Archive for September 2008

Wall Street woes and the IT industry

I am not going to go into a news report of the entire Wall Street/banking industry bailout mess. I think everyone is already aware of the problem and its wall-to-wall coverage in all media outlets right now. Simply reporting it would be redundant and I doubt there is anything I would say about it that hasn’t been said by someone already.

I would like to say something about its potential effects on our industry.

There is a lot of speculation about how this will play out in the IT market. Some industry pundits say the current situation will have little or no effect on our business. In fact, it could strengthen it. Others say it will affect IT in the short or long term, although to what degree it is uncertain.

We really don’t have a lot of past performance metrics in such an event to make any predictions in this matter. The banking industry has been around for centuries. Wall Street itself has a long history to draw from. IT is a young market compared to the others and while deeply integrated into both the finance and stock markets, the tech sector as we know it today hasn’t been in the mix long enough to predict any real future based on past performance in such a scenario.

There was no IT industry during the Great Depression of 1929. Although tech stocks were around during the great recession of the 70’s the IT industry in general was not as we know it today. The recession we experienced during the new millenium was a different animal under different circumstances. What we have now is something the IT industry has never experienced before. So, what data do we really have to make any sort of honest assessment of the future in IT?

The truth is, no one really knows what is going to happen next. It is all pure speculation. So my personal advice, take it or leave it, is to sit tight, hold on, stay alert, watch the market very carefully, and be ready to adapt as necessary. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In other words, just be prepared.

 

 

Try Reimage

 

 

 

OnForce releases version 5.0

BOSTON, September 22, 2008 – OnForce, the world’s largest marketplace for contract service professionals, announced that it has launched a complete overhaul of its website. This new version of he OnForce marketplace features a number of enhancements, including the ability for companies to send request-for-quotes (RFQs) to IT service pros anywhere in the US or Canada.

RFQs greatly simplify the process of finding service pros through OnForce because:
• It’s free to send an RFQ in the OnForce marketplace; money is uploaded only after a buyer
accepts a quote from a service pro.
• Companies who send an RFQ no longer have to pre-price their service requests; the pros
will respond to the request with price quotes.
• The company who sends the request makes the final decision about which quote to accept,
putting them in control of which service pro wins the work.
• The average response time for work order acceptance is 15 minutes.

The new site also enables users to find service pros with the precise skills and experience to meet
their specific IT needs. OnForce buyers can now search for pros by location, skill set and by using
several new filters, including:
• Specific certifications
• Safety filters like background checks and drug tests
• High-volume pros with exceptional performance ratings
• Language speaking skills

“Version 5.0 of the OnForce marketplace is a major breakthrough in the way VARs and solution
providers find IT professionals,” said OnForce CEO Peter Cannone. “We’re constantly improving the
OnForce marketplace, and the new version of OnForce.com is a giant step in that direction. It has
never been easier to find the right contract IT pros, when and where you need them.”

About OnForce
OnForce is the world's largest marketplace for IT service professionals. The company enables VARs, solution providers, and IT service firms to find skilled, contract professionals across the US and Canada. The OnForce marketplace has been used to successfully complete more than 750,000 work orders since its inception. The company has more than 5,000 service buyers and 12,000+ technicians who work in a wide variety of categories, including computers, printers, networking, VoIP, point of sale and consumer electronics.

For more information about the US marketplace, visit www.onforce.com . To learn about the Canadian marketplace, visit www.onforce.ca .

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Ready for a gas shortage? You better be

There was a lot of tech news this week and I could have easily spent hours blogging on dozens of topics, but I didn’t. Instead, I spent much of my time focused on one specific issue: the Charlotte gas shortage.

The gas shortage after hurricane Ike affected much of the Southeast, including the city I live in. It was the talk of the town all week and local TV stations spent much of their air time absorbed in it. One by one, stations ran out of gas and long lines formed around the stations that still had it or were expecting a delivery of gas at any moment.

I was directly affected by the shortage myself. Low on fuel, I sat in line for two hours waiting to fill my tank. I was one of the fortunate. A lot of others sat in line for 24 hours or more, waiting for gas just so they could drive home.

