Jan 15

Daily Burn – The 5-Second Mental Trick That Could Help You Maintain Strength

Having an injury can be a serious bummer. You’re stuck on the couch instead of training for your next race. You’re forced to “take it easy” instead of crushing workouts. But a recent study from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute at Ohio University shows that a simple visualization exercise could help you retain strength — even while you’re out of commission.

In a study published in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers immobilized 29 individuals by putting their non-dominant hands in wrist casts for four weeks. Throughout the month, half of the participants participated in mental imagery exercises while the other half went about their normal lives.

Participants who completed mental imagery exercises lost 50 percent less strength than those who did not.

Five times each week, the 14 subjects in the visualization group were verbally guided through mental exercise sessions, which instructed them to imagine flexing their immobile wrist as hard as possible for five seconds. Participants heard instructions such as: “When we tell you to start, we want you to imagine that you are pushing in against a handgrip as hard as you can and continue to do so until we tell you to stop.” For two minutes, they alternated between five seconds of visualization and five seconds of rest, completing 13 rounds of the exercise.

More of the DailyBurn article from Alex Orlov

Jun 14

CIO Insight – A Lack of Leadership Cripples Business and IT

Countless words have been written and uttered about corporate leadership. Universities devote entire MBA programs to the topic and conferences dissect virtually every aspect of how to become a better leader.

Nevertheless, leadership is often MIA in business and IT. A recent study conducted by the public relations firm Ketchum found that only 22 percent of 6,509 respondents in 13 countries believe that today’s leaders demonstrate effective leadership. Moreover, there’s a 14 percent gap between expectations and delivery, and only 17 percent expect any type of improvement in 2014.
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But wait, there’s more. Only about four in 10 respondents believe that business leaders meet expectations and a mere 35 percent say they are effective communicators. The fallout? Customers financially punish companies that lack leadership. The Ketchum study found that 61 percent boycotted or bought less from firms that were perceived to be deficient. Conversely, 52 percent began buying or increased purchases due to the belief that a company demonstrated strong leadership.

More of the CIO Insight article

Jun 14

CustomerThink – Privacy Ramifications of IT Infrastructure Everywhere

Most people don’t notice that information technology pervades our daily lives. Granted, some IT infrastructure is in the open and easy to spot, such as the computer and router on your desk hooked up via network cables. However, plenty of IT infrastructures are nearly invisible as they reside in locked network rooms or heavily guarded data centers. And some IT infrastructures are bundled underneath city streets, arrayed on rooftops, or even camouflaged as trees at the local park. Let’s take a closer look at a few ramifications of IT infrastructure everywhere.

1. Technology is pervasive and commonplace in our daily lives. Little is seen, much is hidden.

Good news: Companies have spent billions of dollars investing in wired and wireless connections that span cities, countries and oceans. This connectivity has enabled companies to ship work to lower cost providers in developing countries, and for certain IT projects to “follow the sun” and thus finish faster. Also, because we have IT infrastructure everywhere, it makes it possible for police forces and/or governments to identify and prosecute perpetrators of crime that much easier.

More of the CustomerThink post

May 14

Baseline – Why Can’t We Disconnect From Work?

Seventy-five percent of Americans do not take all of their allotted days off, and 15 percent of them didn’t take any vacation time in the last 12 months.

It’s obvious to most people that Americans are addicted to work. While Europeans nosh on tapas and sip wine after work hours and on weekends, we’re frantically creating the next PowerPoint presentation. While they’re enjoying a four-week summer break, we’re reading reports and responding to emails from our mobile office on the beach. We just can’t seem to disconnect.

Studies show that about half of all vacation time in the United States goes unclaimed. In addition, we’re the only country in the industrialized world that doesn’t guarantee days off.

Ponder these facts: Career site Glassdoor recently reported that 75 percent of Americans do not take all of their allotted days off, and 15 percent of them didn’t take any vacation time in the last 12 months. The leading reasons for not taking a break include: concern that no other employee could do the job (33 percent), fear of getting behind (28 percent), complete dedication to company (22 percent), the desire for a promotion (19 percent) and fear of losing the job (17 percent).

More of the Baseline Magazine article

May 14

Neovise – 12 Things IaaS Providers Don’t Advertise

The industry is teeming with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers, each marketing the unique capabilities and benefits of their services. It would be great if service providers also highlighted their solutions’ shortcomings. But this is rarely the case, especially when competing solutions share the same feature gaps.

When evaluating and purchasing IaaS services, you must be aware of the things cloud service providers don’t advertise, and may not want you to know. To help you avoid surprises and setbacks, we’ve constructed a list of 12 considerations.

1. Many IaaS providers oversubscribe their instances

When service providers host multiple tenants on shared hardware, the combination of virtual resources they’ve allocated to each tenant is usually more than the total hardware capacity. This can result in poor performance – and inconsistent performance – when competing instances get used heavily. Some providers avoid this practice, or offer dedicated instances, but charge a premium price. For some applications, the premium is worth it.

