America's oldest university has hopped on the Internet's hottest new trend, hiring software developer Dave Winer to help get students and faculty blogging. Harvard University has given the former software executive a fellowship at its Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, part of Harvard Law School, in order to head up the new Blogs at Harvard Initiative. Winer, who studied math at Tulane University before collecting his master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, will instruct Harvard students and faculty in the art of posting daily dispatches to the Web. Before becoming blogging guru to the academic elite, Winer founded and was chief executive of Millbrae, Calif.-based UserLand Software, which specializes in content-publishing tools and services. He wrote or contributed to a number of relevant specifications, including SOAP, XML-RPC, RSS and OPML. He is perhaps best known for launching Scripting News, one of the Internet's longest-running Web logs. … [Read more...] about Harvard puts blogging to work
Great place to work institute
It is not new technology, but business intelligence platforms are now understood well enough by customers to drive real business change. David Braue catches up with some BI trend-setters. With all the money that's been spent on getting better business systems, you'd think we would have a pretty good sense of what to do with business intelligence (BI) for now. Good information does not necessarily flow from good intentions, as Western Australian health, car, home, and travel insurer HBF learned to its considerable disappointment after an 18-month data warehouse project fell far short of expectations. The problem was that by the time the project was complete, it was meeting old business requirements and was based on an old system that no longer reflected HBF's rapidly evolving business. It also failed to get critical user buy-in. On top of this, managers lacked unity in regards to the system's purpose, and change was so difficult to engender that the whole idea ended up stagnating. … [Read more...] about Putting data to work
If you ever wanted to guess someone's security questions---things like city of birth, names of pets and mother's maiden name---just friend them on Facebook or some other social network. These answers to alleged security questions, which are used by financial institutions and other companies to confirm your identity, are coughed up daily and voluntarily. According to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by ID analytics: More than 24 Americans 18 years or older leave social network profiles public. 70 million adults share their birthplace on profiles. 20 million adults reveal their pets' names. Meanwhile, other security question answers are presented for mining everyday. The results of this survey aren't all that surprising. In fact, the results largely confirm the work of Alessandro Acquisti, a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In a nutshell, Acquisti found that you can predict Social Security numbers with the information folks are presenting on social networks. The paper is worth … [Read more...] about Social networks: A great place to mine your alleged security questions
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that not so long ago I was the tech director for my local school district. Then came a bit of freelancing and, finally, early this year I went to work for a virtual classroom and e-learning company called WizIQ. That journey, though, isn't something I've talked about much, nor have I said much about the ripple effects on other aspects of my life. Then, tonight, a colleague shared a post from Seth Godin's blog titled "Back to (the wrong) school" and I couldn't help but write an anecdotal, personal response. This one line from Godin's post basically says it all: The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it? As he points out earlier in his post, compulsory education began in the early part of the last century as a response to child labor. Sure, it got kids out of factories which was all well and good, but, as he explains, Part of the rationale to sell this major … [Read more...] about Why I quit my job, went to work for WizIQ, and put my kid in private school
Fortune magazine today released its 2012 edition of the "100 Best Companies to Work for" on CNN. IT companies represent the largest segment of the list, occupying nearly 17 of the slots. In the top 10, tech companies include Google, SAS, and NetApp. In fact, Google topped the list this year, and once again, Facebook, one of the search giant's biggest rivals, didn't make it. I say "once again" because Facebook has never been listed in the top 100. The company wasn't mentioned when the first edition of the compilation was released in 2006, but then again it did only launch in February 2004. Still, it still wasn't listed in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now in 2012. So, what gives? It seems the list makes a point to exclude young companies. A quick check shows that this is indeed the case, although it's not explicitly stated. In fact, Fortune magazine this year admitted that "with Silicon Valley booming again" and "a number of high-tech startups headed for IPO" (cough Facebook … [Read more...] about Facebook fails to make list of top 100 employers, again
For many in the IT industry, the dream is to set up a tech start-up and grow it into the next Google or Apple. Individual start-up scenes are thriving in EMEA, but from staffing to rent, exit potential to government support, there are huge differences between countries. But which country is right for your fledgling tech company? ZDNet examines some of the major hubs in the region, and what each can bring to the start-up table. A string of big exits by Swedish start-ups over the past decade has helped spawn a lively tech community in the nation's capital Stockholm. But, unlike the pull of Europe's bigger cities, there may seem very little, if anything, to draw foreign start-ups this far north. With a market of just nine million people, almost no angel investors, two main venture capital firms, fierce competition for talent, high personal income tax, and no direct government support for start-ups, Sweden would not seem the ideal place to launch a new tech company. A question I … [Read more...] about Is Sweden the best place to start your start-up?
