Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.

microsoft-surface-pro-3

Photo: Microsoft

On 20 May, Microsoft launched its Surface Pro 3 tablet. They call it ” the tablet that can replace your laptop.” The lightweight, Windows 8.x tablet boasts a 12-inch screen. It has a sleek design and long battery life. Prices range from $799 for the 64 GB 4th-Gen Intel i3 model to $1949 for a 512 GB i7 model. Keyboards, adapters, etc. are optional, at extra cost. This price point puts the Surface Pro 3 in the mix with Ultrabooks, MacBooks and lightweight hybrid/convertible notebook computers.

Tech blogs are critical of the new tablet’s foray into the enterprise business market, citing the Windows 8.x operating system, design, user experience and cost as the main detractors. As mentioned in an recent blog post, enterprise IT departments prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8.x, and many saw Windows XP end of support as an opportunity to explore new hardware and operating systems like Google Chrome and Mac OSX.

“eWeek suggested, “buy the MacBook Air instead.”

The jury’s still out. Let’s see if the Surface Pro 3 catches on. You can view the full specs on the Microsoft Web site here and read an eWeek product review here.

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IT Staff, Engineers among Top 10 Hardest Jobs to Fill

Manpower Group’s 2014 Talent Shortage Survey Results are in. Science, Technical, Engineering and Math (STEM) positions–IT staff and engineers–remain among the top 10 hardest jobs to fill, as they have been for years.

Fully 40% of U.S. employers report difficulty in filling jobs, and 56% of U.S. employers believe that this has a medium or high impact on their ability to meet client needs.

Top 10 hardest to fill jobs in 2014

  1. Skilled Trade Workers
  2. Restaurant and Hotel Staff
  3. Sales Representatives
  4. Teachers
  5. Drivers
  6. Accounting and Finance Staff
  7. Laborers
  8. IT Staff
  9. Engineers
  10. Nurses

inc_standard_stacked_rgbView the Manpower Group 9th Annual Talent Shortage Survey infographic.

See the complete survey results here.

SPF-14_Houston-Regional_Header_600pxEnablon’s Sustainable Performance Forum (SPF) Houston 2014 attracted senior managers in industry, information technology (IT), software and content development and system integrators. The event, held 21 May 2014 in Houston, offered top-notch, informative presentations and a peek at the road map for Enablon V 7.0.

I had the privilege of moderating the pre-conference Customer Workshop and the SPF general session.

Customer Workshop presentations included

  • Dan Vogel, Enablon CEO and Marc Vogel, Enablon CTO – Enablon’s Mobile platform and Configuration Engine
  • Pascal Gaudé, Enablon VP, Global Services – Center of Excellence and Services Innovations
  • Alexis Merydith, Enablon NA Product Manager – v7.0 Road Map.

SPF speakers included

  • Loren Steffy, business/energy journalist and book author – Keynote: Safety in the Gulf of Mexico
  • John Kill, ERM Risk Expert – Risk Management Issues and Trends
  • Leah Cartwright, Enablon Process Safety Management/Management of Change Subject Matter Expert – PSM Issues and Trends
  • Alexis Merydith – v7.0 Road Map
  • Bryan Taft, Sr Solutions Engineer – Enablon  MOC demo.

Enablon is a leading environment, health & safety (EHS) and sustainable software company. The software firm will hold its annual SPF Americas meeting in late September in Chicago, IL.


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Upcoming Sustainable Performance Forum to focus on operational risk and process safety management

The Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum (SPF) will bring experts on operational risk management and process safety management to Houston, TX on the afternoon of 21 May. Book author and award-winning journalist Loren Steffy will deliver the opening keynote address. Environment, health & safety (EHS) management information system thought leader Jill Barson Gilbert of Lexicon Systems, LLC will moderate a panel discussion. Panelists include Jess A. McAngus, respected compliance expert and Co-founder Spirit Environmental; Jonathan Commanday, Director Applications Services at Axiall Corporation; and Leah Cartwright, Process Safety subject matter expert from Enablon North America Corp.

