Look through these Windows! It’s Memory Lane…

What a straightforward reminder that things change… The History of Windows Versions.  Start with teeny pockets of memory manipulating literal bits of data, and yet that basic input-output system led to SnapChat promising to wipe data from recipient’s memory and 4chan proving they can’t (Tweet that!).  There is plenty of history before and beyond Windows but Microsoft built the bridge to the individual users and by doing so changed the world.  It isn’t a miracle because somebody was going to do it.. like “inventing” the gramophone or flying the first plane.  Microsoft delivered home computing which we then shaped to share stupid ass selfies.

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The rough tools of introductory Windows

Slate offers us this perspective.

Go ahead and bash Microsoft’s operating system all you want (ironically using its technology to do so), but first note that Windows works and has worked for a long long time.  You likely are interacting with some form of a PC-based computer service right now.  We accelerated from ASCII-based Notepad files to our monstrously tangled GIF-ilicious .wild.wicked.web in thirty quick years.

Can I get an OLE?

There is a coherency in the long-haul on Windows that is familiar to those of us who spent our careers adapting to its evolution which was driven in part by our own consumer lobbying for features and functions.  This isn’t ancient history, lots of us pre-PC tech-vets are still here; we have a grasp on the “new” technology that comes from a generational-iterational complexity you cannot duplicate unless you proceed sequentially through it.

Conversely, experience can be a burden of sorts and that point goes to the newbies who think they just invented everything.

Tech units who too closely mirror each other’s training and experience fall prey to group think.  Recognize the value of an “iterational” mix, blend old school practicality with new school ingenuity.  Don’t let the echo of a dominant position drown out the sharp insights from other perspectives.  Your development team should be able to both mirror and cloak your consumers to get a resilient product.

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* Debate:  Every war is different, but all wars are the same.

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Biggest security threat to your network: the users

Who has the keys to your information?

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Any cyber security plans you make have to assess the mix of risks:  gaps in the programming, errors in deployment and maintenance, insufficient operational controls, and then there are the users!

Like home security systems that are not armed, the failure of users to protect themselves mocks the efforts made on other fronts to secure the data environment.

Users underestimate how important they are in the defense of information.  Their disregard for the underlying aims of the company regarding privacy and market-advantage should be a big red flag to management about their own effectiveness.  It shouldn’t be “cool” to disdain the tech-tools provided to do your job.

Look at your company’s security issues and identify those that stem from poor enforcement of the basics.  Then, police yourself.

I suggest you surrender to the idea of complex passwords and then put on your thinking cap and come up with a system that works for you.  As an authorized user, you represent someone who crosses the proverbial moat and enters the kingdom of data.  Don’t be blasé about that!

1) Quit being so literal.  On security questions you do not (and should not) include actual information like your mother’s maiden name (say it is Jezebel) or your place of birth (try Hickinpickin) or provide any other verifiable factoid.

2) Keep it simpleI.luv.2.dogs? incorporates upper and lower case letters, a number and a symbol.

3) Do not cross-contaminate passwords by using a public-forum password like Hotmail with a secure forum like banking.

4) The more characters in a password, the better.  Going from the standard 8-character to a 12-character password slows down auto-hackers*.  Don’t always go for the minimum, sprinkle in a few extra taps because it’s well worth it.

* If there are approximately 80 alpha-numeric-symbol characters available, then the complexity comes from the additional choices in the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th characters (80*80*80*80).  This compounds the 80*80*80*80*80*80*80*80 possibilities of the basic eight-character minimum.

Is HR “tech blocking” your best candidates?

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Who’s looking at your resumes?

The LinkedIn article referenced above presumes that HR has a “plays well with others” bias that devalues the high-level skills of applicants who design and deliver intellectual product.  I couldn’t agree more.  For some jobs there is a need for ongoing morale events and repeated presentations about the retirement options, yes.  HR is their guiding light and can successfully screen for suitable candidates and herd them through the work world.  For detecting the presence of actual tech-finance-engineering-science talent?  No.  NO.

Consider more carefully the winning skills in STEM careers: practitioners derive satisfaction from knowledge and training in advanced concepts usually narrowing as they advance to their specialty.  It’s a brain-power thing and requires “headspace” that can only be self-defined.  These aren’t fleets of fast food workers easily put in service after a ten-minute video on the fryer, nor are their duties controlled by the clock.  There is a fusion of abstract knowledge applied to concrete challenges for those providing conceptual capital to your business and for that you don’t hand out company logo shirts and talk up the retreat.

