The operating system with no faults can throw the first stone.

operating systemsIt has come to my attention over a longish period now, as I get fed feeds from Hacker awareness sites and technology sites about weaknesses in Operating Systems and the fact they are being attacked by hackers and general no-gooders. The sites also feed me with, If only statements. If only the Operating system did this better and If only they didn’t do this.

Can perfection be achieved?

I think the problem is Operating systems by their very nature are developing all the time and when a corporation says we are launching our new version of an Operating System what they are not telling you is that they are already developing the next one in the background as the one they are about to launch is out of date. That’s because technology and we way we use it is changing so fast even they can’t keep up. Not only that we have greater expectations of what we want it to do and each rival vendor is trying to outdo the next one without infringing copyright laws. And there the problem arises as the developments are all copyrighted and each company is suing another company for infringement and also working with them at the same time to develop where they go from here.

Chaos you may think and I think you would be right.

So perfection is very subjective, as perfection to one person is so much different for another person and because the operating systems are always emerging and developing they will never ever tick all the boxes. This used to be the case with hardware and I would tell people, when you buy a computer it will be out of date before it is out the box. This is still the case most of the time. But Operating systems are now the drivers for what we want and how we want to use technology.

Operating Systems have the upper hand

Operating systems now have the upper hand, especially in mobile, with maybe Apple still holding its loyal users to their hardware and OS. Everyone else wants a nice user experience and not a flaky one that causes them to waste time and effort performing a simple task. So Android and Apple OS have taken the market, with Windows Phones really trying last ditch efforts to catch a percentage.

Apple’s software keeps evolving and people are constantly upgrading their devices with various levels of success and Android is much the same with the phone hardware vendor playing more of a part as they are allowed to add functionality to the Android system to give you special features if you buy their phones or tablets. This is called skinning and it varies. Sometimes not much is added and everything works well, and at other times, the Android system has changed so much the phone runs slower and looks different from other Android Devices. You may hear this referred to as bloatware.

Google are still commissioning manufacturers to make a range of what are known as Nexus devices that have hardware but can only have the raw Android install with no additional skinning or tampering with. These at present are my favourite, but have unrealistically gone up in price over their last few incarnations, so we will see.

So moan if you like

So basically we like to moan and make a fuss about this not happening and for goodness sake why can’t this be better. Just remember that the operating systems we use today are so much advanced than we used to use and they are in a constant state of flux all the time. They are never stable and are out of date almost before they are launched. They will get even better, smarter and then we will complain that it is boring and it does it all for us.

Go on shout at an operating system today, you know you want to….

How much rope is enough?

How much rope is enough

Give them rope

 

Reflecting back over my career and various positions in organisations, I can say that managers in various guises have played a major part in how well I performed and how well I progressed into a better person in the workplace and in the processes I adopted and now use. Transferable skills shall we say.

 

We all over time gather info and learn, it’s just built into our systems. That’s why you hear people say, “You learn something new every day.”, when they come across a fact they did not know.

So, in the workplace we are always learning, now I don’t mean gaining certifications here, even though that always helps. I mean we are constantly shaping and evaluating what we are doing and if it could be done better and changing it so that the next time we do that task or a similar one, we will do it differently. Experiential learning if you like.

Where does the rope come in?

Well the rope comes in as I reflect back on various line managers at the various posts I have had. Some managers obviously stand out for the way they behaved. Some for positive reasons and some for negative reasons. But the importance is they stand out.

A manager’s job is a complex one and staff see the manager in different ways: –

  • The manager is in between me and the top brass, so they take the heat.
  • The manager is there to bounce things off and I let them take the final decision that I run with.
  • The manager is there to help me do what I do and advise and give experience where needed
  • The manager is there to identify my strengths and weaknesses and help me grow.
  • The manager is there to hound me and be on my back all the time
  • The manager is there to micromanage everything I do
  • The manager is there to bully me into doing things a certain way
  • The manager is just an extension of the top brass and I don’t trust them
  • The manager is just looking after themselves all the time.

The above are just some responses I have heard and I am sure you have heard many more over the years. The top ones are positive and the bottom ones are more negative. The culture the manager creates is one of the most important things in an organisation. It is either a culture of trust and growth and innovation or one of distrust and tolerance of the management as a whole.

The rope comes in where the mangers are switched onto their staff and not just processes and statistics. You see the managers that have stuck out in my past are the ones that saw my potential for self-motivation and gave me the rope to run with it. When I stretched the rope and I did on more than one occasion, they would grab the end and pull me back in a bit, but always with encouragement and not demotivation..

I have worked in some great environments where the people were such a massive resource and if they had been managed correctly would have been so innovative that the potential clients would be climbing over each other to come and deal with us. Sadly, a culture of short ropes and bullying was relevant and it destroyed the people and the innovative juices within a short period. Very sad indeed to be part of and watch. I did escape and got out before the whole house of cards fell.

So how much rope is enough?

This is a great question, don’t get me wrong I believe in systems and know they have to be there for so many reasons. I EVEN TEACH THEM.

But, I also have such a heart for innovation and letting people be creative. I teach a creative thinking techniques seminar that gets people to tap into the juices that made them creative when they were children. Which they have now parked as they have picked up the managerial styles over the years.

They come out and can create ideas that are normally outside their thinking processes. It’s like a relearning. I do believe that most people can be self-motivated and if given a brief and some rope may well shock you with the solutions they come up with. Once you trust and give them the opportunity they will impress. If not we all learn anyway and nothing is lost; I guarantee that more will be gained. It’s is easier to get the best out of staff with motivation than bullying. That I also guarantee, having experienced both.

What are your thoughts on this whole area, would be good to hear from you.

Has the Cloud changed the business weather?

Old Car PhoneI have always promoted the ways in which technology can help us, and how its advancement is changing the game in many different areas – from remote surgery via a net connection, to the way we communicate and interact. Some would say that this is great, and these changes are for the better – at least better than the sluggish old ways we used to do things. Others are more sceptical, and suggest some of what is happening is taking away from human interaction, often to the degree that we just can’t interact effectively face to face anymore.

With the above in mind, I must confess that I do a lot more typing than writing, and as a result my writing skills are just not what they used to be. Saying that, some would say my typing skills also leave a lot to be desired.

Anyway, I digress; I titled this article, “Has the cloud changed the business weather?”

This was a direct hit at what the Internet (or as it’s often called, the cloud) is doing to the way we do business. Let’s look back at the history of how it was done; again I will speak from the experience I gained over my working life.

In times gone by

In past lives I have used written reports, sending them back to my direct line manager. Then we got the marvel that was carbon paper copies, which meant I could keep a copy myself.

A fax was installed in my home office and I could fax info straight to main HQ and get it actioned. No more waiting on the snail mail to deliver. This was a revolution.

I was then made the proud owner of a pager. It would bleep to signify that I had to go to a phone and call the office. The next version had a small LCD screen where I could read a streaming text message instead of phoning in. Where was technology taking us?

OK, you have probably guessed by now that I am not a newcomer to the work environment. In fact I have been through a good number of changes to the way things are done.

The next development was a phone mounted in my company car. This was a large brick like device in the cabin, connected to a larger box that was taking up most of my boot space. The aerial was attached to the roof of the car, and off I went. However, my sales area included the highlands of Scotland, and the signal at that time was really very poor, so generally I was uncontactable unless I found a landline.

The car phone I was given after that was the first that could be considered truly mobile, and could be removed from the car and taken, yes taken with you, anywhere. WOW! This was just amazing. I could text and phone from anywhere and no longer needed to be tethered to my car.

I was then simply given a mobile phone, and along with that my first mobile computer. It had details of all the products I used to sell on it, and had the ability to allow searches and pricing on the spot in front of a client…

How could this be I hear you cry? Well that was technology for you, and it was driving sweeping changes to what we were able to do in business.

Obviously things have moved on greatly since these bygone days, and companies have had to accept technology moves one. They also have to deal with the way it has influenced what they do, and landscape of their proposed market places.

Access to the Internet started very slow, I still remember connecting via a dial up modem (33.6k which by today’s standards is the slowest thing ever) but it was new and exciting at the time. Then ADSL has superseded that, and now ADSL is on the wane due to Fibre broadband being rolled out nationwide.

With this advancement, and mobile broadband reaching similar speeds, it finally means that the cloud has come of age. The idea of ‘Always there Internet’ has truly arrived.

What we can do now in the cloud, and through the cloud, is an order of magnitude more impressive than my first work experiences of technology.

Where will it all go?

The question now, I suppose, is where will it all go? But what I want to ask you is where will you take it?

Will you adopt the latest technology and keep pushing what you can do beyond what you do now? Beyond what others are doing? The cloud is truly changing the weather in the business world in ways that a younger me could only dream of.

We can collaborate worldwide as if we were in the same office. We can have instant access to real-time information that allows us to make informed decisions faster than ever before.

We can access information at any time and any place, which means we don’t have to be tied to an office desk. Mobile Internet usage (or cloud usage if you like) has increased year on year to around 68 to 70% of all Internet traffic. Technology has improved beyond a large bulky desktop computer or chunky laptop, the information is now actually in the palm of your hand.

Our mobiles (and remember I started with a brick in my car) have now turned into smart phones. We can do all sorts of tasks using them, and that includes good quality business work.

Conclusion

I am still excited about where technology can take us, and would like to think I’m still a people person. It will never make me a recluse, so that I do not interact, but it can make my life and business world  easier. It can change the weather on the business front, and for me this has meant more sunshine and less rain, even though there will still be clouds.

What are your thoughts on adopting new technology for you or your business?