It hurt my business, too. The day before I filled my tank, I had to plan my onsite trips carefully to maximize the fuel I did have. I had to cancel or reschedule appointments simply because I didn’t have enough gas to get there and back. I received a number of contract jobs this week, however I turned them all down. Most of them didn’t pay enouqh to make it worth burning the gas I had to make the trip. It wasn’t the cost of fuel, however, that kept me from accepting the work. There simply wasn’t enough gas available around town to warrant the trip for the amount of the work order. It just wasn’t worth the trip to spend half of it looking for gas. I had more important things to save the gas for.

Today the mayor of Charlotte assured us that relief was on the way. The pipeline which had been shut down due to power loss was back in operation and a huge shipment of gas was on the way via that pipeline and tankers. He promised we would have plenty of gas within the next day or so.

That hasn’t stopped me from rethinking my own operation. It has given me pause to think about Next Time.

Yes, there will be a Next Time. I remember the energy crisis of the 70’s and experiencing the long gas lines then. I remember the flared tempers and violence that erupted in the lines of cars waiting for gas. I remember the rationing. I also remember incidents of gas siphoning and theft, even in broad daylight and the run on a new item called a locking gas cap for the car. I had one of those locking gas caps on my car; even after the gas crisis was over it was years before I finally went without one.

Three and a half decades later, it is happening all over again. Perhaps not everywhere, but it is happening nonetheless. It happened once. It happened twice. It will happen again.

What will you do when it happens? Do you have a plan for your business? Do you have a strategy to work through the next crisis to minimize the impact on your business? Some of us do remote support as well, and to a point, we can work around such obstacles. But some you work strictly onsite or at your shop. How will the next gas shortage affect your business?

It isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but when. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? Or will you wait until it happens before you decide to formulate one? You may think I am being too melodramatic, but think about it. With the volatile markets, current banking crisis, the falling dollar, rising cost of oil and unstable conditions in oil producing countries whose supply we depend on, it wouldn’t take but one small incident to create another oil crisis.

Those of us whose businesses rely on getting to and from the job are but one gas shortage away from jeopardizing our livelihoods.  Be prepared. You have been warned.

 

 

Save 10% on hosting at GoDaddy.com!

 

 

 

Episode 26 – Reimage

This week we are going to talk with an IT professional who developed a new way to automatically repair computers running Microsoft Windows called Reimage and now offers his service to PC technicians everywhere.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard 3:08

News and Comment segment 5:51
Cray has partnered with Intel and Microsoft to produce a supercomputer for the desktop.

System Management News reports that a team of researchers at the University of Michigan created a cloud computing anti-virus service.

You can read the article in the September issue of System Management News. A subscription is free to professionals who qualify. Subscribe at http://theforcefield.tradepub.com/free/smns.

The Everything Channel hosted a virtual trade show for IT consultants, resellers and service providers September 18 to promote IT solutions using “Green Technology”.

One Green Technology product available now is GoToMyPC. You can try GoToMyPC FREE for 30 days! Just visit http://www.gotomypc.com/podcast for your free trial. Try it out and let me know what you think. Go Green with GoToMyPC!

Microsoft cancelled its series ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld and launched phase two of its reimaging campaign with a new commercial that takes aim at Apple’s PC vs. Mac ads.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:57
This week we’re going to talk to Zak Dechovich, CEO of Reimage, Inc.Reimage, Inc. We will learn about his process, talk about its potential uses as a Windows repair tool and find out how we can partner with his company to solve Windows problems cleanly, quickly and automatically. Mention The Force Field for a FREE 7 day trial.

Zak Dechovich Interview 24:01

Wrap up and Close :46

©2008 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 26 – Reimage

This week we are going to talk with an IT professional who developed a new way to automatically repair computers running Microsoft Windows called Reimage and now offers his service to PC technicians everywhere.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard 3:08

News and Comment segment 5:51
Cray has partnered with Intel and Microsoft to produce a supercomputer for the desktop.

System Management News reports that a team of researchers at the University of Michigan created a cloud computing anti-virus service.

You can read the article in the September issue of System Management News. A subscription is free to professionals who qualify. Subscribe at http://theforcefield.tradepub.com/free/smns.

The Everything Channel hosted a virtual trade show for IT consultants, resellers and service providers September 18 to promote IT solutions using “Green Technology”.

One Green Technology product available now is GoToMyPC. You can try GoToMyPC FREE for 30 days! Just visit http://www.gotomypc.com/podcast for your free trial. Try it out and let me know what you think. Go Green with GoToMyPC!

