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.

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The search for `why’ — Loren Steffy’s Writings and Ramblings


For the past two years, I’ve been working on a biography of Texas oilman George P. Mitchell, sometimes (erroneously) called “the father of fracking.” Biographies are stories of people’s lives, but they really aren’t about the “who.” “Who was George Mitchell?” is a relatively straightforward question to answer. Many people may be drawn to a […]

via The search for `why’ — Loren Steffy’s Writings and Ramblings

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Recycling, science and social responsibility

Credit: Jay Lopez

Credit: Jay Lopez

Today is Thursday, which is recycling day in our neighborhood. Once a week we place an approved recycling container filled with discarded paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal by the garage. A white garbage truck labeled “recycling only” comes by to collect it, usually before the regular garbage truck arrives. We feel good about saving these recyclables from the landfill.

If you recycle household materials, do you recycle because

  • you feel a social responsibility,
  • you want to be kind to the environment,
  • it makes sense from a scientific perspective,
  • it makes good economic sense, or
  • for other reasons?

In his October 3 opinion piece in The New York Times, John Tierney discusses The Reign of Recycling. He says that children are “greenwashed” and told that recycling is a virtue:

Recycling has been relentlessly promoted as a goal in and of itself: an unalloyed public good and private virtue that is indoctrinated in students from kindergarten through college. As a result, otherwise well-informed and educated people have no idea of the relative costs and benefits.

Tierney says that we should look at the overall costs and benefits of recycling, before blindly accepting that recycling is the right thing to do.

  • in general, it is more expensive to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.
  • It makes sense to recycle certain materials, but not others.
  • recycling operations have their own environmental costs.
  • the environmental benefits of recycling come chiefly from reducing the need to manufacture new products.
  • there is plenty of land available for landfills.

Check out the full article for an interesting read. I am interested in what you think after you read it!

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New CIO.com blog post | 10 things enterprise software developers can learn from game designers


Restaurant Story 2 by Storm8

My latest article received a front-page promo on CIO.com. Look for the colorful screen shot on the upper right with the IDG Contributor Network banner.

Most of us use enterprise software day-to-day at work, and use an iPad or Android tablet for work or pleasure. Here are 10 things that enterprise software companies should take to heart when developing business applications.

Read the full post here.

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New CIO.com blog post | 6 criteria for selecting a software implementation consultant

Just posted this morning… 6 criteria for selecting a software implementation consultant.

Enterprise software implementation is a big deal, and the right consultant can make your life easier. Here are six essential criteria to consider when selecting a consultant.

Today’s post will help you to adopt Tip No. 2 in last week’s post, 6 tips for finding a great software implementation consultant — “Establish objective selection criteria and stick to them.”

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New CIO.com blog post | 6 Tips for finding a great software implementation consultant

business-meeting-in-cartoon-styleHot off the (virtual) presses: 6 Tips for finding a great software implementation consultant

Enterprise software implementations can take many months to several years, and usually require a team effort with internal and external resources. If you need to hire a systems integrator or software implementation firm, here are six tips to help you find a great one.

Read the post by Jill Barson Gilbert @JillBGilbert on the Strategies for Software Lifecycle Management blog at CIO.com.

Next week’s companion post provides 6 systems integrator/ implementation consultant selection criteria.

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Making the case for EHS software

Making the Case for EH&S SoftwareDeveloping a business case for environment, health & safety (EH&S) software can be a challenge, especially when C-level executives focus on “hard” numbers like Return on Investment (ROI) and not “soft” benefits.

If you need to prepare a business case for an EH&S software investment, read Making the Case for EH&S Software to learn

  • What drives software investment decisions,
  • Why prepare a business case?
  • Critical business case components, and
  • Five (5) tips for preparing a business case.

This column is part of the IT Insight archives, a collection of more than 75 articles on EH&S and sustainability issues and the information technology (IT) that supports them.

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Companies bet on the streaming media market

A couple of weeks ago we canceled our cable TV service after our fourth cable box in as many years malfunctioned… again. We decided to give streaming video a try. This is how to watch TV and movies in the 21st century without the constraints of cable or satellite TV—as long as you do not need to watch TV shows on their broadcast dates.

Several tech companies bet that there is an unfulfilled market for streaming TV and movies and gaming. And that the market will grow.

Decades ago many households started to record their favorite TV shows and not watch them live. They used video cassette recorders (VCRs) and Sony BetaMax machines. Many later upgraded to CD/DVD, and then to digital video recorders (DVRs).

Photo: Google

Photo: Google

Today there is no need to record videos. Streaming video technology and “cloud” storage allow nearly instant access to tens of thousands of videos. A subscription service keeps track of the videos you watch, as well as your wish list. All you need is a High Definition (HD) TV and an Internet connection. If you have a “smart TV” with a built-in Internet connection, you can use a USB stick, a game player (e.g., Microsoft XBox, Sony PlayStation or Nintendo) or a small “box” device. If you lack a smart TV, game player or box will do.

A remote control, smartphone or tablet lets you choose what to watch. Some services even allow voice commands—in direct competition with “on demand” cable services. Streaming video services charge a nominal subscription fee and/or “pay per view” fee, the total cost is more affordable than cable or satellite TV.

Photo: Roku

Photo: Roku

Amazon, Roku, Google and Apple all offer small streaming video connection devices (USB sticks or small boxes) and streaming content libraries. Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku’s Streaming Stick are the latest market offerings.

Read CNET’s take on how these four device/service combinations compare.


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Microsoft releases Office for iPad

Office Mobile on iPad

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft just released a slimmed down Office suite for iPad–Excel, Word and PowerPoint join an updated OneNote app. Advertised as “free,” it’s not, except for OneNote. If you subscribe to Office365, then all of these iPad Office apps are free. You can download Office Mobile for iPad from the iTunes store.

Non-subscribers can use the apps to view documents only. For now, this leaves out those with personal and corporate desktop licenses. Bummer!

An interesting read on how Office for iPad will impact enterprise mobility.

The Office Mobile suite also includes communication and collaboration tools designed for Window 8 phones. Visit the official Office Mobile website here.

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Verdantix names top sustainability providers… business, not environment, appears to drive sustainability initiatives

A December 12 Verdantix report named the top providers of sustainability assurance. The top six are:
1. Bureau Veritas (BV)
2. Deloitte
3. Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
4. Ernst & Young (EY)
6. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

What is most interesting about this list is that all of the above organizations approach sustainability from an top-down, integrated business perspective, NOT from a bottom-up environmental perspective.

You can find a summary of the Green Quadrant Sustainability Assurance Global 2013 report on the Verdantix web site.

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e-Waste quantity continues to rise

Electronics, like other consumable goods, present an end-of-life disposal issue. But it seems that unwanted electronics are piling up and not being recycled. The Solving the eWaste Problem (StEP) Initiative, a UN-backed effort, estimates that the amount of electronic waste (e-Waste) generated per person will increase by one-third by 2017. StEP provides an interactive e-Waste map that shows that the USA generated 29.71 kg of e-Waste per capita, versus 31.71 kg put on the market in 2012.

recycle keyAlthough we live in a “disposable society,” as individuals and citizens of a large, powerful country, we should do what we can to increase reuse and recycling of e-Waste.

Click here for Environmental Leader’s take on the issue.