Enablon’s North America Product Manager Alexis Merydith will present the Enablon V7.0 Road Map and demonstrate the software’s Management of Change (MOC) capabilities. Global risk expert John Kill, Partner in ERM’s Risk Practice, will deliver the closing keynote address.

EEnablon sustainable performance forum houston 2014xisting Enablon software customers are invited to participate in a pre-conference Customer Workshop. Here they will meet with Enablon founders Dan Vogel, Phil Tesler and Marc Vogel and the product team to learn about and provide input on future software releases.

Consulting firm ERM is the conference co-sponsor. Read the press release here and register for the complimentary conference here.


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I hope that you have been using Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or an Internet browser other than Internet Explorer for the last two weeks or so.

Though Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP operating system on 08 April 2014, recent security threats spurred the company to issue an emergency security patch on 26 April. The security vulnerability affects users of Internet Explorer versions 6-11 on various Windows operating systems.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Logo

“We have made the decision to issue a security update for Windows XP users,” Dustin Childs, group manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, wrote in a blog post. “Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and we continue to encourage customers to migrate to a modern operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8.1.” 

Read more…

Logo: Google

In news releases on 28 April, the US and UK governments asked people to stop using Internet Explorer (IE) until its security vulnerabilities were fixed. According to netmarketshare.com, over half of the desktop PC market used IE in one version or another when the “zero day” vulnerability was identified. Many organizations immediately switched from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome.

 


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What’s the best use for an iPad if you’re savvy with a laptop and smartphone?

When you get an iPad, you think, “Hey, I can replace my laptop with this small tablet!” 

Technology stack with overlapping functions

I look at my “technology stack,” and see a Windows 7 PC, a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone. These devices all help me get through my daily routine, with overlapping capabilities:

  • Read content
  • Read and compose email
  • Read and create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Participate in social networks
  • Attend Web meetings
  • Visit Web sites
  • View photos and graphics.

Depending upon what I want to achieve, these four devices are not totally interchangeable.

I can use my smartphone to create a presentation, but anything but a simple presentation is best created on a laptop or tablet. I can sort through hundreds of emails on my tablet or smartphone, but must use a laptop for powerful sorting and cleanup. Likewise, I can create complex spreadsheets on the tablet, but likely would use my MacBook or PC with a keyboard and full functionality.

Rethinking the tablet

If you’re already quite comfortable with a laptop and a smartphone, and a tablet falls into your hands, what’s the best way to use it? Here’s an interesting perspective on the use of tablets, worth reading: Rethinking the iPad

My take—Tip #1: I DO use the iPad for mail and social apps; Tip #2: I use the iPad to catch up on reading; Tip #3: I turn off MOST notifications; Tip #4: I change SOME of the settings to improve battery life.

Let me hear how you use your tablet!


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New Apple MacBook Air appeals to the mobile business set

In late April Apple beefed up its MacBook Air product line. The lightweight notebook computers now boast faster, 4th generation Intel processors, longer batter life, bigger flash storage, faster and better WiFi and slightly lower price tags. This makes the Air more attractive to on-the-go business travelers who need or prefer a full-fledged computer over a tablet or smartphone.

Apple MacBook Air 2014

Photo: Apple

The new MacBook Air specs go head-to-head with the most powerful Windows laptops. Apple is taking the opportunity to win business users over to its hardware and the OSX operating system.

Why? Here are several issues that left market share up for grabs:

  • Windows XP End of Support
  • heartbleed and security vulnerabilities with Internet Explorer
  • Sarbanes-Oxley compliance concerns
  • increased use of Cloud applications in large organizations
  • Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and mobile apps.

Read New MacBook Air specs make for better business laptops and visit the Apple Web site here.

Those who need less powerful computing power have a number of other options, from smartphones to “phablets” to tablets and ChromeBooks. For further reading on the risks and benefits of sticking with Windows XP, and the increase in organizational use of non-Windows operating systems, see recent IT Insight columns: