Category Archives: Technology

Does IT Matter: An Article Review & Response

Review: Information Technology

In his article, Carr (2003) discusses the economic growth versus ubiquity of Information Technology and the impact this has on corporate stability. Carr likens the emergence and innovation of Information Technology to that of the electric power grid and the continental railroad; where those who invest in emerging technology tend to initially out-pace their competition, the competitors who wait for standards to emerge from the same technology can steadily grow beyond at a lower cost. In contrast, those who do not adopt the standard of the innovation are unable to compete within the market and eventually fail.

Carr continues to describe business’ dwindling reliance Information Technology as a cutting-edge innovation and instead as a required commodity with the largest risk being overspending. This phenomenon is stated clearly in the economics law of diminishing marginal utility which states that, as one obtains more of a particular good, eventually the marginal utility declines. Businesses require Information Technology to stay competitive but are now required to focus on efficient use of the technology. As Carr states, the bubble has burst and the time of initial investment has passed.

Standards have been established and innovation will occur steadily and in stride. Like with electricity, businesses need to have Information Technology incorporated within their business model, but gone is the time of unfettered spending. A strong IT infrastructure is certainly a requirement in this age of computing, but there must be a plan in place to implement any further innovation and avoid overspending on a resource that may provide very little in the way of financial return. In the upcoming years of this young industry, IT professionals must learn to focus their efforts and clearly delineate needs and solutions.

Response: Information Technology

Does IT matter? In the age of computers, it, of course, matters. The real question is where does IT matter, or where can IT matter. In their editorial discussion, Grover et al. (2009) posits that there needs to be methods of allowing dissenting views to be heard and argued in a forum that fosters positive growth. Perhaps, in this domain, IT professionals can come together and provide positive solutions to serious problems effecting the information field.

Many other professions, young and old, face this same dilemma. As an example, in the 1980’s when firefighters changed their focus from fire suppression to fire prevention, their efforts were so overwhelmingly good that the incidence of residential and commercial fires decreased and there was no longer a need for so many firefighters. Luckily for the firefighters, there were other niches to fill, and firefighting jobs, though less specialized now, are no longer threatened for a lack of need (Falkenthal, 1999).

We need to find niches for IT. We need to understand where application of IT provides the best solutions. I put forth that IT professionals should be looking for ways to improve the non-IT world.


Carr, N. G. (2003). IT Doesn’t Matter. Harvard Business Review, 81(5), 41-49.

Falkenthal, G. (1999, March). It’s time for us to reclaim our fire service. Fire Engineering, 152(3), 32-35.

Grover, V., Straub, D., and Galluch, P. (2009). Turning the Corner: The Influence of Positive Thinking on the Information Systems Field. MIS Quarterly, 33(1), Iii-viii.

Innovation of Technology

Any expansion of the core infrastructure has historically driven technological growth spurts. From the advent of fire, electricity, and assembly-line manufacturing, there has been huge growth in technology following these cataclysms, but what is truly impressive is the exponential growth when these technologies are combined.

The telephone is a great example of this growth. Telephone systems evolved from the telegraph when Alexander Graham Bell combined his expertise of acoustics and oration to his knowledge of electricity. Bell, at the time, was attempting to perfect a multi-band telegraph, or a musical telegraph (Casson, n.d.). I feel that Bell’s contribution to the telephone and others succeeding in the field resulted in his lifelong dream of the musical telegraph being realized as he meant for it to be, unfortunately well after his death. The computer modem is such a device using multiple tones in quick succession to communicate with other computers with modems. The same concepts have been applied to promulgate broadband technology which most of the world now relies upon.

Whenever an innovation of technology occurs, it allows more people more opportunity to expand on it. With this in mind, I feel the biggest benefit of Internet2 and IPv6 would be the spark of innovation that is sure to come soon after acceptance.


Casson, H. N. (n.d.). The History of the Telephone. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Retrieved on 22 June 2009 from∂=1&division=div1

Wireless reliance

Wireless information appliances will improve overall performance and communications, but will also have an adverse impact as we see today with Blackberry devices. Many people who work with Blackberry devices disregard them during off hours as they become bothersome. This is detrimental as the instantaneous notification is usually expected to be answered immediately. We will see more of this affect towards these devices. On the other hand, those people who welcome the ability to be connected and available at all times will be more accessible and therefore viewed by others as in a better light, perhaps. These people will become the “go-to” people and increase others perception of them on the network. This will lead to reliance on in-house electronic social networking to promote the usefulness of improved connectivity. Realistically, organizations must be clear on the expectations of the responsibilities of having increased connectivity with these and other wireless information appliances.

