Well, It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time – Business Decisions Driving Bad Technology Decisions

“But it sounded like such a good idea!” How many times have we heard this in the midst of battling the chaos monster we created for ourselves? In this article, I’m going to discuss an example of this from my time with a former employer, who shall remain nameless to avoid the shame.

As a network engineer for a former employer, one of my major assignments was the buildout of a large SONET fiber optic network. The SONET network used Lucent Metropolis DMX multiplexers to carry both TDM services (DS1/DS3) and fast and gigabit Ethernet. This was a major upgrade that replaced a variety of older Cisco routers and a web of point to point links in the core of the network. As the buildout progressed, a business decision was made that a portion of the network would not be completed or delayed in completion. This was a logical business decision that triggered a chain of bad technology decisions in an attempt to deal with it.

The nature of a SONET network is that it is intended to be used in a ring. This provides redundancy, in case of one break in the ring, traffic will still continue to flow uninterrupted. In this case, we’re left with an incomplete broken ring because of the missing portions. Now it’s time for the second chaos inducing business decision, we MUST close the ring and do it with minimal to zero cost.

So now we’re at the first try. There was existing fiber in place from an office part way up one “horn” to the end of the second “horn”. The fiber was out of spec to run the OC48 SONET links but it was adequate to run 100Base-FX Ethernet. So, the first try was to tie an Ethernet port on both ends together with this fiber link and close the ring. Unfortunately, this wasn’t such a good idea. Lucent, in their wisdom, had neglected to implement spanning tree protocol on the DMX Ethernet switch ports (only the virtual port connecting the Ethernet switch to the SONET ring had STP). This resulted in a massive and immediate STP loop and interrupted service for about 65,000 people for 10 minutes.

The second try was to insert a Cisco 2924 Ethernet switch in the link and allow the 2924’s STP to break the loop. This idea worked perfectly in testing and worked perfectly on installation.

Unfortunately, sometime later, the network once again experienced an STP loop with corresponding service outage. I attributed this to the fact that the 2924 wasn’t aware of the STP network of the DMX Ethernet switches and vice versa and they were making independent decisions that might conflict.

Third try was to chop up the SONET network, using scarce and expensive Ethernet ports on the DMXs and reinserting the old Cisco routers. At this point, I decided a mutual parting of the ways was appropriate, given where I could see this was heading. We had taken an elegant, state of the art, SONET network and mutilated it in an attempt to patchwork it, creating an ill performing and unsupportable monster. To say that this would have been a nightmare doesn’t say enough. The configuration was far from anything intended by Lucent.

This illustrates the danger of allowing mutually conflicting business decisions made without adequate consideration of the consequences to drive a a series of desperate patches to critical network systems in an effort to compensate. This caused lost revenue for the company, lost customer good will, and loss of reputation. Ironically, I believe that, in the end, it would have been cheaper to have finished the original project.

The moral of this? Consider carefully the REAL cost of technology affecting decisions, both in terms of money and effect on customer service. Don’t make assumptions about the capability of your network to absorb unconventional changes in configuration. Make sure you understand all the possible downsides. Consult with an experienced network engineer.

Don’t let this happen to you!

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Are New Technologies Changing Teaching?

I was a very interested spectator when my daughter started school recently and I how much things had moved on since I was a student. Whatever the difference between schooling from my parents age and when I was young has been doubled now for when my daughter is in class. This change has been brought about due to the rapid rise of new technologies that have been rapidly adopted by schools in both the private and public sector.

Some things which are different is in the way that things are taught, but another huge difference is in the technology. Rather than traditional textbooks and teachers writing on whiteboards or even blackboards, we have presentations and things being brought to life on interactive whiteboards and tablet computers.

The interactive whiteboard has been around for a number of years now, as has the iPad and other tablets; it is only just recently that educators are beginning to adapt their teaching to make effective use of them though. In order for these new technologies to be effective in the classroom, what is necessary and what benefits can they bring?

  • The teacher needs to understand how to use the technology and be confident in its application. For example, if the teacher starts doing something on an interactive whiteboard and then gives up because they don’t know how it works then the students will switch off.
  • The power of these technologies lies in enabling different learning styles to be catered for. Students can learn writing by touch on the iPads. Sound and pictures can be used on interactive whiteboards to appeal to visual learners or auditory learners. The teacher needs to recognize and embrace this capacity.
  • It’s necessary for the teacher to appreciate new ways of doing things rather than just thinking in the same old way, but with a fancy piece of kit. When notes are made on the interactive whiteboard for example, the teacher then has the capacity to email them to students later or save them and bring them back up in a review lesson later on.
  • In times of budgetary cuts, having access to resources on the world wide web and low-cost apps for tablet computers can help cut costs and do away with the need for some textbooks, excessive printing and overpriced software for schools.
  • The technologies and use of them in teaching is still very young, this means it is important for users to share experiences and ideas with other teachers of using the technologies. This will help lift the overall level and confidence of the users and improve the range of effective ways with which lessons can be delivered with this new tech.

Technology in schools is pointless just for the sake of saying you have it. It needs to benefit the learning experience of students and also be something that gives the teachers new tools and ideas for getting their message across effectively. It needs to be embraced and its potential explored. When this is the case the technology becomes more than just a gimmick and becomes a real step forward in education.

How Technology Can Ease Our Stress

My previous article looked at how technology has evolved to the extent that we are now easily contactable regardless of where we are. We can now access workplace computers from home, from the pub or from across the other side of the world. Technology however has a number of ways that can reduce our stress, the very technology that may be adding to our stress levels currently can be used to reduce them too. This article will consider a number of ways in which technology can be used to reduce stress and how we can use technology wisely.

Mobile Phones

By far one of the greatest advancements in technology is that we have this small phone in our pocket that can not only allow us to make calls but also to download items from the internet, check our e-mails and get directions. The downside of mobile phones is that people can very easily get a hold of us, and so we can be distracted from a task or have work related issues invading our personal time.

Most mobile phone contracts now come with an option for voicemail. Allowing voicemail to pickup all our calls, can mean that we can concentrate on a task or indeed select the calls that we respond to as a matter of urgency. So if your boss regularly calls you on your personal time about minor work related issues, you can chose not to take that call. User ID can also assist in the selection of who which calls to pick up or let voicemail take. For example, if you are working on an important work task, and someone calls who regularly is just looking for a chat, you can allow voicemail to pick up and return the call at a more appropriate time. Likewise this can apply to regular phones if you have an answerphone and caller ID.

If you feel that you always have to answer your phone immediately when it rings, it may be a better idea to actually turn it off when working on important tasks. Many people reject this idea with the reasoning that “what if an emergency happens?” In the case of an emergency, people will find a way to contact you through other means, granted it will make the task much harder for them to do so, but the ease of using a phone is often why we receive so many calls that are minor and cause a great distraction. People are less likely to go out of their way for minor things if a bit more effort is required on their part – for example, the colleague a few doors down often may pick up the phone for a minor question but if they had to walk to see you and talk to you in person they would perhaps think twice.

Likewise how we use our text facility on the phone can also be an area for consideration. Texts can be used as a means of passing a message on and keeping the conversation brief, so if you wish to avoid a long call, that may be off topic, texting can be used as an alternative.

If you receive ‘spam’ texts from friends or colleagues along the lines of “pass this on to X people” then it would perhaps be wise to speak to the offenders diplomatically asking them not to include your in these texts – perhaps citing that your phone only has a limited memory. If someone regularly continues, you have to option of blocking the number .

E-mail

This form of communication can be a difficult area, for some people it is a formal means of communicating like a letter, to others it is as informal as a text message, having the benefit of fast and easy communication.

Before sending an e-mail, you should consider if the message could be misunderstood by the recipient… is it direct and to the point? If you have typed the e-mail in reply very quickly it would be wise to save the message to a draft for a short time and then go back and look at the message anew a short time later. Many people often find that they type something and send it before thinking through what they were saying, and this can lead to stress, so taking the time to think before sending can prevent this stress.

If you are the type of person that feels that they have to check their e-mail constantly or need to read an e-mail the moment it comes in, you should be aware that this can distract you from the tasks at hand. If you find you fall into this category, you should limit the amount of times that you check your e-mail throughout the day.

Some people find that letting colleagues know that they only check their e-mail for example twice a day at set times, their colleagues will not expect replies out with those times. Likewise if you are working on a task that requires your total concentration, do not check your e-mail at all while doing the task – if need be set your out of office to produce an automated message explaining that you cannot be contacted via e-mail at that time and perhaps offering an alternative means of communication for emergency or important questions that require an answer then and there.

Reducing the amount of e-mail you receive, and thus need to check, will reduce your stress. How can you do that you ask – firstly eliminate all forms of spam mail. Many e-mail packages have a spam filter moving spam directly to your deleted items. If you regularly receive spam mails from colleagues or friends ‘passing on humour’ or ‘please forward to ten friends and return this to me’, either use rules in your mail package to filter these to a folder to be checked later, speak to the friend or check if your e-mail can filter out certain words and move items containing those words to the deleted items immediately.

