Archive for February, 2007

techFive - Top Five Tech Stories from the Week of 02.09.07

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

5.  Very Silent Rob - This post was actually made on-time last week, but due to server troubles, it wasn’t posted. I was browsing our posts, and noticed that I had actually saved a draft, and this post was NOT lost forever, just 1/5th or 20% of it was lost. So… I will use this as leverage to help convince Rob to make that darn migration a bigger priority! Sorry Rob, it was either this, or leave it blank. :) .

4. Digg Top Users - First they were removed from the site. At the tail end of last week, it was announced that the Digg top users were back , hosted on Christopher Finke’s website, who scrapes the data off Digg. This week, a Wall Street Journal article takes these net-stars to a more-mainstream audience. The article highlights the work these individuals do and the influence they have because of it, and introduces it to the average person.

3. Zune Phone Confirmed - The 4G WiMax phone that is described in that CrunchGear article is just amazing. It’s taking every user to the doorstep of constant broadband connectivity, with enough juice to support streaming from an X-box. Redmond is expected make an official news release in the next month, but the article suggests the Zune phone will be released BEFORE the iPhone.

2. Wikipedia running out of cash - The idea that a site like Wikipedia, something that represents, in my opinion, everything that makes the Internet great, might have to shut itself down is some of the worst news that I’ve ever heard.

1. Yahoo! Pipes - When someone like Tim O’Reilly calls it a milestone in the history of the internet, it’s got to be good. For another good article that helps describe the service, check out Jeremy Zawodny’s post here.

Short For IT?

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

With more and more companies having their day-to-day business operations relying on computers and the internet (the Canadian health industry is excluded in this group), there is an obvious increase in the demand for IT specialists, or an individual within the company that can somewhat fill this role. An article I read off of the Sympatico/MSN homepage the other day went so far as to list IT jobs as one of the top-5 hottest jobs in Canada. One of the difficulties facing these employees are the constant changes to the landscape; a short absense, or significant upgrade can leave a savy technician completely obsolete. The Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) has teamed up with the Information and Communications Technology Council to help with recruiting individuals into the industry and keeping them on top of the changes. With an estimated shortage of almost 90,000 skilled workers, this is potentially crippling to the industry and the economy, and would potentially force companies to look at bringing in outside talent or outsourcing this kind of work to managed service providers (see disclaimer). Citing the technology downturn at the beginning of the millenium, enrollment in technology-related programs had been declining year-on-year, and the participation of women in the industry is lacking. These are two critical aspects that the partnership hopes to address.

Click here for the full article from

Disclaimer: I do work for a managed service provider, Dyrand Systems Inc., and although I fully support the company and the work we do, I am in no way suggesting or endorsing managed services for every company. This type of decision must be made by the company in question and must be based on their specific needs and the options available to them.

Canadian eHealth

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

I’m sure it shouldn’t really be a suprise that those involved in developing and implementing the electronic aspects of our health care system would not only provide their own resistance to the movement, but would also find the general population to be leery of having their most-private and personal information being available nation-wide. The problem or perception of the situation is of course only made worse when there is no clear-cut solution or well-known/respected company to provide that solution. And, of course, anyone breathing is aware that this is just another of the growing issues that our health care system faces. I don’t blame any of the parties mentioned or suggested here, but take a second to read the following:

“The real challenge in health care is cultural,” said Ross Armstrong, senior research analyst at London, Ont.-based Info-Tech. Persuading doctors to invest thousands of dollars of their own money in a system that will benefit the health care system as a whole and change the way they work is a huge challenge.

To encourage doctor buy-in, vendors, he said, need to better craft their messages to show doctors how digitizing their offices will give them more time to dedicate to the most profitable parts of their practice.

Now, I’m not one to tell a doctor how to do their job, at least not to their face, but hasn’t it been apparent since sometime around the 80’s that the industry would have to make this leap? And who else would have to put up the money for this?! Not that we’re necessarily in the dark ages, but we’re a ways back of other systems, where customers are starting to be able to access their personal health records via their mobile phone.

Click here for the full story.

Home Computer

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

I had this image sent to me, and it just seemed like a good one to post. The image was from a 1954 Popular Mechanics magazine.

Home Computer

The original blurb on the image:

Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a “home computer” could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use.

Security Articles

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Here are some interesting security related articles that I’ve come across this week. The first one is an update on an article I wrote in January regarding disclosure of security breaches by Canadian companies. This comes in the wake of a CIBC subsidiary’s security breach that resulted in thousands of identities being at-risk. Canada’s privacy laws relating to these incidents are under review. The second is an article regarding cross-border privacy laws, and a recent ruling that makes American companies liable for infractions against Canadians’ privacy. The third is an article about the release of StatsCan’s first profile on cybercrime in Canada. The last two are more geared towards America and their attempts to thwart cybercrime, with Bush’s IT budget and a cybercrime calculator that points a finger at Russia and China.

Privacy law’s critics square off over notification issues

Privacy commish gets trans-border jurisdiction

You call this cybercrime?

Bush’s 2008 IT budget focuses on cybersecurity

Cybercrime calculator targets hackers, terrorists