Another issue with increased connectivity is the increase in the opportunity of exploitation. As Metcalfe’s Law states that a network becomes exponentially more valuable as the user base increases, the inverse of Metcalfe’s Law should also hold true in that the network becomes increasingly vulnerable with a significant risk in membership and the connections themselves. Security becomes exponentially important as the network becomes more valuable.

Whenever I talk about network security, I try to relate it to the brick-and-mortar world: Homes in rural areas with unlocked doors are more secure than the dead-bolted homes of the urban environment.

Comparison of Property Management Software Solutions

In an attempt to isolate two possible property management software solutions from the many available, it was imperative to look at a significant number of options and choose the best two options from that list. Six different software solutions (Buildium™, PropertyBoss™, Propertyware™, Rent-Right™, Tenant-Pro™, and Yardi™) were chosen to be included in the initial comparison based on an internet search for “property management software” and an ad-hoc conversation with a property management professional. The search was specific to the management of 50 properties without regard to specialization in the various property types as it is assumed that any robust solution should be able to handle any property type with little modification.

Figure 1 shows the six chosen solutions, in table format listed in random order of search discovery, correlated with ten requirements (a document management system, a property portfolio, a tenant portfolio, automated financial management, tenant complaint and incident tracking, a service request management system, a work order management system, vacant property marketing tools, tenant screening tools and customizable report generators) which were chosen as valuable traits for any property management solution. Two of the solutions are commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions while the remaining four are internet-based solutions, or products from application service providers (ASPs). The two COTS solutions (Rent-Right™ and Tenant-Pro™) were immediately discounted as they met the least of the requirements while not having any comparatively significant cost savings (Domin-8 Solutions, Inc., 2007, 2008).

Of the remaining four solutions, all ASPs, Yardi™ (Gnosio, 2002a, 2002b) became obvious as the most costly option and was discounted as a viable option leaving three solutions to compare.

The three remaining solutions appear to be robust and feature-rich with comparable pricing. Of the three remaining solutions, PropertyBoss™ was removed from consideration for lack of available information on specific pricing options. PropertyBoss™ also proved to be the most costly of the remaining three products (O’Bannon, 2006; Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, 2004).

The greater list of six solutions has been narrowed down to two robust and viable options for a property management solution, Buildium™ (2009) and Propertyware™ (2008). Though both would be fully recommended based on the initial research and greater product comparison, the stated goal is to narrow the available choices to a single recommendation. To this end, a detailed comparison of features and cost must be made.

Buildium™ and Propertyware™ both meet most of the requirements. Propertyware™ lacks only customized reporting, though it does allow for customized fields within the database that are reportable. Though this feature requirement is not met in a strict fashion, it may be a feature that is not adequately advertised. Buildium™, on the other hand, meets all requirements but charges extra fees for some services, and the direct needs of the purchaser should be accounted for to ensure no significant increased cost for these services.

In review of all available information, the recommended solution must be Propertyware™. This recommendation is made with caution as the specific needs of a property manager may very well be better met by another solution. Business owners who rely on software solutions to track legal records should both research their options themselves and consult an attorney for any legal considerations.


Buildium, LLC. (2009). Buildium online property management software. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Domin-8 Enterprise Solutions. (2007). Rent-right property management software. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Domin-8 Enterprise Solutions. (2008). TenantPro 7 property management software. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Gnosio. (2002a). Email from Paul T. Monson. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Gnosio. (2002b). Software solutions for property management. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

O’Bannon, I. (2006, January). PropertyBoss solution [Electronic version]. The CPA Technology Advisor. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Propertyware, Inc. (2008). Propertyware product feature comparison. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. (2004). Real estate software directory [Survey]. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Yardi Systems, Inc. (2009). Residential Voyager [Brochure]. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from

Figure 1. Comparison chart of six Property Management Software solutions indicating the two most viable options.

Comparison chart of six Property Management Software solutions indicating the two most viable options.
Comparison chart of six Property Management Software solutions indicating the two most viable options.

Defining OS

The purpose of a computer operating system is purely to allow programs to run on the computer and utilize the faculties of the hardware installed. It is no less than the soul of the machine. While a calculator only requires a simple arithmetic engine with simplified inputs and outputs, a large research mainframe requires a much more complex system of input, output, storage, memory management, and busing to connect peripheral devices.