Microsoft cancelled its series ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld and launched phase two of its reimaging campaign with a new commercial that takes aim at Apple's PC vs. Mac ads.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:57
This week we're going to talk to Zak Dechovich, CEO of Reimage, Inc.Reimage, Inc. We will learn about his process, talk about its potential uses as a Windows repair tool and we find out how we can partner with his company to solve Windows problems cleanly, quickly and automatically. Mention The Force Field for a FREE 7 day trial.

Zak Dechovich Interview 24:01

Wrap up and Close :46

©2008 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Reimage

 

Cray offers a supercomputer for the desktop

(TheForceField.Net ) September 22, 2008 —  Cray, the company with a name that is almost synonymous with the term supercomputer, has partnered with Intel and Microsoft to produce a supercomputer for the desktop.

The new supercomputer, called the CX1, uses Intel Xeon processors and either Microsoft Windows HPC Server 2008 or Red Hat Linux. The CX1 is designed for small businesses, professionals and end users who would like a real supercomputer but can't afford one of the million dollar models. The Cray CX1 sells for a mere twenty-five thousand dollars.

A blog post on Cray's website last week stated the CX1 was designed in response to a growing need of application developers, small businesses and labs who need high performance or cluster computers but do not have a big budget. 

According to a company press release issued September 16, The CX1 is configurable to 8 nodes and 16 dual or quad-core Intel Xeon processors with 16 gigs of memory per node. The supercomputer can store up to 4 terabytes and is customizable to individual needs.

"Cray sees Microsoft Windows becoming an increasingly important force in the HPC market," Ian Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Cray, said in the press release. "With the Cray CX1 high productivity system and Windows HPC Server 2008, we're bringing the power of Cray supercomputing to a much wider range of new users with an affordable and adaptable system that provides incredible value and is easy to install, program and use with a broad array of applications from independent software vendors (ISVs)."

The CX1 is the first Cray supercomputer to use Intel processors. It does not require special cooling or storage accommodations and plugs into a single standard 110/220v AC power outlet.

More information and specifications on the CX1 are available at http://www.cray.com

 

 

Processor

 

 

IGEL Introduces the World’s First VMware VDM Appliance

Solution Converts an IGEL Universal Desktop, with Just the Click of a Mouse, into a Locked Down Appliance for Accessing a Virtual PC Delivered by VMware VDM

Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) September 15, 2008 — IGEL Technology, the world's third largest thin client vendor, will demonstrate this week at VMworld, Las Vegas its new VMware VDM Appliance Mode for IGEL Universal Desktops, providing a simplified user experience for customers deploying virtual PCs with VMware's Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM). This new solution allows IGEL Universal Desktops to be switched, with just a mouse click, from a traditional IGEL thin client to a tightly defined virtual PC access appliance. This provides end-users with a very PC-like experience, with the desktop always maximized on the user's screen and the inability to access or "kill" local applications and services on the thin client using Ctrl-Alt-Del. The VDM Appliance Mode can be made part of the automatic setup of an IGEL Universal Desktop when it is first attached to a network, making the roll out of VMware hosted virtual PCs as simple as plugging an IGEL device into the network and then logging into Windows.

If organizations need access to more functionality in the IGEL Universal Desktop, the VDM Appliance Mode can be reversed with a single mouse click, giving access to world's largest range of Digital Services, such as web, multimedia, VoIP, SAP and Java, contained in the terminal. This approach is recommended for knowledge workers using more demanding applications, such as Multimedia or VoIP, that are beyond the capability of the RDP protocol used by the VDM Appliance Mode.

According to a July 2008 report by The 451 Group titled, "Virtualization: Reinventing Desktop Computing," in twelve months' time, one-third of general-purpose desktop users and mobile workers may be provided with virtual desktops. While desktop virtualization offers many benefits, including increased security, manageability and scalability, there is a lot of concern regarding the impact to all of these end-users' experience. By introducing the VDM Appliance Mode, IGEL is addressing this concern and making virtual PC access as simple as possible for end-users and IT Managers.

"IGEL is helping VMware customers by making deployment of their virtual PCs no more complicated than plugging in a network cable," said Stephen Yeo, worldwide strategic marketing director for IGEL Technology. "In addition, IGEL's VDM Appliance Mode makes the end-user experience identical to that of a PC, hence improving user acceptance and removing the need for training."