Microsoft might be the ranked only 75th best place to work in the US, but it's shaping up far better in Scandinavia. In a survey by local chapters of the Great Place to Work Institute, Microsoft was found to be the best place to work in two Scandinavian countries, and the second best in another. The company took first place for employers with 250 or more staff in both Norway and Sweden in the institute's recently-published list of best employers for 2012. On the other side of the Baltic Sea, Microsoft was found to be Finland's second best workplace in the 50 to 499-employee category. Microsoft isn't the only IT company to get plaudits in the region. Sweden's top 10 list is littered with tech companies and consultancies: in the 'large organisation' category behind Microsoft, which employed 451 people in Sweden, was consulting giant Accenture, which employed 927 staff, followed by IT consultancy Enfo with 452. Payments startup Klarna, with 640 staff, was fifth, while business … [Read more...] about Surprise! Microsoft really is a lovely place to work
Would you rather work for the second most innovative company in the world, or the best company to work for, in terms of culture and management credibility? Perhaps not surprisingly, if you happen to work at Google, you're working at both of the above...if you believe annual rankings of corporate inventiveness and workplace satisfaction. This month, management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released its Most Innovative Companies list, and in its most recent issue, Fortune magazine features its 100 Best Companies to Work For ranking. Now each is interesting and debatable enough on its own, of course. But to take a look at the top 10 of both rankings and compare them offers a couple of worthwhile insights. First, let's look at the top ten Most Innovative Companies (for 2012) from BCG. It's based on a survey of 1,500 senior executives around the world (80%), as well three-year total shareholder returns (10%), three-year revenue growth (5%), and three-year margin growth … [Read more...] about Are the most innovative companies also the best places to work?
In addition to the United States being a global economic and strategic leader for the rest of the world, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop believes it is a leader when it comes to ideas and innovation. Speaking at Australia's Asian Future Summit 2017 in Sydney on Friday, Bishop said having an agile, adaptive economy should be the message the rest of the world, including Australia, takes away from the US. "Adapt and thrive, and innovate or die," she said. According to Bishop, Australia has opportunity in the industries it has always thrived in. However, when it comes to new technology-based opportunities, she said Australia is well placed take advantage of the successes of its Asian neighbours to bring something to the table that complements what its allies can do. "We are seeing a transformation in Asia, in particular going away from being a region for low-cost manufacturing -- making cheap goods for the rest of the world -- to becoming a major source of global … [Read more...] about Australia well placed to leverage Asia’s innovation success: Julie Bishop
It creeps up slowly and then, suddenly, overwhelms its victim: the feeling that IT has become just another job, not a driving passion. For Alan Zucker, the moment arrived over a decade ago, shortly after he left his job at MCI Communications. "We were innovative and implemented new products every few months to take customers and revenue from AT&T and the Baby Bells," he recalls. "The culture was entrepreneurial and empowering; it was a great place to work." Zucker's next job, a director at a large financial services company, managing massive IT programs, was remunerative but dull. "I liked my job, but needed to reignite my passion and enthusiasm," he explains. A routine day-long training session gave Zucker the motivation to recapture his old love for meaningful IT management. Observing the instructor, he realized that the only way to restore his passion would be to help other people perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively. "Over the next couple of years, I started … [Read more...] about 20 ways to rekindle your passion for IT