A Brief History

In the 1950’s and ’60’s, institutions that owned computers (at the time, machines that took up large rooms) were required to write the operating system for the machine based on their needs. This was not an efficient means of programming. Every computer upgrade required rewriting the software to run it. This was very costly. Additionally, the simplistic operating system only allowed one set of operations to run at any given time which wasted resources and kept the processor time expensive, itself.

During the 1960’s, a large multi-institutional group (lead by MIT) attempted to solve this problem by creating an efficient, multi-user, timesharing system. Though they made some breakthroughs, the operating system that they designed, Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), was still bulky and inefficient. The project was soon abandoned.

A few die-hard users at Bell Labs, Inc. decided to continue the effort, and after a few years, UNIX was born. The name was an intended pun on the operating system that predated it.

UNIX is the first operating system to promote object-oriented programming and data pipes which set the standard for operating systems to come. The versatility of UNIX is apparent by its ability to command a range of devices from mainframes to microcomputers. Unix has been described as “of unusual simplicity, power, and elegance….” Its development and evolution led to a new philosophy of computing, and it has been a never-ending source of both challenges and joy to programmers around the world. (Bell Labs, n.d.)

The First UNIX Port

Just as UNIX was being tapped as a useful business tool, one of the developers on sabbatical took a teaching position at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) where he taught classes on UNIX. Professors and students at UCB continued the development of the operating system on their own and eventually, with funding from DARPA, created the BSD operating system, ported from Bell Labs’ UNIX.

UNIX is certainly the precursor to the contemporary operating system, and though it alone proved to be a reliable, efficient and usable operating system, it is responsible for the growth of computer technology in the last four decades. It is the definition of the contemporary operating system and the standard for comparison.

UNIX has been modified to be run on mainframes, supercomputers, and microcomputers to include desktop PC (Linux) and Apple (NEXTSTEP) computer systems.

The NEXTSTEP For Apple

Apple’s Mac OSX is derived from NEXTSTEP which uses two different flavors of UNIX, Mach and BSD, and relies heavily on open-source software packages, essentially free software programs with access to the source code for user-level modification. Apple attempts to use the security and efficiency of UNIX while competing directly with Microsoft for market-share. (Singh, 2003)

The Mainstay

Currently, Microsoft Windows XP is essentially the operating system of choice for many people when it comes to desktop computing. Microsoft also has a large market-share of the server-platform operating systems. Focused on streamlining usability, Microsoft trades efficiency and security for user-friendliness. Though Microsoft has been attempting to integrate UNIX philosophies into their operating systems, it has lacked the ability to do this successfully without sacrificing its business logic (UNIX and UNIX-based operating systems rely heavily on open-source programming and the consumer for fixing and reporting on bugs, or programming errors).

The closest Microsoft has come to the integration of these philosophies is Windows Longhorn. Unfortunately, while trying to get Longhorn to market, Microsoft cut many of the UNIX-friendly features and implemented a tighter security scheme that resembles XP. This release was called Microsoft Vista. (Greene, 2004)

With these trade-offs, Microsoft actually alienated many PC users because of Vista’s obtrusive security implementation. This is a direct result of the heavy integration of Microsoft’s web-browser, Internet Explorer, into the operating system. This practice seems to go against every contemporary philosophy of what an operating system is.


Bell Labs, Inc. (n.d.), The Creation of the UNIX* Operating System. Retrieved June 10, 2009, from

Greene, J. (2004, April 19). How Microsoft Is Clipping Longhorn [Electronic version]. Business Week, p. A1.

Singh, A. (2003), What is Mac OS X? Retrieved June 10, 2009, from

Price and Performance Trends for Computer Hardware

It is important for computer professionals to be able to forecast future technology performance and pricing. In order to fulfill future purchasing and support requirements, the IT professional should be able to analyze historical data and arrive at an approximated, though accurate, figure.

Though it is beyond the scope of this paper to find an elegant solution to the problem, I will examine if it is feasible using the process of averaging the average biennial difference (aBD) and linear slope value (sV) of historical data rather than a complex statistical model.


To forecast current prices and performance of various computer hardware components, I will use historical data from O’Brien & Marakas (2007) and attempt to closely approximate current prices and technological performance growth by finding an average of the aBD and sV based on this data. I will then check current prices and compare my results with a published price list available on the internet.

