Hard Drive Prices Skyrocket

By now you have heard that hard disk drive (HDD) prices are increasing rapidly because of widespread flooding in Thailand. The monsoons of 2011 brought factory production to a standstill. The human toll has been devastating as hundreds have perished and millions have been displaced. The World Bank estimates the financial loss at 45 billion dollars making this the fourth most costly disaster in history. Thailand is the second largest exporter of HDD producing about 40% of the world’s HDD.  It is surpassed only by Singapore. Supply and demand economics govern computer electronics and the inelasticity is apparent in much higher prices at least for the short term.  Not surprisingly, prices have doubled and tripled for HDD in the recent weeks. There are several price watch sites to compare prices online. For now, the estimates of when full production will return in Thailand are … [Read more...]

Weathering Storms in the Cloud

Twice over the past few weeks Microsoft’s Office 365 suffered interruptions.  The first occurred on August 17thand was reported as a network interruption.  Several blogs reported the cause as faulty Cisco equipment, but that fact was not verified by Microsoft.  The interruption lasted for three hours and Microsoft has offered a 25% discount to Office 365 customers for the trouble. The second interruption was on September 9th and seems to be tied to the widespread Western US power outage.  Any discount has yet to be announced for the second occurrence. Microsoft is not the only Cloud service to see outages. Clouds, networks, communications and power that make up the Internet have all been down either briefly or for extended periods.  Although it is frustrating, it is part of the risk we all accept in using and being dependent on technology. Power and phone outages have always been … [Read more...]

Talk Like a CIO

The Chief Information Officer (CIO), sometimes called Chief Technology Officer (CTO), coined in the early 1980s is a rather recent addition to the corporate governance structure. It makes sense that the position coincided with the technology explosion as companies implemented IT to gain competitive advantage. Arguably, what was once IT competitive advantage is now essential for daily operations. Even so someone has to evaluate IT investment to be sure that it serves the organization by providing benefits at an affordable cost. Without that oversight, technology projects would be rapidly become science projects that few, other than the IT department, could understand. No disrespect to IT folks. As an engineer, I have seen this phenomenon many times. A concept to make the organization more efficient, a product more user-friendly or automate manual tasks spirals into the depths of a … [Read more...]

Top IT Trends for 2011

Compiling our list of the top technology trends for 2011 was enjoyable. We got to review our 2010 predictions and look ahead with optimism. Unfortunately, economic woes continued through 2010 delaying the expected IT expenditures and slowing growth.  Again, the trends haven’t changed much year-over-year as technology is a quiet revolution. But don’t be disappointed, those same trends are driving new models that will revolutionize the way we do business.  As technology advances, the numbers continue to drive IT investments. Businesses will implement common sense infrastructure improvements and avoid the glitz. The glitz will come from consumer electronics this year as mobile devices become better, cheaper and faster. Cloud Computing – The Application Server Provider (ASP) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is Cloud Computing.  More than ever, this is a technology in search of a … [Read more...]

Large or dual monitors mean happier, more productive employees

The NEC commissioned University of Utah study shows increased productivity, job satisfaction and an incredible return on investment. It is not surprising that a monitor manufacturer would recommend larger and multiple monitor arrangements, but what do users think? There are two trends. The first is for smaller, lighter, mobile devices for on-the-go professionals and the second is for more screen real estate for the stationary worker. On-the-go professionals need access from anywhere, anytime so they can stay connected.  The screen sizes of mobile devices are definitely trending up, but in general they are still much, much smaller than desktop monitors.  Most mobile users don’t need multiple windows. They can switch between applications or use tools to work more efficiently. Mobile devices are great for staying connected and having information at your fingertips.  They are not … [Read more...]