent through out the world, who want to work under our H-1B visa program.

Though out the last few decades, we have heard more stories on illegal immigrants who live in the USA illegally. For many of these people, they have been here for decades and have children who are presumably legal citizen by birth. Many of the the illegals are uneducated and perform very low wage jobs that helps many of our service industries run such as: farming, season employment,construction labor etc. With out these workers, many of our industries would have a problem (labor shortage).

The ugliest of the situation is, many of these people get a free ride (health care, crime,welfare, etc which hurts our legalized citizens. We need to know what has been done to improve the situation? These our the facts I will try to uncover.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stem cell research

Stem cell research
Does stem cell research have the potential to save and benefit life. If stem cell research can cure cancer in our life time, would we be more tolerant of abortion and pro choice. To really understand these questions, we must understand what stem cell research is all about.

The first scientific break through was related to embryonic stem cells used to grow human cells such as: blood and skin cells. These specific cells can be used to re engineer cells to repair damaged tissue.

Research related to stem cells has been limited, because congress limited public funding for any research related to embryonic cells in 1995. Due to these bans, much of the funding comes from private sector.

The ethical disputes centers on when human life begins? Some people consider human life to begin when the egg is fertilized. In this scenario, the embryo is consider a human life. Conducting research on an embryo would in some way destroy a potential human life.
On the other side, a fertilized egg must be implanted in the uterus to sustain life. In Vitro fertization generates embryos that are excess and therefore, could be used for research.

There is valid points to both agreements and the true test is, whether scientific advances, improve life and are used in the most ethical ways possible.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Health Care reform status:

The for runners of the Health industry have been developing RHIO’s (Regional Health information organizations composed of hospitals health maintenance organizations looking to share information among themselves.

Covinsint and e-market developer help health organizations communicate while keeping all of the information private. There roles is authenticate system users, ensure compliance with regulations, and has created application programming interfaces so practices and HMO’s can connect to various management systems.

There is a growing number of service providers entering health care information exchange market. The development revolves around personal health care records developed by each provider. The health record would theoretically be available from one site. Many question still remaining concerning this approach; can such a company be trusted to handle such personal information? This approach would require each individual to keep their medical records up to date.

People in the industry believe a system is available which can be used to create a national electronic health records system. The bottom line is, the system has to improve services and treatment by effective sharing critical information. Implementation and integration remains a complex and difficult process. To make the system work, there has to be great cooperation, innovation, and investment in health orientated IT. Here in Boston, we have began the ground work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Health Care reform and records standards

One of the huge problems with government implementing reform is conflicting interest. In most cases private industry can do a much better job than the government especially when it comes to innovation. These conflicting interests usually slow down development until these differences can be hashed out.

The Veterans administration has developed a Electronic Health Records system using Vista, but private medical software providers claim they can develop a better system. This debate has been going on for better than the last decade.

Cooperation between the government and private industry should create interoperability standards using SOA, middleware, and standard file formats, similar to open document format (ODF) and resource description format (rdf) standards for information medication base structured meaning.

There is a process to create Continuity of care, an XML base standard file format standard for Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendors can write in the same file format. To facilitate this conversion, the Commission of the certification of Health IT does certification and creates interoperability and definition guidelines in three key areas: Privacy, format, and content.

The Health care industry use glossary of terms to describe procedure and diagnosis of patients which revolves around International Classification of disease IDC-9 which must convert to IDC-10, IDC-10 holds 155,000 codes allowing the tracking of disease, diagnosis, and treatment procedures. Deploying or upgrading from IDC-9 to IDC-10 is another challenge for Health care professionals and IT staff.

There is an overwhelming amount of information that must be tracked especially related to molecular understanding of disease. The information system needs to help make better decisions while being comprehensive, flexible, and manageable way to handle data.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cyber and Network Security Talent

In a slow economy where jobs and incomes are adversely affected, crime increases do to many factors. Computer hacking and identity theft are a huge problem. To combat domestic and foreign threats to government and business networks, we must produce more security technicians and engineers.

Many companies have out sourced network security due to lack of skilled professionals in the USA. The government has put a limit on visas for foreign students and USA students are not going in to science and engineering, especially related to computer systems. We have to do a better job or attracting top students and emphasizing the exciting and challenging field which is computer science.

US government and private computer networks were hacked 37,000 times in 2007. These attacks are only escalating in frequency and complexity.

Typically, 50 -60 computer security doctorates produced in the USA, only 15 - 20 teach in the USA. The net result of this, terrorist, criminals, are gaining trade and national security secrets as we fall behind in counter terrorism.