Design and Procedure

This experiment will be isolated to the growth in performance and pricing as it relates to computer processing units (CPUs) (see Figure 1), random-access memory (RAM) chips (see Figure 2) and hard-disk drives (HDDs) (see Figure 3) over a 15 year period from 1991 to 2005. With biennial data, I will find the sV of each set, the aBD of the values of each set, then average the two. I will repeat this process for each component for performance growth and cost.

To find the current prices, I will use Newegg, Inc. (n.d.), known for reliable and consistent pricing, and compare the results of the historical data analysis.


Computer Processors

The performance growth analysis of CPUs shows a sV of 263.01 MHz with an aBD of 269.64 MHz, a variation of 6.63 MHz with an overall average of 266.32 MHz. The cost analysis shows a sV of $23.28 with an aBD of $26.36, a variation of $3.08 with an overall average of $24.82. Continuing this trend shows that a CPU in 2009 should have a performance of 4.8 GHz with a cost of $626.73.

The typical performance of a CPU today is 2.79 GHz with an average cost of $244.29. The price range per processor is $59.99 – 1,039.99.

A CPU with a performance speed of 4.8 GB today is currently in development and unavailable for price comparison. Though the accumulated speed of multiple core processors can achieve this speed, it is outside the scope of this paper.

Random-access Memory

The performance growth analysis of RAM chips show a sV of 103.2 MB with an aBD of 142.79 MB, a variation of 39.59 MB with an overall average of 122.99 MB. The cost analysis shows a sV of $1.14 with an aBD of $6.71, a variation of $5.58 with an overall average of $3.93. Continuing this trend shows that a RAM chip in 2009 should have a performance of 2,214.84 MB with a cost of $125.66.

The typical performance of a single RAM chip today is 2 GB with an average cost of $33.20. The price range per chip is $22.00 – 56.00.

Hard-disk Drive Storage

The performance growth analysis of HDDs show a sV of 18.82 GB with an aBD of 22.85 GB, a variation of 4.03 GB with an overall average of 20.84 GB. The cost analysis shows a sV of $-24.62 with an aBD of $-26.07, a variation of $1.45 with an overall average of $-25.35. Continuing this trend shows that a HDD in 2009 should have a performance of 375.17 GB with a cost of $23.79.

The performance of a HDD today ranges from 18 GB to 2 TB, though typically 500 GB with an average cost of $91.29 (which is also typical of drives up to 1.5 TB). The price range per 500 GB drive is $49.99 – 379.99.

A HDD with a performance capacity of 375 GB today costs approximately $50.00.


Though some of the results approximate the current technology and pricing, the data set used is too small to draw any meaningful conclusions at this time. Differences in device stability, manufacturing technologies and branding complicate this issue even further. More research needs to be done to find any meaningful correlation between historical pricing and technological performance growth with that of the future. The use of larger data sets analyzed with statistical methods may prove useful, but at this time, the use of an average of the sV of each set and the aBD of the set values does not provide any realistic outlook on technology in the future.


Newegg, Inc. (n.d.). online store. Retrieved June 5, 2009 from

O’Brien, J. A., & Marakas, G. M. (2007). Computer hardware. In S. Mattson, S. Isenberg & T. Hauger (Eds.), Introduction to information systems (14th ed.) (p. 109). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

A prediction

My prediction is that Solid-state drives (SSDs) will be the effective standard for all business and personal computing platforms within ten years.

With the new SATA 3.0 specification calling for link speeds of 6Gbps (effectively providing maximum data transfer speeds of 600 MBps) and devices capable of read and write speeds from 200-240MB/sec, solid-state drives will gain huge momentum in personal computer integration. With these fast speeds, installing essential operating system objects on these drives will contribute to significant decreases in boot time without machine state state saving options like sleep-modes or hibernate-modes, coupled together leading to almost instantaneous booting of the computer.

Utilizing the same technology that made USB-key drives so popular, internal SSDs are robust and integrate easily with SATA buses which allow for maximizing bus speeds, capacity (1TB), redundant data protection (i.e. RAID) and lower power demands than the PATA predescessor (250mV vs. 5-Volt), essential in mobile computing applications.

Communicate Clearly – Streamlining the Communication Process

In my current profession, I am tasked with responding to disaster areas and treating the afflicted and displaced. I must communicate my intent and direction clearly and with a presence of authority. Understanding the various communication modes and methods that different people utilize and respond to, perhaps across cultures or socio-economic backgrounds, will allow me to streamline my communication processes to directly impact the most people in the most efficient manner possible.