The switch to VDM Appliance Mode can be easily implemented using the IGEL Remote Management Suite (RMS) software, which comes free with every IGEL thin client. A systems administrator can simply build the VDM Appliance Mode into a user profile, and remotely assign the profile upon the thin client's first connection. RMS greatly improves administrators' productivity, by allowing them to easily control all aspects of application delivery and the user experience without ever having to visit the desktop during roll out and production.

IGEL's VDM Appliance Mode will be available on its Linux powered Universal Desktops from mid October.

IGEL offers one of the largest ranges of virtual PC access devices on the market, ranging from traditional desktops and PC upgrade cards to LCD integrated units and quad screen units. The company's full range of thin clients will be on display at the upcoming VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 15-18, 2008.

About IGEL Technology:
IGEL Technology is the world's third largest thin client vendor and is market leader in its home country of Germany (2007 IDC). The company produces the industry's widest range of thin clients, based on Linux and Microsoft Windows, giving customers access to almost any form of server-based infrastructure and application including virtual PCs from VMware®, Citrix® or Microsoft®, terminal services, mainframe terminal emulation, web, Java, SAP and VoIP. Form factors include traditional desktops, mobile tablets, integrated LCD units, quad screens and PC to thin client conversion cards. All IGEL thin clients come with the bundled, easy to use, IGEL Remote Management Suite, giving you maximum remote control with the minimum cost and hassle. All devices support smart cards for maximum security.

IT jobs are for H-1B, others need not apply

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about how well the IT industry is doing in spite of overall economic conditions. We’ve been told also been told about an increasing demand for IT workers and professionals and how this demand is likely to increase during the coming years.

Large IT companies continue to complain that there just aren’t enough qualified IT professionals to fill the available positions and continue to lobby Congress in support of raising the cap on H-1B visas in order to hire foreign workers to take up the slack.

However, IT pros insist there is no shortage. They claim that there are plenty of qualified workers in the U.S. that can fill those positions but the industry is passing them up for foreign labor simply because it is cheaper. They contend that companies are lying about an IT shortage and lock out American workers by flooding the market with H-1B employees simply to pad the bottom line.

Bill Gates has told Congress that American companies need more H-1B workers. Apparently Mr. Gates feels there is a shortage of talent native to American soil in areas such as programming. Other companies agree. Yet there is a growing number of fully talented and capable American programmers and other IT professionals out of a job and looking for work. Some of them have been unemployed for years. How can that be?

Perhaps it isn’t just talent these companies are after. According to studies H-1B workers are paid about 15-30% less than American workers.  That is an attractive proposition for any company. Perhaps it is enough to falsify a shortage.

During the past year I did a little investigation of my own. I found a plethora of IT related jobs posted on company web sites, in publications and on job boards. No doubt about it, the jobs are there, but what about the applicants?

I submitted my resume for a few positions and when I followed up on my applications, what I found was very interesting. The companies were bombarded with hundreds of resumes for a single position and many used automated processes to narrow down the prospects. Many of these applicants are fully qualified for the position and it is necessary to eliminate them based on other factors such as availability and proximity to the employer. Shortage? What shortage? It just doesn’t add up.

Recently I read a CNet NewsBlog that reported on a consulting company in Pittsburgh that was accused of favoring H-1B visa applicants in job postings and fined $45,000 by the government. That could be a decent year’s salary for one entry level job applicant that didn’t get a job. Instead, it now goes to the feds.

Perhaps I should quit IT and work for the government.

 

 

Consulting

 

 

PC-Doctor, Inc.

PC-Doctor is a worldwide industry leader in PC diagnostic hardware and software for OEMs, System Builders, corporate IT departments and PC repair professionals. Among the products they offer is PC-Doctor Service Center 6, a hardware and software diagnostic kit for computer repair techs.

PC-Doctor is the preferred diagnostic suite for HP computers.

PC-Doctor Service Center 6 http://www.pc-doctor.com/pcd_service_center.php?_s_icmp=service_tech

PC-Doctor Home Page http://www.pc-doctor.com

PC-Doctor also publishes a free monthly newsletter called Service Currents

 

PC-Doctor, Inc.
9805 Double R. Boulevard.
Reno, NV  89521
Phone 775-336-4000

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