Using a separate e-mail address for personal rather than business e-mails can also help filter out the unimportant from the important messages.

Messenger and IRC programs

Many organisations have banned the use of these in the workplace due to the fact that many employees are distracted from their work and thus productivity has been significantly reduced.

Advice in general (whether at home or in the workplace) is that if you are working on something important, do not have these running (or at least appear as signed out). This will again cut down on the distraction and enable you to finish your task sooner.

Information Technology

IT can be used in a variety of ways to make your life easier… however only if you use the right tools for the job. It is no use trying to hammer a nail in a wall with feather. The right tools for the job can make our lives easier. For example, word processors can use a feature of mail merge, meaning that a letter need only be typed once and can be sent to many people. If you have calculations to do, a spreadsheet can be the tool that will help you. Needless to say that you should be given appropriate training for the software.

IT can also be used in other ways to reduce stress directly – from playing relaxing music to using a screen saver with affirmations.

Do you take a laptop with you everywhere? Do you really need to carry it with you so often? Do you really need to be in constant contact? Are you using it to connect to the office from home? Are you sitting on the train or in the airport working on work documents regularly? How is your posture… do you find that you suffer from pains of carrying the laptop and working from it?

Having said the above, the ability to access work from home can be a good thing if used wisely. If for example you need to spend a day working on an important task and do not want any distractions (and if you have a workplace that is in agreement), you could work remotely – this would mean that people would find it harder to contact you, and so the work distractions would be less. Likewise if you work in a noisy environment this ability to move from the main hubbub of the noise to either a different office or from home can help you concentrate. Many people who work remotely have found that their productivity increases significantly due to this elimination of distractions, meaning that their tasks are done more efficiently, and often quicker, which in turn reduces their stress levels too. BE aware however that this way of working does not suit everyone.

MP3 players

These can be used to reduce your stress, while carrying out tasks you can play music – this can cut out distractions from the workplace – it is also amazing how many people will not disturb a person that appear to be listening to music.

You can use them to listen to relaxing music on your bus or train journey to work, to play affirmations, to listen to guided meditations… and much more.

Television

Yes this can be a distraction… but it can also be a great way of relieving stress!! How often do you find watching a favourite television programme or a good film can have an effect on your moods? Likewise, it can be used to help you unwind at the end of your day, to bring humour, or just enjoyment. Yes television can reduce your stress… just don’t watch it while you are trying to do a task, nor in bed at night (as this can keep you awake).

Be careful what you watch before going to bed, as something that will keep your mind racing will keep you awake… so if you need to be at work the next day… record the horror film, or watch it on catch up TV.

Perhaps the ideas from the 1950s and 60s is not as far off as it originally seems… we may not have hover cars, robotic housekeepers but we do have technology that will serve us if we use it well, and in turn our stress is reduced.

Technology Gifts for Men

Is you’re man always interested in the cutting edge technology? Then he’s going to love these technology gifts for men! All of these gifts were handpicked by our authors using several different criteria. Those criteria quality, popularity, and theme. If you’re interested in learning more then keep reading. I’m going to show you some of the best gifts available. Keep in mind that each of these gifts come with a huge price tag. Technology usually does right? Happy holidays and we hope you enjoy our list!

#5 Electronic Newspaper

It’s not secret that the newspaper industry is struggling. Even still there seems to be hope. It’s called the Electronic Newspaper and it’s gaining popularity. Currently there are a variety of different models being developed. Even though some models are on the market we wouldn’t recommend buying them. Since, electronic newspapers worth buying aren’t currently one the market we’ll discuss a concept model that we found.

The concept model consist of a material that can display news electronically while being able to be bent without breaking. The news will display on the screen that can be refreshed simple by shaking the material. On top of that on the back of the screen is going to be advertisements. Every time you turn the newspaper over it changes the page. It’s an interesting concept and we hope to see more of it soon. Keep in mind that there is also an eReader that’s available that downloads the latest news from feeds. We’re going to be discussing eReaders later on.

#4 Apple Television

This little toy is small on size but big on entertainment. It allows you to rent television shows or movies without commercial interruption. With Apple television you can choose from thousands of titles and stream them directly to your television. Once you rent a movie you have thirty days to press play. After playing the video you can watch the show as much as you want for forty eight hours. The only problem is that you can accrue cost quickly. However if you want to watch a specific episode of your favorite season then this toy comes in handy. It’s not a great replacement for cable television.

The Apple Television can also connect to your home computer. Which means you’ll be able to stream all of your purchased music, your favorite YouTube videos, pod casts, movies, and more. As far as entertainment goes we think that Apple Television is going to be a big thing. The only thing we didn’t like about this gift suggestion is that it cost a few bucks. If you’re interested in learning more then you can find tons of information on the official Apple website.