More of the Neovise post

May 14

SimpleProgrammer.com – My Secret To Ridiculous Productivity. (I’m Using It Now)

In the last year, I:

Created and produced 30 full length video courses for Pluralsight
Wrote 56 blog posts
Produced 40 episodes of the Get Up and CODE podcast
Created 50 YouTube videos
Published a book
Spoke at 4 events
Billed over 100 hours of contract work
Created a full product, that I am about ready to launch
Ran 5 kilometers 3 times a week, every week
Lifted weights 3 times a week, every week

I’m not saying this to brag–although I am certainly proud of these accomplishments. I am saying these things to prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to productivity.
Being super productive

Right now–as I type–I have a timer ticking down. The clock shows approximately 14 minutes before I’ll take my next break. I live and die by this clock.

Live and die by clock thumb My Secret To Ridiculous Productivity. (Im Using It Now)

You may have guessed it, but the clock is a Pomodoro timer. For the last year, I’ve been religiously using the Pomodoro technique to not only stay on task, but to plan out my days and weeks.

If you aren’t familiar with the Pomodoro technique, the concept is remarkably simple. So simple, that I first dismissed it as ridiculous. But, thanks to my good friend Josh Earl’s success with it, I decided to give it another try.

You basically set a timer for 25 minutes. During that time you pick a single task to accomplish and work on that task, uninterrupted. After 25 minutes you take a break for 5 minutes and then begin again. After 4 cycles, you take a longer 15 minute break. (There are some variations on this, but that is the basic idea.)

Like I said, it seems pretty simple and unremarkable, but I can’t even begin to express how powerful this technique is for getting things done.

More of the SimpleProgrammer.com post

May 14

CIO.com – Computer geeks as loners? Data says otherwise

The typical image of a computer geek is that of a socially clueless loner. Not only single, but can’t even get a date.

Data, however, paints a somewhat different picture — at least when it comes to tech workers tying the knot.

Sixty-two percent of tech workers are married, according to 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) data analyzed by Computerworld. The rate for the entire population? 51%, a Pew Research Center analysis of 2010 Census data says.

Tech workers’ marital status is on par with other white-collar professions, including finance (62%), law (62%), medicine (61%) and education, the Computerworld ACS analysis found — perhaps as much due to age or income as career.

More of the CIO.com article

May 14

The Virtualization Practice – Will Scale-Out Architectures Kill Enterprise Storage?

In 1980 I was working for Datapoint, a vendor with proprietary client hardware, proprietary server hardware, a proprietary LAN, and proprietary systems software. In 1983 IBM introduced the PC, and in 1985 it introduced the PC-XT with a hard disk. 3Com introduced Ethernet, and Novell created a network operating system. All of a sudden, Datapoint was on the wrong side of history in the computer business. In five short years, Datapoint went from six thousand employees to sixty.
Is Shared Enterprise Storage on the Wrong Side of History?

To date, shared enterprise storage has been the beneficiary of two huge trends in the computer industry: data center virtualization (which basically needs shared storage for certain highly valuable features such as vMotion to work), and big data, which produces so much data that large-scale arrays are needed. Shared enterprise storage arrays also sport a variety of highly attractive enterprise-class features like redundancy (no single point of failure), deduplication (saving on disk space and cost), and the ability to move bits around as business needs dictate. These arrays also have a huge amount of hardware engineering behind them, designed to allow them to offer excellent performance at scale to their customers.

More of The Virtualization Practice post

May 14

CIO Insight – How CIOs Really Feel about Technology

You live it. You breathe it. But do you actually like technology? Yes, apparently you do. At least that’s the impression cast by a new survey from The Harris Poll. While you may spend your entire day immersed in pursuits of cloud, mobility, data analytics and other IT innovations, the research provides a welcome opportunity to take a step back and assess how you truly feel about the impact of it all upon society. And to add comparative value, the survey contrasts the responses of CIOs and other tech leaders to sentiments of the general U.S. population. Certainly, there are differences of opinion. But on topics such as tech’s overall impact on our lives and its capacity to spark innovation and creativity, you’ll be happy to see that perspectives are fairly positive overall.

More of the CIO Insight slideshow

May 14

WSJ – Disparate Sourcing Strategies Confound Analytics Efforts

Disparate Sourcing Strategies Confound Analytics Efforts

Many companies that sourced back office capabilities like IT, finance, and HR in silos are now having a hard time consolidating their data to perform analytics.

Over the last decade, many large companies pursued various models for sourcing low-cost or scarce labor for back office functions. They sent work offshore, whether to third-party providers or company-owned “captive centers.” They outsourced to vendors who performed work on site. And they set up new corporate offices in the U.S. to handle activities like billing, claims processing, or IT. Often, each back office function pursued its own strategy independently.

Now some of these companies are beginning to realize their piecemeal approach to sourcing no longer adequately serves the business. “CEOs are wondering, ‘Why do we have a finance center run by a third party in Mumbai and a captive center for HR in nearby Pune?’” says Marc Mancher, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the U.S. national leader for its outsourcing advisory services practice. “They want to see a cohesive strategy that achieves the company’s collective goals, rather than the individual goals of IT, finance, or HR.”

More of the Wall Street Journal post