Previously, I stated that I only have one long-term personal goal: leave a positive mark on the society in which I live. My attention to this goal is unwavering and will never change. Technology being what it is today, effortless communications across lines previously drawn is paramount in improving society. I value improving the lives of others: individuals and society as a whole. I feel I have already met the outcome objective of Walden University which is one of the reasons why I chose to enroll here. Apparently, others share many of the same goals.

In college, I have found a chance to interact with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds without ever really knowing who they are. Not unlike a double-blind study, the results of the discourse are authentic to the environment. I found this to be quite interesting and attempted to hone my communication skills in such ways as to be a benefit for as many of my classmates as possible. I will never know if I have succeeded in this, but I feel the intent and the experience will stay with me far longer than the results. Being able to communicate clearly with yourself, however simple a task that may seem at first, allows one a clearer understanding of one’s needs and allows for the development of a plan for attaining those goals that meet these needs. That is being true to one’s self!

A Reflection of Writing

Words are limited by grammar, vocabulary and definition. If words alone were capable of capturing the essence of communication, poets would be rock stars. This is certainly not the case. Many people suffer in cogently stating their views in writing. I have never had this problem. I have always appreciated the art of writing. Too often, I rely on my creative writing skills.

On the other end of the spectrum lies technical writing. In this style, there is no room for opinion, save clearly defined professional insight. I also have no trouble writing in this style.

College-level writing lies somewhere in the middle of creative and technical and is best accomplished by brevity in an incisive and specific manner. Embellishment and ostentation tend to obscure the primary intended message, and though fact-based opinion is readily acceptable, one must be sure to limit personal opinion, typically outside the scope of a college-level assignment, to topical discussions on the writing. This is where my weakness becomes quite apparent. My goal in writing is to cogently state my message, but again, I feel as if words fail in describing the intended affect.

Another area in which I could use improvement is the analysis of fact referenced in my writing. Without a statistical background, I tend to lack the expertise to evaluate the statistical significance of professional studies and articles.

As of late, I have been altering my verbal communication methods to better reflect my writing style. My hope is that in speaking as I would write, I can create better habits which will, in turn, be reflected in my writing. Additionally, I hope to learn more about statistical analysis to better support my views when expressed to others. To this end, I will peruse interesting research to increase my exposure to statistics and take a class to increase my understanding of the various statistical models. My goal is to excel at all forms of writing.

Merit Badges in Punditry and Blogging

Everyone’s a pundit! Actually, I guess anyone who has a weblog, or “blog”, of some type can be an expert these days. I see them on the news all the time, “Larry Marshall, author of the internet blog ‘Who Cares’, what do you think of this situation?”

“Well, Bob, in my blog I have written…”, the rest can be filled in by imagination.

Some of these bloggers might actually have education or experience relating to the topic, but I find that many do not; certainly not to any degree of expertise. When questioned regarding their expert standing, they invariably seem to respond with, “I have been authoring my blog for over ‘x’ years!”

Perhaps, the Cub Scouts will offer merit badges in punditry and blogging.

However, not all blogs are full of pedantic ego fulfillment. Well, even some that are have their place in the 21st century scramble to “let somebody know something… anything!” Typically, one cannot falter fact. Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts (etc.) that report facts are becoming commonplace and finding importance to a variety of people. Examples of these are the CDC podcasts. Great expert medical information in a convenient podcast package. With this media, however, the more opinion added, the more debated the positions.

In the online community, there are a number of experts who tend to set the stage for a debate or commentary. Then, there are ostensibly a number of anti-experts. These ‘anti-experts’ seem to have the knowledge and skill of the experts, but perhaps, not the education or the standing. What these anti-experts do have is cynicism, altruism and an uncanny ability to think outside of the expertly regarded box. The only thing these dodgers need is a soapbox.

The internet is a great forum for anyone to be heard by anyone who will listen. It can only be imagined, then, that everyone with an internet voice will want to speak. This will certainly provide for an array of views on a single topic and an opportunity for arguments to be raised in defense of certain views. Though this forum allows a debate between experts, anti-experts and laymen, many times the debate falters and the parties lose their ambition to continue providing evidence. This can lead to information that is not truly tried and tested, and though someone may provide a great argument, they could still be dead wrong.

Remember! Not everything you read on the internet is true.

With all of that being said, for reliable truth in journalism, The Onion!