#3 Global Positional Satellite Navigators

GPS systems are fast becoming a standard in all cars. The reason being is that they help people navigate a lot easier. Let’s face it, men never want to pull over there cars to ask for directions. Which is exactly why this makes the perfect gift. All you have to do is plug-in the directions of where you want to go then you’ll be given directions on your way there.

What if you don’t know where you want to go? Let’s say your looking for a restaurant. All you have to do is type in the word “restaurant” and then a bunch of suggestions will come up. All you have to do is decide on which restaurant that you want. Hungry for Chinese? BBQ? It doesn’t matter you’ll be able to find anything at anytime.

#2 Smart Phones

If you don’t know what a smart phone is it’s simple. It’s a mobile phone that offers advanced computing ability and connectivity that a basic feature phone. Most of the time Smart Phones can be thought of as handheld computers. There are a variety of different Smart Phones like the Android, Apple iPhone, and Symbian. Smart Phones typically allow users to install and run advanced applications that you won’t find on basic phones.

Growth and demand for Smartphone technology has steadily grown over the years. One great example of a Smart Phone is the Apple iPhone. The iPhone allows people to download up to 4 Gigabytes of music, applications, and movies. On top of that some of the applications are entirely free. The Apple community has thousands of developers developing thousands of applications. After buying my iPhone I was able to download thousands of free game titles. It’s like the iPhone pays for itself.

#1 eReaders

EReaders are quickly becoming popular. Here’s why we wanted to recommend buying one. In our personal opinion we like eReaders because they’re reducing demand for pulp products. Which means they’re an environmental friendly source of information. If you don’t know what an eReader is it’s just a device that allows you to read publications in both an image and text form.

There are a variety of different eReaders available link the Nook and the Kindle. Out of all the models the Kindle seems to be the most popular. Depending on the model that you buy you can get free Wi-Fi access. Which means you’ll be able to connect to the internet and read news publications. The best thing about eReaders is that they can help you save on book titles. EBooks are usually priced a lot lower than their count part paperback publications.

Technology in the New Era

Technology has been a significant part of the transition into the New Age. Thanks to the Internet and social media, Lightworkers are able to share channelled information and new ideas with those around the globe who are seeking a higher vibration. Soul families are being united and other dimensional beings are able to share their messages with those meant to hear them. To understand the power of what is happening digitally, it is essential to understand the process of creation. Even if a thought is only known to the thinker, it forever becomes part the consciousness of civilization. Since thought is energy, which cannot be destroyed, the only thing that can happen to a thought is for it to be transmuted into another form. This is accomplished through intention. If the thought is written, it becomes even more powerful, yet it can, at some point, be retracted and replaced by a different thought.

As new information regarding the ascension process is written on web pages and social media sites, the vibrations that those messages carry is integrated into the Light Quotient of humanity. Channeled messages that have a very high vibration, have the ability to exponentially enlighten those who are open to and who vibrate with the message. This can be seen by the increase in the number of Lightworkers moving into the New Era, which began in 2013; the foundation of which, is being constructed as the messages of Light become available, mainly in digital format.

Thanks to infra-red satellite technology, remains of past civilizations that are still buried, are being detected from space. These archeological discoveries expose a heritage that validates what Lightworkers already know about from information received in channels and personal memories of other incarnations. It is becoming accepted, even in forward thinking scientific circles, that there were far more advanced civilizations on Earth than the current one. What is yet to be accepted by science, is that and many who are alive today also had other lifetimes in those cultures that are long gone.

As ruins are excavated, carbon dated and the findings are returned, it is being confirmed that advanced people thrived on Earth much earlier than traditional history books claim. As technology advances, it might be a good idea for historians, who intend to re-write history, based on the new discoveries, to leave a window of opportunity open for the possibility that this is not the end of what might be found. In light of these discoveries, the word ancient takes on new meaning. Interestingly, when one takes stock of what is found in the ruins of such cultures, there is very little recorded history to be found. How is it that these mathematically advanced societies, which built with precision that surpasses that of current modern times, lasted so long, but did not amass vast libraries containing the wisdom and knowledge that had been accumulated over the centuries? Why is there not more than the few wall carvings and hieroglyphics found on the sides of buildings.

In modern day culture, it is assumed that all that is learned must be recorded for posterity. The more knowledge that is gathered in the libraries of each culture, the wiser the society considers itself. However, writing and reading are not the only forms of recording information. Ancient civilizations, truly ancient civilizations, knew of other means of communicating and preserving knowledge. Crystals were used to store information, move objects provide free, clean energy and heal the body and mind. None of these technologies have been developed by modern science. However, at the rate that the digital age is developing, many amazing changes might be right around the corner.

Indigenous cultures share their sacred wisdom, beliefs and knowledge orally from person-to-person. Happily though, this system is returning to modern-day culture in the form of the Internet and social networking, through which information is shared from person to person. Do you get it? The old ways are returning, but in a new platform. Technology is the expression of humanity’s current major achievements, the next step out of the darkness and the canvas of communication of the New Era.

People are now reconnected through social media. Boundaries of all sorts are forgotten and there is a global community being formed. Do you see the beauty of it? At the same time, many are removing themselves from direct human contact with others, which has been the primary form of communication over the centuries, yet, in doing so, other methods of communication, through voice, written word and video are taking its place. Does this take something away from human relations? Yes, but it also adds something else in its place. Is one better than the other? Moving away from this linear way of thinking of which is better, allows one to realize that there are many ways for humans to connect. In fact, emotions are just as strong between people communicating in these new ways as they are meeting face to face. Since so much emphasis is placed on physical appearance in modern culture, many find it easier to be honest and open with someone they are getting to know, when it is done with the buffer of the Internet between them. The ability to tune into a person telepathically is being awakened and consequently strengthened in people as they connect with others remotely. It is just as easy to fall in love with someone on the Internet as it is in person.

As the technological phenomenon of social media takes place, new neural pathways are being created by an entire generation of predominantly young people who are placing their focus on electronic devices as they text and connect with the knowledge of the world at their fingertips. These new activities are developing skills, both physical and mental, necessary for the future development of individuals living in the modern world. At the moment, it might seem like just texting, but the parts of the brain that are being utilized by this activity will be used for technology that has yet to be discovered. Humans are not developing new technology, for all technology already exists. They are only discovering and deploying it. One breakthrough leads to the next, until little by little, in the not so distant future, there will again be an entirely new reality in place. After all, not so long ago there was no Internet and a typewriter was the means of placing words on paper.

Until the last century, education was not common amongst the masses and information was only available to a select few, but today, thanks to technology, anyone with an Internet connection can get an education. Major universities offer free online classes and virtually any subject can be researched on the web. This has resulted in rapid evolutionary shifts in previously uneducated sectors of the population. The results can be seen in the massive protests, organized on the Internet in very short periods of time. Entire governments can be toppled by a Facebook group. It used to be that these sort of revolutions took much time, planning, preparation and years of struggle. What was once a long process can now be accomplished in days-power is being returned to the people.

Technology is changing and evolving in proportion to the rate of Conscious Human Evolution, there’s no stopping it. There is no precedent that we know of upon which to measure the progress, no guidebooks and no manuals. We are in uncharted territory. Yet, those aware of the New Era, living outside the realm of the collective consciousness, are assisted by the technology that accompanies their advancement. There is definitely a plan within the creative consciousness of the universe to assist mankind in rising to heights that it has not seen for eons. At this time, there are beings whose purpose it is to assist humanity in its development and gratitude must be given to those that are sending Light and transferring information through Lightworkers who are channeling them. There is no denying that the new information is coming from an extraterrestrial source. The term extraterrestrial is meant to describe not only beings living on other planets, but all those living outside the third dimension on Earth, including Angels, Ascended Masters and other beings of light. The vibration of the messages that are received from them is an accelerator to the process of moving into the New Era.

What the technology of the future will bring, we can only imagine; however, remember this, what can be created with the mind, can also be created in the Third Dimension and as the overall vibration of humanity becomes higher, people will be able to accomplish things that are currently believed to be impossible. An indicator of what is in store can be found in movies. Fiction is an account of what is happening in another dimension. The writer is connected through a thinning of the veil to another place, tapping into the story. Once it is brought into the consciousness of millions of people, it then becomes part of reality. Even though it is considered it to be fiction, it is now added to the collective consciousness. It is no coincidence that stories like Harry Potter, Avatar, Once Upon a Time are becoming mainstream at this time. The fairy tales and legends that ever have been told are all account of events that took place in another time. They are tales of our multidimensional heritage. There really is no such thing as fiction.

It was necessary for a substantial amount of people to evolve to a higher level by 2013 so that humanity could step into its new energetic platform. This has occurred. The New Era has been created and its foundation is the electromagnetic grid of the earth, which after eons is again intact. This ensures that never again will humanity fall to the level it had in the last era. Now, finally, those who have embraced the new reality will create a system of living on Earth that will benefit all. Technology is the platform of the New Era that is being built. Embrace it, for it is your future.