My First Computer

In 1979, at age 16, I saved money from my paper route and purchased my first computer – an Ohio Scientific (OSI) C2-4P – from Allied Electronics in West Allis, Wisconsin. It had a 6502 microprocessor and 4K(!) of RAM. I used a cassette tape recorder for mass storage (transfer rate was 300 baud), and an RF converter and a television set as my video monitor. This provided a stunning monochrome 80×40 character display!

Within a few months I grew tired of the 15+ minutes it took to load BASIC into RAM from cassette and decided to learn assembly language. This was better since there was a “monitor” program in ROM and therefore always available immediately.

Today, I flip-flop back and forth between thinking, “Those were the days!” and “How could 30 years have gone by so quickly?”

Ohio Scientific C2-4P

Social Media and the Job Search

I was just talking to my neighbor and friend, Phil Gerbyshak – The Make It Great Guy, about using social media when looking for new work. I have friend who has been looking for new work in IT for quite a few months. Here are some ideas Phil suggested:

1. Make sure your profile on LinkedIn is complete and up-to-date.

2. Make sure you have plenty of positive recommendations. If you feel you did a good job, you should not hesitate to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation for every project and every manager you’ve worked for.

3. Make time during your job search to join and participate in discussions in LinkedIn Groups, and to answer questions posted to LinkedIn Answers. The goal is to present yourself as an expert in your domain(s).

4. Use TweetDeck to follow JobAngels (@jobangels). Filter by tags if needed (i.e., #milwaukee if you are in Milwaukee, WI).

5. Join one of the professional organizations in your field and help them get up-and-running on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Phil’s last suggestion was his best:

6. Read Phil Gerbyshak‘s blog. He covers real-world use of social media – including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – every day.

How about it? What are your tips for using social media when looking for a new job in IT in 2009?

Security in a Down Economy – Tip # 1

Take Care When Adding to an Employee’s Responsibilities

During a down economy, management may temporarily move employees from one role to another, or have one employee cover two or more roles. This can be an important step in reducing costs and keeping a business viable. However, as roles and responsibilities change, it is not uncommon for employees to gain new information systems privileges while still keeping their old privileges. This can create situations where employees have excessive privileges and can therefore easily commit fraud or conduct other malicious activities. When an employee is transferred to a new role or takes on new responsibilities – even temporarily – it is important to ask questions such as:

Which of the employee’s information systems privileges can be reduced or eliminated because they are no longer needed to fulfill his/her job duties?

These should be immediately reduced or eliminated.

Which of the employee’s information systems privileges, when combined with the employee’s other privileges, create a potential for fraud or other malicious activities?

These should be immediately segregated by transferring incompatible responsibilities and activities to other employees (but be sure to ask these same questions about those employees before transferring).

Of course, these questions should be asked when ever an employee changes roles or has changes in his/her responsibilities or his/her systems privileges.

Watch for another Security in a Down Economy tip soon!

GUI Mockup Tools

For future reference:

Laptop losers hall of shame

Here’s a list of the 10 biggest (known) security breaches from lost or stolen laptops, where government agencies, corporations and colleges failed to safeguard the names, Social Security numbers and other personal info of their customers. Encryption software – which costs as little as $10 per laptop – could have prevented most of these incidents.

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