This is not to give a free pass to the asocial and the unsocial who prefer to ignore basic politeness.  People who have chosen to root their career with applied thinking in engineering, architecture, economics, etc., do not respond to traditional HR blandishments.  They don’t need to be told when they are right:  it is simply a fact.

None of these people are going to be over-involved with your HR department because by their nature they are not concerned with the same things.  HR retains its big picture emphasis on benefits and compensation, of course, but keep them away from the nuts and bolts of your high performance contributors.  Remember, these bright and capable candidates don’t always make easy-reading resumes or shine in interviews.  They may not know (care) that a minimally skilled screener (or sifting software) controls the gateway: that wouldn’t be logical!  At the least, over-emphasis on slotting skills and keywords is a poor method of analysis if it denies your best scout(s) access to the full and unfiltered talent pool.

Just the Gist:  Don’t let HR screeners control resume access, they can make tidy piles based on the keyword list and time-in-chair calculations but they should not have the power to reject an applicant outright.  There should always be a quick scan by somebody who really knows the business to spot analogous talent of value.

HR Screening Tip:  Mask the names on the resumes, both first and last, disguising gender and ethnicity and the ineffable presumptions based on your “vision” of Mike, Maisie or Madelyn Kwan-Rios-Bishop.

Candidate Argument for “Analogous Talent:  The concept of “analogous talent” means you have a depth and breadth of understanding of the core subject that will translate quickly to a similar target environment.  The very function of learning an established method-process-concept means you don’t have the bad habits and old-school presumptions that are controlled in part by legacy, and that can galvanize a clarified approach.  Stress your proven utility.

Consider a twelve person team where “everybody” has an MCSE or a CFA or is Order of the Coif… perhaps a smart and capable candidate who is not so specifically brain-trained will bring fresh insight, and outrigger balance, to the group-think.

Experience and Background

  Extensive experience with current skill set implementing technology in legal and financial enterprises by providing network administration, workstation configuration, application support, documentation, and training.   Upgrade-conversion specialty.   Seeking opportunities in computer deployment and operations using Office 365 with Exchange, Avaya IP Office VOIP phones and Salesforce.                                                                                                                                  

EXPERIENCE:

Name Withheld (wealth management)
February 2009 – August 2014

IT Manager for thirty-five user Windows network providing server and workstation administration, Office 365 Plan1 and E3 subscription management for multi-domain Exchange services with compliance vaulting; CRM administration including conversion to Salesforce.com; data file management, archive, backup and replication; virtual private networking for remote access. Avaya VOIP telecomm.

Name Withheld (family office)
March 2001 – July 2008

MIS Administrator for twenty-five users on Windows 2003 five-server network with XP workstations serving private wealth management company and stock-trading hedge funds. Reorganize then rebuild all services to achieve operating standards including server administration, workstation configuration and end–user support, inventory control, license and support tracking, and on-going action notes. Maintained sterling “uptime” record. Testing Vista/Office 2007 options.

Establish network security, stabilize remote access, articulate data security-retention policies; enable virtual private networking with SSL VPN, and Outlook Web Access. Sole tech resource for principal, exec, accounting and admin users. Exchange and BlackBerry Servers. Symantec AntiVirus and Mail Security. Bloomberg Professional with quad-panel displays. Email and Instant Message archival for SEC compliance. SQL application server-side support. DNS and web-site management. Avaya Definity G3si phone system. Lenel/Entrance Controls automated suite security.

Hiatus Year: 2000

Name Withheld (law offices)
January 1992–August 1999

Network Systems Coordinator for Seattle domain LAN Man/Windows NT network administration for 30+ users including workstation roll-outs. Compaq servers and workstations; HP printers and scanners. Backup/archive server data. Dial-up Internet.

Design and deliver technical training services for 160+ users in two sites. Produce in-print and on-line procedural documentation for users and technical staff. Support then assist in the redesign of advanced SQL-based document management system including template creation and fill-in form customization.

Establish Tacoma office Technical Services department staffing, standards, work flow and advanced techniques; technical interviewing and recruitment of supervisor. Train and monitor Help Desk staff.

Independent Solution Provider

Design and deliver automation proposals, computerization plans, knowledge transfer and user manuals. Procedure analysis to deploy office automation for legal firms and similar businesses. Technical interviewing.

Reliable and repeatable procedures

The key to organizational success is to establish reliable and repeatable procedures that cover the tasks required, including the one-off variations.

HOW TO procedures are specific stepped-out actions to complete a stated purpose.

The purpose should be distinct.  Do not have a multi-purpose purpose.  Don’t create one complicated procedure called Handling Accounts but focus on three procedures:  Open Account, Change Account, Close Account.