Category Archives: Darryl’s Blog

What to do about Facebook…?

Amidst Mark Zuckerberg’s admission that Facebook sells more than just your “volunteered” information, that over 87 million users have been affected, that he’s censoring hate speech without a clear definition, and working with political campaigns, we have to question what’s next for Facebook?

Zuckerberg can never be trusted moving forward, and in fact, everything Facebook and Alphabet (Google, YouTube and all the others), are forever suspect. NO tech company can be trusted, unless you own it yourself – and you still can’t trust what others may do to your company and with your data.

It’s not just that they’re selling your name and address, but are you comfortable with them tracking everywhere you go (with your smartphone), everything you say (even when not talking on the phone), every web page you browse, every purchase you make (online), email you send, and even how long you sleep and when you go to the bathroom (I think I’m kidding on the last one, but…)?

Are they a monopoly? As a single corporation, they arguably aren’t – but collectively, between Google and Facebook – 90% of news is coming through these channels – and they’re all biased to some degree.

Our access to information and “news” has exploded exponentially, but our ability to discern accuracy and validity has evaporated. Not only are the “new” news sources questionable, but now the traditional (MSM) news sources are also tinged, jaded, and biased to the Nth degree.

Any person, no matter which side of the aisle, or to whatever degree of extremist viewpoint, can find validation to support their biases on the net. To the point where teenage girls can be radicalized to join the Taliban, and stupid kids eat Tide Pods, or worse – OD on fentanyl which was manufactured by American companies, sold oversees, and then smuggled back in through the border to be sold to American teenagers – because it’s cool.

I can boldly proclaim, there are NO truly reliable news sources. Period.

We know how we got here, through the promise of the advanced society and lure of all things tech, social and media. The question is, what do we do now?

Pandora’s box had been opened long ago, we just didn’t realize it, now the singularity is imminent. The killer robots are already here and have been practicing their evil for many years while we clicked and browsed to our heart’s content. They’ve been plotting their takeover by collecting all the data there is to be had, and now they can use it against us in ways we could never imagine.

SkyNet from Terminator (1) is here, and we’re powerless to rid ourselves of it. Deleting Facebook and Google would be like not using roads and bridges. We have to fight back with our consumer dollars, but first we must be aware. EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND DO IS BEING COLLECTED AND WILL ONE DAY BE USED AGAINST YOU.

So we are resigned to watch the billionaire clown that is Mark Zuckerberg tell his untruths, with a perfectly straight face, to a committee of people we don’t trust, while we watch it on YouTube.

We are truly a joke.

IT projects should not cause problems…

When was the last time your IT engineer wanted to implement a new technology?

Did he say, “we’d like to do the installation tonight, it should be up in the morning.”

When the new appliance conflicts with your legacy applications, your operation may come to a grinding halt.

How to avoid this common pitfall – it’s really quite simple. In ITIL parlance it’s called “Change Management.” In the MAPIT® parlance we call it project planning and project management.

We see this happening in IT projects all too often. What causes a simple upgrade to take down your whole operation?

It’s very simple – no IT project is simple. There are a multitude of complexities in even the simplest IT project. Engineers cannot plan an IT project in their head. That’s where project planning and project management methodologies come into play.

Whether it be 802.11 auto-sensing, VLAN configurations, file synchronization, active directory trusts, group policy, white lists, or driver compatibility, the more the implementation is formally planned and systematically tested, the higher the chances of success.

The process of backup and restoration procedures must be developed and documented before the scheduled downtime. And possibly the most important factor is communication – before, during and after.

When the user-base knows about scheduled projects and downtime, their activities, needs and priorities can be balanced with necessary IT improvements.

IT projects (change management) should not cause problems (problem management). If an IT project is properly planned, resourced, communicated, tested, backed-up and verified, then not only have you done your due diligence to prove the upgrade will work, you will also have an idea of how long, and how complex the implementation might be.

And if for some reason, after all your testing and preparation, the implementation doesn’t work, then your backup and recovery plan will go into effect to get your operation back on track.

Don’t let projects cause problems!

Ed Tech Year in Review – 2017

Wow! What a year in the Ed Tech Realm.

I have to brag that I published two books in 2017:

FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL – How to Create Your School’s Education Technology Strategic Plan

Click Here to buy on Amazon

And a non-technology book called, BACKSTAGE – Behind the Curtains with the Greatest Entertainers of the 20th Century. Written with Marty Harrell.

Click Here to buy on Amazon

Now let’s get back to business.

Top Ed Tech Trends from 2017:

  1. 3D Printers –  I know, This is just classroom technology. But if you went to any education conference this year, 3D printers seemed to garner the most eyeballs and had the best tchotckes. However the next one is specifically connected to this….
  2. Makerspaces – not only does the development and construction of makerspaces mark a milestone in technology planning, the facilities modifications, moveable furniture, 3D printers and associated software presented a monumental challenge to those trying to define technology standards for schools.
  3. LMS Ubiquity – Finally we are seeing almost every school have some platform for Learning Management. Whether this is de jure or de facto, many initiatives are being led from the groundswell of need. Schools ahead of the trends are insuring effectiveness and standardization through professional development. Access via student devices, home connectivity and BYOD policies are making LMS systems more viable than ever.
  4. Collaborative work – although Group Work is not new by any means, standardized platforms such as GAFE and MS365 have eliminated the technical obstacles to collaboration. Not only are they standard via the web, but also free (for the most part). These barriers have made the implementation of group work in the classroom a matter of the teacher’s ability to move their curriculum to a group work model.
  5. Digital Citizenship – finally being adopted as serious curriculum, net ethics and digital citizenship are fully the responsibility of the the sponsor (school) and must be first established and then enforced. Don’t try to create rules and regulations unless you (at the school or district-level administration) are ready to define and impose restrictions, and enforcement.
  6. Technology-based curriculum – in the dark ages we had typing, drafting, woodshop and home economics. Then through the 90’s and early 2000’s we saw the educational trends lose its vocational training focus. Now with renewed focus on pathways and CTE programs we see a resurgence in technology-based curriculum: Coding, Robotics, and Web Development courses offer opportunities and pathways that challenge students as soon as they are ready to attempt them, even in elementary grades. Only now faculty are ready for them too!