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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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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With Windows XP End of Support, Chromebooks are a popular option to Windows PCs

Now that Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, organizations that still use the 13-year-old operating system (OS) must face reality–at some point, they must upgrade their OS, and likely their computer. When Microsoft released Windows XP to market, more organizations provided desktop than laptop computers. Using a laptop meant sacrificing features and forking over more dollars to gain mobility.

Those who have yet to “sunset” Windows XP no longer need to be tethered to their desks (See: Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe). A world of technologies became available (and affordable) since 2001, notably:

  • Wireless networks (WiFi) and Mobile hotspots (MiFi)
  • Lightweight notebook computers
  • Smartphones, tablets and apps
  • Social networks, Cloud applications and data storage
  • More power-efficient chips and hours of operation between charges
  • Solid state “flash” drives
Image: hp

Image: hp

Windows XP End of Support lets organizations rethink their IT strategies. Businesses and educational institutions alike can consider alternative Windows , Mac and Google OS and hardware. Chromebooks are a popular option, with their simplicity and low entry cost of $275 to $300 USD.

Read 10 Reasons Today’s Chromebooks Look Like a Smart Mobile PC Buy.

 


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Microsoft Pulls Plug on Windows XP Support

Just last week—08 April 2014—Microsoft stopped supporting the tremendously popular Windows XP operating system. They will provide security updates/patches for another fifteen months, through July 2015.

Loyal XP users need to decide if “I’d rather fight than switch” or “I’d rather switch than fight…” and they need to decide soon, since upgrades in large organizations can take 12-18 months.

pull-the-plug-square

Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe speaks to the impacts and unintended consequences of the long-announced end of support.

End of support impacts millions of users. Where does that leave the millions of business and consumer users still on that operating system? Will they fight upgrading to Windows 8.1, or switch to an alternative operating system. What challenges will people face when upgrading to a new OS?

End of support has unintended consequences. First, it resulted in a resurgence in Windows 7 laptop sales and Windows 7 OS upgrades. Second, it resulted in the purchase of Windows-alternative hardware and software. End of support gives organizations a reason to evaluate whether they need laptops into the future, or if other technologies (cloud, mobile, and social) are better alternatives.


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Confronting disruptive innovation article available

Confronting Disruptive InnovationIT departments today must deal with several emerging technologies at once–social networking, mobile/BYOD, cloud and big data/predictive analytics. All of these are disruptive innovations, aka disruptive technologies.

Many organizations encourage disruptive innovation. Take Google for instance. Can you imagine life without Google search, mail, maps, Chrome, earth and other tools? These innovations first appealed to “fringe” markets of “techies” and later moved to the mainstream. simply did not exist just a few years ago, and they have changed the way we live and work.

Other organizations encourage the opposite–sustainable technology that improves the performance of existing products meant for the mainstream. Take Microsoft Office for example. Yes, the interface has changed dramatically over the years and we see new features, but this is a mainstream product with a purpose that changes little.

Read Confronting disruptive innovation to learn more. 


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Tech toys in the executive suite

Among the tech gadgets in executive suites, tablets rank third (78%) behind smartphones (84.8%) and laptop computers (82.6%). About 33% use mobile apps and 33% use the Cloud. Execs prefer iOS and Blackberry smartphones for personal use, though they have employees use Android and Blackberry devices more often (69%) than iPhones (54%). Source: CEO.com.

iPad ownership by CEOs and small business owners quadrupled in the last year (CEO.com)

Count me in! I use all of the top three technologies. As the proud owner of a 4th Generation iPad, I find it easy to use. Of course, having an iPhone and being familiar with iOs helps, though I find a new world of opportunities with the larger, iPad retina screen. The tablet format allows me to visualize much more data than I can using the same apps on my iPhone. Reading email and browsing the Internet are a pleasure. I can read documents, presentations, books and .PDFs with ease. The 10-hour battery life is a real plus.

Ultimately, my tablet will replace a somewhat heavy notebook computer for certain purposes. I am testing different  office and productivity apps and will see where this leads… the consumerization of  business continues.

You can view an infographic on CEO gadgets topic here.


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How good are your passwords?

A while back I facilitated a number of  environment, health & safety (EHS) software training sessions. Some of the trainees–mostly what I would call occasional users–needed instruction in computer fundamentals, including how to set a secure password. Some rules of thumb for what NOT to use as a password are

  1. don’t use your name or parts of it
  2. don’t use your pet’s name
  3. don’t use clever passwords like “password123” or 1234567
  4. don’t use your social security number, phone number or address
  5. don’t use common words
  6. don’t use the same password for multiple applications and/or Internet sites

… and the list goes on… When I mentioned rule no. 2, above, one of the trainees said, “Gee, now I have to change my password!”

A “strong” password is eight or more characters long and contains three or more of the following elements

  1. upper case letters (CAPITALS)
  2. lower case letters
  3. numbers
  4. special characters (e.g., $, #, ?, %, !)

Here is a great infographic, How hack-friendly is your password?


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Google turns 14

Happy 14th birthday, Google! Where would we be without Google? The company name that is synonymous with its search engine even has its own verb, “to Google.” Google is the perfect example of disruptive technology—a new technology that comes along that we cannot live without.

Every day people conduct 1 billion or more Google searches. And the search engine is just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers and businesses alike use Google Maps and Google Earth and gmail. Let’s not forget the Google Chrome Web browser (4 years old today), YouTube, Google Docs, Google Wallet and more. What an impact this company has had in its short life!