We need skilled professionals who truly know and under stand control systems cyber security. Senators Rockefeller and snow will introduce legislation to create scholarships to encourage more students to enter computer science.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Information Technology solution for Health Care Reform

  1. Information Technology solution for EHR

    Some of the large Health Care organizations and hospital networks have implemented independent Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems to manage records electronically. One approach would be to get all of the EHR systems to communicate and share records. In order for this approach to work, the following important points would have to be established:

    A standard EHR format must be established for all records and conformity requirements developed.
  2. The EHR system must be developed and written so small medical practices (that make up 75% of all practice in the USA) are simple enough to use and implement. The system should simple enough where any long term information technology support is not needed.

The new buzz in computing is cloud computing were a group of small practices band together for a EHR cooperative or use a managed EHR services delivered over the Internet. Sharing and cloud base computing requires that records be stored on a remote server or off site. This brings up patient privacy issues related to the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act law. These record would have the potential, (if system is comprised) to be viewed by unauthorized parties.

The opportunity for IT companies falls into solving problems such as:
Managing large enterprise systems, establishing protocols and procedures, simplification of process, system integration, securing and authenticating readers of health records, coordinating information sharing laws across states, creating a dictionary of of procedural terminology used by vast health care providers. On the network side, communication and network protocol must be established and agreed upon to exchange data among systems with USA.

I am gearing JBrock Consulting to help implement some of these systems and help reform health care.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Health Care Reform and Information Technology

Health Care Reform and Information Technology

One of the key initiatives in the stimulus plan is Health care reform. This revolves around establishing electronic health records, which potentially can reduce medical errors, and improve care by making vital information more accessible to care providers.

One of the large hurdles of adopting this plan is the cost to implement. The stimulus plan at least provides the funding to begin the process of designing a solution.

Problems with Doctors and cost vs. profit ratio:
The electronic records imitative will benefit patients, employers, and government agency, but not the actual health care provider. The electronic health records system (EHR / EMR) will decrease revenues for providers by cutting down on unnecessary procedures and test. In theory, any test results would be shared among all provides, thus eliminating duplicate services. In the eyes of many, this will decrease revenue and profits, which eliminate any incentive to implement program.

The small medical practices, which make up a large percentage of doctors, see few benefits for them. Better health care could mean less patients and revenue. The cost to adopting (EHR) could run from 20,000 to 50,000 and the practice would see very little in return for this investment.

In addition to the investment, there also is a large learning curve to use (ERH) system. Most established practices would rather use a chart and prescription pad and stay as status quo.

The stimulus package provides incentive to implement (EHR). Hospital and practices submitting via (EHR) to Medicare Medicaid will receive an additional 6 million / year in additional payments to send data electronically.

There should be many opportunities for work related to designing, rolling out initiative, and providing training and support for the program. I will review details in next post....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Local N.E Engineering students starts snow board business in their garage

It may be hard to believe, but small businesses create the most jobs and will fuel the economic turn around. Two North Eastern University engineering majors, Mike McGraw and Brian Callan (twenty something) decide they wanted to build snow boards.

They consulted with a former Ski Market Underground manager Patrick Leary (current Blue Hills Terrain park manager) and created snowboards that can shred up the mountain and tear up terrain parks. Paying homage to their home grown roots, they named their company Bean snowboards.

Bean has created two boards: The Violator which is designed for Terrain parks and tricks, has three beat up traffic cones (smashing the grid) designed by Scott Petrichko designer from Art Institute of Boston. The other board they build, is the Commonwealth; which is all mountain board with urban chicken graphics. All of the work is done in a garage they rent in Brighton Ma.

Using their engineering back grounds and the Internet, they learned that building snow boards was not too complicated. They design and make all of the pieces them selves except for the maple wooden cores that are milled by a local Chicopee carpenter. This feeds money into the local economy.

Bean Boards host demo days and rail jams at Blue Hills ski area in Canton. Their marketing plan seems to be, build a local riding community that take price in a home grown product.

I am hoping to go over to Blue Hills Spring fling event on March 14 2009 (Pig Roast, Pond skimming, demo day) to check out these boards in person. I think it is great when people start their own business. If the business,hopefully turns out to be successful, it helps our local economy. If you are local, try to be over at Blue Hills to check out the scene, demo the boards, and have a super time!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Economic turn around and prosperity

The current economic climate has slowed to recession level and unemployment has risen to 8%. Unemployment rates very from city to city. Certain cities and regions are prepared to ride out the recession better than others:

Boston Ma:

42% of the jobs here are in what are considered strong industries. The current metro unemployment rate is 5.4%.

  • The segmented job market is:
  • professional (white collar), scientific, technical jobs 10.4 %
  • Education jobs 11.11%
  • Health Care 15.7%
  • Government 5.3%

Boston's economic strength resolves around our world class Universities with massive endowments, including Harvard and MIT. The is very strong funding for bio medical research which ties into our world class hospitals and health care system.

Consumer spending has tailed off as lay offs mount, stock market and 401k values tank, and credit becomes more difficult to obtain. As lay offs and the stock market decline hits bottoms, people again will look forward to buying homes, cars, electronics, etc. Will we purchase USA products if they are equal in quality and prices to the foreign competition?

Many USA companies are betting yes on this question and must prepare and build the best products possible. This will lead me back to the auto industry in my next post! Will GM survive?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

USA Engineering and Marketing

A superior product with great engineering needs a good marketing program. A huge problem with the US automakers is marketing. The US auto industry has always been behind the competition due to poor marketing, shoddy design, and making appropriate adjustment to the market.

I do believe that if the USA auto industries comes out with a hybrid that is better or as good as the competition, we should support and buy USA. I am hoping the Chevy Volt or the Malubi hybrid turns out to be great products.

I can see myself driving the Volt in the next decade, I hope.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulus what in it for me "Technology Infrastructure"

Stimulus what in it for me "Technology Infrastructure"
When the home land defense department was created, the big buzz was, how do we protect the USA for domestic and international terrorism? The best way to accomplish this mission is up for debate, but basically revolves around sharing information. (911 report -- CIA &FBI)

President Obama technology agenda: The goal of technology innovation is to improve the lives of all American. There should be a free and open exchange of information which will "create a more transparent and connected democracy".A percentage of the Stimulus funding (20% - 40%) is to employ technology to solve our most pressing problems: "clean energy, health care, and public safety".

Some Key area that can improve America's Competitiveness
Invest in the Sciences -- the stimulus package doubles funding for basic research over the next decade.

Invest in University reach -- fund exceptional researchers at this level.
R&D Tax credit -- promote skilled research to improve technology infrastructure

Improve USA education in Math and Science Education --Math and Science as a Priority: Recruit highly qualified math and science teachers

Improve Scientific logic -- evaluate skill such as inference, logic, data analysis, as opposed to memorization of facts

Turn around HS drop out rates

Foster Math and Science students-- database for future scientists relating financial aid from government and or private resources.

Increase science and math graduates -- improve studies in K - 12 and prepare students to enter field.Encourage post-graduate work while including more minorities and women.

Science and Technology investments:

Over haul Health care by investing 10 billion / year for the next 5 years to move toward standardized electronic health records system.

Invest 150 billion in green technology over the next 10 years fostering engineers and scientists to develop bio fuels, hybrids, solar renewable energy and new updated electric grid. This investment will create 5 million new jobs.

Improve public networks especially broadband access and first responders.

Advance Biomedical research.

Advance stem cell research.

There is plenty of opportunity for skill professionals with in these expansive programs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Stimulus Package -- what is in it for me "DOT"

Snowy day on the East Coast

Department of Transportation;
A center price of the DOT budget is developing a high speed rail network across the country. For many of us who have driven all are lives, I can not really see how most people would benefit from the system. Reviewing additional details may shed some light on this issue for many of us.

The second components of the DOT mission is to support air transportation system while modernizing the current traffic control systems.

The FAA Data Comm modernization plan will will allow for advanced network operations of air traffic control clearance and related advisory concerning weather and emergency situation awareness. The next step in the process is requirement generation and design which provide opportunity to some high tech firms.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What in it for Me -- Stimulus Package break down

Stimulus package break down:

Families will receive $1200 tax rebate check in the mail. (Base on adjusted income calculations)

Package break down by percentage 35% tax cuts 65% spending (790 billion)

Transportation, Housing, Urban Development:

Energy and the environment 57.17 billion Green energy -- (Solar, Wind, Aut0/electric)
Agricultural and rural development 34.24 billion -- High speed Internet rural areas
Commerce, Justice, and Science 14.17 billion -- research funding
Labor, health, education -- 90.59 billion -- benefits (unemployment), update and modernize health computer system, educational loans

Federal and State Government 45 billion -- Infrastructure funding at the state level.

Note propose number and calculations

The stimulus package will save some jobs, help certain industries, and create new jobs. As citizens and tax payers, we need to hold state and federal government accountable for the good and bad decisions made. People need to get behind the good programs by promoting while limited the bad that hurts every one in general.

Follow me for more detail to come.............

Science and Engineering

Science fair returns to Randolph High school. Our local students will be competing in regional science fairs at Bridgewater State and M.I.T. as we as a country look to strength our science and engineering programs.

A Randolph High graduate "class of 1994" Barnas Monteith was recognized as the most successful science fair participant in state history. He has started several software companies and co-founded Diamonds Solution Inc.

We as a county need to promote and develop more scientist and engineers, so we can once again lead in technological innovation.

Source Boston Globe Wendy Chow

Science fair open to public 5 -6 @ Randolph High School rm 122, 124, 126 3/2/09

Friday, February 27, 2009

IT Infrastructure funding

Improve the IT infrastructure of the USA can improve the country as a whole. The programs should create jobs and help us get the economy moving. We as citizens need to support the program and determine how we can benefit.